Best Electric Bike For Hills: Steep Means Nothing!

Shopping Guide / Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

So you’re looking to get uphill are you? And you want the best electric bike for hills huh?

Yeah, I understand your dilemma

PSST, over here!

I’ve done dozens of hours of research to find the PEFECT hill climbing ebike for you!

Grab my recommended ebike for hill climbing here!

You don’t want to be that person who has to get off and push your bike uphill.

Cyclist pushes bike up snow covered hill

I live up a pretty steep hill (it’s next to one of the steepest streets in the world!)

So I know a thing or two about the best electric bike for hills!

You’re going to need to decide if you want to buy a prebuilt electric bike, or building your own custom electric bike.

This differentiation has a big impact on the types of bikes/motor you’re looking at.

If you’re looking for off road mountain bike hill climbing stuffs, then you can learn more here!

However, if you’re more interested in street hill climbing, then read on my friend!

Mid Drive Or Hub Motor?

There’s two main types of ebike motor that you can get.

Either in prebuilt ebikes or when building your own.

Each motor has a different use, and deciding between them is an important part of which bike you’ll buy or build.

Hub Motors

Hub motors are directly mounted to the centre of the wheel.

Usually you’ll buy an entire wheel with the hub already installed. You can then install this wheel on your existing bike and hey presto, you have an ebike!

Or alternatively, you’d just buy an electric bike with the hub motor already installed of course.

They’re the most common ebike motor due to their cheap barrier to get one!

The construction of a hub motor means they’re sealed and essentially impossible to ruin with rain or snow, etc.

So while they are the cheapest way to get into electric bikes, they may not necessarily be the best for your hill climb!

Hub motors are usually best for light hills and flat areas.

This is because the hub motor does not use your existing gearing. It propels the bike directly and therefore is independent of the rider’s power input.

Driving the wheel directly will result in a slower speed than the mid drive counterpart assuming all else is constant.

So if you’re after small hills and nothing too steep, you’ll be more than happy with a hub motor.

The Aosom 26″ rear wheel kit will see you through.

Mid Drive Motors

Best Electric Bike For Hills: Shimano Mid Drive Motor

If you’ve got a moderately steep street to climb, you’re going to need something beefier than a hub motor.

Enter the mid drive!

Mid drive motors are installed by your cranks (well through the bottom bracket!)

They use your existing drivetrain. Your chain!

On the front, there is a single chainring that drives the system.

If you’ve gotten used to having multiple gears on the front – get used to only having one!

Because you can gear up or gear down your mid drive motor, you have access to a wide range of speeds and torque.

Want to go fast? Crank up the gears higher and higher until the wind resistance stops you going faster!

Want to be a hill climbing badass? Gear down to your lowest gear and crank up the power!

Mid drive motors are very efficient as you use the gearing just like normal. So it can spin where it has maximum efficiency.

But hill climbing is far better on a mid drive motor than a hub motor.

Also due to their efficiency, mid drives don’t need to be as powerful as hub motors to climb the same hills.

Check out my review of the BEST mid drive motor here!

I Want To Build My Own: What’s The Best Motor?

Man Bikes Downhill

My recommendation would be to go for a mid drive motor.

This way you’ll get great hill climbing performance and good performance for normal riding too.

There’s a couple of great options that you can add to almost any normal bike.

The BBS02 and the BBSHD.

The BBS02 is a 750W mid drive motor made by Bafang (or 8Fun, same people).

It’s a great machine for hill climbing if you want a cheap motor that will get the job done.

However, the BBS02 does have a few issues. Namely it tends to overheat if you push it too hard.

So if you’re biking up a very steep hill and using on the motor for an extended period of time, you may find that it overheats.

Overheating is not good for these motors as they contain a nylon reduction gear inside.

If you overheat the motor, you tend to melt the gear. Leading to catastrophic failure of the entire motor.

Not 8fun. (Excuse that terrible joke, sorry.)

To remedy the situation, you can replace the gear yourself, but this is a hassle.

The better option is to opt to buy a BBSHD to begin with!

This is one beefy unit that will get you through any hill you could ever imagine. Assuming you put on a correctly sized chainring!

The BBSHD has huge cooling fins to prevent overheating and is well designed to prevent failure from heat.

It’s also 1000W which means you’re going to have plenty of power to make you grin all day long.

If you want a more in-depth look at the BBSHD, you can read my review!

However, if you simply want a bike to get on and go climb your nearest, steepest hill, then carry on!

I Just Want To Buy One: Recommend Me Something!

There’s a few good options here.

