How Gears Work and How to Use Them on an E-bike

How Gears Work and How to Use Them on an E-bike

Most electric-assisted bicycles are similar to conventional bicycles. They have gears that can be adjusted, making biking at different inclines much easier. That being said, changing gears on an e-bike is quite the same as on a typical bike.

That said, if you do not know what these are or how gears generally work on an ebike, keep on reading:

How Gears Work on an E-Bike

Electric bike gears are handled by a motor mounted on the hub at the front of the bike. Depending on the controller and the motor, the motor drives the front or rear wheel directly, or the motor drives the wheel via a chain or a combination of the two. Typically, when a pedal-assist is being used, a motor is attached to the crank arm of the rear wheel. In turn, there is a chain that connects the motor to the front wheel, or there is a belt that connects the motor to the front wheel (the belt may be part of a chain assembly).

Entering a higher gear on the electric-assisted bicycle is as easy as tapping the shifter button up. In some cases, the button must be held for a moment before the change will take effect. For example, if you are in a higher gear and you want to go back to a lower one, you may have to press the down button a few times to get back to the desired gear. This takes a little bit of getting used to, but it becomes second nature after a short period of time.

When using an electric assist, remember to never shift gears while the bike is moving. This can damage the bike and potentially cause an accident.

The Left Shift Vs. the Right Shift

Most electric-assisted bicycles have a left shift and a right shift. While the two might differ on different bikes, the general expectation is that the left shift deals with the level of pedal-assist you have. On the other hand, the right shift changes the mechanical gear you are working with, much like a conventional bike.

A good way to master the left and right shift is simple: if you want to change the overall pedal-assist you are getting, change with the left shift. From there, you can change on the right shift to reach the optimal pedaling effort. This may take some time to get used to, but once you do, you will quickly be able to change the assist and gears on the left and right shift, respectively, without too much effort.


All in all, when you are riding your electric bicycle, the shifters should feel natural to you, and you will be able to master them quite quickly. However, if you are having problems with the shifters, do not be afraid to go back to the shop where you bought the bike and speak to the attendants there - or the manufacturers if you bought direct to consumer such as online. They will be able to walk you through the process of learning the shifters! That way, you can practice safely and easily, allowing you to make the most out of your e-bike.

Espin Bikes redefines urban mobility by offering quality e-bikes that promote your lifestyle and wellbeing. If you are looking for the best e-bikes to purchase in the US, check out what we have to offer!

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