Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?

Gears are an essential part of any vehicle, and anyone who’s interested in safety would naturally want to know if their mode of transport has workable gears.

Keep reading to find out if electric bikes have gears or not, what kinds of gears they may have, and why it should matter to you.

Do Electric Bikes Have Gears?

Some electric bikes have gears, while others don’t. They are crucial on an electric bike when going long distances, riding uphill or downhill, and saving energy.

The gears on an electric bike can move up or down by using a lever to adjust to your preference.

While some people prefer electric bikes without gears as they find them unnecessary, there are still good reasons to use them.

Types of Electric Bike Gears

It’s a good idea for anyone wanting to know more about electric bikes and gears to know more about the two main types of electric bikes and how they compare.

Derailleur Gears

Most people have heard about derailleur gears as they are the most popular brakes used on electric bikes worldwide.

Derailleur gears come with what is called a cassette, which connects to a section of the back wheel.

It then connects to the chainring, which works in tandem with the pedals to create that motion effect.

Generally, derailleur gears have three chainrings, amounting to several gear options.


  • They are rather affordable
  • Cheaper to replace when damages
  • They are lightweight
  • More efficient than internal hub versions
  • Wide range of gearing options
  • Easier to clean


  • It may be harder to use after being exposed to the elements

Hub Gears

These are a bit different from derailleur gears in that they are in the hub of the back tire.

They work differently by using a crankset and cog on the back wheel that forces power into the hub, which allows the pedal power to shift to the wheel.

Hub gears can use belts instead of chains and can even shift through different types of gears simultaneously.

Their mechanisms tend to last longer than their counterparts, mainly because the hub is tucked away and is not affected by outside factors.


  • Can be belt-driven rather than chain-driven
  • Low maintenance as they don’t require much attention
  • Can shift over several gears even while stationary


  • Less variety of gears than its counterpart
  • Uses more energy due to more moving parts
  • They are more costly

Why Do Some Electric Bikes Have Gears?

For the most part, yes, gears are crucial for electric bikes, even though bikes can function without them.

There are several more advantages to using gears than not using them, so it may depend on the types of bikes you like or the type of riding experience you prefer.

If you can use your bike without them, there’s no reason to have them, but it can’t hurt to use them since there are more pros to using them than disadvantages.

Some may argue that electric bikes do not need gears. For the most part, that might be true with the pedal-assist function on electric bikes.

The pedal-assist function will identify when gear shifting is needed and adjust accordingly. 

However, gears significantly contribute to the riding experience because users have more control. That makes it a more intuitive process.

Some riders like the fact that electric bikes with gears help to save battery power, go faster on steep hills, and help them get more exercise.

Benefits of Using Gears in E Bikes

There should be valid reasons for using gears on electric bikes since most come with them. In reality, they are beneficial for electric bikes, as we see below.

Faster and Simpler Uphill Riding

Electric bikes with gears find it much easier to ride uphill, and it goes a lot faster when compared with bikes without them.

Going uphill requires more power, but riders can climb up easier without paddling if they have gears.

Electric bikes with gears allow riders to shift gears to avoid going too fast or slow, whether it’s uphill, downhill, or on flat surfaces.

Being able to switch speed by using gears makes for a smoother riding experience depending on the cadence of the bike.

That will contribute to maintaining rhythm at a particular speed and prevent annoying events like lagging.

Less Wear and Damage on Brakes

When riding without gears, riders sometimes pressure their brakes.

Electric bikes made with gears solve that problem, and with the proper use, the rider should see less wear and tear on brakes.

Greater Workouts

With gears, riders can increase their paddling for a more intense workout. It will naturally burn more calories because of greater excursion.

Riders can achieve this by choosing a bigger gear while placing pedal assist on a low level resulting in paddling faster and harder.

Better Battery Life

Everyone wants to save battery life, and using gears on an electric bike can help.

When you use them at various speeds, it uses less battery by reducing the pulling power. That will put less strain on the battery as it will drain slower.

How to Use Gears on an Electric Bike

Using gears is a simple process and often comes with experience.

For example, beginners sometimes don’t use their gears as often as professional riders would, resulting in low speeds while using much of their energy.

The key to using them effectively is picking the right gear, which allows the rider to go at a steady rate, choose how fast or slow they want to go, or pick how hard or soft to pedal.

Learning how to properly shift gears on an electric bike might be a challenge as the process is somehow methodological.

It will involve moving the shifter on the handlebar based on the rider wanting a higher or lower gear.

If one has some experience using a standard bike, the process works much in the same way, which will give them some advantage.

Using the shifters on an electric bike is quite similar to a regular bike, and how its use will largely depend on the rider.

You can shift your gears when pedaling and then adjust them when going at a steady pace while coasting.

That will help the chain move correctly, so you can pick the right gear once you need adjusting.

You can lessen your pedaling while riding stationary to make for a smoother ride. It’s also important to remember that changing your gears will contribute to saving on battery.

You may also find that you can prolong your battery on longer rides, especially when shifting your gears and pedal in between shifts.

Tips for Shifting Gears

There are three simple steps to follow when shifting gears on your electric bike, which include:

  1. Shifting one gear at a time in slow motion. Shifting your gears too fast may cause the chain to disconnect.
  2. The gear on the left moves the chainring to control the front gears, while the one on the right will control the rear gears.
  3. Understanding the low gear and high gear work will make riding much simpler. Utilizing the lower gears creates less resistance.

While using lower gears, you feel less movement while pedaling and slower movement when using higher ones.

How to Make Your Gears Last Longer

Caring for your gears is essential for making them last longer, so you get more out of your biking experience. Here are a few intelligent ways to make this work, so you can cut costs.

Inflate Tires

If your tires do not have the correct air pressure, this can be detrimental. It’s a good idea to regularly check the air pressure, so you have more balanced riding.

It will decrease friction, which can make the ride less smooth and require more power when paddling.


It is necessary to keep them lubricated to avoid ear and tear and make riding more predictable.

It can also contribute to your bike moving faster by making the gear switch work at a faster pace.

Correct Wheel Alignment

If your wheels are not aligned properly, your gears won’t work the right way, and the bike won’t move correctly.

Incorrect wheel alignment slows down your bike, which effectively affects your gears.

Final Thoughts

So the question is, do you really need an electric bike with gears? That answer is totally up to you.

Most people tend to prefer gears on their bikes because they get a better workout. They can also usually go longer distances and generally go uphill easier than if they didn’t have them.

However, you can do some of these things without gears, although it may be less convenient.

If you’re going for a bike for the long haul, you might as well get one with gears to make life a bit easier and more exciting.

It’s much better to have gear variants for better cadence and speed, even if you use pedal assist.

So electric bikes can have gears, and they are very beneficial once you know how to use them.

Other articles you may also like: