As you may or may not know, there are three common types of throttles for electric bikes. The thumb throttle, full twist throttle and a half twist throttle which, as the name implies - rotates half of the distance of the full handlebar diameter. Of course each of these throttles has their pros and cons
So how do you select the throttle type that is right for you? This has much to do with personal preference and you have to weigh the pros and cons of each to see which style suits you and your daily commute the best. This article is not meant to influence your choice one way or the other, just present you with the un varnished pros and cons..
Let's start with the thumb throttle, this throttle has a number of advantages over the twist throttle and half twist throttle. First off, if you have a bike that has twist (gear) shifters on the handle bars in many case you may be limited to a thumb throttle. Although you can put a twist throttle on a bike with twist (gear) shifters, if it is any other bike than an Unconquered Custom it may turn out to be annoying as you have to reach over the throttle each time you want to shift gears. It's not a great situation and not ideal, so if you have twist shifters you're pretty much stuck with a thumb throttle. However, thumb throttles many advantages. For one you won’t encounter the wrist fatigue generally associated with having to maintain uniform speed for any length of time whilst using a half twist or a full twist throttle.
Maintaining a steady speed for long periods of time can put undue stress on one’s wrist and cause pain. So for those of people with a repetitive daily commute involving minimal fluctuations in speed a thumb throttle is definitely for you. Also, thumb throttles are also usually smaller and they clutter the handlebars/ dashboard less, they don't take up the whole end of the bar and they even let you maintain your original handlebar grips if you are installing them as an aftermarket kit.. There are some downsides to thumb throttles as well, your thumb can get tired overtime especially if you're in an area where you're just maintaining full speed straight ahead for a long time. In cold environments sometimes your thumb can get kind of numb. In fact, if you plan on operating your bike in a winter climate your isolated thumb could quickly become frozen! Also, if your bike incorporates trigger shifters or thumb shifters you're probably going to notice interference from a thumb throttle, this isn't always the case but if you're doing your own electric bike conversion and you have trigger shifters it's probably a safer idea to go with a twist throttle or a half twist throttle. Riding off-road can also be an issue .. if your path leads you through lots of bumps or ruts, and your handlebars are really bouncing up and down it can be harder to modulate the thumb throttle because the thumb is also bouncing up and down. Terrain such as this is better navigated with a half twist throttle or a full twist throttle as by not accidentally thumb throttling as your handlebars move, you can maintain a steadier constant throttle during your journey.
This leads us to half twist and full twist throttles - let's talk about their advantages .. As previously mentioned they can be easier to operate on rough terrain but that's just one of the advantages. Half twist and full twist throttles are generally better for people with arthritis or others who may not possess suitable finger dexterity, as with this type of throttle you are using your entire hand, so you don't have to worry about just one thumb getting fatigued or otherwise from long straight sections of road which require uniform speed. Riders may still encounter wrist fatigue, though more so from a full twist than half. And this is one of the big differentiators between the two styles. With a full twist throttle you really must maintain a fixed position with your hand and wrist to maintain speed, so if you're travelling long straightaway sections of road and maintaining the same speed the entire time, you're going to put continuous stress on your wrist. How ever you can mount a half twist throttle in such a way as to make full throttle position at 10 o’clock the same as your normal grip would be, so this grip is generally considered more ergonomic for long distance commutes.
Some electric bike throttle pitfalls!
One disadvantage that comes to mind which full twist throttles possess is that they can be more dangerous when you're maneuvering the bike on foot because if you accidentally brush the end of the handlebar against a wall or bump it under a handrail or anything that you risk engaging the throttle the bike can take off. In a slightly more rare example anyone could just twist the throttle while you're sitting onboard and the bike will then just take off. People are not prone to doing this maliciously of course, but sometimes they just think oh cool a throttle, and they want to twist it for you and see what happens!
Its true that this can happen with any throttle even the thumb style but it's usually a different situation it might be where something falls on the bike or you just go to put your hands on the handlebars to move it and you accidentally press it. Overall the location of the thumb throttle is more in the center of the handlebar so you are less likely to accidentally engage it when walking the bike
Of course one should always turn off an electric bike when maneuvering it on foot, but we don’t always remember.
So there you have it.. the break down thumb throttles versus half twist versus full twist throttles!
At Unconquered our riders generally prefer a full twist throttle RH American grip, but some choose the LH British thumb style based on how they plan on using the bike.
Lastly we only mount thumb throttles on the LH side of the handle bars to avoid installation conflict with gear shifters etc.. we do not mount thumb throttles on the RH side of the handle bars, so please take this into consideration when customizing your bike.