Just when we think e-bikes can’t improve or become more affordable, they do. As much as we thought 2022 was the perfect time for someone to purchase an e-bike, it is obvious from what we are seeing that 2023 will be an even better year to purchase an e-bike.
Whether someone is shopping for their first e-bike or has decided to graduate to something with more versatility, power or range, the e-bikes we review keeping getting better and better. We see plenty of stories in the news about how awful inflation is, and while eggs may be more expensive, e-bikes are not. In fact, we are seeing features on sub-$2000 e-bikes in 2023 that were unthinkable in 2020.
In terms of value, the $1500-$2000 price point is still where a shopper’s dollar goes furthest. However, shoppers on a tight budget can now find quality e-bikes for less than $1000. It wasn’t that long ago that we warned shoppers to spend at least $1000 if they wanted an e-bike with reliable electronics.
Upgrades that we are seeing creep into e-bikes retailing for less than $2000 include: 8-speed drivetrains, multiple frame sizes and frame designs (both traditional and step-thru options are increasingly common), longer-range batteries and the real game-changer—torque sensors.
Our roundup focuses on e-bikes that go for less than $2000, but we do include a couple of premium options. They run the gamut from all-terrain models to commuters and cruisers. In short, there’s something for any rider.
One other advantage to deciding that 2023 is the year to purchase an e-bike is that the supply chain issues of the last few years are largely a matter of the last few years. The only time we see e-bikes not being available is when they are a new model that has been announced but hasn’t begun shipping yet.
Quick Answer: The 15 Best E-Bikes of 2023
- Aventon Aventure.2
- Lectric XP 3.0
- RadCity 5 Plus
- Ride1UP 700 Series
- RadRover 6 Plus
- Ride1up Cafe Cruiser
- Himiway Cruiser
- RadRunner 2
- Blix Aveny Skyline
- EBC Model S
- Mokwheel Basalt
- Blix Sol Eclipse
- Lectric XP Lite
- Velotric Discover 1
- Aventon Pace 500 ST
- Specialized Turbo Vado
- GoCycle G4
- Himiway Cobra
The Aventon Aventure has been one of our favorite budget-minded e-bikes since its introduction. The e-bike received an updating in 2022 with the introduction of the Aventure.2. The new version keeps the basics of what we liked in the original: a 750W brushless, geared hub motor, a 720Wh battery, hydraulic disc brakes and an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain.
The biggest single change to from the Aventure to the Aventure.2 is the addition of a torque sensor, which replaces the cadence sensor. A cadence sensor simply registers whether the pedals are turning or not and if they are turning, then it will instruct the motor to put out the amount of power assigned to the chosen PAS level. It’s a fairly blunt response. A torque sensor responds to how hard a rider is pedaling. That means that as a rider’s effort increases, the motor’s output increases. Acceleration is more seamless, not to mention instantaneous; a torque sensor eliminates that delay between the first pedal stroke and the motor engaging.
We like the Aventon Aventure.2 because of its versatility. Thanks to 4-in.-wide tires, it offers a comfortable ride and traction in nearly any conditions, especially wet ones. The knobby tires are suitable to offroad riding as well. Like with the original Aventure, Aventon equips the Aventure.2 with front and rear lights as well as front and rear fenders. To that, they add a rear rack on the Aventure.2, giving it an increased usability for errand-running and commuting.
The Aventure.2 uses the same 720Wh battery found in its predecessor, but thanks to the presence of the torque sensor, it uses its power more efficiently, and now riders can look forward to increased range. Our colleagues at Electric Bike Report tested the Aventon Aventure.2 and achieved 59 mi. in PAS 1 (Eco) and 31 mi. in PAS 4 (Power). The PAS 4 result is a more than 50 percent gain in range relative to the previous Aventure.
Aventon not only equips the Aventure.2 with one of the easier-to-read displays out there, they also offer one of the best e-bike smartphone apps going. Not only can riders adjust the motor’s response and track their rides, the app will allow riders to “unlock” the controller and ride the Aventure.2 as a Class 3 e-bike with a 28 mph top speed, perfect for zipping across town.
See all the details in our full Aventon Aventure review.
