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10 Best Electric Bikes of 2023

We chose the top e-bikes for commuting, recreation, and more to recommend our favorites to you
10 Best Electric Bikes of 2023
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

Tuesday December 13, 2022
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Are you interested in switching out your car for a daily bike commute instead? Perhaps you want to tackle trails that are just out of reach on a standard mountain bike. An electric bike can put a little more oomph in your pedal and help you get around town or the trails faster while still giving you the option to get your legs moving and get as much of a workout as you choose. We have tested over 40 electric bikes, with options ranging from budget bikes, commuters, and folding models, to top-of-the-line electric mountain bikes with all the bells and whistles. Whatever the reason for your interest in electric bikes, we have advice and recommendations to help you choose the one that will best fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Our favorite models across all categories are listed below.

There are many different styles of electric bikes. In this review, we include our favorite models from each category. However, if you know what type of e-bike you want, we offer more in-depth information in our category-specific reviews. We have tested top-rated electric commuter bikes for getting around town, the best electric cargo bikes, the best folding electric bikes, and top-ranked budget electric bikes for those who are looking for a more affordable option, and the top e-MTBs for tackling the trails. If you want a bike sans-motor, check out our other bike reviews.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on December 13, 2022, with additional award winners from our cargo bike review.

Best Overall Electric Commuter Bike

Ride1Up 700-Series

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 720 Wh
Excellent performance for the price
Great features
Powerful motor
Excellent range
More involved assembly
Heavier weight

The Ride1Up 700-Series is a quality bike with sleek looks and performance that we feel exceeds the asking price. Other baskets and rack attachments are available as add-ons if you need to maximize your cargo-carrying capabilities. Thanks to a combination of high-volume tires and 100mm of front suspension, it has a very smooth ride, and we felt comfortable frequently taking this bike on longer-distance commutes. The massive 720Wh battery means it has the juice to power through longer rides while the powerful 750W motor easily supports 20 mph using the throttle or up to 28 mph with pedal assist. Ride1Up gives you options, and you can choose between a step-over or step-through style and two frame sizes, and it has highly adjustable components, so you can get the perfect fit for most riders. The comfort and convenience-oriented features on this bike make it a bit heavier, but good handling and balance make up for the extra weight. It also comes with features like a rear rack, fenders, and lights, so you'll be ready for anything.

Our least favorite part of the 700-Series was the extra time and effort we had to put into the assembly. This bike comes less assembled than others in our tests, and all the additional features take longer to put together during the initial unboxing. Since it is a one-time job, however, we wouldn't base our final purchase decision on this factor. The above-average weight of the 700-Series means it does not feel the most nimble, but we think it is easily maneuverable in most situations. Ultimately, we were impressed by this bike's power, range, comfort, smooth ride, and included features, not to mention the competitive price. We think it is perfect for around-town commutes, errand runs, or outdoor adventures.

Read more: Ride1Up 700-Series review

electric bike - best overall electric commuter bike
The Ride1Up has convenient features that make it one of our favorites for daily commuting.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Overall Folding Electric Bike

Blix Vika+ Flex

Wheel Size: 20-inch | Battery Size: 614 Wh
Powerful and quick
Included features
Large range of fit
More portable than other top-rated folding models
Moderately expensive
Rigid frame can feel harsh over rough surfaces

The Blix Vika+ Flex took top honors in our folding electric bike test with high marks across all of our rating metrics. This powerful little bike has a robust 500W motor that provides quick acceleration, a top throttle speed of 20 mph, and pushes up to 24 mph using pedal assist. Its 614 Wh battery holds enough juice for long rides, traveling an impressive 27.5 miles in our throttle-only range test. It handles well for a folding model, with predictable manners in the turns and good stability at speed, and its powerful hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent control and stopping power. The seat and handlebar are also highly adjustable, and it has a wider range of fit than most of the competition. It also comes loaded with useful features like integrated lights, fenders, and a sturdy rear cargo rack. At 51 lbs and 14 oz, it's also significantly lighter than our other top performers, and it folds down quite small, making it more easily portable and storable than some other models.

While we feel the Vika+ Flex is the most well-rounded folding model in our test fleet, it does have a few minor drawbacks. With a rigid frame and comparatively narrower tires, it can feel a bit less forgiving over rough surfaces. Of course, the nature of its folding design and smaller wheels means that it doesn't have the same composure as the larger wheeled, non-folding competition. It has a very respectable range, but it was bested slightly in that metric by models with larger, and heavier, batteries. Those concerns aside, the Vika+ Flex proved to offer a high level of performance in a convenient folding package which made it the best folding model we tested.

