Aventon Pace 350 and 500 Next-Gen Review

If you’re on the lookout for a fun, comfortable and peppy ebike for casual riding, look no further than the Aventon Pace. Designed with comfort, style, and affordability in mind, the Pace’s padded saddle and upright positioning paired with its peppy motor with 5 levels of pedal assist and a throttle, will quickly have you grinning and anxiously waiting for your next chance to ride!

Available in two models (Pace 350 and Pace 500), two frame designs (step-through and diamond), two frame sizes, as well as two colors, Aventon’s Pace line has plenty of options to suit your needs.

Sideshot of a woman riding a purple Aventon Pace 350 in a neighborhood
Pace 350 Next Gen Step-Through

Both Pace models (350 and 500) feature a rear hub motor with 5 pedal assist modes and disc brakes. For this review, we put the Pace 350 NEXT-GEN step-though model to work for several months, but we will also be covering the Pace 500 and how it differs from the 350. The “NEXT-GEN” line of Pace is the most current model of the Pace released in 2022. The previous Pace models did not have a flush mount battery or a colored LED screen.

If you are new to the ebike world, this review is also perfect for you as we cover all the e-bike basics – from how riding an ebike “feels” different from a regular bike, to battery safety!

Aventon Pace Overview

stars

RATING: Exceptional

MSRP: Pace 350$1,399, Pace 500 $1,699

FRAME SIZE: Regular (fits 5’1″ – 5’11”), Large (fits 5’11” – 6’4″)

WEIGHT: 49 – 52 lb. depending on model and size

MOTOR (Brushless Hub Motor): Pace 350 – 36V, 350W; Pace 500 – 48V, 500W
PAS MODES: 5
BATTERY (Removable Internal Lithium-ion): Pace 350 – 36V (417Wh); Pace 500 – 48V, (614Wh)
TOP SPEED/CLASS: Pace 350 – 20mph/Class II (Pace 350); Pace 500 – 28mph/Class III
TORQUE SENSOR: No
THROTTLE: Yes (easily removed)

TIRES: 27.5″ x 2.2″ ebike rated with reflective sidewalls
GEARS: Pace 350 – 7-speed; Pace 500 – 8-speed
BRAKES: Pace 350 – Mechanical Disc Brakes; Pace 500 – Hydraulic Disc Brakes

PROS:

  • Fun and peppy ride at a great price point
  • Comfortable, upright body position that minimizes strain on back and neck
  • Thick padded saddle is comfortable for all types of riders
  • Throttle is easily removable and bike can function without it
  • Available with a standard or step-through frame
  • Bright integrated lights along the side and back of the bike’s frame for increased visibility
  • Sleek design that allows the battery to seamlessly blend into the frame, yet still be removable (battery can be charged on or off the frame)
  • Compatible with rear rack for hauling gear or for adding a child bike seat
  • Free app to help you track miles and milestones, battery life, turn on or off the lights
  • Easily integrates via Bluetooth with Aventon’s top notch app that includes bike and ride stats as well as an extremely active community group chat board

CONS:

  • Motor on 350 lags on steep hills (more powerful Pace 500 motor better option around hills)
  • No torque sensor (standard at this price point), so you can’t finesse the speed of the bike with the pedals
  • No way to “lock” the motor to help prevent the bike from theft (some other ebikes have this feature)

Aventon Pace Next-Gen Review – Results of our Test Rides

Over the past several months, we’ve put the Aventon Pace to the test around the neighborhood and are continually impressed by this fun little bike. All in all, the Aventon Pace’s comfort and ease of use make it a great first ebike for those just getting started, as well as a fun upgrade for those looking for a newer, sleeker looking cruiser ebike.

As a heads up, this review is long and very detailed, but if you are new to the ebike world, we encourage you to take the time to read through the entire review. By doing so, you will not only learn about the Pace, but also about ebikes in general. If needs be, you can skip through the review via the Table of Contents below.

Aventon Pace Quick Overview

Having owned and tested several other ebikes over the years, I can honestly say that for cruising around town, the Pace is a hands down favorite! Offering the perfect combination of peppiness, comfort, and ease of use, the Pace quickly earned a soft spot in our hearts.

