BIKING

Best Electric Bike: Ride Smart, Not Hard

girl stands next to a bicycle
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

An electric bicycle, or E-bicycle as they are called, integrates an electric motor for powering the cycle. The motor assists the bicycle in varying levels of assist with  proportion. Some bikes assist the pedaling up to 25 percent, whereas other units are designed to propel the bike up to 200 percent.

The commonality of what makes an E-Bike, is that both types have the full ability to be peddled under the rider’s own power, without the motor being engaged. This is not true when looking at mopeds and motorcycles.

A black electric bicycle on street

E-Bike Features and Specs

There are two classifications of bikes available. These are pedal-Assist systems and Power-on-Demand systems, and there are several variants within these two groups.

Pedal-assist

The rider regulates the motor by pedaling thereby powering the motors supplementation of the physical effort. These models will feature an onboard sensor to detect the speed and force at which the rider is pedaling. The motor will not exceed 250 watts and commonly are legally classified as bicycles.

Pedal assist eBike system

Power-on-Demand

Power-on-demand bikes will have a motor that can, likely, match or exceed the rider’s physical effort. In this system the motor is activated by a throttle which is usually located on the handlebars. In this way it resembles a motorcycle or scooter, however can still be operated under the effort of one’s, manual, pedaling.

Power-on-demand bike

Battery

Electric bikes standardly use a rechargeable battery. The battery on your bike will affect its range and reliability. Standard battery systems used on electric bikes are sealed lead-acid (SLA), nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion polymer (Li-ion).  Lower qualityand less expensive bikes will usually feature sealed lead acid batteries. On newer models, and higher-quality machines, you will see NiMH, NiCd, and/or Li-ion batteries, being featured. Batteries can be very costly to replace or have fixed, therefore, getting a unit with a high quality battery is a smart long term investment.

Electric bike bterie

Range

Whether you are using an E-Bike to commute, explore or adventure, the best electric systems make for the best range. Features that will affect your bikes range are motor efficiency, battery capacity, electronics efficiency and the aerodynamic design, or lack thereof.  Variable features that will affect range can be hills weight of the bike and the individual rider’s mass. he electronic controllers are designed to pair with one of two types of motor design.

These motor types are brushed and brushless. The control of a brushless motor far exceeds that of a brushed motor. Brushed motors are more common, due to the controller’s being more streamlined as a standard, before brushless motors were invented. Brushless motors are decreasing in cost at an exponential rate and should be your first choice when deciding on a bike.

Electric bike motor

Health, Ecology and Economy

Electric bikes are zero-emission vehicles. Some even have the benefit of solar power cells. Electricity is one of the cleanest forms of energy that we know of. In china, E-Bike commuters make up twenty to thirty percent of the traveling population. Cutting down on our gasoline and diesel emissions influence more than our atmosphere. Going electric is a decision to invest in the progressive and healthy future of your loved ones and neighbors.

Making bike commuting part of your lifestyle also will reap benefits of dollars in your wallet. If you live in an urban area, or, travel less than thirty miles on a typical day, you could cut the cord on fossil fuel commuting, completely.

E-bike parked on grass

Now that you’re aware of the various features in the market, it’s time to take a look at some of the best products out there.

Our pick of the best electric bikes

IZIP 2017 E3 Peak E-Bike

IZIP 2017 E3 Peak E-Bike

Weight: 49 lbs

Materials: 6061 Aluminum Alloy

Price: $2,449.00-$2,499.00

Specific Features: A center drive 73 Nm mid-drive 350 Watt electric motor, speeds of up to 20 mph, high-torque motor, 10 speeds, Dual Sport frame and tires, Shimano XT 1×10 gearing and Shimano 180mm hydraulic disc brakes, optional boost button to add 20 mph button throttle mode. Its Lithium-ion battery, at 417.6 wh., has a 5 hours to full charge time.

Best Use: Trail riding, Commuting

The Bosch CX Performance Line, 250W center drive motor is one of the quieter motors on the market, however, it is known to be less responsive with cadence sensing and shift sensing. The IZIP Reaches a maximum range of 30 miles while the Bosch multi-function display readout screen shows your Speed, Odometer, Battery Capacity (5 Bars), Assist Level (0-4), and Range Estimation.

The motor has a powerful 400 watts of output and creates 73 Newton meters of torque. The mountain trek design comes in a sleek black finish. The electronics and motor are stored discreetly in a pack that sits on the bottom bar. The 36V Lithium-ion, 11.1Ah, 400 Wh battery charges in a, moderate, five hours, making this bike perfect for day trips and evening outings.

This unit won’t last all day if used on steep hills, however, the relatively short charge time offers the benefit of prolonged traveling options. IZIP 2017 E3 Peak E-Bike is great for trail riding and urban commuting.

