Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

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Offroader   100 MW

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Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Offroader » Nov 10 2014 8:58pm

It seems like I'm the only person with a high end ebike still using a thumb throttle.

The reason I still use a thumb throttle is because that was what came with my first ebike kit and I never used anything else.

I have no issues with the thumb throttle, maybe in the beginning my thumb hurt but that was only a problem in the beginning and doesn't bother me anymore.

I do a lot of difficult trail riding and ride a lot with my finger both covering the brakes and giving throttle at the same time. I also do a lot of riding that requires precise throttle control, like slow speed maneuvering. I sometimes use my bike like you would a trials bike.

I find that my control of the handlebar, brake, throttle is so precise that if I wear full fingered gloves it reduces a lot of control over my bike. Maybe this is where a twist throttle would do better.

To me the thumb throttle seems adequate, however, why is almost everyone using a twist throttle with a high end ebike? Does it offer advantages that I am missing out on?

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by motomech » Nov 10 2014 11:21pm

I use both, sometimes at the same time :)
When I think throttle "control" while trail riding, I think about smoothness at low speeds.
All the cheap, generic throttles re pretty bad in this regard. Of course, controller and Voltage have a lot to do with that as well.
There probably is that same "dead zone" at small throttle settings on both the twist and the thumb, but it is more pronounced on the twist.
My experience is with a half twist, and the thumb allows me to keep a much firmer grip on the bars, when working the half twist, you are really only holding on with half of your hand.
I have not used a full twist, but I suspect that bar forces on a powerful bike, could cause unwanted throttle rotation, like a dirt motorcycle can sometimes.
One reason to go with the twist, is that it easier to switch to a higher quality unit. I suppose a worthy investment for a motor with power.
One nice thing about running two small motors, is there is not as much care needed to not break the tires lose under power.
For me, the thumb is better off-road and the twist on the street(although it's much closer choice in this app.).
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Offroader » Nov 10 2014 11:51pm

motomech. Thanks for the input.

The Max-E controller makes the thumb throttle very smooth. There is a option where you push the throttle through the range and it adjusts it somehow. But low speed control is amazing. That is partly because I had my throttle hooked directly to my lyen 18fet and maybe it would have been smoother if I hooked it through the cycle analyst.

That is the thing, the thumb allows me to keep very good contact with the bar. Many times if I'm doing something very technical I will grip the whole bar very tight and not even use throttle. I keep readjusting my hand position from bar to bar-throttle-brake. bar-brake.

I found this one post of someone talking about preferring thumb throttles for scooters.
http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... 869#p80869

I've tried full grip and half grip throttles, but either on tired out my wrist very quickly trying to maintain a steady speed and hold myself steady at the same time. With the thumb throttle, I've got a very firm grip, and I can make very delicate adjustments to my speed.


Since balance is very important for how I ride, I also think that a thumb will give you the best control even on a bike, he uses a scooter which lacks that third point of contact which is the seat.

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Nov 11 2014 1:55am

I had a scooter many years ago, 10+ , the schwinn s500 with a thumb throttle, every time I hit a bump, even very small ones, it changed the speed/torque of the motor, and my thumb was sore .

It broke within a few months, and I put on a sliding variometer , much better , and it acted like a cruise control,

Since that scooter, I have had 4 others with a twist throttle and like it , Much better .
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by fellow » Nov 11 2014 2:49am

I've started with fullsize motocycle type of throttle, and it was very dangerous both in use (potholes) and when parked against something. Changed to 4 USD hall half twist throttle and found them to match the controller poorly. Too much of a ketchup-effect at the 50% on some. Currently using the 1N003 diode in between signal wire (calibrating the 100% motor rpm), and a 270 Ohm resistor in between ground wire (calibrating the 0% motor rpm). If the controller does not start, change the resistor to smaller value (failsafe). Never used thumb throttle, it just looks very fragile to me :D .
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IMG_20141107_162057 throttle tamer.jpg
Throttle tamer mockup
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by friendly1uk » Nov 11 2014 5:53am

With the thumb throttle your thumb is not round the bars holding on. You have issue's with keeping it steady through diverse terrain and there is no hope of using your thumb to change gear if it's already in use working the throttle. At my power level, I need to use my gears to go in to slopes fast then climb a good gradient, so I need my thumb. A half twist is easy to apply then lock in position by gripping the bar normally.