Read more: Blix Vika+ Flex review

best overall folding electric bike
The Blix Vika+ Flex is a high-performing folding model that boasts portable and storable convenience.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Bang for Your Buck Electric Bike

Ride1Up Core-5

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 500 Wh
Reasonable price
28 mph top pedal-assisted speed
Long range for battery size
Comfortable ride
Slightly louder motor
Minimal features

Ride1Up is great at making quality e-bikes without breaking the bank, and the Ride1Up Core-5 is no exception. This budget-friendly model looks and performs like a more expensive bike thanks to its quality components and streamlined design. The battery is stealthily incorporated into the frame, and even though it is not as large as some other models, it still offers a decent range for the size. The 750W motor supports Class 3 speeds up to 28 mph with pedal assist and 20 mph using the throttle, and it feels quick and powerful. Although it has a rigid frame, the 27.5-inch wheels roll fast with high-volume tires that help provide a fairly damp and comfortable ride. The Core-5 has two frame options, step-over (tested here) and step-through, so each rider can choose a frame that fits their lifestyle and preference.

We understand that to keep costs down, some sacrifices have to be made. The Core-5 lacks features that come standard on many other bikes, like fenders, lights, and cargo racks. However, if any of these accessories are appealing to you, many of them are available to purchase separately, and you can customize your bike to your preferences and choose how much you would like to spend on bells and whistles. Regardless, we cannot emphasize enough how well this bike balances quality, performance, and price. If you want a quality electric bike but are experiencing some sticker shock from other models, the Core-5 is our recommendation.

Read more: Ride1Up Core-5 review

best bang for your buck electric bike
We think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better bike than the Core-5 at this price.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Bang for Your Buck Folding Electric Bike

Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0

Wheel Size: 20-inch | Battery Size: 460 Wh
Comes pre-assembled
Portable folding design
Performs on a variety of surfaces
Excellent ratio of price and performance
Up to 28 mph top speed
Smaller wheels are not as stable
Smaller battery

The Lectric XP 2.0 is a folding electric bike that will fit in the trunk of your car, next to your office desk, or in the hall closet for storage. Despite its compact foldable design, the bike has lots of adjustability to suit a wide range of user heights. It comes equipped with user-friendly features, such as a cargo rack, fenders, and lights, as well as a comfortable seat and ergonomic grips. If you want some additional conveniences, Lectric sells additional accessories so you can outfit your bike to fit your usage. With a robust 500W motor, the XP 2.0 packs a lot of power in a small package and is capable of speeds up to 28 mph using pedal assist and 20 mph with the throttle. A 460Wh battery is integrated into the folding frame which provides a respectable range given its smaller capacity (a long-range battery is also available for an additional fee). With 3-inch wide knobby tires and a suspension fork, it provides a relatively smooth ride and can be used on a range of surfaces. We also love how easy this bike is to use straight out of the box. It comes almost completely assembled and takes very little time and effort to set up and start riding.

The small size and folding convenience of this bike have many advantages, but there are also some drawbacks. The smaller battery on the XP 2.0 means it has a below-average range compared to models with larger batteries. The smaller wheels and tall handlebar do make its handling feel a little nervous. However, it has a tight turn radius that makes it easier to maneuver through small spaces, and we never felt uncomfortable on this bike, even at its top speed. It becomes quite compact when folded, but despite its small size, it still weighs 61 pounds, and lifting it into a trunk or carrying it up a flight of stairs can still be a challenge. Regardless, we feel this affordable folding model is a great option for those who are short on storage or want a compact e-bike they can take anywhere.

Read more: Lectric XP 2.0 review

best bang for your buck folding electric bike
The Lectric XP 2.0 is a great folding model that performs above the asking price.
Credit: Jason Peters

Best Electric City Bike

Juiced CrossCurrent S2

Wheel Size: 700c | Battery Size: 673Wh
Fast and powerful
Responsive handling
Long range
Less cushy ride
Minimal included features

If you are a city commuter and need a little more pep in your pedal to keep up with stop-and-go traffic, the Juiced CrossCurrent S2 is a great option. With a powerful 750W motor and a 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed, this bike is excellent for people who want to get places in a hurry, keep up with traffic, and maybe even cruise past any jams on the way. This bike has a smooth power delivery and gliding takeoff thanks to combined cadence and torque sensors. The 673Wh battery provides an excellent range that should be more than enough to get you across town and back again. The large wheels, good suspension, and sharp handling provide excellent stability and predictable turns in almost any situation, reinforcing its performance tailored to city riding. Juiced offers this bike in multiple frame sizes to allow nearly any sized rider to find a great fit.

