Best electric bikes 2023 for every kind of rider

The best electric bikes for every kind of rider to open up your world of cycling

Cube Kathmandu e-bike ridden down a gravel path - best electric bikes
(Image credit: Cube)

If you're looking for the best electric bikes, there are a lot to choose from, with electric motors and batteries added to a wide range of bikes to add extra power. 

Electric road bikes will come with dropped handlebars and favour low weight, whilst electric hybrid bikes will come with flat bars, wider tyres and accessories to aid commuters – such as mudguards and lights. Electric folding bikes are useful if part of your journey involves train travel or you're short on space.

Here at Cycling Weekly, we've reviewed bikes from these three categories and there are links to our more detailed reviews for each bike in this guide. Our testing involves a range of routes and ride lengths and our highly experienced team of testers understands what makes a good bike and what to look for in the best electric bikes.

Electric bikes can be expensive, but there are options too if you're looking to keep costs low with prices starting from around $1,000: check out the best budget electric bikes. If you're into tinkering with your bike, you might also want to look at the best electric bike conversion kits as an alternative to buying a completely new electric bike.

Women may benefit from female specific components on the best women's electric bikes, and if you're venturing off-road, check out the best electric gravel bikes.

If you're looking for the best electric mountain bike though, follow this link to head over to our sister publication MBR which specialises in mountain biking.

Top picks

Here's a quick look at our top choices from the best electric bikes, including a folding option...

Our pick of the best electric bikes

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Best Electric Hybrid bikes

Electric hybrid bikes are the fastest selling style. Their flat bars, usually wide tyre, and commute friendly fittings - such as mudguard mounts and rack mounts - make them extremely practical machines. 

The motor can be housed in the rear hub, or at the cranks, and the torque will vary - low torque models offer a natural pedalling assistance, but high torque versions will move off the lights more quickly.

Ribble Hybrid AL e with a rack and fenders

Ribble Hybrid AL e looks just like a regular hybrid

(Image credit: Future)
Best electric hybrid bike for looking stylish at an affordable price


Motor/Battery: Ebikemotion X35 Smart System
Frame/ Fork : Aluminium frame/ Carbon fork
Groupset: SRAM NX, 42T, 11-42 cassette, SRAM Level hydraulic disc
Sizes : S - XL
Weight: 32.2lbs/ 14.61kg

Reasons to buy

Stable and comfortable ride position
Smooth and unobtrusive motor
Good looking bike

Reasons to avoid

Alloy seatpost prone to scuffs and scratches.
Rattily fenders/ mudguards.   

The Ribble Hybrid AL e is a road-going hybrid bike that’s equally at home on gravel paths and trails, with a comfortable and confidence-inspiring upright riding position, so great for returning or newbie riders.

For us, we think the bike is one of the best looking hybrids we've ever come across, with the design hiding away the motor incredibly well, although we were a little sad that adjusting the seat post left behind scratch marks. The fully loaded package includes fenders (mudguards), lights and a rear rack making it perfect as a daily commuter or for ditching the car when going to the store, although we did find these a little rattily on test.

The Ebikemotion motor delivers its power smoothly and efficiently and offers long-range in between charges, making the Ribble far more than just an A to B bike. 

Understandably it doesn't perform in the same way as the Canyon Grail:ON in terms of fast and tight torque, but tap along and it will tick over nicely, taking the top off any strenuous rides. 

With all the added extras as standard and classy looks, the Ribble Hybrid AL e is a great electric bike for the money.

Read more: Ribble Hybrid AL e electric bike full review

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 electric bike on an off yellow background

The Turbo Vado is commute ready thanks to fenders and a rear rack

(Image credit: Future)
Best electric hybrid bike for carrying weight and range


Motor/Batter: Specialized 2.0, 70Nm torque, custom tuned motor, 250W nominal, 710Wh battery
Frame/Fork: E5 Aluminium & SR Suntour MobieA32 with 80mm travel
Groupset: SRAM NX 11 speed
Sizes: S - XL
Weight: c. 27kg/60lbs

Reasons to buy

Seamless power delivery
Commanding riding position
Built-in lights

Reasons to avoid

Heavy weight when compared to other e-bikes 

A fun ride that’s great in urban environments but also provides a confidence-inspiring ride on rougher terrain is what the Specialized Turbo Vado is all about. 

