How easy is it to ride an electric bike?
We should say that riding an ebike is as easy as riding a standard bicycle. Thanks to the precious help on pedaling, an ebike allows you to easily tackle even the most challenging terrain, of course, if you use it correctly.
It is therefore necessary to know how to change gears and choose the right assistance mode or level. Every level has a certain max speed and offers a certain amount of torque that increases with higher levels of assistance.
The rear derailleur changes the pedaling cadence and the performance of the bicycle: a light gear allows you to tackle the climbs while on the contrary a heavier gear is used to take speed while the surface it's flat. If you use the wrong gear you will not be able to deliver the right power and the engine will be "in trouble".
So, let's see how to properly drive an electric bike combining shifters and assistance.
Assistance levels and gears
Likewise, you must keep in mind that your ebike is equipped with different pedal assistance modes, which are designed to assist the cyclist in certain circumstances. For example, the first assistance modes is calibrated to have a light support which is useful at low speed and in linear and flowing terrain, while on the contrary the higher assistance levels are calibrated to offer a more energetic push to be used while you need speed, during the uphill phases and on difficult terrains.
A common mistake is to ignore the use of the rear derailleur by focusing all attention on the use of motor assistance only. In this way, you will surely find yourself in difficulty in the most demanding terrains or climbs. And sometimes you will also be forced to stop.
To facilitate the understanding of these concepts, let's take the Gallop as an example, which in this case has 7 gears in the Shimano derailleur and 5 different levels of assistance for the motor. We will explain how to best use it with concrete examples, in different circumstances and in different types of fund.
The change of gears
The first step to properly manage your pedal assisted bike is to practice using the gearbox. By practicing you will then be able to tackle different types of terrain without stopping. The ebike in fact has a rear derailleur that works exactly like the one found in traditional bicycles.
The rear derailleur is operated by a trigger located on the handlebar, through two dedicated buttons: one is used to make the gear heavier and the other, on the contrary, is used to lighten the ratio. These controls must be used continuously throughout the ride and allow you to pedal optimally.
To practice shifting, you can keep your ebike motor off, and try pedaling it without assistance, just like a traditional bicycle. In this way you will understand very easily that shifting gears is essential for moving, and how to do it.
Starting from stationary with a heavy gear is very hard, you will move the bike slowly and if you are stationary uphill it will be practically impossible to restart.
Heavy or light gear?
With the Gallop we have 7 gears available, of which the first is the lightest (gear 1) while on the opposite side the seventh is the heaviest (gear 7).
The heaviest gear (7) should be used when you want to go fast and increase speed, especially on the flat or when going downhill. It is not suitable for stationary starts or for climbing. You must therefore get used to inserting it when you are pedaling at full capacity and want to keep a high travel speed.
When you are about to stop or you are slowing down, you need to shift to a medium gear (before stopping), for example to the 5th or 4th gear, to facilitate the next starting phase from a standstill. And if the departure is on a slope, it is necessary to shift a lower gear while going up.
Your legs must turn smoothly and without excessive effort, if they rotate too slowly you have to lighten the gear, if they rotate too fast you have to weigh it down. Do this exercise with the engine off, it will be much easier to notice mistakes when you are the one "acting as the engine".
In general, to circulate it is good to choose an intermediate gear, which will be heavier or lighter depending on the needs.
Your goal is to learn how to choose the right combination of gear and assistance level.
Combining gear and assistanceOnce you are familiar with shifting gears and using assistance, you will need to learn how to combine them to get the most out of your electric bike. You have to use the right gear with the right level of assistance.
For example if you are on the flat and want to go fast at max speed, it will be useless to choose the 5 level of assistance combined with the lightest gear of the gearbox (gear 1). To get speed you will need to use heavier gears 6 or 7.
On the other hand, for a very steep hill you have to choose a light gear that is close to the first level, steeper, more light gear is needed (until you reach gear 1). About the assistance you can choose a high level of assistance that will provide torque and speed.
Never use a heavy gear (gear 7 and above) while going uphill, or the motor will stop to push.
Now that you know how to use gears and assistance levels you are ready to enjoy the extra power of an electric bike to conquer any trail and terrain! Have fun with your brand new Gallop.