As recently as a few years ago, seeing an electric commuter bike was a rare occurrence, but these days there are plenty of great options out there if you’re hoping to decrease your carbon footprint while whizzing around your city or neighborhood. Plus, if, an e-bike is perfect for getting around campus without breaking a sweat.
The market for electric rideables is straight-up booming and, as a result, we’ve had to divide our recommendations into two different categories: the best electric bikes, which you’ll find below, and the around Central Park or on the West Side Highway bike path. Note, these all fall into the category of “commuter bike,” and we don’t recommend trying to traverse rough terrain on one of these babies.. Most of the rideables were tested on a commute through sections of midtown Manhattan, bike paths
If you do get into rideables and electric commuter bikes, be sure to be safe by keeping several guidelines in mind. Keep your battery charged and make it a habit to check your tires often. Leave enough space between yourself and both cars and riders on plain old human-powered bikes and scooters. Ride and pass with caution, because an electric bicycle will go faster than a traditional bike or scooter. Most importantly,every time you ride.
The TurboAnt Thunder T1 is a fat-tire electric bike with impressive performance for its reasonable $1,699 price, especially with the recent price increases on electric scooters and bicycles.
The T1 is a class 3 electric bike, and ships with all the tools necessary for assembly secured in cardboard and foam packaging. Building it was pretty straightforward and took about 25 minutes.
A 750-watt Bafang hub motor powers the Thunder T1 and can assist in speeds up to 28 mph. In addition to five levels of pedal-assistance, the Thunder T1 is equipped with a twist throttle. A bonus feature I’ve seldom seen on e-bikes is the ability to toggle the throttle off with a button push. This is great for mounting and dismounting the bike and trail riding down steep slopes. For those who may want to get a workout, the T1 has a Shimano seven-speed derailleur. As with most hub motors, expect some motor drag with assist off. The powerful motor flattened out many steep inclines and, with the addition of the throttle, even starting midslope was painless.
The bike, with its removable 48-volt, 14Ah battery, weighs in at just under 73 pounds (33 kilograms) and can support a rider up to 264 pounds. Rolling on 26-by-4-inch Kenda fat tires and an RST adjustable alloy front fork, you feel like you can roll over anything: snow, gravel or even bumpy New York streets. TurboAnt claims you can get up to 60 miles on a full charge, depending on how the bike is used, the terrain and rider size.
The removable battery can be charged on or off the bike and takes roughly seven hours to fully charge. In addition, there’s a USB-A port on the battery that can be used to charge portable devices such as a phone or GoPro camera.
The T1 handles nicely and has a sleek look to it. The bike has both front and rear fenders to keep whatever is on the ground off of the rider and bright rear and front LED lights. Also, while I prefer hydraulic brakes for their reliability and less maintenance, the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors worked fine.
The seat is comfortable, as are the handgrips, and the Promax MA-593S stem can be adjusted to find the perfect spot. The LCD on the handlebars is easy to read in direct sunlight and provides current speed, battery level, distance traveled and assistance level.
The TurboAnt Thunder T1 works as a daily commuter or for those weekends off-road and even if you run into a little bad weather, it’s no problem. Well-constructed and fairly priced for what you’re getting, I’d recommend it for those on a budget.
In June, Woom launched its first e-bike for kids/teens in the US. The Woom Up e-bike has a unique design meant only for children and is powered by a 250-watt Fazua drive system combined with an SRAM NX 11-gear drivetrain, adjustable air suspension fork and hydraulic disc brakes. Some hills or distances can be intimidating at times and having that electric boost when needed makes getting out and about stress-free. The Woom Up has three levels of pedal-assist up to 12 mph, to make those long rides with our kids painless and with fewer complaints. There is even a non-assist mode for times they want to do it on their own.
Woom currently offers two models: The Up 5 is $3,599 (£2,645, AU$4,790) with 24-inch wheels designed for 7 to 11-year-olds who are 50-57-inches tall, and the Woom Up 6 at $3,749 ( £3,665, AU$4,985) equipped with 26-inch wheels built for kids 10 to 14 years old who are 55-65-inches tall. The Up 5 weighs just under 36 pounds while the Up 6 is 37 pounds.
