Best Bikes For Going Uphill | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • The Ibis is a powerful bike that can climb hills on rough terrain. Even in muddy and wet conditions, it can climb hills.
  • The Schwinn High Timber is a relatively inexpensive bike that performs very well for its price.
  • The Yeti is particularly durable and controllable. It is the best bike if you want to round a corner at high speed without crashing.
  • The Cannondale is a lightning-fast road bike that minimizes drag and can climb very large hills on paved ground.
  • The Trek Dual Sport 2 is great if you want a bike that performs well on either hills or trails.

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Some bikes are very good at going up steep hills, others will make hills difficult. What are the best bikes for going uphill?

My favorite bike for riding up hills is the Ibis Ripmo V2 XT. It can climb a hill even if it is steep, bumpy, or wet because it has the traction and power to do it. On pavement, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO climbs hills better than the Ibis.

I love riding my mountain bike on hilly trails and my hybrid bike on paved roads with steep hills. Some bikes really aren't good for riding uphill, even if the bikes are good in other situations. I have tried many of the bikes I recommend and carefully researched the others.



Best Bikes for Going Uphill

A bike that performs great in one state or country doesn't always work well somewhere with more hills. Sometimes, there are few hills in your area, and you only need a bike that performs well on flat ground. However, if there are a lot of hills where you live, especially large and steep ones, you need a bike that can handle them.

More than anything else, the gears need to support uphill climbing. The lowest gear should make it easy to pedal up a large hill. You might want a bike where you sit in an upright position and not lean forward.

Many Bikes Are Suitable

There are many mountain bikes, road bikes, and hybrid bikes that can go up a steep hill. They have the right gear ratios, handlebars, and other features for uphill bikes.

Some things that are good for most mountain bikes, such as suspension, are not good when climbing up hills. There is some technique involved in climbing a steep hill - it doesn't depend only on the bike used and the strength of the rider. For example, you should not pedal too hard too early and tire yourself out.

Best Mountain Bikes for Going Uphill

Ibis Ripmo V2 XT

Reasons to Buy

  • Great performance going up and down hills
  • Comfortable to ride
  • Handles rough terrain very well
  • Excellent traction


  • A bit expensive for a standard aluminum-framed bike

The Ibis Ripmo V2 XT is an incredibly powerful hill-climber, one of the strongest climbing bikes you can get anywhere. It is great for climbing steep hills and picking up speed on downhill descents.

The Ibis is a real trail bike, well-suited to rough outdoor conditions. The pedals are also positioned centrally under the rider, allowing you to pedal for a long time without tiring.

The Ibis Can Float Over Rough Terrain

When you are riding over bumps, rocks, gravel, roots, and sticks, the bike performs well and delivers a comfortable ride. If you climb a steep hill on bumpy ground, you need a bike like the Ibis.

The Ibis does use suspension, which can make it harder to pedal up a steep hill. However, it is worth it if the terrain is rough enough. It won't perform as well on a steep paved hill as a road bike or hybrid bike that has the right gears.

Superior Traction

The Ibis can also grip the ground better than most other trail bikes. This is crucial when you are riding up a steep hill - the more traction you have, the more power. It Ibis is my favorite bike for riding up steep hills on trails.

The Ibis performs particularly well in wet conditions. I was amazed by how well it performed on a damp dirt trail the first time I tried it. You will really notice the superior traction when you try riding up a hill in difficult conditions.

Schwinn High Timber

Schwinn High Timber
Schwinn High Timber

Reasons to Buy

  • 21 gears
  • Twist gear shifters are easy to use
  • Durable frame and wheels
  • Alloy crank for gear shifts without wear and tear


  • Plastic pedals
  • Not quite as good as higher-end bikes are

The Schwinn High Timber is a mountain bike that goes a little in the direction of a hybrid bike. It is a relatively cheap, entry-level bike with great tires that keep the bike stable.

It is very good for its price, although it does have plastic pedals. The overall quality is impressive for a relatively cheap bike. It also doesn't take much effort to keep the bike working smoothly.

