best electric bike for the money

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Let’s face it – ebike aren’t cheap. Don’t you agree?

Is there an affordable ebike on the market today that not a piece of junk? Should you look for a cheap electric bike?

Most of them start at over $1,000, and prices go up from there. Top-of-the-line ebikes can retail for over $15,000. So it’s no surprise that people want to know which are the best ebikes for the money. 


1. Where To Shop For Your Next Ebike?
2. Fat Tire Electric Mountain Bikes– E-Fat-Step Folding Fat Tire Low-Step Ebike– Bakcou Mule Fat Tire Electric Hunting Bike– Eunorau Fat-HD Fat Tire Electric Mountain Bike3. Folding Electric Bikes– City Premium Folding Electric Bike– Big Dog Off-Road Folding Fat Tire Electric Bike

So which is the best value electric bike?

In this article, we’re going to expose some secrets of the ebike industry, and reveal 5 of the best ebikes for the money. Our focus here is on the best electric bikes under $2000.

The ebike industry in the US is fragmented, with many small competing companies and no single dominant player. This is good for consumers, since it results in a larger diversity of products on the market, and more competition. This also helps in controlling prices to some extent.

20 ebikes from different brands

But each of these companies has its own unique business structure, and their costs of production, distribution and marketing can vary widely. And many of these brands sell their bikes through dealers – online and brick & mortar – who themselves might offer things of value such as free shipping, coupon codes, and other marketing incentives.

But here’s the kicker: You may find two nearly identical ebikes from different companies, priced several hundred dollars apart. The bikes may have the same value, but their prices can vary greatly.

So in this article we are going to look at where to shop for your next ebike, and we’re going to review some of the best ebikes for the money.

Let’s dive in!


Where you shop for your ebike can have a big impact on how much you pay, and the value you receive. It’s important to keep in mind that the value you receive is not just the price of your ebike, but the customer service and support you can expect to receive, especially if there is a warranty issue.

The current market for electric bicycles is made up of five broad channels, including:

Brick and mortar stores. Traditional bike shops hold inventory and sell bikes exclusively from their physical store or warehouse. These businesses have the overhead costs of rent, insurance and staff, which can impact how much they charge customers.Pro Tip: These retailers often carry a limited number of ebike models, but they are great for test rides and after-sales service.

Click and mortar stores. These are bike shops that hold inventory and sell their ebikes from a physical store/warehouse location and through their website. These businesses have the same expenses as traditional bike shops, but also the challenge of managing sales through multiple channels. Like other bike shops, they have bike techs on staff that can help you find the best fitting bike, and provide after-sales service.Pro Tip: If you use their online channel to shop, however, it’s harder to know what kind of customer service experience you can expect.

Ecommerce sites. Online stores that do not have a physical presence sell via websites and fulfill orders directly from the warehouses of their brand suppliers. These sites do not have to pay rent, but they still have expenses such as maintaining their website and online advertising. The prices advertised on these sites are usually set by the brand, but they are more likely to offer discounts than physical retailers. The level of customer service can vary substantially from one online retailer to the next. Really Good Ebikes (RGE), the site you’re on now, is a leader in this category!Pro Tip: When shopping online, check the website’s About Us page to see who you are buying from, and note if they offer phone and chat support.

Ecommerce platforms. Ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target allow third-party sellers to use their platforms to make sales, and often provide warehousing and fulfillment services to these sellers. These platforms are known for selling budget brands from China. These may be cheap ebikes (often under $1,000) not known for being high-quality or a true value.Pro Tip: When using these platforms, you may find it difficult to receive information from the seller before you make a purchase, and getting post-sales support may also be a challenge.

Direct from China. It is hardly news that most ebikes are built in China. And now you can buy ebikes directly from China, through websites like Aliexpress. The prices can be very attractive when compared to ebikes sold in the US, but delivery times can be well over a month, and you should not expect anything but the bare minimum of customer support.Pro Tip: When using a site like Aliexpress, look for stores that offer Buyer Protection and have lots of positive reviews.


