Tech

The best electric bikes for an easier ride

The urge to purchase an electric bike typically hits soon after spotting someone else riding one through the streets. It’s easy to picture yourself on the bike, zipping around town or on trails.

It’s fortuitous that you waited too long to purchase an e-bike. These powered rides have come a long way in the last ten years, from top speeds and power to battery life and design. E-bikes also look a heck of a lot cooler now, thanks to innovation and smart refinements. Most electric bikes look identical to the standard road bike beside the powerful motor attached.

While most e-bikes still cost a considerable amount of money, the benefits of owning an electric bike far outweigh the temporary financial setback. Biking is an excellent form of exercise since it helps build muscle and bone and, compared to running and hiking, cycling is easier on the joints.  

E-bikes are easier to use, make the daily commute to work or school more enjoyable, and save riders on gas and other expenses associated with driving a car to get from place to place.

Finally, riding an electric bike just makes a person feel free. Remember the feeling of riding a bike as a kid? The possibilities of where the cycle could take you seemed endless, but then time and fatigue got involved, and there were limits to how long and far the bike could go. An electric bike offers endless possibilities on destinations, and the ride will last as long as the battery charge and farther once your legs get involved.

What to consider before buying an e-bike

It’s crucial to know the various classifications of e-bikes before buying a cycle and use this information to inform your purchase.

First, electric bikes fall into three classes:

  • Class 1: These bikes are pedal-assist only, have no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: These models also have a max speed of 20 mph but are throttle-assisted.
  • Class 3: Electric bikes that fall into this class are pedal-assist only, have no throttle, and reach a maximum-assisted speed of 28 mph.

There are different types of electric bikes to become familiar with before purchasing. The kind of eBike that’s best depends on the intended use of the cycle.

  • Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding and more challenging terrain. Mountain e-bikes feature the motor and the battery at a lower position and in the bike’s center. This positioning provides increased stability, especially for those rides up rugged hills and down bumpy slopes.
  • Cruisers are meant for recreational riders. Riders sit upright for a more comfortable ride. Cruiser e-Bikes come in two different frame styles – the traditional diamond-shaped step-over frame and the step-through frame. The step-through frame makes it easier to get on and off the bike. The step-over is the conventional bike frame with a top tube connecting the head tube to the seat tube.
  • Hybrid or commuter models are perfect for the everyday commute or getting around town without relying on a car or public transportation. These e-bikes are typically class 3 bikes, meaning the motor can hit 28 mph for a faster ride. Most hybrid bikes come equipped with racks for carrying bags, laptops, or other commuting essentials.

How we selected the best electric bikes

E-bikes break down into essentially the same categories as conventional bikes. There are mountain and road electric bikes and specialty bikes such as hybrid, cruisers, cargo, and folding bikes.  

Keeping this in mind, we tried to make this guide to buying the best electric bike as simple as possible for our readers.

Here are some of the factors we kept in mind while compiling this list of the best e-bikes for new riders.

  • Price: Electric bikes are not cheap. Electric bikes generally cost $400 on the low end. High-end e-bikes can climb over $5,000 and beyond. Very few high-quality e-Bikes are available for under $400. We kept our price for these bikes from $400-$1200.
  • Assembly: Though most bikes don’t come fully assembled for shipping reasons, we tried to choose bikes delivered at least more than halfway assembled. No one wants to buy a machine as fun as an electric bike and get stuck putting it together for hours.
  • Maintenance:  The best way to keep any bike from breaking down is to take proper care of the cycle. This means storing the electric bike in a garage or storage unit, keeping it out of the rain and elements as much as possible, and even getting yearly check-ups like you would a regular bike. However, should something go wrong, all of these manufacturers will help with a quick phone call to customer service should problems arise.

Best electric bike overall: Ancheer Electric Mountain Bike

Pure ride

The perfect blend of trail performance and power to satisfy most riders. Ancheer

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Why it made the cut: Whether you’re trying to get to work faster or seeking a thrill ride for the weekend, the Ancheer electric bike delivers on all fronts for an incredibly reasonable price.

