Best electric bikes: everything you need to know about e-bikes

Best Electric bike
(Image credit: ADRIAN GREITER PHOTODESIGN)

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 conventional bicycles, 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 which tells you all you need to know to get you protected.

Top three e-bikes to buy right now

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 for range and power on the road.

Canyon Grail:On CF 8 eTap

Pros: Power delivery, battery rangeweightspec | Cons: Tyre choicehandlebar| Weight: 34.17lb / 15.5kg /| Review score: 9/10

A Cycling Weekly Editor’s Choice winner for 2020. On test we found that the Grail:ON is one of those bikes that just does what it’s meant to – it is the perfect answer to the question ‘where does an e-bike work?’

The frame geometry and ride quality are excellent and boosts confidence whilst remaining comfortable and as per usual with Canyon the spec vs price is highly competitive.

It does need a change of tyres to really let it shine but apart from that it’s the whole package. There are a few in the range to choose from to get the right version for you.

  • Motor/ Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX. 500Wh Power Tube
  • Frame/ Fork: Carbon
  • Groupset: SRAM Force e-Tap AXS 12-speed hydraulic disc, FSA Carbon cranks
  • Wheels: DT Swiss HGC 1400
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 50mm

Read more: Canyon Grail:ON CF 8 eTap review 

See more USA: Canyon Grail:ON CF at Canyon direct from $5,799

See more UK: Canyon Grail:ON CF at Canyon direct from £4,999

Best electric hybrid bike for looking stylish at an affordable price.

best electric bikes - Ribble Hybrid AL e

Ribble Hybrid AL e

Pros: Stablecomfortable position,  smooth and unobtrusive motor,  looks | Cons: handlebar grips| Weight: 32.2lbs/ 14.61kg  | Review score: 9/10

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.

  • Motor/Battery: Ebikemotion X35 Smart System
  • Brakes: SRAM Level hydraulic disc
  • Gearing: SRAM NX, 42T, 11-42 cassette
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Rigid 700x35c

Read more: Ribble Hybrid AL e review

See more: Ribble Hybrid AL e at Ribble for $ or £1,999

Best lightweight electric folding bike with a quality ride.

best electric bikes - Brompton electric folding bike

Brompton Electric Folding Bike

Pros: Compactlightweight, great handling | Cons: Difficult to carry anything else when bike folded | Weight: 36.6lb/ 16.6kg inc. batteryReview score: TBC

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.

  • Motor/ Battery: Brushless DC 250W, Brompton 300Wh
  • Frame/ Fork: Folding
  • Brakes: Duel pivot, Drivetrain: 2-speed,
  • Wheels: 16″

Read more: Brompton E-bike first ride

See more:  Brompton Electric Folding Bike at or Evans Cycles for £2725.00

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 to help you narrow down the right bike for you.

Our pick of the best Electric Road Bikes

For the rest of our buyers guide, we’ve split bikes into hybrid, road (which also includes gravel and adventure options) and folding e-bikes to help you narrow down the right bike for you.

Best Electric Road Bikes

Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL

Best electric bike for looking good with an excellent ride feel.

best electric bikes - Specialized S-Works Turbo Creole SL

Specialized S-Works Turbo Creole SL

Pros: Smooth system,  integration of techbattery lifeweight | Cons: Extremely expensive, Turbo Connect Unit’ position | Weight: 26.89lb/ 12.2kg | Review score: 9/10

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.

  • 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

Read more: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL review

See more: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creole SL at or Rutland Cycling for £8,749.99

BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road electric bike

Best electric road bike for range

BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road electric bike

(Image credit: BMC)

Pros: Extra long range, ride feel,  finishing kit| Cons: Power to weight ratiolow torque, price | Weight: 32.84lbs/ 14.9kg | Review score: 8/10

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.

  • 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

Read More: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike

See more US: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike at for 

See more UK: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike at Tredz for £3,500

Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3

Best electric bike for out right fun off road

Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 Lefty

Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 Lefty

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Pros: Handlingtractionpowerapplicationrange | Cons: Almost too much torque, wheel spec, looks| Weight: 38.27lb/ 17.36kg | Review score: 9/10

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 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 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. 

  • Motor/ Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX, 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

Read more: Cannondale Topstone Neo Lefty 3

See more: Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3 Lefty for at or at Rutland Cycling for £5,599.99

Wilier Cento1Hy Ultegra Di2 e-bike

Best electric bike for getting up the hills fast.

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

Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike

Pros: Looks, torque assistanceone-button interfaceride feelsupporting software | Cons: Almost too much torque, auto-assist not to everyone’s liking| Weight: 26.6lb/ 12.07kg | Review score: 9/10

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.

