It’s no secret that electric bikes are on the rise. If you’re sick of pedaling as fast as your legs will go to get up that hill, then perhaps it’s your time to invest in the best electric bicycle for hills and take a little load off.
When it comes to cycling, everyone’s bound to encounter a few hills here and there. Unfortunately, not all e-bikes are actually that great at climbing hills – so knowing which bikes are best-suited for climbing hills is vital so you can choose the e-bike that will work best for your needs, especially if you’re planning on riding up some really tall peaks.
The steepness of a hill is not the only factor that determines whether an electric bike can climb it. The rider’s weight, the bike’s battery, and motor, and the terrain all play a role in how much ground an e-bike can cover.
But yes, there are some e-bikes that are capable of climbing hills. This begs the question, “Just how steep a hill can be for an e-bike to go up?” And of course, we’re not talking about the ones you ride up to conquer Everest — we’re referring to the ones in your own hometown (and every bike we review is capable of at least one climb like this).
And mind you, the steepness of a hill is not the only factor that determines whether an electric bike can climb it. The rider’s weight, the bike’s battery, and motor, and the terrain all play a role in how much ground an e-bike can cover.
Table of Contents
- 1 Are Electric Bikes Really Capable of Climbing Steep Hills?
- 2 How to Bike Uphill
- 3 Considerations
- 4 Best Electric Bicycle for Hills: Top 3 Picks
- 5 Conclusion
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Are Electric Bikes Really Capable of Climbing Steep Hills?
It’s a known fact among bike enthusiasts that e-bikes can go uphill. With them, you’ll be able to cruise up every climb. The energy you’d normally use to pedal uphill will instead be harnessed by the motor and will make it easier than ever before to get up those steep inclines on your regular bike.
What’s so great about e-bikes is that they will allow you to change between settings depending on your mood. For instance, if you use the low power mode, you can conserve battery life but will have to pedal harder. In turbo mode, however, passing hills is just a breeze.
The grade of the hill is not an issue because, with electric assistance, e-bikes can climb even steeper hills than a regular bike. But how steep can they go? It depends on a variety of factors, including weight, motor power, battery, and your effort.
But first, let’s take a look at ways we can make hills easier to climb.
How to Bike Uphill
Do not sprint at the base of the hill and exhaust your energy. This is where the concept of ‘pace-shifting’ comes into play. Pace-shifting is the practice of spending your energy efficiently according to your situation and your surroundings. By pacing yourself, you will be able to expend your energy most optimally and continue riding for longer. That’s PRACTICAL pace-shifting.
Find your flow, and stick to it!
While there is no consensus on the best position, the general opinion is that cyclists perform at their most comfortable when they can find a rhythm and keep it through the ride. It is best to stick to one position for a given time. The most common mistake novice cyclists make is to change positions frequently and disrupt their riding momentum.
For hills that are less steep, it’s easier to generate power by standing on the pedals. However, in more extreme cases, such as the steepest of gradients, it can be difficult to both generate power and remain balanced. It is in these cases that sitting on the seat becomes advantageous.
Also, you’d better start gearing up now, because starting a climb with too big a gear will only slow you down. If you’re unsure of what gear to start with, consider your cadence (the number of times your feet hit the ground per minute) and how steep the hill is. Start off with a gear that keeps your cadence nice and quick — but be prepared to shift if you find yourself laboring towards the top of the hill.
Choosing the best electric bicycle for hills will have a huge impact on the quality of your experience, and setting yourself up with the wrong one from the start can end up costing you dearly. Choosing the right one is never easy. There are a lot of factors that affect your purchasing decision. We’ll look at some of the major considerations when choosing an e-bike for any type of uphill riding.
A good e-bike needs to have equally powerful brakes for climbing hills, but also awesome brakes for going downhill.
If you’re looking to tackle the hills with a powered bike, you’ll want one that’s lightweight. A heavyweight e-bike, while fun to ride, will take more effort to pedal — and it might not perform well on hills, regardless of the gearing system.
