best electric bike

The best electric bikes 2020: all you need to know about e-bikes

Electric bikes can provide the perfect answer for many cyclists - we explain how they work and pick out some of the best

What is an electric bike?

Electric bikes – often known as e-bikes – are basically conventional bicycles, but with a rechargeable battery and a motor to help move you along, taking some of the effort out of pedaling.

Our pick of the best electric bikes for 2020

We’ve split our guide up into hybrid, road (which also includes gravel and adventure options) and folding e-bikes.

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With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

We’ve included a range of styles – from electric hybrid bikes, to electric road bikes and electric folding bikes.

Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike

best electric bikes - Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike

Read more: Giant FastRoad E+ electric bike review 

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec – Battery: Giant EnergyPak 375 36V/ Giant SyncDriv Pro Integrated Lithium-Ion, Frame/ Fork: Aluminum, Weight: 19kg / 41.9lbs, Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10sp hydraulic disc, Chainset: Giant Custom 50-34T,  Wheels: Giant GX Disc, Tyres: Maxxis Re-Fuse 32c
  • Pros – slick road style hybrid with integrated battery and top-end components
  • Cons – road-going frame not comfortable
  • RRP – £2,749 / $3500

Another road-going hybrid bike with flat handlebars to promote a comfortable ride position for even the rustiest of riders.

The tires provide plenty of squish and the ability to go lightly off-road. However on test we found the aluminum 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.

There are hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano quality shifting, with a compact chainset and wide cassette at the rear to provide plenty of gears for the hills.

Buy now in UK:  Giant FastRoad E+ electric bike at Tredz for £2,749

Buy now in US: Giant FastRoad E+ EX Pro electric bike at Giant (US) for $3,500

Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bike

best electric bikes - Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bikeRead more: Specialized Vado Turbo 2.0 electric bike review (2018 model)

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec –  Battery/ Motor: Specialized 1.2E custom 250w, Specialized U1-460Wh, 145km range (claimed), Frame/ Fork: aluminum/aluminum 50mm suspension fork, Weight: 23kg / 48.5lbs, Brakes: Tektro HD-T275 hydraulic disc (180/160mm), Drivetrain: Shimano Alivio 40T single chainring, 11-36 rear cassette, Wheels: Specialized Double-wall alloy, Tyres:  Trigger Sport Reflect 47mm
  • Pros – versatile bike, powerful motor, removable and easy to charge integrate long-lasting battery,
  • Cons – heavy
  • RRP – £2,400 / $3,499

A fun ride that’s great in urban environments but also provides a confidence-inspiring ride on rougher terrain.

It is a heavy machine at 23kg / 48.5lbs, so not easy to lift, but aside from that we found the Specialized Vado Turbo to be a joy to ride.

The 250w Specialized 1.2 battery has a range from 25 miles in ‘turbo’ mode to 93 miles in ‘economy’ mode, based on a rider that weighs 15.5 stone, 217lbs or 98.5kg.

Buy now in UK: Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 at Pure Electric for £2,500

Buy now in US: Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 at Mike’s Bikes for $3,499.99

VOLT Infinity 1 Electric Bike

best electric bikes - VOLT Infinity 1 Electric BikeRead more: VOLT Infinity 1 review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Shimano STEPS Motor/ 418Wh, 112km range, Frame/ Fork: aluminum , Groupset: ,  Shimano 11 Speed Alfine Di2, hydraulic disc, Tyres: 28mm, Weight: 24.2kg / 53.35lbs
  • Pros – Efficient and natural feeling Shimano steps system
  • Cons – rear wheel uses Allen key bolt
  • RRP – £2,400 / $N/A

The VOLT’s 36V battery — claimed to last 70 miles — is hooked up to a mid-drive motor that gives a nice balanced feel to the bike. Shimano provides the power in the form of Shimano Steps, the Japanese company’s first motor and e-bike 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.

Buy now: VOLT Infinity 1 at electric bike store for £2,599

Ampler Curt e-bike

best electric bikes - Ampler Curt e-bike

Read more: Ampler Curt e-bike review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec –  Battery: 250Wh, 45 to 100km range, Frame/ Fork: aluminum,  Brakes: Shimano Deore hydraulic disc (single speed or 10 speed), Tyres: Continental 32mm, Weight: 13-15kg,
  • Pros – light for an e-bike with a responsive ride
  • Cons – battery is fixed, harder to charge
  • RRP: £2,599 / $ N/A

An aluminum frame with flat bars for a comfortable, upright position, and a seat tube-mounted battery which is slim and unobtrusive. The bike weighs in at 15kg / 33lbs with 10-speed Deore gears, or 14kg / 30.8lbsif you opt for a single speed.

