The best electric bikes
- E-bikes are disrupting the commuting industry and making urban transport easier, greener, healthier, and faster.
- Most e-bikes offer either a pedal-assist function that kicks on a motor after a rider completes a few pedal rotations or a throttle-assist in which it features a dedicated accelerator capable of powering the bike with or without rider pedaling.
- Like non-motored bikes, there are many different types of e-bikes including electric commuters, electric mountain bikes, and electric road bikes, as well as compact, folding models.
- Our top pick, the Priority Embark, wowed us thanks to its wide, grippy tires, smooth ride, and the fact it needs hardly any routine maintenance to keep running in top shape.
Over the last several years, electric bikes (referred to as e-bikes) have taken the cycling industry by storm. By attaching a motor and a battery to a bike, companies have been able to deliver the ultimate in two-wheeled transportation. Benefiting commuters, mountain bikers, road bikers, and city cruisers alike, e-bikes shifted the way people get from point A to point B.
Despite criticism from traditional cyclists, there's no denying the positive impact e-bikes have on the environment as more people ditch gas-guzzling cars in favor of battery-powered bikes. Because of this, it appears as though this new mode of transportation hasn't just arrived but is here to stay.Thanks to its dramatic rise in popularity, there are hundreds of e-bike models a simple Google search away. But fret not - we've done enough pedal-testing to find the best of the bunch, no matter if you prefer ripping down singletrack mountain bike trails or a leisurely weekend jaunt downtown.Advertisement
Though the term ebike refers to an entire industry, the bikes vary. Some are built for commuting while others are designed for mountain or road biking. Nearly all have one thing in common: pedal-assisted power. After freely pedaling two to three revolutions, most bike's motors kick in with a soft(ish) push, accelerating the bike and adding to the power output by the rider.
Depending on its selected level of assistance - some offer everything from minimal to extreme pedal-assistance - the bike's ultimate top speed may vary from roughly 8 to 10 miles per hour on up to around 30 miles per hour. Some models even feature a throttle option, giving riders the ability to ride the bike in a similar fashion as a motorcycle; just not as fast, of course. As is the case with any bicycle, moped, or motorcycle, however, wearing a protective helmet is highly recommended no matter the use case.
Get to know the basicsThere are a few terms you'll want to know before buying an e-bike. First, hub drive bikes have the motor in the hub whereas mid-drive bikes house the motor in its frame. Mid-drive bikes have a few advantages over hub drive versions, as well. Those advantages are:
- They apply power through the chain, so they feel and steer like a standard bike.
- They utilize the bike's gears similarly to how a rider would, applying power when needed.
- These kinds of bikes also require a lower absolute power since they have the ability to use gearing to climb hills (whereas hub drive bikes deliver power at the hub and can't use the bike's gearing. This means they tend to have high-powered motors in order to generate enough torque to climb hills).
Power, or wattage, is also something you'll notice often when shopping for an ebike. These refer to the amount of force a motor is able to put out over time. Think of it like a car's horsepower rating.A bike's range is the total distance a bike can travel on a single battery charge. Do keep in mind that any range displayed either on the bike itself or via a companion app is a general estimate. There are many factors capable of impacting an e-bike's range, including the amount of power exerted by the bike, whether it needs to climb steep hills, and other ride-specific variables. Most (if not all) ebikes are still able to function without the motor running, though due to the weight of the on-board battery, they'll feel extremely heavy. With that said, here are our picks of the best e-bikes currently available, featuring models from Specialized, Priority, Trek, and others. Advertisement
The best E-bikes you can buy:
- Best e-bike overall: Priority Embark
- Best electric mountain bike: Trek Powerfly FS7
- Best folding e-bike: Tern Vektron D8 Folding E-Bike
- Best lightweight e-bike: Yuba Electric Supermarché
- Best electric road bike: S-Works Turbo Creo SL
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best e-bike overall
The best electric mountain bikeAdvertisement
The best folding e-bike
The best lightweight e-bikeAdvertisement
The best electric road bike
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