All Cannondale E-bikes have one thing in common — pure, visceral cycling performance. Our goal is to create bikes that are so rider-focused, so seamlessly integrated and so much damn fun to ride, that you forget you've got power assist, forget you're on an electric bike, forget everything except how good it feels to be on that bike, in that moment. If that sounds like your cup of tea, power up. Let's Ride.
Specialized has e-bikes figured out. Its e-bikes are better looking and better sorted than almost anything else. This Turbo Levo has a clean interface: just a mode switch and a few LEDs for status. To dig deeper, you use Specialized’s Misson Control app, which lets the user customize the motor’s tune, and has a clever Smart Control mode. This mode lets the rider set and time or distance, and the amount of reserve they want to be left over. The app then automatically adjusts the motor’s output to meet those settings, reducing battery anxiety. The custom motor is extremely smooth and quiet, with awesome torque. We found the highest mode too powerful for finesse riding, but great for flying up smooth climbs and cutting time off transfers. The e-bike tuned RockShox fork is somewhat harsh, but the rest of the parts are excellent and suit the bike’s capabilities—something we can’t say that about every e-bike.
Rambo and Felt offer bikes with electric assist motors. The lithium ion batteries give you speeds of up to 20 mph and will travel 19 miles between charges on motor use alone. You can use the motor as a pedal assist if you like, which will give you even more distance on a battery. Sweating up a steep hill? Just switch on the motor for some assistance. There is some question about using the electric power on properties where no motorized vehicles are allowed, but a representative from Rambo told me the bike has been okayed by several state wildlife agencies.
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, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. But, generally, all four make good options. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).