Electric bikes are here in a big way. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, someone has built it. From cargo bikes to city bikes, commuter bikes, to mountain bikes, road bikes, folding bikes, and even beach cruisers, there is something for everyone. The beauty of e-bikes is that they make the joy of cycling accessible to so many people in so many ways. See at-a-glance reviews below of five of our top-rated e-bikes, or scroll deeper for full reviews of these and other high-ranking options, plus more buying info.
The Three Classes of E-bikes
三九电影网After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider which class you prefer. In the U.S., there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you’re pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec,” can also have up to only a 750w motor (aka 1 horsepower), but it can assist you up to 28 mph. Both are allowed in most states and cities without requiring a license. Class 2 models have a throttle that can propel a bike up to and maintain 20 mph without having to continuously pedal. Aventon’s Pace 500 is technically a Class 3 e-bike in that it reaches speeds up to 28 mph, but it also has a throttle that tops out at 20 mph.
A Wide Variety of Motors and Batteries
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque, and others, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. But, generally, all four make good options. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
For many bikes, battery range is more important than total power (because they’re all pretty powerful). You want a bike that delivers a range long enough for your rides at the power levels you want. Most e-bikes will have three to five levels of assist that kick in anywhere from 25 percent of your pedal power to 200 percent. Consider how fast the battery takes to recharge, especially if you’ll be using your bike for long commutes. And remember, if you won’t settle for anything less than turbo, you’ll get the least amount of range (but the most amount of fun!) your battery offers.
Other Features to Consider
三九电影网As electric bike options continue to expand, brands are integrating the batteries more seamlessly. That makes them look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Batteries are expensive, so make sure there’s a good way to lock the battery to your bike if you’ll be keeping it outside. Overall weight is important. Some battery and motors can add 15 pounds or more to the bike. With assist, you won’t feel that much when you’re riding, but you will if you have to carry your bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.
三九电影网Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It’s worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in a bike with better ones if you can.
How We Tested
三九电影网Every bike on this list has been thoroughly evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience riding these bikes to determine the best options. Our team of experienced testers spent many hours and miles using these bikes for their intended purpose. We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to stock up on groceries and beer, tested their passenger-hauling capability, ridden them on questionable terrain to see how they handle, and run their batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, and overall e-factor to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to add a little pedal assist to their ride.
City, Cruiser, and Commuter
―Best for Apartment Dwellers―
Civia Parkway Step-Thru
At 42 pounds for a size medium frame (exceptionally light for an urban e-bike), this step-through model’s silent, mid-drive Bosch Active Line motor provides pedal assist up to 20 mph. And its 400Wh battery lasts a (claimed) 30 miles to a whopping 110 miles, depending on e-assist mode, speed, terrain, rider weight, and cargo. With 26-inch wheels, 2-inch tires, round aluminum tubes, a swept-back handlebar, Shimano Sora 9-speed components, and an 11-32 cassette, the Parkway looks like an everyday, non-motorized city bike at first glance. But with an array of Bosch e-components—motor, battery, and Purion display—it has the zip to take you farther, faster.
Specialized Women’s Turbo Vado 3.0
Urban riding will never be the same, and cars will be in your way, when you climb aboard the Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0. The zippy 28mph pedal-assist motor leaves you feeling invincible as you’re ripping along in turbo mode (which adds up to 320 percent of your power output). Although designed with female riders in mind—it comes with a women-specific saddle and grips, and a lower standover—the step-through frame is extremely convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to swing their leg over the back of a saddle while wearing street clothes. Slick, integrated lights, as well as fenders and a rear rack, add to the already-awesome features of this bike to make it the ideal combination of value, performance, and pep.
―Best Cheap E-Bike―
Aventon Pace 350
The $1,000 price level is where e-bikes can get sketchy: Lithium-ion battery technology is still pricey, so corners must be cut elsewhere to keep costs down. At $999.99, the Aventon Pace 350 is one such bike, but our test revealed it’s not too cheap to be quality. The Class 2 e-bike tops out at 20 mph, whether you get there by pedal-assist or a throttle. There’s a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain and five levels of e-assist, giving you various pedaling options. You don’t get lights or fenders, but the Pace 350 felt totally viable for daily commuting.
