Do Electric Bikes Have Gears? How and When To Use Them

Electric bicycles are also known as ” e-bikes,” “speed pedelecs,” or “power-assisted bicycles.” Electric bicycles let you ride fast and far in a way that’s easier and more fun than regular bikes.

All of the mountain or regular bikes have gears in them to vary the speed while riding.

Gears not only vary the speed but lessen the effort for paddling. While climbing bike gears delivers enough force to go up without falling. That’s why it’s important to know Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?

Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?

Do Electric Bikes Have Gears


Yes, Electric bikes can have gears but not in all e-bikes as they already have paddle assist.  Ebikes throttle for exerting extra force on hilly and rough routes.

Having gears in an e-bike gives additional power to the bike. Using bike gears, you can get more speed variations and energy for routes. This will give you more chance to exercise rather than just the motor giving you the extra power to climb.

Many riders although prefer simple controls and systems of e-bike and just want to have normal ride and cruise on, so a bike without gears works fine for them.

Having gears in an e-bike has its benefits as well as drawbacks. Depending on which side weighs you down you can either get an electric bike with gears or one without them.

Do You Need Gears for Your Electric Bike?

Usually, electric bikes have different pedal assist levels to increase the battery support while paddling on rough routes or while climbing. For flat planes or regular park cycling simple pedal assist with no gears will work great.

But most of the riders don’t prefer using pedal-assist much due to battery usage and less workout intensity and would appreciate gears in the bike along with a pedal assist.

Gears don’t only tactfully manage the load and energy exemption on tough terrains but also you can use a tight or lower gear to increase the effort required in the pedal to boost up your heart rate while cycling more.

Gears in bike also give you more options in the speed of the bike and you can easily go faster or slower as you wish, which won’t be available in an electric bike without gears.

Why Not Just Use Pedal Assist?

Why Not Just Use Pedal Assist


You must be thinking now that why should one not use just pedal assist on an e-bike? And why have gears included making it more complicated to handle?

Well, there are two major reasons for that:

For hilly areas or longer rides if you just have pedal assist along to aid in riding and giving power to the bike to climb up that won’t be enough to ride on inclines or steep hills.

Even if you get a more powerful motor still you will feel that bike has to exert too much pressure to climb and it will be slower. In some cases, the bike will move backward being unable to work against the gravity or carry the load on.

The second is the use of energy from the battery. With the motor working extra it would use more energy from the battery causing it to run out more quickly during the ride.

This would cause a problem for you, plus if you had a bike with throttle assist then riding on long routes with bouncy or hilly areas would be difficult.

Gears like in normal bikes help in decreasing the effort required by the pedal hence the throttle or pedal assist won’t have to work more and the battery would also last longer.

This makes the ride more fun and tension-free. Here are some main advantages of having gears in electric bikes:

Increased Workout Intensity

With gears on your e-bike, you can increase the intensity of your paddling and can burn more calories than usual. Just set the pedal assist on a low level and choose a higher gear.

By doing this, you would require more pulling power and have to paddle more strongly to move on the road at the required speed. Thus in this way, your legs will have a finer workout than usual.

Easy – climb

Climbing on an incline or hill needs more power as you are working against the force of earth and have to carry all the load and bike up.

With gears, you can have a lower setting that will help the bike to climb up more easily without using more pedal-assist or paddling.

Prolonged Battery Life

Using gears to vary the speed and less use of battery in pulling the bike by reducing the pulling power needed on the route will let the battery of the bike drain slowly.

This will help in longer routes and also with less strain on the battery will last for more span than its warranty life.

Better Cadence

Although pedal helps in maintaining the smooth rhythm or speed of the bike along the way due to more friction surfaces or load on the bike you may feel lagging in speed along the way.

With gears on the bike to switch speed and force required according to the way the cadence of the bike is maintained better and you can enjoy a smooth ride without any hassle.

How Do the Gears on an Electrical Bike Work?

How Do the Gears on an Electrical Bike Work

Similar to the regular road or mountain bikes gears in electric bikes have some operation. The lower the gear number the easier it will be to pedal but need more paddling or effort by the motor to get to high speed and maintain.