Check the price on Amazon

Watseka XP Sport-Electric Bicycle

Watseka XP Sport-Electric Bicycle

Weight: 78 Lbs.

Materials: Aluminum Alloy, Steel

Price: $595.00- $700.00

Specific Features: Steel, Step-through Frame,Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) lead acid Battery,Handlebars feature a display panel and full-grip twist throttle,6 Speed 1×6 Shimano Tourney, MF-TZ20 Gears.

Best Use: Day commutes, urban, casual use

Watseka XP Sport-Electric Bicycle is the best ultra affordable electric bike on the list. The kickstand is two-sided and very stable which helps with supporting the weightiness of this unit. This bike is very heavy, coming in at 78 lbs, and the battery pack alone weighs 23.5 lbs. The power source uses absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead acid battery technology.

Compared to a lithium-ion, the lead acid battery won’t get as many charge cycles, and is more sensitive to degradation. It might be perfect for trekking around the neighborhood or a few blocks, but it is not designed for the constant commuter. Though, there are lots of useful accessories that come included, such as a steel fenders, a plastic chain guide, a steel cargo rack and LED lights. The headlights are connected into the electrics, and the backlight takes AA batteries.

The display panel is very simple and just shows your battery level. The Watseka is not a long distance bike and will have a difficult time with hills, in the long run. This is the best bike for the occasional biker and short distance commuter.

Check the price on Amazon

Cyclamatic GTE PRO Step-Through Electric Bike

Cyclamatic GTE PRO Step-Through Electric Bike

Weight: 60 Lbs.

Materials: 700C Alloy Frame

Price: $700- $800

Specific Features: Fully sealed Lithium-ion battery, 250W Brushless motor,built-in front and rear lights with on/off button on handlebar, Front suspension, Shimano 7-Speed gears, Front and rear aluminium composite mud guards. 4-6 hours for fully recharge.

Max range is 31 to 37 miles. Max Speed is 15mph. 700C Alloy Frame. 5-assistance levels.

Best Use: All-Day, Commuting, Errands, Travel, Casual

The GTE PRO is a great entry point electric bike for female commuters. This E-Bike is outfitted with a Lithium-ion battery providing around 31-37 miles of travel range. This is fantastic for anyone who lives a bit further out from town, or, wants to use their E-Bike for multiple stops throughout the day.

However, what this bike offers in range, it might lack in speed. It only reaches top speeds of fifteen mph. Still enough propulsion to get you where you’re going but it won’t exactly be a thrill ride. Buyers beware: it could be true that this bike is offered at such an affordable price because it is made with hard to find Chinese- and UK-made parts, which could make repairs difficult.

Even so, this is a great electric bike for commuting and daily use, if you’re okay to spend the time to search for repair parts later.

Check the price on Amazon

Greenbike USA GB5 Electric Motor Power Bicycle

Greenbike USA GB5 Electric Motor Power Bicycle

Weight: 66 pounds

Materials: aluminum frame

Price: $1,425.00-$1,500.00

Specific Features: 8FUN 350W motor and 36V/13AH fast-charging lithium Samsung battery, 50 mile range, Hybrid E-Bike System, Full suspension, 20 mph max speed, LCD display, Shimano 6 gear set, Front and rear light controlled by the display.

Best Use: Travel, Urban, Commuting

The Hybrid Pedal-Assist/Power-on-Demand system allows for 3 modes of riding.These modes are regular biking, pedal assist, or only throttle. Full suspension allowing for a smooth and more comfortable ride up to 20MPH.

The foldable chair allows for easy removal and return of the battery. When regular biking, it gains less ground than others due to the wheels’ small diameter. That being said, when engaged in pedal-assist and throttle-only mode, this baby keeps up with the rest of them.

The 36V/13AH fast-charging lithium Samsung battery is the best battery for this folding bike. The battery to bike weight ratio is well tuned for optimum center-of-gravity balance and power efficiency. A fantastic feature is the folding ability of the GB5 Electric Motor Power Bicycle . It is most definitely a great e-bike for the serious bike traveler.

Check the price on Amazon

Richbit Updated Electric Bike

Richbit Updated Electric Bike

Weight: 12 pounds                        

Materials: 6061 aluminum

Price: $1,650.00-$1,700.00

Specific Features: Shimano TX50 21 Speeds System, Safe Model Mechanical Disc Brake, 21 Mph top speed, Bright LED headlamp, 350W high speed brushless gear motors, 36V Smart Lithium battery, Charge time of 2-4 hours.