―Best Cheap Speed E-Bike―
Aventon Pace 500
If the Aventon Pace 350 is on your shopping radar, but you want a little more speed, the Class 3 Aventon Pace 500 urban e-bike has five levels of pedal assist and tops out at 28 mph. But the Pace has something not found on a lot of modern e-bikes. In addition to pedal power, it also has a throttle—in the case of the Pace, a small thumb paddle on the left side of the handlebar next to the control unit that holds a steady 20 mph, no pedaling required. The bike itself has an aluminum frame, a swept-back handlebar, ergo grips, a sturdy kickstand, hydraulic disc brakes, 8-speed Shimano Altus shifting and gearing, 27.5x2.2-inch Kenda e-bike-rated tires, a saddle the size of Texas, and good ol’ classic city/commuter-bike geometry. It doesn’t come equipped with fenders or a rear rack, but you can add them. Power comes in the form of a 500-watt rear-hub motor and a semi-integrated battery on the down tube (with a range of up to 50 miles); a backlit display unit mounted on the stem shows your speed and distance and tells you how much juice you have left.
―Best Beach E-Cruiser―
Tuesday August Live! LS
As long as you can do without some of the perks that pricier models offer—like a detailed display unit, integrated lights, and a torque-sensor motor—the August Live! LS is a solid, stable, comfortable, and really freakin’ cute (have you seen those polka-dot fenders?) e-bike. Its 8-speed twist shifter, chopper-style handlebar, Touch Down Geometry (for a more laid-back ride), and three levels of assist keep this bike within the realm of “cruiser.”三九电影网 But with a 250-watt Bafang rear-hub motor, a top pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph, and reliable disc brakes, the August is no joke. It’ll get you to the top of relatively steep climbs without forcing you out of the saddle, and it feels super stable on the way back down. It has a battery range of 20 miles, but that’s enough to take it where it’s happiest: tooling along at the beach, around town, and through the park.
―Best Folding Option―
Weighing almost 50 pounds, the Vika+ is among the heavier folding e-bikes out there, but what it lacks in staircase-friendliness it makes up for in assistance. The 20-inch-wheeled aluminum alloy bike is powered by a 500-watt rear hub motor. Included with the motor and electric system are five levels of pedal assist and a throttle mode for burning rubber in the bike lane (well, up to 20mph), all of which can be controlled by buttons on the handlebar and monitored by an LCD display that shows your speed, range, trip meter, and odometer. Depending on the assistance setting, the battery has a range of 20 to 45 miles per charge. As for the nonelectric components of the bike, 7-speed Shimano gearing gives you everything you need to keep pedaling with the e-assist turned off, with Tektro V brakes for stopping. Ultimately, it’s a pretty great bargain for a fast-folding bike that packs down smaller than most e-folding bikes. Plus, the bike comes equipped with commuter-friendly details: a rear cargo rack, fenders, and head- and taillights.
―Best for Going Big―
The Pivot Shuttle breaks the e-mountain bike mold. It’s Shimano Di2-equipped and features a carbon fiber frame with 140mm of rear travel, a 150mm fork, and a 150mm dropper post. A Shimano STePS e8000 drive unit, paired with a 500Wh battery, provides 20 mph of pedal assist, so you can skip the lift line when you hit the bike park and zip right to the good stuff. The 27.5-inch wheels are nimble and eat up nearly anything in their path, and the massive 2.8-inch tires have huge knobs that grip the trail like Velcro.
Cannondale Moterra Neo 1
三九电影网The Moterra Neo is one of the shorter-travel e-bikes we’ve tested. It has a 140mm Rockshox Pike fork and 130mm of rear travel. That was enough travel to handle everything we encountered on the trail, and the shorter travel was welcome on less technical terrain. It uses a Bosch Performance Line CX motor with 500 Wh battery integrated into the down tube. In testing, we’ve found Bosch’s E-MTB mode works very well, offering a quick and hearty kick when you need to accelerate quickly, but gentle assistance in tricky sections. The lower travel stopped the bike from bogging down in technical uphill rock gardens, making them easier to ride through, and the 160mm cranks also help to reduce pedal strikes so you can keep the power on. The agile handling and stable ride make it one of the easier e-bikes to adapt to, and one of the most versatile.