The battery itself packs 336Wh and provides 250w of assistance, lasting between 45km / 28mi and 100km / 60mi depending upon the mode.

The disc brakes wheels are shod with 32c Continental tires, offering plenty of comfort. It’s fair to say that we loved the agile and nimble ride.

Buy now: Ampler Curt at Ampler Bikes for £2,599

best electric bikes - Specialized S-Works Turbo Creole SL

Read more: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Specialized SL 1.1 motor, Specialized SL1320Wh, Frame/ Fork: Carbon, Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace  Hydraulic disc, 46t chainset, 11-42t cassette, Wheels: Roval CLX Tubeless-ready Carbon 50mm,  Tyres: S-Work Turbo 28mm, Weight: 12.2kg / 26.89lb
  • Pros – Smooth and natural system; integration of tech and cycling; good battery life.
  • Cons – Extremely expensive; placement of ‘Turbo Connect Unit’ could be better
  • RRP – £10,999 / US$13,500

This is Specialized’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 of the S-Works version, 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.

Specialized’s own SL1.1 motor delivers smooth assistance to your ride and doesn’t have the usual surges of acceleration you may find in some other e-bikes. That and its impressive battery life means that you do get a truly excellent e-bike. 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.

Buy now in UK: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo at CycleStore from £3,999.99

Buy Now in US: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL at Specialized US for $13,500

Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3 2021

best electric bikes - Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 Lefty

Read more: Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 3 2021 

  • Review Score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX, Battery: Bosch Powertube 500Wh, Frame: BallisTec Carbon, Fork: Lefty Oliver 30mm travel, Drivetrain: FSA Bosch chainset 42t, Shimano GRX, Brakes: Shimano GRX (160mm rotors), Wheels: WTB/ Formula, Tyres: WTB Resolute TCS 650x42c, Weight: 17.36kg / 38.27lb
  • Pros – Handling and traction; power and application; range
  • Cons – Almost too much torque; wheel spec; looks
  • RRP – £5,000 / US$5,800

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

Running on 650b wheels keeps the rear end tight and nimble for almost any terrain. It’ll shock you with its power delivery, but the looks are best described as an acquired taste.

>>> Best electric gravel bikes

This bike is unrivaled 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.

Buy now in UK: Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 3 2021 at Rutland Cycling for £4,999.99

Buy now in US: Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 3 at ProBike+Run for $5,800

best electric bikes - Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike

Read more: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike review

  • Review Score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Ebikemotion Hub Motor 250wh, Frame/Fork: Carbon, Groupset: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc 50/34t, 11-30, Wheels: Miche Race Axy WP DX, Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 28mm, Weight: 12.07kg / 26.6lb
  • Pros – Looks; torque assistance; one-button interface; ride feel; supporting software
  • Cons – Almost too much torque; auto-assist not to everyone’s liking.
  • RRP– £4,299 / US$5,999

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

If you are looking for automatic assistance then this is the bike for you, but if you would rather be the master of your own electrical deployment, then you might find the auto-assist a tad frustrating.

Buy now in UK: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike at Merlin Cycles for £3,869

Buy now in US: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultergra Road Bike at Backcountry for $5,999

Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0

best electric bikes

Read more: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/Battery: Fazua Evation 1.0, 250Wh battery, Frame/ Fork: Aluminum frame, carbon fork,  Groupset: SRAM Rival hydraulic disc 42t, 10-42t , Tyres: WTB Resolute 700x42c Weight: 14.61kg / 32.2lbs
  • Pros – Geometry and handling inspire confidence; Fazua motor system provides just enough assistance; ability to ride without motor; price
  • Cons – Will you ever ride without the motor/battery?
  • RRP – £2,989 / US$3,929.15

Cairn Cycles is an offshoot brand from The Rider Firm and the sibling of, amongst others, Hunt Wheels. With the already established knowledge and understanding for riding in the UK and rider requirements gathered through its association with these brands, Cairn has been able to design a bike that can tackle just about anything that a drop-bar bike can handle.