- Available in two sizes as well as traditional and step-through frames
- 750w motor makes the bike feel light and maneuverable
- The torque sensor improves acceleration and allows the rider to better control speed by how hard they pedal
- Ships as a Class 2 bike but can be unlocked to be ridden as Class 3 in pedal-assist mode
- Pedal-assist range of 31-59-miles for all-day adventures
- Hydraulic disc brakes for confident stopping
- Smaller riders may find the medium too large to ride comfortably
- Getting the battery to turn on seemed to require the right amount of pressure and time on the button
Lectric XP 3.0
Looking for one of the best electric bikes but you don’t want to break the bank? Then say hello to the latest edition of one of the most popular e-bikes on the market, the Lectric XP 3.0. This is an update to the very popular XP 2.0.
Storing an electric bike can be an issue, but a folding e-bike side-steps some of that problem by reducing the amount of space the bike takes up when it’s not in use. The Lectric XP 3.0 combines the efficiency of a folding bike with the fun and practicality of an e-bike.
The XP 3.0 features big 3-in. tires for a cushy ride and the smaller 20-in. wheels not only make storing the bike easier, but they also make the bike easier to accelerate and more nimble in city conditions. The XP 3.0 is spec’d with mechanical disc brakes, but the rotors have been upgraded from 160mm to 180mm for better stopping power. The bike is surprisingly practical in use; it comes with a rear rack as well as integrated lights.
The XP 2.0 was a bit under-geared in our opinion. Reaching 20 mph with the gears included was not easy and going faster than 20 mph was all but impossible unless someone was riding downhill. The XP 3.0 has been equipped with a higher high gear, making Class 3 speeds possible.
Lectric spec’d the bike with a 500W motor powerful enough to allow the bike to be used as a Class 3 (28 mph max speed) ride. Those who want the convenience of a throttle after a long day can rest and let the motor carry them home. And for those who still want to pedal, there are five levels of pedal assist. The backlit display is easy to read even on the brightest days.
This is a seriously feature-packed bike in the $1000-range. It makes it our recommendation for the budget conscious who are looking for their best electric bike.
See all the details in our full Lectric Bikes XP 3.0 review
- The XP 3.0 folds up quicker than most folding e-bikes and has easy-to-use locking latches for added safety
- Small wheels make it easy to turn
- 3-in.-wide tires offer a cushy ride even on rough roads
- Feels sturdy and doesn’t ride like a folding bike
- The XP 3.0 has a broader range of gears than the XP 2.0, making it easier to go Class 3 speeds
- It’s a feature-packed bike for just under $1000
- Still have mechanical disc brakes, but the rotors were upgraded to 180mm (from 160mm)
- Both the standard frame and the step-thru design come in only one size
Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus
Commuter e-bikes are one of the single biggest categories of e-bikes on the market. They represent a terrific opportunity to park the car and enjoy the sunshine and some exercise, not to mention doing more to eliminate greenhouse gasses than anything else a single person can do. The Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus is a terrific example of everything we look for in a commuter e-bike.
The Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus comes in two different frame designs, a traditional frame with a sloping top tube and a step-thru model with a very low standover height. It features a 750W brushless, geared hub motor powered by a 589-672Wh battery, hydraulic disc brakes and a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain to tame the hills.
The RadCity 5 Plus features a backswept handlebar and a short reach to give riders a very upright position, making it easy to see what’s happening in traffic. It also includes an adjustable stem that will allow for more adjustment for a rider’s fit.
Our favorite commuter e-bikes make the process of becoming a commuter easier for the rider. To that end, the Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus comes with front and rear lights, front and rear fenders and a rear rack, making it ready to ride in all conditions from sunny spring days, to rainy evenings. Add a saddle bag and it’s ready to carry a laptop, change of clothes and lunch.
Riders wondering how comfortable the RadCity 5 Plus is will appreciate the combination of 2-in.-wide tires and suspension fork. It may not prioritize comfort in the way that an all-terrain e-bike does, but this e-bike will offer more crisp handling and greater efficiency, helping preserve battery life.
See all the details in our full Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus review
- Includes fenders for riding in the rain
- 2-in.-wide tires offer a comfortable ride with great traction
- Includes lights for being seen at dusk and at night
- Suspension fork for more comfort and better handling on rough roads
- A seven-speed drivetrain makes hills simpler
- A powerful battery gives riders at least 28-miles of range each charge
- Only comes in one size per frame style. Riders outside the 25″-37.5″ inseam recommendation won’t quite fit.