For those not familiar with the Fazua system, it’s a lightweight and compact battery-and-motor combo that can be easily removed, shaving off 7.3 pounds and leaving you with a high-end traditional bicycle. The battery can be charged on or off the bicycle. The Fazua Rider app lets you view bike data such as speed, mileage, battery charge, navigation, motor power and more. Riders can adjust bicycle assistance levels on the fly by using the touch sensor toward the front of the frame, with each level of assistance indicated by illuminating in different colors.
The frame is made from lightweight, high-quality 6061 T6 aluminum with butted and hydroformed tubes. The fork has a hydraulic air suspension, adjustable compression and rebound damping, plus lock-out. The brakes are Promax hydraulic disc brakes and children’s hand-sized ergonomic brake levers.
I tested, or should I say my daughter tested the Up 5 and it was a simple and quick assembly process with some minor adjusting for my daughter’s comfort, and the tools were included. Instructions for assembly along with instructions for use are included and are also available on the company’s website.
My daughter really enjoyed the ride, and there was little motor resistance that you might find on some other e-bikes. The tires were great for going on- and off-road along with the front suspension. Both bikes support up to 160 pounds, but I took the Up 5 for a quick spin to confirm her feedback. The bike handled great and didn’t make any creaking noises when I hopped on and off. The seat was comfortable even for my larger frame, but again it’s ergonomically designed to fit children.
The battery performance will vary depending on the rider’s size, terrain and assistance level, but I only had to charge it once after she used it on and off for a week. The price tag might be intimidating given how fast kids grow. But the resale value is good, along with the quality of the product.
There’s always been a divide between e-bike riders and hard-core cyclists because the latter think the former are cheating. I use e-bikes and scooters to run errands and commute to and from work. It’s not about exercise as much as it is trying to get from one point to another in a timely fashion and not show up all sweaty. However, if you’re somewhere in between and don’t have space for multiple bikes, the Niner RLT e9 RD0 is the only bike you’ll need.
Of those I’ve tested, the Niner is the easiest to ride like a traditional bicycle. It’s relatively light for an e-bike at only 40 pounds with its battery and 34 pounds without. It’s powered by a Bosch Line CX Gen 4 motor that can assist you in pedaling up to 28 mph. The battery, which is nicely hidden in the frame but still removable, takes approximately 6 hours to fully charge and will last you about 75 miles depending on your riding style.
The frame is composed of Niner’s highest-quality Race Day Optimized carbon fiber. The model I received shipped with 700c wheels, but the e9 can also support 650b wheels. The bike is complemented with an assortment of high-end parts, a gorgeous finish that lives up to its name — electric moss green — and a credo on the top of the frame that says “Pedal Dammit.” The bike handles like a dream and is effortless to ride with or without assistance due to the Bosch motor’s lag-free resistance.
The Shimano SLX M7000 11-42T cassette provides 11 speeds while the Bosch mid-drive motor gets you four levels of assistance — Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo — which allowed me to easily reach speeds of up to 35 mph. It ships with Schwalbe G-One Speed Performance 700X50C tires and some beautifully designed Shimano RT-EM810 180MM Centerlock hydraulic disc brakes. The custom Niner seat is fairly comfortable, but it ships without pedals. Lastly, it has a display that’s easy to see in direct sunlight and shows the assist mode along with traveling speed, battery level and other info.
I’ve covered micromobility products at all prices and I can assure you that the $5,995 is worth it. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed riding this bike. Considering how light the bike is, you may only use the pedal assistance on hills, which is what I mostly did. And the fact that at first glance you can barely tell it’s an e-bike is a testament to how well it’s designed.
The $3,299 Priority Current is a great e-bike that performs like and resembles a normal bike. It can be used with its 500-watt mid-drive torque-sensing motor on or completely turned off. There are a lot of e-bikes out there that are pretty much useless or unbearable to ride if not providing some level of assistance. That is not the case with the Current: You don’t experience dead weight or motor resistance — a common issue with a lot of other hub-motor e-bikes.
The Current uses a proprietary mid-drive motor that allows riders to take full advantage of the Envolio NuVinci gearing system and the Gates Carbon Drive CDX to make for a smooth ride, and requires minimum upkeep. With a mid-drive motor and rear gearing, both the rider and the bike’s motor need to do less work when shifting, and changing gears even on an incline is effortless and silent. If you’ve never tried an Envolio system I strongly recommend hitting up a local bike shop and seeing if it has any Envolio-equpped bikes for a test ride.
When it comes time to stop, the Current has Tektro dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes. The cables are run internally through the frame for a clean look and where the cables exit the frame there’s a protective wrap around them to prevent any damage to the housing.