The features that make this bike so zippy and responsive make it a little less comfortable than some other options. The city bike style includes lower, flat handlebars and a more aggressive riding position that may not be ideal for everyone. This is in contrast to the more upright cruiser bikes that earn higher marks for comfort. Unless you are used to riding in a more aggressive position, this is not the type of bike you would want to take out for a leisurely afternoon cruise; this bike is meant to take you places. As long as you know what you're getting into, the CrossSCurrent S2 is a perfect option for riders looking to shift their daily commute from car to bike without losing any time.

Read more: Juiced CrossCurrent S2 review

electric bike - best electric city bike
This zippy e-bike has very responsive handling that complements its speed nicely.
Credit: Laura Casner

Best Budget City Bike

Aventon Soltera

Wheel Size: 700c | Battery Size: 346 Wh
Handles with precision
Multiple frame size and style options
Lighter than average weight
Available with 7-speed or single-speed drivetrains
Not a super powerful motor
Less comfortable ride
Only average range

The Aventon Soltera definitely looks and feels like a city bike. With large wheels and skinny tires, there is little resistance, and it is made to ride on smooth concrete and asphalt. The Soltera can make sharp, responsive turns and has a quick and agile handling feel. While it doesn't have the most oomph in its 350W motor, it has a smooth and consistent power delivery and no problem supporting speeds up to 20 mph. The 346Wh battery is cleanly integrated into the frame providing sleek looks and decent distance range. If you happen to run out of battery away from home, this bike rides relatively well with no power at all, thanks to its lighter weight and fast-rolling tires. That lighter weight also makes it a bit easier to load onto a bike rack or carry up or down stairs. Aventon's user interface is intuitive to use and displays enough (but not too much) information on the screen, and it gets bonus points for having a compatible app where you can easily change settings and track and share rides. Two frame sizes and two frame styles mean that most riders should be able to find a bike that fits and meets their needs. We also like that Aventon gives you the option to lower costs by getting the simpler single-speed drive train, which is perfect if you don't ride in a hilly area.

This bike is not for the rider who wants to go on long relaxed cruises. A stiffer frame, narrower seat, and skinny wheels don't offer a lot of cushion in your ride, and bumps and cracks in the road are more noticeable. All of this, combined with a more engaged riding position, means this is not a relaxed cruiser kind of bike. It is zippy and tight and requires more active participation from its rider, which could be either a pro or a con depending on who you are. It has a smaller battery which translates to just an average range in our throttle-only test and is not the fastest bike out there. However, as mentioned above, it has many perks that make it city-friendly, and if you don't stray too far from home, the battery size and ride will not likely be significant issues for you. We recommend this bike for city riders who want to upgrade from their regular commuter bike to an electric-powered one without breaking the bank.

Read more: Aventon Soltera review

electric bike - best budget city bike
The Aventon Soltera has more of a city bike style with quick, responsive handling.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Electric Cargo Bike

Blix Packa Genie

Wheel Size: 24-inch | Battery Size: 614Wh
400 lbs total weight capacity
Large rear rack
Stable and smooth ride
Dual battery capable
Needs accessory add-ons to unlock cargo-carrying potential
Large and heavy
Wide turns

The Blix Packa Genie looks identical to the original Packa but comes with upgrades like a more powerful motor and a larger battery. The 750W motor brings it up to speed and has no problem pushing Class 2 speeds up to 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist. While it isn't a class leader for its range, the 614Wh battery provides enough juice for most purposes and the unique dual battery capability (optional for an additional fee) of this bike can double your range. Rolling on 24-inch wheels, this heavy and long bike is impressively stable with steady, predictable handling. The seated position is comfortable and upright, and it has a wide range of seat and handlebar adjustment to suit riders of varying heights. With a 400 lbs total weight limit and a large rear rack, it's also capable of carting around kids, cargo, or both with various accessory add-ons. Useful features like lights and fenders come standard and ensure you're ready when the weather changes or it gets dark earlier than expected.

Like most cargo bikes, the Packa Genie is relatively heavy and has a long wheelbase that makes it somewhat challenging to transport and it takes up more storage space when not in use. The long wheelbase also affects its handling, and it isn't the best at short turns or when navigating through tight spaces. Also, Blix offers a good selection of accessories for cargo-carrying customization, though not quite as many as a couple of other brands. Beyond those concerns, we feel this is the best option for most people looking to ditch the car without losing their ability to transport kids or other cargo.

