Ebike gearing

223coyote

Member
I just recently purchased a st2 my first ebike, this may be a stupid question but I want to know why they have so many gears on an electric bike , I commuted to work 40 miles round trip and never took it out of top gear , going up hills as well as flat terrain. Does using the gears give you longer battery life? It seems they could have saved some weight on the bike by offering fewer gears, if going up the hill started to be difficult I hit #3 assist and it was a breeze. Are the gears used mainly when it's loaded down for a trip or something?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I just recently purchased a st2 my first ebike, this may be a stupid question but I want to know why they have so many gears on an electric bike , I commuted to work 40 miles round trip and never took it out of top gear , going up hills as well as flat terrain. Does using the gears give you longer battery life? It seems they could have saved some weight on the bike by offering fewer gears, if going up the hill started to be difficult I hit #3 assist and it was a breeze. Are the gears used mainly when it's loaded down for a trip or something?

I changed my ST2's rear cassette from 11-34 to 11-28. Now, I use 4-6 gears instead of just 2-3 gears.
I also concur that the smaller chaining on the front is just redundant!
Even though it is a hub motor, as Rincon mentioned, it helps in maintaining steady cadence and transferring more power to the crank during steep climbs.
Gearing becomes really crucial when you're using a mid-drive system.
 

smitty

Active Member
I just recently purchased a st2 my first ebike, this may be a stupid question but I want to know why they have so many gears on an electric bike , I commuted to work 40 miles round trip and never took it out of top gear , going up hills as well as flat terrain. Does using the gears give you longer battery life? It seems they could have saved some weight on the bike by offering fewer gears, if going up the hill started to be difficult I hit #3 assist and it was a breeze. Are the gears used mainly when it's loaded down for a trip or something?

Interesting, I felt the same way when first riding my ST-2. I now find myself trying to ride in level 1 and using the smaller front chain ring on steep hills simply to replicate the effort on my old road bikes. No question that it makes for battery battery usage and more distance, staying in level 1. But some days, I simply pop it into level 2 and just go; nice to have the option to do both. Level 3 simply makes hills disappear... I like Ravi's idea of dropping down to 28 tooth rear end.
 

Douglas Ruby

Well-Known Member
I changed my Specialized Turbo to an 11 speed 11-42 from its original 10 speed 11-32. I use all 11 gears, but keep in mind:
  1. I My max power is just 200W, so I often shift to a lower gear when climbing.
  2. I weigh 235 lbs, am 65 yrs old, and had a significant heart attack 16 years ago.
  3. I often ride at significantly below full TURBO mode (ECO40 to ECO50) so I have even less real power to assist me.
So having a wide range and as many gears as I can get is a GOOD thing.
 

Streumer

Active Member
I have here on the shelve a 53 instead of a 52 I must install once, as I commute to work at top speed.
 

drcollie

Member
I may ride my ST2S differently from the rest of you, but I am ALWAYS changing gears constantly, especially in the hilly areas where I live. A typical ride for me is 15 to 25 miles out and then back so 30 to 50 miles total. I always try to leave the bike on minimal assist and pedal to a cadence like you would a regular bike, and that means I have to use the gears. I will put it on the mid-assist settings when I hit the big hills near the end of a ride, and almost never use the high setting except just when goofing around. So I use it more like a conventional bicycle so I am getting the workout, yet I have the ability to crank past the big hills without exhausting myself. When you ride like that, the gears are essential.

I get the sense that most E-Bike users do the opposite, put the bike on the high assist setting and ride to the range max. That's OK, too - "Ride your Ride", but if you operate that way I can see why you question the need for gears.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
"I have a very simple and totally subjective answer: it's because it's designed in Switzerland and we LOVE complex front cranksets."

The king of which is the Schlumpf, a two speed bb drive that can magically make a 27t chain ring in to a 63t in the High Speed version. I use mine in conjunction with an 8 spd. 11/28 cassette for 16 total useable gears with very little overlap. I keep it in the higher range when on the road and low range when poking around and on more technical and steep terrain. I also use the lower range for starting off because I have found that a lot of energy is used doing that if you stop and start a lot. The shifting mechanism is the silver button which you engage with your heel which can be changed at a standstill and easy to switch over if you don't get it done before stopping.

