Which gears should you run on your e-mtb? - Dirt

Mountain Biking Magazine



Which gears should you run on your e-mtb?

An interesting and hugely complex area of e-mtb

Gearing is an interesting and hugely complex area of e-mtb. Where some systems break down is when the motor cannot recognise the power input and cadence correctly but, more than this, getting the right parity between the sensors and gearing alone lets many systems down.

There’s two other ways of looking at gearing up front. Whilst many Bosch bikes use small front chainrings of 16T the Shimano and Yamaha motors go for the bigger 36 or 38T systems. But whilst there’s little to choose in terms of gear range, their functionality in deep mud has quite different results and we’ve been clogged up on the smaller rings quite regularly. The larger ring bikes in our test haven’t suffered from this.

Overall gear offerings are pretty similar to mtb but there’s a few new systems coming on line which are geared up tougher and stronger. E-mtb is certainly more demanding on drivetrains.  At this moment in time the impressive Shimano Steps E8000 comes as a system but Sram offer an after market drivetrain with a different cassette configuration, EX1.

Sram EX1

EX1 is specifically designed for the new range of e-mtb bikes which as we have seen brings in new challenges no more so than hugely technical climbing. It is the world’s first electro mountainbike specific drivetrain, and central to EX is the cassette which is said to offer the optimum in terms of gear range and shifting abilities.

Each component in the EX1 range compliments each other from the shifter, through derailleur, E-crank, cassette and sprockets.

First up the X-Horizon derailleur is designed to handle high-torque, low cadence shifting across the 11-48 tooth rear sprocket, one which the cog architecture is said to work with inner and outer links of the chain, but more than anything it’s said to offer robust shifting which comes first and foremost with the motor drive being so integral to the ride over extended periods.

More than this there is a big step in shifting between some of the cogs which meets the needs of e-mtb. We’ve certainly found EX1 to be the most compatible and in tune with our test bikes to date.

Cranks are designed for both Bosch and Brose motors and the high torque involved in both, 170 or 175mm and isis drive. 14, 16 and 18 tooth front sprocket compatibility. EX 1 chain is wider and more robust obviously.


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