Are you searching for the best new e-bike? After researching the top moderately priced models on the market, we purchased 12 for side-by-side testing and comparison. Whether for your daily commute, getting around town, or spending more time outside, e-bikes are a fun and environmentally friendly alternative to vehicular transportation. With so many models on the market, it can be a challenge to find the right one. For several weeks we rigorously tested each electric bike in this review while examining their range, power output, ride quality, user interface, and ease of assembly. No matter your needs or budget, there's an e-bike to suit you.Related: Best Budget Electric Bike of 2021
Best Electric Bikes of 2021
|Price||$1,699 List||$2,175 List||$1,899 List|
Check Price at Aventon Bikes
|$1,999.00 at Juiced Bikes||$999.00 at Lectric eBikes|
|Pros||Excellent finish quality, sleek battery integration, excellent range, 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed, comfortable ride||Fast, quiet, smooth, fully-featured, good distance range||Streamlined design, powerful motor, class 2 and 3 capable, feature-rich, large tires expand versatility to a range of surfaces, Aventon companion app||Powerful, responsive handling, good stability, 28 mph top speed||Reasonable price, no assembly required, folding design, big tires increase versatility, Class 2 or Class 3 capable|
|Cons||Doesn't come with lights, limited handlebar height adjustability||More expensive, not the fastest in the test||Heavy, more difficult to transport||Slightly less comfortable than some, limited features||Small wheels, handling can feel a little twitchy|
|Bottom Line||Impressive performance across the board make this one of the best e-bikes we've ever tested||A well-rounded and versatile e-bike that was among the best we tested||A sleek and well-integrated Class 3 capable electric bike with a huge battery, powerful motor, and fat tires that enhance its versatility||A speedy Class 3 e-bike that is great for commuting or just getting around town||This quality Class 2 and Class 3 capable folding electric bike is highly versatile and affordable too|
|Rating Categories||Aventon Level Step-...||Magnum Metro||Aventon Aventure St...||Juiced CrossCurrent S2||Lectric XP Step-Thru|
|Specs||Aventon Level Step-...||Magnum Metro||Aventon Aventure St...||Juiced CrossCurrent S2||Lectric XP Step-Thru|
|Battery Size (Wh)||672||624||720||673||500|
|Motor Power||500W (750W peak)||500W||750W (1130W Peak||750W||500W|
|E-Bike Class||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 2 and 3 capable|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||6||5||5||5|
|Top speed throttle||20||20||20||20||20|
|Top speed pedal-assist||28||25||28||28||20(up to 28)|
|Measured Distance Range||28.4 miles||28.68 miles||24.65 miles||27 miles||23.68 miles|
|Distance Range (claimed)||40 miles average||30-60 miles||45 miles average||50-75 miles||Up to 45+|
|Frame material||6061 Aluminum Alloy||Aluminum||6061 Aluminum Alloy||Alloy||Aluminum|
|Maximum rider weight (lbs)||250 lbs total (up to 55 lbs on rear rack)||265 lbs||250 lbs||275 lbs||275 lbs (up to 55 on rear rack)|
|Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium)||60.6 lbs||59.4 lbs||73 lbs||60 lbs||62.2 lbs|
|Drivetrain||Shimano Acera 8-speed||Shimano Altus 7-speed||Shimano Acera 8-speed||Shimano 9-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed|
|Brakes||Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc||Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc Brakes||Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes||Tektro Mechanical Disc|
|Additional features||75mm suspension fork, front and rear fenders, rear cargo rack||Suspension fork, front/rear lights, rear rack, front/rear fenders, suspension seatpost||Fenders, front and rear lights, app compatibility, IPX4 rated????||LED Front and Rear lights, LCD display, Race Track Mode||Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights|
|Warranty||Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components||1-year||Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components||1 year||1 year|
Best Overall E-Bike
Aventon Level Step-Thru
Aventon is a relatively new player in the electric bike market, but they've quickly made a name for themselves with great-looking, quality models like the Level Step-Thru. Sleek design and excellent battery integration aside, the Level has a 500W (750W peak) motor capable of a 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed and can be configured as a Class 1, 2, or 3 e-bike. Five levels of pedal assistance provide a great range of support for your pedaling efforts along with a throttle that can zip you along at speeds up to 20mph. The large 672Wh battery and efficient use of power also helped make the Level one of the top performers in our distance range testing. We tested the Step-Thru version (it also comes in a traditional step-over frame) and we found it to be quite comfortable, with a very smooth, stable ride with responsive handling. Unlike many manufacturers that use a one size fits most approach, Aventon offers the Level Step-Thru in two frame sizes to fit riders between 4'11" and 6'2" tall. It also comes with an excellent user interface and useful features like fenders and a heavy-duty rear rack.