Best Use: Off Roading, Mountain Biking

The Shimano TX50 21 Speeds System offers many speed option for riders. Richbit Updated Electric Bike gets up to a 21 miles per hour which is pretty darn fast on a bike. It is designed with a sturdy Front Suspension Fork and Aluminum Frame. The bright LED headlamp keeps the trail in sight when the sun has gone down and also acts as a safety feature for traffic.

The aluminum lockout flat tire fork is for riders who plan to take some landing impact. This finely crafted mountain bike features 350W high speed brushless gear motors, for optimum torque and control. The high, 30-mile range of this bike is due to the strong 36V Smart Lithium battery which has a beautifully short charge time of 2-4 hours.

Check the price on Amazon

Pedego City Commuter Classic

Pedego City Commuter Classic

Weight: 60 lbs

Materials: 6061 Aluminum Alloy

Price: $2,595.00 – $3,295.00

Specific Features: Dapu 500 watt, rear-Mounted Geared Hub motor,Lithium-ion, 48 volts (Optional 36 V) battery with Samsung cells, three-year limited warranty, Shimano seven-speed, Self-sealing tubes, Quick-release handlebar stem, Fenders with mud flaps, Five levels of pedal assist mode, LCD display with USB charging port, Front and rear lights, Locking Removable Battery Pack, 40 Mile Range. 20 mph top speed. 4.5 hour charge time.

Best Use: Work commuting, Urban travel and around-town.

This is a Throttle on Demand, Class 2 electric bike with a Twist-and-go throttle for full power, whenever you want it. It features a Dapu 500 watt, rear-Mounted, Geared Hub motor, which delivers excellent torque and power for acceleration and hill climbing. The long lasting, lithium-ion battery is very lightweight, only weighing around 10 lbs.

Breaking is reliable and responsive, thanks to the featured SRAM disc brakes. The City Commuter lives up to its designation with the exemplary integration of safety features included. This bike is outfitted with headlights, rear lights, turning signals, brake lights, kevlar belted tires and Self-sealing tubes. Not to mention, the full coverage chain guard to protect your clothing, and, little bell on the left handrail.

Whenever you want to hit some road on your own muscle, the Shimano seven-speed gears make for easy pedaling and cruising. When you want to give your legs a rest, choose between five levels of pedal assist mode, or just throttle away like a speed demon.

Like many models, it offers an LCD display, however, Pedego makes this bike stand out with the integrated  USB charging port. Using the onboard power source, your bike can charge your phone. Finally, this bike includes a three year limited warranty, so rest easy knowing that you’re covered if something goes wrong.

Check the price on Amazon

e-Joe Epik SE Sport Edition Electric Bicycle

e-Joe Epik SE Sport Edition Electric Bicycle

Weight: 42 Lbs.

Materials: 6061 Aluminum Alloy

Price: $1,569.00-$1,669.00

Specific Features: 350W Rated with 550W Peak Rear Brushless geared hub motor, Battery is a 36V13 LG high capacity with USB port on outside, 20mph on throttle, Max 55-mile range, 4 hour recharge time, LED Display, 3 Electric Assist Modes, 7-speed Shimano Tourney TX-55 Transmission.

Folded dimensions: 35 x 24 x 17in. 16000mAh solar charger external battery power bank, Emergency LED torch.

Best Use: Full-time commuting, Travel, Urban, Sustainable

It might look small, but make no mistake, e-Joe Epik SE will kick up your travel speed. The 550W Peak Rear Brushless geared hub motor delivers 40 Newton meters of torque and will reach speeds around twenty miles per hour. The Epik is designed with a USB charging port, usable from an opening on the outside of the frame.

The Zoom Front and rear 160mm Disc Brakes are reliable and industry proven safety measures, and, when the motor is engaged, a, 7 Speed Shimano Tourney TX-55 transmission delivers responsive and smooth handling.

The convenient LED display is one-thumb activated and shows the bikes power, battery level, pedal assist level, and Throttle/PAS Mode Switch toggle. This is a great foldable electric bike, especially on that is below $2000. The color options are Frosty White, Black Matte, Pink, and Sky Blue.

Check the price on Amazon

X-Treme Scooters Men’s Lithium Electric Powered Mountain Bike

X-Treme Scooters Men's Lithium Electric Powered Mountain Bike

Weight: 52 pounds

Materials: Aluminum Alloy

Price: $849.00- $949.00

Specific Features: 7-Speed Shimano Tourney Gears, Shifter Amps: 56 AMP Circuit (7 Batteries at 8 AMP each), 7- Lithium-ion Batteries, Smart Charger and Tool Kit included, Top Speed of 20 MPH, Range is up to 20 – 25 miles per charge, Variable Speed Control Throttle Type, with Twist Throttle, Power Assisted Key Start.

