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10 Best Electric Bikes of 2023

We chose the top ebikes for commuting, recreation, and more; here are our best recommendations.
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10 Best Electric Bikes of 2023
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our Top Picks

Friday September 8, 2023

Interested in switching out your car for a daily bike commute? Maybe want to explore 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 allowing you to move your legs and get as much of a workout as you choose. We have purchased and tested over 80 electric bikes, from budget bikes, commuters, and folding models, to top-of-the-line electric mountain bikes with all the newest features. Whatever your interest in electric bikes, we have information, advice, and recommendations to help you choose the best fit for 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. If you know what type of e-bike you're looking for, we offer more in-depth information in our category-specific reviews. We've tested the best electric commuter bikes for getting around town, the best electric cargo bikes, the best folding electric bikes, the best class 3 electric bikes, and top-ranked budget electric bikes for those who are looking for a more affordable option.

Editor's Note: On September 8, 2023, we added an updated review of the new Lectric XP 3.0

Best Overall Electric 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 exceeds the asking price. This bike rides smoothly on high-volume tires and 100mm of front suspension. We frequently used this bike for longer-distance commutes and found it quite comfortable. 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. It features highly adjustable components, allowing the perfect fit for most riders. Additional baskets and rack attachments are available as add-ons to maximize your cargo-carrying capabilities. This bike's comfort and convenience-oriented features add some weight, but good handling and balance compensate for the extra pounds. It also has features like a rear rack, fenders, and lights, so you'll be ready for anything. Ride1Up used to offer the 500 Series, which was a little lighter, more agile, and less expensive. However, it was also slower, had a shorter range, and wasn't so much less expensive than the 700 Series that, ultimately, Ride1Up discontinued it.

Our least favorite part of the 700-Series was the extra time and effort we put into the assembly. This bike comes less assembled than others we've tested, and all the additional features take longer to assemble during the initial unboxing. However, this is a one-time task so we wouldn't base our final purchase decision on this factor. Also, its above-average weight means it doesn't feel the most nimble, but we found it easily maneuverable in most situations. Ultimately, we were impressed by the power, range, comfort, smooth ride, and included features of the 700-Series, not to mention the competitive price. It is perfect for around-town commutes, errand runs, or outdoor adventures. It has performance stats similar to its cousin, the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser. The Cafe Cruiser has a burlier rear rack with an optional kit to carry a kid (up to 130 lbs) and comes with more stylish and comfortable handlebars. However, it is more expensive and does not handle quite well.

Read more: Ride1Up 700-Series review

electric bike - the ride1up has convenient features that make it one of our...
The Ride1Up has convenient features that make it one of our favorites for daily commuting.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Bang For Your Buck Electric Bike

Ride1Up Turris XR

Wheel Size: 27.5-inch | Battery Size: 614 Wh
Economically priced
Class 3 speeds
Built-in battery
Comfortable front suspension
Comes in two frame styles and multiple color options
No cargo rack included
Tires create resistance

Our testers were delighted by the performance of the Ride1Up Turris XR, especially considering its affordable price. It's an upgrade to the Ride1Up Core5, which used to be our favorite bike in this price range. This budget-friendly bike surpassed several more expensive models in our review, earning it a top rating. With a powerful 750W motor, this Class 3 model accelerates quickly up to 20 mph with the throttle and as fast as 28 mph using pedal assist. The sleek and stylish frame includes a 614 Wh battery that provides a respectable range. The 27.5-inch wheels are fast, and the high-volume tires offer a smooth ride with vibration damping. Despite its stability, the bike remains agile and responsive. It has a comfortable position, adjustable seat height, and quality seat and grips. Additionally, the bike is available (ST/step-thru and XR/step-over) frame styles.

The Turris XR is an affordable bike with some nice comfort features like a suspension fork, fenders, a headlight, all-terrain tires, and a kickstand. Its upright design allows riders to feel comfortable and relaxed, allowing them to enjoy their surroundings. Despite not being a particularly sporty bike, it has a 750W motor that can reach speeds up to 28mph with the help of pedal assist. While some minor issues were reported, the bike's overall quality and value make it an excellent choice for those who want to explore bike paths and beyond. Its main competitor is the Ride1Up 700 series, which has a larger battery and comes with a rear rack. Whether the price difference is worth the 700 is a personal decision.

