On a trip to Palo Alto last year, we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. Utilizing a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
There are loads of incredible options in 2018. These are the ten I truly believe that riders will enjoy the most for years to come. Keep in mind that electric bikes are the only bike market that is still growing! There is going to be more and more interest in these in the coming years which is going to drive up the value of your bike if you invest early.
Best Buys are selected in the table below because they work well, come from solid companies and get high marks from users. Generally, buyers can opt to assemble the bike themselves, or pay an assembly fee to their local dealer or bike shop. (Assembly usually includes installing handlebar, pedals, seat and front wheel along with tuning and adjusting.)
The Panasonic Akku cells used in this pack are among the best lithium polymer cells Panasonic makes, which is one of the finest names in the industry for lithium battery technology. This means the pack will give you years of long life without worries about a battery fire or breaking down. The battery, along with the rest of the components of this electric bike, come with a 2-year warranty. The bike comes with a relatively fast 200-watt charger that will refill this pack in only 2.5 hours. And the battery locks into the bike with a key lock, good for preventing theft. The battery pack includes a built in battery meter that shows battery level whether itâ€™s on or off the bike.
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.
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.
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.
The Liv Amiti-E+2 is a low-priced but highly versatile e-bike. It’s just as much at home on the pavement as it is on bike paths and rail trails. But don't feel constrained to groomed paths. Front suspension and 42mm-wide tires mean you can take on off-road detour on your way home from work. Speaking of work, this e-bike makes a great commuter thanks to rack and fender mounts and integrated lights for riding after dark. Internal cable routing and a nicely integrated battery make for clean lines and 9-speed shifters give you plenty of gearing options for whichever type of terrain you decide to tackle. This do-everything bike is great option if you’re riding includes a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).