Do You Need Gears On An Electric Bike? | Riding A Single Speed EMTB

Do You Need Gears On An Electric Bike? | Riding A Single Speed EMTB

One of the downsides of riding an EMTB is the rate at which the drivetrain wears out. But how would an E Bike ride if you ditched the gears and ran a singlespeed set up? To find out, Chris headed to Rogate Bike Park for a series of challenges 🤘

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How will the singlespeed compare against Chris’s regular geared Canyon Spectral:on in a timed downhill section, fireroad sprint, and climb back to the top of the hill? Watch now to find out!

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🎵 Music – licensed by Epidemic Sound & Artlist
Stringin’ Up – Kit and the Calltones
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Unstad – Felix Johansson Carne
Sahara Cowboy – Arc De Soleil
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Strapt (Instrumental Version) – Pandaraps
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Readers Comments (50)

  1. Again yet another example of the absolute obvious…. Ebikes, and emtbs need a throttle in addition to PAS, then you could have single speed, the throttle can even be set to walk mode speed 4mph, it just bridges that cadence. And you never get cought in the wrong gear, and with cranks in the wrong place if you do stick with gears. Makes a lot of sense guys, you really need to try this.

  2. Christopher Creley March 28, 2021 @ 11:01 pm

    This global network…only showcases Canyon and Nukeproof. Sooo global!

  3. Getting bored of ideas for videos. That was just stupid. Only good reason for a single speed electric bike would be for a commuter bike and even then.

  4. I think ebikes r cadence machines and along with that they are primarily for smoothing out the hills. Just my opinion. Now if you had torque sensing gear box that eliminated hand shifting and kept you pushing the same resistance at the same cadence regardless of speed I would go with that.

  5. I agree with a lot of you, we need to see tests on 8, 9, and ten speed conversions with more durable chains.

  6. So far on my Trek Rail I have found that I generally use less than half the gears on a 12 speed block. It is definitely something for e-bikes to consider and adapt in future, rather than just use the same set up as the traditional human powered equivalent. And having to replace the cassette and chain after 1000 miles (4 months ownership) is not great or cheap after spending many thousands on the bike.. But still, they are the best fun!

  7. Stewart Jackson March 28, 2021 @ 11:04 pm

    Wow wbo knew!

  8. ebikes are f noisy

  9. Why would you ever do that?

  10. As in cars, also on bikes, e-bikes, motorbikes, the best compromise is the classic 6-speed! 😉 And for a daily MTB for town and short off-road trips 3×7 or 3×8 are more than enough! 😉

  11. why they dont put gears directly in the motor like for other vehicles

  12. I think if you could put an easier single speed setup on there then it would be good for bike-park people who only pedal to get back up the hill. And for commuting as Chris said. But if you’re commuting, you’d probably not go for an EMTB.

  13. Cube stereo hybrid action team 2019 got it right with there 8 speed set up…stronger chain and no unwanted gears

  14. Front derailleur is the way to go! 34t, 28t front and 18t rear. Waiting for a review 🙂

  15. I had to single speed my levo HT last year when the rear cassette decides to eat my rear mech on a root, took off the broken mech, shortened the chain an it got me home (11 miles), I called my strava ride "an unlikely chain of events". LoL

  16. So many people ask me if my e-bike has gears, they think a motor is a substitute for gears.

  17. Internal gear hubs like some shimano options have 409% gear range. In that way you could get rid of the cassette and derailleur with out loosing gears.

  18. Nirvana would be a built in gearbox though, we can all wish. Trouble is the deraillier is like a ballcock, been the same for years, coz it just works…

  19. Single speed makes more sense with a hub motor, because the torque is constant, whereas on a mid-drive, it’s setup to work best within a certain cadance range. A lof of courier bikes use the first setup.

  20. Once one get the ss legs, climbing hills actually can become ‘easier’ and faster. All my fastest times uphills have been on ss and haven’t been able to touch them on the geared bike.

  21. Box components have Prime 9 and SRAM have an 8 speed E-bike specific groupset if I’m not mistaken.

  22. Trails and Dales March 28, 2021 @ 11:26 pm

    Go do that epic ride you did in good weather. And see how far you get in the slop and cold. That would be a good comparison. I am getting 19 miles instead 24 with my shimano e8000 500watt battery.