Read more: Ride1Up Turris XR review

Calm and relaxed, the Turris was built to cruise with or without your added effort.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Best Moped Style Class 3 Electric Bike

Ride1Up Revv 1

Wheel Size.20-inch |Battery Size: 1040 Wh
Large capacity battery
Simple assembly
Headlight doesn't turn

The Ride1Up Revv 1 won our best Moped-style Class 3 bike due to its impressive features, comfort, and power. Initially shipped as a Class 2 bike, the Revv 1 has a large display screen that allows riders to access its Multi-Class Speed System. With a 1040 Wh battery and strong hub motor, the bike offers great range, power, and excitement. Riders can enjoy a smooth ride thanks to the suspension fork and 4-inch tires, which help to absorb road vibrations. The 18" long saddle and upright handlebars also add to the comfortable and relaxed feel of the bike. Additionally, the Revv 1 comes equipped with integrated lights, full fenders, a horn, and a kickstand, making it adept for urban adventures. One of the standout features of the bike is its exceptional display screen, which provides clear contrast and a wealth of information. Different ride modes offer varying levels of assistance, including an "off-road mode" available by registering the bike with Ride1Up. This mode unlocks the bike's full potential and propels us as fast as 46 mph on our course. While the bike is thrilling to ride off-road, it is not particularly conducive to pedaling due to its short crank arms, single gear, and wide top tube. However, the bike still has a range of over 30 miles while exclusively using the throttle. Overall, the Revv 1 is an excellent option for those interested in a moped-style e-bike, especially considering its great value and easy assembly process thanks to the oversized shipping box, clear instructions, and included tools.

While the Revv 1 impressed us in almost every way, the headlight mounted directly to the frame compromised its night riding abilities. Most headlights mount to a part of the steering axis, which allows the light to follow the bike's trajectory. Potential buyers should also consider the bike's weight; 84 lbs is more than most bike racks will carry, and hoisting it into a truck isn't easy. Another problem with this and all Moped-style bikes is that they pedal poorly if you run out of battery or are just trying to extend the range. We ran out of juice a mile from GearLab, and it became a very memorable mile. That said, not only does it score higher than its closest competition, the Super73 S2, it's about half the price. The Super73 may be the brand that defined the Moped-style class of eBikes, but other than perhaps being more stylish (debatable), the Super73 falls well short of the Revv1 in performance, range, and value.

Read more: Ride1Up Revv 1 review

Quick trips in style, a Class 3 ebike can add some fun to your routine.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Best Overall 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 the 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 this bike's unique dual battery capability (optional for an additional fee) can double your range. Rolling on 24-inch wheels, this long, heavy bike is impressively stable with steady, predictable handling. The seated position is comfortable and upright, with a wide range of seat and handlebar adjustments 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.

The Packa Genie, like many cargo bikes, is heavy and has a long wheelbase, making it difficult to transport and requiring more storage space when not in use. The long wheelbase may also impact its handling, making it less suitable for short turns or navigating tight spaces. Despite these considerations, the Packa Genie is still the top choice for families seeking an alternative to driving while still being able to transport children or other cargo. Blix also offers a decent selection of accessories for customizing your cargo hauler. Its main competition is the Rad Power RadWagon 4, which scored better for range but slightly lower for cargo capacity. The Rad Wagon comes standard with a bigger battery and range, but you can add a second battery to the Blix, giving it a much larger range. Both score close, have similar performance, and are about the same price. We recommend pricing out the exact accessory package you want for each bike and comparing which offers the better value.

Read more: Blix Packa Genie review

electric bike - the packa's well-rounded performance, smooth ride, and 400 lbs...
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 Compact Cargo Bike

Specialized Globe Haul ST

Battery size: 772 Wh | Max weight capacity: 419 lbs
Great ride quality
Easy to store
Exceptional range
Expansion possibilities
Accessories aren't as cool as the bike
Only room for one kid

Striking a delicate balance in the cargo bike market, the Specialized Haul ST manages to be useful without being overly imposing. Its small footprint makes for easy storage and agile handling, while its burly frame and solid spec ready it for heavy-duty service. The ride quality is excellent, even fun, with 3.5" tires soaking up the bumps. This bike's versatility is a defining feature; it's not too much bike for commuting, and it's enough bike to haul groceries or a single child. If the purpose of this bike was to make replacing trips made by car convenient, it succeeds, and it is probably the most utilitarian product in all our bike reviews.

