Optibike uses a thumb-throttle, so it is up to the rider to decide when to get an assist. It was a little tricky finding a balance between my pedaling and the motor. Most of the time it felt as if I were assisting the motor as opposed to it helping me.
On my first day on the bike I took a 20-mile route into work that included 1200-feet of climbing. On the dreaded climb up Bellemore Road between Falls and Roland, the Optibike proved itself, powering up the steep grade at 15 mph. On my road bike, I would have been off the seat, struggling to maintain 10 mph.
My normal commute is a six-mile, 19-minute sprint from Towson to downtown Baltimore. The elevation difference is about 400 feet so my ride home from work usually takes about ten minutes longer than the ride in. The Optibike essentially erased the gradual climb, getting me home in just under 19 minutes.
Despite riding a 65-pound bike, I managed to average over 20 mph for the 46 miles I put on it in three days. Even with the electric assist, I still felt like I had gotten a workout.