Buying an ebike? You should know about ‘torque’ and ‘cadence’ sensors

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Before buying an electric bike, you should learn the difference between a “cadence” and “torque” sensor. These sensors tell the motor of an electric bicycle how much assistance to provide while pedaling. Sensor type is one of the most important aspects of a bike’s ride quality, so unfortunately it’s this specification often overlooked when it comes to horsepower or battery size.

For some riders, the difference between a cheaper cadence sensor and a more sophisticated torque sensor is huge and can dramatically affect the quality of the ride. For others, torque transducers aren’t worth the premium.

Whichever side you fall into, it would do you good to know the difference.

Cadence sensors

Cadence sensors offer the most basic type of pedal assist technology. They measure how quickly you turn the pedals, often placing a series of magnets around the crank arms.

A typical electric bicycle may have 8 to 14 magnets arranged in a circle, which are used as “control points” for the rotation of the pedal. When motion is detected, the sensor signals the motor to start running.

Credit: Swytch