Riding the right electric bike can take a sweat off and make cycling fun again – and we’re here to help you pick one for you.
Do you enjoy the freedom of cycling, but sometimes wish your panniers felt lighter, the headwinds less harsh, and the hills not so steep? Fancy arriving at your destination fresh and presentable instead of sweaty and delightful? Then you are already longing for an e-bike.
For commuting, grocery-getting, or leisure riding, electric bikes deliver on the promise of carefree cycling that geography and fitness sometimes plot to derail. Combining transportation and exercise, a little electric assist can keep the balance right, ensuring that your new electric bike is a more viable alternative to public transportation or hopping in a car.
Electric bikes are more expensive than conventional bikes, mainly due to the cost of higher-capacity batteries. However, we are expecting a steep drop in prices in the coming days as retailers begin their Black Friday deals. Though being careful pays off; We recommend always sticking to established bike builders who have quality control in place. You may be able to find a super-cheap bike advertised online, but e-bikes are powerful machines and you don’t want to be stuck with cheap components that can fail at high speeds.
best electric bike
The Cowboy 4 is our number one e-bike of 2021, and if you’re looking for an electric bike to ride in the city, it’s impossible to ignore. Last year’s Cowboy 3 was an impressive machine, but the new model takes things further with an even more refined feel and the option of step-over and step-through frames.
One of the most striking features of Cowboy 4 is its simplicity. Even if you’ve never ridden an e-bike before, the absence of gears, switches, and other controls means you’ll be riding in ease right away. The motor turns on automatically when you turn the pedal, adjusting the assist depending on how much pressure you’re applying.
Maintenance is also simple, thanks to internal cabling and a carbon belt drive system that doesn’t require oiling or tension like a chain. Lights and fenders are inbuilt, and there’s even a charging port to make your smartphone look better (which offers easy navigation along with smart route suggestions via the Cowboy app).
Although it was initially only sold in Europe, the Cowboy 4 is now available for pre-order in the US as well, with a starting price of $1,190, and only $100 to be paid for. This special price runs until October 31, and the first batch of bikes is scheduled to start shipping in January 2022.
read our full Cowboy 4 Review
With its road-inspired design and super smooth ride, the Ribble Hybrid AL E is our number two tip for the best electric bike available right now. Whether you’re looking for something to break a sweat from your daily commute, or looking for a bike for long weekend rides, this electric hybrid may be just the ticket.
Electric bikes often aren’t particularly stylish, and their chunky frame-mounted batteries are common targets for the average enthusiast vandal, but the Ribble Hybrid AL E could easily pass as a traditional 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 a slightly thicker than usual downtube.
It can be charged flat in 3.5 hours, and gives you up to 60 miles of power-assisted riding on mixed terrain. There are three levels of assistance to choose from (though the most fun in our experience), and the Ebikemotion companion app gives you turn-by-turn navigation and live stats on your ride.
If that is not enough, it is also one of the most affordable e-bikes available today. Highly recommended, and extremely enjoyable to ride.
read our full Ribble Hybrid AL E Review
The folding e-bike is the perfect solution for commuters – small enough to fit on the train or under a desk, with added power to ensure you get to your destination fresh and ready to work. The MiRider One strikes a great balance here, and it does so for a remarkably affordable price.
Despite its small size, it delivers a smooth and comfortable ride thanks to its sturdy construction and a rear shock absorber that absorbs any small bumps on your route.
The motor has five levels of power assist compared to the usual three, giving you plenty of control, with a boost button and a throttle control to help you get away quickly at crossings and junctions. It flat charges in just over two hours, and gives you a maximum range of 40 miles before top-up.
When you’re done, the MiRider One folds down in a matter of seconds and is ready to be stored in the included case. The best e-bike for long time commuters.
read our full Miraider One Review
The WAU bike is an electric bike with remarkable range – capable of traveling up to 215 miles with an extra power pack, so you can forget about range worry, even on long leisure rides. This longevity also makes it a solid choice for travelers, meaning you only need to charge it on weekends.
The rear hub motor is easy to take, any one of five pedal-assisted modes you can choose from, and you can easily switch between them when facing hills or flats. There’s also an eight-speed cassette at the rear, which provides just the right amount of adjustment to prevent your feet spinning free while traveling at speed.
There are some carefully designed additions here too, including an anti-tamper alarm, multi-function rear lights and geo-fencing so that the bike cannot be driven outside a certain area.
see our full WAU Bike Review
The Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert is one of the most stylish electric bikes that offers sleek road styling when you need it, along with dynamic power assist from its 240W motor.
Carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes, 46T chainring, Shimano Deore XT Di2 Shadow Plus, 11-speed rear derailleur, Shimano Ultegra Di2 Disc R8070 shift lever, Praxis alloy crank and components with Shimano XT all high quality are the ones. 11-speed, 11-42t cassette.
If you love long weekend rides but find they leave you feeling broken on the end, this is the electric bike for you (provided your wallet can take a hit). Enough to convert even devoted conservatives.
read our full Specialized Turbo Kryo SL Expert Review
Where to start with Radical Gocycle GX? For one, it folds up, but it’s not a standard ‘folding bike’ big enough to ride we put it with these full-size options. Then there’s the radical frame that includes a mono-sided fork and rear swingarm.
With hydraulic disc brakes, magnesium spoke wheels, enclosed chaincase, small front hub motor, and internal three-speed gearing, it’s none of that thing. Adding on to an incredible electric bike, rides well even without power on it. Switched on, its motor assist is excellent, while the bike’s app lets you optimize its performance to the Nth degree.
About the only downsides are the slightly silly handling made by the smaller 20-inch wheels, as well as the way some technology can baffle home mechanics.
read our full Gocycle GX Review