Specs:

  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Suspension: Front
  • Number of Speeds: 21
  • Frame Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Colors: Blue Sunshine, Orange Sunshine, Red Sunshine
  • Weight: 44 lbs

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 350W high-speed brushless motor
  • 22-40 miles per charge
  • Aluminum Alloy frame and rims
  • Comes 85% assembled
  • 3 modes
  • Speeds up to 20mph
  • Front and rear mechanical disc brakes

Cons:

  • Assembly might require assistance
  • Odd kickstand positioning

Besides the butt-kicking motor, the Ancheer electric bike has a frame constructed from aviation-grade Aluminum Alloy. The bike frame is strong, lightweight (at 44 pounds, which is light for ebikes), and incredibly responsive to even the most challenging terrain. The people at Ancheer designed this bike frame according to the mechanics of the human body. The dual-disc brakes and high-strength steel suspension fork make for a comfortable riding experience.

This e-bike comes equipped with an LG 36V 10.4Ah Lithium-Ion battery and a 350W stable brushless motor for more speed and a heck of a lot more fun on the open roads or dirt trails. You won’t want to go blasting down a technical mountain bike trail on it, but it can chew up the miles on a dirt path or fire road no problem.

Best value e-bike: Jetson Bolt Electric Bike

Compact for beginners

No pedaling necessary with this throttle-powered ride. Jetson

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Why it made the cut: A full-throttle, collapsible electric bicycle, the Bolt from Jetson is portable, offers cruise control for casual rides, and comes equipped with front and back LED lights for safety. The 5.2AH Lithium-Ion battery will juice your ride up 17 miles and hit a top speed of 15.5mph.

Specs:

  • Wheel Size: 12″
  • Suspension: Front and rear 
  • Size: 40″ x 20″ x 37″
  • Color: Black
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Brake Style: Rear  
  • Weight: 34 Pounds

Pros:

  • Lightweight and sturdy
  • Suitable for ages 12 and over
  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Kickstand
  • Footpegs instead of pedals
  • Fenders protect from mud, water
  • Responsive rear brake system

Cons:

  • One color option
  • Battery life
  • Not great uphill

The Jetson Bolt electric bike is the perfect bicycle for people new to electric bikes or anyone just looking for a second option for going from place to place. The sturdy aluminum frame is made for everyday use, and the lightweight design makes the bike completely portable, and the handlebar and seat adjust for taller or shorter riders.

The Jetson Bolt is a fun alternative to a standard bike and the perfect e-bike for beach towns, college students, or kids tired of walking to school every day. The Bolt is inexpensive, and the battery life will last just long enough.

Unlike the other electric bikes on this list, the Bolt doesn’t convert into a regular cycle when the battery is off. There are no pedals and no way to power the bike manually, but the twist throttle accelerator is easy to use and will push the bike up over 15 mph.

Best electric commuter bike: KGK Electric Bike

Ruggedly Mighty

Tackle tougher terrain with this burly bike. KGK

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Why it made the cut: The KGK electric commuter bike is comfortable and sturdy, even at top speeds of 22 mph, and the 7-speed transmission offers smooth and responsive gear shifting that adapts to the road conditions.

Specs:

  • Transmission: 7-speed
  • Weight: 55 lbs
  • Mileage: 20-30 miles
  • Max Speed: 22 mph
  • Frame: Aluminum Alloy
  • Suspension: Front fork, saddle
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc

Pros:

  • 45 miles per battery charge
  • 36v 350w hub motor
  • 5 levels of pedal assist and a throttle
  • Front & rear lights
  • Front and rear cargo racks
  • Dual leg kickstand
  • Fat tires

Cons:

  • Single color option
  • Some assembly required

With a frame constructed from aviation-grade aluminum alloy, this electric bike from KGK is strong, lightweight, and responsive on the trails or the streets. With the dual disc brakes and high-strength steel suspension fork, you will enjoy a comfortable riding experience. The 36V 10.4Ah Lithium-Ion battery and 350W stable brushless motor mean more speed and more freedom.

The e-bike has three modes – pure electric, PAS mode (50% pedaling and 50% battery), and sport mode – so riders can switch up depending on activity. Pure electric to get you anywhere in a flash or sport mode to get in a challenging workout.

For those riders looking to transport more than just themselves, the company upgraded the original rear rack to an aluminum alloy to hold more cargo. The rear rack can hold up to 55 lbs, and the front rack can handle items up to 11 lbs. Perfect for carrying a computer bag, gym bag, or groceries.

Best electric bike for seniors: Heybike Cityscape Cruiser Electric Bike

Cruising comfort

It’s as easy to get on as it is to ride. HeyBike

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Why it made the cut: A throwback to the bikes cruising the streets decades ago, this classic electric cruiser bike is great for seniors. It comes equipped with 36V/10Ah batteries to ensure long charge life and fantastic street-riding performance.