Ride1UP 700 Series
In urban riding a Class 1 or 2 e-bike (up to 20 mph) can do a pretty good job of keeping up with traffic. But in suburban riding where there are greater distances between lights, they can seem not quite quick enough. That’s where having a Class 3 electric bike can come in handy. With a max speed of 28 mph, getting from light to light can be done at near traffic speeds.
The Ride1UP 700 Series brings all the amenities of a good commuter bike with the prompt arrival time of a car. That Ride1UP chose to go with so many name-brand components like Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano shifter, derailleur and cassette, and a Selle Royal saddle is a clear demonstration that quality matters to them.
A great commuter bike needs heavy-duty tires, lights for night-time riding, fenders to stay dry when on wet streets and a rack to carry things like a computer and extra clothes. Ride1UP didn’t stop there; they integrated the battery into the frame for better handling and a cleaner look, as well as a 100mm suspension fork for better control and comfort.
What sets the Ride1UP 700 Series apart from other bikes that can claim similar performance and specs is the fact that it costs $100-200 less than most of its peers. A good ride for a good price earns it serious consideration as one of the year’s best electric bikes.
See all the details in our full Ride1UP 700 Series review
- 750W motor quickly powers riders to 28 mph max speed
- Range of up to 50 miles per charge
- LED lights make it easy to see and be seen at night
- The Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide great stopping power
- Integrated battery looks good and improves handling
- At around $1700, the value is tremendous
- The cadence sensor can be a little slow to detect pedaling, causing a lag before power kicks in
RadRover 6 Plus
Getting around town by bike shouldn’t feel like a substitute for going to the gym. With its easy step-thru design and 750W motor, the Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 Plus is a fat-tire bike capable of off-roading, but feels great in city riding. Thanks to a semi-integrated batter, this bike has a lower center of gravity than many similar bikes, making handling calmer and yet more nimble.
Riders can choose between five levels of pedal assist to right-size the assistance they get. A simple user interface makes choosing on the fly easy as well as reading the display while pedaling. Fat-tire electric bikes, like this one with 4-in.-wide tires, offer a very comfortable ride and traction like a cat’s claws. Extras include integrated head and tail lights and even brake lights when a rider pulls the brake levers. Riders can choose between a traditional frame and a step-thru design for easier starts.
What sets this apart from some other fat tire e-bikes we’ve got on our best e-bikes list is how smoothly the RadRover 6 Plus delivers from the motor. Many fat tire e-bikes are aggresively set up, but the Rover emphasises comfort and stability, while still being capable to romp around on some massive tires.
See all the details in our full Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6 review
- 750W motor for smooth acceleration and 28 mph maximum speed
- Hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors provide excellent stopping power in all conditions
- 26×4 in. tires for a cushy ride with terrific traction
- Lights and fenders for riding at any time of the day and in all conditions
- Two displays means riders can see more info
- Suspension fork for better control and increased comfort
- Spring-style suspension forks don’t offer much adjustment range which means for some riders they may be too stiff or too soft
- Does not include a rack
Ride1UP Cafe Cruiser
For suburban riding, where the distances between stoplights can be a half mile or more, Class 3 e-bikes, which can achieve a top speed of 28 mph, help to shrink those distances thanks to the increased pep they offer over Class 1 and 2 electric bikes. The Ride1UP Cafe Cruiser combines power, style and functionality in a terrific package.
A powerful 750W motor provides smooth acceleration and consistent power even when carrying a load. With more speed available, Ride1UP gave their controller up to nine levels of assist to make it easier to find the perfect pace. Hydraulic disc brakes make stopping easy, even when carrying a load.
Not only does the Cafe Cruiser have a stylish frame design, but Ride1UP integrated the rack into the frame, welding the rack in place, rather than securing it with bolts, which both provide a weaker attachment and can loosen. It’s one of the sturdiest racks we’ve encountered, which helps it to achieve its 300-lb. weight capacity.
Extras like a heavy-duty kickstand, front and rear LED lights and a rack make the Cafe Cruiser a versatile option to driving a car for errands. This is a bike that is every bit as functional as it is stylish.