The 500wh 48v battery is integrated into the frame and can be charged on or off the bike within 5 or 6 hours. The Current ships as a Class 1 e-bike, which means you get motorized pedal assist up to 20 mph. It can easily be changed to a Class 3 (28-mph pedal assistance) from the bicycle’s console, however. Depending on the pedal assist mode you use, it can travel about 30 to 60 miles on a full charge. The 4-inch display console is a nice size that can be seen in direct sunlight as well as at night. The display shows battery level and current speed along with assist level, and this pedal assist bike also has a USB port to charge mobile devices.
The 6061 aluminum step-through frame design is ideal regardless of gender, so getting on and off the bike is a hassle-free experience. Its handlebars are wide with ergonomic grips and a height-adjustable stem to get that perfect comfort level. The overall bike weight is approximately 45 pounds.
Front and rear fenders keep the dirt on the street and off your clothes, and automatic head and taillights are standard to brighten your darkest days. The bike even has a gel-filled seat for added comfort. Priority really thought of everything.
The Riese & Müller Load 60 Touring HS is a premium ride with premium features and a premium price: $8,669. I made a special trip to e-bike shop Propel in Brooklyn to test this bike, which is an excellent option for living in the city without a car.
One of the first things I noticed when standing over the bike was how long the front cargo area is. Amazingly though, once I started moving, it handled so smoothly it was like riding a normal bike, even on some of the bumpiest side streets of Brooklyn. The Load 60 comes equipped with both front and rear suspension as well as a comfortable gel seat.
A small but welcome feature is its rear-slanting seat tube. As you raise it for taller riders, the farther back it goes, providing better leg extension. It has a quick-release adjustable stem tube that can be moved backward, forward, up and down, making it easier to find a handlebar sweet spot if you need to share it with family and friends. It’ll accommodate rider heights from 5 feet even to 6 feet, 5 inches, and its low-profile frame makes maneuvering sharp and responsive.
The front cargo area can seat two small kids or one larger child and they can be secured in place with its five-point belts over a soft cushion seat. There is also a small storage space underneath the seat. For those not looking to transport kids, there is also a lockbox option great for messengering, carrying tools, groceries — you name it. The cargo area can support up to 200 pounds, and the bike itself can support a total weight of 551 pounds; it weighs approximately 80.7 pounds on its own.
The model I tested had two Bosch PowerPack 500 Performance batteries, but the bike can run on a single battery. The batteries powered the bike’s 250-watt motor to a top pedal-assisted speed of 28 mph. There’s a Shimano SLX 11-speed, 11-46 cassette to help keep you moving, too. Travel distance is all going to depend on the level of assistance you use, along with the terrain and bike load. Charge time is about six to seven hours depending on battery level. I never totally deplete any micromobility battery because it’s not healthy and usually the product’s performance drops.
There’s a built-in display to show your current assist mode, battery level, speed and other info. There’s also a mobile phone application that can provide you with this information along with some other features.
The model I tested had a rear rack that can also be used for additional storage. I can not emphasize enough how smooth and comfortable the Load 60 rides. For a full list of specifications and customizations, check out Riese & Müller. If you’re in the New York City area, you can check it out at Propel in Brooklyn.
Biktrix, a Canada-based e-bike manufacturer that’s been around since 2014, launched its latest bike, the Juggernaut HD Duo, on Indiegogo and absolutely crushed its $30,000 goal. The bike just recently started shipping to backers, but I got a chance to test out an early sample of the $3,399 Juggernaut HD Duo and it’s definitely a fun ride.
The model I tested came with two 52-volt, 17.5-Ah batteries that add 20 pounds to the already heavy 83-pound bike, bringing its total weight to 103 pounds — not great if you live in a walk-up. You can also get it with two 39-Ah batteries for greater travel distances between charges.
The two batteries are removable, with one integrated into the frame and the other resting on top of the downtube. Chargers are included for both and can be fully charged in about 6 to 8 hours with the batteries on or off the bike. The bike can draw power from both batteries or just the integrated one. The bike wires are neatly channeled through the frame with some padded wraps to protect the frame where they exit.
The bike rides like a monster truck on its 26-inch wheels and I found its front suspension smoothed out the bumpy New York City streets. Front and rear fenders come standard and I can’t wait for snow so I can test it out. For anyone near a beach, it can also run on sand. The off-road model I tested was uncapped, letting it reach up to 35 mph (56 kph); the street version would adhere to local regulations.
