Best Electric Bikes For Climbing Hills: E-Bike Features to Look For

Video Blog
July 30, 2019
Best Electric Bikes For Climbing Hills: E-Bike Features to Look For


Hey guys, Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero.

Today, I want to talk to you about the best electric bikes for hills. Let's jump right in. So, electric bikes are becoming very popular, and one of the huge benefits of electric bikes is the fact that you're going to have a motor to help get you up hills. Question is, what's the electric bike I should use for hills, or what's the best electric bike for hills?

I'll precursor by saying in this video, I'm not going to recommend anyone specific electric bike. What I'm going to tell you is, what are the features that you're going to want to have on an electric bike that will make it suitable for hills.

With that said, there's also one thing I'll talk about, which is it depends on how many hills you're going to be doing. What type of hills are we talking about? Are these mountains, like you're going up 1000 elevation? What kind incline are you going to be climbing? Things like that.

I'll start by talking about smaller hills. Let's say you're an average rider, and you just have some hills, up and down, to deal with on your ride. All-electric bikes are going to be pretty viable and helpful for what you're going to want to do.

Now, there are different motor sizes. We've got 250 watts, 350 watts, 500 watts, there are 750 watts, 1000 watt. If you're going just through average neighborhood hills ... Let's say, the other difference is between using full throttle and pedal assist.

If you have a 250-watt motor and you still don't mind pedaling a bit up the hill and you have pedal assist, a 250-watt motor should be just enough. Now, if you are wanting to go up hills and use full throttle, and not pedal at all, I would not recommend a 250-watt motor. Again, 250 watts for hills, if you're okay still pedaling to help propel the bike as well, but if you just want to kick back and hit those hills and go full throttle, 500 watts would be a definite.

Now, this also depends on your weight, because weight is going to have a lot to do with how much that bike can take uphill. The motor is powering the weight of the bike plus the weight of the rider. So, the advice I'm also giving depends a lot about the rider's size. Generally speaking, I'm going to be talking about riders from about 100 pounds up to about 275 pounds. Below that weight class, the motor will still give enough that power to get up hills. Above that weight range, there may be some other or larger motor sizes needed for certain things I'm talking about.

As an example, to go up hills and to pedal a bit on a 250 watt, I'd say if you're above 275, I'd recommend a 500-watt pedal-assist to help you with those hills. If you're going to be doing aggressive hills, and you still want pedal assist and it has a very steep incline, a 500-watt motor may be really what you need.

Again, it's hard for me to really to put a description of all the type of hills that exist out there, and the different inclines, and the different heights. Again, I'm saying my first classification is neighborhood hills.

Let's say you're talking about a very serious, long, steep incline that may take three, four minutes to climb that hill. In that situation, I'd recommend a 500 watt.

The other piece of that, though, too, is what type of derailleur are you using? In any of these situations, I would also recommend if you're going to be going up hills on your electric bike, make sure you have at least seven speeds, especially if you're going to be using the pedal assist. Again, you're going to be wanting to be shifting the bike into the lowest gear to make pedaling as easy as possible for you to get up the hill. It'd be really bad if you had a single speed, but again, seven speeds will be enough. Climbing hills on an electric bike, make sure you have at least a seven-speed derailleur to assist you.

So, the other things are if you're going to be climbing ... Let's say that you're going to be going to a very mountainous area, of you're going to be going mountain biking and you want to climb up the mountain on the electric bike. It's very steep, and you're going for 1000 or 2000 feet of elevation gain. With that said, you are going to want a 500 watt and above. A lot of times, even 750 watts, sometimes even 1000 watt. Again, it depends on the type of terrain, too, and how steep the mountain area is.

The other thing, too, is for the smaller hills, a rear hub drive should be sufficient. Now, as you're moving into more steep, aggressive hill riding, especially in the mountains, mid-drive is much better. The reason for that is the mid-drive provides more torque. The more torque is going to help get you up that hill a lot easier. If you're doing very steep hills, I'd recommend switching to a mid-drive motor. It's going to be better, give more torque to get up the hills, and I'd recommend at least a 500 watt for those circumstances.