The bike feels really well thought out and incredibly customizable. Specialized offers a bevy of accessories that enhance its capabilities, or you can create your own using the T rail rack. It features a large (772Wh) battery and a 700W motor, giving it more than adequate power and a class-leading range. From the handlebar to the spokes, the bike is ready to haul its maximum of 419 pounds. A unique short tail frame design makes the bike easy to turn, park, store, and carry on a bike rack while only mildly diminishing its utility. Those wanting to haul two kids or have a dedicated kid corral on the rear rack should consider the Blix Packa or RadWagon. If replacing car trips with a fun bike is your aim, check out the Haul ST. Its main downside is the cost of the bike and accessories. For example, we had to pay extra for a throttle, something few other eBike manufacturers ding you for. While the plastic cargo bins perform better than any pannier we have used, they are not cheap. We didn't love all of the other accessories offered with this bike (or their cost). Still, overall, the bike is an absolute winner for doing exactly what the name implies: hauling many items you normally need a car to carry.

Read more: Specialized Haul ST review

Replacing car trips is so easy with the Haul ST.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Best Fat Tire Electric Bike

Aventon Aventure.2 Step-Through

Wheel Size: 26-inch | Battery Size: 720Wh
Potent motor
Comfortable fat tires are great on various surfaces
Large battery with substantial range
Aventon smartphone app
Large tires can feel sluggish on pavement

Are you looking for a versatile bike that can handle various types of terrain? The Aventon Aventure.2 Step-Through may be just what you need. With its 4-inch wide tires and comfortable front suspension, this bike offers stability and smooth rides, ideal for exploring dirt roads or leisurely trails. The 750W motor feels potent and can reach speeds up to 28mph with pedal assistance. It boasts a 720Wh battery, providing a respectable range. Sleek and stylish, the bike has a frame-integrated battery and complimentary components. It comes in two frame sizes and both step-through and step-over styles to cater to your preferences. The Aventure.2 boasts an excellent display and controls, front and rear fenders and lights, a rear rack, and even turn signals. So, whether you're on an adventure or just commuting, this bike is perfect for exploring.

The most significant drawback to the Aventure.2 is the weight. At 77 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 challenging to load it 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, they feel sluggish on the pavement and make the handling response feel more delayed. Beyond those concerns, we feel it is a great option for riders who want fewer limitations on where their electric bike can take them. The key question is if you really need better suspension and bigger tires. If you don't, the Ride1Up 700 is likely the better option and will save you money.

Read more: Aventon Aventure.2 Step-Through review

This wouldn't be a possibility on most bikes, riding down the beach is quite nice.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Best 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
Fairly expensive
Rigid frame transmits bumps

The folding electric bike test gave the Blix Vika+ Flex top honors. It received high marks in all rating metrics. This small yet powerful bike has a robust 500W motor, allowing for quick acceleration and a top throttle speed of 20 mph. Using pedal assist, it can reach up to 24 mph. Its 614 Wh battery holds enough power to travel long distances, impressively traveling 27.5 miles in our throttle-only range test. The bike handles well for a folding model, with good stability at high speeds and predictable steering. The powerful hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent control and stopping power. It also has a wider range of fit than most competitors, with a highly adjustable seat and handlebar. The Blix Vika+ Flex has several useful features, including integrated lights, fenders, and a sturdy rear cargo rack. At 51 lbs and 14 oz, it is significantly lighter than other top performers and folds down small for easy portability and storage.

