What's In This Article
Are you wondering, “How many gears does an electric bike have?”
We are sure you’ve heard variations of the same answer: one, two, or three gears.
There’s also much confusion surrounding what the different gears actually are when it comes to e-bikes, and this is why we’ve created this blog post so you can know what you need for your e-bike (and why).
How Many Gears on an Electric Bike?
The answer to this question depends on the type of gearing system you choose. There are two basic gearing systems: Derailleur and hub motor drive.
Each type of gearing system has advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right kind for your needs is essential. Some e-bike models offer as few as two or three gears and others eight or nine, depending on the gearing system design.
The more gears you have, the easier it is to climb hills and go faster at higher speeds. However, if you don’t need all those gears, they can add weight and complexity to your bike, which may not be worth it for your needs.
Types of E-bike Gearing Systems
The most common type of e-bike gearing system is the derailleur system. This mechanical system consists of a chain ring, cassette, chain, and freewheel (or hub gear).
The derailleur shifts gear by moving the chain between two sprockets on the cassette. It does this either manually or automatically via a controller built into the bike’s handlebars or handlebar computer interface.
The hub motor drive is the next electric bike gearing system. This system uses an external motor (hub motor) that drives the wheels simultaneously through a gearbox.
Hub motors have become more popular recently because they’re easier to install than traditional derailleur systems and can achieve much higher speeds than cassettes can achieve with pre-existing gears.
How Do the Gears on an Electrical Bike Work?
The gears on an electric bike differ slightly from those on standard bikes.
When you pedal, the chain moves back and forth, moving the rear wheel around. But when you ride an e-bike without pedals, there’s no chain or rear wheel to move. So instead, the motor uses a gear system to make it move forwards or backward.
Here is where things get fun! The difference between the forward and the reverse speeds makes the gears work. The higher your speed, the faster the gear turns.
For example, if you want to go very slowly (like coasting downhill), you would use high gear, so your speed isn’t too high for your battery to handle.
But if you want to go faster (like if you’re climbing), you might use low gear, so your speed isn’t too low for your battery to handle.
You’ll have fewer or more gears depending on the number of sprockets used. Most electric bikes use 7-speed systems, but some mountain bicycles now use up to a 12-speed system.
Do You Need Gears on an Electric Bike?
There are many discussions on the internet about modern e-bike gearing systems. Some people say they’re unnecessary, while others disagree.
Remember that in an electric bike, your power comes from the motor, not your legs. Therefore you can’t maintain a constant speed by pedaling continuously.
If you want to go faster than 20km/h (12mph), you need more power to move forward and less power at slow speeds. You will need gears on your electric bike because they increase your efficiency.
Also, you can use your front pedal drive system as a brake when descending hills, which is safer than using your brakes on an ungeared bike. With a geared bike, you will also be able to climb hills much more quickly.
Why Not Just Use Pedal Assist?
Most electric bikes have pedal assistance to help the rider when pedaling. In other words, when you pedal, the motor will work for some time, and your e-bike will start relying entirely on pedaling.
So why not just use this pedal assist? The answer is that it’s not the best option for all riding conditions. Because if you’re riding at high speed and suddenly come to a stop, the motor will still be working and trying to propel your bike forward. This situation can be dangerous when biking on a busy road.
Pedal-assist allows you to coast, but it doesn’t do anything when you want to go fast. If you wish to accelerate, you’ll need more power, hence the need for gears.
How to Choose E-Bike Gearing System
Choosing the best electric gear system can be a difficult decision. Many different types of electric gearing systems are available, and deciding which is best for your needs depends on several factors.
The Type of Riding You Do
The terrain you plan to travel on will help you determine which type of electric gearing system is right for your bike.
An internal hub motor may be appropriate if you plan on riding a long distance or with many hills along your route. But if you only plan on riding short distances or if there are no hills along your way, then an external hub motor might be better for your needs.
Most bike frames have different length racks for carrying cargo. Not too many electric bikes will have the room to hold large items. If there isn’t much cargo space available, using an internal hub motor may make more sense because it will require less wiring than an external one.
Mode of Gear Shift
If you want to change the gears while still speeding down the road, you will want to check out an internally geared hub motor. These are used primarily on bikes that are designed to be more efficient. The internal gearing is also quieter, making it easier to use when riding well below the posted speed limit.
The Importance of Cadence
Cadence is a critical aspect of the electric bike. There is a direct correlation between the cadence of your pedaling and the speed of your electric bike. If you go beyond a certain cadence, it means you are overexerting yourself. The result could be fatigue and even injury.
Hold a stopwatch to measure your cadence and count the number of times your feet strike the ground per minute. Your average cadence should be between 70 and 80 rpm (revolutions per minute). If it’s too high, you’ll become fatigued sooner than necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any further questions, here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on electric bike gears.
Check the Specs
Determining how many gears an electric bike has can be complicated. However, you can look up the specs of your bike’s motor to help you determine how many gears it has. Adding all the gears together should give you your final result.
Jason Hawkley is a biking enthusiast, which is a nice way of saying he’s a total nerd when it comes to bikes. One day while mountain biking through the woods in New Hampshire, the idea came him to create Our Streets as a way to share his biking passion with you.