Commuting by bicycle, though laudable, can be hard work. So it makes sense to supplement your human pedal power with a little electrical help, especially if you have a hilly route to the office or no desire to arrive to a meeting in any kind of a sweat. This is where the ever-growing market of electric bikes comes in. Fortunately, gone are the days of the hugely expensive, unreliable first versions, which were never taken seriously anyway. Now the choice is vast, the prices are reasonable (on the whole) and performance and range has in general been greatly increased. Here, we takes a look at six of the best e-bikes available right now, each being the ideal option for a specific kind of commute. You may also be interested in our guide to the best folding bikes.
The first functioning electric motor was displayed in the early 19th century, though the device constructed by British scientist Michael Faraday did little more than swirl a wire around a magnet when an electric charge was introduced. Still, the concept proved that electricity could do work. Functional electric motors would follow in many forms after that achievement in 1821. Soon scientists and tinkerers around the world, including visionaries such as Nikola Tesla, were experimenting with all manner of electric motors -- some worked with DC power, others with AC. By the end of the century, myriad electric motors had been produced, capable of exerting enough force with enough reliable control that they were practical for use in myriad applications.
On the other end of the pricing spectrum (although not as high-end as possible) falls the Riese & Muller lines. The Nevo line, which features a Bosch motor, hydraulic disc brakes and speeds up to 28 mph also has a roughly $5,000 sticker (a variety of models allows for a cheaper price). Using a carbon belt and Nuvinci grip shifter, maintenance worries lessen. The German-made premium models are hand made to specifications and comfort reigns supreme.
If you are a regular bicyclist who wants to add some excitement to your rides or wants some help with those hills, a full sized electric bike is the way to go. If you are considering a bike as a means of transportation more than an outlet for amusement, then a smaller, folding electric bike is the convenient choice. In each category, consider the speed and range you want, as these factors impact price.
Installing an electric bike kit is easy to do, can be done in just an hour or so and can last for many years if done right initially. Deciding on the right electric bike conversion kit, the one that suits your riding style and your bike best, is the most important decision you’ll make during this process. Good news... you’ve come to the right place!
The wiring could be better, but I think I’m going to make some adjustments to that myself. It’s also worth noting that the motor is in the rear hub just like a basic commuter ebike. This will affect the way it feels, as bottom bracket motors give a more seamless “pedal assist” experience. Of course, this bike seems like it’s made as practical transportation. To me, anything that gets cars off the road is a good thing so lets take it for a ride.
The Nobby Nic tires would work equally well on road, loose dirt, gravel, fire roads, or anything of the like really. The hardtail geometry also isn’t so aggressive that it would be uncomfortable over long distances. Of course, comfort over long distances is key during bike touring. Even though the bike does not come with a rear rack, it does have eyelets for mounting. A rear rack should allow you to carry plenty for a 3-5 day excursion.
One of the biggest drawbacks to any ebike is its range — and perhaps to a larger extent, the capacity of its compatible battery. Since battery technology innovation is fairly stagnant, the German ebike company Riese and Muller decided that instead of making a bigger battery, it’d just slap a second one onto its latest release, the Delite nuvinci. Though the attachment does add more to the final price (to the tune of $823), it also increases the Delite nuvinci’s range to a whopping 130 miles — which is leaps and bounds further than any other ebike on this list.
The Stromer is tailored for riders of all types and skill levels. The patented "dual power system" allows for power-on-demand riding (limited to no pedaling), with a top speed of 20 mph and a range of up to 20 miles. Feel like pedaling? Just switch to pedal-assist mode and let the state-of-the-art torque sensor augment your pedaling efforts with motor assistance. Pedal-assist mode allows for 45+ mile range. Charging is easy with their patented removable battery system. Simply unlock the internal battery storage case on the frame, remove the battery, and charge up with any 115V power outlet (onboard charging is also available).
E-bikes are one of the latest ways technology is infiltrating the fitness market. Although they may seem techy and confusing at first, they really are just regular bicycles with a little extra boost. To test one, ask your local bike shop to demo a model they have available (pro tip: If a bike shop won't let you demo, don't shop there). Just getting on one will definitely help you understand how an e-bike works and how one might work for your lifestyle and goals.
BATTERY POWER The Lithium-Ion Manganese battery power pack is lightweight, technologically advanced, and safe. EcoBike battery packs are UL and CE approved, exceeding safety and quality standards in the U.S. and E.U. EcoBike batteries are specially designed and manufactured for the EcoBike by a subsidiary of Lenovo / IBM ThinkPad. These batteries deliver the maximum consistent output and longevity. EcoBike batteries have been tested and proven, with over 100,000 units manufactured and a failure rate of less than 1%.
This bike is designed for quick handling and high speeds, and not for comfort per se. The Focus is all about form following function. This is both good and bad: you have a bike that is sleek, powerful and nimble, but you also are going to be crouched over the front wheel for better control, gripping no-nonsense grips and riding a saddle meant for performance, not cruising.
For many bikes, battery range is more important that total power (because they're all pretty powerful). You want a bike that delivers a range long enough for your rides at the power levels you want. Most e-bikes will have three to five levels of assist kicking in anywhere from 25 percent of you pedal power to 200 percent boost. Consider how fast the battery takes to recharge, especially if you'll be using your bike for long commutes.