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Master Electric Bike Gears: Types, Shifting Tips & Choosing Gears for Every Ride!

by DYUCYCLE USA 11 Aug 2023 0 Comments

Electric bike gears are essential for ensuring a smooth and comfortable riding experience. As electric bikes gain popularity, it becomes increasingly important to understand how gears function and select the appropriate gears for various riding conditions. This guide will provide an overview of electric bike gears, their types, and how to choose the right gears based on your riding requirements.

Introduction to Electric Bike Gears

Gears play a critical role in both conventional bicycles and electric bikes. They control the bike's speed, torque, and energy consumption, enabling riders to adapt efficiently to different terrains and riding conditions. Electric bike gears are specifically designed to work in harmony with the electric assist system, ensuring an optimal riding experience.

Electric Bike Gears

Types of Electric Bike Gears

Electric bike gears can be broadly classified into two categories: internal and external gears.

In the following sections, we will examine each type in detail, discussing their features and mechanisms.

Internal Gears

Internal gears, also referred to as hub gears, use a planetary gear system housed within the rear wheel hub. This system consists of a central sun gear, orbiting planetary gears, and an outer ring gear. By engaging and disengaging different combinations of these gears, various gear ratios can be achieved.

The internal gear mechanism is fully enclosed, which protects the gears from dirt, debris, and weather elements. This design also allows for smoother gear shifts, as there is no need to realign the chain with different sprockets, as is the case with external gears.

External Gears

External gears, commonly known as derailleur gears, use a series of sprockets (cogs) on the rear wheel (cassette) and sometimes on the front wheel (chainrings) along with a derailleur mechanism to move the chain between different sprockets. This system provides a wide range of gear ratios, allowing riders to adapt to various terrains and riding conditions.

The external gear system is exposed, which means it is more susceptible to dirt, debris, and weather elements. This exposure can lead to increased wear and tear and require more frequent maintenance. However, external gears tend to be lighter and less expensive to repair or replace compared to internal gears.

Electric Bike Gears

Gear Ratios and Shifting

Gear Ratio Characteristics

The gear ratio is calculated by dividing the number of teeth on the chainring (front sprocket) by the number of teeth on the rear sprocket (rear cog). Gear ratios have a significant impact on your cycling experience and efficiency. They determine the amount of mechanical advantage you get while pedaling, which affects your speed and effort.

  • Higher Gear Ratio: Provides more top speed but requires more effort to pedal. Ideal for flat or downhill terrains and tailwinds.
  • Lower Gear Ratio: Offers easier pedaling but lower top speed. Suitable for climbing hills, riding into headwinds, and navigating rough terrain.

Shifting Techniques

Proper shifting techniques are essential for maintaining an efficient and comfortable cadence (pedaling speed) in various riding conditions. Here are some tips to help you shift gears effectively:

  • Anticipate Terrain Changes: Shift to the appropriate gear before encountering changes in terrain, such as hills, descents, or headwinds. This will help you maintain a consistent cadence and reduce strain on your drivetrain.
  • Ease Off Pedal Pressure: When shifting, slightly reduce the pressure on the pedals to facilitate smoother gear changes and prevent damage to your chain and sprockets.
  • Shift One Gear at a Time: Shift one gear at a time to avoid skipping gears and putting unnecessary stress on your drivetrain. Gradual gear changes help maintain a steady cadence and reduce the risk of chain derailment.
  • Cross-Chaining: Avoid cross-chaining, which occurs when you use the smallest chainring with the smallest rear cog or the largest chainring with the largest rear cog. This can cause excessive chain wear and inefficient power transfer. Instead, aim to maintain a straight chain line.

By understanding gear ratios and practicing proper shifting techniques, you can optimize your e-bike's performance and make your rides more enjoyable and efficient. Remember to adjust your gear ratios according to terrain and riding conditions to maintain a comfortable cadence and conserve energy.

Electric Bike Gears

Choosing the Right Gears for Different Riding Conditions

Selecting the proper gears for your e-bike is crucial for optimizing performance, efficiency, and comfort in various riding conditions. Here's a breakdown of gear considerations for different types of riding:

1. Mountain Biking

When mountain biking, you'll encounter steep climbs, technical descents, and rough terrain. Your e-bike's gearing should provide:

  • Wide Gear Range: Choose an e-bike with a high number of external gears to tackle varying inclines and descents.
  • Large Rear Cassette: Opt for a large rear cassette with a wide range of gear ratios, including lower gears for climbing steep inclines and higher gears for descending at speed.

2. Urban and Commuter Riding

For urban and commuter riding, you'll primarily navigate city streets, bike lanes, and moderate inclines. Look for e-bike gears that offer:

  • Internal Gears: Internal gears provide smooth, low-maintenance performance, making them ideal for daily rides in urban environments.
  • Moderate Gear Range: A moderate gear range is sufficient for handling most city riding conditions, including moderate hills and stop-and-go traffic.

Check DYU city bike features to know more: DYU City E-bike.

3. Long-Distance Touring

Long-distance touring involves extended rides over variable terrain and in diverse weather conditions. Your e-bike's gearing should accommodate these factors:

  • Wide Gear Range: Opt for an e-bike with a high number of external gears to handle various terrains and inclines.
  • Large Rear Cassette: A large rear cassette with a wide range of gear ratios ensures comfortable pedaling and efficient energy transfer over long distances.

Electric Assist Systems and Gears

Electric assist systems work in harmony with electric bike gears to provide a seamless riding experience. With various levels of assistance available, riders can easily adjust the level of support provided by the motor based on their needs and riding conditions.

By combining the right gear selection with the appropriate electric assist setting, riders can achieve optimal performance and energy efficiency. If you are a new guy, read our Riding Tips for Beginners.


Choosing the right electric bike gears for your specific riding conditions is crucial to ensure a comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable ride. By understanding the different types of e-bike gears, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to select the right gears based on your riding needs, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision when purchasing an e-bike. Don't forget to explore more resources and reviews to find the perfect electric bike for your needs.

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