If you're after a bike that is fully integrated with lights, fenders and rack (27kg capacity) as well as security (on the App & removable battery using a key), then this represents a straight forward choice. Only the weight, and to a lesser degree cost, need consideration.

We found the 70Nm/250W custom-tuned motor applies power seamlessly and powerfully as soon as you push down on the pedals. Range is excellent too -  95-130km / 60-80 miles should be easily attainable using the default settings of "Sport' and '50% power'. There is an Eco mode as well as Turbo, so if you're careful you can expect much greater range.

It is a heavy machine at 60lbs/ 27kg, so not easy to lift, so anyone needing to navigate steps in or out of the bike's storage place will need to take this into consideration, but aside from that we found the Specialized Vado Turbo to be a joy to ride.

Read more: Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 electric bike review

Ride1Up Roadster V2 with a red colour frameset

Ride1Up Roadster V2 is ready for the city streets

(Image credit: Dan Gould)
Best electric bike for work and play


Motor/ Battery: Shengyi 350w motor/ Samsung 36V
Frame/ fork: 6061 Alloy
Groupset: Singlespeed Belt drive/ Tektro dual-pivot caliper brakes
Sizes: S - L
Weight: 33lb/ 14.96kg

Reasons to buy

Great fun to ride
Silent ride due to belt drive
Very powerful motor
Subtle e-bike looks

Reasons to avoid

Tough to ride without pedal assist
Hill starts are hard before motor kicks in

We absolutely loved zooming around on the speedy Ride1Up Roadster V2 with its five levels of power assist. If you're anything like us and are more used to training and racing on standard road bikes it can easily become your guilty pleasure - it's fantastic fun to ride. 

The bike was so quiet, even on level 5, convincing onlookers that our tester had to be some kind of super hero to ride so fast up 15 per cent climbs. The only downside - in common with other e-bikes that only assist when you're pedalling - was where there was a requirement for a hill start, the cranks had to be turned over in order to get the motor to engage, creating a pregnant pause at the lights, before vavavooming off.

The claimed 24mph maximum assisted speed (in the US) needs input from the pedals to reach on the flats, but without a doubt it's noticeable downhill, where other bikes, such as the Wilier Cento1Hy Ultegra Di2 e-bike auto assist would cut out and slow you down. 

This extra speed also puts the bike into a class 3 e-bike, meaning that it doesn't meet EAPC rules in the UK, but that's by the by as US brand Ride1Up doesn't currently ship there. 

If you are in a country lucky enough to be shipped to: the US, Canada and Mexico, then it's a great option and one that has a very high fun-to-dollar ratio. 

Ride1Up is a direct-to-consumer brand - check out the Roadster V2 on its website here.

Read more: Ride1Up Roadster V2 full review

A side on view of a Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST

Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST boasts automatic gear changes

(Image credit: Canyon)
Best electric hybrid bike for everyday local rides


Motor/Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX (Gen4)/ Bosch PowerTube 500Wh
Frame/Fork: Carbon
Groupset: Gates CDX belt, Miranda Delta Crank, Canyon GP0164
Sizes: M-XL
Weight: 51.14lbs/ 23.2kg

Reasons to buy

Stylish finish
Efficient Bosch motor
Automatic gear changes
Integrated lights

Reasons to avoid

Heavy weight when compared to other electric bikes 
Limited travel range

The  Canyon Precede:ON is an efficient automatic transmission city bike that performs well in multi-terrain settings whether for utility or for leisure purposes thanks to a powerful motor and control panel. 

With built-in accessories such as lights, mudguards, rack and kickstand all the trappings are there to make for a comfortable ride with style straight out the box.  All these add ons however do make it one of the heaviest e-bikes on the market, even heavier than the Specialized Turbo Vado. 

We really loved the Canyon Grail: On and it's great to see the Precede:ON also be kitted with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor, although ideally we would love to see a little more juice in the battery to support the other impressive spec. 

With everything you need straight out the box, including navigation system and lights, it's the easiest way to swap driving/ public transport for a bike, but it is at the higher end price tag wise.  There are a couple of models to choose from, which also takes the cost down a touch, but with a six year guarantee, it could be a savvy investment. 

