As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
There remains an element of myth around them, however. For some, it's cheating; for others, it's like riding a motorbike. Neither is true. Electric bikes offer battery-powered assistance, which means the engine gives you a power boost when you pedal. While this jacks up the price, they're a simple, quick and fun way of commuting, exploring the countryside, or even going off-road.
The Patriot DreamE results from the combination of the popular Day 6 bicycle with the Kinetic8-Fun mid-drive motor kit. The unique Day 6 styling eliminates leaning forward, so you sit perfectly upright. That means there is no more stress on wrists, neck, back, and crotch. It also means a superior breathing position and a better way to enjoy the scenery. The step-through design makes for easy mounts and dismounts, while the low seat allows the rider to reach the ground with both feet for stability and safety.
Using an electric bike for long-distance touring has its pros and cons. The motor will help carry the extra weight of your kit, particularly on the hills, but you have the added hassle of having to charge the battery every night. You’ll want a powerful motor and a good battery, though if you’re fully loaded, don’t expect to achieve the maximum advertised range.
Another reason I chose the Lacuba Evo E8 is because of its overall geometry. First, check out the upright position you’ll be riding in. This positioning is ideal for bike touring because you’ll be traveling long distances. You’ll be much more comfortable in this position than you probably would be hunched over a road or hybrid bike. I also love how the Brose battery integrates completely into the downtube. Not only does this hide the fact that you’re getting a little extra help (if you’re self-conscious about that), but it also leaves you space to mount water bottle cages, a frame pump, or even a frame-mounted bag. These are sometimes crucial items during a bicycle tour, and many electric bikes cannot accommodate these due to the protrusion caused by a battery.
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).