The first regularly produced device resembling the modern bicycle was unveiled in 1818. It was called the Dandy Horse. The two-wheeled ride-on Dandy Horse was the brainchild of German inventor Baron Karl Drais, and it featured a handle bar, a padded seat, and two inline wheels of nearly equal size. What it did not feature were pedals; this was a "running machine," thus its name in German, Laufmachine. The Dandy Horse saw only a flicker of popularity, and was largely an historical footnote within a handful of years, though its design is nearly mimicked in the child's balance bike of today.
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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some states have enacted specific legislation to state where electric bikes can and can’t be ridden, in other states outdated laws mean they’re regulated as a moped or motor vehicle which can cause confusion over registration requirements, access to cycling infrastructure and how old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.
In a friction drive motor, a small, solid wheel rotates against the side of the tire in order to drive it. The first motorcycles used the same concept, with a motor mounted above the front wheel. The problem is that the drive rubs at the side of the tire. It's inefficient, and it quickly wears the sidewall away. Tires need to be replaced every couple hundred miles. For this reason, you'll seldom see electric bikes with this type of drive anymore.
Twice the speed - with half the effort, Optibike has the power. On a test ride in Boulder Colorado, a fit road cyclist was able to climb the notorious Old Stage Road at 10 MPH sitting down with an easy spin on the Optibike. On his ultra light road bike, he had to stand and grind all the way to go 5 mph!!! Twice the speed - half the effort, Optibike has the power.
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.

    Electric bikes and E-bike kits (bikes with electric conversion kits) are part of a wide range of Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) that provide convenient local transportation. Generally designed for one person and small cargo capacity, electric bike range, speed, and cost are moderate. For most of us, the majority of our trips are less than 20 miles - within the range of most e-bikes considering the latest advances in affordable lithium batteries. Clean, quiet, and efficient LEVs offer the advantages of an extra car without the burdens.


Thanks to clever engineering, the Electric Brompton folds up identically to the non-powered variety. It is heavier than a standard Brompton of course, but quite light by e-bike standards. It has small , suitcase-style additional wheels that come into play once folded up, and the way the weight is balanced means it is quite straightforward to trundle along in that state.  
BattleBots legend Christian Carlberg and his company C2 Robotics are using Electric Bike Technologies direct drive hub motors to power 'OverDrive', their latest BattleBot on ABC!   Team C2 Robotics is set to battle again tonight at 9pm EST on ABC! For the past two decades Christian Carlberg and the C2 Robotics Team have been making remote control mobile platforms for commercial, military and the entertainment industries. With the advance of brushless...
All three road bikes receive their power from Yamaha’s PWSeries SE motor that comes with four levels of support: ECO+, ECO, STANDARD, and HIGH. The mid-drive motor supplies a maximum of 70 Nm (52 ft-lbs) of torque and cadence support up to 110 rpm. The motors are designed to provide assistance up to 20 mph (32 km/h). Any faster, and it’s all you providing the power.
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.
The eZeeBike has been a successful and sought-after line of e-bikes in Europe that are now available in the United States. Range of 30 miles and top assisted speed of 20 mph is possible with the three standard (non-folding) models. With well-crafted aluminum alloy frames and lithium batteries, these bikes are lighter than other electric bikes. Equipped with 250- and 350-watt silent (gearless) hub motors, eZee bikes come with many accessories as standard equipment. Different models may include: fenders, front shocks, suspension seat tube, Velo cycle computer , integrated front and rear lights, rear luggage rack with spring-loaded bar and integrated bungy chords, chain guard, and foldability.
Added help on the hills: An extra boost on the hills or when cycling into a headwind is probably the first thing most people think about when they’re considering an electric bike. If you live in a valley where the only way out is up, then having a bit of motor assistance may mean the difference between a happy cycling experience and not cycling at all.
To help the rider find the perfect fit, the stem is adjustable. The bike also boasts dynamo powered lights alongside hydraulic disc brakes. The bike will suit riders from 4 ft 10 to 6 ft 5, and also integrates with a child seat. The total weight is 21.8kg, making it admittedly a fairly hefty folder – but that’s fairly uniform across electric versions.
EcoBike offers three e-bike models. The Vatavio fold-and-carry electric bike (pictured above) is innovative and well constructed. The Elegance (pictured below) is a classic design with step-through frame, offering an easy, comfortable ride. The AdventureÂ’s revolutionary frame design allows for true versatility, going from the pavement to mountain trails with ease.
On the road, it takes only a few turns of the pedals to activate the Vado’s motor and get it up to speed. In Turbo mode — the bike’s highest level of pedal-assist — the Vado reaches speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, after which the electric drive system automatically shuts off to conserve power (and abide by local law). A built-in LED readout on the handlebars allows riders to monitor battery life, check current speed, and track calories burned while also being able to glance at distance traveled. The Turbo Vado Mission Control app (iOS/Android) also connects to the bike via Bluetooth and allows riders to further tune their ride and adjust the bike’s settings.

Introducing the future of performance and comfort, the Kinekt BodyFloat seatpost. The innovation isolation system, designed here in Washington, greatly enhances the endurance and enjoyment of riding a bike. Engineered to be infinitely tunable to fit your personal riding style and weight, Seattle Electric Bike is proud to offer this breakthrough seatpost for all your biking adventures.


