Electric bikes are here to stay, and their popularity is through the roof. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, someone has built it.
As of today, we have reviewed 1072 electric bicycles. EBR conducts the industry’s most complete and objective reviews. Reviewing electric bikes is all we do. Since 2012, we have helped millions of people find and choose the best ebike for their needs and budget.
If you’re shopping for an electric bike now, here are the best we’ve tested so far. Keep in mind that due to high demand, many of the best electric bikes are either on backorder or are sold out.
What are the best electric bikes?
Because electric bikes are made for many different purposes, it’s hard to say that there’s any one best ebike for everyone. However, the Charge Bikes City is the best electric bike for most people, especially for those who live in more urban environments. Starting at $1,699, it’s not overly expensive for an ebike. It comes in both a low-step and a high-step model as well as two sizes, so it can comfortably accommodate riders from 5-foot 1-inch to 6 feet 3 inches.
We also like that the Charge Bikes City has front and rear fenders as well as a built-in bike rack. Its battery is removable, making it easier to charge, and the bike’s handlebars and pedals can fold flat, making the bike easier to store if you have limited space. We also liked its head- and taillights, and found its 250-Watt motor was powerful enough to get us anywhere we wanted to go.
10 Best Electric Bikes of 2021:
|Charge Bikes City||67.7 x 23.2 x 35.8 in||39.24 Pounds|
|Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger||53.5 x 29 x 8 in||40.9 Pounds|
|Giant FastRoad E+ Pro||52 x 25 x 10 in||52 Pounds|
|Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0||62.5 x 25 x 10 in||58 Pounds|
|Trek Domane + LT||52×28.6 ×7.5 in||46.9 Pounds|
If you plan on commuting to work, Charge Bikes City may well be the best ebike for you. Not only does it come with features like full-fenders to keep the mud off and a rear rack for a pack or bag, but it does everything well for a very reasonable price. The Charge City has a five level power assist, as well as a full-power throttle button, should the need or hill arise. It comes with all the necessary bells and whistles a commuter is going to want, including the bell (actually a superior and very loud electronic horn).
The handle bars fold flat, for easy storage in an apartment or cubicle, and the City’s electric support is so smooth you’ll think you’re doing all the work yourself. We were able to do three days plus of typical city commuting before having to re-charge. At night, the bike’s lights sufficiently lit up the road and the throttle helped us zip around potential trouble when we felt out of gas. Founded by folks from biking icon Cannondale, Charge’s sui generis feature is that even newbies can assemble the bike right out of the box in 10 minutes or less. All you basically have to do is put the front wheel on.
- Excellent handling
- Complete set of features
- Plain styling
The Trek Allant+ 9.9S is a fully focused, I-have-someplace-to-be, don’t-get-in-my-way e-rocket ship with the aggressive geometry to match. It has a full carbon frame and fork, Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, and a Bosch Performance Speed motor (that means it tops out at 28mph).
Even more good news for the dedicated commuter: It’s compatible with Range Boost, which lets you piggyback a 500Wh Bosch battery to the already frame-integrated 625Wh Bosch PowerTube, almost doubling your range.
And the Bosch Smartphone Hub display, which is compatible with the COBI.Bike app via Bluetooth, lets you charge your phone, stream music, get turn-by-turn directions, make/take calls, and track data. Don’t expect to haul much on the rear rack; its size makes it pretty limited.
Perfectionists beware: If you can’t handle even the slightest smudge, the easily marred matte frame and fenders will drive you bananas.
- Range Boost lets you add a second battery
- Carbon frame and fork
- Quality parts from Bosch and Shimano
- Matte frame smudges easily
- Very expensive
Another road-going hybrid bike with flat handlebars to promote a comfortable ride position for even the rustiest of riders.
The tires provide plenty of squish and the ability to go lightly off-road. However on test we found the aluminum frame and fork quite stiff, which will suit those used to a traditional road bike’s feel and riders looking for a speedy commute, but worth bearing in mind if you’re used to a softer hybrid feel.
There are hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano quality shifting, with a compact chainset and wide cassette at the rear to provide plenty of gears for the hills.
- Slick road style hybrid with integrated batter
- Top-end components
- Road-going frame not comfortable
A number of ebikes have been marred by clunky designs and backbreaking weight. Specialized decided to blow those preconceptions out of the water with Turbo Vado. Its svelte design conceals the battery within the downtube, so no one needs know you’re getting an electric boost, and it hides a rather effective shock absorber within the front forks, making for a smoother ride on less than pristine pavement.
The Turbo Vado weighs about 34 pounds, just a few pounds heavier than a regular steel bike and about 10 pounds less than a typical ebike. That makes it easier to haul up a flight of stairs or heave onto a car bike rack.
On the electric side, it includes a Smart Control program that figures out the amount of force you’re using and then adds just the right amount of additional torque to get you over humps with ease. It’s surprisingly seamless and perfect for set-it-and-forget-it commutation or weekend rides in the park. It’s the best ebike for those who don’t want others to know they’re riding an ebike.
- Light weight
- Top-flight handling
For 2021 Trek’s Domane LT platform takes almost everything we love about the Trek’s endurance road bike and gives you a bit of extra oomph to get you up and climb. The frame is made from 500 Series OCLV carbon, features the brand’s IsoSpeed decoupler, clearance for up to 38c tires, and sees a nearly identical geometry to the non assisted version.
Using a Fauza drive system, the motor can output 250w and is powered by a 250w removable battery stored in the downtube, which means you don’t have to charge your entire bike, but also that it can be replaced as the battery degrades over time.
The Domane + LT sees almost all the bells and whistles the non-pedal-assist version offers including the dual IsoSpeed decouplers although it doesn’t get the downtube storage as that is where the battery is stored.