The bike has 21-speeds, including gear ratios great for climbing hills. The 27.5-inch wheels are good for riders up to six feet tall, or as short as five foot six.

Gear Changes Are Easy

The bike comes with an alloy crank that makes gear changes occur smoothly and without wear and tear on the bike. The bike also uses twist shifters, so it is easy to change gears as soon as you reach a steep hill. The bike also has a durable frame, durable wheels, and knobby tires suitable for rough terrain.

Available in Many Sizes

The Schwinn High Timber is a popular bike, so it is available in many sizes. You can get the bike for small children all the way up to tall adults.

Reasonably Good Frame and Parts

The frame (either aluminum or steel) is certainly durable, especially for an inexpensive bike. Some of the parts are also reasonably good (a Shimano Tourney derailleur and a Revoshift grip shift) but the list of parts doesn't compare to what more expensive bikes offer.

Yeti SB150 TURQ X01

Yeti SB150 TURQ X01
Yeti SB150 TURQ X01

Reasons to Buy

  • Great power and efficiency
  • Feels lighter than it is
  • Great climbing power


  • Hard to handle for people used to lighter bikes

While the Yeti SB150 TURQ X01 is heavy, you don't really feel the weight very much. It turns your pedaling power into motion so smoothly and efficiently that it feels like a lighter bike.

If you are used to smaller bikes, the Yeti takes some getting used to. However, many people prefer it to the smaller bikes they have tried before after they learn how to time turns with a bigger bike.

The Yeti also has suspension, which isn't great for climbing hills. However, the bike is still smooth, powerful, and has gear ratios suitable for climbing steep hills. Certainly, if you build up some speed as you approach the hill, you can climb a steep hill with the Yeti.

Lifetime Frame Warranty

Another impressive thing about the Yeti is its lifetime frame warranty. The company really trusts its frames to last a long time. The warranty doesn't last as long for other parts, but it is still impressive.

Performance On Corners

The bike performs very well when rounding narrow corners. The fork offset (distance between the fork and the axle) is short, making the bike easy to control when riding fast or going around corners.

The position of the seat makes you sit in a forward position, further increasing your power and control. The bike is great for any kind of difficult and daring riding, whether up hills, down hills, or around corners. The bike is fairly expensive, and you may have to do some fine-tuning to get it to work excellently for you.

Best Road and Hybrid Bikes for Going Uphill

Cannondale SuperSix EVO

Cannondale SuperSix EVO
Cannondale SuperSix EVO

Reasons to Buy

  • Very fast
  • Low drag
  • My favorite bike for climbing paved hills
  • Comfortable at least for a road bike
  • Durable carbon frame


  • A pure road bike, so too bumpy on trails

While many road bikes are uncomfortable to ride, the Cannondale is not. It manages to be comfortable (on suitable terrain) without sacrificing speed. The high-tech carbon frame is both light and durable.

The bike is fast, very stable, and performs well when climbing hills. The Cannondale is a somewhat pricey bike, but I think it is worth the price. I can climb bigger and steeper paved hills with the Cannondale than with any other bike I have tried.

A Pure Road Bike

The Cannondale is a pure road bike that doesn't come close to a hybrid. The bike is made for streets, and not trails, and it will be too bumpy if you use it off-road. It is a racing bike, built for pure speed.

The handlebars are for riders who lean forward, not sit or stand up straight. This limits your visibility when you climb a hill, but makes you lightning-fast going up and down hills. If you lean forward, that minimizes wind resistance and lets you race very fast.

Greatly Improved

The Supersix EVO has always been a decent bike and it's a particularly good bike now. Wind tunnel tests show 21% less drag compared to earlier models, a huge improvement. The bike is also very light, so it's ideal for fast rides on asphalt.

Agile and Nimble

The bike is also great if you want to precisely control your movements. You can turn just as much or as little as you want, and control your speed exactly. A skilled rider can be particularly smooth and precise on a Supersix EVO.

