E-bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years, but they definitely have a moment in the pandemic. Like sewing machines, bakeware, and Nintendo Switch consoles, e-bikes have become a hot buy for people who are learning to adapt to a socially distant lifestyle.
There are generally two categories of e-bikes on the market: pedal assist and gas e-bikes. Pedal assisted e-bikes are equipped with sensors that detect how hard you are pedaling and can balance your effort with some electrical current. Gas e-bikes, on the other hand, are similar to a motorcycle or a moped in that you can activate the engine by pressing a button or turning the handlebar ̵
Some models offer both functions, although users should note that full throttle mode tends to put more strain on the engine than pedal assist mode. There are also some legal differences between different types of e-bikes that can affect where you are allowed to ride. In the United States, 22 states define three separate classes of e-bikes:
- Class 1: A bicycle with a pedal-assisted motor that works up to 32 km / h.
- 2nd grade: A bike with gas that works up to 32 km / h. (These bikes can also have Pedal Assist mode.)
- Class 3: A bicycle with pedal assistance without gas, which drives up to 45 km / h.
These classes may be subject to slightly different regulations from state to state. So check your local bike laws before flying around town.
We’ve put together some highly rated e-bike models for every purpose that best suits your life – whether you’re looking for greener commuting or just a fun way to get around easily while exploring your neighborhood.
1. Electra Townie Go! 7D; $ 1500
The Electra Townie Go! 7D was selected by REI in 2020 as the best electric bike for casual riders. At $ 1,500, it’s at the affordable end of the spectrum and designed for convenience and ease of use. This pedal-assisted e-bike is powered by a rear hub motor, which experts say makes maintenance easier and gives the feeling of being pushed from behind. Bike enthusiasts should be aware, however, that the hub drive motors may make the bike a little heavier and not as good on hills. For occasional cruisers and commuters, this e-bike is a well-built, budget-friendly choice.
Buy it: KING
2. NAKTO Cargo Electric Bicycle; $ 650
With more than 150 five-star ratings, this affordable model is a bestseller on Amazon. One reviewer called it “the best value for money for an entry-level e-bike”. The NAKTO Cargo Electric Bicycle can travel up to 40 km with a full charge. While you don’t necessarily have to pedal, there is Pedal Assist mode if you’re looking for something between cruising and working. Experienced e-bikers agree that this is a bargain for the price, especially if you are looking for a comfortable vehicle for easy driving around town.
Buy it: Amazon
3. RadRunner 1; $ 1199
The RadRunner 1 is marketed as an e-bike that needs to be customized. The base frame offers space for a middle storage console, a passenger seat, an insulated delivery bag or a child seat, to name just a few. According to the company, you can create a total of 330 unique accessory combinations that meet your individual requirements. With this e-bike you can choose from four different levels of pedal support. It also includes a half throttle for extra power whenever you need it. A five-star rating calls it “the most versatile bike ever”. Although it has been reordered, the bikes are expected to be delivered again in September.
Buy it: Rad power bikes
4. Allant + 9.9S; $ 6000
The Allant + is not cheap – it was basically designed to replace your car. However, if you’ve already switched to the e-bike lifestyle and are looking for a stable frame with powerful parts, the Allant + may be the right choice for you. The bike can withstand speeds of up to 45 km / h and is compatible with Range Boost, an optional feature that allows you to double your distance and the time between charges. Connect your smartphone to the COBI.Bike app to get the full experience. When you connect your phone to the bike’s smartphone docking station, you can use the included handlebar controls to answer calls, listen to music, and follow the instructions in each step.
Buy it: Trek bikes
5. Cannondale Canvas Neo 1 e-bike; $ 4,200
This is another model that is supported by REI and receives good grades from the company as “best e-bike for commuting”. It is a class 3 e-bike with a motor that can reach 40 miles up to 45 km / h before a charge is required. It weighs 44 pounds, which is at the lower end of the average for e-bikes. But it is by no means flimsy – a reviewer thought the canvas had more than enough strength to spare it and called it “the mustang of e-bikes”.
Buy it: KING
Must-have e-bike accessories
For a significant investment like an e-bike, consider adding accessories that improve functionality and improve your experience. Depending on which e-bike you buy, you can best deal with the same accessories company. However, if you don’t want to stick to a single brand, Amazon offers several options.
For safety reasons, you should first make sure you have a stable bike helmet ($ 80). You may also want to buy a set of pivoting handlebar mirrors ($ 23) so you can watch out for pedestrians and cars. And if your e-bike doesn’t have its own headlight, you can buy one on Amazon for just $ 17.
When it comes to comfort, a cargo bag ($ 22) and fenders ($ 17) may be worth the extra money – you can carry more and avoid getting splashed by mud or water while driving. You should at least also invest in a bike lock ($ 39). If you’re looking for additional security, consider a theft alarm ($ 49) with GPS tracking. E-bikes are expensive, and a simple $ 50 alarm may save you from losing a $ 1000 investment.
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