See all the details in our full Ride1UP Cafe Cruiser review
- Class 3 e-bikes can go 28 mph thanks to powerful 750W motor
- Eight-speed drivetrain from Shimano
- Thumb throttle lets tired legs rest
- Nine levels of pedal assist for the perfect amount of help
- Integrated battery gives a clean look and improves handling
- Lots of extras to customize the bike
- Cadence sensor can be slow to add power
- Can’t fit riders smaller than 5-feet-5
Prices continue to come down on e-bikes while quality continues to climb. There’s never been a better time to be in the market for an e-bike. The Himiway cruiser presents a terrific value, thanks to its 750W motor, fat tires and nearly 60-mi. range. With a 350-lb. maximum payload capacity it can accommodate riders that some e-bikes might not fully support. A seven-speed drivetrain helps not just on hills but on trails and other soft surfaces.
Integrated front and rear lights; a rear rack; cushy, 4-in.-wide tires and a suspension fork make this a value-laden electric bike. Fat bikes can be heavy and while at 72-lbs. this is no lightweight, the fact that it is built around an aluminum frame, rather than steel, gives it durability without sacrificing even more weight.
For fans of pure power and speed, this might be the personification of the best e-bike in your eyes. The Himiway Cruiser is notorious for it’s unbridaled motor that can get riders up to speed in a serious hurry. You’ll enjoy flying around roads at a rapid pace while astride the Cruiser.
See all the details in our full Himiway Cruiser review
- Up to 60 miles per charge
- 350-lb. payload capacity
- 26×4-in. tires for terrific comfort and superior traction
- Half-twist throttle makes it easy to give tired legs a break
- Suspension fork increases control and comfort
- Two frame designs (traditional and step-thru) allow riders from 5-feet-3 up to 6-feet-2 to fit comfortably
- At 72 lbs. this is heavier than most similar bikes
- Given the weight of this bike, hydraulic disc brakes would have been a better choice
Not everyone needs an e-bike that can carry a load of groceries or a sheet of plywood, but being able to take a kid along never goes out of fashion. Thanks to its step-thru design, the Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 2 is convenient for errands as simple as dropping a kid off at school. The 750W motor gives smooth acceleration and stable power, with a range of up to 45 miles per charge. Included extras like lights and fenders make for a versatile bike that can be used rain or shine, night or day.
A wide-range, 7-speed drivetrain gives plenty of gears for climbing a hill and getting back down the other side. Disc brakes lend confidence for city riding; they will stop on a dime, and leave you five cents change. While small wheels make a bike easier to turn, they can result in a bumpier ride; thanks to 3.3-in.-wide tires, the Radrunner 2 will give the rider a cushy ride. Rider comfort is further enhanced with an 80-mm travel suspension fork.
The RadRunner 2 gets our recommendation as we know e-biking is popular to do with kids, a partner, or a friend. The included buddy package of a rear seat and pegs makes this one of the best e-bikes when riding for two.
With a great parts pick and lots of versatility in use, it’s a no-brainer pick on our best e-bike list.
See all the details in our full Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 2 review
- 16.5-in. standover height is terrific for riders with limited flexibility
- Rear platform seat is great for taking a kid along
- Half-twist throttle can be easier on your hand than a lever throttle, and the throttle saves tired legs
- 3.3-in-wide tires include an integrated puncture-resistant layer to avoid flats
- Fits riders with inseams between 26 and 38 inches
- Optional front rack is great for grocery-getting
- The saddle looks comfy but is more appropriate to something that doesn’t require the rider to pedal
- 20-in. wheels present a bumpier ride on rough streets
Blix Aveny Skyline
Not all of the best e-bikes are built for blazing through traffic, or boast more features than you know what to do with. Some of the best e-bikes just feature a solid, enjoyable ride for taking in leisure time.
The Blix Aveny Skyline is not only affordable, it looks and feels like a traditional cruiser. With its step-thru frame, plus fenders and rack it looks like the sort of bike many people grew up riding. The comfortable seated position and backswept bar lend a very natural feel and inspire confidence. But this isn’t an old 3-speed. Modern touches include a 500W motor with between 17 and 45 miles of range; a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain to get you over hills without walking; wider, more comfortable tires and disc brakes that stop quickly.
