Can eBikes Go Uphill?

Woman wearing a helmet and riding an EB12 up an incline.Short answer: Yes!

Slightly less answer: Yes, however . . .

Are your legs rejoicing at the answer? That’s understandable. The motor/battery combination of an electric powered bike can make traveling uphill a whole lot easier. But there are other components of a well designed eBike that can also help you conquer steep inclines with less effort than a traditional, pedal-only bicycle.

Riding Uphill With an eBike

You might have memories of cycling as a kid in a neighborhood or area with lots of hills, and you know how punishing those hills were on your legs. While riding down a slope can certainly be thrilling at any age, riding up a hill is exhausting for your muscles.

Electric motors on electric bike help provide the torque you need to climb hills easily. The trade-off, of course, is biking uphill requires more power from the electric motor. This extra work taxes the system, which can run out your battery more quickly. Cycling through the different “riding modes” —  periodically going from “pedal only” to “pedal-assist” or “throttle-only” —  can help you climb hills more efficiently. This will certainly help you save battery power over just going full throttle the entire time. Some eBikes, like our own EB9 and EB11, also give you access to a traditional gear system, like Shimano S.I.S. These systems help tremendously with uphill travel.

Do I Have to Pedal When Riding Uphill on an eBike?

Pedaling when riding uphill is generally a good idea. Even if your bike has a throttle-only option, battery power will be severely diminished if you let the motor do all the work. On the other hand, if you put your feet to work, you can help extend the range of your battery, get more exercise and have fun, all at the same time!

Remember, unless you have a Class 2 eBike with a throttle-powered mode, the electric motor is only meant to complement human power, not replace it completely. Just like a fine wine is meant to enhance your meal, not replace it entirely.

Importance of a Gear System With Uphill Riding

Most of us don’t have a master’s in physics, so we’ll spare you the complicated explanation — but suffice it say, a lower gear is easier to be in when you’re riding uphill. A lower gear provides you with more torque (power) for pushing you and your eBike uphill. When you’re in a higher gear, your legs spin slower, but you have much less oomph for conquering steep roads. Higher gears are for flat areas or when you’re coasting downhill and feeling the wind in your hair.

Split screen image. On the left, a close-up of the LCD display of SWAGTRON eBikes. On the right, the manual Shimano gear shift on SWAGTRON eBikes.

That’s why it’s important to have a gear selector on your eBike if you plan to ride on hilly terrain. When you browse the SWAGTRON® selections, you’ll find several outstanding choices.

How Does an Electric Bike Help You Climb Hills?

An eBike can reduce the strain you feel when climbing the gradient of a hill. You’ll use less effort since the motor is helping you move forward. And with a gear system, like the Shimano 7-speed system we use on most of our eBikes, it’s even easier to mitigate tough hills.

If you provide a good amount of effort through pedaling, you can expect to climb most hills without much difficulty. If you plan to ride in areas where there are a lot of hills, an eBike can be a good investment and can make your bike rides so much more enjoyable.

EB7 Plus With Shimano® Gears

The EB7 Plus with Shimano gears is a solid electric commuting bike for adults and teens alike. It provides a smooth, comfortable and easy riding experience that’ll make you fall in love with bike riding all over again, just like you did when you were 10.

So what’s this about Shimano gears? We keep mentioning them. We ccertainly love them here at SWAGTRON®. But what are they? Shimano gears provide light, precise shifting through various speeds (seven for us, mostly) for ultra-efficient riding. This eBike has a thumb shifter for quickly selecting the gear you need.

Split image. Close up of the rear wheels and gears of the EB12 (left) and the EB7 Plus (right).

It also has a larger capacity battery than its predecessor. And when mated to its 350W motor, it can travel up to 20 miles on electric power alone (that’s literally without you pedaling even once) before it needs to recharge. But we think you should pedal. Why? Because it’s fun. Plus, it’s good exercise.

But it’s true that even when the battery’s tapped, all you have to do is pedal to get home. And, bonus, the EB7 Plus is lightweight and foldable, so you can stow it neatly next to your desk while you’re working hard to keep the lights on.

EB12 With Shimano Gears

While the EB7 Plus boasts an eye-catching design with higher handlebars and a lower center of gravity, the EB12 electric city bike provides a more classic bicycle look, and it’s the perfect choice for city commuters. It has thinner 25mm tires on 700c wheels for effortless cruising and smooth riding, and the quick-shifting Shimano gears let you adjust your speed for different terrain, whether you’re headed uphill, downhill or across flat stretches.

Plus, its streamlined appearance is perfect for maintaining a relaxed, upright riding position. It’s also super-lightweight for navigating through city streets, and you can choose between three modes to customize your riding experience: pedal-only, throttle-only or pedal-assist. Pedal-assist helps recharge the battery when you need to go an extra mile or push yourself uphill.

Split-screen image. Close-up of the EB12 rear rack with the removeable battery (left) and the easy-pull removable battery of the EB7 Plus (right).

The Takeaways

While both of these eBikes are excellent choices for commuters, the one you choose really depends on your preferences and budget. Do you like the modern look of the EB7 Plus, or do you prefer the traditional bicycle appearance? Both models have three riding modes to choose from: pedal-only, throttle-only or pedal assist. The EB12 is slightly lighter (but only by a few pounds).

On the other hand, the battery on the EB7 Plus might last a bit longer for higher mileage commutes. But if you like the pedaling thing, it may not matter as much to you. (And both have swappable batteries. So grab a second battery to double your power and double your adventure!)

For more information or assistance on selecting an eBike that suits your needs, contact SWAGTRON and chat with us right on our website. We’re here to help!

Last Update: June 3, 2020  

June 3, 2020    EB10, EB11, EB5, EB7, EB7 Plus, EB9, EBIKES    
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