Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have skyrocketed in popularity recently, and it’s easy to see why. People are finding creative and inventive ways to explore the outdoors, regardless of their physical condition. While traditional cycling may seem like an overwhelming endurance sport, the e-bike offers hybrid options to give riders the ability to pedal when desired or sit back and enjoy the ride with motor assistance. Finally, people of all ages can get back on the horse again, ditch the cars, and enjoy two-wheeled travel that’s reminiscent of childhood.
We reviewed some of the most popular — and affordable — electric bikes on the market and present our top choices here. Read through carefully, because e-bikes have become more specialized in recent years. If you’re lost on which bike is best for you, we include a handy buying guide to reference at the end.
The Ecotric Fat Tire electric bike is an excellent option for those who prefer enjoyable, relaxing rides. The included skid-proof fat tires, which are 26×4″, provide added safety, balance, and stability on all surface types. The bike’s strong 500-watt motor can speed up to 23mph and has three different power options: hybrid pedaling, pedal-assist, and walk-assist. It is powered with a removable and rechargeable lithium battery, included with purchase. For comfort, the e-bike’s ergonomic design cannot be beaten, and special care was taken in designing the handlebar height and adjustable seat.
The Ecotric Fat Tire e-bike is the best value for the money on our list, so it’s easy to see why reviewers have fallen in love. For a fraction of the competitor cost, this electronic bike is perfect for beginner to intermediate cyclists.
- Best value e-bike
- 100+ reviews averaging 4.75 of 5 stars
- Assembly required, but they offer to deliver to a local bike shop for assembly and fit for an additional fee
- 26×4″ Flat tires
- Allows speeds up to 23mph
- Pedal-assist, walk-assist, and hybrid pedaling motorized features
- Motor: 500-watt
- Weight: 58 lbs
- Size: One size, fits riders up to 260 lbs
The Townie Go! 7D is also a great option for e-bike rookies looking to try an everyday bike without spending a lot of money. Electra combined their best-selling traditional bike model with the powerful features of an electric bike to create this masterpiece and is able to offer it for a reasonable price!
The Townie Go! 7D features a Hydrive rear hub 250-watt motor, easily monitored with the bike’s own LED Display to show real-time power support and battery charge. It offers three levels of assist, easily adjusted based on the difficulty of the route. Their patented Flat Foot Technology has two patents and enables the rider to sit upright but relaxed and with proper leg extension for added comfort on long rides.
- Combines comfort and style in the Electra signature look
- Can be ordered online and picked up at local retailers
- Max combined weight of bike+rider+accessories is 300 lbs
- One size available, suitable for riders 5’5″-6’3″
- Hydrive LED display to monitor power and battery
- Flat Foot Technology® for comfort and control
- Motor: 250 watts
- Weight: 48 lbs
- Wheel Diameter: 27.5″
The Wilier Cento1HY Ultegra electric bike is one of the absolute lightest on the market, weighing half as much as the others on the list. Although it also comes with a higher price tag, the added features make this e-bike well worth it.
The Centro1HY Ultegra has 3 power-assist modes controlled by a convenient button on the top tube. The 250-watt motor offers 40Nm torque-assist and can travel up to 16mph. One of the coolest advanced features is the smartphone integration via their Ebikemotion app, which tracks metrics such as heart rate, speed, distance, time, and battery life. Once the maximum desired heart rate is selected in the app, the bike motor will automatically kick in once that level is reached to reduce exertion. Ebikemotion even provides navigation and weather alerts!
Aside from the electronics, this e-bike is an overall well-built choice. The frame is constructed of a 46 Ton monocoque carbon frame and fork, which is also commonly used on race machines thanks to its durability and superior lightweight qualities. The bike is perfect for long-distance riders, built with endurance geometry, providing a more relaxed and less crouched position. Finally, the sturdy hydraulic disc brakes provide the necessary safety element.
- 3 levels of power-assist mode
- Integrates with heart rate monitor (not included) to provide automatic assistance when needed
- More expensive than some competitors
- Ebikemotion app smartphone integration
- Monocoque carbon frame and fork
- Motor: 250 watts
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Sizes: L & XL
How To Choose The Right Electric Bike For You
Types Of Electric Bikes
There are four basic types of e-bikes. Once you get into the higher-end models, they may break into more specialized categories, but for our purposes, we’ll stick with the main classifications:
- Electric Mountain Bike: These e-bikes are built for thrillseekers who plan to mainly use theirs while off-roading and on trails. They traditionally feature wider tires for stability and flat handlebars for rider grip and security.
- Electric Cruiser Bike: These e-bikes are designed for recreational riders who value comfort over advanced performance. They travel best on flat surfaces like paved roads and bike paths. These also typically feature wide tires, wide seats, and taller handlebars so the cyclist isn’t hunched over in an uncomfortable position.
- Electric Commuter Bike: These e-bikes are similar to Cruisers in that they are also designed for flat and paved surfaces. However, the tires are much more narrow, allowing the rider to travel faster and more efficiently. The handlebars are also more upright and they feature comfortable seats, though not as wide as those on Cruisers.
- Electric Road Bike: These e-bikes are also similar to Cruiser and Commuter models, but, ultimately, speed is the goal. The tires are narrow and the handlebars are placed lower to eliminate wind-resistance for maximum velocity.
Classes Of Electric Bikes
E-bikes are required to follow basic traffic laws and additional classes were created to determine how each should be appropriately used.
- Class 1: Class 1 e-bikes provide the least amount of motorized assistance and only provide a boost while the rider is pedaling, up to 20mph. These bikes are ideal for riding bike lanes or trails, where one would typically ride a non-electric bicycle.
- Class 2: Class 2 e-bikes include a throttle in addition to the pedal-assist feature and also go up to 20mph. Typically, they are allowed in the same places as Class 1 bikes, but check the local laws first.
- Class 3: Class 3 e-bikes can go higher speeds, up to 28mph, and must include a speedometer. Depending on local laws, these bikes may or may not include a throttle for non-pedaling assistance.
Images courtesy of Arthur Davidson and Epic eBike.