An important aspect of learning how to ride your e-bike is understanding the gear control shifters. Most electric bicycles come with both a Pedal Assist System (PAS) and a gear shifter. The gear shifter is typically on the right side of the handlebar, and the PAS unit is on the left. The chosen PAS level determines how much pedaling assistance comes from the motor, whereas the shifter adjusts the gears in the e-bike wheel just like it does on a standard bicycle. E-bike gears are also called speeds – a bike with 7 gears is a 7-speed bike. E-bike gear-shifting systems can come in a wide variety of speeds, with 7-speed being common. Here are important details about what e-bike shifters/gear controls are and how they work.
- Using the gear controls can help you maintain a steady pedaling speed.You can choose your preferred speed and decide how much you want to incorporate the PAS system. Be sure to only shift gears while you are pedaling. Riding in a lower gear means a higher cadence (RPM) and less pedaling effort required, whereas a higher gear means a lower cadence and more pedaling effort required. By adjusting the gear controls and PAS system to your liking, you can decide just how much exercise you want to get out of your ride. As a good rule of thumb for people who don’t want to have to pedal too fast, use a higher gear setting while using the PAS system.
- You can decide if you just want to use the PAS system, gear shifter, or both. If you are riding on paved streets and flat surfaces, using a low PAS level and low gear will allow you to have a relaxed and easy ride with minimal pedaling effort. When the terrain becomes more difficult to ride on, or you encounter hills and inclines, you will need to increase the PAS and adjust the gear speed. When going uphill, keep pedaling until your cadence increases just above your comfort level. Then increase the PAS level by one setting and switch to a lower gear. The motor will quickly give the required pedaling assistance and the lower gear control makes pedaling easier while riding uphill. When riding downhill or at high speeds, decrease the PAS level and then switch to a higher gear. In this position pedaling is the hardest so you can accelerate or maintain your speed easily while riding downhill.
- Why not just use the PAS system? There are a few reasons why you would not want to rely just on the PAS function without having to shift gears. First, depending on the size of the motor, the PAS might not be enough to get your e-bike up steep hills and inclines. Gears help your e-bike maintain its speed when going uphill. Secondly, using the gear controls more and the PAS system less will keep you from having to charge your battery as often. This is the cheapest way to get more mileage out of your e-bike. Finally, if you are riding and your bike’s battery completely runs out of charge, the gear controls will help you to keep riding.
The gear control shifter on your e-bike can help you more easily navigate hills and inclines, fine-tune your exercise level, and extend the life of your bike’s battery. Understanding and properly using your e-bike’s gear controls will help you get the most out of your ride.