How to use gears on an electric bike: shifting gears for beginners
How to use gears on an electric bike: shifting gears for beginners
For beginners, understanding why, when, and how to use gears on an electric bike and onavoiding gear changes completely and just using the pedal assist function, w electric bikes can be a bit tricky. They may have just made a mistake by hich will reduce battery life and put more pressure on the brakes and other problems.
On electric bicycles, there are two sets of gears that can be shifted. On the left handlebar, by pushing the button up or down, change the electronic gear to increase or decrease the level of pedal assistance you get. Use the shifter on the right handlebar to change the mechanical gear. This is usually done by moving or twisting with the thumb. Continue to depress the pedal when shifting gears.
Don’t just avoid gears because you are not sure how to use them or think they are not even helpful because you are riding an electric bicycle. There are many benefits to using the left side (pedal assist) and right side gears at the same time, and riders who are just starting to ride an electric bike can learn how to effectively shift gears after a few rides.
Keep reading below and I will give you my own tips on how to use your gear (such as when you don’t want to go downhill too fast).
Do electric bicycles need gears? Benefits of using them
As you can see in the table below, owning and using gears has more (better) benefits than not using gears.
Benefits of using gears Benefits of owning a gearless electric bicycle
Easier to ride uphill, slightly less maintenance
Ride uphill faster and easier to ride
It’s easier to control the speed when going downhill and can save money than an electric bicycle with gears
Save battery power (and battery life)
Reduce brake wear
Does not need such a powerful motor
Help you get an excellent workout
Help you maintain a consistent rhythm and speed
There are many more reasons to use electric bicycle gears than not to use them!
The benefits of owning and using gears
Most electric bicycles (and their riders) require gears, even if they are used with pedal assist and throttle. Regular gear changes will make it easier to go uphill, prevent too fast downhill speeds, and avoid brakes and battery wear.
Another benefit of gears is that you can keep the pedal assist level low when using gears. When I start riding, I always add pedal assistance when I need to go uphill. Moreover, since I live in and around a large number of hills, I quickly run out of battery power when I go up the mountain, and put more pressure on the brakes when I go down the mountain. Therefore, you can reduce a lot of wear and tear on the electric bicycle by using gear shifts.
If you don’t have a powerful enough motor to easily go uphill, you also need gears. Therefore, if you have a 250 watt motor (as opposed to a 500 watt or even 750 watt motor), you may not have enough juice to get you up the mountain in a reasonable time.
In addition, even riding a small and stable slope will quickly drain your battery, so you will not be able to ride that far. Of course, you can use a lower pedal assist level to protect your battery, but it may be difficult for you to go uphill.
There is another favorite thing about gears… If your battery runs out, switching to a low gear will help you pedal home even without engine assistance. In addition, if you want to save the battery or bring more challenges to yourself, you can turn off the battery power and go home in a lower gear.
Reasons you may not need gear
However, it is interesting that some electric bicycles, either out of choice or because they are cheaper models, may not have gear shifts.
There are some advantages to owning an electric bicycle without gears. A good reason for the lack of gears on electric bikes is that when you need help, you intend to cruise and/or rely on motors and/or throttle to propel you forward.
If you plan to ride almost exclusively for leisure and avoid mountain climbing, then it might make sense to buy an electric bike without gears. Your ride will be very simple, you will save a small amount of maintenance costs, and possibly the cost of the electric bike itself.
What is the best way to use gears on electric bicycles?
Learning how to change gears is more than just finding their location on your electric bike or how to actually operate them. In fact, I didn’t use my gears for nearly a month after I got the electric bike because I thought I didn’t need them and didn’t know how to use them. But once I figured out how to use these gears, I couldn’t believe the difference in how to improve riding efficiency.
With some exercises and some tips, using gears will also become natural for you.
1. The first thing you need to know is the gear numbering system: the lower the gear number, the easier the pedaling and the faster the riding speed.
Likewise, the higher the gear, the less electronic assistance you get. The tricky thing to remember is that if you shift to the highest gear, you basically won’t get help from the gear itself.
Although it is not very intuitive, you can get used to it in a few rides like me. Keep your gear in the highest position unless you need more help. As a beginner electric bike rider, this is a great way to get used to electric and mechanical gears.
2. Next, you need to understand what kind of gears you have and how to replace them.
Find out what kind of gears you have and how they move. Generally, in addition to pedal assist, there are two types of gears that dominate electric bicycles: trigger gears and grip gears. The first one is usually a small paddle, which is pushed with your thumb every time you change gears. The latter is a dial that you can use your entire hand to rotate back and forth to change gears.
Both of these should be located on the right handlebar. If you are not sure what you are looking at, check the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
3. Now your goal should be to learn how to change gears smoothly and effectively.
Since you want to move smoothly from one gear to another without being clumsy and unable to enter one gear, you should do two things:
First, replace the gear on the right side only when stepping on the pedal.
Second, you can only upshift or downshift one gear at a time. This will ensure that the chain continuously moves up or down one gear at a time. It will help you find the most suitable equipment for you at the moment.
Your goal is to ride at a regular rhythm (complete a full spin at the same speed each time you pedal) and to work consistently.
How to use the gears on an electric bike to climb a mountain: downshift
On an electric bicycle, it’s easy to assume that you can easily go up the mountain just by starting the motor. Just press a button and move up another pedal assist level, right? Now, as a beginner electric bike rider, you will use the battery a lot, if. There is no other reason, it’s just too interesting.