This Class 2 bike includes a throttle that can take over for tired legs. As with any good city bike, the Aveny Skyline includes a rear rack, front and rear lights, as well as a kickstand. The handlebar-mounted display allows riders to toggle through important info like battery life, speed, trip distance and assist level. Though the bike comes in only one size, it features an adjustable stem that can raise or lower the bar to a rider’s comfort.
See all the details in our full Blix Aveny Skyline review
- Classic design and looks
- Range of up to 45 miles
- 2.25-in.-wide, puncture-resistant tires for greater comfort and fewer flats
- An aluminum frame for less weight and better handling
- Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors for controlled stopping
- Front and rear lights to keep the rider visible to drivers
- One size bike for 5’1” -6’2” riders, but those at the spectrum points will still lack ideal fit.
- The metal fenders look great but clatter a bit on all but the smoothest roads
EBC Model S
This step-thru cruiser features the styling that shouts gorgeous summer day, but adds the bonus of being one of of the best e-bikes, making every ride easy.
What puts the Electric Bike Co. Model S on our list for the best electric bikes is how much the Electric Bike Company allows you to customize this bike. From the color of the bike to whether it has a suspension fork or fenders, riders can specify a number of details. Not only can a buyer specify the bike color, trim colors, like for the basket and chain guard can be specified as well. The most interesting option among these is the buyer’s choice of battery—with ranges of 60, 100, 140 or up to 200 miles per charge.
A turbo package option adds an extra motor, battery and throttle, an option that is almost unheard of. With all that power available, it’s good that they chose Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors for serious stopping power.
With so much power available, some riders might go for the single-speed version, but a choice of a 7-speed drivetrain is available for those with hills to scale. Though the bike comes in a single size, sharp-eyed consumers will notice that more diminutive riders can order the bike with 24, rather than 26-in. wheels, which effectively makes the bike 2-in. smaller. The a la carte menu offers as many options as a Toyota Corolla, though Sirius XM isn’t among them.
See all the details in our full Electric Bike Co. Model S review
- Choice of battery can extend range to as much as 190 miles on a single charge
- Optional GPS tracker for increased safety
- Ability to customize the look of the bike with custom paint options – choose the color of the frame, fenders, basket, and more
- Classic cruiser styling and handling
- Two wheel sizes means two different sizes of bike, accommodating from 5-feet-1 to more than 6-feet.
- Turbo option adds another motor and battery – something you rarely see e-bike companies offering
- Lots of choices for an inexperienced shopper to make; the experience can be overwhelming
- More than one gear results in an upcharge
All-terrain e-bikes have become a rapidly growing category for e-bikes, and with good reason. Fat tires offer a very cushy ride with terrific traction and relaxed handling, but they are heavy, so getting them up to speed can be a lots of work. Putting them on an e-bike makes perfect sense. A well-equipped all-terrain e-bike, like the Mokwheel Basalt can offer riders an unusual degree of flexibility in use.
The Mokwheel Basalt has a number of features we expect to see in a good all-terrain e-bike. It’s equipped with a powerful 750W brushless, geared hub motor that produces a whopping 90Nm of torque, making it among the more powerful hub motors we see in this price range. The 925Wh battery also gives this e-bike an exceptional range; some riders may cover as much as 80 mi. On a single charge.
One of the more intriguing features of the Mokwheel Basalt comes from one of the accessories they offer: a power inverter. With such a ginormous battery, someone could go camping with the Mokwheel Basalt and charge their phone, make coffee and cook dinner and still have enough charge left on the battery to go for a 20-mi. ride.
The parts pick on the Mokwheel Basalt draws from some very familiar sources—a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, not to mention a half-twist throttle for anyone who’s tired of pedaling.
See all the details in our full Mokwheel Basalt review
- 925Wh Samsung battery can do more than power the e-bike, it can also be used to power other things like a laptop computer or lights with the optional inverter
- 750W brushless, geared hub motor produces 90Nm of torque for powerful acceleration and determined climbing whether on road or off
- Color LCD display is large and very easy to read, even on bumpy roads
- Capable of a Class 3 top speed of 28 mph and includes a half-twist throttle to let tired legs rest
- Comes with a good selection of accessories, including front and rear LED lights, front and rear fenders and a rear rack
- Is great for bigger riders thanks to its 400-lb. weight limit
- Comes in just one size and may not be comfortable for smaller riders
- 7-speed Shimano drivetrain has a gear range that is rather narrow for the kind of riding the e-bike is meant to do; also, while they mention an internally geared hub on the web site, those gears are part of the motor and not ones that can be shifted with the shifter
Blix Sol Eclipse
The Blix Sol Eclipse takes the genius of an e-bike and matches it with the easy riding style of a cruiser. Compared to most e-bikes, cruisers put the rider in a more upright seated position with the saddle a bit more behind the pedals, which allows the seat to be closer to the ground, making starts and stops easier.