Riding the Aventon Pace on a paved bike trail across a bridge

From quick jaunts around the neighborhood to extended rides on paved bike trails, the Aventon Pace is quick to remind you just how fun riding a bike can be. With the motor engaged, the Pace pedals effortlessly beneath you, allowing you to take in the scenery or have a pleasant chat with a friend without loosing your breath.

Who are we? Why trust us?

Here at Two Wheeling Tots (link to our about page), we have been putting biking products to the test in real life situations since 2010. While our main focus in on kids biking products, occasionally we get a chance to test out products for ourselves! Over the past 5 years, we have seen ebikes hit the market with a vengeance and have had the chance to test out (as well as own) several different brands.

While our site’s main focus isn’t on electric bikes, we hope our personal experience with ebikes, our passion for biking in general, as well as the many hours we have spent researching ebikes will be evidenced in this review.

What does riding the Pace feel like?

The Pace is fun and peppy! It’s the perfect bike for cruising with friends and family, but as an ebike, it does offers a very different riding experience than a traditional bike. While the mechanics are the same (i.e. you sit on the saddle, pedal with your feet, hold onto the handlebars), how the Pace ebike speeds up, slows down, as well as maintains speed is different from a traditional bike and does take a short adjustment period to get used to.

While high-end, expensive ebikes can mimic the natural feel of riding a bike, any ebike under ~$3,000 (including the Pace), does not. These more affordable ebikes feel like a mix between riding an electric scooter and a heavy pedal bike.

Sometimes you simply sit on the bike and let the motor take you for an effortless ride (like on an electric scooter), while at other times, you need to put the pedals and brakes to work and take control of the bike (like a traditional bike).

In this review, we’ll do our best to explain how the mechanics of the Pace affect its overall feel and performance. If you want to get into the weeds of how ebikes work, Aventon has some great articles on their blog. Aventon also has over 600 dealers in the US where you can test out their bikes.

Who is the Aventon Pace bike best for?

The Aventon Pace is designed for riders who want a comfortable cruiser style ebike with an affordable price tag.

Offering the comfort and feel of a beach cruiser but without requiring the brute strength often needed to ride one, the Pace is best for riders who need a boost to go the extra mile or simply want to enjoy the ride and the scenery without breaking a sweat.

The Pace is best used on paved roads and trails. While the 2.2″ wide cushioning tires help soften some of the bumps on uneven sidewalks and streets, they certainly don’t have the traction necessary to take on bumpy dirt trails.

Riding the Aventon Pace 350 on a paved bike trail

If you plan on commuting regularly on an ebike, the Pace 350 and 500 both can travel up to 40 miles when used on the lowest pedal assist mode. On the highest mode, you can expect closer to 25 miles.

If your route has hills or extended elevation gain, we would recommend going with the more powerful Pace 500 over the 350. The larger battery and motor on the 500 is much better equipped to take on hills. The Pace 350 also has a max pedal assist speed of 20 mph while the 500 can assist up to 28 mph.

Before you purchase any ebike, be sure to check your local laws and regulations. They can vary from city to city and even on various roads and paths within a city. Most regulations restrict either Class III bikes which go up to 28 mph (Pace 500) or bikes with throttles (Class II and Class III bikes).

Although both the Pace models have throttles (Pace 350 is a Class II), they can easily be removed and this does not affect the performance of the pedal assist modes.

Who is the Aventon Pace not ideal for?

The Pace models are not ideal for rough roads, aggressive or “technical” riders, and really timid riders.

Rough Roads

The Pace’s smooth street tread and lack of suspension fork make it less ideal for riding on non-paved surfaces.

Although you can commute on the Pace, if uneven sidewalk and rough bike lanes are part of your regular route, stepping up to the Aventon Level 2 bike would be a better option. Coming standard with a front suspension fork, a rear rack, and a front and rear fenders, it is more than ready to take on city life!

side by side comparison shot of the Aventon Pace 350 and the Aventon Level.2
Aventon Pace 350 vs. Aventon Level 2

“Aggressive” Riders

If you are looking for a bike with the performance of a sports car that quickly responds to every nuance of your pedaling motion, the Pace (as well as any ebike under ~$2,500) is not the bike for you. That level of performance is only available on high-end bikes with mid-drive motors.

