The Short Answer is:
Torque sensors measure how hard a rider is pedaling, while cadence sensors measure if a rider is pedaling. Torque sensing pedal assist systems provide a smoother ride as the pedal assist is synced with the rider's movements, while cadence sensors can feel jerky or laggy.
Table of Contents
Introduction to e-bike sensors
E-bike sensors are important components that help electric bikes work. There are different types of sensors, including speed sensors and torque sensors.
Cadence or torque sensors tell an electric bike’s pedal-assist system when to engage the motor and propel the e-bike forward.
E-bike riders can go farther, climb steeper hills, and pedal with a faster cadence with the help of these sensors.
Other important components of an e-bike include the battery, controller, motor, displays, throttles, and PAS sensors.
In this article, we will compare and do the analysis of “E-bike Torque Sensor vs Cadence Sensor“.
The importance of e-bike sensors in determining motor assistance
E-bike sensors are important in determining motor assistance. There are two types of sensors: torque and cadence sensors.
Torque sensors measure how hard the rider is pedaling to determine how much electric power to push to the bike. The harder you pedal, the more power it gives.
Cadence sensors, on the other hand, tell an electric bike’s pedal-assist system when to engage the motor and propel the e-bike forward. With torque sensors, motor assistance is determined by the pressure applied to the pedal.
How e-bike torque sensors work
E-bike torque sensors measure the amount of force a rider applies to the pedals, which determines how much power the motor should output to the bike.
When a rider pedals an e-bike with a torque sensor, the sensor recognizes the pressure put on the bike pedals and delivers power dynamically depending on how hard or soft the rider pedals.
The harder you pedal, the more power it gives.
Torque sensors are different from cadence sensors because they respond to the amount of force you’re pedaling with, not just detecting a pedaling motion.
How e-bike cadence sensors work
E-bike cadence sensors use a magnet on the crank to turn the motor on when pedaling and off when not pedaling.
This works like a switch, and riders must manually adjust the assist mode to control boost level and speed. Torque sensors measure how hard riders are pedaling by using a precision strain gauge, while torque sensors measure the torque of the rotational force applied to the crankset as you pedal.
The differences between torque and cadence sensors
Torque and cadence sensors are used in electric bikes to determine when to engage the motor and propel the bike forward.
The main difference between torque and cadence sensors is what they measure. Cadence sensors measure if you are pedaling, while some models also measure how fast you’re pedaling.
On the other hand, torque sensors measure both if and how hard you are pedaling. Another key difference is the frequency at which your pedaling is measured.
Cadence sensors measure your pedaling 3-14 times per revolution, while torque sensors measure your pedaling up to a thousand times per second.
A torque sensor measures your actual force on the pedal, sampling at 1,000 times per second over the entire pedal stroke.
In general, a torque sensing PAS will give you a smoother ride as the pedal assist is synced with your movements. Cadence flips on and off abruptly. This can often feel jerky, laggy, or even counterintuitive to what you are trying to do on your bike.
A torque-sensor-based 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.
The cost is also a major difference between these two types of sensors. Torque sensors are significantly more expensive than cadence sensors because of their precision components.
Advantages of torque sensors over cadence sensors
Torque sensors are more advantageous than cadence sensors in several ways. Torque sensors provide a smoother ride as the pedal assist is synced with the rider’s movements, while cadence sensors can feel jerky and laggy.
Torque sensors measure how hard the rider is pedaling, which allows for more precise control over the amount of assistance provided by the motor.
This results in a more natural and intuitive riding experience. Additionally, torque sensors use less battery power compared to cadence sensors, which means that electric bikes with torque sensors have a longer range.
While cadence sensors are easier to install and more cost-effective than electric bikes with torque sensors, they do not provide the same level of performance and control as torque sensors.
Advantages of cadence sensors over torque sensors
Cadence sensors are easier to install and more cost-effective than torque sensors. They work by measuring how fast the rider is pedaling.
However, they tend to work best on flat surfaces and are less efficient if you are going over a lot of hills or inclines.
On the other hand, torque sensors measure how hard the rider is pedaling and offer a smoother and more natural ride quality. While they can be more expensive, they provide better performance on hills and inclines.
How to choose the right sensor for your e-bike
Ultimately, choosing between a cadence sensor or a torque sensor depends on what type of riding experience you are looking for.
If you want a peppy ride with minimal effort or have limited mobility, then a cadence sensor might be best. If you want an efficient ride that responds directly to your effort or needs extended battery ranges, then a torque sensor might be best.
When choosing the right sensor for an e-bike, there are two main types of sensors to consider: cadence sensors and torque sensors.
Cadence sensors measure when to engage the motor and propel the e-bike forward based on the rotation of the pedals.
On the other hand, torque sensors measure how hard a rider is pedaling to determine how much electric assistance is needed.
Cadence sensors are relatively inexpensive and require less pressure to employ, making them more comfortable for recreational riders or riders with tender knees.
However, they can feel jerky, laggy, and counterintuitive. They may also work against a rider’s efforts if they want to pedal faster than the motor is spinning.
Torque sensors are more efficient and have extended battery ranges because they only deliver power when needed.
They provide a smoother ride experience that feels more natural because they respond directly to a rider’s effort.
However, they are more expensive than cadence sensors and may not be suitable for riders who have limited mobility or cannot exert too much force when pedaling.
Common issues with e-bike sensors and how to troubleshoot them
Common issues with e-bike sensors include problems with the speed sensor, cadence sensor, and torque sensor. Other common issues include motor bearing problems, dead batteries, and battery errors.
To troubleshoot these issues, you can try resetting the bike’s computer or checking the wiring connections. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to replace the faulty component or seek professional help from a bike mechanic.
Frequently Asked Questions related to E-bike Torque Sensor vs. Cadence Sensor:
What is an e-bike torque sensor and how does it work?
An e-bike torque sensor is a device that measures the rotational force applied to the crankset as you pedal. It uses a precision strain gauge to measure the actual force on the pedal, sampling at 1,000 times per second. This allows it to deliver power dynamically depending on how hard or soft the rider pedals. When powered on, the sensor recognizes the pressure put on the bike pedals and determines how much power to put out based on how hard you are pedaling.
What is an e-bike cadence sensor and how does it work?
An e-bike cadence sensor is a device that detects the rotation of the pedals on an electric bike. It uses a magnet on the crank to turn the motor on when you start pedaling and off when you stop. The sensor works like a switch, and it does not measure how hard you are pedaling or how much force you are applying. Instead, it only measures if you are pedaling or not. This is different from a torque sensor, which measures how hard you are pedaling and adjusts the motor’s power accordingly.
Can I upgrade the sensor on my existing e-bike?
It is possible to upgrade the sensor on an existing e-bike, but it may require changing other components as well. Upgrading to a controller with an LCD display can be helpful. There are also conversion kits available that can turn a regular bike into an e-bike. It is recommended to have a local e-bike shop or servicer install any modifications to ensure proper installation.
Conclusion and recommendations for e-bike sensor selection
It is recommended to consider the following factors when selecting an e-bike sensor:
The type of sensor: torque sensors provide a more natural and responsive riding experience, while cadence sensors are simpler and less expensive.
The intended use of the e-bike: for higher-end e-bikes or those used for more demanding activities, a torque sensor may be preferable.
Multi-sensor information fusion can optimize battery consumption and other parameters associated with the route traveled.
Smart monitoring systems can provide real-time data on GPS assistance and sensor data for electrically-assisted bicycles.
Ultimately, the selection of an e-bike sensor will depend on individual preferences and needs. It is advisable to choose a pedal assist sensor that provides a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.