With the 614Wh battery positioned low and behind the seat tube, the Blix Sol Eclipse benefits from easy handling. It sports a powerful 750W brushless, geared hub motor for terrific acceleration and steady pacing.
This is an e-bike aimed at riders looking for a more relaxing riding experience. The brakes are Tektro mechanical discs paired with 160mm rotors, powerful enough for daily use, but not as powerful as we see on bikes that will be ridden strenuously.
The 7-speed Shimano drivetrain will help get riders both up and down hills, and while the Blix Sol Eclipse doesn’t include either a rack or fenders, they can be added easily enough.
See all the details in our full Blix Sol Eclipse review
- Classic cruiser handling for fun riding
- 750W brushless hub motor for capable acceleration and consistent pacing
- 614Wh battery estimated to offer up to 45 mi. range per charge
- Cruisers almost never have disc brakes; it’s quite an upgrade
- Super upright riding position gives rider terrific comfort
- Can be customized with racks and baskets both front and rear
- Not especially nimble in close quarters, hard to maneuver around erratic pedestrians
- Comes in just one size; riders taller than 6-feet-0 or shorter than 5-feet-4 may have issues fitting comfortably
Lectric XP Lite
When someone shopping for an e-bike needs to prioritize price above all other considerations, this is the e-bike we point them to. The Lectric Bikes XP Lite is the least expensive e-bike in our roundup. This is an e-bike of modest features, but it has a price that can’t be argued with.
The Lectric XP Lite is an e-bike that retails for substantially less than $1000, something we didn’t consider possible just two years ago. We figured in that price range the electronics just wouldn’t be reliable enough to warrant our thumbs up.
Making an e-bike that is so affordable comes with some trades. This is a single-speed e-bike, so the buyer will need to be content with cruising between 12 and 16 mph. Hitting 20 with this gear will be a challenge. Also, Lectric left off the fenders and rear rack, so commuters may need to add those depending on how much they want to ride. They also left off the suspension fork, so the XP Lite will have a ride that won’t be quite as cushy as the XP 3.0.
Another strategy that Lectric employed to hit their price point was to spec a 300W brushless, geared hub motor and a 374Wh battery. These are modest in performance, but because the XP Lite is so stripped down that it weighs only 46 lbs., which makes the motor and battery more effective. Riders can achieve up to 40 mi. on a single charge. With its combination of affordability and reliability, the Lectric XP Lite is a favorite choice for slim budgets.
See all the details in our full Lectric XP Lite review
- One of the most affordable e-bikes on the market
- At 46 lbs., the XP Lite is relatively light and will be easier for many people to carry and put away.
- As a Class 2 e-bike it has a very manageable top speed of 20 mph plus a thumb throttle to rescue tired legs
- 374Wh battery offers up to 40 mi. range per charge according to the web site
- Lectric offers a broad array of accessories like racks, baskets and panniers
- With only one speed and a cadence sensor, that first pedal stroke requires a bit of effort
- Is likely to struggle on most hills with most riders
Velotric Discover 1
Velotric is another relatively new player in the direct-to-consumer e-bike market. We were impressed with their Discover 1 model, which is why we’ve included it here. In broad strokes, the Velotric Discover 1 makes its place among commuter e-bikes. There are a few details that make this an exciting alternative to some of the other commuters out there.
Velotric makes the Discover 1 in two versions, one with a traditional frame and one with a step-thru design. Some companies that do this don’t vary the reach from one design to the other, meaning a person who finds the reach from the saddle to the bar uncomfortably long won’t find any improvement by going to the step-thru model. With the Discover 1, Velotric made the two frame designs different sizes in both seat tube length and reach so that the bike is as appropriate to a rider’s wingspan as it is their height.