We found little to complain about with the Level Step-Thru, but we were a little disappointed that it doesn't come with lights. That said, aftermarket lights are relatively affordable, and the ones that typically come on complete bikes usually aren't that great anyway. Additionally, the handlebar has a limited range of height adjustability, so dialing it in to your exact preferences isn't as easy as with some other models. Beyond that, we feel this reasonably priced e-bike is a fantastic option for the city, commuting, or just for fun.
Read review: Aventon Level Step-Thru
Best Bang for the Buck
Rad Power RadCity 4
Rad Power is a popular e-bike brand, and their RadCity4 combines an affordable price tag with a solid all-around performance. Despite its name, it would be wrong to pigeonhole this bike as just for city use, as this utilitarian commuter is good for just about everything short of mountain biking. With wide, high-volume tires and front suspension, the RadCity has a cushy and smooth ride quality. It isn't particularly nimble, but it handles impressively smoothly, with a nice, damp, and stable feel. Its 750W rear hub motor is powerful, with above-average acceleration and top throttle and pedal-assist speeds of 20 mph. It performed well in our range testing, and even went further than Rad Power's claimed low-end range while using the throttle only. We also loved its excellent user interface with ergonomic controls and an easy-to-read digital display. Add in features like fenders, lights, and a cargo rack, and this was one of our favorite bikes in the test.
The Rad City4 is a Class 2 e-bike, meaning that its throttle and pedal-assisted speeds are limited to 20 mph. While this should be adequate for most riders, it can't compete with the faster Class 3 models we tested. At just over 63 lbs, this bike is also pretty heavy, it isn't all that pleasant to pedal around without power, and loading it on a bike rack can be a struggle. Beyond that, we found little not to like about this affordable and versatile model.
Read review: Rad Power RadCity 4
Best Bang for the Buck Folding
Lectric XP Step-Thru
Over the past couple of years, Lectric bikes have quickly grown into one of the biggest names in e-bikes with their popular XP models. This reasonably priced folding bike qualifies for the budget category, yet it performs as well or better than many more expensive competitors. The XP Step-Thru we tested arrived fully assembled in its compact, folded position, so all we needed to do was unfold it and lock the frame and handlebar in place to get it ride-ready. This powerful little model has a 500W (800W peak) motor and it is quick to accelerate using the throttle and it can support speeds up to 28 mph using pedal assist. It ships in Class 2 settings with a 20mph top speed, but it can also be configured Class 1 and Class 3. The removable 500Wh battery is hidden within the frame and gives the XP a very respectable distance range and a clean design. The Step-Thru version we tested has a very low frame that makes it easy to get on and off the bike, with a recommended user height range of 5'0" to 6'4". Girthy 4-inch wide tires provide a bit of dampening and help expand the bike's versatility to a wider range of surfaces. It also comes with a quality user interface and features like fenders, lights, a cargo rack, and even panniers for carrying gear.
There's a lot to like about the Lectric XP, but we do have a couple of gripes. The bike's folding design and small, 20-inch wheel diameter directly influence the bike's handling. While it performs well for a folding model, it can't quite match the stability or steady handling of non-folding models with larger wheels. Despite its small size and folding convenience, this bike still weighs 62+ lbs, so carrying it up a flight of stairs or putting it in the trunk of a car can be somewhat awkward and challenging. That said, we feel this affordable, versatile, and powerful folding model is an excellent value.
