Mid-Drive Shifting Technique

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
So, I think I'm getting smarter about shifting in a way that's both efficient and easier on the chain-- either that, or the bike is breaking in, because I'm climbing hills 10% faster than I was the first week I had the Motobecane. (E5000 motor, only 40 Nm of torque, full manual shifting, no brake-throttle cutout.) But I still find this a challenge, so a few questions:

* The goal is to have a silent, or relatively quiet "click" when I shift, correct? A loud "clank" where I actually feel friction is what I'm trying to avoid, I think. It seems like it's not a binary issue, there's a whole continuum between a terrible shift and a perfect one.

* I understand that the idea is to just back off on the crank pressure a bit while still spinning the crank, so you're not shifting under load. However, sometimes this doesn't seem to work-- I'll spin without much pressure, and get a louder "clank" anyway. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?

* Approaching a steep uphill from a steep downhill, I try to downshift earlier than I would on an acoustic bike, but I also don't want to shift straight to the optimal gear for the steepest part of the hill. Let's say that's third gear-- I frequently will shift to, say, sixth so I'm providing both human and motor power to the drive train as I start to ascend the hill, before it gets steep, and then try to downshift when the drive train is under a little load, but not much.

Any tips or tricks for making this smoother? Seems like it's easiest to shift when the pedals are vertical, in the brief interval before one pedal takes up the load from the other, but I still have occaisional loud shifting happening!

Thanks,
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
So, I think I'm getting smarter about shifting in a way that's both efficient and easier on the chain-- either that, or the bike is breaking in, because I'm climbing hills 10% faster than I was the first week I had the Motobecane. (E5000 motor, only 40 Nm of torque, full manual shifting, no brake-throttle cutout.) But I still find this a challenge, so a few questions:

* The goal is to have a silent, or relatively quiet "click" when I shift, correct? A loud "clank" where I actually feel friction is what I'm trying to avoid, I think. It seems like it's not a binary issue, there's a whole continuum between a terrible shift and a perfect one.

* I understand that the idea is to just back off on the crank pressure a bit while still spinning the crank, so you're not shifting under load. However, sometimes this doesn't seem to work-- I'll spin without much pressure, and get a louder "clank" anyway. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?

* Approaching a steep uphill from a steep downhill, I try to downshift earlier than I would on an acoustic bike, but I also don't want to shift straight to the optimal gear for the steepest part of the hill. Let's say that's third gear-- I frequently will shift to, say, sixth so I'm providing both human and motor power to the drive train as I start to ascend the hill, before it gets steep, and then try to downshift when the drive train is under a little load, but not much.

Any tips or tricks for making this smoother? Seems like it's easiest to shift when the pedals are vertical, in the brief interval before one pedal takes up the load from the other, but I still have occaisional loud shifting happening!

Thanks,
Sounds like you have it figured out, now it's about muscle memory. And yes, you'll still miss an occasional shift, as long as it's not common, I would not worry .
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I constantly monitor stuff like that (as well as PAS level and what gear I'm in for a particular situation), judging how well I'm doing by how many miles I get on a charge. I don't mind admitting I couldn't ride worth a darn at first. I think it took maybe 5-600 miles before my mileage stopped increasing and stayed about the same (on average). There's way more to this than what appears at first....
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Catalyzt, How long have you had the bike?
You have the technique down! On a truly steep ones, without cars, you can do a switchback instead of down shifting while heading straight into the slope.
I use a drop of oil on each pivot point of the derailleur after cleaning. I like the oil used by the millitary for extremely high temp and high pressure, fast moving devices in dusty desert conditions. This oil does not attract grit and is easy to clean off for next time. It helps to keep shifting a mid-drive smooth. Check the chain for stretch and that the hanger has not been bumped.
I will bet that your legs are getting pumped up and that you feel great.
 

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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Let me say how I do the shift on any of my e-bikes (mid-drive or hub-drive): I just briefly stop pedalling before the shift. It simply works for me.

I draw an analogy between a manual transmission car and a bike: Before any shift on the car, you need to disengage the clutch, and after the shift is done, you fluently engage the clutch again. In a derailleur bike, I stop pedalling (like, disengaging the clutch) before the shift, then start pedalling delicately after the shift (like, engaging the clutch in the analogy).

Now, what to do to downshift uphill? Downshifting before riding up the hill comes without saying but what if you need to downshift during the climb? Simple. Just make sure the e-bike has enough of momentum, and downshift as if it were done on the flat. Especially, some better Shimano shifters allow downshifting two or even three gears with a single deep lever click.

Whenever I hear a loud derailleur "clunk", I know I did it wrongly again...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I constantly monitor stuff like that (as well as PAS level and what gear I'm in for a particular situation), judging how well I'm doing by how many miles I get on a charge. I don't mind admitting I couldn't ride worth a darn at first. I think it took maybe 5-600 miles before my mileage stopped increasing and stayed about the same (on average). There's way more to this than what appears at first....
Like golf. Learn the basics in an hour, and then spend years trying to get it perfect.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
So, I think I'm getting smarter about shifting in a way that's both efficient and easier on the chain-- either that, or the bike is breaking in, because I'm climbing hills 10% faster than I was the first week I had the Motobecane. (E5000 motor, only 40 Nm of torque, full manual shifting, no brake-throttle cutout.)

You are overthinking about this and also over focusing on the advertised torque at the crank.