  • 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

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

See more: Wilier Cento1 Hybrid Ultegra Road E-Bike at for or Merlin Cycles from £3,599.99

Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0

Best electric bike for inspiring confidence at a reasonable price

best electric bikes

Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0

Pros:  Geometryhandlingjust enough assistance,  ability to ride without motorprice | Cons: Will you ever ride without the motor/battery| Weight: 32.2lbs/ 14.61kg | Review score: 9/10

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 one of the best electric bike's that can tackle just about anything that a drop-bar bike can handle.

The target was a gravel bike capable of taking on woolly 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.

Read more: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 review

See more in US: Cairn Cycles E-Adventure 1.0 at Cairn Cycles for $3,929.15

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

Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike

Best electric bike for minimal weight penalty

Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike

Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike

(Image credit: Focus)

Pros: Weightmotor well-integratedswitch assist on/ off | Cons: Battery securityrear wheel upgrade choices limited | Weight: 29.1lbs/ 13.2kg | Review score: 9/10

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 29.1lbs/ 13.2kg in a size medium.

The 7.2lbs/ 3.3kg  , 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.

  • Motor/ Battery: Fazua 250Wh, up to 50km range
  • Frame/ fork: Carbon
  • 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

Read more: Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike review

See more USA: Focus Paralane 2 9.8 electric bike at Star Bike Parts for $3,843.00

See more UK: Focus Paralane 2 9.5 e-bike at Wheelbase for £3,299

Best Electric Hybrid bikes

Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike

Best electric hybrid bike for top end components at an entry level price

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

Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike

Pros: slick road style hybrid integrated battery,  top-end components| Cons: frame not the most comfortable | Weight: 41.9lb/ 19kg | Review score: 9/10

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 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.

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.

  • Battery/ Motor: Giant EnergyPak 375 36V/ Giant SyncDriv Pro Integrated Lithium-Ion
  • Frame/ Fork: Aluminium
  • Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 10sp hydraulic disc
  • Chainset: Giant Custom 50-34T
  • Wheels: Giant GX Disc
  • Tyres: Maxxis Re-Fuse 32c

Read more: Giant FastRoad E+ electric bike review 

See more US: 

See more UK: Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike at £3,199.99

Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bike

Best electric hybrid bike for carrying weight and range.

best electric bikes - Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bike

Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bike

Pros: versatile bikepowerful motorremovable and easy to charge integrated long-lasting battery| Cons: Weight | Weight: 48.5lbs/ 23kg | Review score: 9/10

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 48.5lbs/ 23kg, 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.

  • Battery/ Motor: Specialized 1.2E custom 250w, Specialized U1-460Wh, 145km range (claimed)
  • Frame/ Fork: aluminum/aluminum 50mm suspension fork
  • 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

Read more: Specialized Vado Turbo 2.0 electric bike review (2018 model)

See more US:

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

Carrera Subway Electric Hybrid Bike

Best entry-level electric hybrid bike

Carrera Subway Electric Hybrid Bike

Pros: Priceweightrange| Cons: no suspensionno mudguards, no rack| Weight: 439lbs/18kg (claimed)Review score: N/A

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

  • Motor/ Battery: 317Wh, Up to 60miles (claimed)
  • Frame/ Fork: TBC
  • Brakes: hydraulic disc
  • Groupset: TBC
  • Wheels: TBC
  • Tyres: TBC

Read more: Carrera launch completely revamped 2020 bike range

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

Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST electric bike

Best electric hybrid bike for everyday local rides.

Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST

Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 ST

Pros: Stylish finish, Efficient motorAutomatic gear changesintegrated lights| Cons: Weight, Limited range | Weight: 51.14lbs/ 23.2kg | Review score: 8/10

The 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 kick-stand all the trappings are there to make for a comfortable ride with style straight out the box. There are a couple of models to chose from, which also takes the high price tag down a touch.

  • Motor/ Battery: Bosch Performance Line CX (Gen4)/ Bosch PowerTube 500Wh
  • Frame/ Fork: Carbon
  • Groupset: Gates CDX belt, Miranda Delta Crank, Canyon GP0164
  • Brakes: TRP Tektro rotors
  • Wheels: Alexrims
  • Tyres: TY Schwalbe G-ONE

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

See more USA: Canyon electric bikes at Canyon direct from $5,799

See more UK: Canyon Precede:ON at Canyon direct from £4,299

Ducati e-Scrambler

Best electric hybrid bike for getting you back riding.

Ducati e-Scrambler

Ducati e-Scrambler

Pros: Multiple ride modes, Bike weight unnoticeable when riding, comfortable saddle, range| Cons: Non-step through framenot the fastestnon-intuitive dashboard| Weight: 49.6lbs/22.5kg | Review score: TBC

A great gateway in to electric bikes giving back cycling after a long hiatus. Tested by a returner to cycling rather than the usual Cycling Weekly Tech Team member, our rider found the Ducati easy to set up and get going, with the medium Trail boost option provided plentiful assistance for normal riding and had me gliding along at a very respectable speed with minimum pedalling effort.