Read review: Lectric XP Step-Thru
Best Cargo Bike
Santa Cruz, CA-based Blix makes a range of electric bikes including the cargo/utility Packa. This Class 2 model is super stable and ultra-smooth with a long cargo frame, 24-inch wheels, and high-volume tires. The low, step-thru design makes mounting and dismounting easy, and it has a comfortable upright seated position with a huge range of seat and handlebar adjustment to fit riders between the recommended user height range of 5'1" to 6'3". It also has a massive 400 lb weight capacity, so you can load up the bike with kid's seats, racks, and all the cargo you want, rendering your vehicle unnecessary. The powerful 750W rear hub motor has no problem hitting the bike's top throttle and pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph. Its five levels of pedal assistance provide a good range of support, so you can cruise along at whatever speed you choose. A quality user interface and a host of features like lights, fenders, a bell, and USB ports only enhance the Packa's user-friendliness. This bike is also dual battery capability and comes standard with a 500Wh battery integrated into the downtube of the frame, and Blix gives you the option to purchase a second battery to bump up its battery storage to a whopping 1,171Wh.
Our biggest concern about the Packa is its heavy weight, 78+ lbs, and size. This bike is very difficult to transport because it is too heavy and too long to fit on virtually any bike rack or lift into the bed of a truck. Its length and weight also play a big role in its handling, and this bike is far from agile and it isn't much fun to pedal should your battery die on a ride. We also weren't super impressed by its distance range while testing with the included 500Wh battery, and those in need of a longer range would do well to invest in the optional second battery. Beyond that, we were very impressed by this competitively priced, slick-looking cargo e-bike.
Read review: Blix Packa
Best for Speed and Power
Juiced CrossCurrent S2
The Juiced CrossCurrent S2 is a fast and powerful model. This Class 3 e-bike's strong 750W motor easily gets up to 28 mph using pedal-assist and 20 mph with the throttle. It accelerates quickly, and its power delivery feels refined and consistent thanks to its dual cadence and torque sensors. With a large 673Wh battery, the CrossCurrent was among the top performers in our distance range testing, with a high average speed to boot. This city/commuter style bike comes with fast-rolling 700c wheels and tires, and it has sharp, responsive handling and unflinching stability at higher speeds. Its sporty geometry requires a more athletic body position that further enhances its fast and racy feel. An all-in-one control/display unit is mounted by the left grip with good ergonomics and a variety of data available at a glance.
The CrossCurrent S2 is indeed a fast electric bike, and we feel it is best suited for those who are looking to get places in a hurry. Its more aggressive city-bike geometry and stiffer seat may not be ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed ride. It also comes with limited features compared to some other competitors. The headlight is a nice touch, but you'll have to spring for things like fenders and a cargo rack if you want them. Otherwise, we feel this quick and agile model is an excellent option for commuting or use in the city.
Read review: Juiced CrossCurrent S2
Best Fat Tire E-Bike
Aventon Aventure Step-Through
The Aventure Step-Through is an adventure-ready e-bike that's equipped to take you just about anywhere. With massive 4-inch wide knobby tires and 80mm of front suspension, the Aventure smoothes over rough terrain and is capable of riding on pavement, dirt roads, smooth trails, and loose conditions. A huge 720 Wh battery is cleanly integrated into the bike's frame giving it sleek looks and a solid distance range. The 750W motor (1,130W peak) is one of the most powerful we've ever tested, easily whisking you along at 20 mph with the throttle and up to 28 mph using pedal assist. The quality user interface consists of intuitive controls, a thumb throttle, a vibrant color display, and the Aventon companion App. When paired through your smartphone, the app allows you to record rides, share your adventures, and easily make changes to the bike and display settings (adjusting the speed limit between Class 2 and 3 settings, for example). The Step-Through version we tested has a low slung frame, a comfortable seated position, plus it comes in two sizes to fit riders between 4'11" and 6'2". It also comes loaded with features like lights, fenders, USB charging, and it is ready to mount optional front and rear racks so you can carry all of your gear.
While the Aventure is indeed an excellent bike, it is not without fault. This heavy model weighs 73 lbs, meaning that it's too heavy to transport on most bike racks, and moving it around can be somewhat of a challenge. Also, the 4-inch wide tires expand its terrain and surface versatility, but they create a fair bit of drag and a grabby feel when turning on pavement. That said, if you're looking for a powerful electric fat tire bike for all of your adventures, we think the Aventon Aventure is one of the best there is.