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I think that those that come from a cycling background find gearing more important than those that don't. The benefits of using what suits your preferred cadence and terrain will get you more mileage per charge if you are putting in 100-250w yourself and also get you a better workout if that is what you are looking for. Using a readout like the Cycle Analyst really shows how this relates because you can see just how many watts the motor is using while pedaling and then not pedaling. This reflects also in the wh/mile readout, the lower the reading the more effort you have put in. Unfortunately the readouts on most bikes don't give you this type of info but you get a feel for it nonetheless the more you ride your particular bike.

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JayVee

Well-Known Member
Thinking about the answers in this thread, which are all pertinent, it occured to me that some people might ride differently depending on whether they're commuting or riding for other purposes (fitness, touring, etc.). When I commute, I want to get to my destination as quickly as possible, but when I'm touring I tend to pay more attention to the way I ride. Other people might have different riding styles, regardless of their journey's purpose, which they apply due to their cycling background, for greater efficiency, or because of other personal factors.

I was half kidding/half serious with the Swiss gearing remark. When I ask a Swiss salesperson why there are 30 gears on a bike powered by a DD hub I usually get an answer such as "for the same reason as you have those gears on a mountain bike". When I remark that it's a city bike, I usually get a blank stare followed by "You know, sir, this is Switzerland, and we have mountains". Now anyone who says that gearing is an essential aspect of cycling is certainly right, but I'm left wondering just how many of those 30 gears are actually being used on a city/trekking bike (given the DD hub).

I've been curious about this for a while, not only due to my personal experiences, but also based on my personal observation of Stromer riders in general. I live in a hilly area and often have the opportunity to see them go by. Their riders almost always have the same demeanor: they're going uphill relatively fast but yet their pedaling cadence is slow in comparison. At times it almost looks as if they're they're coasting uphill. This looks so odd and surreal that it has remained imprinted in my brain. But I also realize that when I'm the one riding the bike, I'm basically doing the same thing. That's why I was so interested about the OP's original comment.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Thinking about the answers in this thread, which are all pertinent, it occured to me that some people might ride differently depending on whether they're commuting or riding for other purposes (fitness, touring, etc.). When I commute, I want to get to my destination as quickly as possible, but when I'm touring I tend to pay more attention to the way I ride. Other people might have different riding styles, regardless of their journey's purpose, which they apply due to their cycling background, for greater efficiency, or because of other personal factors.

There is no end of possibilities.

I was half kidding/half serious with the Swiss gearing remark. When I ask a Swiss salesperson why there are 30 gears on a bike powered by a DD hub I usually get an answer such as "for the same reason as you have those gears on a mountain bike". When I remark that it's a city bike, I usually get a blank stare followed by "You know, sir, this is Switzerland, and we have mountains". Now anyone who says that gearing is an essential aspect of cycling is certainly right, but I'm left wondering just how many of those 30 gears are actually being used on a city/trekking bike (given the DD hub).

EU and EU/US spec commuter/trekking bikes shouldn't need any more than 3 spds, 5 max.. It would be cool if they could sync the PAS level to a specific gear so that if you were in eco you would be in 1st gear and so on. Of course it would have to be push button automatic....

I've been curious about this for a while, not only due to my personal experiences, but also based on my personal observation of Stromer riders in general. I live in a hilly area and often have the opportunity to see them go by. Their riders almost always have the same demeanor: they're going uphill relatively fast but yet their pedaling cadence is slow in comparison. At times it almost looks as if they're they're coasting uphill. This looks so odd and surreal that it has remained imprinted in my brain. But I also realize that when I'm the one riding the bike, I'm basically doing the same thing. That's why I was so interested about the OP's original comment.

