Cadence or torque sensors tell an electric bike’s pedal-assist system (PAS) when to engage the motor and propel the e-bike forward. Although just about any combination of a cadence sensor, a torque sensor, or both will work, each sensor type can have an impact on an electric bike’s performance and ride.





In contrast to a cadence-sensor-based PAS, a torque sensor uses some form of a strain gauge to determine how much force the rider is applying to the pedal.


With a torque sensor in use, the electric bike’s motor will increase its output relative to the amount of pedal force the rider is applying. When the rider pedals hard the motor outputs more power up to the predetermined limit for a give PAS level.


A torque-sensor PAS can feel more like riding a conventional bicycle since the rider can sense the strain on the chain or belt and enjoy a direct connection to the motor.


A torque-based PAS may also engage relatively more quickly than a cadence-based PAS. And on some models, using only a torque-based PAS may increase range.

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