Fat tire electric mountain bikes are one of the most popular categories of ebikes, and there are a lot of options to choose from. Within this category, bikes typically have the motor located in the rear hub or integrated into the bottom bracket.


For rear hub fat tire ebikes, there are still a lot of options to choose from, but which is the value for the money? Our first choice would be the E-Fat-Step from Eunorau, which retails for $1,299. The E-Fat-Step is a folding fat tire bike with a low-step frame design for easy mounting and dismounting. It sports a 500W rear hub motor, which will give you a powerful boost when climbing hills or riding through soft surfaces such as sand or snow.

e-fat-step folding fat tire electric bike

The E-Fat-Step is often compared to the more expensive RadMini Step-Thru 2, which retails for $1,499. While it’s true that the Radmini has a 750W motor and 2Ah more battery capacity than the E-Fat-Step, we do not think these features are worth an extra $200. Another bike that is comparable to the E-Fat-Step is the Ram SS from Emojo, which retails for $1,899. The Ram SS also has a 750W motor, but it’s battery capacity is less than both the E-Fat-Step and the RadMini.

Next up, let’s check out a few mid-drive fat tire electric mountain bikes, and see which one is the best value electric bike. This is a very popular category with many options to choose from, so let’s dive in.

First, it’s important to know that the mid-drive ebikes are at the high end of the price range. There are a number of reasons for this. Mid-drive motors are more expensive than rear hub motors, the batteries paired with them are often of higher capacity and longer-range, and the bikes typically have heavy-duty frames that are ideal for hunting applications.


The #1 most popular mid-drive fat tire electric mountain bike among bowhunters is the Bakcou Mule. Retailing with a base price of $5,147, this is anything but a budget ebike. And yet, it might be one of the best ebikes for the money.

The Mule was designed and engineered around the unparalleled power and performance of Bafang’s Ultra mid-drive motor. The Ultra motor is widely recognized as the “diesel engine” of mid-drive motors! It’s all metal, heavy-duty gearing, combined with the intelligence of an integrated torque sensor, make the Ultra motor the most capable, durable, and efficient motor on the market today.

bowhunter with bakcou mule fat tire ebike outside

Don’t be fooled by the 1,000W nominal badge on this mid-motor. Under the hood, the Bafang Ultra is capable of pulling 1,600W from the battery using only its stock settings.

The Bafang Ultra torque rating is also crazy good. At 160 Nm, this motor is far and above the best mid-drive on the market. The best and latest models from other industry leaders, including Bosch, Brose and Panasonic, are only now reaching 90 Nm. That translates into wheelie popping, seat-of-the-pants thrill riding that most people have never experienced before on an ebike.

For comparison purposes, you could check out the Rambo R1000XPC. This bike is similar to the Bakcou Mule in several ways, but features a 1000W Bafang BBSHD mid-drive motor. The BBSHD is also an excellent motor, with 160Nm torque rating, but at $4,499, the R1000XPC is hardly a bargain.

check out the bakcou mule ebike


From the perspective of value, we think the Eunorau Fat-HD fat tire electric mountain bike is a winner. At $2,399, the 1000W Fat-HD is one of the least expensive mid-drive fat tire ebikes on the market.

It features the same Bafang BBSHD mid-drive motor found on the R1000XPC, as well as a 48V/15.6Ah downtube-integrated battery. There are also options to get a second battery at very good prices ($470 for the 48V/16Ah option, and $670 for the 48V/21Ah option).

eunorau fat hd electric fat tire mountain bike

The Eunorau Fat-HD comes with hydraulic disk brakes, a left-side thumb throttle, 5 levels of pedal assist, RST Spring suspension fork with lockouts and 100mm of travel, fenders and a rear rack.

check out the eunorau fat-hd ebike


Folding electric bikes are another very popular category in the world of ebikes. They are designed to fold into a compact form, making it ideal for transport and storage.