Read more: Blix Packa Genie review

electric bike - best electric cargo bike
The Packa's well-rounded performance, smooth ride, and 400 lbs weight limit earned it our top recommendation for an electric cargo bike.
Credit: Jason Peters

Best Bang For Your Buck Cargo Bike

KBO Ranger

Wheel Size: 20-inch | Battery Size: 840Wh
Reasonably priced
Powerful motor
Large battery - great range
More easily maneuverable than other cargo models
Loaded with features
Slightly less stable than other cargo models
KBO offers fewer accessories for customization
Shorter rear rack

The KBO Ranger is a reasonably priced electric cargo bike that gets the job done for less than the competition. With a robust 750W motor, this Class 3 bike is quick, topping out at 24 mph in our tests with quick acceleration and a nice range of support offered by its 5 pedal assist levels. The whopping 840Wh battery is housed cleanly in the downtube of the frame for a sleek look and a very impressive distance range. It is slightly shorter than other cargo models we've tested, making it a bit more maneuverable and possibly able to fit on some bike racks than can handle its weight. The plump 3-inch wide tires dampen cracks in the road while the 20-inch wheels size helps keep the center of gravity low for steady handling with a load. The heavy-duty rear rack can support up to 120 lbs and it comes with a wood top and running boards, and KBO sells a modest selection of accessories for customization. It also comes with great features like fenders and lights to keep you rolling in a range of conditions.

Due to its slightly shorter length and smaller wheels, the KBO Ranger doesn't offer the same level of stability as some of its cargo bike competitors. While it can definitely haul some cargo, the rear rack is a bit shorter than other models, which may be a limiting factor depending on the cargo you intend to carry. KBO's selection of accessory add-ons is also a bit limited compared to other brands, although they have all the basics covered. If you can live with those issues, we feel the KBO Ranger is a quality bike at a reasonable price.

Read more: KBO Ranger review

electric bike - best bang for your buck cargo bike
The KBO Ranger is a great cargo bike that costs less than the competition.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Fat Tire Electric Bike

Aventon Aventure Step-Through

Wheel Size: 26-inch | Battery Size: 720Wh
Powerful motor
Fat tires are great on various surfaces
Large battery and a solid range
Compatible smartphone app
Big tires can feel a bit draggy on paved surfaces

We like the idea of the Aventon Aventure Step-Through for riders that don't want to limit themselves to paved surfaces. The 4" wide tires and great front suspension expand this bike's capabilities to perform well on a wide variety of surfaces, including gravel roads and mellow trails and make it impressively stable and smooth. It is one of the most powerful bikes we tested with a 750W motor that is capable of speeds up to 28 mph using pedal assist with a 720Wh battery that provides a respectable distance range. The frame-integrated battery, quality components, and clean design make this a sleek-looking bike, and it comes in two frame sizes and step-through (which we tested) and step-over frame styles to suit a range of user heights and preferences. It also comes with a great display and controls, front and rear fenders, lights, and is compatible with front and rear racks (sold separately) so you can be ready for any adventure.

One of the most significant downsides of the Aventure is the weight. At 73 pounds, it is simply a big, bulky bike that isn't very easy to transport. It is a little too heavy for most bike racks, and it can be a challenge to load into the back of a truck or move up a flight of stairs. While the 4-inch wide knobby tires are great for tackling a wider range of surfaces, we found that they feel a bit draggy on the pavement and make the handling feel a little more sluggish as a result. Beyond those concerns, we feel it is a great option for riders who want fewer limitations on where their electric bike can take them.

Read more: Aventon Aventure Step-Through review

best fat tire electric bike
Credit: Laura Casner

Best Overall Electric Mountain Bike

Specialized Turbo Levo Comp

Wheel Size: MX (29-inch front, 27.5-inch rear) | Battery Size: 700Wh
Large battery size and long range
Highly adjustable geometry
Powerful motor
Natural handling feel
Basic user interface
No longer the leader in the battery size wars
Moderately expensive

Specialized found the perfect balance of power vs. natural handling in the Turbo Levo Comp e-mountain bike. Full-power e-bikes are heavier no matter what, but the Levo has smooth power delivery (an improvement over the abrupt power cutoff of older versions), is well balanced, and handles the most like a "regular trail bike" out of any of the models we tested. The latest Turbo Full Power 2.2 motor system is well refined and boasts a whopping 90Nm of torque, more than enough power to propel you up hills that would be unconquerable on a standard bike. Mixed wheel sizes and highly adjustable geometry also make the Levo Comp one of the most customizable options available; several minor adjustments make a huge difference and allow you to tailor the bike to different riding styles and terrain quickly and easily. The Levo also ranks near the top of the group for range. We felt confident going on longer rides without running the risk of being stuck miles from the trailhead with a 50lb bike and no power.

