Electric bikes give you the opportunity to conquer daunting hills without breaking a sweat. It’s one of the biggest reasons why they’ve become so popular — especially in cities packed with steep inclines. (Ever tried riding a bike in San Francisco? Yeah, us neither.)
When it comes to hills, we get a lot of questions from would-be-riders about what they can expect from the model they have their eyes on. Can the RadCity really get them up those sudden slopes on their way to work? How does the RadMini fare on those mountainous driveways that some of our rural riders struggle with?
For this edition of Test Ride Tuesday, we decided to get to the bottom (or top!) of the issue. We grabbed each of our electric bike models and headed out to a hilly neighborhood near our Seattle headquarters for an experiment.
Our buddy Kagen kindly volunteered to help us out. We didn’t tell him ahead of time that he would be riding each model uphill while trying out every level of pedal assist, but he was a good sport.
As you can see, not only was he able to make it up each time, but he had plenty of energy to spare.
How did he do it, you wonder? Well, while he would probably like us to think it was solely due to his brute strength, the truth is, each of our bikes is equipped with an electric motor. Its job is to add a little extra oomph to your ride.
Once the motor is activated, it's up to each rider to determine how much work they'd like to put in and how much help they'd like to receive from the bike. Riders can rely on varying degrees of pedal assist or take advantage of the twist-grip throttle and not have to pedal at all*. Feeling extra spicy? Opt for PAS 0 and do all the work on your own!
The best part, though, is that you're able to change it up at any point during your ride. For example, you can be happily cruising along with barely any assistance when you suddenly find yourself face-to-face with a menacing hill. All you have to do is press a button or flick your wrist and you can summon however much power you need to make it to the top.
If you have a certain model that's been calling to you, check out how it did on our series of test rides. And just remember, that could be you in the saddle.
Test Ride Watchlist
*Independent Throttle feature not available in all countries.