Folding bikes have a hinge and clamp mechanism in the middle of the frame, which allows the frame to be folded in half. Some folding bikes also have a folding tiller – the part which the handlebars connect to – which allows for an even more compact folded dimensions.

As mentioned above, the E-Fat-Step is a great fat tire ebike for the money. It’s also a great folding ebike, and at $1,299, it’s a pretty good value.


The City Premium folding ebike from Green Bike Electric Motion is a real winner in this category. It’s built for comfort and style, but is also quite affordable and a good value at $1,699.

The City Premium has a 6-speed derailleur and can be ridden like a conventional bike. It was a comfortable upright riding posture, and you will really enjoy the large, spring-loaded gel saddle and suspension seat post. The ergonomic grips are a pleasure to hold, and all the controls are laid out nicely on the handlebar for easy operation.

girl outside building with city premium folding ebike

When you’re ready for a boost, the City Premium will help get you to your destination in style without breaking a sweat. It features a 350W rear hub motor, and a long-range 48V/15.6Ah battery. The battery is removable, so you can charge it while on or off the bike.

Other features of the City Premium that make a premium ebike are the magnesium alloy rims, hydraulic disc brakes, fenders, a rear rack and bright headlight.

At $1,699, the City Premium might not seem like a bargain. But when compared to some of the other premium folders on the market, it is. The Pedego Latch folding ebike retails for $2,795, and the Evelo Dash, also a 350W folder, starts at $2,899.

check out the green bike city premium folding electric bike


The last bike in our roundup is the Big Dog from Green Bike. This beast of a folder sports a 750W rear hub motor, and is perfect for hilly rides on rutted and rocky trails. Not only will the fat tires absorb bumps in the road, but with a full-suspension frame, the Big Dog Off-Road is going to give you more comfort than a hardtail ride.

best electric bikes

(Image credit: Charge Bikes)

The hottest new way to get around town — or anywhere else — is on one of the best electric bikes. These battery-powered bicycles can give you an extra boost when you need it, making it easier to travel up hills and longer distances. Especially in nicer weather, they’re a great alternative to taking a car. 

There are electric bikes for just about every person, from mountain bikes to commuters to large cargo bikes. And while many are still quite expensive, they’re coming down in price. What’s more, they’re all fun to ride.

What are the best electric bikes?


• Rad Power announced the new RadCity 5 Plus, a commuter e-bike starting at $1,799.
• Specialized has three new models: The Turbo Vado 5 ($5,000); the Turbo Como 4 (starting at $4,000), and the Turbo Tero (starting at $3,250)

After riding a number of models, we think the Charge Bikes City is the best electric bike for most people, especially for those who live in more urban environments. Starting at $1,699, it’s not overly expensive for an ebike. It comes in both a low-step and a high-step model as well as two sizes, so it can comfortably accommodate riders from 5-foot 1-inch to 6-feet 3 inches. 

We also like that the Charge Bikes City has front and rear fenders as well as a built-in bike rack. Its battery is removable, making it easier to charge, and the bike’s handlebars and pedals can fold flat, making the bike easier to store if you have limited space. We also liked its head- and taillights, and found its 250-Watt motor was powerful enough to get us anywhere we wanted to go.

Those living in the suburbs may find the Gazelle Medeo T9 Classic to be the best electric bike for their needs. The Medeo T9 Classic has traditional Dutch styling combined with a mid-drive Bosch motor, which makes for a very pleasant ride. At $1,999, it’s reasonably priced, though its heavier 50-pound weight and lack of folding components makes it better suited to be stored in a garage rather than an apartment.

If you’re shopping for an electric bike now, here are the best we’ve tested so far. Keep in mind that due to high demand, many of the best electric bikes are either on backorder or are sold out. And before you do any riding, be sure to pick up one of the best bike helmets.