Actual positioning is important. You will of tried to write without resting your hand before. It's a mess. If I want delicate control of my half twist, I rest my palm on the fixed part, and twist between forefinger and thumb. I can do this with both finger and thumb also on the fixed bit, just rubbing it, giving a real feel for tiny movements. Also the option is there to pinch both fixed and tuning bits at the same time, locking off the position if your going to do a curb drop or something. Thumb throttles are usually 'out there' somewhere with no thumb resting position for reference.

Can you cover the brakes and thumb while holding on? It seems compromised. Like when I cover my brakes while working the throttle and going through the gears. I can't do it properly.

I'm surprised to hear of a scooter using a thumb. 99% of motorbikes use twist though I'm sure. That seem like good guidance. Only ours are a bit twitchy, so you need a rest, in the form of a half throttle half fixed grip.


I have a couple of thumbs here that seemed like a good idea till I actually offered them up. I admit I have not tried one though. Perhaps my thumb should miss the level and sit upon the main body. There I can roll it back n forth like leaving a finger print. The side of my nail against the side of the lever pushing it in small increments as I roll my thumb back n forth beside it. It left no room for shifters though, and i don't like twist shifters.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Ykick » Nov 11 2014 7:28am

A very smooth operating and linear thumb throttle is my favorite. If/when I need "finer modulation" (for lack of better words) it's easy and intuitive enough to choke up on the lever assembly and just treat it more a like a 1/2 twist throttle.

Coming from the moto world, 'assumed I would prefer twist or 1/2 twist but immediately noticed a difference. Even with engine running, pushing motos around doesn't matter if you inadvertently twist throttle. Worst that happens is the engine revs up. However, on eBikes one inadvertent twist of throttle and the bike shoots off like a skyrocket.

I've come to really like a nice thumb throttles but finding one is like buying a pig-in-a-poke. Dirt cheap non-lighted Wilderness Energy thumb throttles found on eBay for about $8 shipped have been some of my favorites. Wuuxing's can be pretty good and they also offer those "paddle" thumb throttles which are sealed and feel pretty nice.

As long as there's a gradual linear signal and smooth feel, I'm happy....
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by izeman » Nov 11 2014 7:44am

Ykick wrote:... one inadvertent twist of throttle and the bike shoots off like a skyrocket. ...
how do you know? :)
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by friendly1uk » Nov 11 2014 7:45am

^ouch
Ykick wrote:A very smooth operating and linear thumb throttle is my favorite. If/when I need "finer modulation" (for lack of better words) it's easy and intuitive enough to choke up on the lever assembly and just treat it more a like a 1/2 twist throttle.
So your not moving your thumb around like a snail sends out a feeler. Your locking your hand in a fist like shape, thumb tip out. Then moving your hand round the grip as if it moved, while your protruding thumb tip moves the throttle. Giving your a hand a fixed shape and having the bar as your fixed reference point.

About right?
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by rider95 » Nov 11 2014 9:26am

With out a doubt twist I use a full twist from EMV its a little touchy you just got to learn how to ride your bike , I wish it had a little stronger spring in it but it way better then any thumb . Adjust your brake levers so with you griping the handle bars you should be Abe to stick your index finger straight out and around your brake lever a lot of times on tight trail I will ride with one finger on each brake lever .

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by MadRhino » Nov 11 2014 10:20am

If your bike has very aggressive acceleration, you are likely to prefer a half twist throttle.
If it has a smooth start, it doesn't matter really.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by The fingers » Nov 11 2014 11:35am

I moved the shifter to the left side so I could mount the thumb throttle on the right. That's why my right thumb hurts. :x
Had to lose the thumb ring also, hope I don't have to hitchhike anywhere. :lol:
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by izeman » Nov 11 2014 11:57am

The fingers wrote:I moved the shifter to the left side so I could mount the thumb throttle on the right. That's why my right thumb hurts. :x
Had to lose the thumb ring also, hope I don't have to hitchhike anywhere. :lol:
i don't think there is a setup that really fits all. i found that a full twist throttle makes my wrist hurt a lot. a thumb throttle is better, but makes my thumb hurt as it's a bad position.
now i use a half twist throttle on my mountainbike and it works quite nice. i did move the 9speed gripshift to the left hand side and can live quite well with it.
for street riding i think a thumb throttle is not bad.

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by amberwolf » Nov 11 2014 3:28pm

Which throttle will work better for you may also depend on how your bars are shaped and what position you ride in.

On my Dayglo Avenger, the bars are "normal" and the riding position on the saddle is pretty upright, but sometimes I lean forward on the bars, and then a twist throttle doesn't work well becuase I end up unable to comfortably position my wrist to keep it in the right spot, regardless of where I have it's start-point set to by the bar-mounting.