While this is undoubtedly one of our favorite electric bikes to take out on the trail, there are a few areas where the Levo was not the top performer. The SRAM Code R hydraulic disc brakes that come on this bike are far from our favorite and the non-e-bike specific Fox 36 Rhythm fork also leaves a bit to be desired. There is also no digital display screen on this bike. The only information immediately available to the rider are the LEDs found on the frame's top tube that show the current support setting and remaining battery life. If you value having lots of information available at a glance, more expensive versions of the Levo come with a digital display, or you can purchase one as a separate accessory. However, we wouldn't let either of these drawbacks deter you from the Turbo Levo Comp, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a refined and highly adjustable electric mountain bike.

Read more: Specialized Turbo Levo Comp review

electric bike - best overall electric mountain bike
The Specialized Turbo Levo Comp performs at the top of its class.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Electric Mountain Bike for Range

Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8

Wheel Size: MX (29-inch front, 27.5-inch rear) | Battery Size: 900Wh
Well rounded performance
A large battery means super long range
Very competitive price
Quality build for the price
Motor/battery bulge reduces ground clearance
Should come with a beefier rear tire casing

The Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 is one of the top-performing electric mountain bikes we tested. It manages to be more affordable while offering a quality carbon frame and a mostly excellent component specification thanks to Canyon's direct-to-consumer sales model. At nearly 52 lbs, the Spectral:ON falls in the typical weight range as far as e-MTBs go, yet it handles well and feels balanced on both the climbs and the descents, thanks to the low center of gravity and thoughtful weight distribution. The geometry of the bike is certainly trail-oriented, and it is clear that Canyon intended this bike to be geared more towards all-around riding, but we were impressed when it handled steep drops like a champ. Shimano's trusty EP8 drive unit handles the power delivery with up to 85Nm of torque and three customizable support settings. Perhaps one of the most differentiating characteristics of the Spectral:ON is the extensive range; this bike lasted miles beyond the closest competitor in our range test thanks to the huge capacity 900Wh battery.

Unfortunately, all of that battery power has to be stored somewhere. Canyon did a great job keeping the weight low, but the bulge created at the bottom of the bike's frame reduces clearance when riding more technical terrain or if the suspension is ever maxed out. Speaking of suspension, the components on the Spectral:ON work fine, but have limited adjustability and the non-e-bike specific fork could feel a little flexy under braking. Lastly, we recommend running beefier tires, but luckily this is not a very expensive upgrade. Overall, our complaints about the Canyon Spectral:ON are minor, and we feel it is an excellent option for those who tackle long rides and want a well-balanced trail eMTB that comes at a very competitive price.

Read more: Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8 review

electric bike - the spectral:on has the range to last through almost any trail you...
The Spectral:ON has the range to last through almost any trail you choose.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us

Bike testers here at GearLab started with mountain bikes in 2017 and have since branched out to include more than ten different bike categories. We added increasingly popular electric bikes to our lineup in 2019. We have tested more than 50 models across various categories and are continually keeping an eye out for the latest and greatest e-bikes to test and compare. With a grand total of more than 1,000 bikes and bike-related products, we really have had a little taste of it all.

Our testing process varies depending on what style of e-bike we are testing, but some of the most important metrics include ride quality, range, user interface, and power output. We go into the finer details for specific categories, evaluating downhill and climbing performance for mountain bikes, carrying capacity for cargo bikes, and folded size for folding e-bikes. In addition to miles of methodical testing on and off the pavement, we load, fold, pop wheelies, and drop into steep lines on these bikes. We ride each one long enough to become familiar with it and find its best and worst attributes.

We have been testing different styles of bikes since 2017, but our team of bike experts has been riding for much longer. It is led by Senior Review Editor and long-time Tahoe resident Jeremy Benson, who has been riding bikes for more than 30 years and has authored a book on bike trails in and around the Lake Tahoe basin; Mountain Bike Tahoe. Contributing to our testing with their extensive bike knowledge are gear testing expert turned bike shop owner Pat Donahue with 20+ years of bike-obsessed experience, Joshua Hutchens who is a lifelong mountain biker filling rolls, from bike mechanic to guide, to racer, to casual rider and everything in between. Kyle Smaine is a South Lake Tahoe native and has had access to some of the area's best bike trails from a young age.