Charge Bikes City review
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

1. Charge Bikes City

Best electric bike for commuters


Price: $1,499Battery: 418WhMax estimated range: 50 milesMotor: Bafang rear hub motorGearing: Shimano 7-speedTODAY’S BEST DEALS$1,699 AT CHARGE BIKES


+Excellent handling+Complete set of features


-Plain styling

If you plan on commuting to work, Charge Bikes City may well be the best ebike for you. Not only does it come with features like full-fenders to keep the mud off and a rear rack for a pack or bag, but it does everything well for a very reasonable price. The Charge City has a five level power assist, as well as a full-power throttle button, should the need or hill arise. It comes with all the necessary bells and whistles a commuter is going to want, including the bell (actually a superior and very loud electronic horn). 

The handle bars fold flat, for easy storage in an apartment or cubicle, and the City’s electric support is so smooth you’ll think you’re doing all the work yourself. We were able to do three days plus of typical city commuting before having to re-charge. At night, the bike’s lights sufficiently lit up the road and the throttle helped us zip around potential trouble when we felt out of gas. Founded by folks from biking icon Cannondale, Charge’s sui generis feature is that even newbies can assemble the bike right out of the box in 10 minutes or less. All you basically have to do is put the front wheel on. It’s one of the many reasons why it was also named the best electric bike in the Tom’s Guide 2021 Awards for health and fitness.

Read our full Charge Bikes City review

best electric bikes: Gazelle Medeo T9 Classic
(Image credit: Gazelle)

2. Gazelle Medeo T9 Classic

Best suburban ebike


Price: $1,999Battery: 400WhMotor: Bosch mid-driveGearing: Shimano 9 speedTODAY’S BEST DEALS$1,999 AT GAZELLE BIKES


+Beautiful design+Cushy ride



A classic bicycle feel and comfortable ride are the hallmarks of Dutch bike maker Gazelle’s Medeo T9. Its low-step design means it’s easy to hop on, and touches like a front-fork suspension and supple seat from Selle Royal give it an easy-going feel. Gazelle’s sturdy aluminum frame and solid components, like a mid-drive Bosch motor, which drives power through the chain, imply reliability but also make for a slightly heavier bike at almost 50 pounds. It makes the Medeo T9 less than ideal for apartment dwellers, but it’s within the weight class of many ebikes, which often tip the scales at about 45 pounds.

Nevertheless, Gazelle’s bikes handle well and the electric components won’t surprise riders with sudden lurches or acceleration. Furthermore, the hydraulic disc brakes help make it responsive and well-balanced. We also like the bike’s retro aesthetic that recalls a gilded age of bike riding, making it perfect for suburbanites, beach bums, and even the AARP set.

VanMoof S3 review: Dutch design delight
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

3. VanMoof S3

A stylish and high-tech electric bike


Price: $1,999Battery: 504WhMotor: Front driveGearing: 4 speedTODAY’S BEST DEALS$1,998 AT VANMOOF


+Sleek, minimalist design+Good power+App lets you customize gearing


-A bit heavy-Battery can’t be removed easilyAdvertisement

With sleek, clean lines, the VanMoof S3 is sure to turn heads, but this electric bike is more than just looks. It has an electronic shifter that automatically changes your gears and a boost which provides you an uphill assist. Once you connect the bike to your phone via Bluetooth, you get a bunch of other features, too: You can change when the bike shifts gears, change the sound of its electronic horn, and more. Best of all, you can lock the bike using your phone, and get an alert if someone tries to make off with it.

We loved riding the VanMoof S3; it’s no speed demon, but it’s a great bike for cruising around. And you’ll look great doing it, too. An update in April 2021 now lets you use Apple’s FindMy app to locate the VanMoof S3 and X3 in case it’s ever lost or stolen.