We found the Vika+ Flex to be our test group's most well-rounded folding model, but it still has some minor drawbacks. With a rigid frame and comparatively narrower tires, it sometimes feels less forgiving over rougher terrain. Of course, the nature of its folding design and smaller wheels means it doesn't have the same composure as the larger wheeled, non-folding competition. It has a respectable range, but it was bested slightly in that metric by bikes with bigger, heavier batteries. Those concerns aside, the Vika+ Flex proved to offer a high level of performance in a convenient folding package, making it the best folding model we tested.

Read more: Blix Vika+ Flex review

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

Best Bang for the Buck Folding Electric Bike

Lectric XP 3.0 Step-Thru

Battery Size: 500 Wh | Measured Weight: 62 lbs 8 oz
No assembly required
Folding frame
Versatile tires expand it's use
Excellent value
Class 3 capable
Short wheelbase is less stable
Average range

The Lectric XP 3.0 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 features loads of adjustability to suit a wide range of user heights. It has user-friendly features like a cargo rack, fenders, lights, a comfortable seat, and ergonomic grips. Lectric sells additional accessories, even a passenger seat, if you want additional conveniences. With a robust 500W motor, the XP 2.0 packs a lot of power in a small package and can speed up to 28 mph using pedal assist and 20 mph with the throttle. A 500Wh battery integrates 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 ridden 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 little time and effort to set up and start riding.

The small size and folding frame of this bike are very convenient, but also some drawbacks. The battery on the XP 3.0 is smaller, giving it predictably less range. The shorter wheelbase and taller handlebar give it a nervous feeling at speed. The tight turning radius allows for good maneuverability, and the bike never felt unsafe. Though it folds into a compact package, it's quite heavy at 62.5 lbs, so lifting it into a trunk or carrying it up a flight of stairs can be difficult. All that said, this value-oriented foldable model is a great option for anyone short on storage or seeking a compact e-bike.

Read more: Lectric XP 3.0 review

The Lectric XP 3.0 is bargain that happens to be fun to ride and folds up.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Best 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. However, 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. It has been our our favorite electric mountain bike for years. 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 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 on the trail, there are a few areas where the Levo was not the top performer. The SRAM Code R hydraulic disc brakes 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 on the frame's top tube showing 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. If you want to save a few thousand dollars, check out the Commencal Meta Power TR Ride, which didn't score as high but has great downhill performance and only slightly less range.

Read more: Specialized Turbo Levo Comp review

electric bike - the specialized turbo levo comp performs at the top of its class.
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 bike's geometry 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 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 at GearLab started with mountain bikes in 2017 and have since branched out to include over ten bike categories. We added increasingly popular electric bikes to our lineup in 2019. In that time, we've purchased and extensively tested more than 80 e-bike models across various categories, and we're constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest e-bikes to test and compare. With more than 1,000 bikes and bike-related products, we've 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. Our team is headed up 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 extensive bike knowledge are gear testing exper turned bike shop owner Pat Donahue, with 20+ years of bike-obsessed experience, Joshua Hutchens who is a lifelong mountain biker filling roles from bike mechanic to guide, racer, 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 daily, 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 mopeds and e-bikes, a bike's power and speed capabilities determine where you can legally ride them. Some bikes can switch modes, allowing you to 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 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 bike 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; 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 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 can 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 - while not particularly agile, the radwagon 4 is stable and...
While not particularly agile, the RadWagon 4 is stable and comfortable.
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 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. These models are not very portable and they're best suited to those who can ride them straight out of 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 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 many hills, you'll probably appreciate a little pedal assist occasionally. 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. Still, additional factors like rider weight, terrain, and the amount of pedal assistance or throttle used will also play a major role. 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.

There are also several options regarding motor size and placement. Most e-bike motors span the range of 250W to 750W. Larger motors generally produce more torque, accelerate faster, and 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, their single-gear ratio makes them less efficient, and it's more difficult to change or repair tires. Mid-drive motors are located in the bike's center, usually around the pedal crank, and deliver power to the wheel through the chain. They're usually pricier but also more refined, using 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 pedal using a strain gauge and deliver the appropriate power for the rider's chosen setting. While usually more expensive, torque sensors can 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" because 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 show minimal information like battery level and power setting, while others include speed and other stats about your ride. Some models have an app to 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. 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 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 enjoy your electric bike more. Happy riding.

Jeremy Benson, Joshua Hutchens