- Isospeed front and rear
- Stable handling
- Resistance free pedaling
Cannondale’s Topstone Neo is a spiritual descendant on steroids of the veritable Slate. Based on the chassis of the carbon Topstone, the 30mm KingPin pivot based rear suspension is matched with the Lefty Oliver single stanchion fork, offering 30mm of air-spring suspension.
The Lefty is a bit of an engineering marvel, and is one of the stiffest forks on the market, and sees hydraulic damping and lockout. Suspension on a gravel bike always induces audible eye-rolls from drop bar purists, but the fact of the matter adds considerable improvements to both comfort and grip.
In the middle of the triangles is Bosch’s Performance Line Speed motor and removable 500Wh battery. With up to 250-watts of assistance and 85nm of torque on tap, the Bosch drive unit will help you crawl up that impossibly steep fire road, while a bar-mounted Purion display keeps all the vitals at your fingertips.
- Handling and grip
- Torque Lefty Oliver
With its road-inspired design and super smooth ride, the Ribble Hybrid AL e is our tip for the best electric bike available right now. Whether you’re looking for something to take the sweat out of your daily commute, or a bike for long weekend rides, this electric hybrid could be just the ticket.
Electric bikes often aren’t particularly stylish, and their chunky frame-mounted batteries are common targets for mean-spirited vandals, but the Ribble Hybrid AL e could easily pass as a conventional push-bike. Its drive system weighs a mere 3.5kg, making the bike surprisingly light (it weighs less than some electric scooters), and only a discreet power button and slightly thicker than usual downtube give it away.
It can be charged from flat in 3.5 hours, and gives you up to 60 miles of power-assisted riding over mixed terrain. There are three levels of assistance to choose from (though in our experience the highest is the most fun), and the Ebikemotion companion app provides you with turn-by-turn navigation and live stats on your ride.
If that’s not enough, this is also one of the most affordable e-bikes available today. Highly recommended, and hugely enjoyable to ride.
- Smooth power-assisted ride
- Great looks
- Surprisingly affordable
- App needs a little work
8. WAU Bike
The WAU Bike is an electric bike with remarkable range – able to travel up to 215 miles with an additional power pack attached, so you can forget range anxiety even on long leisure rides. That longevity also makes it a solid choice for commuters, meaning you only need to charge it up on the weekend.
The rear hub motor is smooth to pick up, whichever of the five pedal-assisted modes you choose, and you can easily switch between them when facing a hill or a flat. There’s also an eight-speed cassette on the rear, which provides just the right amount of adjustment to prevent your legs free spinning when travelling at speed.
There are also some carefully designed extras here, including an anti-tamper alarm, multi-function rear lights, and geo-fencing so the bike can’t be ridden outside a certain area.
- Innovative integrated lights
- Smart security features
- Impressive potential range
- Only one frame size
Available in standard, drop top tube and step through versions, the Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro is a commuter bike built for riders of all shapes and sizes. Using Bosch’s fourth-generation GX drive unit and Cube’s Modular Battery system, the Kathmandu hides the battery behind an easy-access cover on the down tube, which not only protects it from the elements but also leaves space should you want to slot in a bigger cell.
Instead of the typical bolt-on racks you find on most commuter bikes; Cube has opted to make the Integrated Carrier 2.0 over the rear wheel a permanent fixture of the bike. This provides a more stable platform for whatever you may be carrying, and makes for a clean, integrated look. At the front, the bike sees a tapered head tube and 100mm SR Suntour fork. The cables are routed internally, and shifting duties are looked after by a Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain.
- Integrated rack
- Expandably battery capacity
- Bosch Gen 4 drive unit
- Might baffle home mechanics
The Model X feels like a higher-quality product than the price indicates. It’s assembled in the U.S., and the attention to detail is immediately evident; the bike makes almost no noise while in motion, save the subtle whir from the rear-hub motor. The Schwalbe Fat Frank tires and aluminum frame and steel fork combine to deliver a smooth ride, and the comfortable saddle and retro handlebar beckon you to relax and let the e-assist do much of the work.
Its 500-watt motor peaks at 1,000 watts for quick bursts of power, making the Model X sporty enough for most. Pedal assist maxes out at 25mph, and you get a throttle as well. There are also loads of available accessories, including a front basket, rear rack, suspension fork, and custom colors.
- 100% customizable, arrives fully built
- Gets up to 120 miles on one charge
- Comes with a throttle
- Hub motor makes flat changes more difficult
- Available in one size and as a step-over frame only
How we test the electric bikes
Our team of experienced testers incorporate electric bikes of all types into our routines almost daily. We’ve spent many hours and miles using e-bikes for their intended purpose.
We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to stock up on groceries and beer, tested their passenger-hauling capability, ridden them on questionable terrain to see how they handle, and run their batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, aesthetics, and overall e-factor to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to add a little pedal assist to their ride.
Electric bikes rules and regulations
There has been a lot of confusion about ebikes (pedal assist versus throttle bikes) and where you can legally ride them. Some municipalities have banned ebikes from bicycle paths, for example. Many places classify ebikes depending on whether they can go full throttle and have a maximum speed of 20 or 28 mph. There are three official classifications:
- 1: Ebikes that only assist while you pedal, with a top speed of 20 mph.
- 2: Ebikes with a throttle that don’t require you to pedal but have a top speed of 20 mph.
- 3: Ebikes that only assist while you pedal, with a top speed of 28 mph.
So check your local regulations before you buy. And always wear a helmet.
E-bikes are fun, they’re useful, and they help riders cover more ground more quickly than any other kind of bike. These days, there are e-bikes for every activity, from commuting and fitness to hauling cargo, from road and gravel riding to mountain biking.