It’s no wonder that the best electric bikes are selling so well; they make riding easier without eliminating the exercise you get from pedaling. By applying electric power to the challenge of pedaling, ebikes shave away the hardest, most onerous part of riding, allowing you to enjoy the experience even more. Need proof? Just try scaling a steep hill with and without an electric bike and you’ll be a convert. And some of the best electric bikes give you the option of riding with pedal assist, or to let the bike’s motor take over and provide 100% of the power.
Which electric bike should you get? Well, many of the best ebikes tend to fill the same niches as traditional bikes. There are models for commuting, mountain biking and off-road adventuring. You’ll also find premium models with a luxury feel as well as relatively inexpensive, sub-$1000 bikes. Some electric bikes look like sci-fi gadgets with large batteries mounted to the frame, while others hide the battery and electronics so the bike mostly blends into the crowd. Which kind of bike do you want? There is no single best ebike, so here’s a roundup of the best models to suit every kind of rider.
Best Ebike Overall
Best Folding Electric Bike
RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike
Best Cargo Electric Bike
Best City Commuter Bike
Best Hybrid Commuter-Offroad Bike
Fastest Electric Bike
Delfast TOP 3.0
Best Electric Mountain Bike
Specialized Turbo Levo Comp
Best Off-Road Electric Bike
Scrambler Electric Adventure Motor Bike
Best Value Electric Bike
What are the advantages of an electric bike?
An electric bike, quite simply, uses an electric motor to assist your pedaling, so it delivers additional propulsion than what your legs can provide. That means it takes less effort for you to get from Point A to Point B—and that’s especially important for hilly terrain, because an ebike can make a steep hill no harder than level ground. Bottom line: electric bikes require less effort and often can get you where you’re going faster.
Can an electric bike go uphill?
Absolutely—any good ebike will be able to propel you uphill with less effort and more quickly than if you pedaled all on your own. Most electric bikes provide multiple power levels; you might ride at a 1 or 2 on level ground, but to comfortably pedal up a steep hill, you might increase that to a 4 or 5. This electric power setting is different than the bike’s mechanical gearing.
Do you still get exercise on an electric bike?
In general, yes, though it depends. If you’re using your ebike in its pedal assist mode, it is augmenting your leg power with additional electric propulsion. And in that situation, you’re in control of how much exercise your get. With the bike at its lowest power setting, you’ll have to do the most work. Increasing the power level means you will need to add less and less pedaling power to reach the same speed.
If your ebike has a throttle, you can stop pedaling entirely and just depress the throttle to let the bike to all the work. You won’t get any exercise this way, and it’ll run the bike’s battery down relatively quickly.
It’s also worth noting that if the battery dies during your ride or if you turn off the electric system manually, the ebike becomes a traditional bike, which you have to pedal to move with no electric assist. Want exercise? Turn off the bike and pedal it yourself.
How fast does an electric bike go without pedaling?
This depends on the bike and the “class” that it falls into. Most bikes are limited to a top speed of 20mph on level ground. Here’s how it breaks down:
- If you have a Class 1 ebike, the electric motor only works when you’re actually pedaling—it’s not allowed to include a throttle to move the bike without pedaling.
- Class 2 ebikes contain a throttle that can propel the bike at up to 20mph even when you’re not pedaling.
- Class 3 bikes are a little confusing. They all have a top speed of 28 mph, but not all Class 3 bikes have a throttle. And depending upon the state they’re sold in, some Class 3 throttles top out at 20 mph even if the bike can reach 28 mph using pedal assist.