Read review: Aventon Aventure Step-Through
Why You Should Trust Us
Our e-bike test was led by Jeremy Benson. Benson is GearLab's Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor and a lover of all things two-wheeled. A Lake Tahoe resident for the past 19 years, Benson is an obsessive mountain biker and gravel rider, competing in the Pro class in endurance cycling events throughout northern California. He spends an excessive amount of time riding bikes each year while training, riding for fun, and testing every type of bike you can think of. As a full-time bike tester and reviewer for the past three years, Benson has tested well over 50 mountain bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes, e-MTBs, and electric bikes combined. His years of experience have helped him develop an especially critical eye and the ability to identify and analyze important performance differences in the products he tests.
After exhaustively researching the best moderately priced e-bikes on the market, we bought ten for side-by-side testing and comparison. Our rigorous testing process started with assembling each bike before weighing them ourselves for consistency. Over the course of several weeks, we rode each bike for an extended period while performing a standardized range test, handling tests, and while running errands around town. When our testing concluded, we rated each model on several predetermined metrics, including ride quality, range, power output, user interface, and ease of assembly. The cumulative scores helped us determine our best overall and top pick award winners.
Related: How We Tested Best E-Bikes
Analysis and Test Results
In an effort to differentiate between the e-bikes in this test, we performed several quantifiable tests to make direct performance comparisons between the different models. We chose to focus on several key performance attributes: ease of assembly, ride quality, range, user interface, and ride quality. In our scoring, we emphasized these metrics differently, with important characteristics like ride quality weighted more heavily than ease of assembly, for example. Our side-by-side testing revealed not only the performance of each model but how they compare to each other.
At GearLab, we don't rate the products we test based on their price, but we do appreciate a good value. Often, price and performance go hand in hand, but that isn't always the case. The Magnum Metro was one of the highest-scoring e-bikes we tested, and it was among the most expensive. Meanwhile, the Lectric XP Step-Thru was one of the least expensive models, and it still scored well across our rating metrics. For riders operating on a tighter budget, we've tested a group of bikes that cost less than $1,000 in our Best Budget Electric Bike of 2021 review.
We feel that the ride quality of a bike is one of its most critical performance characteristics. All of the bikes in this review are somewhat different, and their comfort, features, components, and handling naturally all vary as a result. A variety of factors, like wheel size and geometry, play a role in how a bike handles at speed or while turning. Seated body position, seat shape, grips, and seat and handlebar height adjustments help to dictate rider comfort. Meanwhile, included features like integrated lights, fenders, cargo racks, and suspension can enhance the user-friendliness and rider experience of each model.
The Magnum Metro was one of the top-rated models for its comfort, smoothness, predictable handling, and wealth of features. This bike's step-through frame, comfy seat and ergonomic grips, relaxed seated body position, and a large range of height adjustments made for a crowd-pleasing and comfortable ride. This bike felt impressively smooth and quiet while riding with a suspension fork and seatpost and high-volume tires. It may not have the sharpest handling, but it felt steady and predictable in all situations with excellent stability at speed. It also comes loaded with features like head and taillights, front and rear fenders, and a sturdy cargo rack with a bungee.
The Rad Power RadCity4 also topped our charts for its excellent ride quality. This bike had a casual seated body position and ample height adjustments, along with a quality seat and comfortable grips. The suspension fork and wide tires did wonders to dampen and mute vibration and feedback from the road. This bike sacrificed some agility for its smooth ride feel, but its handling was consistently good with unflinching stability. Like the Metro, the RadCity 4 comes decked out with lights, fenders, a bell, and a heavy-duty cargo rack that can support up to 55 lbs.
Also leading the pack with its excellent ride quality was the Aventon Level Step-Thru. With 27.5-inch wheels, girthy tires, and a suspension fork, the Level feels stable, smooth, responsive, and composed in any situation. It comes with a quality drivetrain and powerful brakes along with fenders and a cargo rack. The step-thru frame makes it easy to get on and off, plus it comes in two frame sizes to suit riders between 4'11" and 6'2". Despite a similar look and features, the Aventon Aventure Step-Through has a notably different ride. This bike's massive 4-inch wide knobby tires make it suitable for more adventurous riding on dirt roads, smooth trails, and on loose surfaces. It also comes in two frame sizes with a comfy seated position and features like lights, fenders, front suspension, and powerful brakes that make it ready for just about anything.