It's not lightweight or cheap, but a great way to return to two wheels and much more manageable than Ducati's other options!

  • Motor/ Battery: Shimanio Steps E7000 motor / 504Wh battery
  • Frame/ Fork: Aluminum, Fork: Suntour XCT 34 100mm travel
  • Groupset: Sram NX 11-speed (11-42) hydraulic disc
  • Wheels: Thok e-plus
  • Tyres: Pirelli Cycl-e 2.25,
  • Dropper post: eTen 100-125mm)

Read more: Ducati e-Scramber electric bike first look

See more USA: Ducati E-Scrambler electric bike at Ducati for $4,000

See more UK: Ducati E-Scrambler at Ducati for £3,366

  • Review score - TBC
  • Spec – Shimanio Steps E7000 motor / 504Wh battery Frame: Aluminum Fork: Suntour XCT 34 100mm travel Weight: 22.5kg / 49.6lbs, Groupset: Sram NX 11-speed (11-42) hydraulic disc, Wheels: Thok e-plus, Tyres: Pirelli Cycl-e 2.25, Dropper post: eTen 100-125mm)
  • Pros – Plenty of ride modes, Bike weight unnoticeable when riding, comfortable saddle, plenty of range
  • Cons – Non-step through frame, not the fastest, non-intuitive dashboard.
  • RRP - £3,835 / $4,000

Ampler Curt e-bike

Best lightweight electric hybrid bike

best electric bikes - Ampler Curt e-bike

Ampler Curt e-bike

Pros: light for an e-bike with a responsive ride| Cons: battery is fixed, harder to charged| Weight: 28-33lbs/13-15kg | Review score: 9/10

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.

  • Motor/ Battery: 250Wh, 45 to 100km range
  • Frame/ Fork: aluminum
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore hydraulic disc (single speed or 10 speed)
  • Tyres: Continental 32mm

Read more: Ampler Curt e-bike review

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

VOLT Infinity 1 Electric Bike

Best electric hybrid bike for comfortable ride feel.

best electric bikes - VOLT Infinity 1 Electric Bike

VOLT Infinity 1 Electric Bike

Pros: Efficient and natural feeling Shimano steps system | Cons: rear wheel uses Allen key bolt| Weight: 53.35lbs/24.2kg | Review score: 9/10

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.

  • Motor/ Battery: Shimano STEPS Motor/ 418Wh, 112km range
  • Frame/ Fork: aluminum
  • Groupset: Shimano 11 Speed Alfine Di2, hydraulic disc
  • Tyres: 28mm

Read more: VOLT Infinity 1 review

See more UK: VOLT Infinity 1 at electric bike store for £2,599

Best Electric Folding Bikes

Gocycle G4 folding Electric Bike

Best electric folding bike for nimble ride feel.

Gocycle G4

Gocycle G4 folding e-bike

(Image credit: Gocycle)

Pros: New design, carbon fork, compact, roll-along folded, USP phone charge port, mudgards, lights | Cons:  non-adjustable bar height | Weight: TBC (36.6lbs/16.6.8kg(claimed) Review score: TBC (9/10 GX model)

Capable of packing into a small wheelable package, the GoCycle is all about portability. We're excited to see this new model shed a few pounds, thanks in part to a new single sided carbon fork, which incidentally houses the GoCycle propriety motor. The new wheelable design will also assist the folded up user experience.   

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.

  • Motor/Battery: GoCycle Proprietary front hub/ fork, 300Wh, up to 65km range (claimed)
  • Frame/ Fork: Aluminum /Carbon folding
  • Brakes: hydraulic disc
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Nexus hub gears
  • Wheels: Magnesium, Tyres: Gocycle All Weather 20″

Read more: GoCycle GS folding e-bike bike review

See more: GoCycle G4 folding e-bike at GoCycle 

Tern Vektron HSD S8i electric cargo folding bike

Best folding electric bike for carrying cargo.

best electric bikes - Tern Vektron electric folding bike

Tern Vektron HSD S8i electric cargo folding bike

Pros: Resizableintegrated rackweight distribution| Cons: Limited folding, Weight, price| Weight: 48.7lb/22.1kg (claimed)Review score: TBC

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, and a limited one at that.

 

  • Motor/ Battery: 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

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

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

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 berecovering from injury or illness andthe added boostof a motor might help you get back out there again. Or it might simply be the case that you're not as youngas 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

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

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.

Ebike battery

Here, a 9ah battery is hidden in the seat

(Image credit: Future)

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 helpabsorb 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.