The target was a gravel bike capable of taking on wooly fire roads and maybe a bit of singletrack, but with the versatility so that if you want to use it as your daily commuter then it won’t disappoint.

Buy now in UK: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 at Cairn Cycles for £2,989 

Buy now in US: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 at Cairn Cycles for $3,929.15

Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike

best electric bikes - Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike

Read more: Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec –  Motor/ Battery: Fazua 250Wh, up to 50km range, Frame/ fork: carbon, Weight: 13.2kg / 29.1lbs, Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Di2, hydraulic disc, FSA Octalink Carbon arm Chainset, 50-34T / 11-34 cassette, Wheels: DT Swiss RR521, Tyres: Continental GP4000 S11 28mm
  • Pros – Minimal weight penalty; motor well-integrated; switch batter assist on/ off
  • Cons – battery security; rear wheel upgrade choices limited
  • RRP – £6,499.99 / $NA

Another of the new breed of performance-focused electric road bikes, the Focus Paralane2 (that’s ‘squared’ not ‘two’) dropped in on our scales at 13.2kg / 29.1lbs in a size medium.

The 3.3kg / 7.2lbs, 250Wh battery clips into the downtube, offering 250-watts of support, for a maximum of ten hours in the lowest mode.

The carbon frame sees an endurance-focused geometry, with a carbon seat post for added comfort. You get a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and road-going 28mm Continental GP 4000 S II tires.

With several models to choose from, the range varies in price and spec, meaning there should be a Paralane2 to suit most e-bike budgets.

Buy now: Focus Paralane2 9.5 e-bike at Rutland Cycles for £3,799.99

Bianchi Impulso e-Road

best electric bikes - Bianchi Impulso e-Road

Read more: Bianchi Impulso e-bike review

  • Review score – 7/10
  • Spec Motor/ Battery: Polini E-P3/ 500Wh, Frame/ Fork: carbon,  Groupset: Shimano Ultegra, hydraulic discs,  50-34T, 11-32T,  Tyres: 32mm, Weight: 12.89kg / 28.4lb (not including battery),
  • Pros – Weighted nicely; descends well; decent power on tap; good battery life
  • Cons – Heavier when compared to its peers
  • RRP – £4,600 / $NA

The Impulso e-Road was one of the first ‘normal’ looking road-specific electric bikes on the market that did its best to disguise the Polini E-P3 motor, integrating it into the down tube.

The Impulso has a charging time of 4 hours and multiple different settings depending on what type of riding you want to do. With our test bike ridden on the top end assist for 75km, only one bar of the battery was used. Pretty impressive, if you ask us.

If you’re after something a bit more adventure orientated, then it’s worth checking out its E-Allroad sibling, or if you’re in the market for something a bit racier, checkout the Aria e-Road

Buy now UK: Bianchi Impulso e-bike from Rutland Cycling for £4599.99

BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road electric bike

best electric bikes - BMC Alpenchallenge AMP e-bike

Read More: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike

  • Review score – 8/10
  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Shimano Steps R-800 250W, BT-E8010 504Wh, Frame/ Fork: Carbon, Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2 hydraulic disc 1×11, Wheels: DT Swiss HEC 1800, Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G+ 30mm, Weight: 14.9kg /32.84lbs
  • Pros – Extra long range; ride feel; finishing kit
  • Cons –  Power to weight ratio; low torque; price
  • RRP – £6,299 / US$6,999

BMC don’t often do ugly bikes, and but their Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike might be a bit polarizing in the looks department. Most of the frame looks like a typical BMC, save for the bulbous long-range battery integrated into the seat tube.

Despite its name, it’s only just scraped into the road bike category, and it’s not exactly a traditional road bike. On test we found it to be more of a ‘high end mixed surface commuter bike ideal for flat terrain’, which is a bit of a niche market.

There are, however, several models of the Road version and then there’s the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Sport, Cross and City options too. It’s definitely an electric bike model worth checking out as there should be one to suit most riding styles and budgets.

Buy now in UK: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP electric bike  at Tredz from £2,799 

Buy now in US: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike at Electric Bike Attack for $6,999

Brompton Electric

best electric bikes - Brompton electric folding bike

Read more: Brompton E-bike first ride   

  • Spec – Motor/ Battery: Brushless DC 250W, Brompton 300Wh, Frame/ Fork: Folding, Brakes: Duel pivot, Drivetrain: 2-speed, Wheels: 16″, weight: 16.6kg /36.6lb inc. battery.
  • Pros: Compact; lightweight; great handling,
  • Cons: Difficult to carry anything else when bike folded
  • RRP: Starting at £2595 / $3,499

We absolutely loved the Brompton e-bike, and felt that having a motor attached to the already highly regarded standard folding bike took it to another level.

