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.
Because they’re electrically powered, e-bikes sit in a bit of a gray area between bicycles and motorcycles. While some states have enacted specific legislation to state where electric bikes can and can’t be ridden, in other states outdated laws mean they’re regulated as a moped or motor vehicle which can cause confusion over registration requirements, access to cycling infrastructure and how old you have to be before you can ride one.
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.
It really is a simple e-bike, and while I could go on about the frame (aluminium), and the weight (very light), the experience of using this bike for a few days is more interesting. While it feels like a less high-tech product than others in this list (no gears; a shorter battery life of 30 miles; two modes not three), it basically retails at half the price as those competitors – and I certainly didn't find it to be half as good.
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.
Bicycles featuring pedal power were developed during the subsequent decades of the 19th century, with the most emblematic example being the bicycle we know today as the Penny-Farthing. The bike was named based on the substantial difference in its wheel size resembling the larger and smaller Penny and Farthing coins, respectively. These bicycles were wildly popular among the well heeled upper classes of Europe and America despite their penchant for launching riders head first over the large wheel, not to mention their relative difficulty to mount and dismount.
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All Kalkhoff bikes come with lots of extras: hub or motor powered front and rear lights, bells, fenders, chain guards and racks. Some include a built-in quick-lock or a rack-mounted pump. There are a number of features available for the discerning cyclist, whether it's the Magura hydraulic brakes, the B&M super-bright hub-powered headlight, the top-of-the-line Shimano internal hub or derailleurs or the three-layer powder-coated paint process.
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.
“Yamaha e-Bikes are in shops, and we’re hearing some great feedback from our first retailers and customers, coast-to-coast, from California to Maryland. From casual commuters to series cyclists, more people are seeing the advantages of incorporating an e-Bike into their daily lives. Yamaha has been the global leader in Power Assist Bicycle manufacturing for more than two decades, and it’s exciting to now rollout the first ever Yamaha e-Bikes in the U.S.”
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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...
This is the Freway Buffalo. It’s an ebike. I couldn’t say no to a free ebike to play around on, so we’re gonna have some fun with this thing for sure. It’s not a high end ebike like the Specialized Turbo Levo, but it only costs 1700 bucks whereas the Turbo Levo costs as much as a car. Although it’s marketed as a mountain bike, I’d put it in the commuter category. It’s got a big cushy seat, a really long stem, and those antler things on the handlebars. I’m not obligated to give you guys anything but the truth, so let’s put this thing together and take an objective look at it. First, let’s cruise on over to Freway’s website.
Most consumers want an e-bike that will accommodate its motor without being too cumbersome and will remain stable in spite of its electronic components. Some consumers want only the most basic of e-bike features, including lights, a cargo rack/basket, and a water bottle holder. Others are focused more heavily on safety features, such as brake type. And still others are concerned with convenience and portability.
One of the biggest misconceptions about e-bikes is that you're not actually doing any work when you ride one. Not true. Thanks to that battery-powered motor, E-bikes are heavy! So if you turn the assist mode to low or off, you're still putting in plenty of effort. Many commuters have found that traveling home from work with assist off (when they're not in as big of a rush and don't mind getting sweaty) is a great way to fit exercise into a busy schedule.
Dan has a lifetime of experience with bicycles and is a hands-on expert when it comes to converting bicycle to electric. Dan is the person you will most likely converse with on Live Chat. He can assist with diagnosing any issues and he is more than happy to enlighten those who ask on almost any topic related to electric bikes. Dan has been riding electric bikes almost daily since 2008...
DRIVE MOTOR The EcoBike is powered by an innovative hub-mounted, brushless permanent magnet motor with a triple planetary gear drive system and proprietary heat resistant materials. The propulsion system delivers the highest torque and is the quietest in its class. The drive motor is nominally rated for continuous output at 360 watts (Elegance & Adventure) and 290 watts (Vatavio).
The Gazelle was made for city commutes - the riding position is relaxed yet so upright, you can look around, over car roofs and feel confident even in heavy traffic. The Orange is no fly-weight, though. With its rudimentary suspension fork, Post Moderne suspension seat-post, rack-mounted battery and "built for comfort" wheels, it’s 24.4kg weight (plus battery) excludes it from being regularly carried up-stairs or into flats for commuters who don’t have street-level entry or a bike store.
A 2008 market survey showed that the average distance traveled in the Netherlands by commuters on a standard bicycle is 6.3 kilometres (3.9 mi) while with an e-bike this distance increases to 9.8 kilometres (6.1 mi). This survey also showed that e-bike ownership is particularly popular among people aged 65 and over, but limited among commuters. The e-bike is used in particular for recreational bicycle trips, shopping and errands.
Forward-thinking parents are giving up thier SUVs and opting for electric cargo bikes for getting the family around. Cargo bikes are seeing a resurgence in popularity with the rise of electric conversion systems that convert these awesome people movers into family toting electric vehicles. One year ago the Wall Street Journal ran a full page article in their weekend edition entitled The New Station Wagon. Since then the trend for...
The Benno e-Joy promises to be as fun to play with as it is to look at. Benno says it took inspiration from the timeless style of vintage Italian scooters and classic German cars. Add in the functionality of front and rear cargo racks and the 250w pedal-assist motor and you have a beautiful bike that's ready for anything. Cruise into town for groceries, wander comfortably along a gravel path on 2.35-inch balloon tires, or add the child seat attachment and take your kid along for the ride, and beach-goers will appreciate the surfboard rack. Whatever your cycling pleasure pursuit may be, the e-Joy can be your ticket to fun.