Trek Dual Sport 2

Trek Dual Sport 2
Trek Dual Sport 2

Reasons to Buy

  • A great hybrid bike that performs well on either hills or trails
  • Performs particularly well for a hybrid on paved hills
  • Also climbs hills well on trails
  • All-terrain tires
  • Lockable suspension


  • The seat is somewhat uncomfortable
  • Brakes are too noisy even if you maintain them

The Trek Dual Sport 2 is a hybrid bike that performs well on both hills and trails. It isn't quite as good as a mountain bike on a trail or quite as fast as a road bike on pavement, but it still performs well on either. Certainly, it is a good bike for climbing hills either on a trail or on asphalt.

The Trek Dual Sport 2 is better than other hybrid bikes I have tried on hills, especially paved hills. People might use the Trek mostly as a mountain bike, but you really notice how well it performs for a hybrid bike on pavement.

If you want to use a bike both to get to work and back and to ride trails, the Trek Dual Sport 2 is a great choice. While there is a somewhat better Trek Dual Sport 3 available, it isn't necessarily worth the extra money. The better brakes don't necessarily make the Dual Sport 3 worth it.

All-Terrain Tires Make the Dual Sport 2 Perform Well Anywhere

The bike's all-terrain tires make it perform well on paved, unpaved, or bumpy ground. It works on dirt, gravel, grass, unpaved country roads, and pavement. It is as stable and controllable on gravel as it is fast on the road.

Lockable Suspension is Great for Hills

The lockable suspension also makes this a great all-terrain bike. If you are on a trail, you need the suspension. If you are on pavement and climbing a lot of steep hills, you can lock the suspension so it doesn't make it harder to pedal uphill.

Other Advantages

The cables are all routed internally to protect them as much as possible. It doesn't perform as well on mud as it does on dry ground, but it still works reasonably well. If you dislike the bike for any reason, they will take it back in the first 30 days with no questions asked.

The bike does have a couple of small disadvantages that I have noticed. One is that the brakes are noisy, and another is that the seat is not that comfortable. You might have to replace some of the parts to make this bike as good as possible.

Are E-Bikes Good for Going Up Hills?

Yes, E-Bikes can be good for going up hills, but not all of them are. Some E-Bikes have relatively weak motors and cannot handle a steep hill. You have to watch what you buy and get an E-Bike that can handle hills.

What Does a Bike Need for Going Uphill?

Suspension Forks Can Be a Disadvantage

A lot of the time, a suspension fork is helpful or necessary. If you are riding over rough terrain, you need a suspension fork or you will feel every bump with no protection. A suspension fork attaches to your bike's front wheel and absorbs some of the bumps.

However, a suspension fork can make it harder to climb hills. If you are on flat ground, your weight is on both wheels. However, if you are climbing a hill - especially a steep one - then the weight is mostly on your front wheel.

If you have a suspension fork and are riding up a steep hill, the suspension will bob up and down as you pedal. This will reduce your pedaling power and make it harder to reach the top.

Are You Commuting or Riding Trails?

If you are riding your bike off-road you should have suspension even if it makes it somewhat harder to ride up hills. Suspension is worth it - it makes it a bit harder to pedal uphill, but it makes it easier to ride in other ways.

Outdoor trails can be very bumpy, and suspension makes a big difference. Don't worry about losing some of your power riding uphill with suspension.

However, if you are using a bike for transportation, road riding, or commuting in a hilly area, you might not want suspension. A road bike without suspension will get you up a steep paved hill better than a mountain bike.

Some Suspension Forks Have Lockout Knobs

Thankfully, some suspension forks have lockout knobs you can use to "turn off" your suspension. When you tighten the knob, the suspension won't work at all. It will be just like riding a road bike without suspension.


High gears are good for riding fast on smooth pavement, not for climbing hills. Low gears are good for climbing hills but not good for reaching a high maximum speed. Lower gears make it easier to pedal; higher gears make it harder to pedal but raise your max speed.

How Do Gears Work?

If you are using the smallest gear on the front and the biggest gear on the back you will find it easy to pedal. The front gears are known as chainrings, and the back gears are known as cassettes.

When you turn a large front gear and a small back gear, it is hard to pedal. The back wheel will turn more than once each time the pedals go around. This can make you go very fast but can prevent you from moving if you are going uphill or for some other reason can't pedal easily.

