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Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?


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With 78% of consumers focused on sustainability, many wonder, “Should I get an electric bike?” These innovative two-wheelers offer an eco-friendly and efficient way to travel while providing a fun and exhilarating ride. 


If you plan on getting an electric bike, you may wonder how electric bikes work and if they have gears. Gears play a crucial role in the performance and versatility of electric bikes. Discover the functionality and benefits of electric bike gears and learn why they are a valuable feature to consider when choosing an e-bike.


Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?

Gears are a key component of electric bikes. When a rider shifts gears, the chain is moved between different-sized cogs on the rear cassette or, in the case of e-bikes with multiple chainrings, between different-sized chainrings at the front. This adjustment in gear ratio allows riders to adapt to different terrains and riding conditions. 


Electric bike gears typically come in two types:


Hub Gears: Hub gears, an integral part of electric bike systems, are internal gear systems housed within the bike’s rear hub. They offer a clean and low-maintenance option, as all the gears are enclosed and protected from the elements. Hub gears are known for their durability and ease of use, making them suitable for everyday commuting. Riders can shift gears while stationary or moving, making it convenient for city riding.


Derailleur Gears: Derailleur gears are the more common type of gear found on electric bikes, consisting of a rear derailleur mechanism that moves the chain between different cogs on the rear cassette. The front derailleur, if present, further allows for gear shifting between multiple chainrings. 


Derailleur gears offer a wide range of gear ratios, allowing riders to fine-tune their pedaling effort and adapt to varying terrains. They are lightweight and provide efficient power transfer, making them popular among e-bike enthusiasts and off-road riders.


Do Electric Bikes Need Gears?

Gears in electric bikes offer several advantages, including improved efficiency. Optimal gear ratios ensure efficient use of the motor’s power and the rider’s pedaling effort, extending the battery range and maximizing performance.


Shifting gears also allows riders to tackle different terrains comfortably, whether climbing hills or cruising on flat surfaces, ensuring a controlled ride. Gears allow riders to customize their riding experience by adjusting gear ratios, catering to their fitness level and personal preferences for a more enjoyable and empowering ride.


However, whether or not an electric bike requires gears depends on several factors, including:


Terrain: Gears may not be essential if you primarily ride on flat and even terrains, as the motor’s power alone is sufficient. However, if you frequently encounter hilly or varied terrains, gears become essential to maintain an efficient pedaling cadence.


Riding style and fitness level: Riders who rely more on electric assistance may find gears less necessary. Riders who enjoy more active pedaling and want to maximize their workout benefits may appreciate the added versatility that gears provide.


Battery life: Gears can also affect the battery life of an electric bike. Using gears wisely conserves battery power by reducing the motor’s workload. For example, shifting to a lower gear when climbing a hill can help the motor run more efficiently and extend the battery life. Using a higher gear than necessary can drain the battery faster by increasing the motor’s demand.





How to Use Gears on an Electric Bike?

Using gears on an e-bike is similar to using gears on a traditional bicycle; you use the shifter to gradually move between gear ratios. However, for optimal performance, consider these tips when shifting gears:


Understand the gear range: Familiarize yourself with the range of gears available on your electric bike. Know which gear is suitable for uphill climbs, flat terrain and descents.


Anticipate terrain changes: Shift gears in anticipation of changes in terrain. Start shifting to a lower gear before tackling an incline and shift to a higher gear when approaching a downhill stretch.


Maintain a steady cadence: Aim for a steady pedaling cadence by adjusting gears to find a comfortable rhythm. This ensures a smooth and efficient ride, maximizing the benefits of electric assistance.


Practice shifting: Practice shifting gears on your e-bike to become familiar with the gear ratios and the timing of shifting. Gradually increase your proficiency in shifting gears, making it a seamless part of your riding experience.


Find Your Ideal Ride at Upway

At Upway, we understand that finding the perfect electric bike is essential for an enjoyable riding experience. So, we offer a wide selection of used electric bikes from reputable brands like Aventon, Go Cycle and Blix

Whether you need affordable electric bikes for daily commuting or foldable electric bikes like the Aventon Sinch for easy storage and portability, Upway has the perfect option. For an affordable and eco-conscious commute, explore our pre-owned e-bikes.

Ready to choose?

Upway offers the widest range of certified pre-owned electric bikes, reconditioned by professional mechanics. Thanks to Upway, you'll get a great electric bike at a price that's 20-60% off retail, with a one-year warranty!