Electric bikes combine the best of locomotion and exercise. From commuting and running errands, to exploring the world or just the neighborhood, e-bikes are becoming a common sight at city crosswalks. Combining the kid-like fun of bike riding with the convenience of a hill climbing motor, these chargeable e-riders are much less expensive to ride – and insure – than cars or motorcycles.
In North America, the current multi-billion dollar electric bike industry got its jumpstart in 1997 when Chrysler legend Lee Iacocca co-founded EV Global motors, the electric motor manufacturer. Now, e-bicycles are the rage among experienced and new riders alike. More relaxing than a traditional bike, e-bikes have street, mountain, and commuter options. After taking an e-bike for a spin, your only regret will be not purchasing one sooner. Here are our favorites.
This bike from Heybike is a hard worker. The 500-watt motor has a 48-mile range and a top speed of 20 mph. With that kind of speed, you’ll also be thankful it has dual-disc brakes, an integrated headlight and a brake light – all the better to be seen by other vehicles on the road. Those distinctive fat tires are puncture-resistant so don’t be afraid of taking the bike off the road. It’s foldable so you can break it down and store it in a car trunk. And the best news of all? It comes pre-assembled so put your toolbox away.
Reasons to buy: Great speed; puncture-resistant tires; plenty of safety features.
- 20-inch, 4-inch wide, puncture-resistant fat tires.
- 48V 12.5Ah batteries and 500w brushless geared motor.
- Three riding modes and Shimano 7-speed.
- Foldable and adjustable design.
Buy: Heybike Mars Electric Bike
Explore the local hills and waterways as trails, gravel, and rocks are tamed under the anti-slip tires of this mountain e-bike. Complete with a Shimano 21-speed gear system, this electric bike gives the rider control not found in most e-bikes. With three convenient riding modes – choose from all manual, fully electric, or pedal assist – this e-bike can reach about 20 miles per hour. Instead of opting for another car, nearly two-thirds of electric bike owners chose an e-bike because of its lower carbon footprint and ease of use. The light, durable aircraft-grade aluminum frame stays strong coming down the mountain, while the front suspension fork takes the bouncing. One charge lasts for about 37 miles of travel on the 350-watt motor and 36-volt battery.
Reasons to buy: Better control; lighter frame; nice variety of riding modes.
- Fast-charging 36V/10.4ah lithium-ion, water-resistant battery.
- 350W BAFANG brushless motor.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame.
- 85 percent pre-assembled.
Buy: MICLON Cybertrack 100 Electric Bike
Grab a pair of the coolest wheels on the street. This electric mountain bike has all the features for comfortable trail rides, beach cruising, and commuting. With Shimano 21-speed gears and 26” nubby traction tires, this e-bike is ready to go over hill and dale. We love how this e-bike has a long range that can take the rider 50 to 60 miles in pedal assist mode. Some of the reasons e-bikes are so popular are not just the environmental and health benefits. They are inexpensive to operate and maintain, and they make it easy to steer clear of traffic. Fully charged in five hours, the 350-watt motor can get up to nearly 20 miles an hour.
Reasons to buy: Great for beginners; versatile ride; quick to charge.
- 350W high-speed motor with 36V 10.4Ah removable IP54 waterproof lithium-ion battery.
- Lockable front suspension fork.
- 26-inch aluminum alloy frame.
- Three riding modes.
- Arrives 85 percent assembled.
Buy: TotGuard Electric Bike
From getting across campus to getting groceries, this portable, foldable e-bike gets the job done and stows in a snap. Weighing about 45 pounds, it’s got 14-inch wheels and an adjustable saddle, so it feels comfortable for the whole family to ride. Charge the 36-volt battery in five to six hours and ride the matte, sky-blue beauty for up to 18 miles. The anti-shock tires and bump handlebars make the rider feel confident commuting, even in drizzly weather. With nearly 300 million e-bike riders worldwide, North American riders choose e-bikes over traditional bicycles for safety, collision avoidance, and ease of use. This mini-city electric bike gets a little over 18 miles per hour using pedal assist mode. With dual LED headlights and disc brakes, this folding e-bike also makes a great gift.
Reasons to buy: Easy to pack and carry with you; very lightweight; comfortable ride.
- 350W motor with a 36V built-in rechargeable lithium-ion 10.4Ah battery.
- Dual disc brakes, non-slip bump handlebars, LCD battery/speed Indicator.
- 14-inch anti-shock tires, front lamp and tail lights.
- Comes 90 percent assembled.
Buy: Sailnovo Electric Bike
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a license to use an electric bike?
Each state has its own rules. States that consider electric bikes relatively the same to regular bikes usually don’t require a license to ride them; other states see them as mopeds. Check your state for your situation. (Florida doesn’t require a license for e-bikes, but the rider must be over the age of 16.)
How long does an electric-bike battery last?
This varies by model and riding mode, but usually, a battery will last between 20 and 50 miles on a single charge. Also, keep in mind that a battery needs to be replaced anywhere from 2 to 5 years. The amount of time to charge a battery is between 3 and 7 hours – again depending on the model.
Are e-bikes heavy?
Because of the motor and battery, they’re heavier than a typical manual bicycle. It often comes down to the frame composition – a carbon frame (which is pricier) is lighter than an aluminum frame.
Can you travel with an e-bike?
Again, that depends. Many e-bikes offer a foldable design, so they can easily slide into a car trunk or rear of an SUV. For mass transportation, e-bikes are sometimes treated as regular bikes and can be mounted on external bike racks. If you’re planning on e-biking while on vacation, consider renting one at your destination.