Shift into Gear: Do Electric Bikes Really Need Gears?

Ah, electric bikes – the perfect way to get around without the hassle of having to break a sweat, you know? Like, some people might think pushing a pedal is a workout but honestly, come on, I’m trying to keep it easy here. So, when shopping for an electric bike, you see there are so many options for gearing systems – or lack thereof – and you might wonder, do I really need one?

Well, let me tell you something: it all depends on how you want to ride your bike. You see, gears on an electric bike – or any bike, for that matter – serve the same purpose as for a traditional bike: make it easier for you to pedal. This can come in especially handy when you’re riding on hills or trails, or just one of those days where you’d rather not push too hard.

Now, when it comes to electric bikes, there are three main types of gear systems: a single speed system, a multi-speed system and a gearless system. The type of system you decide to go with really depends on your needs and goals. Each system offers a different set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons in order to choose the right one for you.

The Role of Gears in Electric Bike Performance

So now that we’ve established that electric bikes do indeed need gears for optimal performance, let’s get into why. In short, gears are necessary to help you pedal efficiently on different terrain. You see, each gear has a certain engine torque ratio assigned to it, and these can range from low (easier to push) to high (harder to pedal). As you’re pedaling, when the ratio is too low, your pedals don’t spin as fast as needed to move your electric bike at a good speed, and when it’s too high, you need to push a lot of energy – and this is where the gears come in.

Generally speaking, electric bikes that are geared are far more efficient in that they can get you further on a single charge. That’s because when you shift into the appropriate gear the bicycle’s engine has to work less to get you up a hill or along a trail. Additionally, the gears can help you store some kinetic energy from descending a hill, so that you can use it to Jet up the next one.

How to Choose the Right Gear System for Your Needs

Now that you understand the purpose of electric bike gears, let’s figure out which one’s right for you. As mentioned before, there are three types of gear systems available – single speed, multi-speed and gearless. Let’s briefly go over each:

Single Speed System: A single speed system is a good choice for beginners or people who are going to be riding on relatively flat terrain. It’s also a great option for kids, who won’t be needing the complexities of a multi-speed system.

Multi-Speed System: If you plan on going off road or tackling hills, then a multi-speed system is definitely the way to go. This system offers more wide-ranging ratios, meaning you can shift up or down and get the power you need. They also tend to be a bit more durable than single speed systems.

Gearless System: As the name suggests, a gearless electric bike does not use a geared transmission. These bikes rely solely on the electric motor and battery for power, meaning you won’t be able to switch gears. Gearless systems are great for urban environments and areas where you won’t encounter much challenging terrain.

The Benefits of Gearless E-bikes

Now that you’ve decided on the type of gear that best suits your needs, let’s talk about the benefits of gearless electric bikes. To start off, these e-bikes are usually more affordable than geared bikes – although it’s important to take into account the size and quality of the components and materials used to determine the true cost. They’re also easier to operate, as you won’t have to worry about shifting gears when you’re tired or busy. Finally, they’re incredibly lightweight, making them ideal for quick commuters and errands.


Shifting into gear may not always be top of mind when shopping for an electric bike, but it’s definitely important to consider the role it plays in overall performance. While a single speed and multi-speed system might be the way to go for some, a gearless system can be a great option for folks who want to keep it simple and don’t need the extra power. Ultimately, it just comes down to what you want and need out of your electric bicycle. So, before you make the purchase, weigh your options and ride it out!