The Pace has a rear hub motor versus a mid-drive motor (also known as mid-mount). ebikes with hub motors (found on more budget-friendly ebikes) versus mid-mount motors (found on higher-end ebikes) ride VERY differently!

On most bikes with a rear hub motor, you cannot control the speed of the bike via the pedals. Once the bike senses that the pedals are moving, the motor accelerates the bike to the speed determined by the pedal assist mode the rider has selected (more about this later). Slowing your cadence of the pedals will not slow the speed of the bike.

aventon rear hub 350W motor on the pace 350

Not Ideal for Really Timid Riders

As a result, bikes with rear hub motors can be very intimidating for riders who are already hesitant riders on a traditional bike. If you are already hesitant to ride a regular bike, we highly recommend jumping up your budget to get a bike with at least a torque sensor.

Torque sensors allow you to adjust the speed of the bike with the pedals, which creates a much more natural feeling to the ebike. Bikes with torque sensors and mid-mount motors provide the most “natural” feel and are best for timid riders, but also start around $3,000. As a compromise, rear hub motors with torque sensors, like the $1,949 Aventon Level 2, are a great option.

The rear hub with a torque sensor combo isn’t as responsive as a mid-drive motor, but does take feedback from your pedaling motion to regulate the speed of the bike.

What size rider fits on the Aventon Pace?

The wide range of Pace models fit riders between 4’11” and 6’4″. The height recommendations for all versions of the Pace vary widely. Recommendations vary on the model and frame style.

Pace 350 and 500 Standard Models Sizing

Frame SizePace 350 Pace 500
Regular5’1″ – 5’11”5’1″ – 5’7″
Large5’11” – 6’4″5’7″ – 5’11”

Pace 350 and 500 Step-through (ST) Models Sizing

Frame SizePace 350 STPace 500 ST
S/M5’1″ – 5’11”4’11” – 5’8″
M/L5’11” – 6’4″5’8″ – 6’1″

For this review, we tested out a Pace 350 Step-though model in an S/M frame. The main riders were 5’6″ and 5’10”. Both riders felt comfortable on the bike, but the 5’10” rider did feel slightly cramped and would have preferred a larger frame bike.

side by side comparison of a 5'6" rider and a 5'10" rider on the Aventon Pace 350 size s/m step through frame
5’6″ rider and 5’10” rider on Aventon Pace 350 Step-through size S/M

So if you are on the cusp of sizes, we would recommend sizing up if you are generally comfortable on bikes, but perhaps staying at the recommended size if you are not.

Aventon Pace Performance

The rear hub motor of the Pace is quick and responsive. When activated via the throttle or by pedaling, it quickly and smoothly jumps into action and propels the bike forward. Whether using the throttle or the pedals to get started, the motor isn’t jumping or “jerky” off the line and smoothly begins to accelerate forward.

Once at speed, the Pace smoothly rolls along. Whether you’re using the throttle or the pedals to move forward, maintaining speed is pretty effortless (if you choose it to be). While the thumb throttle is easy to reach, we preferred the more natural feel of pedaling to keep the motor buzzing along.

Riding the Aventon Pace 350 along a paved trail

Getting Going – PAS modes vs. Throttle

Pedal assist modes on ebikes vary the amount of power the motor provides during the ride. The higher the PAS mode, the more “push” or input you will feel from the motor and the faster you are likely to go. The lower the PAS, the less “push” you will feel and the slower you are likely to go.

All PAS modes can assist the rider in reaching 20 mph on the Pace 350 (28mph on the Pace 500), but the amount of input the motor provides to the bike changes with each PAS.

For example (these numbers are just an example!), if a motor in PAS 5 provides 95% of the power needed to get to 20 mph, the rider must provide the remaining 5% by pedaling. In the lower PAS 3 mode, the motor may provide 70% and the rider 30%.

In other words, if you pedal the same rate, in the same gear on the same surface (the rider input never changes), the bike will travel faster at a higher PAS than it will at a lower PAS due to the increase in motor input.

If you have never ridden an ebike before, understanding how pedal assist modes (PAS) affect the speed of the bike can be a bit confusing. A more detailed explanation can be found in our “How do ebikes work” section at the end of this review.