A thumb throttle works better there, but in different ride positions it is harder or easier to push it to the right spot for the speed desired.


On CrazyBike2 and Delta Tripper, the bars are "cruiser" bars but tilted near-vertically, and I am sitting semi-recumbently, so the relative positions of everythign are differnet, I don't have any need to shift positions as I ride (just lean back in comfort) and the thumb throttles work great there.

A twist throttle doesn't really work at all on these, because of the relative twisting of my arm at the wrist is already different since my hands are closer to vertical instead of horizontal, wrists facing inwards instead of down.

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by adriftatsea » Nov 13 2014 9:21pm

I too prefer a thumb throttle.

So now that the 'thumb throttlers' have gathered in this thread - what's the 'best' thumb throttle out there?

Ykick wrote: choke up on the lever assembly and just treat it more a like a 1/2 twist throttle.
Right now I have a non-lit throttle from Wilderness Energy - but it sticks in most orientations and I don't have full confidence in it. I've been using this technique or sometimes 'pull' back on it with my thumb to decel. Other times I can 'flick' it down to make it recoil easier. :/

Edit - I'm also not using a brake switch to cut throttle - so perhaps they all do this. :shrug:
I guess a brake switch, DIY throttle with a milspec sealed potentiometer, and higher rate spring will be my next upgrade.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Ykick » Nov 13 2014 10:23pm

adriftatsea wrote:I too prefer a thumb throttle.

So now that the 'thumb throttlers' have gathered in this thread - what's the 'best' thumb throttle out there?

Ykick wrote: choke up on the lever assembly and just treat it more a like a 1/2 twist throttle.
Right now I have a non-lit throttle from Wilderness Energy - but it sticks in most orientations and I don't have full confidence in it. I've been using this technique or sometimes 'pull' back on it with my thumb to decel. Other times I can 'flick' it down to make it recoil easier. :/

Edit - I'm also not using a brake switch to cut throttle - so perhaps they all do this. :shrug:
I guess a brake switch, DIY throttle with a milspec sealed potentiometer, and higher rate spring will be my next upgrade.
Odd, I've bought 6-7 of those WE throttle and none of 'em exhibited any stickiness. In fact, I like them because they don't stick and the spring isn't as strong as some others I've bought off eBay. Are you sure the grips aren't shoved into the throttle causing it to stick?
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by adriftatsea » Nov 13 2014 10:40pm

Ykick wrote: Odd, I've bought 6-7 of those WE throttle and none of 'em exhibited any stickiness. In fact, I like them because they don't stick and the spring isn't as strong as some others I've bought off eBay. Are you sure the grips aren't shoved into the throttle causing it to stick?
Yeah, I read other favorable reviews before purchasing :/. The majority of my rides so far have been gripless on the throttle side.

I've also contemplated spraying it with lithium grease or similar - but so far having a running bike > a perfectly running bike ...so I ride cautiously and try various mounting orientations :).
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Raged » Nov 14 2014 12:35am

adriftatsea wrote:
Ykick wrote: Odd, I've bought 6-7 of those WE throttle and none of 'em exhibited any stickiness. In fact, I like them because they don't stick and the spring isn't as strong as some others I've bought off eBay. Are you sure the grips aren't shoved into the throttle causing it to stick?
Yeah, I read other favorable reviews before purchasing :/. The majority of my rides so far have been gripless on the throttle side.

I've also contemplated spraying it with lithium grease or similar - but so far having a running bike > a perfectly running bike ...so I ride cautiously and try various mounting orientations :).
Spray it with Lithium grease. best thing I did to remove the sticky throttle issues. It just gets worse if you ride in the rain/mud/wind. I didnt even take my throttle off to spray it. Left it on the bike and did a very liberal coat to both sides to get it in the twisting mechanism. Wiped off the excess and tested the throttle movement a bit (with bike off). Perfect ever since.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Scott » Nov 14 2014 1:49am

I use a thumb throttle on my bike. If I had a twist throttle especially a full twist if a wheelie happened then I would just twist it more and do a larger wheelie which is not good.

At 32s, 133v lately it seems very twitchy and I get random bursts of throttle even with my throttle tamer tamed all the way down. I think its just too much voltage and the controller can't handle it very well (I had no problems at 30s, 126v) . Its really fun for going fast but not ideal for commuting. At 24s lipo 100v the thumb throttle works very well. Currently I have my throttle tamer too tame for 24s so theres a delay when power comes on. At one point I had the throttle tamer perfect where I could easily lift the front wheel when I wanted to go up a curb or drop off a curb and land on both wheels at the same time.

