Uphill Riding: Pedal assist and mid-drive motors

February 21, 2019 1 Comment

Uphill Riding: Pedal assist and mid-drive motors

Riding an electric bike helps riders tackle hills easier by providing two motor options (mid-drive and rear-hub), varying levels of pedal assist, and sometimes a throttle. However, it is common for riders to wonder "how steep can a hill be for the pedal assist to still work?" To answer this question, Blix Electric Bikes decided to ask an employee's father to ride up the steepest hill in Santa Cruz, CA and talk about his experience. Mark rode a Prima up Miramar Hill not once, not twice, but three times! The pedal assist allowed him to keep a steady pace, a healthy heart rate, and energy for more biking.

Watch below as Mark conquers the hill and discusses how the pedal assist changed his ability to ride up a hill that he often avoids. Additionally, learn more about the two types of motors, as well as, the benefits associated with increased hill riding!




Mark crushed his uphill riding challenge on the Blix Prima high step and showcased how a mid-drive motor electric bike can handle very steep hills with ease. 

What  type of motor is best for big hill riding? It is important to understand the differences between motors. We explain these differences below!

A mid-drive motor is located in the in the crank instead of the rear wheel. Some of its perks include: 
  • Great for steep hills
  • Makes the bike battery twice as efficient as the battery on a rear-hub, no need to upgrade!
  • Smaller and lighter than a rear-hub motor
  • Changing a tire is easier as the rear tire doesn't have any special mechanical parts
Rear hub:
A rear-hub motor is located in the rear wheel. Some of its perks include:
  • Great for traveling long distances 
  • Constant "push feeling" up hills and especially on flat ground
  • Includes a throttle meaning no pedaling is required (helpful if a hill makes a rider too tired)
  • Ability to choose what size battery powers the motor

While mid-drive and rear hub motors differ in the perks they provide for specific riding, both motors will help riders feel confident in their ability to ride faster, easier, and stronger up all levels of hills.

Benefits of uphill riding:

Although riders often enjoy electric bikes because they do provide hill assistance and make riding up hills feel easier, there is added benefit to using your electric bike to tackle rides with an increased number of hills. When riders are able to confidently ride uphills they may have previously avoided such as Mark did with Miramar, they actually increase their activity and fitness levels. According to some medical professionals, benefits of increased uphill riding include:

  • A  sustained cardiovascular workout
  • A muscle workout: legs an abdomen
  • An ability to ride farther
  • An ability to explore places previously limited by hills

Overall, uphill riding shouldn't be avoided and when riding an electric bike it doesn't have to be! 


A special thank you to Mark for riding the Blix Prima up Miramar for us!

Check out more information on the Prima perks here
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1 Response


March 21, 2019

Interesting – thanks for the comparison, but do mid-drive bikes not have a throttle?

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