For the past few months, I’ve been preparing for a trip through Scotland and England. If you’ve read any of my other lifestyle posts, then you know that I think the absolute best way to explore an area is by bicycle. So, when I was planning my trip, of course I decided to do an electric bike tour. I’ll be doing a John O’ Groats to Land’s End ride, approximately 900 miles. Let’s talk about the best electric bikes for bike touring.
In full-electric mode, the Pedego City Commuter Classic Electric Bike is capable of moving at up to 20 mph for anywhere from 15 to 30 miles. There are two further options: power-assisted pedaling or fully "unplugged” riding. Renowned Shimano gears are easy to select. Seldom do we come across a product so universally praised by owners. It's not cheap, but comments like "Everything I hoped for!" and "Outstanding!" tell us that it's money well spent.
Once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren't pancake flat. They'll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or, I dunno, an inflatable sumo wrestler costume. Whatever you like.
Come for the price, stay for the awesome. The August Live! LS is one of the lower-cost e-bikes you’ll find. What it lacks is gadgets it makes up for in flare and retains just what you need. You won't find a digital display or integrated lights, Instead you get trendy, chopper-style handlebars, a sweet paint job, and a 250 watt motor that is more than capable of tackling steep hills without a second thought. That said, this bike just begs to be ridden on casual cruises down the boardwalk or bike path.
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.
Yes, there are less expensive ebikes on the market but most come with a few serious caveats. The Espin Sport delivers on the full promise of an electric bike, but in a more affordable fashion. This bike isn’t going to tow you around for a 60-mile round-trip endeavor but those seeking their first ebike will get plenty of return on their investment with this model.
IZIP has been manufacturing high-end, affordable electric bikes since 2005. We think the IZIP E3 Dash is the best of the bunch. This class 3 pedelec delivers power as you pedal taking you to speeds of 28 mph. It's fantastic for your commute, especially if you have hills to climb. The mid-mounted motor configuartion maximizes torque to get you up inclines.
In terms of design, the attention to detail is just exquisite. The extra long fenders ensure you’re not going to get wet going through puddles. The cafe lock is hidden well enough to not ruin the look. I do kind of wish that the battery and fork could be that lovely green color, but we can’t have it all folks. For you green haters, it does come in white and black too. There’s also an option for this cute little front carrier if you want to put a bouquet and a baguette in it.
You should also think about how much gear you are going to need to carry. The reason this will affect your decision is because some electric bikes don’t have the capability to mount a front rack while others do. Plan on doing a 3-day trip? You could probably get away with just a rear rack. My advice though would to be to purchase an electric bike with the capability to mount a front rack as well. This way, if you decide to plan a longer trip in the future, you can simply buy a rack and be on your way instead of potentially having to buy a new bike.
The riding position is racy, and we suffered a numb left hand after 45 minutes of riding due to a combination of the Bullhorn bars and the narrow position adopted to cover the ‘sissy’ brakes in traffic (picking a flat bar model would be more practical for city commuting). The biggest drawback to the Soho is that on a single-speed the 15.5mph cut-off (for all e-bike motors in Europe) left us feeling like we’d been "deserted". Over the cut-off speed we found ourselves dragging that heavy back wheel with no alternate gears to reach for.
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 Focus comes with lots of extras: front and rear lights, bell, fenders, chain guard and rack. The Panasonic drive system that powers it is the same unit that was on the Kalkhoff bike that climbed to the top of the Pikes Peak bicycle race, one of only 3 types of bikes to survive this 8000 foot 20-mile climb in 2012. The Panasonic drive system is a well built piece of E-bike engineering which drives the bottom bracket and powers the rear wheel through the same drive chain as the rider. It is only available on OEM bikes which have been-purpose built using it. It stands as one of the most refined mid-drive systems ever built.
The Ancheer Power Plus can be ridden in pedal-assist mode or fully electric. The removable battery can be charged on or off the frame in 4-6 hours and you’ll get up to 31 miles from a single charge (15 miles if you don’t want to pedal). It’s a great bike for short commutes and light off-roading, though if you’re tall, you may find the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit you.
The Cyrusher doesn’t have the reliable Bosch motor that higher-end bikes sport and the Samsung battery is only good for around 500 recharges, which is less than you’d expect for a lithium battery. But with the low price point, there are bound to be some compromises. A great option if you want a decent, all-around model for easy trails or commuting.
Rumour has it, the Gazelle is Europe’s most popular electric bike. We can see why. Right from the off, the bike oozes comfort. Its classic Dutch sit-up-and-beg geometry combined with pedal assist makes it a smooth, comfortable, almost effortless ride. The Bosch mid-mounted motor (in the bottom bracket shell) delivers impressive, even power with four settings selectable via the left-hand handlebar mounted button and displayed on the central Intuvia LCD display.
The entire drive system is neatly incorporated into the bike's design for optimal weight distribution and the ultimate in sexy design, while users control torque and power output, which peaks at a surprisingly punchy 530W, via a cool Mission Control App that can also be programmed to a time or distance parameter to ensure there's enough power to get you home.