The evolution of traditional bikes was relatively slow for many years. New iterations would come out over time, improving the quality of a specific component or of a system on the bike, but not much changed in the general approach to manufacturing or riding bikes over the last hundred years or so. Then electric bikes hit the market, and everything changed.
Electric bikes have opened the door to an entirely new mode of transportation for millions of people around the world. Thanks to this surging popularity of ebikes, a huge amount of time, money, and attention has been laser-focused on perfecting the rider experience. An incredible amount of research and development has resulted in refreshing aesthetics, advanced components, and superior convenience – all native features of the electric bike. Nowhere is this continuous improvement more visible than in the convergence of electric bikes with single speed bikes. This is why today we are going to cover everything you need to know about single speed electric bikes.
What is a Single Speed E-bike?
First, let’s cover what exactly a single speed e-bike is by tackling both features separately and then combined. A single speed bike is a bicycle which only has one gear ratio to choose from. There are no gears, derailleurs, or shifter cables. Single speed bikes have no option to change gears as there is only one “gear” to be in. This makes single-speed bikes ideal for city riders where flat terrain is common. Mountain bikes, by contrast, tend to have multiple gear ratio options because riders need to adjust their gear based on the level of incline or decline they are about to encounter.
An e-bike is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor and battery. They may provide additional power while the rider is pedaling, through the use of a throttle-only, or both. A single speed e-bike, then, is a bike with only one gear ratio and which is propelled along by a combination of the rider pedaling or using the motor or both.
Main Benefits of Single Speed E-bikes
Single speed e-bikes have many benefits that are not always obvious to observers. First and foremost, single speed e-bikes are simple and straightforward. With no gears to choose from, there is no need to switch gears while riding, which takes some of the mental energy out of the equation. This may make riding easier from that standpoint. Secondly, with fewer parts comes a lower price tag (in general). Because there are fewer components used in the manufacturing process, single-speed e-bikes can pass those savings along to the rider. Finally, with fewer parts comes a lower weight. The benefit of a lower weight is that single speed e-bikes are ideal for carrying, moving, transporting, and especially riding.
Another benefit of single speed ebikes is the optional belt drive ebike system over a chain drive system. With a single speed being an inherent factor to a belt-drive system, this makes singles peed ebikes ideal for their use. E-bikes like the Honbike U4 or HF01 take advantage of this available drivetrain to deliver over 10,000km of maintenance-free riding. With no chain to grease or adjust, no derailleur to damage and no cables to come loose, the belt drive is the perfect complement to the single speed ebike. Simplicity has been engineered directly into these bikes, giving riders confidence and convenience on the road.
Finally, with single-speed electric bikes like these that have pedal-assist built in, you can get the best of both worlds of multi-gear bikes and single speed ones. The pedal-assist level can be set high on inclines and can be lowered again when you do not need assistance to get you up a steep climb.
Single Speed E-bikes for Commuting
One realm that is particularly conducive to single-speed electric bikes is that of the urban city. The benefits discussed in the previous section are of great use in flat, paved environments where speed and agility are key. The lightweight bike with an extra speed boost provided by the motor makes getting around a breeze. Commuting with an e-bike requires following all traffic rules and watching for pedestrians. This can be difficult to do while also paying attention to the gears of your bike, so having a single speed pre-determined takes the guesswork out of it.
And by combining the electric motor and single speed with advanced technologies such as uphill assist, quick start, and a built-in high-capacity battery, bikes like the aforementioned U4 e-bike are the perfect companion in any city setting.
How to Climb Hills on a Single Speed Electric Bike
One tricky situation, especially in towns and cities, can be climbing the unexpected steep hill. Here are a few tips to make the climb easier. If you can, try to carry some momentum into the climb. Start back a bit further from the hill and ride into it already pedaling, preferably with pedal-assist turned up high if you have it. Riding around ten mph is a great start as you head up the hill.
If you cannot carry speed with you from the bottom of the hill (for example, if you are starting halfway up already at a red light or stop sign), another trick is to angle yourself a bit so that you are not entirely parallel with the road. Doing this will give you the extra time needed to stabilize and straighten out. Of course, watch for traffic and always wear a helmet when performing any advanced city-riding techniques on your ebike.
Single speed electric bikes represent a big leap forward in combining an older design with new technology to create an ultra-efficient and convenient riding experience. The long-range battery in bikes like the Honbike U4 means you can take full advantage of pedal-assist no matter the path you’re riding. The lightweight frame and minimal usage of parts mean it’s an easy bike to carry with you through the city. Finally, single speed e-bikes with belt drive systems offer greater ease of mind because there’s no need to worry about your chain or derailleur malfunctioning.