Read our full VanMoof S3 review.

best electric bikes: Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB
(Image credit: Gazelle)

4. Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB

A refined — but pricey — ride


Battery: 500 WhMax estimated range: 43 milesMax assisted speed: 20 mphMotor: Bosch Performance Line 3.0 65 Nm mid-drive motorGearing: Enviolo 380 stepless gear systemWheel diameter: 28 inchesWeight: 54.6 lbs. (with battery)TODAY’S BEST DEALS$3,999 AT GAZELLE


+Excellent ride+Frictionless electric power+Top combination of accessories



The Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB is one of the smoothest-riding electric bikes we’ve tested. Thanks to a Gates belt drive and seamless Enviolo shifter that allows you to change gears in the middle of a hill, everything about this bike is effortless. Its low-step frame is topped with a Selle Loire Gel seat with an internal compression post to soften the ride. The aluminum frame also has an internal front fork suspension system and removable battery to keep the whole design as svelte as possible. 

The Gazelle has full mud guards, a metal belt guard (to keep your pants clean), kickstand, lights front and back, a rear rack with a built-in stretch bracket, and even an Axa Defender lock that immobilizes the rear wheel when you snap it shut and remove the key. But, all of this will cost you: The Gazelle Ultimate is a steep $3,999.

Read our full Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB review.

Biktrix Stunner X review
(Image credit: Biktrix)

5. Biktrix Stunner X

A great electric bike for on- and offroad fun


Battery: 840 Wh (as tested)Max estimated range: 40 milesMax assisted speed: 20 mphMotor: Bafang 750w mid drive motorGearing: Shimano Alivio 9-speedWheel diameter: 26 inchesWeight: 65.8 pounds (with large battery)TODAY’S BEST DEALS$2,799 AT BIKTRIX.COM


+Super solid ride in the rough+Good hill-climbing power+Smooth mid-drive motor


-Awkward controllerAdvertisement

The all-weather Biktrix Stunner X is equally at home in the mud and snow as it is on pothole-dotted city streets, keeping the rider comfortable and in control no matter the terrain or conditions. It’s got enough of a kick to get you up a gravel hill, and enough padding so that your ride doesn’t turn into a torture test.

Its Bafang 750W mid-drive motor is surprisingly powerful, and can be used in pedal-assist as well as throttle mode, for when you want to give your legs a break. While not as nimble as purpose-built electric mountain bikes, it performed admirably on mud-slicked roads. Our only real critique is that the Bafang controller was a bit difficult to master.

Read our full Biktrix Stunner X electric bike review

Aventon Aventure ebike
Aventon Aventure (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

6. Aventon Aventure

A less expensive fat tire ebike


Battery: 720 WhMax estimated range: 45 milesMax assisted speed: 28 mphMotor: 1130W (Peak) 750W (Sustained), 48V Brushless Rear Hub MotorGearing: Shimano Acera 8-speed rear derailleurWheel diameter: 26 inchesWeight: 73 poundsTODAY’S BEST DEALSCHECK AMAZON$1,899 at Aventon


+Flexible power with pedal assist and full throttle modes+Excellent color LCD controller+Competitively priced


-Some turbo-lag effectAdvertisement

If you’re looking for a fat-tire electric bike that’s less than $2,000, the Aventon Aventure is hard to beat. It’s as good off-road as it is on pavement, has a beefy battery and a clear color display, as well as fenders that’ll save your clothes from getting too muddy.

The Aventure has both pedal-assist and throttle modes, and the battery and wires are neatly integrated into the frame. What’s more, the battery can be removed for charging. While not as capable as a dedicated mountain bike, the Aventure was able to get us up and over hilly terrain, though there was a minor lag in the power boost. Still, for the price, it’s a tradeoff that’s more than acceptable.