Tires, shocks, and frame geometry all factor into the downhill...
Tires, shocks, and frame geometry all factor into the downhill performance of any e-MBT.
The Core-5 isn't really difficult to assemble, but having to install...
The Core-5 isn't really difficult to assemble, but having to install the fork and drive-side crankarm may seem a little daunting.
Features like headlights and taillights are nice to have.
Features like headlights and taillights are nice to have.
Our multi-faceted hands-on testing process involves lots of real-world riding, handling tests, assembly, and an examination of each bike's features.

How to Buy an Electric Bike

Deciding that you want an electric bike over an analog is the first step, and you may think it will be easy to choose a model from there. However, almost every bicycle out there has its e-bike equivalent these days. With so many options, it can be difficult to make a wise decision, but it is possible! Some questions can help to narrow down the categories so that, in the end, you are riding the bike that fits your needs best.

Where Do You Want To Ride?

Your lifestyle, location, and budget are probably the three most influential factors when deciding which e-bike will suit you, so you have to ask yourself: Where do I want to ride? The answer to this question will help you narrow down the enormous amount of choices and select an electric bike from the category that will work best for you. For example, if you want to rip around on mountain trails, an e-MTB is the obvious choice. If you live in the city and want to bike-commute to the office every day, a sleek and zippy electric commuter or city bike will be your best bet. To enjoy weekend cruises to the park or beach, you may opt for a bike that prioritizes comfort and cost. If you have kids, pets, or other precious cargo to haul, you'll probably select something from the e-cargo bike category. Different classes of bikes will also dictate where you can ride. State, local, and regional regulations vary, so it is best to check if your bike is within the regulations of your area.

Some bikes can be configured to fit into several different categories if needed. For example, the speed limit of many class 3 bikes can be adjusted in the bike's settings to have it top out at 20 mph, or class 2, and often the throttle can be disconnected to fall under class 1.

electric bike - e-bikes fall into three different classes. class 2 bikes, like the...
E-bikes fall into three different classes. Class 2 bikes, like the one pictured here, have a throttle and pedal-assist with a top speed of 20 mph.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Classes of Electric Bikes

The 3-class system is becoming widely accepted as a way to regulate e-bike use, but laws and regulations vary by state and even by country. With some of the more powerful bikes riding the border between moped and e-bike, a bike's power and speed capabilities determine where you can legally ride them. Some bikes can switch modes so you can ride them anywhere without limitations. Regardless of class, most e-bikes are limited to a motor with one horsepower (750W) or less.

Class 1

Electric bikes that fall into Class 1 are pedal-assist only, which means that power is only delivered when the rider is moving the pedals, and most of the time, there is no throttle on the handlebar. If there is one, it offers an extra power boost, but it only works when the rider is pedaling. Motors on class 1 bikes support top pedal-assisted speeds up to 20mph, and they are typically allowed in bike lanes and multi-use trails, essentially anywhere a regular bike can go. Nearly all electric mountain bikes fall into this category.

Class 2

Class 2 e-bikes also have a top motor speed of 20mph (although it is possible to ride them faster if your legs are strong enough). The main difference between classes 1 and 2 is that class 2 bikes have a throttle, usually a thumb paddle or twist grip on the handlebar, that will propel the bike forward without any help from pedaling input from the rider, putting them more on par with electric scooters. Like class 1, they also have a pedal assist option with different levels of power depending on your preference. E-bikes that fall into the class 2 category are usually allowed in bike lanes and multi-use paths, but there are exceptions in certain states.

Class 3

Class 3 bikes take it up a notch with a higher speed limit. These bikes have both a throttle and pedal assist, with the throttle limited to 20 mph and the pedal assist up to 28 mph. If your legs can push one of these heavy bikes faster than 28mph, kudos to you, but you won't get any help from the motor after 28 mph. These electric bikes are commonly equipped with a speedometer and a throttle, although not always. These bikes have more restrictions regarding who can ride them and where. You may be required to wear a helmet, and in many states, anyone under a certain age is not allowed to ride a class 3 e-bike (usually between 15-16 years) unless they are a passenger, and they are not always allowed on bike paths. However, it is ultimately up to the discretion of the local government, so be sure to check regulations before heading out.

electric bike - there are many different styles of electric bikes. the ride1up...
There are many different styles of electric bikes. The Ride1Up 700-Series is one of our favorites for commuting.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Types of E-bikes

Whatever your preferred riding style, there is probably an e-bike version to fit, and if you can't find one, it's probably in the making. As electric bikes become more popular, many people are adopting the term "analog" bike to differentiate between motorized versions and traditional bicycles. While many of the features found on particular styles of e-bikes are the same in the analog world, a few motor or battery-specific details are different. We go over all of this below.