The Juiced CrossCurrent S2 has a great ride quality, though with a notably different feel than the bikes mentioned above. This bike feels racy with a notably more aggressive geometry that puts the rider into a more athletic body position. With 700c wheels and skinny tires, this bike rolls fast and has razor-sharp handling. Likewise, the Cannondale Quick Neo SL has a quick and agile demeanor with a racier, city-bike feel. It looks and rides a lot like a road bike with a flat handlebar, and is nimble, responsive, and fast. At just over 35 lbs, the Cannondale also rides a lot like a non-electric bike should the battery run out, or you choose not to use the pedal assistance.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Blix Packa is a heavy and long bike with a huge cargo capacity. It's far from agile, but it scores well here for its high level of comfort, stability, smoothness, and wealth of features. Similarly, the Electra Townie Go! 7D is a classic beach cruiser with the ride quality to match. It is impressively comfortable with a laid-back body position, wide seat, and high handlebars. Its handling is as laid-back as its looks, and while it is far from nimble, it is predictable and appropriate for the bike.
Both the Lectric XP and the Rattan Folding have ride qualities dictated by their folding designs, compact geometries, and 20-inch diameter wheels. They feel noticeably less stable and steady than the larger wheeled competition, a tradeoff for their folding convenience. That said, both bikes come with wide, knobby tires that work well on a range of surfaces, and both come loaded with useful features.
The range of an e-bike refers to how far it can be ridden on a single battery charge. The range of any bike varies significantly based on many factors, which include, but are not limited to, rider weight, battery storage capacity, terrain, temperature, rider input, and power output. E-bike manufacturers typically claim a range with low and high-end estimates of their bike's range, and in our experience, these claims are generally close to accurate. Regardless, we performed our own range testing for consistency, to determine the low-end range of each bike in the test. To level the playing field, we performed our test on the same course, with the same rider, in the same weather conditions, using the same cycling computer to record the data. Every bike could easily be ridden significantly further with some, or more, effort from the rider. For the bikes equipped with a throttle, Class 2, and 3, we did the test using the throttle only with no pedaling input from the rider. Since our test selection also included some Class 1 models, it required us to tweak our throttle-only test just slightly. We rode the Class 1 bikes on the highest output setting with minimal pedaling input from the rider to leave the majority of the work to the motor.
With a 624Wh battery and a 500W rear hub motor, the Rattan Folding surprised us and took the top spot in our range test. We rode it for 29.74 miles with over 1,500 feet of elevation gain/loss at an average speed of 15.4 mph. With the same size battery and motor power, the Magnum Metro came in a close second at 28.7 miles with over 1,500 feet of elevation gain/loss in a time of one hour and 36 minutes. Even more impressive, the Metro held an average speed of 17.9 mph. We were actually a little surprised by the fact that these bikes went the farthest, considering that they outperformed bikes with larger batteries.
Just a shade behind, the Aventon Level Step-Thru with its 672Wh battery impressed us with 28.4 miles and an average speed of 15.3 mph. At 27.8 miles and an average speed of 16.1 mph, the Ecomotion e-City used its 468Wh battery very efficiently. Boasting a sizeable 673Wh battery, the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 was close on the e-City's heels at 27 miles and 1,400 vertical feet of elevation gain. With a 17.5 mph average speed, the CrossCurrent finished the test in a quick hour and 30 minutes.
Coming across the line just a mile behind, the Rad Power RadCity4 logged 26 miles with 1,400 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss. We found it interesting that with a 672Wh battery, the RadCity was bested by other bikes with smaller batteries, but perhaps that's since the 750W motor uses more power than smaller 500W motors. Despite having the largest-in-the-test 720Wh battery, the Aventon Aventure finished around the middle of the pack with 24.65 miles. We attribute the Aventure's slightly shorter range to the bike's heavy weight, bigger tires, and super powerful motor. With 500Wh batteries, we were relatively impressed by the Lectric XP's 23.68-miles and the Eahora AM200's 23-mile performances. The Blix Packa also has a 500Wh battery, but this heavyweight bike only managed 19.2 miles in our test. That said, the Packa has a unique dual battery system, so you can increase its battery storage to 1,171Wh and potentially increase your range by more than double.