Read our full Aventon Aventure review.

best electric bikes: Specialized Turbo Vado SL
(Image credit: Specialized)

7. Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

Best electric bike for performance


Price: $4,500Battery: 320WhMotor: Specialized mid-driveGearing: Shimano 10-gearTODAY’S BEST DEALS$3,350 AT SPECIALIZED


+Light weight+Top-flight handling



A number of ebikes have been marred by clunky designs and backbreaking weight. Specialized decided to blow those preconceptions out of the water with Turbo Vado. Its svelte design conceals the battery within the downtube, so no one needs know you’re getting an electric boost, and it hides a rather effective shock absorber within the front forks, making for a smoother ride on less than pristine pavement. 

The Turbo Vado weighs about 34 pounds, just a few pounds heavier than a regular steel bike and about 10 pounds less than a typical ebike. That makes it easier to haul up a flight of stairs or heave onto a car bike rack. On the electric side, it includes a Smart Control program that figures out the amount of force you’re using and then adds just the right amount of additional torque to get you over humps with ease. It’s surprisingly seamless and perfect for set-it-and-forget-it commutation or weekend rides in the park. It’s the best ebike for those who don’t want others to know they’re riding an ebike.

The best electric bikes: Riese & Müller Load 60
(Image credit: Riese & Müller)

8. Riese & Müller Load 60

Best electric cargo bike


Price: $8,099Battery: Two 500Wh batteriesMotor: Bosch Cargo mid-driveGearing: Shimano, 11-speedTODAY’S BEST DEALS$8,099 AT RIESE & MÜLLER


+Hauls a lot of assets+Good handling



Riese & Muller bikes evince some of the best mechanical engineering available in a bike. It pays off in this full-suspension and incredibly maneuverable cargo bike that can haul up to 220-pounds worth of groceries or gear. The R&M Load 60 is also priced accordingly, starting at more than $8,000, but it includes professional-grade components, including two 500Wh batteries for up to 12 hours of power-assisted range and a heavy-duty Bosch Cargo motor that helps out until you hit 28 mph. 

Over hill and dale, we found the bike’s low center of gravity meant it never felt twitchy, even at high speeds. The battery and Bosch mid-motor design delivered enough power for us to pass a carbon-fiber bike rider on Harlem hill in New York’s Central Park. R&M is also one of the more robust brands of ebikes available and the Load 60 can safely handle two toddlers (up to 6 years old) up front, but you’ll need the double child seat accessory for that. It costs an additional $294. It’s the best ebike for those who have to haul a lot of stuff.

The best electric bikes: Giant Trance E + 1
(Image credit: Giant Bicycles)

9. Giant Trance E + 1 Pro

Best electric mountain bike


Battery: 500WhMotor: Yamaha mid-driveGearing: Shimano 12-speedTODAY’S BEST DEALS$5,600 AT GIANT BICYCLES


+Relatively competitive price+Full suspension for rough terrain


-Heavy-Small display lightsAdvertisement

Even mountain bikers can use a boost now and then. The Giant Trance E +1 Pro is a full-featured mountaineer that’s on the heavy side at over 50 pounds but does remarkably well getting tossed around on rocky routes. There’s no big display to tell you about power modes—just LEDs to indicate power levels. On the other hand, you should be keeping your head up looking for the next hillock so you don’t do a face plant anyway. 

This best electric bike for mountain bikers includes Giant’s popular Maestro suspension package, which handles the extra weight with aplomb; and the big Shimano hydraulic disc brakes have plenty of stopping power to keep it all under control. The bike is also available in four sizes, so it should fit most riders. If you’re looking for help climbing rugged trails, this is your bike. Just don’t expect to easily pop it into the air very often.