Best Use: Around Town, Easy Commutes, Fun and Leisure

The XB-300Li is a lightweight, lithium-ion battery powered electric bicycle, running on a 300 watt rear hub motor. It gets 25 miles of range per charge and the motor maxes out at 20 miles per hour. The motor is in the center of the rear wheel. This bike is made with industry standard materials, resulting in a well-made, well-economized electric bike. The 24 volt battery is one of the lowest voltages of those offered on the list which is what account for the low range.

X-Treme Scooters is one of the best affordable electric bikes on our list, coming in under $1,000. The seven lightweight Lithium-ion batteries are a choice that comes with the benefit of less weight to your bike what comes with the detriment its power.

That being said, lithium-ion is a reliable battery choice for electric bikes in general, therefore even though the range is small it should still operate at a high standard. Seeing as the motor is a brushless hub, that is also a positive benefit. Brushless motors are more reliable for control and handling then that of brushed motors.

Check the price on Amazon

Prodeco V5 Phantom X2 8 Speed Folding Electric Bicycle

Prodeco V5 Phantom X2 8 Speed Folding Electric Bicycle

Weight: 58 lbs

Materials: Aluminum Alloy

Price: $1,578.60 – $1,699.00

Specific Features: Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub Motor, Battery voltage is 38.4 volts, with 12 amp hours, 460.8 Watt hours, lithium ion phosphate technology,Charge time of 5.5 hours, Estimated minimum range of 25 miles, LED display console reading battery level, green yellow or red in Decatur.

Twist throttle drive mode with a top speed of 20 miles per hour, 43.8 Volt 2 amp charger, aluminum bash guard on front ring.

Best Use: Urban, Trekking, Commuting

The Prodeco Phantom X2 would seem like many other folding e-bikes on the market, except this bike features a unique, mid-frame folding system. The rail goes almost vertical, keeping out of the way of the rider’s legs and making it easy to store the bike and transport it. The 500 watt direct drive gearless motor is quiet and strong but only operates on a throttle, no pedal assist.

Rear heavy design with rack mounted battery and motor towards the back. The rear-mounted gearless direct drive hub motor does not produce as much torque as many other geared Motors that are on our list. This makes the bike take a few seconds to get up to speed once the motor is engaged, however, as long as you’re not going up any really steep hills, you should be fine.

This bike might have a tough time with battery capacity and propulsion when going up hills. A little bit pricey for the value of hardware on board, however, what this might lack in high quality motor functions it makes up for in mobility and versatility.

Check the price on Amazon

Ancheer Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike

Ancheer Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike

Weight: 42 Lbs.

Materials: Aluminum Alloy

Price: $609.99-$618.99

Specific Features: 43-mile range, Lithium ion battery 36 volt, Smart lithium battery charger, 250 watt high speed brushless gear motor, 3-speed smart meter button, Bright LED headlamp and Horn, 4 to 6 hour charge time. Hybrid riding system with three modes.

Best Use: Commuting, Urban Travel, Mountainbiking

Ancheer Power Plus is great for mountain biking. It offers a standard 36-volt lithium ion battery, which is enough power to get you through a half a day’s worth of off roading. The 250-watt motor is a brushless geared Notre, giving you more torque.

However, 250 watts is less than some other reviewed units on the list. This bike gives riders the ability to pedal freely, pedal-assist, or use the throttle. A distinguishing feature of this unit is its weight. At 42 pounds and a foldable unit, this is one of the most lightweight, full size electric bikes on the list.

This bike not only looks slick when it’s rolling down the road, it also is extremely convenient for the commuter 2 can’t leave it locked up outside. The Power Plus electric bike is the best bike on our list for those looking for compatibility, versatility, and economy.

Check the price on Amazon

What e-bike should I buy?

Bicycle commuting is, by far, one of the best ways to integrate a lifestyle of physical activity into your daily routine that exists already. Electric bikes are the best way for everyone and anyone to take advantage of the convenience and invigoration that comes from a lifestyle of physical fitness.

Bicycle parked near bridge banisters

Please feel free to leave comments or questions after checking out the product links listed. We’d love to hear from you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Tommy Alexander

    I have to agree with you that City Commuter by Pedego is a standout among other brands. It is pricey, yes, but truly worth it because of its quality, look and power. I purchased one about four months ago and I really love it. It is not just comfortable to ride, the size is perfect too.

  • Mark Williams

    Phantom X2 is the best bike I have ever had. I like that it is stylish looking and very affordable. I use it for work everyday and so far it is doing a great job. I have also used it on a moderately steep hill once and I did not have a problem.

  • Jerry Mueller

    We love that you have one of the electric bikes on our list. Your review is dead on. This is a great bike that may hurt the wallet, but is worth it overall.

  • Jerry Mueller

    This is another fine electric bike. It is definitely great for everyday use, which you can attest to. Great choice.

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