I got the bike up to 32 mph — not bad considering my size and lack of aerodynamics. My mood would determine the total distance I could travel. It’s not a bicycle that needs charging every day but I happen to have a bit of a speed bug in me and that would cut the expected travel distance by 30% to 40%. The estimated travel distance is over 100 miles and that is possible, depending on the rider’s weight, terrain and use of assistance and throttle. I personally like to pedal but love dialing up that assistance, especially since I ride with cars more than in the bike lane, especially when going fast. Most of the time I ride with the pedal assistance set at 2 or 3 and kick it up to 5 when cars start getting too close.
The Juggernaut HD Duo can support a max load of 380 pounds with a rear rack that can support 50 pounds. Sitting on it I felt powerful, from its sheer size and power and the sound the off-road tires made on the concrete. It’s a mid-drive e-bike powered by a 1,000-watt BBSHD Bafang motor with a 10-speed Shimano cassette.
The bike can be pedaled with or without assistance or powered solely with its motor using the thumb throttle. You get a choice of Eco or Sport modes and five levels of assistance. Shifting is definitely something the rider has to do on the Duo and it’s almost like driving a stick shift minus the clutch. The Juggernaut is equipped with dual 180mm disc hydraulic brakes to slow you down fast, with a rear brake light that illuminates when braking whether the headlights are on or not.
The DPC-18 full-color display for the bike is approximately 4 inches and visible at any time of day. The display shows current speed, battery level, mode (Eco or Sport), assist level, time, trip odometer and total miles traveled. In addition, there’s a USB-A port for charging mobile devices.
Lastly, the Juggernaut HD Duo is available to order in four colors: blue, black, camo and reptilian.
One of the most appealing aspects of the $2,298 VanMoof S3 is it doesn’t look like a traditional e-bike. The wires and battery are housed inside the frame with integrated lights to give it a sleek, immaculate look. Even the shipping package is an experience, with a pull-tab to open the box and the tools necessary to put it together. The overall experience gave me the same feeling as opening an Apple product.
But the appeal doesn’t stop at the packaging nor how it looks. The VanMoof continues its premium experience with a slew of features, starting with its antitheft capabilities. A button located on the frame by the back wheel locks it to prevent it from being rolled away. If the bike is lifted, it triggers an alarm and starts its lights flashing. Should someone still get away with your S3, the bike also has GSM and Bluetooth theft tracking so you can locate it.
At an additional cost, VanMoof also provides a service to locate your bicycle if it does indeed go missing. If you can’t locate it on your own, Vanmoof has a team of bike hunters — again, there’s a small fee at purchase for the service — and if the team is unable to find your bike, VanMoof will replace it with one of equal value.
A subtle matrix display is integrated into the top tube that shows your current speed, whether the bike is locked, the battery level and warning messages. It can be hard to see in direct sunlight, but you can also keep an eye on your battery level via the bike’s mobile app if you plan to travel long distances.
Available for iOS and Android, the app allows you to do everything from locking and unlocking the bike to changing horn sounds and at what speeds the gears change and controlling the lights, as well as tracking your rides. Yes, the S3 is an automatic, switching the gears for you with its fully enclosed drive chain. It can take a while to get used to (it did for me), but a boost button on the right side of the handlebar helped with the adjustment period.
For example, I would be on an incline and pedaling aggressively and then the gear would change. But with the boost — made possible by a 350-watt front-hub motor — the bike quickly gets up to 20 mph (32 kmh), making it easy to get up any hill or pass any obstacle. The S3 is powered by a 504-Wh-capacity integrated LG battery and has hydraulic brakes, and weighs 46 pounds. It can support riders from 5 feet, 8 inches to 6 feet, 9 inches tall and up to 264 pounds. It can travel approximately 60 miles on a full charge, which takes about 4 hours; a 50% charge takes approximately 80 minutes.
Overall, the S3 itself is a smooth and comfortable ride and a great city bike. You won’t have to worry about losing it or people trying to steal parts of it, and the 28-inch wheels come with a proprietary wheel lock. I’m definitely a fan of its single, solid color (black or sky blue) — especially for a city bike where the more low-key you are, the better.
If you’re on the fence, VanMoof has actual retail stores and allows test rides before purchasing.
