Boost your pedal power.
By adding an electric motor to the humble bicycle, electric bikes make it easier to ride up hills or into a headwind, help older riders stay mobile and ensure that commuters don’t arrive at work a sweaty mess.
Popular electric bicycles
NAKTO Electric Bicycle
||$700||High-strength carbon steel||6||300W brushless motor||26″||Buy now|
Rattan Electric Mountain Bike
||$750||Aluminum alloy||7||350W brushless motor||26″||Buy now|
||$500||Aluminum alloy||1||250W brushless motor||14″||Buy now|
What is an electric bicycle?
An electric bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery. Its aim is to help you ride further and faster with less effort.
Most models work by providing assistance to each pedal stroke as you ride. This is known as a pedal-assist system and ensures that, although you’re still exerting yourself, the motor takes some of the effort out of pedaling. Though much rarer, throttle-based systems are also available.
Modern e-bikes are starting to look more and more like traditional bicycles. Aside from the obvious inclusion of a motor, the other key differences you may notice are the extra weight that e-bikes carry – most models are 40lbs and up – and the use of tough frames, reinforced forks and components designed to handle the extra bulk.
Why should I consider an electric bicycle?
There are several reasons why an electric bike could be a smart purchase:
Who shouldn’t consider an electric bicycle?
Electric bicycles are expensive. With entry-level e-bikes starting at $700 and fancier models pushing up towards $5,000 and beyond, you’ll want to be certain that this type of cycling is right for you.
If you’re fit and healthy and you want to get the full workout that riding provides, you’d be better off saving your dough and sticking with a conventional bike.
What types are available?
There are several varieties of electric bike to choose from, with each designed to suit a different riding style or purpose:
- Commuter e-bikes. Also known as urban e-bikes, these are the most popular form of e-bike and are right at home on city streets and bike paths. They regularly include racks for carrying bags and other goods as well as features that allow you to ride them in everyday clothes (e.g. chain guards to stop your pants getting greasy and pedals that suit regular shoes). They are also easy to use and maintain.
- Road e-bikes. A fairly recent phenomenon, these combine motorized assistance with the sleek and aerodynamic design of a road bike. Frames are usually aluminum or carbon fibre and use hydraulic disc brakes to stop. The tires are usually wider than those on an ordinary road bike for extra comfort and traction.
- Mountain e-bikes. Sometimes referred to as eMTBs, these rugged bikes are for those wanting to head off-road and hit the trails. Available in hardtail and dual-suspension models, they offer wide tires and other beefed-up parts to cope with the rigors of off-road use.
- Cargo e-bikes. Usually fitted with large racks, baskets or cargo beds, these two-wheelers are the load-lugging workhorses of the e-bike world. You can use them to commute to work as well as carry a load of shopping, your pet or whatever else you need to move from A to B. Some are even available as three-wheeled trikes for extra stability.
- Foldable e-bikes. These bikes are for those with limited storage space or who may need to take their bike on public transport. They have smaller wheels and typically feature fewer gears than other models.
How to compare electric bicycles
There are plenty of factors to assess when comparing electric bicycles, so make sure you consider the following:
Electric bike riders must comply with the same road rules as ordinary bicycles, but they’re also subject to power and speed limits in many states.
- While some states don’t have any maximum speed regulations for e-bikes, many impose a 20 to 30 mph limit.
- While some states don’t have a minimum age to operate an e-bike, many state that you must be at least 15 years old to operate one.
- Some states require you to have a driver’s license or class M license.
With prices ranging from $1,500 up to around $10,000, there are e-bike models to suit many different riding styles and budgets. If you’re thinking of buying an electric bicycle, start comparing e-bikes today.
How did we choose these products?
To choose our list of the best electric bikes, we compared overall features, weight, speed, performance and price.