The agile bike made riding in traffic feel safer, and tackling any hills much easier allowing you to arrive at the desk without breaking a sweat.

Quick and comfortable, the Brompton e-bike has it all. It’s reasonably lightweight when you do have to carry it, but added to heavy cargo might be too much for one pair of hands.

Buy now in UK: Brompton e-bike at Rutland Cycles from £1,594.99

Buy now in US: Brompton e-bike at Clever Cycles from $3,649

Gocycle GX folding Electric Bike

best electric bikes - best electric bikes 2019

Gocycle’s design features 20-inch wheels and a rear shock. Geometry mirrors a standard bike

Read more: GoCycle GS folding e-bike bike review

  • Review score – 9/10
  • Spec – Motor/Battery: GoCycle Proprietary front hub, 300Wh, up to 65km range (claimed), Frame/ Fork: Aluminum folding, Brakes: hydraulic disc, Drivetrain: Shimano Nexus hub gears, Wheels: Magnesium, Tyres: Gocycle All Weather 20″, Weight: 17.8kg / 39.24lbs
  • Pros – packs into own bag; nimble and comfortable
  • Cons – fold/unfold a bit tricky; bar height not adjustable
  • RRP: £2,898.99 / US$3,299.99

Capable of packing into a small carry case, the GoCycle is all about portability, thought its weight means you’ll be getting a bit of an arm workout if carrying it around train stations.

You get hydraulic disc brakes and 20-inch wheels with 2-inch tires that roll well and provide ample comfort.

The power comes from a motor in the front hub, which offers 250-watts of assistance, and lasts for a claimed 65km / 40mi on eco mode. The 300Wh lithium battery takes around seven hours to charge.

Buy now in UK: GoCycle GX Folding Electric bike at Rutland Cycles for £2,898.99

Buy now in US: GoCycle GX Folding Electric bike at Mike’s Bikes for $3,299.99

best electric bikes - Tern Vektron electric folding bike

Read more: Tern Verge X11 folding bike review (Non-electric model)

  • Spec – MotorBattery:  Bosch Active Line Plus 250W/ 400Wh,  Frame/ Fork: Aluminum, Brakes: Magura MT4 Hydraulic disc brakes, Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 1×10 speed, Wheels: Kinetix Comp/ Novatech, 20″ Tyres: Schwalbe Big Apple, Weight: 22.1kg / 48.7lb (claimed).
  • Pros – Resizable; integrated rack; weight distribution
  • Cons – Weight; price
  • RRP – Starting at £3,000 / $2,199

Tern has numerous folding bike options, with the electric model options also growing in the fleet. The Vektron by Tern 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.

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.

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.

Buy now: Tern Vektron at Tredz from £3,000

Buy now in US: Tern Vektro D8 folding bike from Bike Attack Electric for $2,199

Ribble Hybrid AL e

best electric bikes - Ribble Hybrid AL e

Read more: Ribble Hybrid AL e review

  • Spec –  Motor/Battery: Ebikemotion X35 Smart System, Material: Aluminum frame, carbon fork, Weight: 14.61kg / 32.2lbs, Brakes: SRAM Level hydraulic disc, Gearing: SRAM NX, 42T, 11-42 cassette, Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Rigid 700x35c
  • Review score – 9/10
  • Pros –Stable and comfortable ride position; Ebikemotion motor is smooth and unobtrusive; Attractive looks
  • Cons – The grips
  • RRP – £1,999 / US$2,169.42

A road-going hybrid bike that’s equally at home on gravel paths and trails, with a comfortable and confidence-inspiring upright riding position.

The fully loaded package includes mudguards (or fenders for our US friends), lights and a rear rack making it perfect as a daily commuter or for ditching the car when going to the store.

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.

Buy now in UK: Ribble Hybrid AL e at Ribble Cycles for £1999

Buy now in US: Ribble Hybrid AL e at Ribble Cycles for $2,169.42

Why would you buy an electric bike?

There are a whole host of reasons why you might want some pedaling assistance in your life.