Rad Power Bikes is a fierce competitor in the e-bike market, offering 10 different models, all competitively priced. One of the first Rad Power Bikes I reviewed was the Rad Runner that was both versatile and inexpensive. It could be customized for cargo or a single small passenger. But what if you had two little ones? That’s where the $1,899 RadWagon 4 comes in: Riders can seat two children on the back with a bench and running board along the bottom for a footrest, or you can add a rear basket for additional carrying capabilities with a second basket on the front for still more capacity. The rear rack in particular is great for runs to Trader Joe’s and Costco. It can easily carry a case of wine, too.
Made from 6061 aluminum, the well-constructed RadWagon 4 has a seven-speed Shimano cassette and a 750-watt hub motor with five levels of cadence assistance to get you up to 20 mph via pedaling or throttle alone. The battery fully charges in 5 to 6 hours and travels anywhere between 25 to 45 miles on a full charge depending on bike load, terrain and pedal assistance. The battery can also be charged on or off the bicycle and is removed using the same key that’s also needed to start the RadWagon 4.
Riders from 5 feet, 1 inch up to 6 feet, 4 inches tall will fit on the bike, and it can support a total weight of 350 pounds. The RadWagon 4 itself weighs 73 pounds and has dual-cable disc brakes that work in all weather conditions. It also has a unique 22-by-3-inch tire that gives riders almost fat-tire stability and a little more height than a 20-inch, improving the overall performance without sizing out smaller riders.
A durable steel center stand keeps the bike upright while you load it up, and it has a mid-step frame to make taking off or getting started with weight on the bike an easier process. Simply straddle the bike and push forward to take off. No need to try and balance and mount a bicycle with young ones or groceries loaded on.
The RadWagon has a smooth ride, and the ability to angle the handlebars to maintain an upright position makes long rides a breeze, even with one hand and a full load. The bicycle is equipped with both front and rear lights that also indicate braking; they can be manually toggled on and off or set to activate automatically. The backlit LCD display provides battery level, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal-assist level and other bits of information. There is also a 5-volt USB port under the display to charge mobile devices.
Great for a commuter with limited storage space. The Swagtron EB5 Pro is a folding pedal-assist bike with an electric motor that also has its own throttle (so you don’t really have to pedal at all). With a full battery, it can travel up to 15 miles at a speed of 15 mph. This folding bike is a single speed, and you can turn all the powered features and pedal-assist mode off and use it like a regular bike. It weighs a solid 37 pounds and the seat supports riders of up to 264 pounds, but when the seat is folded down, this commuter bike is surprisingly small.
If it can be put on a bicycle, Rad Power Bikes probably offers it. With a slew of accessories, you can outfit one of the company’s nine different electric bike models for cargo, kids or just riding through the mud.
We got our hands on the RadRunner 1 electric bike with a rear bench and foot pegs. This particular configuration is great for a parent wanting to get out and run errands with their little ones on board the electric cargo bike. The 48-volt, 14-amp-hour battery powers a 750-watt motor that can pedal-assist or throttle the RadRunner up to 20 mph. With four levels of assistance, riders can increase or decrease it to help conserve battery, if necessary, or make it up steep hills.
The step-through frame makes it easy to mount and dismount, even with a passenger or packages on the rear of the bike. The RadRunner is rated to support up to 300 pounds. I can assure you it does that, as my passengers and I pushed past the weight limit without any problems.
The Charge XC is a clean-looking e-bike that’s made to go anywhere — dirt, gravel or on the road — for $2,499. The XC doesn’t have a throttle, but it does have three levels of assist (eco, normal and high) and I found the 250-watt mid-drive Shimano motor was just enough to tackle any hill. Its front shocks were great for getting around the bumpy New York streets.
The motor was efficient enough with the Shimano E8035 integrated battery that I always had enough juice to get home. The bike has a travel distance of up to 50 miles depending on the assist level you’re using and its charge time is approximately 7 hours. With no throttle and a pedal-assist that gets you up to 20 mph (32 kmh), the Charge XC is a Class 1 e-bicycle. Along with pedal assist, the XC also has eight manual gears and dual 180mm hydraulic brakes that work in any weather and on any slope. And its puncture-resistant Goodyear knobby tires work well on- or off-road.
The frame is made from aluminum, weighs 55 pounds (25 kilograms) and supports riders of up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms). The pedals fold and the handlebars rotate in line with the bike for easy storage. I have to say that was a standout feature for me, living in a typical small Manhattan apartment. This electric road bike currently comes in one color, charcoal, which I personally think is a great color for a city bike. You don’t need a key to use it but it does have one for removing the integrated battery — a welcome feature I’ve seen more and more on e-bikes.
