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Best Electric Bikes of 2021

We tested electric bikes from Rad Power, Aventon, Juiced, Lectric, and others to find the best
Photo: Laura Casner
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday October 6, 2021
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Are you searching for the best new e-bike? After researching the top moderately priced models on the market, we purchased 15 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.

Top 15 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 15
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Awards   Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $1,599 at Rad Power Bikes$1,899 List$1,799 at Aventon Bikes$1,599 List$1,899 at Rad Power Bikes
Overall Score
83
89
91
78
86
Star Rating
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Pros Smooth, quiet, powerful, fully-featuredFast, quiet, smooth, fully-featured, good distance rangeExcellent finish quality, sleek battery integration, excellent range, 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed, comfortable rideSleek design, fully-featured, 400 lb weight limit, excellent stability, dual battery capableStable and damp ride quality, good distance range, quality display, can carry lots of cargo with aftermarket accessories, 350 lbs total weight capacity
Cons Heavy, 20 mph top speedMore expensive, not the fastest in the testDoesn't come with lights, limited handlebar height adjustabilityHeavy, shorter range (without optional 2nd battery), long turning radius, difficult to transport due to size and weightHeavy and long, difficult to transport, longer turn radius, need to purchase accessories to really unlock cargo carrying capacity
Bottom Line A Class 2 model with a well-rounded and competitive performance at a reasonable priceA well-rounded and versatile e-bike that was among the best we testedImpressive performance across the board make this one of the best e-bikes we've ever testedA well-designed Class 2 utility e-bike ideal for transporting kids or other cargoA sturdy, stable, and powerful Class 2 electric cargo bike with a great distance range and high weight capacity
Rating Categories Rad Power RadCity 4 Magnum Metro Aventon Level Step-... Blix Packa Rad Power RadWagon 4
Ride (25%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Range (25%)
8.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
9.0
Power (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Interface (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Assembly (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Rad Power RadCity 4 Magnum Metro Aventon Level Step-... Blix Packa Rad Power RadWagon 4
Wheel size 26-inch 26-inch 27.5-inch 24-inch 22-inch
Battery Size (Wh) 672 624 672 500 (with dual battery capability for up to 1,171 Wh) 672
Motor Power 750W 500W 500W (750W peak) 750W 750W
E-Bike Class Class 2 Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2) Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2) Class 2 Class 2
Number of pedal assist settings 5 6 5 5 5
Top speed throttle 20 20 20 20 20
Top speed pedal-assist 20 25 28 20 20
Measured Distance Range 26 miles 28.68 miles 28.4 miles 19.2 miles 26.38 miles
Distance Range (claimed) Up to 45+ 30-60 miles 40 miles average 70 claimed Up to 45+
Frame material 6061 Aluminum Aluminum 6061 Aluminum Alloy Aluminum 6061 Aluminum
Maximum rider weight (lbs) 275 lbs 265 lbs 250 lbs total (up to 55 lbs on rear rack) 400 lbs total capacity (up to 200 lbs in cargo) 350 lbs total capacity (up to 120 lbs cargo)
Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium) 63.3 lbs 59.4 lbs 60.6 lbs 78.5 lbs 76.2 lbs
Drivetrain Shimano Altus 7-speed Shimano Altus 7-speed Shimano Acera 8-speed Shimano 7-speed Shimano 7-speed
Brakes Tektro Mechanical Disc Tektro Mechanical Disc Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc Tektro MD-M300 Mechanical Disc Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc
Additional features Cargo Rack, Integrated Brake Light, Puncture Resistant Tires, Headlight, Digital display Suspension fork, front/rear lights, rear rack, front/rear fenders, suspension seatpost 75mm suspension fork, front and rear fenders, rear cargo rack Fenders, front and rear lights, USB charging, kickstand, bell, puncture resistant tires, smart mounting points for accessories, dual battery capability Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, telescoping seatpost, adjustable handlebars, mounts for accessories,??
Warranty 1 year 1-year Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components 1 year 1 year


Best Overall E-Bike


Aventon Level Step-Thru


91
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 9
  • Range 10
  • Power 9
  • Interface 9
  • Assembly 7
Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 672Wh (48V, 14Ah)
28 mph top speed
Great distance range
Excellent finish quality
Comfortable ride
Sleek battery integration
Doesn't come with lights
Limited handlebar height adjustability

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 quality e-bike is a fantastic option for the city, commuting, or just for fun.