The two Class 1 models were outliers in this test, although we were quite impressed by how far they could travel with minimal effort from the rider. The Electra Townie Go! 7D has a smaller, 309 Wh battery, yet it traveled 24.4 miles on our test course with an average speed of 14.8 mph. The Cannondale Quick Neo SL has an even smaller 250Wh battery, so its test range of 19.6 miles didn't come as a huge surprise. While it may be one of the shortest in the test, we feel that it's still relatively impressive given how little effort it took and the size of the battery.
In the US, electric bikes fall into three classes. In all three classes, the motor size is limited to 750W. Class 1 e-bikes have pedal assist only and are limited to a top speed of 20 mph. Class 2 electric bikes have a throttle as well as pedal assist, and both are limited to 20 mph. Class 3 bikes also have a throttle and pedal-assist, but the throttle stays limited to 20 mph while the pedal-assist tops out at 28 mph. The speed limits of many electric bikes can be adjusted, so they can be used in Class 2 or Class 3 configurations. Be sure to check local and regional regulations regarding the use of the different classes of electric bikes where you live and ride.
Our selection of test bikes fall into all three of the e-bike classes and come with varying motor sizes. Power output is dependent mainly on the size or wattage, of a bike's motor, with larger motors producing more power. Our assessment of power output is based on more than just the size of the motor, and we performed several tests to analyze both the throttle and pedal assistance. In addition to the top speed of each bike, we compared their acceleration, range of pedal-assistance, quality of the output, and their ability to hold speed uphill and over time.
Not surprisingly, one of the fastest and most powerful bikes was the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 with its large 750W rear hub motor. The CrossCurrent came to us in its Class 3 configuration, and it accelerated quickly to its top throttle speed of 20 mph and was easy to get up to 28 mph using pedal assist. It wasn't just its speed that was impressive, however, as this bike had a very refined feel to its power delivery thanks to its combination of cadence and advanced torque sensors. If you want to go places quickly, the CrossCurrent has you covered.
The Aventon Aventure has a similarly powerful 750W (1,130W peak) motor that was impressive to say the least. This bike was quick off the line using the throttle or pedal assist, and it held power impressively well while going up gradual hills during our throttle-only range testing. This fast moving bike is Class 2 and 3 capable, and it had absolutely no problem ripping along at 28 mph while using pedal assist. The 5 assist levels provide a great range of output and speed, although the use of a cadence sensor only gives it a slightly less refined delivery feel than the Juiced.
The Class 3 Aventon Level Step-Thru also impressed us with its power and 28 mph top speed. Its 500W (750W peak) motor felt robust, and it had no problem hitting and holding 28 mph on flat ground in its highest pedal assist level. Likewise, the small but mighty Lectric XP Step-Thru surprised us with its power. This bike was quick to accelerate using the throttle, and the 500W (800W peak) motor assisted speeds up to 28 mph. We found the Magnum Metro to feel almost as powerful as the models mentioned above, though its top speed was limited to 25 mph. Using the throttle, the Metro felt zippy, was quick to accelerate, and had no problem getting up to 20 mph or hold speed while going uphill. Similarly, the Rattan Folding has a 500W motor, zippy acceleration using the throttle, and a top pedal-assisted speed of 25 mph.
Boasting a robust 750W motor, the Rad Power RadCity 4 was among the most powerful bikes we tested. This Class 2 model easily does 20 mph with the throttle or while using pedal assist, with quick acceleration and five smooth pedal-assist support levels. We found the powerful motor to have no problem accelerating and holding speed while using the throttle going up hills. It lost a bit of ground to the Class 3 competition for its limited pedal-assisted top speed of 20 mph. Despite having a 750W rear hub motor, we were a little underwhelmed by the Eahora AM200 in our power testing. It felt pretty robust when using the throttle, but it felt very conservative in its power delivery while using pedal assist.
The Ecomotion e-City has a 350W motor that couldn't quite compete with the more powerful competitors. Still, we were impressed by the output of the smaller motor. Its acceleration felt relatively average, but it still had no problem reaching its top speed of 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assistance. It also posted a very respectable 16.1 mph average speed during our range testing. Both the Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 and the Electra Townie Go! 7D are Class 1 e-bikes with pedal-assist only. These bikes shared the same size 250W rear hub motor and provide average power output in their three pedal assist support levels. These bikes provide a nice boost to support your pedaling efforts but don't quite pack the punch of the models with bigger motors.