What is a Bike's Gear Ratio?

If the chainring at the front has 50 teeth on it and the cassette at the back has only 25 teeth, then the bike has a gear ratio of 2, as you divide 50 by 25. If there are 40 teeth on the chainring and 30 teeth on the cassette then the gear ratio is 40/30 or 1.25.

What is the Best Gear Ratio for Climbing Hills?

A lot of the time, a gear ratio of 48/17 or roughly 2.8 is used for steep hills. Different riders have different preferences, but 48/17 is commonly said to be the best gear ratio. Similar ratios like 49/16 or 46/18 are also common.

It is not always best to use more extreme gear ratios. A ratio like 49/13 isn't always the best for climbing hills. A lot of the time, using the lowest gear your bike has is the right way to go, but not always.

Single-Speed Bikes are not Good for Hills

With a single-speed bike, there's no way to switch to a lower gear when climbing a hill. All you can do is pedal harder, which is tiring and after a certain point impossible. Bikes with only a few gears also aren't good, at least not if there is no good gear ratio for climbing hills.


Any bike, and not only one good for climbing hills, needs to be durable. Sometimes, you get what you pay for - if you buy a more expensive bike, it will last a lot longer than a cheap one.

However, not every expensive bike is very durable, and some cheaper bikes are relatively long-lasting. Pay attention to the company's reputation.


Handlebars that are best for speed are not always the best for climbing hills because they can restrict your visibility. On some bikes, the handlebars are low and you lean forward. This minimizes drag and boosts your speed, but if you are going uphill, you should be in a more upright position where you can see ahead of you.


Lighter bikes are better for climbing up steep hills. Heavier bikes can be better on rough terrain, but on hills, the extra weight can slow you down.

Customer Support

If you aren't sure which of two bikes to buy, go with the company that offers better customer support. No one likes calling a company and only getting through to machines, or sending emails and being ignored. A good company should answer your calls.


If your bike has a weak warranty, there is a good chance it won't be a good bike. If the company offers a poor bike, it will have to have a poor warranty.

Return Policy

If you don't like your bike, you should be able to return it as long as it is in new condition. Consider the return policy when deciding what to buy.


Whatever you do, don't buy a bike that is too expensive for what it offers, not even if the bike is reasonably high-quality. If you don't do any research before buying, you may end up paying a lot more than necessary. Sometimes, two similar bikes sell for very different prices.

How to Ride Up Hills

First off, every hill is different. If you are pedaling up a small hill without a steep slope, you might not have to change much. Simply shifting into a somewhat lower gear or pedaling somewhat harder may be enough.

However, if a hill is steeper, you may need a "plan" to reach the top without stalling. You may need to build up speed before reaching the hill, keep pedaling hard, and switch to a lower gear after it gets harder to pedal.

Don't Tire Yourself Out Too Early

Climbing a hill is a bit like winning a foot race or a bike race. If you sprint at the start, you may get ahead at first, but tire yourself out too early, and fall behind others. If you pedal very hard before you need to, you may be too tired to keep climbing the hill when it gets steeper.

Building up speed before you reach the hill is a good idea. However, you should not pedal so hard that you get tired. Save the hard pedaling for the last or steepest part of the hill.

Remember to think ahead. If you go down one hill, you can maintain that speed and use it to climb the next hill.

Shift Your Gears Early

If you try to shift your gears while pedaling up a steep hill, it might not work because your chain will be under too much tension. Shift into a lower gear near the bottom of the hill, before the slope steepens.

Stand Up and Breathe Deeply

Whenever you are doing any kind of heavy exercise, you need to breathe. If your muscles aren't getting enough oxygen, they will stop functioning and you won't be able to pedal any longer.

Standing up is also great when climbing a hill. You can put more pressure on the pedals that way. If you are both standing up and in low gear, you might be surprised by how steep of a hill you can climb.

If you are planning on a difficult ride where you repeatedly climb large hills, make sure you are prepared first. Eat enough food, including the day before the ride, and get enough sleep.