I am useing the ebikes.ca thumb throttle becuase I used it on my first bike and it worked out well.

For reference:
bike: Giant DH Team
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Controller: EB324 set at 120 amps battery and 140 amps phase.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by ddk » Nov 14 2014 2:43am

adriftatsea wrote:
Ykick wrote: Odd, I've bought 6-7 of those WE throttle and none of 'em exhibited any stickiness. In fact, I like them because they don't stick and the spring isn't as strong as some others I've bought off eBay. Are you sure the grips aren't shoved into the throttle causing it to stick?
Yeah, I read other favorable reviews before purchasing :/. The majority of my rides so far have been gripless on the throttle side.

I've also contemplated spraying it with lithium grease or similar - but so far having a running bike > a perfectly running bike ...so I ride cautiously and try various mounting orientations :).
every issue I've had with thumb throttles was because I'd overtightened the set screw(s) on the retaining ring. jus' sayin'
I much prefer thumb throttles
-but on one of my trikes I have a half-twist and a thumb throttle on opposite bar ends.
The only issue I have with that configuration is canceling the turn signal switch after making a turn, where I have to use only one motor... a momentary problem when simultaneously attacking a hill .
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by Offroader » Nov 14 2014 3:05am

I took notice to the way I ride. I operate the thumb throttle, hold on the handlebar, and also keep one finger on my brakes most of the time when I drive.

I'm usually pushing to the edge with my bike so it is a must to cover the brakes all the time. I'm not joking about this either, LOL.

When keeping my thumb on the throttle and one finger on the brake, I still have enough grip on the handlebar to lift the front of the bike and obviously if I can do that then I have full control for any other type of riding. My thumb is still partly wrapped around the handlebar when using the thumb so it offers some support.

Being able to ride like this I think gives me a big advantage in safety, I always have the brakes covered.

I have a half twist throttle laying around that I never used. I don't think I could use it and keep the brake covered, as I rotate the twist throttle back I think my finger would come off the brakes. The thumb throttle allows me to keep a stationary position on the handlebar and also on the brakes.

I really think the thumb throttle offers the best precision and safety. However, comfort may be argued, and I did in the beginning have trouble with my thumb hurting but that was only in the beginning and doesn't hurt me anymore even though I'm driving a lot more.

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by crea2k » Nov 14 2014 5:43am

Iv got one of these on mine, feels just like a proper motocross throttle, miles better than the crap Maguira churn out http://www.electricmotorsport.com/domin ... witch.html .

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by friendly1uk » Nov 14 2014 6:58am

I could never get a stiff thumb, as my motor is foot actuated. I'm in two minds if i should put throttles on peoples bikes or not. So far I have been on rides with people before they want a bike. If I see them riding along using throttle only then I won't fit one. If they only use throttle briefly to boost power above the lcd setting or to bring in the power instantly when crossing a road then I fit one. I won't make an illegal motorcycle for people to take down cycle paths. I saw an old guy on throttle only in my early days, and even thought badly of him. Put some upstart on one with his trousers tucked into his pringle socks and hat on backwards and you kill ebikes for everyone. That is without doubt the biggest market I see. Lower class types wanting a motorcycle without regulation. I'm not painting ebikes with that brush when public opinion is still very much on the fence. It is not too late for the gov to decide regulating these things is best done by banning the lot of them from sensitive areas. Making them under performing road vehicles.

I'm off topic..

Reaching the brakes is not so important if you only use throttle to overcome pedelec lag. At such low speeds, just covering one brake is enough.
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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by lbz5mc12 » Nov 14 2014 7:06am

When I use a thumb throttle I tend to attach it so that the throttle sits up at an angle. This keeps my thumb from hurting and it gives me more control. I also mount it on the left side in between my grip shift and the brake lever. I prefer simple thumb throttles with no led meter and on/off button because they are skinnier and easier to mount. It's also easier to wire them to different controllers. I have index shifting on the right hand which I find works a lot better with a half twist throttle.

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Re: Is the twist throttle offer better control than thumb?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 14 2014 8:42am

My favorite throttles of all have been thumb throttles with a small piece of pvc pipe glued on to them, converting them to half twist.

Then I have both thumb and half twist in one throttle.

The problem I have with thumb throttles has been that I hit bumps while holding the throttle wide open. This results in me breaking off the thumb lever. So now I have a few half twist throttles, with the thumb lever gone.

I get lots of control with half twist throttles riding challenging trails. But if your favorite brake is on the right, move it to the left. Then you can work your primary brake with the left hand, and the throttle with the right.

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