The only other point to note is that Canyon has a direct sales model, so you'll have to buy directly from the brand here

Read more: Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST electric bike full review

Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike is side on with the bars pointing to the right

Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike

(Image credit: Giant )
Best electric hybrid bike for top end components at an entry level price


Battery/Motor: Giant EnergyPak 375 36V/ Giant SyncDriv Pro Integrated Lithium-Ion
Frame/Fork: Aluminium
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10sp hydraulic disc, Giant Custom 50-34T
Sizes: S - XL
Weight: 41.9lb/ 19kg

Reasons to buy

Slick road style hybrid
Integrated battery
Top-end components

Reasons to avoid

Frame not the most comfortable

The Giant Fastroad E+ Pro is another road-going hybrid bike with flat handlebars to promote a comfortable ride position for even the rustiest of riders, in fact we enjoyed riding this great electric hybrid road bike so much we gave it a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award. 

The tyres provide plenty of squish and the ability to go lightly off-road. However on test we found the aluminium frame and fork quite stiff, which will suit those used to a traditional road bike’s feel and riders looking for a speedy commute, but worth bearing in mind if you’re used to a softer hybrid feel.

We really liked the bike's integration of the battery, which can often be a design factor forgotten about on hybrid bikes. We were also really impressed to see the spec on the FastRoad, with hydraulic disc brakes and quality Shimano shifting, with a compact chainset and wide range cassette at the rear to provide plenty of gears for the hills all making an appearance. 

A great electric hybrid bike for a fair price that will have a lot of appeal to lots of different riders.  

Read more: Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike full review

VOLT Infinity Electric Bike in the image is side on with the handle bars pointing to the right

VOLT's Infinity Electric Bike uses the Shimano Steps motor

(Image credit: Volt)
Best electric hybrid bike for comfortable ride feel


Motor/Battery: Shimano STEPS Motor/ 418Wh, 112km range
Frame/Fork: aluminium/ Suntour NCX D-LO Coil fork
Groupset: Shimano 11 Speed Alfine Di2, hydraulic disc
Sizes: One size (19")
Weight: 53.35lbs/24.2kg

Reasons to buy

Efficient and natural feeling Shimano steps system
Torque sensor to judge when you are fatiguing and need a battery powered boost

Reasons to avoid

Rear wheel uses Allen key bolt
One size only 

With its 36V battery, which should give around 70 miles of juice, hooked up to a mid-drive motor, we found that the Volt Infinity electric bike gave a nice balanced feel to the bike. 

Shimano provides the power in the form of 8-speed Alfine Di2 hub Shimano Steps, the highly regarded motor and e-bike specific groupset.

Three different assistance modes will let you get the most out of that battery and the display mounted on the front will make it easy to keep track and we loved that the torque sensor picked up when we were flagging and gave us a little boost to help us along our way. 

Previously similar to the Carrera Subway E, it's had a bit of a make over and it's now much more visually integrated than the previous model that we tested, although it's still without a quick release rear wheel, making investing in the best puncture-proof tyres or inner tubes a shrewd investment. 

The only real downside is the one size fits all. Great if it does fit you, not so much if it doesn't. 

Read more: VOLT Infinity Electric Bike full review

Best Electric Folding Bikes

Folding electric bikes are practical if you have a train journey forming part of your trip or are low on space. Being small, the battery and motor can represent a large percentage of the weight, so the focus is often on reducing this as much as possible. 

Mileage on folding bikes is often low, since they're typically used to ride to and from train stations, so battery range isn't always a major consideration. 

If you are considering going for a folder, you might find our buying guide page dedicated to helping you find the best folding bikes a useful read. 

Brompton Electric C Line folding bike has its battery in a removable backpack

Brompton Electric Folding Bike delivers plenty of gear range thanks to a six-speed drivechain

(Image credit: Sigma Sports)

7. Brompton Electric C Line Folding Bike

Best folding electric bike for compact storage


Motor/Battery: Brompton Willams Advance Engineering collaboration, Samsung battery 300W
Frame/ fork: Steel
Groupset: Brompton own, 6-speed
Sizes: One size, Seat post height options, handle bar options saddle width choice
Weight: 38.36lbs/ 17.4 kg

Reasons to buy

Excellent folding credentials in terms of mechanisms and size 
Very portable when not riding
Smooth but powerful motor assist
Predicable power deployment 

Reasons to avoid

Challenging to carry much else unless in a rucksack when off bike.

