Even a few years ago, seeing an electric commuter bike would have been a rare occurrence, but these days there are a lot of great options out there if you're hoping to decrease your carbon footprint while whizzing around your city or neighborhood. Plus, with the, 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 electric rideable recommendations into two different categories: the best electric bike options, 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 on 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.
When I first got on the Fiido X ($1,599/£1,189 AU/$2,200), I immediately liked the comfortable gel seat and the natural-feeling handlebar placement. It felt a bit like a BMX bike but with gears, and handled well on New York's bumpy streets. The bike has three levels of powered assistance and seven gears, but I mostly rode in the lowest assist level.
There's a torque sensor that provides an instant pedal-assist that can propel the bike up to 20 mph (32 km/h), although that's for the US version. The European version goes about 5 mph slower. The X runs off a 350-watt hub motor and is powered by a 36-volt 11.6-Ah (418-Watt hour) battery. Bringing all this to a stop are front and rear hydraulic brakes.
The Fiido X allowed me to get away with charging it twice a week while riding it daily for about 3 to 6 miles. Keep in mind that I don't like fully discharging my battery and I don't use max assistance unless needed. The bike can be fully charged in approximately 6 hours.
One of the appealing features of the Fiido X is the creative way the battery is integrated into the seat post. In doing so, you don't have a bulky frame housing it. It also keeps the weight centered, making going on or off small curbs less strenuous from a performance standpoint.
Two DX11 features I would've liked to see on the X are the throttle and horn. The Fiido X comes with a bell but no throttle. It does, however, have integrated lights, so adding a horn wouldn't be too far-fetched.
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 middrive 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 middrive 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 middrive 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 middrive 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.
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 middrive 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.
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 middrive 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 gorgeous, futuristic-looking $2,799 GoCycle GS is not your average folding electric bike. Its motor is located in the front and it has a fully enclosed chain that runs to the back wheel. This allows you to commute without worrying about getting grease on you or your clothes or having to lube the chain after being out on a wet day. Roads with rough patches are less of a problem with its rear suspension, too.
The wheels attach with single-sided mounts, which is a major design standout, allowing them to be quickly removed by hand. It also means you can break it down into smaller pieces to take up less space. The whole thing weighs 36.3 pounds (16.5 kg) and you can get a Portable Docking Station that's essentially a rolling suitcase for the bike for stowing and transport.
The GS settings on this folding electric bike are controlled by an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth through the GoCycleConnect app. Two bands on the handlebar securely hold your phone while riding. While riding the GoCycle you can change assistance modes and speeds and toggle the throttle on and off.
Throttle assistance can only be used when traveling at least 4 mph, so as not to put too much pressure on the 500-watt motor. The GoCycle's 300-Wh battery gets about 40 miles (65 km) on a full charge depending on your riding style and weight; it'll support riders of up to 220 pounds and pedal/throttle assist up to 20 mph. A full charge takes about 7 hours or 3.5 with a fast-charger (sold separately).
The GS focuses on the little details, such as a center stand that folds up discreetly under the bike making it almost invisible. I cannot emphasize enough how beautifully designed this bike is. How the company squeezed so much into this small bicycle is just amazing.
The GS that I tested is currently unavailable on the company's website, but the even higher-end GX with an aluminum frame is available for $3,299. And if you're not sure it's worth it sight unseen, you may be able to find a local retailer that carries the GoCycle line and allows test rides.
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.
We update this list regularly, and 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 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.