Selecting a higher gear will be difficult to pedal but higher speed won’t require the motor to work much.

Usually, the gear control and pedal-assist controls are on the handlebar of your e-bike with a gear switch on right and Paddle assist control on the left side.

Normally there are 5 pedal assist settings on an e-bike that sets the level of motor aid in running the bike. The gear shifter will switch the mechanical gear or the chain to move on a higher or lower setting.

Usual settings for a better ride on an e-bike are:

For Faster Speed

To go in faster speed higher gear setting is good, this will maintain the speed easily and you have don’t have to pedal more while moving.

With detecting this the torque sensor will let the motor work less and the battery won’t get drained

For Lower Speed

At lower speed selecting a lower gear will let you paddle less and it would also need any extra paddling power with less load on the motor to move.

While Climbing Up

For an upward climb on a hill or mountain a lower gear will help you to paddle with less effort and fast, with a motor powering the bike to climb up quickly and easily.

On Downhill Ride

When moving downwards on a hill selecting a higher gear will help you paddle strongly and use the gravity to move and lets the motor work less.

According to the Terrain

Choosing the right gear according to the terrain you are riding on is also necessary.

For example, for a smooth route, you must opt for a higher gear that will increase the difficulty in paddling. It will prevent you from speeding up too much.

For rough terrain that offers more friction, a lower gear will do making it easy to paddle and apply less effort to move.

Is It Okay to Shift Gears While Using Pedal Assist?

Is It Okay to Shift Gears While Using Pedal Assist

Yes, you can easily change gears while using paddle assist and in normal practice, most of the riders do this.

Using pedal assist and gear shifter side by side will give your bike more power. It makes easier for speed switching during the ride like a normal bike.

Although some riders may get confused in using both functions simultaneously. They would prefer changing gear while paddling so that there is no sudden change of load on the motor.

You can go to a lower gear when coming to a stop. Use the throttle to power the bike when starting again, to reach the speed more quickly.
Well, pedal assist and gear shifter can work together smoothly when you change gears in order or small units.

But for a sudden change from like 1 to direct gear 5 then it is better to turn off pedal assist and switch gears. Just like you do in a normal bike and then have the motor to aid the paddling.

How to Get the Most out of Your Gears?

Get the perfect settings of pedal assist and gears together to optimize the battery life. Ride comfort and cadence is hard level to achieve.

But with constant practice and use you will surely find the right combination that works for you.

There is no devised formula for this and in starting you may face issues in handling both functions. Also, you will get super frustrated by that.

Most of the time the mechanical gear shifting is advisable rather than increasing the paddle assist level. As you need to save the battery to run on a longer route.

If you feel fatigued and want less effort on your legs? Then a lower gear with a higher pedal assist will be a good combination.

So enjoy the ride and explore new combinations every day to figure out the magic formula for your controls. But this will require a lot of experience with gears.

What Are Some Additional Ways I Can Go Father Using My Gears?

What Are Some Additional Ways I Can Go Father Using My Gears

Do you want your gears to work smoothly, let you vary the speed easily, and run longer? Then here are some tips that will make your gears use to go farther:


For smoother and resistance-free gear shifting you need to lubricate the chain of your bike frequently. Also, ensure that there is no wear and tear on it.

A lubricated chain will make the gear switch swift and will let the bike move faster. Also, this will let your chain and gearbox last longer and you would not need to replace them quickly.

Tire inflation

Another important tip is to check that the tires of the bike recommended air pressure in them. As flat tires give more surface area to contact with the road increasing the friction. This in turn will require more power to paddle or paddle assist to aid.

Wheel alignment and brake pads setting

Wheel alignment and brake pads setting

Check for the wheels to be aligned properly and the brake pads to be positioned accurately and in good condition. If the alignment is not accurate then the bike won’t be able to move effectively. Ultimately it will cause it to slow down and the gears won’t work properly due to this issue.

You can get these basic bike tune-up services done by yourself or visit the bike shop monthly or in a 2-month interval so that your e-bike works perfectly and you can operate your gears and pedal-assist without any issues.