Electric bike gears

Electric bike gears

Basic knowledge of the types of electric bicycle gears can help you better understand how your bike works and how best to use the gear system for a smoother riding experience.
Your electric bike’s gear system helps you adjust to different terrains, creating a more comfortable ride. For example, the gear you use for riding on a flat, paved road won’t be the same as climbing a treacherous hill. Different gears provide different assist levels, making for easier or harder pedaling.

Types of electric bike gears

Hub gears
Hub gears — or internal gear hubs (IGH) — are an alternative to derailleur gears. Unlike derailleur models, hub gears don’t display the full gear system. Instead, the gear system is in a hub on the bike’s rear wheel.
Hub gears also don’t rely on a chain and sprockets like derailleurs. Instead, they have a series of gears inside the hub: a sun gear, which is stationary, and multiple planet gears (usually three or four), which are held in a cage and revolve around the sun gears.
A larger annular gear encloses the sun and planet gears, while an external sprocket determines which gear is engaged.
Hub gears have a few distinct advantages. First, they’re low maintenance since they don’t have exposure to the elements like derailleur gears — and generally last longer, as the chain isn’t constantly moving between gear cogs. Hub gears are also compatible with belt drive e-bikes, while derailleurs are only compatible with chain drive e-bikes. 
Derailleur gears
Most e-bikes have derailleur gears. These are external gears in the center of the bike’s rear wheel. The rear derailleur connects to a cable. Depending on the tension in the cable, the derailleur guides the bike chain up and over the gear sprockets, moving between high gears and low gears.
The larger gears are the “lower” gears and are easier to pedal, making them ideal for hill climbing, while the smaller gears are the “higher” gears and better for flat surfaces.
When there’s less tension on the cable, the derailleur moves the chain downward and outward to a lower (smaller) gear. When there’s more tension on the cable, the derailleur moves the chain upward and inward to a higher (larger) gear.
Derailleur gear systems are lightweight and generally inexpensive to repair. They also tend to be more efficient than internal hub gear systems. Derailleurs provide a wider range of gearing options than standard hub gears, accommodating everything from steep climbs to downhill racing.

How to shift gears

Shift the gears according to the terrain
Finally, know what gears work for what terrain: 
Lower, easier gears are better for inclines — switch to a lower gear when approaching a hill.
Middle gears are great for everyday cruising and terrains with slight ups and downs.
Higher gears are ideal for accelerating, descending inclines, and riding on flat surfaces.
Shift before you stop

Rule No. 1 about shifting gears on an e-bike: Never shift when standing still. You should be pedaling the bike when you shift — not stopping or using the throttle power assist (which powers the bike forward even when you aren’t pedaling).

Shifting when you aren’t pedaling can damage the gears. For example, this can cause the bike chain to dislodge and come off in a derailleur system.  

Shifting before you stop also makes it easier to start up again later. You should be pedaling normally or with only pedal assist engaged before shifting.
Shift one gear at a time

Only shift one gear at a time to avoid potential damage to the e-bike gear system. Aggressive gear changes can cause the chain to skip or derail.

It’s also good to know your bike’s gearing capacity. For example, Rattan’s LM/LF SERIES has a seven-speed gear system, while the Pathfinder Series has an eight-speed gear system.
Be careful when shifting gears while pedaling
While pedaling when shifting gears, you shouldn’t be going at maximum speeds. For example, the chainring could come off if you’re pedaling too hard when trying to shift with a derailleur model.
Before getting on your bike, make sure you know how to shift gears. Rattan’s Pathfinder and Pathfinder ST have rear derailleur systems and a thumb-controlled gear shifting switch at the handlebars.