The best electric bike – or best ebike – has never been more popular than it is now. People are venturing out again, and commuting to work, but with a new-found appreciation for eco-friendliness. They also don‘t want to be crammed into public transport with a bunch of mouth breathers. The best ebikes can make commuting easier and more effortless than riding an old road bike to work. However, contrary to popular belief, they do still require you to pedal, and they will therefore give you a workout as you travel.
The best electric bikes are arguably the best bikes overall for newcomers to cycling, those returning to it after an absence, and more veteran cyclists who are starting to lose their zip. Leave the best road bikes to the Lycra-clad clan. Although contrary to popular belief, you do get a workout on an electric bike; the battery doesn't do all the work for you by any means, it just assists your pedaling rather than replacing it.
With gas prices soaring and summer just around the corner, many people are looking at ebikes not only for fun, but also as their primary mode of transportation. As demand for e-bikes has risen, so have the number of choices; it’s almost overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for a minivan replacement, a fun cruiser for weekend rides with the kids, or a bike that will make you feel like Superman on the singletrack, rest assured, there’s a bike for you.
At the more rugged end of the best electric bikes market, there are also models that are great for effortlessly taking on mountains, trails and general rough stuff – and it so happens we now have a list of the best electric mountain bikes too. Those looking for a lightweight alternative should consider an electric scooter, although bikes should offer greater longevity, stability and, come to that, legality. Be sure to browse mistakes everyone makes with their ebike and Mistakes every cyclist makes so you can avoid those. We can also answer this question for you: What are the disadvantages of electric bikes? Don’t be too put off though, electric bikes are great, so long as you get the right one.
The best electric bikes we've ridden and tested
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The Ride1Up Roadster V2 is the perfect city bike. Its understated looks don’t shout electric bike, so you’ll feel more at ease locking up on the street and its price won’t break the bank – at least in e-bike terms.
The bike comes in a choice of three colors (red, white or black) as well as a special Gravel Edition, finished in gray. There’s also a choice of 52 and 58cm frames to suit your height. This is a Class 3 e-bike and can reach a top speed of 24mph with a 350W motor providing the pedal-assist power. There are five different speed settings to determine how much help it provides, though only a single gear, which can be tough at lower speeds. Ride1Up also makes the Core-5 if you’re after something with gears.
In our Ride1Up Roadster V2 review we found that it “offers plenty of speed and decent range for shorter city commutes, which it’s also well suited for with its nimble riding.” For the price, it’s a great option.
While shipping as a Class 1 e-bike, limited to 20mph, it’s possible to upgrade the Priority Current to boost the speed to 28mph. You’ll get less range but if you’re looking for distance, there is a battery extender unit that takes it up to around 100 miles and doubles as a rear rack.
With its step-through frame and mudguards, this is certainly more of a practical choice than the single-speed commuter-style bikes. It comes with either a Shimano Inter-5 internal hub or enviolo Sportive variable gear system, depending on your preference.
In T3’s Priority Current review we said that “the Current is one of the smoothest, most capable e-bikes I’ve tested. With a top speed of 28 mph, the Current could be a great option for city dwellers looking to replace their gas-guzzling car for an e-bike.”
Retailing for under $700, the Kent Electric Cruiser was created for older folks who haven’t ridden a bicycle in decades and are looking for a cheap and unintimidating way to get back on the bike. With a slightly retro feel, this e-bike offers three levels of electric assist, with a maximum boost of 20 mph. A very basic LED display indicates battery and power-assist levels but doesn’t include a speedometer or mileage counter.
There’s not much choice in terms of styling – it only comes in red – and there’s only a single frame size of 26 inches, but that should suit most adult riders 5’10 or taller. The battery is removable and provides up to 25 miles of range (or around 1 hour 20 minutes of riding). This is handy as it means you can leave the bike outside or in a garage and just take the battery unit inside to charge – which takes around 4-6 hours.
In our Kent Electric Cruiser review we say that “this is a purely recreational bike for parents to keep up with their sugar-fueled kids on neighborhood rides or for couples getting a little exercise on their local rail trails.”
The Charge XC is very much a hybrid offering, promising both on and off-road use. As such, it looks a bit of a mish-mash. The front suspension forks hint at a mountain bike, while the mudguards and rear rack suggest a city rider. It’s unusual but still stylish and very practical.
This is a Class 1 bike with a top speed of 20mph a uses a 250W Shimano motor that gives a more subtle boost to pedaling. There is a choice of three assist modes and an eight-speed drivetrain to provide easy riding. You can get a range of around 50 miles if you use the power sparingly.
While definitely not the lightest of electric bikes at 55lbs, it’s a sturdy and well-made unit that can support up to 300lbs of rider. It also offers folding handlebars and pedals to allow more compact storage, which is handy if taking it on a road trip or storing for the winter.
In our Charge XC review, we said that “it’s fun to ride, albeit not as zippy as some e-bikes.” If you want a bike is as comfortable on dirt and gravel as it is on the pavement, this e-bike is worth a look.