The bike’s comfortable seat made the ride more enjoyable, and it also has front and rear fenders that’ll keep you dry on wet roads, as well as a rainproof battery cover. The XC is equipped with both headlights and taillights along with a rack that can support up to 50 pounds (23 kilograms), making it great for a quick run to the market.
Other nice touches include a display that’s clean, low-key and easy to read with an option of white-on-black or black-on-white characters (the latter was easier to see in sunlight). The tire caps tell you when tire pressure is low so there’s no more guessing, and you get a portable hand pump along with the tools needed to assemble the bike. The box it comes in is cleverly designed to hold the wheel to assist with the installation.
I would recommend the Charge XC for anyone who enjoys riding and doesn’t want too much assistance but wouldn’t mind an extra boost from time to time.
The $1,799 Camp Scrambler from Juiced bikes is as fun as it is unique, and as comfortable as it is fast. The long banana seat is reminiscent of a conventional bike from the ’70s, but with a modern twist. The Camp Scrambler electric bike comes with a 750-watt Bafang rear hub motor and can pedal-assist up to 28 mph and throttle up to 20 mph. It’s powered by a 52-volt battery that lets riders travel up to 50 miles on a single charge. Recharge time is approximately 4 hours. There are seven pedal-assist modes and a Shimano seven-speed freewheel cassette for shifting gears as well.
The long seat is cozy for riders of all sizes, with room for a second rider (my speed-demon daughter loves to ride on the front section of the seat) and the high handlebars are pleasing for long rides. I’ve put more than 500 miles on one and still enjoy riding it every bit as much as I did at the start. The wide Kendra knobby tires make it easy to hop on- and off-road, but for those who strictly ride pavement and want a road bike, there’s the City Scambler, which has a similar look and specifications to a street tire.
The bicycle weighs 71 pounds and can support riders of up to 275 pounds. Lights on the front and rear of the electric bike help for nighttime visibility, and it comes with a bell to let people know you’re coming down the lane. Dual hydraulic brakes bring the Scrambler bike to a stop quickly and safely. The hydraulic disc brake system and the whole package make for a great riding experience.
The $4,999 Bunch Bike Original 2020 Edition can definitely replace a car, especially here in New York City. You’ll just need an adequate parking space if you don’t have a garage. The bike design reminds me of an old ice cream vendor’s tricycle from back in the day, with a cooler at the front of the bike.
The Bunch Bike, while not huge, will require some storage space. Its size, or at least its storage capacity, is its advantage, though, and was immediately put to use by my entire family. This cargo bike can seat up to four children and has seat belts to keep them safe and secure. Under the benches, there is additional storage space that can be locked. The bicycle has a rear-wheel key lock that prevents anyone from rolling the bike away while you’re running errands.
We used the bike for Costco runs, trips to our storage locker and to take George, our cat, to the vet in his carrier. For these types of trips with other cargo bikes, we also had to use our backpacks, but not with the Bunch bike; everything fit in the cargo box easily, and it was a cinch riding back and forth.
The bike is powered by a 500-watt brushless hub motor paired with an eight-speed Shimano cassette. Its battery can be charged on or off the frame and takes about six to seven hours to top off. The bike is easy to ride even with assistance off and doesn’t have the motor drag I’ve experienced with some e-bikes with hub motors. Also, the beauty of three wheels is the ability to have three hydraulic disc brakes that stop the bike on a dime.
There are five levels of pedal assistance and a thumb throttle that I mostly used for take-offs on inclines. The assistance goes up to 20 mph, which is more than fast enough. Since the bicycle has three wheels, it does require some getting used to, especially when turning. There was also some flexing in the frame while riding that the company says is the company’s anti-tip technology. An outer frame protects the cargo bay along with the wheels. It also has some nicely placed square foot plates used to step in and out of the cargo space. There’s even a rain cover that can be purchased to keep the cargo area dry or block the wind on a chilly day.
The overall ride of the bike is better when there are passengers in the cargo area or there’s something heavy there to provide some ballast. Surprisingly, the bike itself is lighter than it looks (though it’s still 152 pounds), and it helps to have whatever you’re carting closer to the driver to prevent any possible tipping when dismounting.