We absolutely loved the Brompton Electric bike when we took it out for a spin, finding it to be the perfect bike for commuting in traffic and then stowing well out of the way post-ride. 

The brand is considered by many as the gold standard of folding bikes, and the Brompton Electric is clearly cast from the same mould.

 As typical with any Brompton bike, the brand has taken full control of the engineering, so everything from frame to motor has been designed in house. Brompton however has called upon the experiences of Williams Advanced Engineering when it comes to the motor, developing a bespoke lightweight removable battery and motor. 

As you would expect when a team of Formula One engineers get under the bonnet of the Brompton Electric, the small, but perfectly formed motor has excelled, delivering power smoothly, safely and exactly when you need it. 

The frame is the usual Brompton high standard, and while one size, keeps the ability to choose handlebars, seatpost heights and even saddle widths. There are six speeds, giving you plenty to play with when you hit a hill. 

Whatever your final set up, you can rest assured as to the bike's foldability, which is one of the reasons why Brompton stands out from the folding bike crowd. Its folded footprint is one of the smallest out there: 565mm high x 585mm wide x 270mm long (22.2" x 23" x 10.6"). This means it's highly portable and capable of stowing in the smallest of spaces, although be warned, due to the independent motor and battery pack, you'll find yourself with two hands full, so best to invest in a rucksack for your other belongings. 

On test we felt this was an absolute dream of a bike, in fact, we went as far as calling it a transport gamechanger. If you're worried by the 17kg-plus weight, there's now the Brompton Electric P Line bike, which uses lighter frame materials to drop the claimed weight down to 15.6kg.

Gocycle Showroom Partner Programme

Gocycle G4 folding e-bike is easily portable once folded

(Image credit: Gocycle)
Best for minimal maintenance


Frame: 6061 T6 alloy front frame, carbon fibre mid-frame and injection moulded magnesium Cleandrive™
Motor: Gocycle proprietary front hub motor, G4drive 500 watt US / 250 watt UK/EU
Battery: Lithium ion: 10.4Ah, 36V, approx 375 Wh
Range: Up to 50 miles, depending on pedal input
Charging time: 3 hours
Weight: From 17.6kg / 38.8lbs

Reasons to buy

Smooth, instant power assistance
Responsive ride
Improved folding over previous models
Timeless design

Reasons to avoid

I didn't get close to claimed range
Not a lightweight carry

The G4i is a solid choice for a commuter, with the option to add many accessories such as mudguards (fenders), a front and rear pannier rack, integrated lights, lock holster and a travel case. 

The design folds in half, so that you can push it on its wheels rather than needing to carry it, or you can fully fold it into a compact package. There's built-in rear suspension, concealed cabling and a fully enclosed drivetrain.

It features a discreetly integrated USB port on the handlebar, enabling owners to charge their phone or other small devices from the bike’s battery when not in use - although we found the quality of the integrated phone mount didn't quite match that of the bike itself. The same goes for the LED display, which we found to be rather basic - although the information it provides is useful.

It's also likely to be pretty low-maintenance given that the drivetrain is completely enclosed. This makes sense, given that commuting year round usually means cycling in the wet at some point. The G4i utilizes a Shimano Nexus 3 speed internally geared hub. With 1” of elastomer suspension and 2.35” wide tyres, it is one of the more comfortable small wheelers. Single-sided wheel attachment means you don’t even have to remove the wheel, should you puncture one of the 20” wheels.

The 500W (250W in the UK/EU) G4 electric motor and 375Wh Lithium-ion battery is claimed to provide a range of up to 80km (50mi), but the most we managed to get out of it was just 44km (27mi). To be fair, that was in one of the more 'assisted' modes and I always had the daytime running lights on - and the city of Bath is well known for its brutally steep hills.

The bike is available from 17.6kg / 38.8lbs. However, as the weight is centred low on the frame, this at least makes the ride more stable. The folding mechanism has been improved since previous versions and can be quickly collapsed into a small package - Gocycle says this can be done in as little as ten seconds; we found it was closer to 20.