To demonstrate the difference between the PAS modes, we did several timed runs with the Pace 350 on a ~75 yard section of a straight paved road with a slight incline. We repeatedly rode the bike (in the same gear) from the same starting and stopping lines, only changing the PAS mode.

The chart below shows how long it took for the bike to travel the same distance in the different PAS modes with the same 5’10” rider. The goal of the rider was to make it across the finish line as quickly as possible. Several runs were performed in each PAS mode with the fasted time being recorded.

Pace 350 Timed Sprints

ModeTime (Seconds)Exertion Level*
PAS 0 (Just human power)29.4 10
PAS 123.98
PAS 223.87
PAS 322.36
Throttle Only21.30
PAS 420.05
PAS 518.94
*Rider reported, 10 being the hardest, 1 being the easiest

As you can see in the numbers, the higher the PAS mode, the faster the rider was able to travel with less effort. While the travel times between the modes didn’t decrease a lot, the exertion level in each PAS mode did. If repeated with the Pace 500, we would expect the larger 500W motor to provide faster results.

Since all PAS modes on the Pace 350 have the ability to assist you up to 20mph (or 28mph on the Pace 500), the main difference between the PAS modes is not your top speed, but rather how much effort is required by the rider to reach the top speed.

Notice that the exertion level in all pedal assist modes did not go to zero during this sprint. Pedal assist modes are designed to assist, not replace, the pedaling motion.

With throttle-only, however, it is true that the rider doesn’t need to exert any effort, but doing so quickly drops the total mileage you can expect from the battery. This is true for the higher PAS modes as well. The greater the amount of time spent in a higher PAS mode, the faster the battery power will deplete.

For a comparison, we repeated the same test with the cheaper Swagtron EB6 which also has a 350W rear hub motor. The Swagtron does have fat tires, which certainly play a role in slowing down the bike, but the results does speak to the zippiness of the Pace 350.

Swagtron EB6 Timed Tests

ModeTime (Seconds)Exertion Level*
PAS 0 (not available on Swagtron)n/an/a
PAS 1 (only 1 level available)24.16
Throttle Only22.30
*Rider reported, 10 being the hardest, 1 being the easiest

Although they have the same size motor, the Swagtron was a second slower with just the throttle and its one PAS level was a half a second slower than any of the PAS levels of the Pace 350.

Controlling Speed – Slowing Down on the Pace

Once you reach your “cruising altitude” (aka speed), keeping a constant slow cadence on the pedals will allow you to easily maintain speed, but slowing down your speed on the Pace does take some practice to master.

Due to the lack of a torque sensor, slowing down the cadence of your pedaling will not slow down the bike, regardless of the PAS mode you are in (this is true on essentially all budget-friendly ebikes). Until the pedals stop (or are going ridiculously slow), the motor continues to turn the wheel and propel the Pace forward.

Riding the Aventon Pace 350 step through on a paved bike trail

While stopping the Pace is the same as a regular bike (just use the brakes!), slowing down your speed on any hub drive bike takes a bit of finesse. The easiest way to quickly slow down is to use the hand brakes. When the brakes are pulled, the motor of the Pace stops automatically and the bike will begin to coast or come to a complete stop.

Stopping the pedals will also stop the motor and slow the bike via coasting. Since hub motors are not “freewheel” hubs, they will resist rotating when not in action and cause the bike to quickly lose speed during a coast. As a result, the Pace does not coast very well and quickly comes to a stop.

To reduce your “cruising” speed for good, the easiest method is to reduce the bike’s pedal assist (PAS) level. As explained above, the lower PAS will provide less power to the motor and decrease the bikes “cruising speed”.

We personally found PAS 2 or 3 to be the magic sweet spot for our local paved bike trail. The faster PAS 4 and 5 felt too fast while on the narrow trail, but were quite useful when riding along very lightly trafficked city streets on the way to the trail.

Tackling Hills

For cruising relatively flat areas around town, or on slight rolling hills, the 350W motor on the Pace 350 did just fine as we weren’t able to feel any significant loss of “power”. On steep hills, however, the 350W was clearly under powered, as the bike simply couldn’t maintain speed without significant input via the pedals while in the highest PAS mode.