Read review: Aventon Level Step-Thru

Best Folding Electric Bike


Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 7
  • Range 7
  • Power 9
  • Interface 9
  • Assembly 10
Wheel Size: 20-inch | Battery Size: 500Wh (48V, 10.4Ah)
Reasonable price
No assembly required
Convenient, folding design
Up to 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed
High volume knobby tires increase versatility
Small wheels
Less stable handling than non-folding models

Over the past couple of years, Lectric bikes has quickly grown into one of the biggest names in e-bikes with their popular XP models. This reasonably priced folding bike nearly qualifies for the budget category, yet it performs as well or better than many more expensive competitors. The XP Step-Thru 2.0 is an updated version of the original XP with several minor changes intended to improve the bike's performance. Our test bike 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 460Wh (48v 9.6ah) 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 3-inch wide knobby 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 that can support up to 75 lbs.

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 2.0

Best Electric Cargo Bike


Rad Power RadWagon 4


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 9
  • Range 9
  • Power 8
  • Interface 9
  • Assembly 7
Wheel Size: 22-inch | Battery Size: 672Wh (48V, 14Ah)
Stable and damp ride
Large battery, good distance range
Quality display and controls
350 lbs weight capacity
Can haul lots of cargo with add-on accessories
Heavy and long
Difficult to transport
Longer turning radius
Need to purchase accessories to really take advantage of cargo-carrying capabilities

Rad Power's RadWagon 4 is one of the most popular electric cargo bikes on the market. This utilitarian model has a 350 lb weight limit, a large rear platform, and is designed to work with a huge array of aftermarket baskets, seats, and racks, so you can configure it to meet your cargo carrying needs. A strong 750W geared hub motor has no problem moving this heavyweight bike along at 20 mph while using the throttle or pedal assistance, and its large 672Wh battery helps to give it an impressive distance range. Due to its length, the RadWagon has a super stable and smooth ride quality with relaxed but predictable handling. It has a relatively low standover height making it easy to step on and off the bike, and it has a large seat and handlebar height adjustments that can accommodate riders between 5'1" and 6'4". It also comes loaded with user-friendly features like lights, fenders, a burly two-footed kickstand, USB charging, and a bell.

There was little we didn't like about the RadWagon 4, but it's hard to look past the length and weight of this bike. Transporting it can be difficult because it is too large and heavy to fit on most bike racks, and it can be a real challenge to move it up or down stairs. Due to its Class 2 settings, it's also not the fastest bike around with a top pedal-assisted speed of 20 mph. While it can potentially replace your car, you've got to spend additional money to customize it with aftermarket accessories to really unlock its cargo carry potential. All that said, we still think this is the best reasonably priced electric cargo bike on the market.

Read review: Rad Power RadWagon 4

Best Bang for the Buck


Aventon Pace 350 Step-Through


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 8
  • Range 8
  • Power 7
  • Interface 8
  • Assembly 9
Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 417.6Wh (36V, 11.6Ah)
Reasonable price
Lighter weight
Comfortable
Step-through frame
Smooth ride
Less powerful motor
20 mph top speed
Limited features

The Pace 350 is the least expensive model in Aventon's lineup of electric bikes. This Class 2 model comes with a 350W brushless rear hub motor with top pedal-assisted and throttle speeds of 20 mph. While it can't match the power or acceleration of bikes with larger motors, we didn't expect it to, but it didn't disappoint us either. That smaller motor also makes efficient use of its modest 417.6Wh battery and the Pace 350 impressed us in our distance range testing. The bike has a solid, sturdy feel with 27.5-inch wheels that roll fast, stable, and smooth. With a very low step-through frame, it is really easy to get on and off the bike, plus it comes in two frame sizes to accommodate a wide range of user heights. The seated position feels relaxed, easy-going, and comfortable, yet the handling remains precise and responsive. It also features intuitive controls and a bright, easy-to-read digital display. Finishing the remaining assembly of the Pace 350 was a piece of cake and took just a short 30 minutes to complete at home.

With a reasonable price tag, it didn't come as too much of a surprise that the Pace 350 doesn't come with many included features beyond a kickstand. That said, Aventon sells a number of aftermarket accessories so you can dial in your bike for your needs. As mentioned above, the 350W motor isn't the most powerful and was outperformed by more expensive bikes with larger motors. Regardless, we still feel the Pace 350 is a great bike and an excellent value.

Read review: Aventon Pace 350 Step-Through

Best for Speed and Power


Juiced CrossCurrent S2


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 8
  • Range 9
  • Power 10
  • Interface 7
  • Assembly 7
Wheel Size: 700c | Battery Size: 673Wh (52V, 13Ah)
28 mph top speed
Responsive handling
Good distance range
Athletic body position
Uses torque and cadence sensors
Limited features
Slightly less comfortable

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 Electric City Bike


Rad Power RadMission


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 8
  • Range 7
  • Power 8
  • Interface 6
  • Assembly 9
Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 504Wh (48V, 10.5 Ah)
Reasonable price
Simple city-bike design
Quiet, no rattle
Come in mid-step and high-step frames
Sharp, responsive handling
Single-speed, not the best for hilly areas
Simplistic controls/display
Requires more athletic body position

