Do Electric Bikes Have Gears? (And how do they work?)


When I was recently buying a new electric bike one of the things that I wanted to know about was how the gears work on an electric bike. So, I did some research to find out how gears work on an electric bike.

So, how do gears work on an electric bike? The gears on an electric bike work in the exact same way that the gears work on an ordinary bike. The handlebars on the e-bike will have a section that you can twist to shift the gears up or down and some will have electric type gearing where you simply click a lever to gear up or down.

How Gears Work on an Electric Bike

An electric bike works in much the same way that an ordinary bike does the only real difference between the two is that an electric bike contains an electric motor that will help you to cycle at a higher speed without putting in as much effort.

With this being the case it means that the gears will be designed just like how the gears on an ordinary bike would. This means that when you select a higher gear on the bike you will need to put in more effort to get the bike moving but you will find it easier to maintain speed at higher speeds. Whereas if you select a lower gear then you won’t need to put as much effort in to get the bike moving but you would need to pedal really quickly if you’re in a lower gear when going at higher speeds.

With that being said, there are some gearing factors to consider depending on the type of electric bike that you are riding.

If you are riding a pedal assist e-bike then you will cycle it in much the same way as you would an ordinary e-bike. This type of e-bike¬†works by providing you with some extra power when you are pedaling. When you are pedaling at low speeds the torque sensor that it will be using will cause a smaller amount of power to be provided and if you’re cycling quickly then it will provide you with more power.

It will be tempting to select higher gears when using a pedal assist e-bike since you won’t be needing to put as much effort in as you normally would. Despite that, it would still be a good idea to select the same gear that you normally would when going at that particular speed. This is because if you select a higher gear than you need to be then you will cause the electric motor to have to put in more work which will cause the battery to drain more quickly.

The other type of electric bike is a throttle assist e-bike. With these types of e-bikes it will not be necessary to push on the pedals to make the bike move. Instead, you will simply be able to turn the throttle and make the bike move. Despite this, you will still be able to push on the pedals to turn the wheel as you would normally. However, it will be important that you continue to select a gear that is appropriate for the speed that you are going otherwise if you release the throttle you will have little control over the bike.

How to Use the Gears to Prolong the Life of Your Battery

When riding an e-bike it is likely that you will want to make your battery be able to last for as long as possible so that you can cycle for as much distance as possible.

With this being the case, the gears that you select as you are riding the bike will have a large impact on how long your battery will be able to last.

Remember, as I said earlier, a high gear will require a lot of effort at lower speeds but not so much when your traveling quickly and a lower gear will not require much effort at lower speeds but it will require a lot at higher speeds.

This means that, if you’re using a pedal assist e-bike, when you are traveling at lower speeds selecting a lower gear will result in the electric motor not needing to put as much effort in either. This is because the motor on pedal assist bikes will turn the drivetrain on your bike in the same way that you do on the pedals. This also means that selecting a higher gear when traveling at higher speeds will mean that the motor will not need to put in as much work then either.

If you’re using a throttle assist electric bike then selecting the right gear could still have a large impact on how long your battery will last. The reason for this is that selecting the right gears when you are cycling will mean that you will not be needing so much assistance from the motor so you will not need to use it as much. This will result in your battery lasting for longer.

How to Choose What Gear You Should be Using

Selecting the right gear can be a bit challenging at times and the right gear to use will vary depending on the situation.

Despite that, here are some pointers that you can use to decide on which gear you should be using.

If you are stationary then you will want to use one of the lower gears since they are more appropriate for the speed that you are moving at.

You will also want to be using a lower gear when cycling uphill since you are going to need to be putting in more effort in order to get up the hill. Then, when you get to the other side, you will want to select a higher gear since you’re probably going to be going at a higher speed.

If there is a wind pushing you in the back then you will want to use a higher gear since it’s going to be easier for you to cycle at higher speeds. While, if it’s pushing you from the front, then you’re going to need to be using a lower gear.

Another factor to consider is the terrain. If you’re cycling on a smooth road then you will be able to use a higher gear since there will be less friction preventing you from traveling at higher speeds. Conversely, if you’re cycling on a muddy surface then you will probably need to select a lower gear since you’re going to need to be putting in more effort.

When to Change Gears

The best time to change gears is just before you know that you are going to need to be changing them.

For example, if you’re coming up to a stop light or a hill, then you should select a lower gear just before you get there so that you won’t need to put in a big effort so that you can change the gear down after you have already got there.

With that being said, when gearing up, you can usually do so more gradually since it is less likely that you’re going to need a sudden change.

How to Decide on How Much Assistance You Need

When cycling your e-bike you will probably want to keep your effort levels at a constant rate. This means that, ideally, you won’t need to be constantly changing the how hard you need to be pushing on the pedals.

This means that you should plan ahead and change the level of power assistance based on what is in front of you. If you see that you’re about to turn into a headwind then it would be a good idea to increase the level of power assistance so that you won’t need to suddenly be putting in a big effort to keep the bike moving. Likewise, if you see that things are about to get easier then you should lower the level of power assistance so that you can save some of the battery.

Related Questions

How long do electric bike batteries last for? Typically, e-bikes come with 10 amp hour batteries that give you between 20 and 40 miles of range. There is a large gap since there are a number of factors that will influence how far the battery will be able to take you. If you’re cycling in a hilly environment then the battery is going to need to be putting in more effort in order to keep you going but in a more easy environment it will be able to last for longer.

How do I control the level of assistance on an electric bike? If you’re cycling a pedal assist e-bike then you will be able to control the level of assistance by using the LCD display that the e-bike comes with. If you’re using a throttle assisted electric bike then you will be able to control the level of power assist by twisting the handle on the electric bike.

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