Gearing: none (many hub motors, one motor revolution = one wheel revolution), fixed gear reduction for more torque, varies when geared motor drives the chain through the bicycle gears which increases torque about 50% (in low gear) for better hill-climbing and offers better top-end speed (in high gear) than direct drive systems using motors of similar wattage.
James LaLonde, senior brand manager for Cannondale, agrees. He says their entry-level (read: good for beginners and more affordable) e-bike—the Quick Neo—has a battery life that lasts up to 70 miles. “If you ride for a full day, you may want to recharge it before you go to bed. But if you’re just commuting [a few miles], you could use it for a full week before you need to plug in. Then it’s a four-hour recharge when it’s completely dead.” (Of course, you don’t have to wait for it to get to zero if you want a shorter charge time.)
Probably the most important thing to consider when researching the best electric touring bike for you is how far you need your bike to take you every day. Be realistic about this. If you purchase a lower end electric bike, don’t be surprised when it only takes you half as far as you want to go. Think about whether or not there are going to be opportunities to charge your battery in the middle of your daily riding. If not, it might be a good idea to buy an extra 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).