Riders interact with their e-bikes primarily through their display and controls. Each bike's interface is different, and their ergonomics, user-friendliness, and intuitiveness vary among the models in this review. While every system we tested was functional, some are advanced and show loads of information while others are much more basic. Our favorite interfaces have controls that are easy to reach while riding with large, easy-to-read digital displays that show numerous data fields at a glance.
Six bikes tied for top honors in this metric with similar control/display systems. The Rad Power RadCity 4, Magnum Metro, Aventon Level Step-Thru, Lectric XP, Aventon Aventure, and Blix Packa impressed us the most with large digital display screens centered in the middle of the handlebar in an easy to see location. These screens provided a wealth of information, making it easy to know your current speed, pedal assist level, distance, time, etc. All of these bikes also had ergonomic control buttons located next to the left grip, where they were easy to reach with the thumb while riding, along with thumb paddle or twist throttles. Aventon went a step further with the Aventure which is compatible with the Aventon companion App. This App allows you to sync with the bike and display to change settings, record rides, and share adventures with the Aventure community.
The Rattan Folding wasn't far behind with a similar display and controls to the models mentioned above, although its slightly smaller screen with a dark background wasn't quite as easy to read while riding. Both the Ecomotion e-City and the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 feature all-in-one units that contain the button controls and the display in a single unit mounted to the handlebar by the left grip. Both displays show several data fields and are relatively easy to read, although their smaller screen size and location make them a little less user-friendly to view than our top-rated models.
The Electra Townie Go! 7D has a decent interface, although it is rudimentary compared to the models mentioned above. This all-in-one unit has good ergonomics, although its display consists of LED lights to monitor your battery charge and pedal-assist support level. The Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 had our least favorite display/controls. A single button ringed by an LED light controlled all of the functions of the bike and served as the battery life and pedal-assist mode indicator light. While we appreciate simplicity, this system wasn't incredibly intuitive, and its location on the top tube made it more challenging to use while riding.
Every bike in this test was shipped to us and required some amount of assembly before taking them out for test rides. Most of the models arrived mostly assembled with only several easy steps remaining to get them ready to roll. People unfamiliar with bikes may want to have the assembly completed by a professional bike mechanic. However, the remaining assembly of every bike we tested can easily be finished at home with a little time, a few tools, and detailed instructions. Some bikes are easier and quicker to assemble than others with fewer steps required to finish the job.
The two folding models we tested were the clear winners in this metric because they arrived fully assembled. The Lectric XP edged slightly in front, as the process was as simple as taking the bike out of the box, removing the packing materials, and unfolding/locking the bike into its riding position. The Rattan Folding was also completely assembled, though removing the protective packing material proved to be a bit of a chore, so some spray foam ended up leaving residue on out brand new bike.
The Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 was one of the most straightforward models to assemble. Finishing the job only required attaching the front wheel, handlebar, pedals, and adjusting the seat height. Its 35 lb weight also made it much easier to deal with when moving it in and removing it from the box. The remaining assembly of Electra Townie Go! 7D was equally easy to complete. In about 20 minutes, we had the front wheel, handlebar, and pedals attached, and we were ready to rip. The Magnum Metro was also among the top performers in this metric. The Metro came in an extra-large box with the front wheel already attached. Once we put the handlebar and pedals on, we were finished. Due to the heavier weight of the Metro, however, removing it from the box is a task best suited for two people.
The Juiced CrossCurrent S2, Aventon Level Step-Thru, Aventon Aventure, and Ecomotion e-City were relatively easy to assemble, although all three took a fair amount longer to complete than the models mentioned above. The Rad Power RadCity 4, Eahora AM200, and the Blix Packa weren't particularly difficult to put together, although a few extra steps added a little time to the process.
Whether for commuting, running errands, or simply riding for fun or fitness, a quality e-bike is a great way to get you there. With so many options on the market to choose from, we know there can be a lot to consider when choosing a new electric bike. Our rigorous testing process goes past the specifications and jargon and into the nitty-gritty details of how these bikes actually perform in the real world. We hope our detailed comparative analysis helps you find the right e-bike to suit your needs and meet your budget.
— Jeremy Benson