Hill-Climbing Power from MAGiCYCLE

Maybe you’re like me and live in an area filled with hills. Or perhaps you live in flatlands with no hills, such as the coastal plains of Florida. Probably most e-bike riders encounter a mixture of terrain, including a few hills. This is just one of the things I love about Magicycle…hills are not a problem.


Fortunately for Magicycle owners, there is plenty of power for hill climbing. The super-strong hub motor peaks at 1100 watts, generating 96 neuton meters of torque. That’s the equivalent of torque coming from an 800cc motorcycle, and more than adequate for an e-bike! 

Hills with a slight incline will never be a problem. The same is true for moderate inclines. But if you encounter a very steep hill, perhaps with a 10% to 16% grade, it can be a challenge. I have pedaled up hills with an 18% grade three times, and Magicycle has been up to the challenge.

You have some choices in how to climb hills with your e-bike. Be aware of the options so that you are ready to choose the approach that is best for you at the particular time you are riding.

The No-Sweat Method

If you are commuting on your way to work, or perhaps just out for a leisurely ride, you may prefer to avoid sweating. In most cases, you can do it with no problems. However, for a truly steep hill, you might have to sweat just a little.

For a slight uphill climb, throttle-only is a great no-sweat approach. Just before you reach the hill, shift into first gear. Your Magicycle has more than enough power to zip up that hill, even with a heavy load. For a moderate hill, first gear and throttle-only is also an option. If it is a really long uphill climb, it is best to do some light pedaling to save wear and tear on your motor. Select a pedal assist level that is set at somewhere near 35%-40% and you can climb that hill with minimal effort and no sweating (except in extremely hot weather).

If you are climbing a short steep incline, you can likely get to the top in first gear and using only the throttle–no sweat. If it is a long and steep hill, I recommend adding some pedal power so as to not overwork your motor. Stay in first gear and select your highest pedal assist level and pedal your way to the top.

The Small-Sweat Method

Let’s assume you are wanting a little moderate exercise, and so moderate sweating is not a problem. This calls for a different approach to using pedal assist.

If you are coming up on a slight uphill climb, select your lowest pedal assist level, or a level near 20%-25%. This will get you to the top easily, regardless of the length of the incline. Sweating should be only moderate, perhaps even none, unless outdoor temperatures are exceptionally high.

For moderate uphill runs, try a pedal assist level near 35%-40% for perfect assistance. Again, be sure you are in first gear as you approach the hill. If you discover that the hill is not as steep as it looks, you can always shift to a higher gear for a little more exercise.

When you find yourself approaching a very steep hill, prepare for first gear and your maximum pedal assist level. If it is a long incline, even with full pedal assistance, some genuine effort is required to reach the top. Only once have I come across a hill that I could not conquer on my Magicycle. This was an error in judgment, as the hill was a 20% grade and I should have walked up it.

The Sweaty Exercise Method

The majority of my rides are for exercise purposes. By intentional design, I choose routes that are challenging, and I expect to seat profusely.

For the ultimate challenge, you can opt to ride without pedal assistance, but only on level ground or slight and short inclines. Anything more and it is prudent to use at least a low level of pedal assistance. On moderate uphill inclines, select first gear before you reach the hill and try your lowest pedal assist level. For most hills this is quite doable, but takes some work. Change gears or pedal assist level as needed.

As you come to a really steep hill, you know it will require intense effort in your pedaling. Again, before you reach the hill, shift into first gear and maximum pedal assist level. This is important–do not wait until you are already climbing the hill. Maintain your best effort in pedaling until you reach the top. If possible, do not back off on your exertion.

If You Make a Mistake

Of course, it is possible to misjudge the incline of a hill. If in doubt, just turn around and take an alternative route. But what if you are already on the hill before you find that you’re not going to reach the top?

Slow speed on a bike is the enemy of balance. If you see that you cannot maintain enough speed for good balance, it’s time to get off. For me, this is 4 mph — it could be different for you. Experiment on level ground to find your minimum speed for good balance.

If you have to dismount your e-bike on a steep hill, don’t wait until your balance is questionable. If possible, turn a little and come to a stop with one foot down on the uphill. If you dismount, or even if you fall, you want it to be on the uphill side of your e-bike. Then you may be able to walk your Magicycle up the hill, using the walking feature or a very light touch on the throttle. If not, keep your rear brake engaged and walk downhill.

Safety First

Whenever you ride, and I do mean every time you ride, safety should be your first priority. This includes knowing how to handle your e-bike on hills. Of course, always wear a bike helmet. If you ride at night, be sure you have proper lighting for visibility.

Enjoy your Magicycle, and if you don’t have one yet, now is a great time…check out the very nice discounts.