Read more: Gocycle G4i electric folding bike full review

Tern Vektron S10 electric folding bike in the image is side on with the handle bars pointing to the right

Tern  Vektron S10 electric folding bike has built-in racks as standard

(Image credit: Tern)

9. Tern Vektron electric folding bike

Best folding electric bike for extra luggage


Motor/Battery: Bosch Active Line Plus 250W/ 400Wh
Frame/Fork: Aluminium
Groupset : Shimano Deore 1x10, hydraulic disc brakes
Sizes: One size
Weight: 48.7lb/22.1kg (claimed)

Reasons to buy

Built in racks as standard
Regular bike ride feel thanks to gear ratio
Resizable saddle and handlebar height
High specification drivetrain and hydraulic brakes 
Great weight distribution

Reasons to avoid

Cumbersome when folded
Not a perfect fold up design
Heavy for a folding bike

Tern has numerous folding bike options, with the electric model options also growing in the fleet. The Tern Vektron S10 features 20-inch wheels and a 400-watt battery that can power you for 40 to 90 miles, depending on how much you use the assist.

We haven't tested this version, but highly rated the non-electric Tern Verge X11 and believe that you won't be disappointed in this electric cargo model. 

To help the rider find the perfect fit, the stem and saddle are adjustable, making it a good interchangeable option for the whole family, from 4'10" to 6'5". Coming with an integrated rack, compatibility with child seats is a breeze as no additional adaptors are required.

Its integrated rack will be fantastically useful, but will add to the already quite large folded down package size, so if it's stowaway capabilities you're after, you might be better off with the Brompton Electric Folding bike option. 

The bike boasts dynamo powered lights, alongside hydraulic disc brakes and highly regarded Shimano Deore groupset. The high spec does push the price up though, and weighing 22.5kg /48.7Ibs makes it a fairly hefty folder, and a limited one at that. 

Best Electric Road Bikes

The best electric road bikes will favour low weight. The expectation is that at times you might exceed the 25kph legal e-bike limit stipulated by many countries, and at that point, you'll want a lightweight bike. The motor will often be low torque, which makes the assistance feel more natural. 

Hub based motors are becoming increasingly common in this category. They keep the weight low, and also allow the chassis to look almost identical to a non-assisted bike. 

Ribble Endurance SL E side on with handlebars to right

Ribble's Endurance SL E tips the scales at under 27lbs

(Image credit: Future)
Best lightweight electric bike


Motor/ Battery: MAHLE Ebikemotion X35+ M1, 250W/ Panasonic 36V/250Wh
Frame/ Fork : Full Carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake 11sp
Sizes: XS - XL
Weight: 27.34lbs/ 12.4kg (claimed)

Reasons to buy

Easy and comfortable to ride
Very subtle e-bike looks 
Natural feeling power assistance
Very lightweight at 12.4kg

Reasons to avoid

Charging port in a vulnerable position
Power button in awkward postion

With geometry matching that of the Ribble Endurance SL Disc, the Ribble Endurance SL e gains a motor and battery, making it a great option for riders looking for subtle performance enhancement.

As with its non-electric equivalent, the Ribble Endurance SL e was also awarded a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice award, mostly due to its low overall weight, spec and incredibly subtle integration of the motor and battery. 

On hills the bike was fantastic at giving the rider a much needed boost in a natural and smooth linear delivery, but on the flat the legal e-bike speed limit of 15mph for the UK (where the bike was tested) did hold this otherwise great electronic bike back.

We felt that the location of the charge point on top of the bottom bracket was a little vulnerable, so it's important to double check it's covered up, particularly in wet conditions 

The other slight gripe was the position of the power on button on the top tube. Once it's on it's on, but trying to locate it does mean taking your eyes off the road for a couple of seconds, which isn't ideal. 

With a similar profile to the Wilier Cento1HY Ultegra Di2 e-bike, but kitted out with the lower price point, yet highly respected, Shimano 105 groupset, the Ribble Endurance SL e could save you half the money. 

Read more: Ribble Endurance SL e full review

Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL on a red background

Specialized S-Works Turbo Creole SL benefits from a full acrbon frameset

(Image credit: Future)
Best electric bike for looking good with an excellent ride feel


Motor/ Battery: Specialized SL 1.1 motor, Specialized SL1320Wh
Frame/ Fork: Carbon
Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Hydraulic disc, 46t chainset, 11-42t cassette
Sizes: S - XXL
Weight: 26.89lb/ 12.2kg

Reasons to buy

Smooth and natural system
Integration of tech
Long battery life 
Low weight of bike 

Reasons to avoid

Extremely expensive when compared to other e-bikes
‘Turbo Connect Unit’ position makes it awkward to use

The Specialized S-works Turbo Creo is the brand's first venture into the world of road e-bikes and it is not a disappointing one. If you're able to look past the eye-watering price tag, you will be getting all the pros of a road bike but with a bit of, as Specialized puts it, 'oomph'.

