There are various kinds and classifications of electric bikes on the market, but the most common type is the Class 1, or pedal assist, bikes which have motor units that are activated by pedaling and are limited to lower speeds. In the US, Class 1 electric bikes, the type tested and reviewed here, are limited to a top speed of 20 mph, and their motors are designed with a speed governor to regulate this. These types of e-bikes resemble modern mountain bikes, but they have significant battery packs, and small motor units integrated onto and into the frame design. The e-MTB pedal-assist motor is typically built around the bottom bracket and provides varying levels of pedaling "support" directly into the drivetrain while the cranks are turning. Most drive unit systems offer several support settings that provide pedal assistance between 25% and 100% of the user's pedaling input.
This utilitarian Class 3 (28 mph) road e-bike is smooth and torquey thanks to its Bosch Performance Speed motor. With a drop bar and traditional road-bike position and handling, the CrossRip+ is more suited to long rides on mixed terrain than navigating congested city streets. It comes with a rear rack—for mounting bags, not for attaching cargo directly—full fenders, a kickstand, and integrated front and rear lights (which are powered by the Bosch 500Wh battery). It features a SRAM Force 1x11 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and wide 700x38mm tires.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque, and others, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. But, generally, all four make good options. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
What's The Best Electric Mountain Bike? ▼