In fact, on the steepest parts, aggressive pedaling was absolutely necessary as the bike would come to a stop if only the throttle was being used. Once pedaling, the motor did provide some assistance, but it felt like almost 80% less than the assistance it provided on flat areas.

riding the Aventon pace 350 up a steep road

Not surprisingly, the battery on the Pace 350 (417 Wh battery) also quickly began to drain while powering up the hill, especially when in PAS 4 and 5. On the steepest parts, we recorded a 4% battery drop in less than 3 minutes!

Keep in mind, however, that both Pace models were designed for comfort cruising and not for longer commutes. If you anticipate extended climbs or mileage to be a regular occurrence, Aventon’s Level 2 commuter model with a larger 750W motor and 672 Wh battery would be a better choice. In fact, we tried this same exact hill on the Level 2, and we flew right up with minimal changes in the motor performance.

Aventon Pace Comfort Features

Geometry

The Pace positions the rider in a comfortable upright position. (Left image below) With the ability to easily look forward without straining your neck forward, the Pace allows the rider to focus on the fun and less on trying to “get comfortable” on the bike.

boyd position of the aventon pace 350 vs the Aventon Level
Aventon Pace upright geometry vs. Aventon Level leaned in

Saddle

The saddle on the Pace is super plush and very comfortable. It is much wider and much more cushioned than your standard bike saddle. If you are one who regularly finds fault with standard bike seats, you will love the saddle on the Pace.

soft, cushioned saddle of the Aventon Pace 350

Handlebars

To help maintain a comfortable body position, the handlebars of the Pace are slightly swept back. This allows the rider to keep their elbows down and not up and off to the side like on a traditional flat barred bike, which can tire out the arms over time.

swept back handlebars of the Aventon Pace 350

Grips

Soft and ergonomic, the grips on the Aventon are top-notch. In addition to feeling good, each grip also has an ergonomic “wing” that helps to reduce fatigue by allowing a larger portion of your palm to rest on the grip. As an added bonus, each grip locks into place (via a small removable screw) onto the handlebar to prevent them from sliding off.

soft grip with ergonomic wing on the aventon pace 350

Kickstand

While not necessarily a comfort feature, the quality kickstand of the Pace is easy to use and is very reliable, so you never have to worry about bending over to pick up your bike!

Aventon Pace Safety Features

Integrated Lights

Being seen is an essential part of riding an ebike! Whether cars, fellow bike riders or pedestrians, it is vital that you stay noticed while on your bike.

To help keep you in the spotlight, the Pace 350 and Pace 500 feature integrated red LED light panels on the rear of the frame that are visible from both the back and the side. These lights can be set to automatically turn on when the bike is in use and also flash when you are braking!

Integrated LED lights on the Aventon Pace 350

A single bright white LED light is also located on the front of the bike. Like the rear, it can be set to automatically turn on. While the light does provide some light when riding in the dark, its main purpose it to provide visibility.

Locking Battery

Both models of the Pace come with a key to allow you to lock the battery into the bike. Considering ebike batteries are expensive to replace, this prevents someone from stealing the battery out of the bike.

Walk Assist

If you ever find yourself in the position of needing to walk your Pace a considerable distance (or up a very steep hill), it does come with a “walk assist” mode.

When engaged by pushing and holding down the “-” button on the control panel, the bike will propel itself about 3.5 mph forward as you walk beside it. Once you release the “-” button, the bike will stop moving forward and the walk assist will turn off.

While you can absolutely still walk or ride the bike if the battery ever dies on you, the walk assist really comes in handy if you ever have to walk a charged bike up a hill or a steep driveway. The walk assit will not work if the battery is dead.

Aventon App and Pace Display

The colorful LED display of the Aventon Pace is very user-friendly and is an unexpected feature at the Pace’s price point. The display’s home screen always shows real-time speed, battery life, power bar (how much motor is working), your power assist level, riding data (see options below) as well as a light and Bluetooth indicator.

Aventon electric bike display

The display is not touch screen but is easily controlled via the button control panel on the left handlebar of the bike.

Riding Data

The screen has several options for the riding data you would like displayed. The data sets come in pairs and you can choose between Trip Distance and Odometer, Average Speed and Max Speed, Trip Time and Calories Burnt, Trip CO2 Avoided and Trip Trees Saved, as well as Sum CO2 Reduced and Sum Tree Saved.

