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Best Electric Bikes

Luke Bauer
  Jan 30, 2023 10:23 AM

If you're looking for a means to get to work or do your shopping without using your car — and without paying for gas — then purchasing one of the best electric bikes might be the solution you've been looking for. These battery-powered bicycles come equipped with a small motor that can provide you with an additional boost when you need it. As a result, it will be much simpler for you to travel up hills and across longer distances.
 


OVERVIEW

Additionally, the greatest electric bikes are enjoyable to ride for the rider in and of themselves. Even if you only use them for your daily commute, they will make you feel like a kid again.
There are hundreds of different kinds of electric bikes available now because the industry is booming, but unfortunately, that also means there are a lot of products on the market that aren't very good. In order to provide you with the most informed suggestions for various types of electric motorcycles, we put a selection of the most popular models through rigorous testing.

Keep in mind that many of the greatest electric bikes are either on backorder or have sold out entirely as a result of the high demand for them. And while many of them are still fairly pricey, the price of many of them is coming down; in fact, we also have a list of the finest electric bikes that won't break the bank.
In addition, before you go out on any rides, you should make it a point to purchase the best bike helmet you can find as well as the best bike lights to use if you want to ride after dark.
Continue reading for a rundown of all of our top choices for electric bikes.


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BUYING GUIDE

What to look for when buying an electric bike

Pedal-assist or throttle?

Pedal-assist is a feature that is standard on all electric bikes; once you begin pedaling, the motor on the bike will start to help you out and make the ride more manageable. To get anywhere, though, you are going to have to put in some effort: you can't move forward unless you pedal. You will also be able to adjust the level of help on the majority of electric bikes, giving you the freedom to choose how strenuously you wish to peddle.

On the other hand, some electric bikes will come equipped with a throttle. You just need to push a button or pull a lever, and the bicycle will perform all of the work for you, so there is no need to pedal at all. If you don't want to pedal at all, using the throttle will quickly deplete the remaining battery life on the bike, which means your range will be significantly reduced if you don't want to pedal at all.

 

Motor type

 

Conventionally, a motor mounted in the bicycle's back hub is utilized by less expensive electric bikes. Mid-drive motors, which are those that are placed in the center of the pedal crank shaft, typically have a higher price tag but offer improved overall balance and smoother shifting.

In addition, motors are ranked according to their power, which is measured in Watts. Usually, the least powerful motor will be 250 Watts, although the motor size shouldn't be a key determining factor for your purchase unless you're planning to go up particularly steep slopes or are a really large person. More importantly, there is no standardized method used in the business for quantifying watts (is it continuous or peak, and if it's peak, for how long?). Therefore, the Watt rating of a motor is not a trustworthy estimate of power in and of itself.

 

Battery size

 

Think about the place you call home. You're going to need more assistance if you're driving around San Francisco as opposed to if you're driving in Austin. The watt hours (Wh) figure is the most important one to consider when making comparisons because it takes into account both the output of the battery and its lifespan to provide a more accurate picture of the power that is available. When it comes to range, more Wh is always better.

The anticipated distance you can travel on a single charge is typically around 40 miles, and many manufacturers of electric bikes offer this information in their product descriptions. You should take this figure with a significant grain of salt because, in most cases, it is calculated based on ideal conditions: A person of average weight who is traveling across terrain that is completely windless and at an ambient temperature that is just right for the battery. The amount of power assist that is being used, whether full throttle has been applied and for how long, as well as your average speed, all have an impact on the range that may be achieved. Your results may vary, as the old saying goes.

 

Removable or built-in battery?

 

The majority of bicycle batteries are designed to power rides of approximately 40 miles and require charging for at least a couple of hours before reaching 80 percent of their capacity. Therefore, if you have a more taxing commute, you should think about purchasing a model that allows you to swap out the battery rather than a bike that has a battery that is integrated into the frame.

Also, if you live in a location where you are unable to bring your bike inside or get close to a wall outlet (for example, if you live in a walk-up apartment), you should absolutely look for a bike that has a battery that can be removed and replaced. It will make things a great deal less difficult for you.

 

Safety features

 

If you intend to ride your electric bike in congested areas or in low-light conditions (such as dawn or dusk), it is in your best interest to look for an electric bike that comes equipped with headlights and taillights as standard equipment. Even though it's becoming more widespread, not all models come equipped with this capability by default.

 

What are the different types of electric bike?

 

In most respects, electric bikes can be classified alongside traditional bicycles. This article provides a brief overview of the many electric bike options now available.

A road bike is a type of bicycle that is built specifically for riding on roads and is optimized for speed. As a result of the narrower tires and slanted grips, riders on these bikes will be forced to hunch over. Carbon fiber is sometimes used in higher-end versions to keep the weight down.

Off-road bikes, or mountain bikes, are equipped with sturdier frames and tires with thicker knobs, as well as front and rear suspension to smooth out the rough terrain and allow for bigger jumps.

Bicycles with wide, inflated tires: Fat tire bikes, like mountain bikes, are designed for riding off-road, typically on very soft ground like mud, sand, or snow. Wide tires (up to four inches) help these bikes maintain their footing on less-than-steady ground, as their name suggests.

Tires on a city/commuter bike will be intermediate between those of a road bike and those of a mountain bike, making it ideal for city inhabitants who need to move around town. As a rule, the motorcycles will be set up so that the rider's back is upright when seated, allowing them a more unobstructed view of their surroundings.

Cargo bikes are equipped with a rear or front rack for transporting cargo. These bikes are typically longer, heavier, and more expensive than the average bike due to the cargo area.

 

Electric bike 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:

Class 1: Ebikes that only assist while you pedal, with a top speed of 20 mph.

Class 2: Ebikes with a throttle that don't require you to pedal but have a top speed of 20 mph.

Class 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.

 

How we test electric bikes

 

Reviewers and editors at Tom's Guide rode and rated all the bikes shown here on the road (and in some cases, off-road). The bikes' steadiness, handling, and safety features are all put to the test, and both day and night journeys are included as necessary (including lights, reflectors, and horns). We also consider how simple it is to put together, which is especially important now that so many models can be purchased only online.

 

Bottom line: The best electric bikes

 

We agree with the adage that the best electric bike is the one you can't wait to get on.

These are the 14 e-bikes we're most interested in at the moment, however we anticipate much of debate and inquiries as to why certain models were left off the list. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor were we able to take into account every conceivable application for electric bikes; however, we believe that the bikes included here are representative of the current market.

Do you own an electric bike that you believe deserves consideration for inclusion on our best electric bikes of 2022 page? Write your thoughts down below. As a bare minimum, we're constantly curious about the bikes our audience rides.


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