Now let’s talk about what e-bike geeks call ‘hub motors’. These popular motors are located right at the center of your wheels. They’re not particularly expensive, but they provide a reasonable amount of power for riding on flat ground. However, because they’re not connected to your gears, they can slow you down quite a bit when you’re trying to ride uphill.
On the other hand, we have mid motors that are beefier than your traditional hub motor. Their greatest strength is that they complement your current setup to give you a more powerful pedal. These motors sit low in the middle of the bike for a natural feel, thus they offer better handling, easier gear changing, and smoother power delivery. Mid-drive motors are quiet and smooth, and they don’t produce as much vibration as hub motors. Since they don’t have as much torque as a hub motor, mid-drives are ideal for climbing hills.
Best Electric Bicycle for Hills: Top 3 Picks
Now that we’ve taken a look at the things you’ll need to focus on when you buy the Best Electric Bicycle for Hills. Have a look at our top picks!
1. Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2 Electric Bike
As soon as you’re on the pedals of the Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2 electric bike, you’ll feel like you own the streets. You’re no longer a slave to your gas engine — and free to explore your city’s hills, dirt roadways, or even just the sidewalks as you cruise to work or school. It’s an amazingly liberating feeling!
Quiet, clean, and powerful — the CTY E2.2 is an upgrade from the CTY e2.1, with a motor that’s more powerful, so you can get up to speed fast and power through hills and headwinds (not to mention the morning commute) with ease. A slightly bigger battery lets you go farther, and the fenders are integrated into the frame to keep water off of you.
The CTY e2.2 model features a Shimano E6100 motor, an ABUS lock, and a Suntour suspension fork, so you can get wherever you need to go without a hitch in your step. Three modes of pedal-assist power give you the added boost you need when you’re feeling tired during your ride — or if it’s uphill all the way!
With 27.5″ wheels and a multi-surface tread profile, the CTY e2.2 electric bike lets you roll fast on hardpack and grip gravel or dirt roads. It also features Shimano disc brakes, which are the best brakes on the market today. It has integrated rack and pannier compatibility, giving you the option to carry groceries and other items with ease.
The upright riding position maximizes your visibility. You can adjust the stem to fit you, so no matter how tall or short you are, this e-bike will make you smile every time you ride it. The low stand-over height makes getting on and off really easy, so you can keep both feet on the ground when stopping.
With a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs., including bike + rider + gear, this e-bike is the ultimate way to boost your commute! When you’re riding in the dark, you can rely on the front and rear lights to help you stay visible and safe. No need to worry about running out of charge — this bike comes with a charger that can get it up to full power in just 4 hours. The kickstand is super-stable, easy to use, and makes parking simple.
What we only wish is a way where you don’t have to stop completely to turn on/off the lights. It’s so hard to change modes while riding it, and riders always end up having to stop in the middle of the street. It would be really nice if future versions could map a button to make it possible for riders to turn on/off the lights without having to stop.
If you’re in the market for the best electric bicycle for hills, we’d definitely recommend CTY e2.2 Electric. People who rode this weren’t kidding when they said “built like a tank.” This bike is sturdy and reliable (honestly, if you ever find another best electric bicycle for hills available on the market other than the three here, let us know — we will include it on this list). At its price point, it’s hard to find a competitor that can keep up.
2. Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 Electric Bike
With a full range of motion and a mighty motor, the Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 electric bike is the way to get up the hills and go farther than ever.
From the moment you take it out of the box, you’ll notice this bike is a thing of beauty. With a carbon fiber fork and a SmartForm C1 alloy frame, the Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 electric bike lets you have fun all day without feeling weighed down. With 10 speeds, you can cycle with confidence knowing you have the right gear for every situation — from riding at top speed in broad daylight to gliding through the forest at dawn.
Yet another best electric bicycle for hills, the Synapse Neo 1 Electric Bike has a long-range battery that can travel up to 150 miles (241 km) on a single charge. This bike has the Bosch Active Line Plus drive system, for a smooth ride in any terrain. It looks and feels like a classic road bike — just with an electric boost. The drivetrain offers a precise response, while the sophisticated electronics ensure solid control over your speed.