The Velotric Discover 1 draws its power from a 691Wh battery, which is teamed with a 500W hub motor. We often see motor wattage roughly equivalent to a battery’s watt/hours. With a 691Wh battery, the Discover 1 will enjoy substantial range. It’s estimated to be as much as 60 mi. per charge.
This sub-$1500 commuter includes lights and fenders, but leaves off the rack. To manage hills they spec’d a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and mechanical discs paired to 180mm rotors bring it to a stop. This is a very full-featured e-bike that costs less than we’d expect.
See all the details in our full Velotric Discover 1 review
- The 692Wh battery offers riders a range of up to 60 mi. on a single charge and 45 mi. on throttle
- 500W brushless hub motor provides smooth acceleration to a top speed of 20 mph
- 26 x 2.5-in. tires offer a very comfortable ride, even on rough roads
- Commute-ready: fenders and lights are included
- Has fun, but relaxed handling thanks to a long-ish wheelbase and well-positioned battery
- 7-speed Shimano drivetrain makes climbing hills easy
- The traditional frame and step-thru frame are truly different sizes
- While the mechanical disc brakes will perform well, we would love to see hydraulic discs
Aventon Pace 500 ST
The Aventon Pace 500 combines the capability of a Class 3 e-bike (though it ships as class 2) that allows the rider to go up to 28 mph with the comfort afforded by a traditional cruiser design. Get where you’re going a little faster with this bike.
With larger, 27.5-in. wheels and wide, 2.2-in. tires, the Pace 500 offers the comfort of a cruiser and the speed of a racing bike for getting around town or suburb. One of the beauties of this bike is it’s leisurely, while being built for performance. You can have your cake and eat it to; keep it in the class 2 settings it is shipped as for comfort cruising, or make this your main mode of transport with the higher Class 3 speeds.
There are several notable features that are included on the Pace 500. Aventon produces its own app that allows riders to control many aspects of their bike’s operation in an easy-to-follow visual format. The 500W rear-hub motor offers as much as 48-miles range per charge thanks to the battery which is integrated into the frame for superior handling and a more attractive appearance.
The Pace 500’s abilitiy to feel remarkable as either a city bike or cruiser is what garnered it a spot amongst our selctions for the best electric bikes.
See all the details in our full Aventon Pace 500 review
- Combines the easy riding of a cruiser with the balance and handling of a commuter
- With the battery integrated into frame, the bike handles better thanks to a lower center of gravity
- Thumb throttle to help pooped legs
- 8-speed drivetrain for wide gear range
- Big 27.5 x 2.2” tires for a fast, smooth ride
- 36-spoke wheels for reliability
- Power can come on suddenly due to the cadence sensor
- Rigid forks keep weight down and weigh less, but a suspension fork would offer a smoother ride
Specialized Turbo Vado
The Specialized Turbo Vado shows the kind of combination of performance, handling and convenience that come with buying a bike from one of the best-respected bike makers in the world. With an unbeatable range of up to 90 mi. per charge, and a maximum speed of 28 mph, the Turbo Vado presents a terrific solution to life with less driving. Thanks to its lockable battery and motor kill switch in the Mission Control app, it is arguably one of the most secure e-bikes on the market.
While with many bikes, there are few choices other than frame style and accessories, Specialized offers the Turbo Vado in a number of configurations ranging from $3250 to $5500 in order to right-size both price and performance. The brakes and drivetrain come from name brands like Shimano and SRAM and are renown for their reliability and consistent performance.
With 2.3-in.-wide tires, an 80mm suspension fork and a 40mm suspension seatpost, the Turbo Vado doesn’t leave comfort to chance. Specialized further simplifies riding with automatic shifting, making riding as simple as pedaling and steering. An 11-speed drivetrain gives riders a greater ability to find the right gear for any terrain. Easy shiting and great battery life don’t mean much if you can only ride on sunny days. The Turbo Vado includes lights, a rack, fenders and the ability to add a child seat or trailer. Think of it as a station wagon without the wood paneling.
The Specialized Turbo Vado is more of a premium option compared to others we’ve listed as 2022’s top electric bikes, but it’s able to deliver the type of wonderful ride experience one would expect from such a price tag.
