For me riding a bike is a way of life. I used to ride all the time; I even commuted to work several days a week to save on gas. However, I recently got injured, and my knee can’t take steep hills anymore. I didn’t want to give up on my riding, but I couldn’t make the commute anymore.
That’s when I found out about electric bikes. I had never really paid attention to them before, but once it became apparent that I needed something to help me get over those steep hills, I realized that they could offer me a viable solution.
If you are in need of an electric bike for whatever reason, there are more models to choose from than ever before. However, there is still a lot to know before you make a purchase. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best electric bikes out there and highlighted their features for your convenience.
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When talking about weight, I mean both the weight of the bike and yourself. Because electric bikes have a motor and gears, they are much heavier than a traditional model. Thus, if you want to carry your bike with you or mount it to your car, you have to get used to the heavier frame.
As for your weight, the heavier you are, the more pressure it will put on the battery and the motor. If you are more heavyset, then I would strongly recommend that you spring for a motor with higher wattage and torque.
When looking at e-bikes, you can get gearless or geared motors. I’ll talk about them in a second, but for heavy riders, a geared motor will be better overall.
The main difference between a geared and gearless motor is how they’re made. As the name suggest, gearless motors don’t have any gears, which means that they use electricity to move the wheels, rather than mechanics.
For the most part, geared motors have much more torque and are better at climbing, although they do have lower top speeds. For heavyset riders, a geared motor is a must to ensure that you can maintain a decent speed and get started much easier.
Gearless motors can be faster, but because they don’t use mechanical parts, they can take longer to warm up and get moving. Also, they have less torque which means that you may struggle on a hill.
The other thing to look at is the amount of wattage. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more powerful and faster the motor. Also, higher watts will usually mean that the bike is gearless, but that’s not always the case.
The other primary feature of electric bikes is how they operate. For many of them, they provide pedal assistance, which means that you still ride like normal, but you have a power boost to make it easier on your body.
The other version is with a throttle, which means that the bike moves independently of your motions. In either case, you should still be able to push the bike forward with the pedals.
I would suggest getting a bike that offers both options so you get the best of both worlds or can take a break on straightaways and flat terrain.
Here is a list of five different electric bikes that I found during my research. These models are all highly rated and come with some of the best features you can find. Pay attention to the factors that I’ve listed above, and you should be able to find the best electric bike for your needs.
The two most important components of any electric bike are the battery and the motor.
Without power, you won’t be able to go anywhere, and without a motor, you won’t go very fast.
With regards to power, this bike comes with a high-capacity Lithium-ion battery which will provide sufficient electricity for a range of up to forty miles, or about three hours, depending on how fast you go.
The best part about lithium-ion is that it is rechargeable, meaning that you can ride to your destination and charge it up before you head back.
This model has a geared motor, which means that it has a lower top speed than a brushless unit and has more torque. Thus, if you ride over hilly terrain or are a little heavier than some, I would strongly suggest this bike.
For the ultimate stopping power, this bike comes with SRAM disc brakes. No matter how fast you’re going, you will be able to slow down and come to a full stop in seconds with these brakes. Because getting used to an electric bike takes time, you will most likely have to put them to the test as you’re becoming adjusted.
For this bike, you have pedal assistance rather than a throttle. There are five levels of pedal assist, which means that you can take it easy on flat roads and then pedal harder up hills and embankments. There is a set of switches on the handle so you can customize your speed quickly and effortlessly.
Finally, one of the more important features of this bike is the inclusion of front and rear lights. Safety & security (related read - check our best bike lock selections!) is critical when riding a bicycle on the streets, and having lights on both ends means that you are much more visible to cars and oncoming traffic.
Even during the day, you should use both lights as they can increase your visibility by up to forty percent.
For anyone who wants to feel more in control, the Pedego City Commuter Classic is an excellent find. I like the fact that it has a geared motor so it can take on much more diverse terrain.
Also, I am a bit of a big guy, so I need gears in my motor so I can maintain my top speed easier. Overall, this is a great e-bike for anyone who just needs a boost.
Unlike the Pedego, this bike has a brushless motor, meaning that it can maintain a higher top speed but can struggle on steep terrain.
With 300 watts of power, you can feel the giddyup on this bike, which makes it ideal for anyone who wants to zip around town without having to break yourself in the process.
When talking about power, this bike has you covered with seven different batteries working together. Why so many? Because then it reduces the pressure on each battery, thereby ensuring that they last longer and provide more oomph than a single larger one. Also, if one breaks, you can replace it much more easily.
To help you get a smoother ride, the X-Treme Scooter Mountain Bike has a seven-speed drivetrain. That way you can adjust according to the level of your terrain and thus increase the bike’s efficiency level.
Finally, this bike has a composite aluminum frame, which means that it is lighter than the competition. Also, brushless motors weigh less than geared ones, so this bike is only slightly heavier than a traditional two-wheeler. Aluminum also won’t rust, so you don’t have to worry about that.