Cruiser Electric Bikes

Cruiser e-bikes prioritize comfort, convenience, and ease of use. They have a more relaxed and upright riding position and are made for long and slow outings down the neighborhood bike path or on the side street that leads to the beach. These typically have a very user-friendly interface and have the option for a step-through frame design to make mounting and dismounting easier for most people. Wider tires make them best suited for rides on the pavement. They may not be as powerful or speedy as some other models, but they provide a boost to your pedaling efforts and are fun and comfortable to ride.

electric bike - the radmission's 500w motor provides plenty of power whether you're...
The RadMission's 500W motor provides plenty of power whether you're using the throttle or pedal assist.
Credit: Laura Casner

City/Commuter Electric Bikes

Commuter bikes are purpose-built and can potentially replace cars for some riders. They often have quick power output and may operate at higher speeds to keep up with city traffic. Depending on your commute length, you may want to look for a commuter bike with a larger battery to boost the range you are able to travel. Many include features like headlights, tail lights, and brake lights for enhanced visibility on the road or in an urban environment, and other features like fenders or small racks over the rear wheel add protection from road spray and provide a place to transport some cargo.

electric bike - as the name suggests, folding electric bikes can be folded to a more...
As the name suggests, folding electric bikes can be folded to a more compact size for storage or transport.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Folding Electric Bikes

As the name suggests, these bikes are designed to fold down to minimize size and maximize portability. Folding electric bikes are aimed at riders with limited storage space or who may need to fit their bike into a vehicle rather than on a bike rack. They are also perfect for those who would prefer to bring their brand new e-bike inside rather than leave it chained to the bike rack outside (it's a significant investment, we get it). People who travel with their bikes frequently, RVers, city dwellers, and office workers are the most likely to benefit from this style of bike as the smaller collapsed size takes up significantly less space than non-folding models. One of the downsides to this style of e-bike is that they typically have smaller diameter wheels, tall handlebars, and geometries dictated by their folding designs that can result in slightly less stable handling.

electric bike - cargo bikes like the rad power radwagon 4 aren't exactly nimble, but...
Cargo bikes like the Rad Power RadWagon 4 aren't exactly nimble, but they are stable, damp, and comfortable. Plus, you can customize and carry lots of cargo.
Credit: Jason Peters

Electric Cargo Bikes

In our opinion, the best cargo bikes are more likely to replace a car for most people than any other style of electric bike. Add a motor to this style of bike, and you're that much closer to living car-free. Often these bikes are extra long to accommodate a larger rear cargo rack or have a box/wheelbarrow style cargo space either in the front or rear of the rider. A dual kickstand is also a common feature to help support the added length and heavier weight. Most brands that produce cargo bikes also sell various accessories to tailor the storage/cargo space to your needs. Items like front/rear baskets, bike trailer attachments, child seats, and mounts for pannier bags can add space and customize cargo-carrying capability. This larger hauling capacity and extended length can mean trickier handling and a much heavier bike all around. These models are not very portable, and they are best suited to those who can ride out straight from the garage.

electric bike - fat tire e-bikes have knobby tires that expand their surface...
Fat tire e-bikes have knobby tires that expand their surface versatility and put fewer limitations on where you can ride.
Credit: Laura Casner

Fat Tire Electric Bikes

Fat tire electric bikes feature extra wide and often knobby tires, much like their analog counterparts. The higher volume of the tires increases the contact patch so they float better over soft conditions like sand and snow, and they also dampen the ride enough that these bikes often don't have a separate suspension system. Tires can range from 3.7" to 5.2" wide, compared to the 1.75" to 2.21" width found on most standard bikes, increasing traction and stability and making them suitable over a much wider range of surfaces. Because of the larger tire size, analog fat tire bikes tend to move slowly and steadily, so adding a powerful motor helps to propel you through varying terrain and surface conditions more quickly.

electric bike - we take every e-mbt out for laps on some of the gnarliest trails we...
We take every e-MBT out for laps on some of the gnarliest trails we can find to push them to their limits.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Electric Mountain Bikes

E-mountain bikes are built for off-road use and are equipped to handle steep ups and downs, just like their analog mountain bike cousins. They are often some of the priciest options available, but they are built with quality components like rugged suspension systems, light(er) weight frames, beefy tires, and frame geometry that make them well-suited to riding rougher trails. The motors on e-MTBs are typically regulated to class 1, with multiple pedal-assist levels and top supported speeds of 20 mph. We recommend gearing up with the proper protective gear like a well-fitted helmet and sturdy knee pads.