Schwinn has heritage in American cycling so is likely to be a popular choice for those buying their first electric bike. Very much the city bike, the Schwinn Coston DX is its flagship electric model and offers both solid construction and a decent feature set.
It comes with a 360-watt, swappable battery in the frame that gives around 45 miles of range and a 250-watt pedal-assist motor to take this bike up to 20mph. The 7-speed drive train and a range of assistance levels make pedaling easy, and it also has a throttle to go pedal-free.
There’s a choice of two sizes and two colors here (emerald green or black) and it also comes in a step-through frame. One nice feature is the integrated lights which include front and rear as well as LED strip lights on the frame.
In our Schwinn Colston DX review we say that “compared to similarly equipped bikes from other manufacturers, it actually offers a decent all-around value.” It’s a great commuter or general-purpose e-bike from an established name.
If you’re buying your next electric bike purely on looks and price, the Propella 7S is going to appeal. Finished in black with blue rims and accents, it’s a great-looking bike that follows a more traditional commuter style. This is no single speed though, it comes with a seven-speed gear system and five levels of pedal assist.
Weighing in at 37lbs, it’s by no means lightweight but it does weigh a lot less than some e-bikes. With a top speed of 18.5mph, this Class 1 bike isn’t the fastest but it means that the Samsung battery lasts a little longer. The 250W Bafang motor is giving assistance here, not giving you a free ride but the cadence sensor is quick to step in from a standstill.
As we said in our Propella 7S V4.0 review, this is “a fairly elegant confluence of parts and offers an enjoyable ride, whether you want to take it easy or give your legs a workout.”
Detroit Bikes offers a great-looking collection of classic bike designs and the E-Sparrow is its first foray into the electric bike world. It’s essentially the Sparrow model with a battery unit stuck on, and despite some otherwise slick styling, it does look stuck on – much like an aftermarket electric conversion. However, sitting inside the a-frame the battery remains unobtrusive and doesn’t take away from this otherwise impressive bike that comes ready to ride.
There are four-frame sizes available, ranging from small to extra-large, which vary the overall weight here from 32-36lbs. There’s only one color option but it does look good all in black. Despite being a relatively affordable model, it features high-end components, from the Samsung 280W battery and Bafang 250W motor to the Tektro disc brakes and WTB Thick Slick tires.
This is a class 2 bike, offering a choice of pedal assistance and thumb-operated throttle but is limited to 17mph. There are three assistance levels on this single-speed bike, as well as a cadence sensor that helps get you going once you’ve done a full pedal rotation.
As we say in our Detroit Bikes E-Sparrow review, “it will definitely take the work out of rides for newer commuters, but seasoned riders will likely struggle to find a reason to choose it over a non-electric bike, especially when there are far more tempting options for just a little more money.”
Not everyone on a bicycle wants to ride hard. In fact, most buying an electric bike are doing so to put in a little less effort. That can mean going faster with a normal amount of effort or going at a normal speed with next to no effort at all. The SWFT Fleet is designed for the latter. This is a cruiser by design and is set up to take an easy ride.
With its curvaceous frame, wide swept-back handles and white frame, it’s a good-looking bike, though that 468Wh battery pack is hard to miss on the frame. The good news is that that battery and the 500W motor give you plenty of oomph and at least 27 miles of range (37 max). This is a Class 2 bike with a twist throttle in addition to pedal assistance and can take you up to 20mph. All of which help on a single-speed.
As we say in our SWFT Fleet review, it “delivers a comfortable and effortless ride that can go the distance.” The casual riding position won't suit everyone but if you’re not in a rush, this is an affordable option.
This beach cruiser is a veteran of the electric bike world, having been around for almost 14 years and remains a popular choice. Pedego has brick-and-mortar stores across the US, allowing users to come in and try before they buy. The Interceptor is one of the flagship models in the company’s extensive electric offerings and comes in three sizes as well as both classic and step-through frames. There’s also a choice of eight colors, two-wheel styles and two battery options.
The Interceptor comes with a 500-watt rear hub motor and 48-volt battery standard, with the opportunity to upgrade to a 750-watt motor and 52-volt battery. Rather than being held in the frame, the battery sits in the rear rack, leaving the rest of the bike to look pretty standard.
This is a Class 2 bike with the choice of pedal-assist power or a pedal-free throttle on the handlebars, both allowing you to easily reach 20mph. There’s also a 7-speed Shimano gear system and five levels of pedal assist.
As we said in our Pedego Interceptor review, “there are lighter and more affordable ebike solutions out there …[but] cost aside, this is a well-built and dependable electric bike solution.”
An electric bike specifically designed for the great outdoors, the Aventon Aventure is a solid all-around performer on both streets and trails. Beefy tires, an excellent suspension system, and built-in pedal assist make tackling even the toughest terrain a breeze, but it's not without some caveats.
During our review of the Aventon Aventure, we found a couple aspects to be a bit less than ideal – primarily the seat. Control wise it's easy to get going, but the added smart app for Android and iOS devices – while adding a ton of control – are a bit tedious to use. That said, once you get the hang of both the bike and the app it's a dream to ride.
