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How Steep A Hill Can An Electric Bike Climb? Find Out Here!

Can An Electric Bike Go Up Steep Hills?

Yes, e-bikes can definitely ride up steep hills. 

E-bikes are powerful enough to conquer different types of terrains, including those with inclines. 

However, some e-bikes are better than others when it comes to riding up steep hills.

How Steep A Hill Can An Electric Bike Climb?

There is no one answer to this because e-bikes are not created equal. 

The type of motor, its size, and many more aspects can affect an e-bike’s hill climbing capabilities.

Some may be able to climb light hills and even steeper hills on motor power alone, and some may need the help of human power and gears to go up the largest hills.

What’s clear is that e-bikes can definitely climb a steep hill.

But if you want an e-bike that can take up to the top with ease, here are things you need to look for.

Feature To Look For If You Want An E-Bike That Can Handle Steep Hills

Motor Styles

The motor style of the e-bike can affect its climbing abilities significantly. 

So choosing one that can provide you with the power, torque, and control you need to climb steep hills is essential.

Both hub-style and mid-drive motor e-bikes can be great for climbing steep hills. 

Hub Motors

Hub motors are motors that are installed in either the hub of your front or rear wheels.

These motors are not integrated into the drive chain and gear assembly, which is the main drive train for your e-bike.

They work by providing supplemental power to one point of the wheel they’re installed at. 

Having even the most basic hub motors on your bike will offer so much hill climbing strength.

Another one of the many great aspects of hub motors is that they are resilient even with treats from different trails and weather conditions. They’re also easy to install if you’re looking to build your e-bike. 

Mid-Drive Motors

Mid-Drive motors are those you attach to a bicycle through the bottom bracket of your cranks. 

They engage with the primary drive train and provide the best torque for heavy loads or steep hills.

Different from hub motors, mid-drive motors can be tricky to install. It will also take some time to get used to. 

Although once you do, you can use them to climb steep hills more efficiently. 

They offer better power, torque, and control than hub motors.

Power Supply

Electric motors power electric bikes, so it goes to say that the power supply will affect their abilities a lot. 

You need to consider several factors about power supply when choosing an e-bike that can climb up hills. You need to see its output in Watts (W), battery capacity in Watt-hours (Wh), and torque in newton meters (Nm)

Watts

There are many different types of electric bicycle motors out there, and they vary in maximum power output.

For example, the standard output of hub motors is 250W. 

In contrast, mid-drive motors can have 350 to 750W outputs.

The amount of output affects the amount of throttle you can get and ultimately affects the range of your motor. 

WattHours

A battery’s capacity or battery life determines how long the electric bicycle motor can keep providing power before it needs to be recharged. 

And different e-bike units have different batteries and capacities. 

Basically, the watthours of an e-bike can tell you the time and distance your battery and motor can support you in your hill climbing and how much it can still go after a steep climb.

Torque

Essentially, torque is the ability to rotate the rear wheel and enhance the pedal power you put into the bike. 

The higher the torque, the easier the wheels can rotate to create more acceleration.

Torque is measured using Newton meters (Nm). 

It’s important to measure torque to know how the applied force of the power from pedalling and the motor affects the rotation of the wheels, which is what will get you up that hill.

There are e-bikes with 160Nm or more but look for an e-bike with at least 70Nm of torque if you intend to use it to climb steep heels.

The higher the torque, the higher the hills you can climb.  

Other Things That Will Impact Your E-Bike Performance on Hills

Recharging the Battery of Your Electric Motor

Through regenerative braking, your e-bike will gain some energy while riding. 

Regenerative braking uses the kinetic energy created when you brake to recharge the battery. 

So when you’ve successfully climbed the hill and are going down from it, you can recover some charge that you can use on another hill. 

This is an important feature because it will greatly affect how much your motor can support you in your climb and how much effort you must put in to climb hills.

Efficient Riding Techniques

As we’ve established, the motor doesn’t do all of the work when claiming steep hills. The electric bike riders’ power and techniques play a significant role in climbing hills. 

Here are some things you need to keep in mind. 

Before even riding, check your tire pressure. Ensure that your wheels have the proper air pressure so you can have better traction. 

Another way to improve traction is to lower your body. Your body position will affect the aerodynamics and wheel traction.

Lower your chest towards the bars and bend your elbows. This will improve the aerodynamics and maintain rear wheel traction. 

Traction is crucial to make use of your motor’s battery power more efficiently. 

Aside from your motor’s power, you should also make the efforts you put into pedalling more efficient. 

Ensure that you maintain the proper pedalling cadence and don’t lose momentum. 

As well, try to look as far ahead as possible so you can anticipate and control your steering to avoid loss of momentum no matter what type of terrain you’re on. 

Also, choose the most compatible size and style of tire for the trail you’re riding on to maximize the efficiency of your ride. For example, fat tires can handle most terrain and even snow.

Tips For Climbing Hills With E-Bikes

Make sure you have shifted to an easier gear while approaching the hill. 

Shifting gears when you’re already climbing can cause damage.

It can also be awkward, so aside from losing momentum, it can also cause an accident. 

While climbing, maintain the right pedalling cadence even when you press the throttle and don’t stop pedalling until you’ve reached the top else, you risk falling back down – ouch. 

Extend your battery life by utilizing your human power and pedalling as much as you can, using an efficient gear system, and maintaining a decent speed rather than always being at maximum speed so your battery can last the distance of your ride. 

Final Words

Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular because they offer riders the chance to ride without having to worry about their legs working too hard.

They’re perfect for riding around town, commuting to work, or even taking a leisurely spin through the countryside.

But if you want to use an electric bike to tackle steep hills, you’ll need to make sure that you get one that can handle it.

Hope this article helped. 

See you on another one!

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Kevin Sykes

Kevin here, bike enthusiast, Writer, Planner, Dad and a husband. Besides the family, my passion lies in electric bikes. I have always loved bikes, ever since I had my very first BMX Diamonback way back in the day. Now with the invention of ebikes, my passion has taken off like a full throttle on a high powered hub!