How to ride an Electric Bike

You might think riding an electric bike is as simple as any other bike. On one hand that’s correct but with gears and a motor both designed to make riding up hills easier, it can be confusing which to use first, for example. Let’s dig into the detail and give you some tips on how to ride an electric bike properly.

Start slow

When a rider is stationary and is about to pull away, it’s important you are in a low gear. Riders have the best balance at speed, so it’s important to get up to speed quickly. If you don’t believe me, try riding really, really slowly and see how unstable you are on the bike! Pulling away in a high gear can make the rider and bike unbalanced because getting upto speed will take longer, so get in that low gear!

When selecting an assistance mode on your motor use one that is low. Low is better than high because you can always flick the mode up straight away if you need it. Starting in a mode too high can make the bike lurch forward too fast. You want to aim to pedal away smoothly and in control with a bit of assistance to get you up to optimum speed as soon as possible. Practice makes perfect here, particularly on hills.

Further Reading

Motor vs Derailleur

This is the most common question we get asked. When you ride up a hill do you use gears first, motor first or a bit of both? Well the answer is actually quite simple. Gears first, motor second. Let me explain. Using gears first to tackle a gradient has a couple of benefits.

  1. Saves the battery
  2. Spreads the wear and tear on your transmission

If you don’t use you gears first and opt for motor assistance, it’s easy for riders to fall into the trap of using the motor assistance modes as a kind of electronic gearbox. Rather than select an easier gear, riders choose a higher mode. Not changing gear means wear and tear on your transmission will be focussed on a small area of your cassette and it will simply wear out quicker. So you could say using your gears first, saves you money too. However there are times when a quick spurt of assistance is needed like a short hill or steep bridge but I recommend sticking to the principal of gears first and when they have almost ran out then use the assistance. Practice makes perfect here again!

lady riding a Cube Compact ebike

Out of the saddle?

Riding out of the saddle or ‘honking’ the bike from side to side, as it’s sometimes called, is usually done by riders on hills or pulling away to get on top of their gears. On Ebikes, due to the motor assistance available, getting on top of the gear isn’t really an issue. Additionally, electric bikes are just heavier and more difficult to swing from side to side so although you can ride out of the saddle, we wouldn’t recommend it beyond standing up on the pedals for comfort and control.

Don’t de-restrict

Ebikes are restricted to a max. 15.5mph (25km) under assistance by law. For some, and I would agree in some cases, this is a bit slow and look to de-restrict them so they can ride with assistance but much faster. I strongly urge any rider considering this not to. It’s a recipe for disaster.

  • It’s potentially dangerous to others
  • You will void your warranty
  • You risk mechanical failure
  • It damages the reputation and the good Ebikes do

Read my in-depth article on Why you should never modify your Ebike

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