For those looking to hit the trails instead of the pavement, Yamaha has you covered with their new YDX-TORC electric-assist bicycle, which is powered by a souped-up version of their mid drive known as the Yamaha PW-X center drive motor system, which the company claims offers the extra power needed for more adventure and exploration on the trails, including a fifth power assist setting. As a more powerful e-bike, the YDX-TORC also demands a higher price of $3,499.
Even though it’s a hefty amount of money to fork over upfront, LaLonde says you’ll likely save money in the long run. If you use public transportation, do the math to see how much you could save over time. If you choose an e-bike over a car, you’re foregoing auto maintenance, gas, insurance, parking fees, and potential tickets, LaLonde adds. “So while there’s sticker shock for a first-time bike buyer, it can still be cost-effective.”
Information about the company’s two co-founders is scant. Storm Sondors has left virtually no trail behind him on the Internet, save for a seldom-used YouTube account. Jon Hopp is a film editor working for a Los Angeles marketing firm. His Facebook account displays photos of two fat-tire bikes virtually identical to the Storm eBike, sporting logos from different manufacturers.

In 2012, two e-bike advocates completed the first 4,000-mile (6,400 km) transcontinental e-bike tour from New York to San Francisco to advocate for e-bikes in major cities across the U.S.[81] Pedego Electric Bikes is the best selling brand in the U.S. Many e-bikes in the United States are standard bicycles converted using a kit. In general, the kits include the motor (the majority of which are hub motors built into the front or rear wheel), a speed controller, throttle (usually twist-grip or thumb throttle), necessary wiring and connectors, and a battery. Several U.S. companies offer conversion kits which also offer advanced lithium battery packs. Major manufacturers also offer complete e-bikes. Trek offers a line of e-bikes using the Bionx system in which the rider programs the controller to determine how much effort the motor will give in response to rider effort, from 25% up to 200% of the rider's power. This system ensures a minimum level of rider participation and is also used to comply with many European laws mandating partial human effort before the motor engages.
Designed for riding around town, this pedal-assist bike has four levels of electric assistance – Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo – and a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. This is a well designed and engineered bike, with Shimano Nexus components and a Bosch Performance electric-assist mid-drive system. Front and rear lights are included, and you can even use the battery to charge your smartphone. The integrated ring-lock will help deter would-be thieves, but it’s always best to back this up with a dedicated bike lock.
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.
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.
What a treat to do business with the folks at Hill Topper. I now have two commuter units one in Idaho and one in Denver my average ride is 25 to 35 miles. I have been riding for about 15 years but being the age of 80 I needed a little help the past few years. I researched electric bikes a few years ago even rode a couple here in Denver but I wanted my own personal look and feel. So about five years ago I found Hill Toppers. What a treat first the units are the best but that is part of the good part the people at Hill Toppers are the very best to work with and enjoy. I had to have a knee replacement last July well thank god for my bike it was the best therapy I could ask for. When in Idaho I get to ride along the Snake river what a treat knowing that I have this unit to help if the wind or rain shows up. When in Denver I cover a lot of area as they have wonderful bike trails all over the area. I ride all of the downtown area and the Cherry Creek dam up and over it takes some effort to get that done but with the help of Hill topper it is a beautiful ride up and overlooking the whole of Colorado. Thank you Andrew,Charles,Sam,Mark.

It really is a simple e-bike, and while I could go on about the frame (aluminium), and the weight (very light), the experience of using this bike for a few days is more interesting. While it feels like a less high-tech product than others in this list (no gears; a shorter battery life of 30 miles; two modes not three), it basically retails at half the price as those competitors – and I certainly didn't find it to be half as good.


And then add in all of the other e-bike parts including motors, batteries, throttles, speed controllers, etc. All of these parts are mass-produced in China. They simply aren’t available in the US and no one is designing them or manufacturing them. The US would likely have to start by reverse engineering the Chinese products and learning how they produce them. How’s that for irony?
As with all these bikes, the assisted speed is capped at 15mph, but unlike some of them, the Gtech eBike City or its identical (spec-wise) sibling the eBike Sport (this just has a standard frame rather than a step-through one) is light and agile enough for you to be able pedal harder without feeling like the weight is fighting you back down to 15mph. You can even, at a push, use it without the motor on flatter roads.
The downside to this mountain-bike build and specification is obviously the weight, at 24.5kg the Trekking feels heavier than the other bikes on test, and rightly bills itself as suitable for heavier riders, too. As with the other bikes here, this is only really a problem for smaller riders, or riders needing to take the bike up or down steps regularly. With its bomb-proof build, full guards and heavy-duty rack, the Haibike is the perfect choice for a burly rider or for doomsday preppers, ready to out ride the apocalypse.
Fat E-Trike from Sun and E-BikeKit™ at Interbike 2014 Fat bikes and electric bikes were all the rage this year at interbike in Las Vegas. It seemed almost every bike vendor at the show has at least one fat bike model in their booth this year. On top of the fats were the electric bikes. And I think it goes without saying that nobody wants to actually pedal a fat...
Have to give a shout out to a Bulls Brose option. They were the first manufacturers I saw integrate the battery into the frame really well, and they’ve continued to improve upon that design. As I mentioned above, I love the wave frame. Super easy to get on and off and it’s got a cool look as well. If you’re not a fan, this bike does come in both a Diamond and step-thru frame.
The Brose motor is definitely the most quiet ebike motor that I’ve used. The 28mph model is no different. I also find it to be pretty solid in terms of power. Generally speaking, Bosch motors are considered the most powerful, but with the Brose I actually think you get a lot of power with a more “real” feeling cycling experience. They also give you a 675 watt hour battery pack, which is still unrivaled in terms of a single battery system.

The Brose motor is definitely the most quiet ebike motor that I’ve used. The 28mph model is no different. I also find it to be pretty solid in terms of power. Generally speaking, Bosch motors are considered the most powerful, but with the Brose I actually think you get a lot of power with a more “real” feeling cycling experience. They also give you a 675 watt hour battery pack, which is still unrivaled in terms of a single battery system.
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.
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