  23. Reprogram the motor w/ throttle control while pedaling…on the fly pedal assist….then lighten it up w/a belt drive

  24. I’m looking forward to when Ebike motors come with a built in gear box.. uh duh!

  25. Gearbox + Belt Drive seems to be the future for ebikes saw some australian guy modifying his turbo Levo seemed pretty happy with that.

  26. Instead of single speed setup you could have just used a single gear on that cassette 😀

  27. I was told a normal Bosch motor can not be ridden as ss. There are some ”plastic” gears thay will break. The exception is the schindlehauer ebike with a modified bosch motor.

  28. Charge Ride Repeat March 28, 2021 @ 11:29 pm

    A hub drive is effectively a single speed and has just as many advantages over a mid drive as disasvantages.

  29. got to be one of the most useless videos I have ever seen you guys produce.

  30. nope single speed for me, gonna kill me softly claiming

  31. Bike Adventures March 28, 2021 @ 11:32 pm

    Very interesting test! I have said it before, you don’t need as many gears with an eMTB, but more reliable and durable gears.

  32. We need a dedicated 8 speed group for ebikes with an 11-42 cassette.
    8 speed will allow a thicker chain for less stretch and increased longevity.
    I often shift down 2 or 3 gears at a time on the levo when accelerating.
    12 speed on an ebike is nonsense.

  33. Awesome video – been trying to find information out on this for ages, interesting about the extra strain on the motor I’d overlooked that. Makes me wonder how all the different types of motors would function with this setup and which one would be best.

    Thanks guys 🙂


  35. Richard James Milne March 28, 2021 @ 11:35 pm

    Agreed! I think that e-bikes could use less rear sprockets maybe 5 to 6

  36. Siempre firme muy bien El mejor duró🚵

  37. Agreed. Gearbox with the motor. Or fewer rings out back. Does one really need up to 13 speed granularity on an eBike? Motor and gear selection should be based on keeping the motor in its optimal operating range with the least amount of gears, I would think.

  38. The Shimano Nexus 5 rear hub is a good alternative too, pick the version with disc brake. Should make for a good winter setup. Just have to figure out how to mount it but should be doable with some adapters, needs 135 rear spacing in stock form.

  39. Perhaps a gearbox that is part of the next generation of motors? Let the motor have optimum choice. Time will tell. No doubt someone is already working on this?

  40. I skipped to the end. The question is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Single speed is for suffering – period. Emtb is not. I’m going to have to pick and choose topics from you guys – you’re getting dumber.

  41. Just a thought Chris, the single speed lower gear must have made it easier to pedal over the limiter, so maybe try the sprint again on the full cassette, but when you exceed the limiter, change down a gear or two to make it easier to accelerate after you have lost assistance above the limit???? How about an 8 speed of DH cassette instead with less chain deflection. Either way good experiment, great show, great advice, keep doing what your doing.

  42. That motor sounds horrific

  43. How about having two chain rings one smaller and one bigger with single speed? Maybe it could be solution to uphill and downhill

  44. Im super confused, why would you pedal at all through flat areas, wouldn’t you use the motor to keep your speed up through those areas?

  45. Curt Richardson March 28, 2021 @ 11:48 pm

    I had a Ford granada with a bad transmission that was a single speed… wasn’t fun.

  46. I agree with Chris, I don’t think an eMTB need more then 10-speed. My eMTB came with a 11-42T and I am able to do all of the climbs my eMTB crew is doing with there 12-speed 11-51T. I will stick with a 10-speed drive train, but will get a 11-46T or 11-50T cassette, which will be plenty of climbing gear.

  47. Mark Lethbridge March 28, 2021 @ 11:48 pm

    Should have used a Yammie motor, great at low cadence.

  48. Currently, have a Cube suv hybrid race 500, with carbon belt drive and Enviolo internal gear hub, definitely better than having a cassette and derailleur. Saying that I know a lot of the Bafang BBS02 and BBSHD mid-drive users have gone with the Sturmey Archer 3 speed internal gearing hub with great success. I’m sure Continental the well-known tyre brand were developing an internally geared hub and motor in one. Sadly they pulled out last year at some point.

  49. michael nedsmar March 28, 2021 @ 11:51 pm

    The answer is YES ! ! There’s nothing wrong in riding a single speed to keep things simple and minimalistic .but an E bike is not Minimalistic .
    The only reason i ride an E bike as my right knee gives me pain due to over spinning out on SS s and doing silly stuff on fixies. .

  50. 1 speed belt drive, mid gearbox with the motor around the gear cluster as a single unit , stainless drive cogs. the future for all but a racer

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