―Best Women’s E-MTB―
Liv Intrigue E+ 1 Pro
With 150mm of travel up front and 140mm in the rear, you’ll be able to hit double-track ruts without veering from your line. The motor is powerful and torquey, meaning you can stay in the lower two (of five) assist levels to save battery and still get enough kick to ascend just slightly faster than you could on a regular bike. The highest setting has serious oomph, with a little too much power to use the bike on tight or technical trails. It’s better for fire road climbs or cruising on pavement on the way to the trailhead—or back home after a ride. The Yamaha motor with 80 Nm of peak torque has generous kick to get over small rises or tough spots on the trail. And the boost can hit quickly; Liv says you get full boost (based on your power setting) in just 190 milliseconds and that the quick response time was noticeable, but not welcome in every situation, by our testers. The Liv feels lighter than other e-mountain bikes, so it’s a great option for women looking for a balance between power and maneuverability.
―Best Aluminum E-MTB―
Kona Remote CTRL
With a 150mm-travel RockShox Yari fork and 132mm of rear travel from the RockShox Monarch Plus R shock, the Remote CTRL is Kona’s first dual-suspension e-mountain bike. It’s powered by a 250-watt Bosch Performance Line XC mid-drive motor that uses the company’s progressive E-MTB mode that is adaptable to rider input, which means you don’t have to toggle through assistance modes while riding. It offers assistance up to 20 mph, and the 500Wh integrated battery is the largest Bosch currently offers. Beefy 27.5x2.8-inch Maxxis Recon tires offer plenty of traction and also help to absorb smaller hits.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL
三九电影网It was bound to happen: the e-bike that changes everything. And this is it. The Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL is like no other e-bike, and like no other bike. The carbon e-road bike weighs around 27 pounds—half the weight of many e-bikes—and therefore feels more like a zippy, responsive road machine than anything else we’ve tested. For its owners, it also makes every ride a no-drop ride: Its magnesium-cased SL 1.1 mid-motor puts out up to 240 watts of assistance, which cuts out at 28mph, and the 320Wh internal battery offers up to 80 miles of range. That’s enough speed and range for spirited group rides with the fast riders. A 160Wh Range Extender—included with S-Works models, a $399 upgrade for Expert models—fits into the seat tube bottle cage and adds up to 40 more miles of range.
―Integrated Front and Rear Lights―
The Domane+ e-road bike is the electric version of Trek’s popular Domane. It’s designed for riders who appreciate that bike’s reliable comfort and IsoSpeed technology but want the added fun and function of e-assist. It’s also the ideal companion for anyone coming back from injury, slower riders who want to mix it up with a speedy group, and couples with different fitness levels. A Bosch Performance Line Speed motor provides a very welcome 28 mph of pedal assist, and the 500Wh Powertube battery sleekly integrates into the down tube. Also integrated: front and rear lights, which are powered by the battery—no charging required.
―Best Compact E-Cargo Bike―
Benno eJoy 9D
The aluminum, step-through eJoy is the happy medium between traditional-looking townies that don’t transport much more than the rider, and often-cumbersome cargo models that are challenging to store. With 26-inch wheels, full fenders, a Shimano Alivio nine-speed drivetrain and disc brakes, a wheelbase similar to the average townie, and a big, comfy seat, it has the appearance of a practical everyday cruiser. But its oversize rear rack, silent Bosch Active Line motor, heavy-duty head tube with front-tray mounts (the tray is an add-on), integrated Supernova E3 lights, and roll-over-anything balloon tires hurtle it into hmm-this-could-actually-replace-my-car status. It’s one of the quietest, most convenient, most stylish, and easiest-to-operate e-bikes available.
Xtracycle RFA Utility
The Xtracycle RFA Utility is designed to evolve around your changing needs. Its adjustable dropouts allow you to shorten and lengthen the wheelbase by 5.5 inches. The shorter layout, dubbed the RFA Sport, comes with a shorter rear deck. We have the RFA Utility with its longer rack (might as well have a longer rack, right?), but you can always change the wheelbase length in about an hour. The bike feels sturdy and stiff, and the component spec is similarly customizable, with options for motors, batteries, and accessories. The fat 24-inch tires dampen road vibration and make you feel like you can run over almost anything, an admirable trait on a bike designed to carry hundreds of pounds of cargo. Our test bike had the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor, which takes you up to 28mph rather quickly. We found minor sticking points in the inconveniently long kickstand legs, lack of stock fenders, and minimal clearance between your heels and the seatstays. Otherwise, it’s a quality platform for customization and years of use.
