Here’s the situation. The good news is that you can customize seemingly everything on your e-bike to suit your hunting needs. The bad news is that you have to sort through those limitless options until you find what configuration you like best.
Tweaks to any detail on your bike can have a dramatic impact on the user experience. Something as simple as the type of throttle the bike features is an excellent example of that.
Today, we’re going to talk about twist throttles and thumb throttles for e-bikes to help you decide which is likely the better choice for yourhunting electric bike.
A twist throttle is a type of throttle that’s reliant on the motion of the grip. To modulate power, you simply twist the entire grip or twist the throttle.
This is the type of throttle you’ll find on most motorcycles, and, if you ride motorcycle, you’re likely accustomed to already. Since it is familiar to a platform that closely resembles an e-bike, it’s natural that many would want this type of throttle on their bike.
That said, not all twist throttles are the same. Some are a full-grip design, while others are a half-grip.
The advantage of a full grip is that you never have to be mindful of the placement of your hands on the handlebars. As the entire grip is the throttle, you never need to reposition to work the throttle. With a half-grip you don’t have to worry about accidentally accelerating so long as your hand is clear of the mechanism.
You also need to know that not alle-bikes feature or are even compatible with a twist throttle. Bikes that feature twist-style shifters are essentially limited to the alternative—a thumb throttle.
A thumb throttle is a type of throttle that relies on a thumb lever toward the inner portion of the grip. Modulating the throttle is achieved by depressing the lever.
As with a twist throttle, this is something you probably have plenty of experience with. In fact, the ATV and snowmobile you used to use for hunting likely features a thumb throttle.
Naturally, there's no universally better choice. Hunters will have preferences that lean either way, and both achieve the same goal. That means, ultimately, whatever you like better is the better of the two.
We won't just leave it at that, though. There are advantages to either, and you'll want to consider them before you pick whatever seems better at face value alone.
As we said, twist throttles are limited to e-bikes that don't feature twist shifters. So, if that's the type of shifting mechanism you prefer, you're limited to thumb throttles.
That said, twist throttles bring several advantages to the table. First and foremost is that they're an excellent choice for older hunters or those suffering from arthritis and similar conditions that limit the use of one's fingers.
It's also much easier to maintain a steady motor speed with the twist-style throttle as the motion is controlled by the entirety of your hand rather than just a thumb.
It's also worth mentioning that twist throttles are often easier to use in cold weather, especially on a smaller platform like an e-bike. You don't have to worry about your frozen thumb locking up, nor will your winter mitts pose much of an issue.
Having access to twist shifters isn't the only advantage of a thumb throttle, though. Another main point of concern is your options when it comes to grips.
You don't need to worry about limited grip options with a thumb throttle. That's not the case with a twist throttle, as you are limited to whatever is compatible with the type of your bike features.
What turns most to a thumb throttle isn't either of the factors mentioned, though. It's fatigue. Twist throttles place a lot of demand on your wrist. If it isn't used to the motion, you're likely to encounter the sore wrist many new riders complain about.
That isn't to say that there is no fatigue associated with thumb throttles. However, you have the option to change your grip, using other fingers or even the palm of your hand to work the throttle.
And if you've been using an ATV or snowmobile for hunting or otherwise, the muscles used are probably already strong enough so that you don't need to be concerned with this issue.
Thankfully, swapping throttle types is an option for many e-bikes—if you don’t have a twist shifter, which limits your options, you should be able to swap the throttle system.
That means you probably won’t need to write off an e-bike with all the features you find desirable for hunting outside of the throttle. Nor are you stuck with a throttle system that you hate.
Again, whether or not you can swap the throttle to another type is dependent on some other features of the bike, and you will need to research your exact model to determine if it is an option.
Before youbuy an e-bike that features one or the other, it is worth test driving either to make sure you’re happy with it. For one, there’s no promise that you’ll favor either throttle type based on your experience with it on other platforms.
Just because something feels good on an ATV or motorcycle doesn’t mean it’s something you’ll favor on an e-bike.
Not only that, but even if you can swap the throttle at a later date, there’s no denying that e-bikes are an investment. Once you add on the cost of parts and labor on top of the cost of the e-bike, your savings can take a considerable hit.
If you’ve been putting money aside for that dream hunt to Alaska, it’s worth making sure you don’t need to put it off any longer because you didn’t take the time to decide what throttle you like more on a hunting bike.
While we would like to tell you that one is better than the other and save you some time, you might disagree with our bias. If you’re still unsure which throttle type is better for your e-bike, we say go with what you’re familiar with.
If you ride motorcycles frequently, start with a twist throttle and favor the thumb throttle if you spend time riding ATVs. Whatever motion you’re more familiar with will ultimately feel more natural.
Even so, there’s no replacement for a test ride with either system to tell you what you’ll feel more comfortable with using on an e-bike.
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March 22, 2023
My concern with a twist throttle is that if you lose control of the bike, you are hanging on to the handlebars. You don’t want an accidental activation of the motors.