Specs:

  • Motor: 350W  
  • Battery: 36V 10AH     
  • Speed: 19 mph     
  • Estimated Max Range: 25 miles (pure electric) /40 miles (pedal assist)  
  • Gears: 7-Speed Shimano
  • Tire: 26″ x 1.95″  
  • Suspension: Front and seat     
  • Frame: Step-through

Pros:

  • Long-range battery life
  • 26″ puncture-resistant tires
  • 3 working modes
  • 19 mph top speed
  • Pre-assembled
  • Dual-shock absorbers
  • Removable 36V 10Ah removable lithium battery
  • Front and rear lights for safety

Cons:

  • Only two color options
  • Small back rack

Cityscape offers a smooth and comfortable ride thanks to a front suspension fork with lockout and suspension seat post making any bumpy commute easier on the body.

The motor on the Heybike Cityscape provides more torque while at a standstill and for climbing with smooth acceleration and less noise and a high-resolution 12-magnet cadence sensor, which makes starting and stopping more predictable.

The quick removable modular battery allows charging on or off the bike frame, and the Heybike Cityscape battery is kept safe thanks to a key lock system.

The real fun of the Cityscape is the multifunctional display that provides information on speed, mileage, and battery power. That ensures you never get stuck without electric assist.

Best electric mountain bike: Paselec Electric Mountain Bike

Intelligent Power System

Long battery life and durable construction make this a solid choice for the trail. Paselec

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Why it made the cut: A bike that does it all, the Paselec Electric Bike gets up to 40 miles per charge (using pedal assist), and the 350w rear-drive motor can hit 19mph through even the toughest backroads and mountains.

Specs:

  • Wheel Size: 27.5 Inches
  • Suspension: Front and rear 
  • Number of Speeds: 8
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Brake Style: Disc
  • Weight: 59 pounds

Pros:

  • Distinctive frame shape
  • Fully enclosed waterproof and dustproof motor
  • Anti-slip wheels
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • 8-speeds
  • LCD display
  • Mostly pre-assembled
  • Anti-theft lock
  • Full-aluminum pro-wheel crankset and chain

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • On the expensive side

The 48V 13AH large-capacity battery offers intense climbing and acceleration capabilities.

Besides the powerful motor, this e-Bike features a progressive Smart Assist mode, adjusting the support level to suit the riding situation. This means no unnecessary gear shifting between terrains.

The electric mountain bike features an 8-speed shifter and full-aluminum pro-wheel crankset and chain, making the overall transmission system smooth and durable.

The 27.5-inch wheels are bigger than the typical 26-inch wheels you’ll find on some other mountain bikes, which makes it easier and more comfortable to roll over obstacles, whether you’re in the woods or just cruising over the curb. 

FAQs

Q: Do I need a license to drive an e-bike?

In most countries, e-bikes fall in the same classification as regular bicycles. This means all the same rules and regulations apply to e-bikes, so riders aren’t required to obtain a license to ride. That said, it’s essential to brush up on the rules of riding a bike, especially if you’re new to riding a bike in heavily-trafficked areas.

Q: Where can I ride an e-bike?

As explained above, an e-bike is no different from a regular bike, so there are no rules for where you can ride. If you’re riding on trails, be sure the path allows cycles at all. If you’re riding on the street, stick to the road’s shoulder or sidewalks if they’re not crowded with pedestrians. Still, it’s worth checking your local rules and regulations before heading out.

Q: Do I need special insurance to drive an e-bike?

In a few rare cases, insurance companies do not consider e-bikes the same as bicycles, so you might want to err on the side of caution. Check with your insurance company if you plan on riding the electric bike on major roads or if the cycle will be your primary source of transportation to and from work. You may also need to get a special rider added to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for theft protection.

Related: Best Exercise Bikes for Home

Our final thoughts on e-bikes

Sales of electric bikes have soared in the past few years with show no sign of slowing down. Whether it’s for commuting or leisure, the uses for an e-Bike are numerous. You’ll likely find more reasons to hop on the bike every day. Since some of the bikes are a big-ticket purchase, we suggest test riding an e-bike at a local store or borrowing one from a current owner. We’re positive you’ll be hooked after the first ride. Get the best electric bike for you, here!



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