When you decide to shift first ease up or completely stop pedaling briefly if you can not modulate your pedaling force, shift, return to how you were pedaling before smoothly. These motors don't instantaneously stop btw, you can use it to your advantage, stop pedaling as you are shifting, before the motor completely stops it will move enough to make the shift, go back to pedaling...
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Catalyzt, How long have you had the bike?
You have the technique down! On a truly steep ones, without cars, you can do a switchback instead of down shifting while heading straight into the slope.
I like the oil used by the millitary for extremely high temp and high pressure, fast moving devices in dusty desert conditions. This oil does not attract grit and is easy to clean off for next time. It helps to keep shifting a mid-drive smooth. Check the chain for stretch and that the hanger has not been bumped.
I will bet that your legs are getting pumped up and that you feel great.
I have had the bike three weeks and 110 miles, hoping to post a detailed review of it soon. I thought it was seriously underpowered for the first week or so, but now I'm liking it just the way it is. BTW, that sounds like good oil to have, is there a name for it or some equivalent?

I am getting more fit-- I've been riding the other front hub kit bike for 5 months previously-- but I think my shifting is slowly improving and also that the engine is breaking in... it is delivering more power now than it did when I first rode it home, even in the last 10% of the battery. And ArtDeco (and others who made similar points) I agree, it could take a long time to learn to ride really well -- finding the best balance between speed, efficiency, and fitness.

I'm still burning through my electrons at a furious pace-- my range is only about 35 miles-- but maybe that can't be helped given the local terrain. Someplace more normal, it would probably be 40 to 60... But this is a typical hour ride in my neighborhood... nothing too extreme, but it adds up, about 1,300 feet of vertical:

Screenshot_20210416-201658_Strava.jpg
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You are overthinking about this and also over focusing on the advertised torque at the crank.

When you decide to shift first ease up or completely stop pedaling briefly if you can not modulate your pedaling force, shift, return to how you were pedaling before smoothly. These motors don't instantaneously stop btw, you can use it to your advantage, stop pedaling as you are shifting, before the motor completely stops it will move enough to make the shift, go back to pedaling...
You may be right about overthinking advertised torque. As for shifting, whoa-- yes, that's kind of what it feels like when it's right-- the motor doesn't stop right away! Maybe that's why some shifts are so smooth and silent. I hadn't put that together, thanks, that
 

Gionnirocket

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Y. O.
So, I think I'm getting smarter about shifting in a way that's both efficient and easier on the chain-- either that, or the bike is breaking in, because I'm climbing hills 10% faster than I was the first week I had the Motobecane. (E5000 motor, only 40 Nm of torque, full manual shifting, no brake-throttle cutout.) But I still find this a challenge, so a few questions:

* The goal is to have a silent, or relatively quiet "click" when I shift, correct? A loud "clank" where I actually feel friction is what I'm trying to avoid, I think. It seems like it's not a binary issue, there's a whole continuum between a terrible shift and a perfect one.

* I understand that the idea is to just back off on the crank pressure a bit while still spinning the crank, so you're not shifting under load. However, sometimes this doesn't seem to work-- I'll spin without much pressure, and get a louder "clank" anyway. Any idea what I could be doing wrong?

* Approaching a steep uphill from a steep downhill, I try to downshift earlier than I would on an acoustic bike, but I also don't want to shift straight to the optimal gear for the steepest part of the hill. Let's say that's third gear-- I frequently will shift to, say, sixth so I'm providing both human and motor power to the drive train as I start to ascend the hill, before it gets steep, and then try to downshift when the drive train is under a little load, but not much.

Any tips or tricks for making this smoother? Seems like it's easiest to shift when the pedals are vertical, in the brief interval before one pedal takes up the load from the other, but I still have occaisional loud shifting happening!

Thanks,
Seems you're doing what works best for most...and I for one got better over time.
As others stated the slight motor run_on aids in shifting as you stop pedaling and if your controller allows a slight delay in motor engagement as you start does as well... This coupled with a low starting current setting a start delay of a 1/4 crank makes for very smooth shifts.
 
on a slope I will push harder to give me some slack when I let up. so push hard then let up and shift gives you more leeway.
This is my technique as well. It works great. I pedal harder for a revolution or two to push ahead, then ease up on the pedals, then shift... and do this again...and again... I can shift multiple times in the middle of a hill with little complaint from the bike.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Interesting, but what is it called?
https://lucasoil.com/pdf/TDS_extreme-gun-oil.pdf
This other product works on chains and derailleurs to get them clean, that is if you are that far vested into OCD: https://www.vevor.com/collections/c...ital-sonic-cleaning-equipment-stainless-steel
The red bike conversion is almost ready. I keep getting distractions. It just needs a connector soldered in and the wide chain fitted. This one is a coaster brake mid-drive. Internal gear hub shifts need to happen only when coasting. Because of drivetrain momentum feedback, pedal pressure must be slightly reduced before coasting. Or you will get a kick. The chrome rims, cup holder and polished crank arms put me over the top. And those curvy durvy lines. It is triple butted chromoly.
 

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Alvin1957

Member
Region
USA
City
Midlothian, TX
I had to learn this on our e tandem.
Hello and just a thought...I have encountered the same loud 'clunk' when I think that I have backed off the pedal pressure. Finally realized that it (in my case) was when shifting from a lower gear to a higher gear. Not frequent, though. I suspect that the chain is dropping to a smaller rear sprocket faster that the derailleur can take up any developing slack. I did manage to look down a couple of times during a shift and noted a little bit of 'whip' in the chain that I don't typically see. I don't know but it seems more noisy than anything else. Just what I have seen. Also sometimes encountered on my conventional rides.