This electric bike has an integrated wheel sensor that’s linked to the free Cannondale App. The sensor produces accurate speed, route, and distance info, along with other useful statistics. Battery life is always being tracked and displayed, so you can keep tabs on maintenance as well. It’s got a hidden fender mount and a removable seat stay bridge, so you can keep riding no matter what the weather is like.
The Synapse Neo 1 Electric Bike also comes with pre-installed light cables, so you can upgrade your bike with integrated lights for year-round riding to keep you safe as the sun goes down. The rear rack mounts are perfect for adding panniers or a trunk bag or a cooler bag if you want to bring refreshments. It’s also good for the daily commute, or even for those days when you’d like to add an extra light load onto your bike.
While the Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 electric bike weighs 39 lbs., it doesn’t ride like a heavyweight and can be just as easy to handle as lighter bikes. Even hills are super easy to conquer with a heavy cargo trailer. E-assist? You don’t even need it! If there’s one thing that could make the Neo 1 Electric Bike even better though, it would have to be the ability to go faster. And while the current 20 mph top speed is pretty dang fast, you might want to look elsewhere if you want an e-bike that can go even faster.
3. Yuba Electric Boda Boda Step-Through Bike
The Yuba Electric Boda Boda Step-Through Bike comes with all the bells and whistles you could ever want in the best electric bicycle for hills. It’s perfect for picking up groceries, dropping off the kids at school, and even running errands. Its innovative design and pedal-assist make easy work of even the hilliest terrain while its cargo capacity lets you load it up with all your essentials—and the family pet!
The ZHOUWHJJ Bicycle Rear Seat can be installed on the bike to make sure that your child will travel with maximum comfort, and there are 3 levels of pedal assist and an additional walk mode so that you can get where you need to go as fast as possible.
Its integrated computer’s easy-to-use interface is a breeze to read and allows you to keep track of your distance, speed, gear, trip time, battery charge level, and estimated range – just in case you want to know how fast you’re pedaling. Its integrated LED lights are always charged and ready to make your biking experience safe and enjoyable.
When it comes to stability, this step-through e-bike has a lot to offer. It has a sturdy double kickstand to keep the bike stable when you’re loading passengers and cargo. The Tektro Vela hydraulic disc brakes help you stay in control, so you won’t have any issues making quick maneuvers on this bike. And thanks to its chain guard, wheel skirts, and fenders, you don’t have to worry about getting mud and grime on your favorite outfit.
The Yuba Electric Boda Boda Step-Through bike also features a quick-release seatpost collar and an adjustable cockpit, so you can adjust it to choose your own driving position at any time. Whether sharing the bike with friends or family or just switching up your own riding style, the cockpit makes it easy to be in control of your own experience.
This step-through e-bike is ready for action whenever you are. Fully certified, and boasting 418 watt-hours of lithium-ion battery power, this e-bike offers a range of up to 93 miles on a single charge. The batteries charge quickly too — from 0% to 100% in just 4 hours or less. These kinds of stats are great for any urban commuter!
With its lightweight aluminum frame, integrated cargo racks, and SST (Seat Steady Technology) zero-flex frame, this cargo e-bike is built to last and will be with you through thick and thin — or at least until you sell out. And yes, it comes with a 2-year warranty on the frame and a 1-year warranty on parts.
The only downside of this e-bike is due to the fact that it’s built with a rear rack, making it heavier than other e-bikes of its kind. But that’s not really a big deal, is it?
Overall, the Yuba Electric Boda Boda Step-Through bike is a lot like the superhero of moving things from A to B: it’s made for urban warriors who have brains and brawn and want to move people and cargo around with ease. Don’t forget to wear a cape while riding this bad boy, though.
When it comes to choosing the best electric bicycle for hills, you have quite a few options. There are many different makes and models out there that you could choose from, and most of them will do a good job of helping you get to the top of that hill. But if you’re in the market for something really good, you need to look at the three we’ve listed here. They’re really powerful, and one of them might just have everything you could possibly want in an electric bicycle.