This beautiful bike gets the same FACT 11r frame as the S-Works Roubaix, which means it already has a naturally racy feel, and thanks to its super lightweight construction, means that it's happy to be ridden without any assistance at all. 

When taking advantage of the power, Specialized's own SL1.1 motor delivers smooth assistance to your ride and doesn't have the surges of acceleration you may find in some other e-bikes. That and its impressive battery life, which we found to be one of the longest on test, means that you do get a truly excellent e-bike. 

It's a bit like the F1 of e-bikes as it comes with a lot of technical integration, such as the ability to connect to its own app and dial in the motor for your style of riding. This is really helpful when using the bike to help with training and ensuring that the motor only kicked in once the tester was at a certain speed/ wattage. 

The good news is that there is a spectrum of the Specialized Turbo Creo with the SL Comp E5 available for nearly a third of the price. You do lose some of the spec of course, but both are still great options. 

Read more: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL full review

Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 Lefty with its Lefty Oliver fork

The Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 and its signature Lefty fork

(Image credit: Future)
Best electric bike for outright fun off road


Motor/Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX, Bosch Powertube 500Wh
Frame: BallisTec Carbon
Fork: Lefty Oliver 30mm travel
Groupset: FSA Bosch chainset 42t, Shimano GRX
Sizes : SM - XL
Weight: 38.27lb/ 17.36kg

Reasons to buy

Great confidence inspiring handling
Impressive traction and power put down
Long ranging battery

Reasons to avoid

Almost too much torque
Wheel specification low end
Looks won't be to everyone's taste

The  Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3 is an electric gravel bike - that means it blends drop handlebars with burly tyres and suspension, so it's designed for on and off-road riding. 

When Cannondale's highly regarded Topstone gravel model gained a motor to become the Topstone Neo, it turned one of the most capable gravel bikes into a pedal-assisted monster truck.

Running on 650b wheels keeps the rear end tight and nimble for almost any terrain, although this is an area where you might consider a future upgrade as the WTB ST i23 rims don't quite match the capability of the rest of the bike. It'll still shock you with its power delivery (hold on to your hats), but the looks are best described as an acquired taste.

It'll leave you in a similar giggly mess as the Canyon Grail:On CF 8 eTap does, just pure grin inducing fun on any ride. In fact, on test it proved to be a bit of a handful, and possibly provides too wild a ride for a lot of riders. If you can learn to love the looks, and tame the beast of the torque you honestly will struggle for more fun on two wheels.  

This bike is unrivalled in its class in terms of motor performance and the grin-inducing ride. The suspension adds another layer of capability to the package and blurs the gravel/MTB divide even further.

There are a few bikes in the range to choose from, both up and down price brackets, so worth checking out to find the exact model to meet your needs. 

For more options like this one, check out our best electric gravel bike page.

Read more: Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3 full review

Wilier Cento1 Hybrid in grey and red colourway with a Shimano Ultegra drivechain

Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike has a concealed battery and hub motor

(Image credit: Future)
Best electric bike for getting up the hills fast


Motor/Battery: Ebikemotion Hub Motor 250wh
Frame/Fork: Carbon
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc 50/34t, 11-30
Size : XS - XL
Weight: 26.6lb/ 12.07kg

Reasons to buy

Good looking e-bike
Torque assistance powerful
One-button interface
Ride feel is racy and precise 
Supporting software easy to use

Reasons to avoid

Almost too much torque
Auto-assist not to everyone’s liking

Gaining a much-deserved Editor's Choice award, the Wilier Cento1 Hybrid  is the e-bike for the road riders who still want the feel of a race bike. The Cento1 Hybrid is a good looking lightweight machine, which will assist you up those tough climbs, with plenty of power on tap.