GoCycle G4i+ parked at Moynihan Train Hall
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

10. Gocycle G4i+

Best folding electric bike


Battery: 10.4Ah, 36VMax estimated range: 50 milesMax assisted speed: 20 mphMotor: G4 Drive, front hub, 500 watt (US)Gearing: Shimano Nexus 3-speedWheel diameter: 20 inchesWeight: 36 poundsTODAY’S BEST DEALS$5,999 AT GOCYCLE


+Futuristic sleek design+Easy to collapse and unfold+Light


-Flimsy smartphone holder-Mudguards, headlight sold separatelyAdvertisement

The Gocycle G4i+ looks like something a supercar designer would build, which isn’t surprising given that it was conceived by former McLaren sports car engineer Richard Thorpe. Not only is this bike’s unique wheels-on-one-side and tapered body eye-catching, it is also able to fold up in a couple of minutes into a size small enough to get by security and into the office elevator. At 36 pounds, it’s one of the lightest folding electric bikes out there, too. 

Despite that, this bike was a real pleasure to ride. Its electric shifter responded near instantly, as did the pedal assist and throttle. However, while the G4i+ has daytime running lights, you’ll have to pay extra for a legit headlight, as well as mudguards. Also, the G4i+ has a great smartphone app, but one of the flimsiest methods of holding your phone on the bike itself — a cheap solution for a bike that costs six grand. 

If you’re looking for something slightly more affordable, GoCycle also sells the G4i ($4,999) and the G4 ($3,999).

Read our full GoCycle G4i+ review

What to look for when buying an electric bike

Pedal-assist or throttle?
Electric bikes tend to fall into two categories: Pedal-assist and throttle. The motor on a pedal-assist electric bike will only kick in if you’re actively pedaling, whereas a throttle electric bike will zip you along even when you’re not pedaling. Both types have their advantages: electric bikes with throttles let you kick back and enjoy the ride, but pedal-assist electric bikes will offer a longer ride on the same battery charge.

Some electric bikes offer both functions, and many let you set the level of pedal assistance if you want to get more of a workout, or want to conserve your bike’s battery. 

Motor type
Less expensive electric bikes traditionally use a rear hub motor. Mid-drive motors located in the center pedal crank shaft tend to be more expensive but offer better overall balance and smoother shifting. 

Motors are also rated based on their power, measured in Watts. Typically, the least powerful motor will be 250 Watts, but unless you’re a very large person or planning to go up really steep hills, the motor size shouldn’t be a major determining factor for your purchase. More important,  there is no industry standard for measuring Watts (is it continuous or peak and if peak, for how long?). So in general, a motor’s Watt rating isn’t a reliable indication of power.

Battery size
Consider where you live. If you’re in San Francisco you’re going to want more help than if you’re cruising around Austin. Watt hours (Wh) is the most important figure for comparison—it takes into account battery output and battery life to give you a better sense of available power. Higher Wh translates into more range. 

Many electric bike makers will also include an estimated range (usually about 40 miles) that you can get off a single charge. You should take this figure with a large grain of salt, as that number is usually determined under ideal circumstances: A fairly lightweight person riding on flat terrain with no wind, and at the perfect ambient temperature for the battery. Range is also dependent on the level of power assist being used, whether full-throttle has been applied and for how long, and your average speed. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Removable or built-in battery?
Most bike batteries will handle rides of about 40 miles and need to be plugged in for at least a couple of hours to get to 80 percent of capacity. So if you have a more demanding commute, consider a model that lets you swap out the battery rather than a bike with an integrated battery. 

Also, if you live in a place where you can’t bring your bike inside or get close to a wall outlet (such as if you live in a walk-up apartment), definitely look for a bike with a removable battery. It will make your life a lot easier.

Safety features
If you’re planning to ride your electric bike in traffic or in low-light conditions (such as dawn and dusk), it’s worth looking for an electric bike with built-in head and taillights. While increasingly common, it’s not a standard feature on all models. 

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


All the bicycles in this feature were road (and in some cases, off-road) tested by Tom’s Guide reviewers and staff. Day and night rides, where relevant, are also included and bikes are tested for stability, handling, and safety features (including lights, reflectors, and horns). With an increasing number of models available online only, we also take ease of assembly into account

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