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 Riese & Müller Load Touring HS is billed as “the ultimate minivan of e-bikes,” and it holds up to that claim. With a low center of gravity (aided by the 20-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels) the Load is easy to handle. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes add control, and front and rear suspension provide comfort. The Bosch motor offers an assist up to 275 percent of your effort until you hit 28mph, when it cuts out. The massive cargo space (with side walls) can carry and the two 500Wh batteries give you 12 hours or more of range at full power. It’s capable of toting up to 220 pounds of pets, people, and less-animate cargo. R&M also sells a double child seat for kids up to age 6 and a child-seat fastener for your youngest passengers.
The complete integration of the Optibike is achieved from the ground up with a disign focused on high performance, safety, and ease of operation. Front and rear long travel suspension with disc brakes gives the rider confidence. The fully integrated package gives the utmost in convenience allowing the rider to ride on road, off road and the up or down the steepest hills. Optibike is in a class of its own. The Monocoque frame has sleek styling and a low center of gravity for stable handling. All electronics and long-running battery are safely housed inside the frame.
In 2012, two e-bike advocates completed the first 4,000-mile (6,400 km) transcontinental e-bike tour from New York to San Francisco to advocate for e-bikes in major cities across the U.S. Pedego Electric Bikes is the best selling brand in the U.S. Many e-bikes in the United States are standard bicycles converted using a kit. In general, the kits include the motor (the majority of which are hub motors built into the front or rear wheel), a speed controller, throttle (usually twist-grip or thumb throttle), necessary wiring and connectors, and a battery. Several U.S. companies offer conversion kits which also offer advanced lithium battery packs. Major manufacturers also offer complete e-bikes. Trek offers a line of e-bikes using the Bionx system in which the rider programs the controller to determine how much effort the motor will give in response to rider effort, from 25% up to 200% of the rider's power. This system ensures a minimum level of rider participation and is also used to comply with many European laws mandating partial human effort before the motor engages.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is a highly unusual approach – drawing power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit. You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
Cargo bikes and city bikes are common in the e-bike space, but until recently we haven’t seen that many performance road bikes. The Giant Road E+1 is a pedal-assist performance road bike that’s made for more than just commuting; the powerful motor can rank you up to 28mph very quickly on the highest setting so you can rip the flats, join your local group ride, or blast through the mountains with far less effort than a traditional road bike. Don't expect it to feel like a 16lb race bike when you lean it into high-speed turns, but the endurance-oriented geometry allows for an aggressive position on the bike and keeps the it nimble and agile at high speed.
The Soho is one of Coboc’s four single-speed pedal-assist bikes. The bikes are differentiated with finishing kit - handlebar style, bar-tape, saddle and paint finish. With a retro / bespoke styling with Bullhorn bars, Brooks fabric-tape and Cambium saddle and brushed aluminium frame, the Coboc is an e-bike for riders who don’t want to look like they’re riding an e-bike. The ONE Soho is for a rider that doesn’t want gears either.
Twice the speed - with half the effort, Optibike has the power. On a test ride in Boulder Colorado, a fit road cyclist was able to climb the notorious Old Stage Road at 10 MPH sitting down with an easy spin on the Optibike. On his ultra light road bike, he had to stand and grind all the way to go 5 mph!!! Twice the speed - half the effort, Optibike has the power.
I picked this bike because it’s definitely one of the lowest cost 28mph bikes out there that is still high quality. Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes keep you good and safe. The geometry provides a comfortable ride. Personally, I don’t always think a suspension fork is totally necessary since they are less efficient. If you’ve got a pretty smooth road to ride this is a great option.
This bike impressed me right when I saw it. I love that Haibike offers spec-heavy options with the Yamaha PW system. I think the PW system gets a bad rep sometimes for being less powerful than the Bosch, but to be totally honest not everybody needs the power of a Bosch system. Haibike makes up for the lower torque of the PW system by offering a premium Shimano Deore XT drivetrain with 20 speeds. This is great for riders who want to stay in the action a bit more, but still not arrive sweaty and out of breath.
The UpCycle Eco-Charger is a Powerful Bicycle Generator that Utilizes an E-BikeKit™ Hub Motor and Empowers You to Generate Your Own Electricity! The UpCycle Eco-Charger was created by Adam Boesel, the founder of The Green Microgym Say goodbye to worrying about environmental disasters and hello to making the world a better place. The UpCycle Eco-Charger is the most efficient, reliable, and powerful bicycle generator ever. Over the past two...
Stark Drive has always included a front head light by default at no charge for safety with the rear brake light being optional for those who needed this. Now we have reconfigured the homepage so that the rear headlight options i clearly visible and availble without needing to compllicate matters by adding it from our accessories page. We highly recommend a rear brake light no matter what motor you choose for Stark Drive.
Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.
BattleBots legend Christian Carlberg and his company C2 Robotics are using Electric Bike Technologies direct drive hub motors to power 'OverDrive', their latest BattleBot on ABC! Team C2 Robotics is set to battle again tonight at 9pm EST on ABC! For the past two decades Christian Carlberg and the C2 Robotics Team have been making remote control mobile platforms for commercial, military and the entertainment industries. With the advance of brushless...
The Nuvinci hub system is the best geared hub that I have ever used. There is literally no maintenance to be done on this drivetrain. I’d recommend buying it with the Gates Carbon belt because you’ll never run into issues like the chain falling off. You operate the Nuvinci system with a grip shifter and can of course shift even when you’re not moving.
The Brose motor is definitely the most quiet ebike motor that I’ve used. The 28mph model is no different. I also find it to be pretty solid in terms of power. Generally speaking, Bosch motors are considered the most powerful, but with the Brose I actually think you get a lot of power with a more “real” feeling cycling experience. They also give you a 675 watt hour battery pack, which is still unrivaled in terms of a single battery system.
The final major consideration is what type of riding you will be doing. Are you going on an off-road adventure through the mountains? You’ll want a very different electric bike than you would need if you’re riding on paved roads the whole time. Most bike tours are going to be on paved roads, but you should always research the area in detail during your planning process.
Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.
We rode the Vado through the gauntlet, including some of the steepest hills in Palo Alto, and it easily handled everything we threw at it, maintaining a steady 20 miles per hour even on the most daunting of ascents. The bike also handles well on downhills and is both nimble and quick on city streets and paved trails. It’s even comfortable to ride for extended distances, which is vitally important for any bike built for urban settings.
Electric bikes are here in a big way. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, someone has built it. From cargo bikes to city bikes, messenger bikes to mountain bikes, road bikes, and even beach cruisers, there is something for everyone. The beauty of e-bikes is they make the joy of cycling accessible to so many people in so many ways.