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.
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Folding Electric Bikes- These are mostly used when people need to combine different modes of transport. For example, if you need first to take the train or bus, a folding e-bike can be useful to carry along. Also, very short trips are more convenient with these electric bikes since you don’t need to bother tying them up. Typically, these are very light, even with the motor and battery.
Yes, you read that right – north of £4k for a bike. But then, this is basically the top end of the mountain e-bike market, and you do get a lot of bike for your buck: a Yamaha Lithium battery, masterful Magura brakes, mud-slaying tyres, and – my favourite flourish of all – a hydraulic seat post that you can adjust on the move (surprisingly useful when navigating tricky downhill trails, as it means you can depress the saddle out of the way with the press of a button).
The downside to this mountain-bike build and specification is obviously the weight, at 24.5kg the Trekking feels heavier than the other bikes on test, and rightly bills itself as suitable for heavier riders, too. As with the other bikes here, this is only really a problem for smaller riders, or riders needing to take the bike up or down steps regularly. With its bomb-proof build, full guards and heavy-duty rack, the Haibike is the perfect choice for a burly rider or for doomsday preppers, ready to out ride the apocalypse.
Propel started in a small, second floor office with a motivating belief that electric bikes would change people’s lives, and they have. Since 2011, we have been closely listening to our customer’s needs, spent countless hours traveling and researching to learn more about ebike technology as it evolves, and we are advocating for changes in policy that promote a more equitable stake for electric bicycles in the world of transportation. Join us in this movement towards a more sustainable future; together, let’s change the way we move.
Built by a company that’s made cycling equipment for more than four decades, the Vado feels more like a traditional bicycle than almost any other ebike. Its frame and components have been tuned to provide a familiar experience, making it easy for new and long-time cyclists to jump on and start pedaling. Specialized’s heritage shines through nicely, helping separate itself from the competition in an increasingly crowded ebike market.
Have to give a shout out to a Bulls Brose option. They were the first manufacturers I saw integrate the battery into the frame really well, and they’ve continued to improve upon that design. As I mentioned above, I love the wave frame. Super easy to get on and off and it’s got a cool look as well. If you’re not a fan, this bike does come in both a Diamond and step-thru frame.
But this bike isn’t just about the accessories. The powerful 48V 13Ah battery will allow you to pedal for longer, with some riders getting over 100 miles from one charge. The bike can be ridden as pedal-assist or throttle only and it’s equipped with full suspension and puncture-free Kenda tires. It folds up neatly to fit into the boot of a car or for commuting, though at 57 pounds, it’s heavy to cart around. A great value-for-money commuting bike with lots of features.
In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.
Everyone seems to know a lot about Haibike’s e-MTBs, but I think their commuting and touring bikes are just as good, if a little bit underrated by the e-bike community. Another bike with the Bosch speed motor, this bike is quick and powerful. I really like the spec upgrades on this bike from the Trekking speed model in 2017. You’ve got Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes, a Shimano Deore XT M8000 Shadow Plus drivetrain, and the headlight and taillight run off a dynamo.
A Kalkhoff Pedelec is a lot more than simply bolting a motor onto a great bike. Their electric-assist bicycles utilize a brushless DC motor system that is lightweight, precisely-controlled, efficient, low-maintenance, and reliable. The Panasonic drive system is center drive, meaning that it's designed to be in the middle of the bike for a low center of gravity, stability and an easy integration with the drivetrain. The drive unit is more than just a motor; it also has a torque sensor and controller unit as well - all in the weatherproof casing, surrounding the motor. The torque sensor and the controller senses how hard you're pedaling and adjusts how much assistance the motor gives you through the drive sprocket.