Posted by Dan Radford on 12th Apr 2020

Can an electric bike get up any hill?

I am always being asked "Can an electric bike get up any hill?

As long as you have the right electric bike you can!

Just to prove it...

We recently took on 13 of the biggest hills on our doorstep. It is an area known as ‘the five valleys’ (Nailsworth, Chalford, Toadsmoor, Slad & Painswick), so there is no shortage of challenging climbs to test our Riese & Müller electric bikes.

This little local route is the equivalent in altitude gain of cycling two 3rds of the way up Mt. Snowden from sea level.

The ride is a loop starting and finishing at the The Crown Inn, Minchinhampton. There is plenty of free parking at Bell Lane, behind the church.

Our Riese & Müller electric bikes easily got us up every hill we threw at them.

Hands up, I couldn't do a lot of these climbs on a traditional bike. But give me a quality electric bike and none of them will be a problem.

What was I riding?

I completed this ride on on a Riese & Müller Supercharger2 GT touring (with GX option).

The bike was equipped with off-road tyres and had the latest Gen4 Bosch Performance CX motor. 

The Supercharger2 was a twin battery bike (1,000Wh) which extended the range. I actually only needed a single battery for this route, but it's always nice to have a little back-up, just in case!

I did the whole ride in eMTB mode, which is a mix between Tour and Turbo, so I was not trying to conserve battery. 

In total I used roughly 400Wh of battery, climbed 2,500ft, covered 27.5 miles, with the steepest incline at 22%.

We did not need to get off and push on any of the hills :)

Not all electric bikes are great on the hills

Believe it or not, there are some e-bikes out there that you will have to push up hill, but these are predominantly hub motor e-bikes, with a limited range of gears.

You need three things to get you up any hill;

  1. Mid-drive motor
  2. Plenty of torque
  3. Low gears

A mid drive motor (not a hub motor) is important because it works like a car engine with a gearbox. An electric motor has an optimum number of revolutions to produce maximum power. As the motor spins slower it produces less torque and power. With a mid drive motor, you can change down gears and the motor will start spinning faster as you pedal faster as it is connected directly to the pedal cranks. This will keep the power up. 

The technical stuff

Riese & Müller only use Bosch mid-drive motors, which are great for hill climbing. Bosch motors like the Gen4 Performance CX model is one of the most powerful motors on the market today with up to 75Nm of torque.

And if you’re serious about finding the biggest mountains (not hills) to climb up, just go for something with the Rohloff E-14 or the Sunrace MX80 50T cassette. Both are available on the Delite and SuperDelite Mountain. Find out more in our edemo Riese & Müller UK Buyer's guide

These bikes have the lowest gearing with the most torque. I challenge you to find a hill these bikes can’t climb. In my experience, trying to keep the front wheel on the floor with all that power on the steepest slope is the real challenge.

Riese & Müller Superdelite Mountain will easily put a mountain goat to shame.

Need help?

If you would like help choosing the right bike;

Call me 01453 834300 or email dan@edemo.bike

If you fancy having a go at the route, sign-in and download it from komoot using the link. 

For more local routes, check out  this collection.

For more routes and 'eventure' ideas, check out  my profile on komoot.