This bike is the perfect machine for anyone who likes riding but cannot maintain high speeds. Whether you’re injured like me or just don’t have the energy, this bike can help you navigate around town without having to be out of breath at every stop light.
The best thing I like about this bike is that it can hold up to 350 pounds. Although it will take a little longer to warm up and get to its top speed, you don’t have to worry about being overweight on this bike.
Much like the X-Treme Scooter above, this bike has a powerful brushless motor. 350 watts is enough to power through most city streets with ease, and it will help you make great time no matter where you’re going.
Although the motor is brushless, having this kind of wattage means that you don’t have to wait as long to get to top speed as you would with the X-Treme model. Overall, this motor is perfect for anyone who wants haste and convenience.
This bike also has a seven-speed drivetrain to help you get the most out of the motor and the battery. Having seven gears means that you can ensure that the bike doesn’t have to work too hard to keep its momentum, as well as make sure that it can handle itself on steeper slopes. Shimano makes the best gears in the world, so you know that these are high-quality.
For most manual bikes, the top speed is anywhere from twelve to fifteen miles per hour. With the e-Joe Epik Sports Bike, you can race around town at a whopping 20 miles an hour, leaving the competition in the dust.
When comparing e-bikes, twenty miles is about the top speed for any model, as the motors can’t really make anything more than that. Otherwise, you’ll need a more powerful engine, which would then become too cumbersome.
Unlike the X-Treme Scooter, this bike uses pedal assist rather than a throttle. There are three levels of assistance, which when coupled with the seven-speed gears means that you can increase your mileage range and have the battery last much longer.
The goal is to make your ride as effortless as possible while still maintaining control, and the e-Joe delivers.
If you want an electric bike that can help you move around town quickly and efficiently, then the e-Joe is for you. I like the fact that it uses pedal assist instead of throttle, which means that the batteries won’t wear down as quickly and you can go farther.
One of the biggest issues with e-Bikes is that they don’t last as long as mechanical ones, but this can give you much more time for riding than other models.
That means that you ultimately get more power to the wheels, which makes this bike have similar torque to a geared motor without having the mechanical parts.
It’s not exactly the same, but it’s much better than most other bikes out there. If you need raw power, this is a great bike for you.
Another reason that the phantom has the edge over some of the other bikes on this list is that it has eight speeds instead of seven. The more gears you have, the more you can adjust on the fly, which means that you can get more out of the battery and the motor, thus ensuring that the bike operates more efficiently.
I also like that it’s a twist shifter because it’s much easier to control your speed and setting while you ride.
As far as maximum range goes, this bike is somewhere in the middle of the pack. The reason for this is that it’s not a pedal assist model. Instead of helping you go faster, this bike will carry you the whole way. That also means that more power is used, which does somewhat limit the range.
However, with a fast recharging battery, you should be able to make it almost anywhere and then get your battery charged before you head back. In fact, my commute is only twelve miles, so I’m good for both ways and then some.
To further help you get the smoothest ride possible, the Phantom is equipped with an optimized suspension fork. Having a high-quality suspension is crucial to getting the most out of your bike, and it also can help with your “fuel efficiency.”
By that, I mean that you can get a little more mileage out of your battery and motor when your suspension is on point like the Phantom’s.
If you want a powerful motor to help you reach your top speed faster and help get you over any steep hills, the Phantom Electric Bike is for you. Although it does have a more limited range than some of these models, the fact is that you can almost get the same benefits of a geared motor while having a higher speed and less maintenance.
Overall, this is fantastic model for anyone serious about commuting or riding with an e-bike.
As I mentioned above, some of the higher end electric bikes offer both pedal assist and a full throttle motor.
The Ancheer Electric Mountain Bike is a perfect example of this, with a dual power mode that will help you when you want to pedal, or carry you completely when you want a break.
I love the fact that you can switch, mostly because it can be more beneficial to your health and enable you to get more out of your motor and battery.
Speaking of batteries, the Ancheer comes with a high capacity Lithium-ion battery. This device will ensure that you can go the distance without running out of juice, and it has a maximum range of twenty-eight miles.
The best part about this battery is that you can recharge it in just four hours, meaning that you can get your bike road-ready in the same amount of time it takes to get your smartphone back to 100%.
Like the Phantom, this bike has a super powerful motor. That is also why the range is more limited, but if you use the pedal assist more than the throttle, you should be able to get more life out of your battery.
Again, having such a strong motor means that you can get to your top speed faster as well as make it up steep inclines without having to resort to walking the bike or going extremely slow.
Another feature that helps you get the most out of your ride is the 21-speed Shimano gears. Shimano makes the best gears in the world, and you have a full set on this bike.
As we’ve seen, most e-bikes only have a handful of speeds, but this bike is just like a mechanical version. As a result, you can quickly shift gears to ensure that your ride is operating as efficiently as possible.
Overall, if you want the best of the best, then I would suggest getting the Ancheer Electric Bike. This model has all of the top features and if you make sure to ride efficiently you can easily increase your range and make the battery last longer. I love everything about this bike, and I would highly recommend it.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!