You can also easily rotate through the various options mid-ride via the control panel on the handlebar.

Aventon App

The Aventon app is free, easy to use and well worth your time to download. The app displays stats of the bike (total cycling time, odometer, max speed, etc.), but it can also record trips and track your mileage per month.

Our favorite feature of the app, however, is its community group. The app’s forum is very active as fellow Aventon users daily post about their fun adventures on their bikes, as well as ask questions and provide tips and advice.

Battery Care

Like any ebike, it is important to take care of your bike’s battery. Replacing batteries on ebikes is not cheap, so be sure to take care of the one you have! These recommendations apply to all ebike batteries, not just the Pace.

The battery of the Pace can be charged while on or off the bike. It is best to charge the battery at least once every two weeks to help it maintain its lifespan. The battery, however, can be charged daily without any negative effects.

If you don’t plan on using your bike for a while, it is best to remove the battery from the bike and store the battery indoors. Temperatures outside the 32 to 104 degree window can shorten the battery’s lifespan. The battery should also never be charged outside that temperature window.

Battery Indicator Light

When charging (as well as when the battery is installed on the bike), the battery has a colored LED indicator light. This light allows you to quickly estimate how much charge the battery has. The colored light breakdown is: Blue: 66%-100%. Green: 33%-66%. Red: 0%-33%.

Aventon Pace Components – Pace 350 vs. Pace 500

Both Pace models offer exceptional value, but deciding which model to buy can be challenging. All in all, if you can afford the $300 price difference, we would recommend upgrading to the 500. In addition to a larger motor and battery, you also get a faster charger, hydraulic disc brakes and one additional speed.

If you are already pushing your budget to get a Pace model, don’t hesitate to buy the 350. We have been riding our Pace for several months and have no complaints. We do stay away from the steeper trails and roads around us, but the surrounding few are easy to bypass.

Pace 350Pace 500
MSRP$1,399$1,699
Motor36V, 350W48V, 500W
Battery417 Wh614 Wh
Charger36V, 2 Amp48V, 3 Amp
Max Speed Assist20 mph28 mph
Range24 – 40 miles25 – 48 miles
BrakesMechanical DiscHydraulic Disc
Gears7 Speed8 Speed
StemFixed HeightAdjustable Height
Reco. Height Range5’1″ – 6’4″4’11” – 6’1″
Weight~49 lb.~52 lb.
Rear Rack CompatibleYY
Optional FendersYY

Aventon Pace 350 and 500 Bottom Line

The Aventon Pace 350 and Pace 500 are phenomenal comfort cruiser ebikes that offer sleek styling and a fun, peppy ride without breaking the bank. From cruising around the neighborhood to exploring new paved bike trails, the Pace is your perfect companion to help you go the extra mile with a smile on your face.

Both Pace models offer great performance, but if hills are common place in your area, considering upgrading to the Aventon Pace 500.

BONUS INFORMATIONAL SECTION

How do ebikes work?

If you have never ridden an ebike before, it is certainly different from riding a traditional bike. Before making a purchase, it’s important to first understand the different types of motors and sensors available on ebikes.

Much of the “feel” of any ebike is dependent on these two components. If you don’t understand how these motors and sensor work, you run the risk of purchasing an ebike that doesn’t match up to your expectations.

Motors and Sensors

Cadence Sensors vs. Torque Sensors

There are two main types of sensors on ebikes – cadence and torque. Cadence sensors sense the presence of pedaling, while a torque sensor senses how much pressure (or torque) you are applying to the pedals. All ebikes have cadence sensors, but only some bikes have torque sensors.

Cadence Sensors

Cadence sensors work as a type of on/off switch. When the sensor senses that the pedals are moving, it turns the motor on. When the pedals stop moving, it turns it off.

Most budget friendly ebikes only have cadence sensors. Bike with just cadence sensors tend to “feel” more like riding an electric scooter at times (quick acceleration with little effort) versus riding a traditional bike. The Pace 350 and 500 both only have cadence sensors.

Torque Sensors

Torque sensors work in conjunction with cadence sensors. They don’t signal the motor to turn on and off like the cadence sensor, but rather help to modulate the power the motor puts out once the motor is turned on.