Electric Road Bike

As with traditional road bikes (and gravel bikes too), their motorized counterparts have sporty forward-leaning geometry, narrow tires, and lightweight frames, all with performance and efficiency in mind. Keeping that in mind, many analog road bikes can exceed the 20mph power cutoff of e-bike motors when on the flats and downhills. E-road bikes are inevitably heavier due to the battery and motor, so you may end up hauling dead weight through these sections of your ride. However, if you ride in an area with lots of hills, many riders will probably appreciate a little pedal assist every now and then. Fancy carbon frames and sport-specific builds can often make them pricier than other categories of e-bikes.

electric bike - the 700-series comes with great features, and even small details...
The 700-Series comes with great features, and even small details like the bungee for the rear rack are covered.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Else to Consider

Now that we've covered the main groups of e-bikes, you've probably had a chance to narrow down your top picks. When it comes down to the finalists in your list, these features and specs can help you narrow your choices even further.

Motor and Battery Specs

Most e-bikes have a range that falls between 20-30 miles. Battery size and motor power will determine the approximate range, but additional factors like rider weight, terrain, and the amount of pedal assistance or throttle used will play a major role as well. Not surprisingly, a little leg power from the rider can add many miles to a bike's range. Batteries are measured in Watt-hours, and the higher the Wh number, the more power storage and longer the range, but this also means increased weight and size, making for a heavier bike.

You also have a few different options when it comes to motor size and placement. Most electric bikes have motors that vary in size between 250W and 750W. Larger motors typically produce more torque, are faster to accelerate, and can more easily support higher speeds. Hub-drive motors are located in the center of one of the wheels (typically the rear wheel) and transfer power directly to the wheel where it is mounted. These are more affordable, easier to maintain, and do not add as much wear and tear to bike components. However, they are less efficient because they only have one gear ratio, and they make it more difficult to change or repair tires. Mid-drive motors are located in the center of the bike, usually around the pedal crank, and deliver power to the wheel through the chain. These are generally more expensive, but they are typically more refined, use the bike's gears to maximize efficiency, and they better balance the weight of the motor. Mid-drive motors are typically found on more expensive electric bikes.

Pedal-assisted power delivery options include a torque sensor or a cadence sensor. Torque sensors measure how hard you are pedaling using a strain gauge and deliver the appropriate amount of power for the rider's chosen setting. While usually a bit more expensive, torque sensors can often feel more intuitive and natural because they adjust quickly to the rider's movements, providing more power when you pedal harder and less power when the pedals slow down.

Cadence sensors work more like an on/off switch. When you begin to pedal, the motor provides power, but the output usually needs to be manually adjusted using the controls on the handlebar. Some cadence sensors are a bit "smarter" in that they can count pedal rotations (but still do not sense how hard you are pedaling) to adjust power output automatically. This type of system is usually more affordable.

electric bike - the vanmoof app is an integral part of using the s3. here you can...
The VanMoof app is an integral part of using the S3. Here you can configure settings, track rides, and a whole lot more.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Features and Accessories

The last things to consider are ease of use features and included accessories vs. accessories that come as a separate purchase. The user interface varies from bike to bike, some showing minimal information like battery level and power setting, while others include info like speed and other stats about your ride. Some models have an app so you can track your ride and adjust settings on your smartphone.

While almost always available as aftermarket accessories, included perks like a headlight, tail light, fenders, and cargo racks are always nice. Many brands also offer additional accessories like baskets and kids' seats designed specifically to fit their models of bikes, so you can customize your ride to meet your needs. Most bikes these days have a removable battery, which makes charging as simple as carrying the battery to the nearest outlet rather than having to haul the entire bike over. It could also be considered an additional security measure.

electric bike - with so many options on the market, finding the perfect bike to suit...
With so many options on the market, finding the perfect bike to suit your needs and budget can be a challenge. We hope this review helps you find the right bike for you.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


With such a wide variety of electric bikes available, there is sure to be a perfect model for you, but the sheer number of options can be overwhelming to choose between if you are new to the market. It is essential first to evaluate your lifestyle and do your research so you can make an informed decision; luckily, we put in the hours of research to help lighten the load. Hopefully, we have brought you closer to your dream bike so that you can spend less time in front of a screen and more time enjoying your electric bike. Happy riding.

Jeremy Benson

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