―Best for the Long Haul―
Tern GSD S10
Built around a heavy-duty alloy frame, the GSD eschews many of the traits of other cargo bikes: long wheelbases, bigger wheels, and an unwieldy ride. Yet it boasts an extensive capacity, nimble handling—even fully loaded, thanks to a short wheelbase and 20-inch wheels—and enduring range in a package not much bigger than most non-cargo e-bikes. The stout frame holds a 250-watt Bosch motor that gives up to 275 percent of your power back to the pedals and reaches 20 mph. The GSD has room for two battery packs, extending the batteries’ combined range to a claimed 150 miles and making the Tern one of the longest-lasting e-bikes on the market. A laundry list of accessories and a (claimed) 396-pound carrying capacity round out the GSD’s status as an epic day-tripper.
―Best for the Heaviest Loads―
Riese and Müller Load Touring HS
三九电影网The Riese & Müller bills its Load Touring HS as “the ultimate minivan of e-bikes” and the claim holds up. With a low center of gravity (aided by the 20-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels), the Load is easy to handle. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes add control, and front and rear suspension provide comfort. The Bosch motor offers an assist up to 275 percent of your effort until you hit 28 mph, when it cuts out. Two 500Wh batteries give you 12 hours or more of range at full power. It’s capable of toting up to 220 pounds of pets, people, and less-animate cargo. R&M also sells a double child seat for kids up to age 6 and a child-seat fastener for your youngest passengers.
―Best Value E-Cargo Bike―
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon
三九电影网A $1,500, fully loaded e-cargo bike seemed too good to be true, so we borrowed the RadWagon from Rad Power Bikes to see if it could stand up to competitors that cost thousands more. In short: it does. A 750-watt Shengyi direct-drive hub motor provides powerful pedal assist at a much quieter hum than the mid-drive motors used on most e-cargo bikes; its only disadvantage is there’s not quite as much torque, but you’ll only notice on steep hills. A throttle lets you ride the bike like a scooter, and we had no problems with the 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain or the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Lights, fenders, and a kickstand are standard. Despite its length, the RadWagon isn’t difficult to maneuver: We thrashed it around an abandoned golf car path and didn’t scrape the rear foot platforms against the ground, a good sign for low-speed handling. It’s a lot easier to charge $5,000 or more for an e-cargo bike when you market it as a car replacement, but the RadWagon proves you can render your car mostly obsolete for the price of an e-bike, not another car.
三九电影网The Cero One e-cargo bike is built to carry plenty of stuff through a crowd: Its 20-inch front wheel lowers the front rack’s load and produces nimble handling. The Shimano STEPS motor tops out at 20 mph, and the battery provides 93 miles of e-assist; an 80 percent charge takes just 2.5 hours (5 hours for a full charge). The rear rack fits a basket or a Yepp child seat, and the front rack works with a basket or a platform for bigger packages. After her Subaru went to automotive heaven, our tester fit a week’s worth of groceries in both baskets.
―The Cadillac of E-Cargo Bikes―
Surly Big Easy
The Surly Big Easy is the Cadillac of the bike lane. The company’s new longtail e-cargo bike exudes a “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” stature, thanks to a beefed-up chromoly steel frame rolling on tough 26x2.5-inch tires. And because it’s a class 1 e-bike, you can actually ride it in the bike lane, too. The 7-foot-long, 67-pound bike won’t play well with your third-floor walk-up, so it’s best to think of it as a car supplement or replacement—that’s what Surly intended, anyway, as evidenced by the $5,000 price tag. However, if you’re ready to commit to the cargo bike life, you’ll struggle to find a stronger platform for achieving bike commuter nirvana.
―Best All-Around E-Cargo―
Another fan favorite from Benno (we gave the Benno Boost E cargo bike an Editors’ Choice in 2017), the 20mph eScout is one of the first e-bikes our staff grabs from our test fleet to pick up lunch, run errands, or just escape for a quick midday cruise. Ironically, it’s also one of the more modest-looking bikes of the bunch, save for its shiny red front tray (a $220 add-on)三九电影网. The rest of the bike is black, charcoal, and shades of charcoal black (though it’s also available in Alaska Blue)—from the fenders and kickstand to the integrated lights and lock, even the included rear rack. But there’s something about the eScout that makes it jump out in a sea of busy orange and teal and often impractical features. Maybe it’s the visibly sturdy build Benno bikes are known for, the bold and clean welds, the uncomplicated frame design, that freakin’ cool handle under the seat. On the road, the bike rides silent and smooth, takes turns like a luxury car, and never sacrifices comfort. Climbs are escalator steady, battery range is reliably predictable, and rattles are nonexistent. It’s a stealthy ride that wants for nothing. It’s a Benno.