Upon measuring the amount of force (or torque) the rider places on the pedals and crank arms, torque sensors are able to adjust the amount of power the motor provides.

If the rider is pedaling hard and is really pushing down on the pedals, the torque sensor will tell the motor to provide max power. If the rider is simply coasting with little pressure on the pedals, the torque sensor will tell the motor to decrease power.

Keep in mind that torque sensors are not sensing the speed of the pedaling, but rather the pressure the rider puts on the pedals.

A torque sensor can tell the difference between when you are cruising in an easy gear (just spinning along) versus when you drop it to a harder gear (but don’t necessarily speed up your legs) and are powering through in hopes to speed up. While in the easy gear, the torque sensor would have the motor scale back, while in the hard gear, it would tell the motor to increase input.

On a bike with just a cadence sensor, since the rider in that scenario didn’t stop or start moving the pedals, the amount of input from the motor wouldn’t have changed from one gear to the next.

Due to their ability to allow the rider to quickly fine tune their speed, torque sensors are essential on high-end technical bikes made for mountain biking or heavy city use. But because of their added expense, they are not usually included on affordable bikes, especially those designed for casual use.

Hub Motors vs. Mid-Drive Motors

There are two main types of motors found on ebikes – hub motors and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are located within the hub of the rear (and rarely the front) wheel of a bike, while mid-drive motors are located “mid” way through the bike along the drivetrain.

Side by side images of a mid-drive motor and a rear hub motor on an ebike
Mid-drive vs. Rear Hub ebike motors

Rear Hub Motors

Both Pace models are equipped with a rear hub motor. Most budget friendly bikes under $2,000 or so have hub motors. All of Aventon’s models as well as other popular brands like RadPower and Super73 have rear hub motors.

When engaged, rear hub motors rotate or assist you in rotating the rear wheel of the bike. The motor can be activated via the throttle or through the pedals. When using the throttle, the motor does all the work in propelling the bike forward, you do not need to pedal at all.

When using the pedal assist, the motor engages once the bike senses that you are pedaling. How fast you are pedaling or what gear you are in does little to determine how fast the bike goes. If you are pedaling, the bike will be propelled forward based on the level of pedal assist mode you have selected (more about this later).

Mid Drive Motors

Mid drive motors work differently than hub motors. Located near the bottom bracket of the bike, these motors apply power directly to the drivetrain of the bike.

How much power they apply depends on how hard you pedal (thanks in part to their torque sensors). As a result, riding a bike with a mid-drive motor feels very similar to riding a regular bike. If you want to go faster, pedal harder. If you want to slow down, ease up on the pedals.

Since almost all mid drive motors cannot directly rotate the wheel of the bike, they cannot be used with a throttle. The bike cannot not move if you do not pedal.

Gears are also much more relevant and much easier to use with mid drive motors. Since gears play a role in how fast and how hard you pedal, they will directly play a role in how much power the mid drive motor puts into the drivetrain. The motor does not “know” what gear you are in, but is does rely on the torque sensor to determine how fast you are pedaling as well as how much pressure you are applying to the pedals.

Pedal Assist Modes

Both types of motors allow you to vary the amount of “input” the motor provides via their Pedal Assist levels (PAS). PAS mode are easily switched via a digital screen or even a simple button on any ebike. On most bikes, the PAS mode is only relevant when pedaling, not while using the throttle.

The number of PAS modes of an ebike vary from 1 to 5. The higher the PAS mode, the more input the motor gives and the less effort the rider needs to put into the pedals in order to reach their desired speed. The lower the PAS mode, the more effort the rider needs to put into the pedals.

Difference in ebike Classes

In the highest PAS modes, a Class I (ebikes w/o throttles) and Class II bike can legally only assist you up to 20 mph (the Pace 350 is a Class II bike).

On a Class III bike, the highest PAS mode can assist you up to 28 mph, but the throttle can only assist you to 20 mph (the Pace 500 is a Class III bike). On all classes of bikes, you can propel the bike faster than their max mph using your own pedal power, but the motor legally cannot provide any input beyond 20 or 28 mph. Some ebikes with larger motors (such as the Pace 500) can be modified to be either a Class II or a Class III.

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