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

With a battery-powered motor can often be the perfect choice for your new bike - we explain how they work, recommend a few and hand pick the best deals to be had.

Helping to take the strain out of riding, the best electric bike can open up a world of cycling for many riders. Whether your a returning rider, a newbie cyclist, or just looking for a bit of extra support to keep up every now and then, there will be an electric perfect for you.

What is the best 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.

If you’re looking for e-bike insurance, check out our guide. 

With each product is a ‘see more’ 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.

Best electric bike deals

Best UK deals 

BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City Two Hybrid electric bike £3,299 £2,475 
The urban bike comes inbuilt 10mm of travel for comfort and traction and will take tyres up to 40c for all types of terrain. Featuring  Shimano hydrolic disc brakes and STEPS E-6100 motor, and teamed with a 418w battery there’s a lot to like especially with this price drop.

View Deal

Bergamont E-Horizon Edition Gent Hybrid electric bike £2,879 £2,159
Considered an allrounder the bike comes with front suspension, the ability to mount an additional battery, modular carrier concept for variable and interchangeable luggage carrying, dropper post read and both child seat and trailer compatible.

View Deal

 

Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL Expert EVO electric bike £7,498.99 £5,624.99
We loved the S-Works version of this incredibly light bike on test (see below). The carbon frameset is teamed with Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes, and fully integrated  Specialized motor and battery for a beautiful finish for this adventure bike.

View Deal

Best US deals

Orbea Gain M20I electric bike  $5,799 $3,699.99
The full carbon frameset comes with Shimano Di2 Hydrolic disc, Mavic Aksium Elite wheels and FSA finishing kit. An Ebikemotion motor and battery should help you tackle even the steepest of hills.

View Deal

Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 electric bike $5,000 $3,799.73
The Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 is an electric bike which allows you to ride further than you might unassisted, with a range of up to 150 miles/241 kilometers thanks to a Bosch Active Line Plus drive system.

View Deal

Our pick of the best electric bikes

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

We’ve included a range of styles – from the 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.

See more in UK:  Giant FastRoad E+ electric bike at Tredz for £2,299

See more 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.

See more in UK: Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 at Pure Electric for £2,800

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

Carrera Subway Electric Hybrid Bike

Carrera Subway Electric Hybrid Bike

Read more: Carrera launch completely revamped 2020 bike range

Available with a straight or sloping downtube depending upon your preference, the electric Subway model is designed to feel fast enough on the road, with a Suntour rear wheel drive and a maximum range of up to 60 miles

See more: Carrera Subway Electric Hybrid Bike at Halfords for £1,099

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.

See more: Ampler Curt at Ampler Bikes for £2,599

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.

See more: VOLT Infinity 1 at electric bike store 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.

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

See more 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.

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

See more in US: Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 3 at ProBike+Run for $6000

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.

See more in UK: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike at Merlin Cycles for £4,999

See more 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.

See more in UK: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 at Cairn Cycles for £2,989 

See more 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.

See more: 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

See more 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.

See more in UK: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP electric bike  at Tredz from £2,799 

See more 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.

See more in UK: Brompton e-bike at Rutland Cycles from £1,594.99

See more 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.

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

See more 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.

See more: Tern Vektron at Pure Electric from £3,100

See more 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.

See more in UK: Ribble Hybrid AL e at Ribble Cycles for £1999

See more in US: Ribble Hybrid AL e at Ribble Cycles for $2,169.42


Why would you buy the best electric bike?

There are a whole host of reasons why you might want some pedaling 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 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 best electric bike world, so the chances are you’ll find the option that suits you.

Is it worth getting the best electric bike?

The best electric hybrid bikes

The biggest bonus of the best electric bike is gaining Pedal-assisted riding, making commuting much more of an option for many people.

best electric bikes - Scott hybrid electric bike

Electric bikes can take many forms

The benefits 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.

The best electric mountain bikes

Electric mountain bikes  are immense fun: getting to the top of the hills faster means there is more time descending. It also means that without constantly being on the fitness limit, you’ll have more concentration to tackle the technical stuff, as well as being able to gain a bit of assistance on the road.

The best 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 becoming increasingly popular, with brands like  Giant and Specialized producing beautiful models. More affordable option as from branks like Ribble are also making electric road bikes more accessible.

Are the best 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 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 the best electric bike

What are the different types of best 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 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.

best electric bikes - A hub mounted motor

A hub-mounted motor

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

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.

 

 

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 of the best electric bike is that it will include frame-based motors that 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.

The more you spend the better on the best electric bike the better the motor position, which will be ideally a frame-mounted motor, also know as a mid-drive motor. There are quite a few benefits to this type.

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 it’s placement.

best electric bikes

Here, a 9ah battery is hidden in the seat

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.

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

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.

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.

Keeping an eye out for big household names like Bosch and Shimano Steps. Other well-rated motor systems come from Fazua and Ebikemotion. In the main, the best electric bikes will have one of the above.

best electric bikes - A hydraulic disc brake

Expect your electric bike to come with disc brakes

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

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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

Other areas that can differ are, tires, 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 tires will help absorb the impacts of 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 tires, perfect for keeping up on the club run.