The bike has front and rear lights along with reflectors on the front of the cargo bay. A large display gives you at-a-glance access to important stats but the placement of the pedal-assist controls could be better; I would sometimes accidentally hit both the increase and decrease buttons with my thumb. Other than that, the layout is really nice, and overall it is a bunch of fun to ride.
The $6,300 Trek Allant Plus 9.9S hits a lot of premium notes. The design is sleek, with a Removable Integrated Battery or RIB, as Trek calls it, built right into the frame. There’s also an optional secondary 500-watt-hour battery that mounts just above the integrated one for extra range.
The built-in display shows riding mode, speed and other info, while the Bosch app for iOS and Android keeps track of where you’ve gone and how long it took to get there. The frame is made from lightweight carbon fiber, but still hits 51 pounds.
In my hands-on testing, the Allant handled as if it were gliding over the pavement, and having the option to use the 75 Newton-meters of torque from the Bosch motor with pedal assist — taking you up to 28 mph — adds to the experience.
The $2,899 Juiced Bikes HyperScorpion Express is a modern e-bike that pays homage to mopeds of the past. It has that classic moped look and feel: From its frame design to comfortably high handlebars, rearview mirrors and a 2,000-lumen headlight (my favorite addition). The bright yellow Express is essentially the company’s HyperScorpion e-bike but with a cargo basket that’s currently not sold separately, front and rear signal lights and rear brake lights. It also has adjustable front and rear suspension that is great for bumpy roads and generally gives you a better, safer hauling experience.
Riders can easily use it to cruise around town or put its 1,000-watt Bafang hub motor to work. Powered by a 52-volt 19.2 Ah battery, riders 275 pounds or less can hit 30 miles per hour and reach an estimated 60 miles on a single charge, depending on your assist level and speed. A full charge takes about seven hours, but you can buy a $139 Turbo charger to double the charging speed.
This bike is excellent for relaxed rides but has a lot of oomph to get up and go when you want. One minute I would find myself cruising in the bike lane, and the next I’d be gunning it in the car lane. There are six levels of assistance — Eco, 1, 2, 3 Sport and Race — and with each level of assistance, riders will hit higher speeds with less effort (at the cost of battery life). You do have the option to pedal or use the throttle: With an eight-speed Shimano cassette, there are many ways to ride and conserve battery.
Riding with zero assistance is not fun at all, though, and you will notice some motor drag. When trying to save power I found myself using Eco mode, which gives it enough assistance to zero out the bike’s full 102 pounds of weight.
What makes the Express great for deliveries, in addition to its exclusive cargo basket and vibrant color, is its powerful motor, solid build quality and security features: key ignition to start the bike, a key battery lock and an alarm with a remote that sounds if someone touches or attempts to move the bicycle.
The street tires on this bike are designed to minimize flats while the custom cast aluminum mag not only adds some style but, due to the build quality, requires little maintenance compared to traditional spoked wheels. However, they do add more weight to the bike. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes stop the bike on a dime, too.
Juiced Bikes offers a one-year warranty on electrical/mechanical components and frame upon factory default.
More for quick transport
We update this list regularly. Below are answers to some of the most common e-bike questions.
How fast can an electric bike go?
Before we can go into top speeds, we first need to go over e-bike classifications. There are three classes.
- Class 1 is an e-bike where the motor only supplies pedal assistance while the rider is pedaling and has a max assisted speed of 20 mph.
- Class 2 follows the same pedal-assist top speed as class 1 but also has a throttle enabling the rider to get around without pedaling.
- Class 3 has a top assist speed of 28 mph and can be either pedal-assist only or pedal-assist along with throttle-assistance.
These classes are limited to 1 horsepower (750 watts). That said, some (air quotes) e-bikes can hit 50 or even 60 mph. But they are more like motorcycles with pedals. They are not optimized as traditional bicycles for pedaling from point A to B and do not legally fit into the class 1-3 category. Typically only class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed where traditional bicycles are.
Do I need a permit or license to operate an e-bike?
The short answer is no; however, riders must meet their state’s minimum age limit (which can vary). In New York, that’s 16.
Should I buy an electric bike or an electric scooter?
It’s frankly pretty fun to have one of each. But if you need a reason to pick one over the other, an e-bike can also be used as a traditional bike so riders benefit from getting a workout along with the fact you can travel further, even on a dead battery. In addition, most people I talk to feel better on bicycles because they’ve had more experience riding them.
Here are some of the best electric rideables available right now