On test, we found the supporting ebikemotion system, which is smartphone and PC app friendly, a doddle to use, with automatic syncing to Strava

Some riders will love the automatic assistance, as it will immediately kick in when the going gets tough. However, this can be a Pro or a Con, depending on your ride assistance preference. If you would rather be the master of your own electrical deployment, then you might find the auto-assist a tad frustrating and just a little over torqued. 

It's not the cheapest of bikes by any stretch, and the Ribble SL e could almost go toe to toe, but the Wilier is the no compromise option, which is reflected in the price tag.

Read more: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Di2 e-bike full review

Electric bike buying advice

Why would you buy an electric bike?

There are a whole host of reasons why you might want some pedalling assistance in your life from the best electric bike.

Perhaps you have to travel with lots of cargo, and the added power can mean the difference between using a car or still spinning your two legs.

Or maybe you want to start commuting to work, and an electric hybrid could be a great option for helping you cover the miles, without turning up at work in a sweaty mess and in need of a shower.

The benefit is obvious: less effort = less sweat. Hauling heavy luggage is an option, and you can often even keep pace and feel more comfortable in traffic. A hybrid e-bike with a rack and fenders and you've got a seriously practical bike that can replace many a car trip or having to use public transport.

You might be recovering from injury or illness and the added boost of a motor might help you get back out there again. Or it might simply be the case that you're not as young as you once were.

It is absolute hearsay that electric bikes don't provide an exercise benefit, you do still get a workout when riding an electric bike.

Scott hybrid electric bike feature a mid-drive motor fitted with a rear rack and fenders

Scott's Hybrid uses a mid-drive motor

Are electric bikes legal?

The biggest difference between an electric bike and a motorbike is that the e-bike can only assist its rider, its motor cannot be the sole source of power for the bike. To clarify, in order for an electric bike to be legal, in many countries it can only assist a rider up to 25km/h (that's roughly 15.5mph). This applies to most of Europe and Australia — if you live in the US, keep reading.

Outside the US the motor inside the bike can only be a maximum of 250w and cannot be operated by a throttle like you'd find on a motorbike. Which, sadly, does mean you'll have to use your legs!

The rules in the US are a bit more difficult to follow as the laws can vary state to state, and federal law surrounding e-bikes may say something different again.

The Bicycle Product Suppliers Association has sought to clear up some of the confusion, slotting e-bikes into a three-class system, all of which are limited to 750-watt motors.

The laws surrounding where and who can ride which class of e-bikes also varies state to state, but the TL:DR version is class 1 and 2 are permitted anywhere bikes are allowed, and class 3 are okay on roads and in bike lanes, but not multi-use paths, and have rules surrounding helmet use and minimum rider age. Thankfully the lovely folks over at People for Bikes have a handy guide that breaks the rules up by state.

  • Class 1: the motor only kicks in when the rider is pedalling and is limited to 20mph
  • Class 2: The motor is limited to 20mph and can provide assistance whether or not the rider is pedalling
  • Class 3: the motor provides pedal assist, is limited to 28mph and must be equipped with a speedometer.

What types of electric bike are available?

Most e-bikes come in the form of a Pedelec or pedal-assist, which monitors the input of a rider and assists as much as possible up to the region-specific top speed.

Less common are Twist-n-Go models, which allow riders to operate the input of the motor from a switch (or even a throttle). Most places classify these as a moped and you may need a licence, insurance, and a full helmet to ride them.

A hub mounted motor attached to the rear wheel of an e-bike

A hub mounted motor

What are power and torque?

The peak output of an electric bike is normally expressed in two measures.

The power output of the motor is measured in watts. Most electric bikes have a maximum continuously rated output of 250 watts, as that's the power that regulations allow in many countries. Their peak power may be higher than this - think power required to get you started from a standing start.

Torque is the turning effort that the motor can add to your own pedalling. It's measured in Newton-metres (Nm). 

Torque output varies considerably between motors. Lower priced electric hybrid bikes and many folders may have a torque output of around 40Nm. That's also the power output of the motors on some electric road bikes, where the motor is designed to add extra power to assist a fitter rider rather than o pull you up a hill.

Mid-range motors, such as are found on many electric city hybrids, and some electric road bikes typically have outputs of 50Nm to 65Nm. Electric mountain bikes and some electric gravel bikes may have torque outputs of 90Nm or more to give plenty of grunt when climbing steep off-road inclines.