All of them use mid drives because, why wouldn’t you for a hill climbing beast?!



The FLX Trail is an enthusiasts bike indeed!

Allowing you a range of 20-90+ miles depending on your preferred level of speed, this thing has it all.

Using a 350W Bafang motor, you can expect a peak output of 750W and torque of 80Nm!

You can upgrade your battery from a 468Wh all the way to a 630Wh battery, depending on how far you want to go.

It has 27.5″ wheels with Kinda Nevegal 2.1″ wide tires.

Comes with a handy USB charging port on the controller and a sturdy rear rack also.

This thing will have no problem providing you with ample assistance to get up even the gnarliest hills.

Man with bike looking at mountain view


Another sweet alternative is the Addmotor MOTAN.

This beast has a BBSHD mounted in the middle, with huge fatbike tires made for rough terrain. Including steep hills!

With sturdy construction and front suspension, you’ll have no worries hitting those bumps at high speeds and rocketing up hills.

Because of the fat tires, you’ll find that it can handle snow, sand, gravel, dirt and plenty of other surfaces. The BBSHD means you can traverse any terrain with easy.

Huge 180mm disc brakes means that when you’re coming down the other side of the hills, you’ll be able to stop on a dime.

You’ll be smiling ear-to-ear no matter where you are on this awesome machine!


Best Electric Bike For Hills: Handing You The Reigns

Now that we’ve been over some of the different types of electric bike motors, you should have a better understanding of your needs.

Whether you ultimately build your own electric bike or purchase one new.

There is plenty of great options out there, and sometimes you just need to find them!

I’ve helped you along with some great recommendations that will see you well if you decide to purchase them.

Feel free to do more of your own research if you want to find other alternatives out there.

Whatever you do, keep me posted on what you get!

I love reading about others and their very own creations and what they use.

Drop me a comment below or a message here if you want some more one-on-one help. I’m more than happy to lend a hand!

Keep those legs turning and cruising up those slopes, folks!

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9 Replies to “Best Electric Bike For Hills: Steep Means Nothing!”

  1. you are THE man for writing this up. the most off road needs I have are potholes. ive got enduro motorcycles for off road. with that said, I have nasty uphills that are paved. which one would you go with?

    btw I feel I owe you some return expertise. if you have any legal, cultural studies, literature questions fire away.

    1. Hey William, thanks for checking out my site!

      For offroad awesomeness and some paved and uphill bits, I’d get something like the
      HaiBike Sduro Trekking (

      But if you’re the DIY type, I’d definitely be after a BBSHD to add to my bike!

      Hope this helps, hit me with any more questions you have! 🙂

  2. HI

    1. Hey David!

      Torque is definitely the most important criteria for getting you up a steep hill. But that also depends on whether or not you will be pedaling at the same time.

      The BBSHD has a max torque rating of 160nm. You’d definitely want to look at only mid drives for a hill climbing beast!

      Any more questions, I’m happy to help! 🙂

  3. wow!
    I never seen 160Nm anywhere
    whats the website or contact?
    don’t you think specialized turbo3 is up to it?
    it must be the steepest road known to man

  4. I’m looking for a cargo e-bike to haul my son and groceries. We’ll be living around various 10% gradient hills (paved).

    The Radwagon’s design and accessories are basically what I’m looking for but I’m concerned it won’t be able to handle he slope (direct drive motor; 40nm torque) especially with the additional weight. I read replacing it’s motor with the BBSHD could be the way to go. Thoughts? simple to do? Unnecessary? Thanks!

  5. I was given a Prodecotech bike with a dead battery. I looked up costs and it was over $600. I’m wondering if there’s a cheaper battery alternative for a Samsung 36v 14.24 AH, if I should by a Prodecotech 1200w rim but I don’t know any cheap batteries or buy a front hub kit independent of the bike itself. I have a bad knee and I need to be able to go up a steep hill for about 1 mile. I only do short surf trips on bike but Blacks beach has a super steep hill

  6. The Addmotor Moran you recommend looks like a perfect bike for me, I live in hilly countryside, 20 mins from the beach, so looking for a bike that can cope with muddy farm roads, gravel, pot holes, dirt tracks, beach and lots of hills and wind. However, it recommends being a minimum of 5’6” tall. I’m 5’2”, not very strong or fit female but really want to get cycling again, with some electric assistance so the when the terrain gets tough I can get through it rather than having to get off and push!
    Is there a comparable version of Addmotor Moran for shorter people?
    Thanks for you help. Your site has certainly been helpful for me as a novice to electric bikes.

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