Dubbed as an "electric metro bike", the Rad Power RadMission is a simple city-style bike with a very reasonable price tag. With looks reminiscent of a hipster fixie, this bike has a single-speed drivetrain and streamlined rigid aluminum frame. Unlike your average city bike, however, this Class 2 model has a 500W motor, 4 levels of pedal assist, and a throttle to whisk you along at supported speeds up to 20 mph. A 504 Wh battery also gives you plenty of juice for your commute, errands, or joy rides around town. The relatively narrow handlebar is positioned lower than most, requiring a more forward, aggressive body position. That said, it feels quick with sharp handling and an impressively smooth, stable, and quiet ride. The controls are relatively basic, but they are intuitive and perfectly functional. Rad Power's years of consumer-direct sales are also evident in their packaging and straightforward at-home assembly process. Weighing in just under 50 lbs, the RadMission is lighter than most other e-bikes and a bit easier deal with or move up and down stairs, for example. It comes in mid-step and high-step (tested) frames to suit varying rider heights, plus it comes in 5 different colors. It's also one of the least expensive models we tested, and we feel it is a great value for the right consumer.

The RadMission has a city bike style with a less relaxed, more forward riding position that may not be for everyone. While simple, quiet, and low-maintenance, the single-speed drivetrain makes it a little harder to get going from a complete stop and is less ideal for hilly areas than bikes with multiple gears. Other than front and rear lights and an integrated bell, the RadMission is light on features, although Rad Power sells a number of aftermarket accessories to suit varying needs. Those gripes aside, we feel this is an excellent, reasonably priced option for the urban rider, commuter, or fun hog seeking a simple electric city bike.

Read review: Rad Power RadMission

Best Fat Tire E-Bike


Aventon Aventure Step-Through


87
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ride 8
  • Range 8
  • Power 10
  • Interface 9
  • Assembly 8
Wheel Size: 26-inch | Battery Size: 720Wh (48V, 15Ah)
Powerful motor
Excellent integration
Class 2 and 3 capable
Lots of features
Aventon companion App
Fat tires work on a wide range of surfaces
Heavy
Difficult to transport

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

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
91
$1,799
Editors' Choice Award
This bike checks all our boxes and is one of the best we've ever tested
89
$1,899
Versatile and well-rounded, this is among the best we've tested
87
$1,999
Top Pick Award
With a clean design, powerful motor, large battery, loads of features, and fat tires, this bike is ready for adventure
86
$1,899
Top Pick Award
The best electric cargo bike we've tested
85
$1,999
Top Pick Award
A Class 3 city/commuter e-bike with a need for speed
83
$1,599
This well-rounded Class 2 model offers a competitive performance at a reasonable price
81
$1,199
This folding electric bike has a great distance range and is offered at a reasonable price
81
$999
Best Buy Award
The best folding model in the test also happens to be the most affordable
79
$1,299
Best Buy Award
Affordability meets performance in this smooth and comfortable Class 2 electric bike
78
$1,599
This Class 2 utility/cargo bike is a great option for transporting kids or other cargo
78
$1,999
This Class 2 model is comfortable and efficient
77
$1,900
A smooth riding and versatile full suspension fat tire e-bike that with less than impressive power delivery
76
$999
Top Pick Award
This affordable Class 2 model is a sleek, simple, and effective electric city bike
72
$1,600
A simple, Class 1 pedal-assisted beach cruiser
66
$2,550
With stealthy looks and a light weight, this Class 1 model is best suited for commuting and exercise

We tested each bike in this review for several weeks, often back to...
We tested each bike in this review for several weeks, often back to back for direct comparison.
Photo: Laura Casner

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 20 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 four years, Benson has tested nearly 100 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 fifteen 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

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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, power output, 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.

Value


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. Sure, some of the more expensive options like the Aventon Aventure and the Rad Power RadWagon4 rate very highly in our performance metrics but some of the more affordable models, like the Lectric XP 2.0, Rad Power RadMission, and the Aventon Pace 350 get the job done at a fraction of the cost. 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 spend lots of time riding each bike to tease out the subtleties...
We spend lots of time riding each bike to tease out the subtleties of their ride quality. The Aventon Level Step Thru is one of our favorites.
Photo: Jason Peters

Ride


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 and the Rad Power RadCity4 were among the top-rated models for their comfort, smoothness, predictable handling, and wealth of features. Both bikes felt impressively smooth and quiet while riding with suspension forks and high-volume tires. Neither has the sharpest handling, but they felt steady and predictable in all situations with excellent stability at speed. They also come ready for anything with features like front and rear lights, fenders, and sturdy cargo racks.