Where should the motor be placed on the best electric bike?

There are really only three options for e-bike motor placement: either on the front wheel, the back wheel or the cranks.

Placing the motor at the cranks offers much better weight distribution, which makes the bike more stable — a key consideration for both road and mountain bikes.

Hub based motors, found in the rear wheel, are usually lighter, so you're more likely to find them on electric road bikes. Motors in the front wheel are a lot less common, but you may find them on some hybrid e-bikes and folders.

A Bosch ActiveLine motor placed around the bottom bracket of an e-bike

Most motors are now placed around the bottom bracket for a better distribution of weight

How far do the best electric bikes go?

Another consideration worth thinking about is electric bike batteries.

Generally speaking, like motors, you get what you pay for. No battery will have infinite power, or be totally invisible, even on the best electric bike - but the more you spend the longer the range/ the more subtle its placement.

Battery capacity is measured in both watts (watt-hours, Wh) or amps (amp-hours, Ah). In most cases, an e-bike's battery capacity lies between 250Wh-600Wh or 7-10Ah.

Typically, you should get around 800 charge cycles from the best electric bike lithium-ion battery before you'll need to replace it.

How far you can go on a single charge depends on range of factors, including the terrain, but a rule of thumb you can expect a riding range of anywhere between 25 and 75 miles of run time on a full charge. Although be warned, the more assistance the bike gives, the more power it will draw from the battery.

Ebike battery is shown here in a rider's hands.

Here, a 9ah battery is hidden in the seat

(Image credit: Future)

What components do the best electric bikes have?

E-bikes do have slightly different components to standard bikes, the obvious ones are the battery and motor.

In terms of motors, the big names are Bosch and Shimano. Shimano Steps was the first e-bike specific groupset from the Japanese giant and it features a mid-drive electric motor, as well as integrated electric shifters and a torque sensor to smooth out the ride a little. 

A Bosch mid-drive motor fitted to an e-bike

Bosch is becoming a big name in the e-bike world

Bosch has really embraced the electric bike market and its range of eleven different motors offers a variety of power assistance depending on how much you're willing to spend and the type of riding you're doing. Its models have motors geared to more leisurely riding, more performance-oriented cycling or cargo moving applications.

Other brands such as Fazua, TQ and Mahle ebikemotion are common on lightweight e-road bikes, and these systems have done well when reviewed, so come recommended. Budget electric bikes often use Bafang motors.

Shimano launches its popular 105 groupset with Di2 electronic shifting

Most electric road bikes will come with a normal groupset

(Image credit: Shimano )

The best electric bikes are likely to come specced with some form of hydraulic disc brakes. The added speed and weight of an e-bike will definitely warrant the extra stopping power.

Other areas that can differ are tyres, which tend to be fatter, even on the road bike options, anywhere between 32mm and 40mm of rubber is most common on the hybrid options. The extra wide tyres will help absorb the impacts of the heavier frame as well as providing more grip and stopping power to balance the extra weight and speed.

The more expensive, lightweight carbon road electric bikes do now come with leaner 28m tyres, perfect for keeping up on the club run.

Meet the testers

Paul Norman bio pic
Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015 and since then he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment. He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.

Paul Grele

Paul reviews both bikes and equipment for Cycling Weekly and has 40 years of riding under his belt across a variety of disciplines including road riding, commuting, a self-supported Land's End to John o' Groats trip, XC mountain biking and several Polaris Challenge two-day events. Naturally for a reviewer he loves bike and kit design and has even fillet brazed a couple of framesets himself.

How we test

Where we've been able to link to a review, it means that we've put the bike through its paces. This means that we've ridden it over varying terrain and distances to assess it's performance across a range of factors. For e-bikes this typically means that we'll have considered the quality of the motor and battery, from ease of use to charging time and range, while with regards to folding e-bikes we'll have also tested the folding mechanism for ease of use as well as the general suitability of the bike for commuting purposes. 

Like regular bikes, we'll also consider the ride quality and the choice of components and how they impact key areas such as comfort, gear range and braking.

Where we haven't yet had the chance to review an item, we're still confident in recommending it as one of the best, because we either know the brand really well, and have probably tested another product or the previous version and can still happily recommend it as one of the best. 

Hannah Bussey

Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.

Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.

For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. 

She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.