Electric bikes are one of the most popular alternative transportation methods in 2021. As people continue to practice social distancing and avoid public transit systems, they are discovering new ways to safely travel around town. Electric bikes are the perfect solution for traveling short to medium distances or commuting to work. These battery powered bikes can help you zip around town for over 50 miles and climb hills without working up a sweat.
Electric bikes are an environmentally friendly alternative to cars and they’re run to ride.
Whether you are looking for a delivery bike, a commuter bike, a mountain bike, or just a bike for joy rides, there is an electric bike for you.
We’ve compiled a list of the top electric bikes to help you find the right bike for your needs.
How to choose the right e-bike for you
It’s important to consider your personal needs when buying an electric bike. There are different types of e-bikes designed for different purposes and people.
Here are a some questions you should answer before deciding which electric bike to purchase:
- What will you use it for?
- What is the average distance you will ride?
- Do you need storage on the bike?
- Will you need to climb any large hills?
- Do you want a comfortable bike or a performance bike?
- Would you prefer pedal assist, throttle, or both?
- Do you have a safe place to store your e-bike?
- What is your budget?
After you figure out your personal needs, you’ll need to know what to look for when shopping for electric bikes.
Tips for buying a good e-bike:
- Read the warranty. Most established companies will offer a 1-2 year warranty.
- Test ride bikes if you can. It is important you feel comfortable on your bike.
- Do your research. Read online reviews and forums from customers and find out what they like and don’t like about the bikes you are considering.
- Buy from a trusted brand. Most credible brands will have a reasonable return policy and warranty. Although the electric bike industry is evolving at a rapid pace, it is better to stick with brands that have a good reputation rather than buying the most affordable option on Amazon. An e-bike is a large investment and you want it to last for years.
Best Electric Bike For Commuting
RadMission 1 by Rad Power Bikes
- Battery lasts for 45+ miles per charge
- Pedal assist and throttle
- Lightweight: 47.8 lbs (21.68 kg)
- 500W high-torque motor
- Best use: Neighborhood or urban
The RadMisson 1 by Rad Power Bikes is one of the most popular electric bikes and our pick for the best e-bike in 2021 because of its performance, convenience, stylish design, and affordability.
Unlike many e-bikes we’ve tested in the past, Rad Power Bikes built this bike with city travel and commuting convenience in mind. It is a lightweight bike that is the same size as a typical road bike or mountain bike. This makes it easy to carry into an apartment or office building and it doesn’t take up too much space if you are storing it indoors.
In addition to the convenience, the bike has a sleek design that doesn’t stand out like most electric bikes. It looks like a normal mountain bike and most onlookers won’t even realize it has a motor.
Available in two sizes:
One potential downside of this bike is that it is a single-speed design. If you plan on riding the bike without the motor assistance for long distances, this might be a dealbreaker, but if you are buying an electric bike, you probably plan on using the motor.
The throttle-powered and pedal assist motor on the RadMission 1 makes climbing hills effortless even though it is only a single speed bike. Many riders enjoy not having to worry about changing gears when preparing for a hill. You just need to twist the throttle or turn up the pedal assist level.
Rad Power Bikes created this single speed e-bike to keep the price low but that also means less maintenance and a lower chance of having problems with the gears and chain for riders.
The RadMission 1 is our top pick for the best electric bike of 2021. It is a very affordable electric bike from one of the largest and most trusted brands in the e-bike industry. Rad Power Bikes only sells their e-bikes directly to consumers through their website so they can avoid paying retailer markups and provide high quality bikes at a lower cost.
Best Electric Mountain Bike (eMTB)
Specialized Turbo Levo
- Battery: 500Wh
- Motor amplifies pedaling input by 410%
- Suspension: Front and rear shocks
- Frame: Aluminum alloy
- 12 Speed
Best Electric Cargo Bike
- Battery: 400Wh single battery or 900Wh double battery
- Max Speed: 20mph
- 10 speed
- Weight: 74 pounds
Tern exceeds all expectations of electric cargo bikes by offering a lightweight and conveniently sized bike. The low-riding bike fits all riders from 4’11” – 6’5” and can carry a total of 440 pounds.
