E-bikes, which can be pedaled but also have electric motors that provide assistance, are the fastest-growing segment in cycling. Today’s e-bikes are lighter than those of just a few years ago…look more like normal bikes…and deliver power more smoothly.
When selecting an e-bike: Look for one that lets you select assistance levels— a low assistance level will preserve battery when your e-bike’s power runs low…or a higher assistance level for when your own energy level is depleted. Many e-bikes also have hand-operated throttles for when you don’t feel like pedaling at all.
Among the best e-bikes today…
Best value road e-bike: Aventon Pace 350 is an inexpensive e-bike that features a seven-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain (among the most trusted names in cycling) and Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Riders can choose among five levels of electric pedal assistance or a handlebar throttle. The bike weighs 46 pounds, provides 35 miles of range and offers assistance at speeds up to 20 mph. Its “step through” frame makes it easy to get on and off. $1,199.
Best value cargo e-bike: Rad Power Bikes RadWagon is a sturdy bike with a big rear cargo deck so you can strap on boxes and bags. It offers five levels of pedal assist plus a hand-operated throttle. Range is 25 to 45 miles, depending on the hilliness of the route and level of power assistance. At 77 pounds and 79 inches in length, this e-bike could be challenging to carry up stairs. $1,899.
Alternative: For the most cargo space, the Urban Arrow Shorty could be the answer. It has a 40-gallon, 187- pound capacity storage bin above its undersized front wheel. $5,499.
Best incognito e-bike: Argon 18 Subito e-Road is the one to choose if you don’t want other riders to realize you’re on an e-bike. Its quiet motor is hidden in its rear hub, and its battery is concealed inside a normal-looking frame. This 27-pound e-bike is more than capable of helping you climb a steep hill, but it won’t do most of the work for you. $4,000.
Best value mountain e-bike: Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro is easier to control than most mountain e-bikes. Its Yamaha motor is quiet, and its disc brakes and other components are made by Shimano. This 53-pound bike’s batteries can last 62 miles under good conditions or 31 under extreme conditions. $5,600.
Best luxury e-bike: Stromer ST3 is smooth and fast—assistance is provided at up to 28 mph. It boasts numerous high-tech features. The ST3 connects with your phone to notify you if your bike has been moved, track the bike’s location, allow diagnostic tests and more. Its regenerative braking system captures energy that otherwise would be lost when you apply the brakes and feeds it back to the battery. Range is around 90 miles, but it weighs a hefty 64 pounds. $7,499.
Best price-is-no-object road e-bike: Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL can help you keep up even if your friends are competitive riders. Peddle assistance can reach speeds of up to 28 mph with up to 80 miles of range—up to 120 miles with an optional range extender. It weighs 27 pounds. $13,500.