One thing we've determined, the best electric bike for hills. Smaller neighborhood hills, 250 watts rear hub motor is okay if you're going to pedal. If you want to go full throttle up the hill, a rear-drive, 500-watt motor, okay. If you're going to mountainous areas, and you want to go full throttle up the hill, you want to go mid-drive minimum, and I would say if you want to go full throttle, up the hill, no pedaling, 750 watt, 500 watt if you're going to use the pedal assist on the mountainous areas. Somewhere in between, there's a lot of gray area in there, it's really up to you. The rear-drive motor tends to be just fine for most recreational riders. You don't necessarily need the torque of the mid-drive.

In my experience, I've ridden both. I ride some hills, not too many. With the rear-drive, it's fine. I have a couple of steep places to go up. I'm okay pedal assisting a bit. I've ridden both 250 watts and 500 watts. I like the 500 watts because if I lose steam up the hill, I can kick in the throttle, and it'll just take me the rest of the way. Again, that's on a rear-drive motor, that's just fine.

The other thing is the battery. Again, the battery size will depend more on the output. If you're going to be in the mountainous areas, and you're going to be exerting the motor and pushing it very hard, you're going to want a bigger battery, more capacity. That motor is going to be working hard, and you're going to drain a lot of that battery as you're going up an elevation. Again, I'm talking about a rider that's specifically out there to climb up a hill, maybe 500 plus feet of elevation. I don't think that's the average rider.

On the recreational side, again, if you just have a few hills going home, it's probably better to have as big a battery as possible, it's not necessary. If you're just talking about one hill on your ride home, no big deal. Now, if you're talking about one major hill that's four to five minutes long, I would recommend as big a battery as possible because that uphill ride is going to kill your juice.

As an example, I have an electric car. I drive home on the 73 Freeway every night, and there is major, major hills, very steep hills that take me two, three, four, five minutes just to get my car up. I may only have been driving about two miles, but by the time I get to the top of the hill, my battery has decreased by, say, 10 miles. That's just because the motor is working extra hard and using more battery power to get up the hill.

Again, if you're looking to buy a bike for hills and you see two bikes, and one is a 500-watt motor, but the battery is smaller than another 500-watt motor, and you know you do a lot of hills, go for the bigger battery. It's going to be very beneficial, it's going to pay off and make sure you won't run out of juice. You don't want to have five hills on the way home, and after the first hill you've killed half your battery and you don't have any juice left for the rest of the ride.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions or are interested in an electric bike for hills, please reach out to us, we can help, the team at Also, call us at 310-982-2877.

Don't forget, check out our electric bikes. If you go to our website on the top nav, you can take a look at our electric bikes. Our Every Journey men's and women's 500 watts, and our Around the Block men's and women's 500 watts are great for climbing hills on a ride. Our bikes are perfect for recreational rides, hills. Not mountainous terrain, but anything else will be just great. The 500 watt rear-drive motor will be perfect for those sort of things. Battery capacity is great, as well.

Don't forget, take our body fit quiz on our website. If you're there, it's right below the top navigation. If not, head over to our website, take the quiz. It's going to recommend a bike for you based on your riding needs. If you still have questions, reach out to us.

Lastly, we have a 365-day return policy. If you don't love your bike within 365 days, you can send it back, no questions asked. We'll pay the shipping, it's nothing out of your pocket. At sixthreezero, we want to make sure you'll love your bike.

Enjoy the ride.  

Best Electric Bike for Hills: What Features to Look For

1) Rear-Hub Motors

  • Good for smaller hills and recreational riding.
  • 250-watt if you are looking to pedal.
  • 500-watt if you are looking to go full throttle uphill.

2) Mid-Drive Motors

  • Good for steep, aggressive hill riding (including mountains).
  • Provides more torque.
  • While using pedal assist, 500-watt.
  • To go full throttle up mountains, 750-watts. 

3) Weight

  • If you are above 275 lbs, 500-watt pedal-assist is recommended.
  • If you are above 275 lbs going up steep hills, 500-watt motor is recommended. 

4) Derailleur

  • If you are going uphill on your electric bike, make sure you have at least seven speeds (especially if you're using pedal-assist).
  • Shift the bike into the lowest gear while pedaling uphills to make it easier for yourself. 

5) Battery

  • If you're going up strenuous mountains and pushing the motor hard, you will need a bigger battery (more capacity).
  • If you are on a recreational ride with little hills, a big battery is not necessary.
  • If you are on a recreational ride with larger hills (4-5 minutes long), a bigger battery is recommended as the uphill ride will kill your juice.

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Best eBike For Hills - Best Electric Bikes For Climbing Steep Hills - Electric Bicycle For Uphill Use - Sixthreezero Bike Co.