One question that many people tend to have while considering buying an e-bike is can electric bikes climb steep hills?
Electric bikes are gaining popularity all over the world because of the many benefits that they offer. They are easy to use, are more efficient and also great for the environment.
Let us find out can electric bikes climb steep hills. Read on!
Can Electric Bikes Go up Steep Hills?
Absolutely! By design, electric bikes can help you climb steep hills if you want. The added assistance that electric bikes offer makes it easy for you to conquer mountains and this would be really difficult with regular bikes as you would have to put in a lot of power yourself, leading to exertion and fatigue.
Key Factors That Affect the Ability of Electric Bikes in Climbing Hills
Certain factors play a key role in helping you climb steep hills on an electric bike efficiently. These include:
The uphill distance that you need to travel on the e-bike is very important. When you are going uphill, you are going to need way more motor power as opposed to when you are coming down.
Whatever the range of your electric bike is, consider it reduced by at least half because you will be using a lot of power output while going up.
If you love climbing steep hills regularly, one suggestion would be that you pick a bike that offers a good range so that you don’t struggle to go on difficult treks.
Going downhill is comparatively easier than going up. This also gives an opportunity to replenish some of the drained battery.
Regenerative braking helps extend the battery’s life, thereby extending the distance that a bike can travel. In short, this would help you cover a greater distance.
This may, however, slow the bike down a little bit. You may consider limiting the top speed of the bike so that you can travel a longer distance. You should also refrain from using brakes unnecessarily.
Electric bikes are powered by motors that run on batteries. The strength and power of these batteries are going to determine the ease (or a lack of it) while climbing steep hills. Two types of motors are common in electric bikes. These include:
This is the more common of the motors that run electric bikes. It is mounted on the rear wheels and powers the bike’s wheel directly.
These are preferred by people who are on a budget, as they are cheap. However, if you are looking for a bike for solely climbing purposes, this motor will let you down as it doesn’t have enough power to help you climb steep hills.
Another disadvantage with this motor is its positioning in the bike. Since it is mounted near the rear end of the bike, it is bound to disturb the center of gravity of the bike, making it difficult to take the bike on steep slopes.
Therefore, if you are planning on climbing a steep hill on your bike, you should not get one that is powered by a hub motor. It is ideal for riding on plains and flat hills.
Located in the center of the electric bike’s frame close to its paddle crank, this motor is great at providing the heavy-duty power required for climbing steep hills. They are way more powerful than the hub motors and are ideal for steep hill climbing.
They are also great at providing balance to the bike and therefore, ensure that you don’t disbalance yourself and fall while going up.
How Fast Can You Go Up a Steep Hill on an Electric Bike?
This is a question that weighs on many people’s minds. Everyone wants to go up a hill at the speed of a rocket but it mostly feels like a herculean task with the slow pace and the effort involved. On average, you can expect to go at a speed between 18 mph to 25 mph.
This is considered good by average standards, but if you still want to go up faster, you can invest in a bike that offers premium features and lets you go on the hill faster.
The idea is to weigh your needs and expectations against the specifications of the bike and then make an informed decision. The more you go into the minor details of the bike, the better it will be in the long run.
How Can You Climb Hills with Electric Bikes?
In addition to paying attention to some key features in the bikes themselves, certain tips can help you climb hills with electric bikes with ease.
Though it may seem difficult, there are some adjustments and tricks that can make your journey uphill feel like a breeze. Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:
The choice of right gears can make or break your decision to ride an electric bike on a steep hill. This is also important to put maximum power on the ground, thereby enabling you to reach your goal faster and more efficiently.
Most electric bikes have a gear selector located on the left that controls the amount of electric motor assistance you need while paddling.
If you want to make the most of your experience, you need to synchronize this electric gear with the mechanical gears that are present on the right side of the handlebar.
When you are going uphill, you should go for a combination of higher electrical gear assistance and low mechanical gear assistance.
This will ensure a steady supply of power and help you keep moving forward without difficulties.
One word of caution though, the more you rely on assistance, the higher are the chances of your battery getting depleted.
Therefore, you should only use this when you are crossing the steepest parts of the hill. Besides, what is the fun of going on the top of a steep hill if it is all assisted?
Your body position while riding the e-bike is going to make a big difference in the speed and efficiency of climbing steep hills. The first thing that you must keep in mind is that you can’t keep a single body position throughout the journey.
The way you sit is going to change consistently depending on the terrain and the angle of terrain you are climbing.
A neutral sitting position works well when you are climbing a not-so-steep hill. This is because you don’t have to paddle too heavily because of the moderate steepness of the hill.
When you are going up a hill, there will be places that will be moderately steep hence, giving you a breather in between, allowing you time to adjust your body language.
However, when you have to climb a steep hill or a steep patch along your journey, you will have to make certain adjustments such as putting your body weight forward and bringing your center of gravity towards the middle so that you don’t lose your balance.
When you move your weight towards the front wheel, you are making sure that the front wheel stays grounded, thereby protecting from stumbling and falling.
When you are traveling through loose terrain, you should keep your peddling speed higher.
If you slow down, you are going to lose momentum and this will be a bummer on your journey. When you are crossing solid terrains, you can slow down. This will give you a breather and also help save battery life.
Choice of Line
The choice of the right line while climbing steep hills is going to make a big difference to your biking experience. Since electric bikes are heavy, you have to be thorough with your research and choose the path wisely.
If you start and stop several times in between your ride, you will end up wasting a lot of power and battery of the bike which is going to be counterproductive.
You will also need to be vigilant of any upcoming hurdles and obstacles so that you can adjust your route accordingly.
The grip from the tires of the electric bike has to be very strong if you want to climb steep hills. Once your plan is set, check if the tires have proper air pressure and tread so that you are able to move forward without problems.
The choice of terrain is important and will determine the tire pressure, but generally, you need tire pressure ranging between 4 and 12 psi for uphill climbing.
The Final Word
Electric bikes can climb steel hills with ease. In fact, it is one of the advantages of using an e-bike. It gives you more power to climb steeper distances as opposed to a conventional bike.
All you need to be sure of is the frequency that you would need to take your bike out for climbing steep hills. This is necessary to pick a bike that suits your needs and expectations.