Remember hopping into those battery-powered cars and bikes as a kid? Those have been turned into adult-sized riding opportunities thanks to the technologies behind the best electric bike models made today. Sometimes referred to as “e-bikes,” it’s an easy way to travel long distances on your bike without putting in all of the pedaling effort. With the right bike, it also adds a lot of fun.
|Razor MX350 Dirt Rocket Electric Motocross Bike||4.3||$$|
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What is an Electric Bike and Why Do I Need One?
For all intents and purposes, an e-bike is still a standard bicycle. It uses the same design principles and components to give you the best possible riding experience. The only difference is that an electric motor has been added to the design, often fueled by a rechargeable battery.
What makes the electric bike unique is the fact that it really is a genuine hybrid vehicle. You can ride the best e-bikes just like any other bicycle if you wish. You can also use it as if it were a motor-powered vehicle. This makes it a helpful option for cyclists because it can provide benefits to a wide range of cyclists.
The benefit of owning one is that in most jurisdictions, the electric bicycle is treated not as a motor vehicle, but as a standard bicycle. This means cyclists can still use bike lanes, trails, paths, and store the bicycle in a bike rack without the need to obtain a driver’s license. Some jurisdictions may not even require a registration.
In return, you’ll be able to travel at consistent speeds of up to 20 miles per hour without having to pedal.
What are the Benefits of Owning an Electric Bike?
When the cost of an e-bike is considered, many potential cyclists will shy away from the idea of ownership. After all – a traditional bike costs about 10% of the MSRP that the best electric bikes are sold for today. That’s a big price difference.
Yet there are certain benefits of owning an electric bike that eventually help to make this investment pay for itself one day. Here is a look at the three key advantages that all e-bike owners receive immediately on their first day of ownership.
- It becomes easier to commute in urban environments. With an electric bike, you can still access most bike lanes, allowing you to avoid walking and automobile traffic on your way to work. You can also avoid parking fees and walk your bicycle on the sidewalk while taking advantage of public transportation.
- It allows for cheaper travel. The cost of powering up an electric bike on a daily basis is a fraction of the cost for fuel in an automobile. E-bikes are cheaper to maintain and repair as well.
- It provides an environmentally friendly way to travel. Although fossil fuels aren’t completely eliminated from the equation through e-bike ownership, the amount of fuel consumption is dramatically reduced. Running an electric bike also contributes very little to the ongoing emission issues that some urban communities currently face.
The best electric bike models have created a niche transportation opportunity. Not only do owners have the option to pedal, but they also get to take advantage of motorized power. This makes the design of the modern e-bike one that is flexible, capable, and highly accessible to the ever-changing demands of our current lifestyles.
What Kind of Electric Bike Would Work Best for Me?
In the world of electric bikes, there are three generic classifications that are used to separate the various features which are currently available with this technology. Each classification has the ability to meet specific needs. Which category is right for you?
- Pedal Assist. This type of e-bike is sometimes called a “pedelec.” It’s a standard bike, equipped with an electric motor, and it will only become motorized when the bike is being pedaled. This bike design is capped at speeds of 20mph and motors of 750 watts.
- Power on Demand. This type of electric bike allows the cyclist to activate and control the motor whenever they wish. Pedaling is not required to create motorized momentum. These bikes also have speed and motor caps.
- This type of electric bike does not have a governor equipped to it, so the combination of pedaling and motorized movement can create a high speed riding experience.
Once an electric bicycle is able to exceed 20 miles per hour, it may be classified as a motor vehicle and require the licensing and registration that any motorcycle or scooter would require. A specific driver’s license classification may also need to be added.
For general riding purposes, pedal assist and power on demand e-bikes are usually treated as a regular bicycle. Their prices are typically lower than speed bikes as well and perform best in urban environments.
Speed e-bikes tend to perform better in rural environments where longer distances may be necessary to travel.
In most electric bike reviews, you’ll find a price that exceeds $1,000 for the average make and model. There are a few short-distance electric bikes that do fit into the $750-$1,000 range, but have features that are suitable to a small number of cyclists.
It is not unusual for electric bikes to be priced above $2,000. Some of the top models today by brands like Yuba, Evelo, or Faraday are priced in the $4,000 range.
Here’s Our Reviews:
With a 1000-watt motor serving as the primary driving force, this external 7-speed Shimano can achieve a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour. You receive a large screen display for speed, distance, and battery life so that you can make sure you’re following all local laws. It features an aluminum frame, an adjustable hardtail suspension, and has a range of up to 20 miles on a single charge. It’s a solid bike that is easy to maintain and gives you the transportation that you need… though with its speed, you’ll need to check on local laws before purchase.
We love the pedal assist that comes with this particular e-bike. It features a maximum speed of 20mph and has a range of up to 50 miles thanks to the pedal assist. It’s also about 20% lighter than many top-end electric bikes, weighing just 39 pounds. The frame is made from 6061-aluminum for a solid riding experience. It is a single-speed electric design, however, so it may not meet the expectations of every rider.
Some electric bikes are built for long-distance commutes. Others are more for short-distance hauls. Then there are the e-bikes that are more for training and kids than they are for a drive to work. It’s the latter that this electric bike gets right. It’s quiet, offering users a single-speed control with a chain driven motor and twist throttle for opening up its speed. We could get this bike up to about 10mph with a slight downhill flat, so it isn’t necessarily toothless. It rides like a dirt bike, is priced like any other bike, and lets you try out the e-bike experience on the cheap.
This bicycle is a good value purchase in this category. It’s built more like a cruiser, but gives you options like a commuter. The low-step frame is perfect for almost every rider and can reach speeds of up to 14 mph. We found the range on this bike is about 50-60 minutes, so expect about 15 miles of range per charge. There’s also a pedal assist included with the design to support the 250-watt motor. If you only need to go a short distance, we think you’ll love what this bicycle is able to do.
Most electric bikes are suited to street work or flatland paved trails and that’s about it. This particular model is one of the exceptions to the rule. It features an incredibly light frame, constructed of aluminum, and is coated with anti-corrosion paint. A 26-inch wheelset handles precipitation well and a LED front light is included with purchase. It may only have a 250-watt motor, but we were able to reach a peak speed of just over 20mph. It climbs on trails well, gives you great stability, and charges in about 6 hours. If you like to explore, give this bike a chance and it will exceed your expectations.
The best electric bike doesn’t have to be expensive to help you reach your intended destination. As long as you can match your personal needs to the features of each make and model, you’ll be able to reduce automobile use, explore nature comfortably, and enjoy cycling like never before.