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How to use electric assist bicycle level on electric bicycles

How to use electric assist bicycle level on electric bicycles?

How to choose the electric assist bicycle level of electric bicycles? For electric bicycles with multiple electric assist levels, maintaining a stable riding speed is the key. Combine mechanical gears to use different electric assist levels to maintain a steady pace and cope with various terrains.

Most models of electric bicycles may have three, four or even five different levels of electric assist. When is it best to use them? What level of electric assist can save more battery power? What if you decide to use the highest level of electric assistance throughout your journey? Have e-bike riders ever used all available levels of electric assist?

In this article, I will give you a detailed explanation.

What is the electric assist level of an electric bicycle?

The electric assist level or electric speed on an electric bicycle defines how much electric motor contributes to your pedaling force. In the currently available models, there may be at least one level on electric bicycles, and up to seven or even eight levels of electric assist.

For example, the Bosch electric power assist system has five levels, OFF>ECO>TOUR>SPORT>TURBO, while the Shimano power system has only four: OFF>ECO>NORMAL>HIGH.

Each electric assist system (Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano or others) supplements your pedaling effort by providing you with more power, depending on the assist level selected.


electric assist bicycleFor example, Bosch Electrical Systems can provide you with:

Electric power assist level Additional power supply
Environmental protection +40%
Travel +100%
Exercise +150%
Turbo +225%

How many levels of electric power is needed?

This is a good question, and the answer is—it depends. It mainly depends on how you plan to use your electric bike, your training level, and the terrain you plan to traverse mainly. Here are some rules of thumb that I will use.

Single speed electric bicycle

An electric assist level (or speed) may be enough for you if

You mainly ride on flat streets,
You are healthy
You mainly use electric bicycles for shopping or other leisure trips in the city.
There is an electric assist level that can be used well with motors that can generate high rotational power (or torque). It will make your electric bicycle wheels turn faster, while your pedaling force is the same.

Do you want to use your e-bike more like a regular bicycle 90% of the time, and only turn on the motor when the hill is assisted or tired? In this case, you only need one electric assist level.

For this type of use, it still makes sense to have multiple mechanical gears, so you can provide more variation to your pedaling efforts.


electric assist bicycleUp to three electron speeds

It would be nice to have at least three electric assist levels if

You plan to use an electric bike to commute and/or
You plan to deal with moderate or even steep slopes.
Also read: Read more about how to choose an electric bike to facilitate commuting to work in this article.

If you are considering a practical electric bicycle, three-level electric assist will also provide you with a good service.

Up to five electron speeds

If you are considering daily exercise on mixed terrain, or casual cycling in the countryside, it is best to consider an electric bicycle equipped with a five-level electric assist. This electric bicycle is also very suitable for your guests, they are not necessarily ordinary cyclists.

More than five electron speeds

There are quite a few models on the market with electric assist levels as high as eight/nine. These models are perfect for fast cycling-most electric bikes have a limit of more than 40 km/h (25 mph), on mixed terrain or on steep or long slopes.

However, you will need to learn how to use each of these multiple electronic speeds and whether they have any effect on your ride. Eight or nine electric speeds sound a bit too much to me. This is just my personal opinion.

Take the highest level of electric power assistance

Since this is an electric bicycle, why can’t you always ride with the highest or lowest electric assist level and forget to change the assist level completely? It seems that it is a single-speed electric bicycle, but uses the maximum power, for example?

Generally speaking, there is no problem with riding this way. You will most likely choose to do this before you decide to use other electric assist levels. However, there are a few things to consider:


Shortened battery life

The use of a constant high level of electric assistance will significantly reduce the battery’s range. More fun and faster speed means shorter battery life.

For example, when you are using an electric bicycle, the ECO mode estimates the battery life to be 100 kilometers (62 miles), while the SPEED mode (the maximum electric assist level for this model) estimates the battery life to be only 36 kilometers (22 miles)) . Of course, if your battery is fully charged and your journey is approximately 35 kilometers (20 miles), please feel free to use SPEED mode.