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 and in need of a shower.

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.

Whatever the reason, there’s a lot of choice in the e-bike world, so the chances are you’ll find the option that suits you.

Electric bikes: what are the options?

Electric hybrid bikes

This is the big seller for electric bikes. Pedal-assisted commuting has had a dramatic pull across Europe where e-bikes have really come to prominence.

best electric bikes - Scott hybrid electric bike

Electric bikes can take many forms

The benefits are clear to see: it takes less effort to ride, meaning you get less sweaty; it’s easier to haul heavy luggage around and still ride; you can keep pace and feel more comfortable in traffic. Git a hybrid e-bike with a rack and fenders and you’ve got a seriously practical bike that can replace many a car trip.

Electric mountain bikes

Electric mountain bikes have also boomed lately and easy to see why: getting to the top of the hills faster means there is more time descending. Similarly, that assistance can balance the drag of the knobbly tires.

Electric road bikes

best electric bikes - Giant's electric road bike

Giant is one company that has produced an electric road bike

Electric road bikes are still a rare sight on the roads, although an increasing number of big names such as Giant and Specialized have produced models, and cheaper options from the likes of Ribble are starting to democratize the field.

What does the law say about electric bikes?

Electric bikes are not just disguised motorbikes or scooters, and there are some very key differences between the two. For starters, an e-bike can only assist its rider, its motor cannot be the sole source of power for the bike. To clarify, in many countries an electric bike can only assist a rider up to 25kmh (that’s roughly 15.5mph) for 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.

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

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.

What to look for in an electric bike

What are the different types of electric bikes?

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 may need a license, insurance, and a full helmet to ride them.

Where should the motor be placed?

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

best electric bikes - A hub mounted motor

A hub-mounted motor

Typically, you’re more likely to find a hub-mounted motor on cheaper e-bikes, although the rear hub Ebikemotion motor is appearing on higher-spec models. While they do have the advantage of being a little bit quieter, they often can’t handle the hills quite as well.

Spend a little more and you’re far more likely to get a frame-mounted motor, also know as a mid-drive motor. There are quite a few benefits to this type.

The most significant is the weight distribution of the motor is much better. Instead of sitting on the front or rear, it’s now centered around the bottom bracket, which makes the bike more stable — a key consideration for both road and mountain bikes.

best electric bikes - A bosch motor placed around a bottom bracket

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

Other benefits include the fact that frame-based motors can use the cranks to monitor your own power output and meter theirs accordingly. This can give a much more natural feel to your ride.

What about batteries?

Another consideration worth thinking about is electric bike batteries.

Of course, no battery will last forever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some serious mileage out of whichever comes on your bike.

best electric bikes

Here, a 9ah battery is hidden in the seat

You’ll find battery capacity measured in both watts (watt-hours, WH) or amps (amp-hours, AH). Typically, an e-bike’s battery capacity lies between 7-10ah.

What type of batteries are common? Well, Lithium-ion batteries are becoming popular the world over so it’s no surprise to see them specced on e-bikes, too. Typically, you should get around 800 charge cycles from a battery before it bites the dust.

You can also probably expect anywhere between 25 and 75 miles of run time on a full charge. Naturally, the more assistance the bike gives, the more power it will draw from the battery.

What components should you expect?

E-bikes are starting to spawn a whole new world of components, the most notable of which are obviously the battery and motors.

Like most things, it’s very much a case that you get what you pay for, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for big household names like Bosch and Shimano Steps. Other well-rated motor systems come from Fazua and Ebikemotion.

best electric bikes - A hydraulic disc brake

Expect your electric bike to come with disc brakes

Your e-bike will likely come specced with some form of hydraulic disc brakes. The added speed possible on an e-bike will definitely warrant the added stopping power, as will the extra weight the battery and motor add to the bike.

>>> Best caravan and motorhome bike racks

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.

best electric bikes - A bosch motor

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

Bosch has really embraced the electric bike market and their 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. Their models have motors geared to more leisurely riding, more performance-oriented cycling or cargo moving applications.

best electric bikes

Most electric road bikes will come with a normal groupset

Elsewhere, tires tend to be fatter: even on the road bike options, you can expect up to 32mm of rubber to be spec’ed. The extra width helps absorb the impacts of the heavier frame as well as providing more grip and stopping power to balance the extra weight and speed.