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Do I Need Gears On My Electric Bike? Find Out Here!

Can You Put Gears On An E-Bike?

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among commuters who want to save money on gas as well as avoid traffic and crowded public transportations.

That said, e-bikes aren’t just for commuting either. They’re perfect for any fitness enthusiast who wants to increase their heart rate, get fresh air, and keep their body fit. And, for that, gears are needed. 

So, yes, you can put, and you may need gears on an e-bike. 

What Are Gears For?

The gears on a bike are used to help maintain a steady pace when pedalling.

 Because of the different gears, you can change speeds and ride on different terrains with more ease. 

The gears convert your pedalling to a certain output at your wheel. 

There is a limit to how much force you can produce, and the gears help to make those forces more efficient for a better riding experience. 

What Is Pedal Assistance?

Basically, pedal-assist is a function in electric bikes that gives your pedalling efforts more power. 

When you pedal whie pedal assist is activated, the motor kicks as you pedal, giving the pedal more force and power. 

So if you’re having a hard time pedalling, a bit of pedal assist will make it much easier to pedal. 

There are different levels of pedal assist. It would vary per model, but there are usually three pedal assist modes – Low, Medium, and High assistance, which use 30%, 60%, and 100% power, respectively. 

Are Gears Necessary On an Electric Bike?

Gears aren’t always necessary when riding an electric bike.

If you’re planning on riding short distances on level ground and you mostly use pedal-assist, you don’t need gears.

However, gears are often a better option if you want to cover longer distances, climb hills, or use your e-bike for exercise.

If you’re carrying a heavy weight on your e-bike or you’re a heavier rider, having gears on your e-bike will help a lot as well.

When using gears, you’ll still benefit from the torque and speed of the motor if you need them, but you’ll also have the choice of a more efficient pedalling, which may be what you need in some scenarios.

Why Not Just Use Pedal Assist?

Using gears instead of pedal assist can be a better option when climbing hills, especially for e-bikes with a smaller motor size.

Electric bikes with smaller motors often struggle to keep up with steeper hills. Using gears allows you to choose an appropriate gear ratio for the terrain and pace you wish to travel at.

You’ll also get to enjoy the benefits of pedalling while still enjoying the convenience of an electric bike. You could climb the hill faster when pedalling than when using pedal assist.

Another reason to use gears is the issue of battery life.

Batteries are the heart of any electric vehicle. If you’re looking for a longer-range ride, you will have to find a way to make those battery savings. 

By pedalling, you’ll be able to save some battery power and make it last so you can use it when you actually need it. And, having gears on your bike will make your pedalling efforts more efficient.

How Do The Bicycle Gears Work On An Electric Bicycle?

Using gears on an electric bike works similarly to using them on a normal bicycle.

The way you shift an e-bike with gears on the bicycle portion is the same as you would a standard bike.

Basically, the lower the gear number, the harder you push down on the pedals, and the less energy the motor needs to provide.

A lower gear number means that the motor does not need to work as hard, thereby saving battery life.

On the other hand, if you have the gears set to a higher number, then you will be pedalling more, saving the e-bike’s battery life. 

The handlebars on an electric bike allow you to adjust the mechanical gears and the pedal-assist system.

You will usually find the gear shifter on the right handlebar. You use that to turn the gears to make them easier or harder to pedal.

On the left side of the handlebar, you will find the setting for the pedal-assist system. You can increase or decrease the amount of power given to the pedals. 

Is It Okay To Shift Gears While Using Pedal Assist?

You may think that suddenly shifting gears while the motor is active with pedal assist could damage a part of your e-bike, but you can let go of that concern. 

Shifting gears while using the pedal assist function of your e-bike is perfectly fine.

The gear on an e-bike works just like for normal bikes, except the motor helps you pedal.

Most electric bike motors have an automatic shifting feature that allows you to shift gears while pedalling.

Still, if you want to play it safe, you can switch gears while continuously rotating the pedals but not applying any pressure to them. 

More About Switching Gears

Do Change To An Easy Mechanical Gear Before You Stop

You must change into an easier gear before you do a complete stop if your e-bike has a rear gearbox.

You need to keep rotating the pedals while shifting down. This is to ensure that our gears are properly engaged. You can also do this whole rolling or coasting to a stop. The important thing is that the pedals keep rotating. 

Do Not Change Mechanical Gears While Stationary

Say you failed to do the tip above or don’t have enough time to get the gears fully engaged, do not attempt to shift gears while stopped. What you can do is start off in a higher gear. When you begin riding again, don’t put much pressure on the pedals, then shift down to an easier gear.

What About The Electric Pedal Assistance? Can You Shift That When Stopped?

Absolutely. There are no issues in changing the level of electric assistance while you are stopped. 

Final Words

Regular bikes are great, but e-bikes can be more versatile in some ways.

They can offer comfort and convenience with pedal assistance. And they can also offer more challenges but with ease with the use of gears.  

So why not make the most out of your e-bike and use both pedal assistance and gears to get the perfect bike experience? 

After all, they’re not only great on their own but are also excellent together. 

Hope this article helped clear any misconceptions about gears and e-bikes. 

See you in another article!

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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!