Whether you are packing up your camping supplies for a weekend trip or transporting your children around town, the Tern GSD S10 can be equipped with the right accessories to easily get the job done.
Best Fat Tire Electric Bike
RadRover 5 by Rad Power Bikes
- 26″ x 4″ Puncture-Resistant Tires
- 180 mm Mechanical Disc Brake
- Hybrid e-bike for trails and city riding
- Throttle motor assistance up to 20 MPH
- 750W rear-hub motor
The RadRover 5 is truly an electric bike built for every type of rider. You can take it on your morning commute in the city or conquer the hills on mountain biking trails with ease.
This is an affordable class 2 electric bike with fat four-inch wide tires and a front suspension fork to give you a smooth ride on any terrain. The Rad Rover fat tire e-bike is a comfortable ride built with a heavy 6061 aluminum frame. It almost feels like you are riding a motorcycle, but keep in mind the throttle assist and pedal assist motor turn off when you reach 20 MPH.
The 48 volt, 14 Ah lithium-ion battery and 750 watt geared hub motor last over 45 miles on a single charge but the weight of the bike makes it difficult to ride if the battery dies.
You can read more about the RadRover 5 or buy it here: Radpowerbikes.com
Best Folding Electric Bike
Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0
- Ride up to 45 miles per battery charge
- 4-6 hour charge time
- 500W motor
- Front suspension
- Rear cargo rack hold 75 lbs
- 3″ tires
If you are looking for an e-bike that you can fold up and safely store in your home, car, or office, the Lectric XP Step-Thru 2.0 is an excellent choice.
This is a versatile and well-built bike for under $1000. The main reason for buying a foldable electric bike is the convenience. The folded dimensions of the bike are 37 X 18 X 27 inches making it easy to transport in your vehicle and you can store indoors to prevent theft.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of electric bikes?
Each e-bike will have it’s own list of pros and cons, but these are some things you will want to consider if you are deciding whether or not to buy an electric bike.
- Ride long distances with less effort
- Easily climb hills
- If the battery dies you can still ride the bike with the pedals
- Keep up with more experienced riders
- Ride 30 to 70 miles on one battery charge
- Keeps you active and in-shape
- E-bikes are fun to ride
- Electric bikes are expensive
- Batteries can have a short lifespan
- Batteries take along time to charge
- Limited battery range
- Heavier than normal bikes
- Maintenance, servicing and repairs are costly
- E-bikes decrease in value after they are used (similar to cars)
- They stand out and are more likely to get stolen
Are electric bikes worth the money?
Electric bicycles are becoming more affordable every year making them a more accessible and popular method of transportation. They have all the same benefits as regular bikes and do not require a license, registration, or insurance. In addition to these benefits, electric bikes help you ride faster, travel further, climb hills and fight the wind with less effort. Riding with the assisted battery power still gives you a great workout and owning an electric bicycle will get you excited about getting your daily exercise.
Do you still get exercise on an electric bike?
Riding an e-bike does count as exercise. If you are using the pedal assist feature, you will likely get the same amount of exercise as a traditional bicycle. Even if you are using the throttle, the power shuts off at 20 mph, so you will need to assist it with pedaling to go any faster.
Can you ride an e-bike without a battery?
Yes, you can still manually pedal an e-bike if the battery dies. This will not damage the motor. However, riding many electric bikes without the motor can be challenging because of their weight.
How much should I spend on an e-bike?
E-bike manufacturers continue to make improvements on the efficiency and affordability of their batteries, motors, and bikes. For entry-level electric bikes, you should expect to pay between $800 and $2500. High-performance electric bikes can cost up to $14,000.
If you are purchasing your first e-bike, spending between $1000 and $2500 should get you a reliable bike from a reputable brand.