Electric bikes for hills

How to find the right electric bike to tackle those steep, challenging slopes.

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If the thought of riding up steep hills is enough to put you off cycling, an electric bike could be a smart purchase. E-bikes provide motorised assistance to help you climb hills and cycle longer distances much more easily, but some bikes are better at climbing hills than others.

Keep reading to find out how to find the best electric bike to tackle the hills near you.

What is an electric bike?

An electric bike is a bicycle that includes a battery-powered electric motor. The majority of electric bikes in Australia are pedelec (or pedal assist) models, with the motor providing assistance when you start pedalling.

You can choose the level of assistance you want, but once you reach 25km/h the motor won't provide any more help.

The main advantage of electric bikes is that they allow you to ride further with less effort. This helps make long-distance touring and riding up steep hills more accessible to a wide range of riders.

How effective are electric bikes at riding up hills?

There are several factors that influence how quickly and easily an e-bike can ascend a hill. These include:

  • Type of motor. Mid-mounted motors are generally more effective at climbing than hub motors.
  • Torque. More torque means better climbing ability, so check the manufacturer's spec sheet for torque figures.
  • Weight. The weight of the bike will obviously influence how hard the motor has to work to get to the summit.
  • Level of assistance. You can choose how much assistance you want the motor to provide.
  • The rider. Your weight, fitness level, body position and more will all influence how quickly you get up a hill. You'll also need to set tyre pressures at an appropriate level to maximise your performance.

In the market for an electric bike that will perform well in steeper roads? Here are five options you might like to think about. These were chosen based on a number of factors including the type of motor, weight and cost.

Commuter option

XDS E Cruz

XDS E Cruz. Designed for city commuting and cruising, the XDS E Cruz features a mid-drive Bafang 250 watt motor that produces 80Nm of torque.


All-round option

Cube Cross Hybrid Pro 500 Allroad

Cube Cross Hybrid Pro 500 Allroad. Featuring a Bosch PowerTube 500Wh battery and a motor that produces 75Nm of torque, the Cube Cross Hybrid Pro 500 Allroad is designed to tackle everything from roads and bike paths to dirt tracks.


Long-range option

Focus Aventura² 6.6

Focus Aventura² 6.6. Not only does this bike offer mudguards, a pannier rack and an 85Nm Bosch motor, but you can also expand the range of the 500Wh battery with a second battery.


Adventure option

Marin Pine Mountain E2

Marin Pine Mountain E2. Powered by the Shimano Steps E8000 system, which includes a 500Wh battery and churns out up to 70Nm of torque, the Marin Pine Mountain E2 is designed with bikepacking adventures in mind.


Off-road option

Merida eOne Sixty 8000

Merida eOne Sixty 8000. With a Shimano EP8 motor that delivers 85Nm of torque, this dual-suspension mountain bike is ready for any off-road adventure.


Where to buy electric bikes online

If you're ready to buy, visit one of the following sites.

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1. Leon Cycle

Leon Cycle offer a wide range of NCM electric bikes, conversion kits and repairing tools.

  • All electronic parts have a 1 year warranty
  • Bike frames come with a 2 year warranty
  • All bikes are delivered to you pre-assembled

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2. Crooze

With a huge range of e-bikes, you'll be sure to find your next commuting bike at Crooze.

  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Afterpay, Zip and Humm all available
  • 30 day free returns (but conditions apply)

ebike

3. Bicycles Online

Bicycles Online is your one-stop for all types of bikes. With over 25,000 product reviews, you know you can trust this retailer.

  • Fast delivery Australia-wide
  • Free 14-day returns
  • Afterpay and Zip is available
Go to Bicycles Online

Pros and cons of electric bikes for hills

Pros

  • You can tackle hills you wouldn't normally dream of riding up
  • You can ride further and explore new terrain
  • You're less likely to turn up to work all sweaty and gross
  • There are plenty of different options to choose from, including bikes for many different types of riding.

Cons

  • Electric bikes are significantly more expensive than traditional bikes
  • There are many factors that can affect how well bikes go uphill — it's not just down to the bike you choose.

Bottom line

There's a fair bit to consider when choosing an e-bike to help you tackle hilly terrain. Not only will you need to take factors like weight and torque into account, but you'll also have to compare battery range, bike components and price before deciding which is the best electric bike for hills.

Most importantly, the electric bike you choose will need to be suited to the style of riding you do. If possible, it's well worth test-riding a range of bikes to find one that's right for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

What can I do to ride up hills quicker?

There are several simple things you can do to improve your hill-climbing performance. These include using the correct tyre pressures, improving your fitness, losing weight, choosing the correct gear, and knowing when to sit or stand.

Are there any power limits for electric bikes in Australia?

Yes. It's illegal to ride a pedelec bike on the road or on a bike path if it has a stated power output of more than 250W. For bikes without a pedal assist system, this limit drops to 200W. Check the regulations in your state or territory for more information.

How do I know if an e-bike will be suited to the type of riding I want to do?

While online research helps, the easiest way to work this out is to take that bike for a test-ride. This will give you a chance to see whether the bike is suited for the terrain you want to tackle, while the staff at your local bike shop can also offer advice on how to choose the best electric bike for your needs.

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