We testing this bad boy both on street and on trail, and it performed much better than expected in both. The larger tires are going to howl on asphalt however, so be ready for a loud ride until you get to the dirt. Once you hit the trail, the Aventon starts to shine with incredible control, a smooth and spongey suspension system and an excellent pedal assist system.
The price is also fair for this bike, settling at around $2,000 for the ride. It's on the pricier side, sure, but this bike is absolutely worth the price of entry. It's reliable, it's rugged and it's built to last, so you'll have this one ready to go for years to come.
The E-Brompton (opens in new tab) is seriously impressive. If your daily commute includes public transport followed by cycling, it offers total ease of 'parking', can be more easily stowed in a luggage rack than the GX, and still allows you to arrive in a pristine and unsweaty state, thanks to the electric assistance.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is still a very unusual approach. It draws power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit. You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
The Brompton is fun to ride in urban settings, although admittedly not as much so as the GX. Its powerful enough to breeze up hills with minimal effort, but feels nimble on the flat. As with any Brompton, you probably won't win a half-mile sprint on it, but thanks to the pedal assistance, you most certainly will get off to a flying start.
The reason it stands above other electric bikes is that Brompton has worked out how to apply power assistance to your pedaling so it feels natural. It also doesn't feel so much like it's trying to fight you once you reach the maximum, 15.5mph assisted speed.
A neat smartphone app shows current charge levels and lets you tailor assistance settings, while cadence and torque sensors mean power delivery is smooth and only kicks in when truly required. Brompton also plans to offer diagnostics and warnings that a service or battery replacement may be necessary via the app.
Brompton offers fewer options than it does with its standard steeds, but while it comes in any color you like, so long as that's black or white, there is also a choice of two or six gears, that 20-liter bonus luggage option, and you can shell out extra for a fast-charging system that delivers an 80 percent battery top-up in just 90 minutes.
The Electric Brompton folds up exactly the same as the non-powered Brompton. It's so simple, and unlike certain folding bikes we could mention, what you're left with is a genuinely small thing, rather than something that's about the size of a bike with the front wheel taken off. However, the extra weight of the electric drivetrain means you can't just lug it about with the ease of a standard Brompton.
It's not bad at all as you wheel it about on the flat – it has small, suitcase-style additional wheels that come into play once folded up. However, if your commute involves, for instance, having to cross over a bridge to get to a railway platform, you will not enjoy that experience.
That aside, the only problems with the electric Brompton are the same as with a standard one – it's pricey, and you do look a bit of a tit riding one. But you'll get over it.
With the VanMoof S3, this Dutch hipster brand has taken the S2, which was excellent and made it better. Oh, and it's knocked over £1,000/$1,000/€1,000 off its price. How could we not make it best electric bike?
The S3 is a very sturdily built thing that rides extremely well. You can get up to 20mph on the flat with minimal effort, and it irons out hills a treat. Hydraulic disk brakes bring it to a dead stop.
Aside from crashes, the biggest worry about riding a bike in our crime-ridden cities is the ever-present threat of theft. To fight back against that, VanMoof S3 includes an integral magnetic lock – very hard to remove – an integral alarm and a GPS tracker that can be used to locate it if anyone is foolhardy enough to steal the bike. Even more remarkable, VanMoof will then send someone to find your bike, and politely ask the nice man to give it back.
The four, auto-shifting gears of the S3 are a big improvement over the S2. That only had two, and they shifted in a way that was often hugely irritating. The only issue I have with this bike is that nobody needs a four-gear hub to shift up and down on its own, and it's one more thing to potentially go wrong.
Thankfully, VanMoof bikes are extremely well made, and so I am just going to hope that doesn't become an issue long-term. For urban commuting, 21st century style, it's impossible to beat the VanMoof S3. Unless your commute demands a folding bike, in which case read on…
• Read our full VanMoof S3 review here
How to choose the best electric bike for you
So how do you know which of these bikes – or maybe one that’s not even on this list – is the right one for you?
What’s your budget? I hate leading with this question, but a realistic budget could be the biggest factor in your decision. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line, lightweight e-mountain bike, but only have a $2,000 budget, you may have to temper expectations or wait until you’ve saved more cash.
What do you want to do with this bike? Someone who commutes 20+ miles to work each day is going to have a different wish list than a parent wanting to keep up with their kids at their local park or a mountain biker looking to conquer the toughest climbs. Don’t buy a bike that doesn’t line up with your needs because you think you might want to try something new or different someday.
How far are you wanting to ride? Most of the low- and mid-priced options utilize batteries with an expected 25-35 mile range, even on the lowest-assist setting. That’s going to be more than enough for average riders, but if you’re pining for all-day adventures or want a big boost, look for e-bikes with a larger battery or with the option to add an extender battery pack.
No matter what e-bike you ultimately decide on, take a test ride. What might look like the perfect bike on paper will be gathering dust in the garage if it’s not comfortable for you to ride.