If I am not doing at least 50rpm's I start feeling like I am back riding my motorcycle. That type of system would drive me nuts. But obviously it works!
 

bluecat

Well-Known Member
going uphill relatively fast but yet their pedaling cadence is slow in comparison. ... This looks so odd and surreal that it has remained imprinted in my brain.

This (horrible) behavior is also very common for mid-drive riders in the plain area. I assume, they simulate pedaling ;-)

Over the years, the Stromer get stronger and stronger (and much more reliable!), Next year, the ST2 / ST2s will have 40 NM torque! In the same time, gearing was downsized. From three to two chainrings, next the Schlumpf Speed Drive and finally the single chainring with the Di2. And the 11 gears of the ST"s are absolute sufficient (als long as the engine works ;-)
 

223coyote

Member
Took my st2 to work and only used 15% of the battery going 20 miles, on the way home I had 85 % to use so I cranked it up to level 2 and three all the way home, this bike is such a blast, and crazy Lennie's is an awesome dealer. The only thing is I have to learn to slow down, I took a corner to fast and hit a curb when I was about stopped, didn't hurt the bike , but I broke some find and dislocated and broke my collar bone the two pieces of bone are sitting on top of each other. I go in to surgery tomorrow, so my riding is done for the year.
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
I took a corner to fast and hit a curb when I was about stopped, didn't hurt the bike , but I broke some find and dislocated and broke my collar bone the two pieces of bone are sitting on top of each other. I go in to surgery tomorrow, so my riding is done for the year.

Yikes man, that is awful. Hope you heal up fast. These speed pedelecs do demand respect. With great power comes great responsibility (or something like that.)
 

smitty

Active Member
I just recently purchased a st2 my first ebike, this may be a stupid question but I want to know why they have so many gears on an electric bike , I commuted to work 40 miles round trip and never took it out of top gear , going up hills as well as flat terrain. Does using the gears give you longer battery life? It seems they could have saved some weight on the bike by offering fewer gears, if going up the hill started to be difficult I hit #3 assist and it was a breeze. Are the gears used mainly when it's loaded down for a trip or something?

I guess that I have looked at it as an insurance policy ; i.e., if I am out on a cruise and for some reason the electrical system fails, I could probably get home without the power. I have also found that the gears prove useful when riding in level 1 from time to time. I ride in that level on at least a part of my rides to get a little more exercise and to lessen the battery load. In regard to saving weight; I'm reminded of the drilled out Weimann brake levers on my old Raleigh International. Back in the day, we did everything we could do to reduce the weight of the bike. With a 500 watt motor; one need not worry about an extra chain ring in terms of weight. I certainly agree that one could easily get by with a single front chain ring as on the Limited Edition or the ST-2s, but I am finding that the smaller front chain ring proves helpful when riding in level 1. Hopefully, I won't ever have to test the lack of electricity...
 

223coyote

Member
I guess that I have looked at it as an insurance policy ; i.e., if I am out on a cruise and for some reason the electrical system fails, I could probably get home without the power. I have also found that the gears prove useful when riding in level 1 from time to time. I ride in that level on at least a part of my rides to get a little more exercise and to lessen the battery load. In regard to saving weight; I'm reminded of the drilled out Weimann brake levers on my old Raleigh International. Back in the day, we did everything we could do to reduce the weight of the bike. With a 500 watt motor; one need not worry about an extra chain ring in terms of weight. I certainly agree that one could easily get by with a single front chain ring as on the Limited Edition or the ST-2s, but I am finding that the smaller front chain ring proves helpful when riding in level 1. Hopefully, I won't ever have to test the lack of electricity...
I went 20 miles on level 1 , I turned the assistance off for a couple miles and used the gears all the way to work and I only used 15 percent of the battery compared to using all the assistance levels in high gear and using 40 percent of the battery on the last trip, same route and distance. Thanks everyone for the tips !!
 
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Robie

Active Member
Sorry for your get off. I lucked out I'm already back in the saddle following hernia surgery a month back. Hope your surgery and therapy go as well as mine .