Start speed

Starting from a stand-up load bike (such as a multi-function bike) can be a daunting task. For example, suppose you start before other road traffic.

It is best to accelerate as quickly and safely as possible. Keeping the assist level low means that you will have to pedal harder to move forward. Then this would destroy one of the main benefits of riding an electric bike. Electric bikes should be easy!

Bicycle control

When you pedal well and slowly (low tempo), you may find that your balance is not as good as when you pedal faster. This is especially true when you start from the stop position.

Try to start with a higher level of electric power assistance. Otherwise, you may find yourself shaking on the road until you gain momentum.

electric assist bicycleRide smoothly

When riding at the highest power level, you will find that the bike accelerates very quickly. Then it will reach its cut-off speed limit. Then the motor will immediately stop all electric assistance (for Shimano models) or quickly reduce electric assistance (for Bosch models).

Depending on how hard you are pedaling at that time, your speed may start to decrease until it is below the speed limit cutoff point. At this point, the motor will immediately begin to provide full assistance again. You will accelerate again until the speed limit is reached again.

This kind of rapid power acceleration/deceleration is not suitable for the power system of electric bicycles. This is not the most comfortable way to enjoy e-bike riding. Most importantly, the noise of the motor rising up and down to full power can be very annoying.

Consider that you may bypass the speed limit with the highest level of electric assistance. Jumping and falling below this cut-off speed limit will not allow you to keep driving smoothly.

Motor efficiency

Similar to gasoline engines, electric motors also have their optimum range. For example, using a mid-drive motor at low motor speeds will make it run at a sub-optimal level. Try to leave the traffic light at a high level of electric power assist compared to a low level of electric power assist. Follow up with the ever-changing level of electric assist and you will see the difference.

Power system wear

The use of a full range of mechanical gears and electric assist levels will help balance the wear and tear of the power system (transmission system), especially the rear flywheel of an electric bicycle.

For example, the mid-drive motor does cause more wear to the transmission system due to the applied torque. All gears on the flywheel after use mean that they wear evenly along with the chain.

Maintain a steady pace when going uphill

Don’t forget that you need to step faster when riding an electric bike uphill. This does not mean that you have to press the pedal harder. Use mechanical gears to adjust the effort level of each level of electric assist.

When you step faster, you will get more power from the motor, which will make it easier for you to climb the mountain.

For steep slopes, it helps to maintain 80 to 90 revolutions per minute. When you pedal at this speed, you feel that your overall effort level is actually much lower. Compared to when pedaling slowly, you will feel that the power you get from the motor is much greater.

electric assist bicycleWill I use all electric assist levels?

It is a good practice to use all available electric speeds available to you. This practice helps to maintain a steady pedaling force (for example, it means not sweating when commuting) and transfer more power from the motor during steep climbs.

You end up spending much less effort when stepping on any terrain. For me, this is the whole purpose of owning electric bicycles and traditional bicycles.

So yes, use all available electric assist levels.

Will I use all mechanical gears on my electric bike?

If your electric bicycle has more than seven mechanical gears, you may not often use all the available mechanical gears. And you should not do this.

The increasing number of mechanical gears on bicycles is mainly marketing hype. What you really need is a good range of mechanical gears. You need mechanical gears low enough to climb difficult hills to supplement the power assist.

And you need a high enough mechanical gear so that you can continue to pedal on a gentle slope when the electric assist is off. If you have a good range of mechanical gears and enough gears, then the number of mechanical gears does not matter.

The only way to understand the range of mechanical gears of a bicycle is to conduct a trial ride. Test it by climbing the hardest slope you will climb in the future, and climb down the gentle slope as fast as possible.


Concluding remarks

Similar to understanding the required mechanical gear range, choosing the correct electric assist level on an electric bicycle, and choosing the correct combination of electric assist level and mechanical gear requires practice.


First use a wide range of electric assist levels and only a select number of mechanical gears. With the enrichment of experience, you will naturally increase the use of electric speed control and mechanical gear combination. In turn, this will give you greater flexibility and fun when using an electric bike on any terrain you choose for riding.

RELATED STORY:Is riding an electric bike easy for you

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