Not only is it comfortable, but the Aventure&#039;s big tires and front...
Not only is it comfortable, but the Aventure's big tires and front suspension won't limit where you can ride.
Photo: Laura Casner

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. Despite a similar look and features, the Aventon Aventure Step-Through has a notably different ride. With massive 4-inch wide knobby tires making it suitable for riding on dirt roads, smooth trails, and loose surfaces, the Aventure is ready to tackle any adventure. The Aventon Pace 350 is also quite comfortable with a smooth ride and responsive handling, but loses a little ground for its limited features.

The Quick Neo SL 2 has a zippy, city bike feel with responsive...
The Quick Neo SL 2 has a zippy, city bike feel with responsive handling.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Juiced CrossCurrent S2, Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2, and the Rad Power RadMission have great ride qualities, though with a notably different feel than the bikes mentioned above. Each of these bikes feels racy with a notably more aggressive geometry that puts the rider into a more athletic body position. They roll fast, stable, and smooth, plus they have sharp, responsive handling.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Blix Packa and Rad Power RadWagon 4 are heavy and long bikes with a huge cargo capacity. They are far from agile, but both score well here for their high level of comfort, unflinching stability, smooth ride, and wealth of features. 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, high handlebars, and relaxed handling to match.

The Blix Packa is smooth, stable, and comfortable.
The Blix Packa is smooth, stable, and comfortable.
Photo: Jason Peters

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.

We were surprised to find the Rattan Folding at the top of charts in...
We were surprised to find the Rattan Folding at the top of charts in our range testing.
Photo: Jason Peters

Range


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. 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 slightly larger batteries.

The Ecomotion e-City was a real surprise in our range test...
The Ecomotion e-City was a real surprise in our range test, especially given the smaller size of its battery.
Photo: Laura Casner

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.

At 26.38 miles, we were relatively impressed by the Rad Power RadWagon 4, especially considering its heavy weight. Coming across the line just a touch 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 power more quickly 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.

The Class 1 Electra Townie Go! 7D may not have a big battery, but it...
The Class 1 Electra Townie Go! 7D may not have a big battery, but it can still go pretty far with a little pedaling effort.
Photo: Laura Casner

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.

The Magnum Metro (left) and the Rad Power RadCity 4 (right) have...
The Magnum Metro (left) and the Rad Power RadCity 4 (right) have different size motors, yet feel almost equally powerful.
Photo: Laura Casner

Power


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 falls 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 torque and 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.

With a 750W motor and a top pedal-assist speed of 28 mph, the Juiced...
With a 750W motor and a top pedal-assist speed of 28 mph, the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 would make you smile too.
Photo: Laura Casner

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 Aventure is one of the most powerful bikes we&#039;ve ever tested...
The Aventure is one of the most powerful bikes we've ever tested. This bike can really move.
Photo: Laura Casner

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 2.0 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 robust 750W motors, the Rad Power RadCity 4 and RadWagon 4 were among the most powerful bikes we tested. These Class 2 models easily do 20 mph with the throttle or while using pedal assist, with quick acceleration and five smooth pedal-assist support levels. We found the powerful motors to have no problem accelerating and holding speed while using the throttle going up hills. They lost a bit of ground to the Class 3 competition for their limited pedal-assisted top speed of 20 mph. While not quite as powerful, the 500W motor of the RadMission does a great job of scooting that bike along at up to 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist.

Despite having a 750W motor, the RadCity 4 is a Class 2 model that...
Despite having a 750W motor, the RadCity 4 is a Class 2 model that is limited to 20mph with the throttle and pedal assist.
Photo: Laura Casner

The Aventon Pace 350 and Ecomotion e-City have 350W motors that couldn't quite compete with the more powerful competitors. Still, we were impressed by the output of their smaller motor. Acceleration felt relatively average, but both bikes had no problem reaching their top speed of 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assistance. 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.

Every model we tested has a different interface that consists...
Every model we tested has a different interface that consists primarily of the controls and display.
Photo: Laura Casner

Interface


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.


Seven 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 2.0, Aventon Aventure, Rad Power RadWagon 4, 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 display and controls on the Magnum Metro were some of the best...
The display and controls on the Magnum Metro were some of the best in the test.
Photo: Laura Casner

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.

Most bikes arrive looking something like this. Most of the assembly...
Most bikes arrive looking something like this. Most of the assembly is complete, with just a few simple steps remaining.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Assembly


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 2.0 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, and some spray foam ended up leaving residue on our brand new bike.

No assembly required for the Lectric XP, just remove the packing...
No assembly required for the Lectric XP, just remove the packing materials and unfold it.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

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 the Electra Townie Go! 7D, RadMission, and Aventon Pace 350 was equally easy to complete. In under 30 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.

There are loads of great e-bikes on the market for commuting...
There are loads of great e-bikes on the market for commuting, errands, or just getting outside.
Photo: Laura Casner

Conclusion


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