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some states have enacted specific legislation to state where electric bikes can and can’t be ridden, in other states outdated laws mean they’re regulated as a moped or motor vehicle which can cause confusion over registration requirements, access to cycling infrastructure and how old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.
There are two basic categories of electric bike, and their uses don't offer equal crossover value. The first category is essentially a normal bicycle that has been outfitted with an electric motor. These bikes are the same size as a standard bicycle, and handle almost identically, save for the obvious benefit of added motive power thanks to a motor and battery.
Known for not only their powerful line of mountain bikes and specialty bikes—cruisers to fat—Bulls also has a versatile line of urban models. The Cross E Wave comes as one of their more affordable options at roughly $2,800, but at 20 mph can still range for up to 134 in optimal conditions with everything you’d expect (fenders, lock, lights and adjustability). The entire family of Bulls e-bikes has specifications built for any scenario.
Featuring a Bosch Performance CX motor, a Suntour Aion air suspension fork, X-Fusion O2 air-sprung element rear shock, and 27.5-inch Schwalbe Almotion tires, the Delite nuvinci is the perfect commuter slash “town and country” ebike. But at more than $6,000, the price is sure to stop people in their tracks. However, Riese and Muller make every one of those dollars count as it’s included a slew of accessories which make the bike that much more appealing. From an included Abus bike lock and integrated lighting to water bottles (and holders) and built-in luggage rack, little to no after-market additions are necessary.
Riding position: You also may wish to check out an e-bike’s riding position before investing in it. For short trips, the riding position might not make much difference, but for long journeys, the upright "Dutch" style with pulled-back handlebars is very comfortable – particularly for tall riders. The same goes for mountain bike styles, though these bikes are not often designed to actually go off-road.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.