However, downshifts also have benefits, especially when going uphill. Keep in mind that “downshifting” on an electric bike means you will lower the number, but it is easier to ride than using a higher number gear.
By lowering the right-hand gear, you will find that going uphill becomes easier without using more motor power. Therefore, you can save battery power for use on the way home when you are tired. Downshifting is also helpful when you are riding on longer continuous slopes.
This is the time when you really start to practice your gear shifting skills… Plan your gear shifts in advance, especially on steep slopes. In the long, continuous climb, find a gear that allows you to spin quickly but comfortably.
Therefore, you do not need to change gears constantly when going uphill. Instead, just find equipment where you can maintain a comfortable pedaling level throughout the entire climb. Of course, if the slope suddenly becomes steep, you can lower another gear to maintain consistency without increasing the pedal assist level. Once again, this is an opportunity to preserve battery power and battery life.
Another benefit of downshifting is that you can climb hills by finding the right gear and the perfect pedal assist level to get an excellent exercise effect. If exercise is your main goal when cycling, then riding uphill is a good choice.
You may end up using only a lower pedal assist level while shifting into a lower gear to maintain rhythm and smooth uphill driving. Although you may not believe this when you start riding an electric bike, it will be faster than you think.
The reason you like riding an electric bike is that you are more likely to challenge yourself when you know that you can easily change gears when you absolutely need it to make it easier!
How to change gears on a downhill: Upshift
Due to the downshift, going up the mountain actually looks much easier than going down the mountain. But let’s see why an “upshift” might occur when the electric bike goes downhill.
Well, if you like speed, you might never consider trying to slow down on a hillside, even on steep slopes. But for most of us, self-protection will take over and we will want to brake. The problem with braking all the way downhill is that it will wear your brakes very quickly. If you brake too hard and too suddenly, you may actually fall off the bike.
This is why upshifts are also useful and safer, especially on heavier electric bicycles. When going downhill at a slope of 5% or 10%, you may remain in any gear you are already in, especially on brief slopes. However, at a 15% or 20% drop, shifting to the highest gear (which is also the hardest or “slowest” gear) will make your speed more stable and give you a sense of control.
I have ridden a lot of bikes on the mountain, but like to stay slow and in control when going downhill. Here is an example of how I did it: My electric bike has 7 gears. In any significant drop, I will keep the bike in seventh gear or the hardest gear. I combined this with actually turning off my left pedal assist gear (level 0) and found that I had more control when going downhill, and I didn’t have to brake too much or too hard.
Of course, on steep downhills, the brakes are still often used. You can learn more about calculating the steepness of a slope or descent here.
The fact is that on a heavy-duty electric bicycle, you will move very fast, if you keep a lower gear, the speed will be faster because the quality of the bicycle will move faster than a standard bicycle.
Practice using your e-bike gear with these 5 step-by-step tips
Follow the steps below to shift gears to feel your gears and learn how to shift gears effectively. For any beginner electric bike rider, it is a good idea to practice shifting gears before starting the main ride, even if you are already practicing shifting gears on a standard bike. After all, electric bicycles need to handle additional motor power and are usually heavier and faster.
Tip #1- Practice using gears on a flat surface
Practice pedaling on a relatively flat straight line, then continue pedaling while using the right shifter to upshift or downshift by one gear. Continue to depress the pedal during the entire shift. Shift up and down multiple times, but only one at a time.
Tip #2- Ride at a consistent speed in each gear
Now practice riding at a consistent rhythm. After each gear change, feel the change in pedal pressure. Note how it makes stepping harder or easier, or slower or faster. Practice keeping the pedaling speed the same as you move forward and continue shifting gears.
Tip #3- Practice using the auxiliary gear of the left pedal
Now switch back to the hardest gear so that you can safely practice changing the auxiliary gear of the left pedal. This is where you can speed up quickly, so keeping your e-bike in the highest right gear when you just start gives you more control.
You should start with the lowest level of pedal assistance. Therefore, once you are driving in a straight line (and away from cars and other moving objects), push the pedal assist button to level 2. Continue to pedal at a consistent rhythm while carefully increasing the pedal assist level. Before entering the next level, get used to each speed.
Tip #4- Move down and uphill
Once you are satisfied with shifting gears on a flat surface, then try to go uphill. Change to an easier (lower) gear before going uphill, and plan your uphill in advance. Then, when you start to go uphill, continue to shift to lower gears as needed.
When you start to struggle a bit, upgrade your left pedal assist device to a higher level. Continue to increase levels as needed to successfully climb the mountain.
Tip #5- Upshift and downhill
Now you are ready to ride downhill. Before going downhill, set the right-hand gear to the highest (hardest) level. By planning ahead, you can significantly slow down the bike before going downhill.
Then, before you start walking down a small slope, change your left-hand pedal assist to the lowest assist level (1st level). If you are going down a steep slope, please switch the gear to the “0” or “off” position. You will not get any motor assistance to propel you forward, which will allow you to better control the speed of the electric bike.
However, since you no longer get any motor assistance, you may not want to switch to zero prematurely, otherwise it will be more difficult to continue pedaling before going downhill. However, once you come down a steep hill, you don’t need any pedal assistance.
Conclusion: Learning how to use the gears on an electric bike will make riding easier and more efficient.
Whether you are new to cycling or just starting to ride an electric bike, learning how to change gears on an electric bike will help you ride more comfortably and efficiently. Not only can you climb hills and ride long distances more easily, but you can also maintain battery power and overall life, and protect your brakes from additional wear.
Effective gear shifting can also improve the quality of your exercise on the electric bike, as well as your control over speed and rhythm.
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