See all the details in our full Specialized Turbo Vado review
- Up to 90 miles in range on a single charge
- Four sizes of frame give riders a more dialed fit
- Choice of planetary gears or 11-speed drivetrain
- Lights, fenders a rack and kickstand come standard
- Instant power thanks to mid-drive motor
- High performance 80mm suspension fork for control and comfort
- Charger can be difficult to seat properly
The GoCycle G4 takes a novel approach to e-bikes design by putting the motor in the front hub. That’s what happens when your chief engineer used to design cars for McLaren. The single-sided fork and frame aren’t just novel looking; they simplify the frame in a way that makes folding the bike up easier; it reduces weight as well, making the bike easier to manage when folded and simplifies maintenance, especially fixing flats as it is no longer necessary to remove a wheel to change a flat.
Sometimes the best clue to how well an electric bike is made can be telegraphed in a tiny detail. The G4’s kickstand is one such clue. When the bike is folded for storage, the motorcycle-style kickstand (with two arms) holds the bike upright so that it needn’t be leaned against a wall to keep it out of the way. Given how minimal in size many of the G4’s components are, like the brake rotors, mechanical disc brakes would have resulted in poor brake performance, so GoCycle went with hydraulic disc brakes to make the bike easy to control.
- 500W front-drive motor
- 25mm of rear suspension smoothes bumps in the road
- Lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber frame and fork
- Single-sided fork simplifies bike and looks stylish
- Bike folds up in 10 seconds
- Small wheels make it easy to store
- Accessories like fenders, rack and lights are expensive add-ons, not included
Most all-terrain e-bikes come with front suspension, but not rear suspension. By not including rear suspension, most manufacturers are able to deliver an e-bike that retails for less than $2000, something Himiway is quite adept at. The Himiway Cobra is an alternative to those e-bikes for the rider who wants the extra control that a full-suspension e-bike offers.
With a 750W hub motor producing 86Nm of torque, the Himiway Cobra can handle some rough terrain. And thanks to its 960Wh battery, it has the sort of range that can allow for all-day rides for the person who wants to go exploring the backcountry. Himiway estimates that riders may manage as many as 80 mi. before needing a charge.
Himiway equipped the Cobra with the same Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and 7-speed Shimano drivetrain we see on many of their other models, quality components that will enable a rider to do some exploring. Riders may find the drivetrain a bit overgeared for especially steep terrain and may need the 86Nm of torque in the motor to help them ascend some hills.
The Himiway Cobra is a bit more expensive than most of the all-terrain e-bikes we review, coming in north of $2000, and that owes to the addition of rear suspension, which makes the bike frame noticeably more complicated. That’s where the extra expense goes, and for riders who will be on rough terrain, it is likely to be a big help.
See all the details in our full Himiway Cobra review
- At $2399, one of the most affordable full-suspension all-terrain bikes on the market
- Very cushy ride thanks to front and rear suspension as well as 4-in.-wide tires
- 750W brushless hub motor offers 86Nm of torque, giving riders impressive acceleration and hill climbing, as well as a 28 mph, Class 3 top speed
- 960Wh battery offers a range of 60-80 mi., more range than most riders could exhaust in a weekend
- Off-road riding is dynamic and places a greater need on riding an e-bike that fits the rider
- The website is woefully thin on important details like how much travel the suspension features
- The 7-speed drivetrain is meant for fairly tame terrain
Criteria We Used To Rank The Best Electric Bikes of 2023
For this best electric bikes of 2023 list, I consulted the reviews from our sister site, ElectricBikeReport.com and cross-referenced my own experience with some of these e-bikes as well as my 30+ years in the bike industry. Points that were considered (in rough order of importance) included:
- How well does the bike fulfill its stated mission? An e-bike meant for commuting should have fenders, lights and a rack. A cargo bike should have solid cargo capacity and a low center of gravity. Budget-oriented bikes must make careful choices to balance that price tag against the need to offer a reliable electric bike.
- Is the price fair We have tilted this best e-bikes list toward bikes for the first-time buyer of an e-bike and those new to cycling. A low price doesn’t mean much if the bike isn’t user friendly; that means that it can’t be complicated to use or require constant maintenance. We didn’t only choose inexpensive bikes; some, like the Specialized Turbo Vado or GoCycle G4 are rather expensive, but present such a terrific combination of performance and reliability and solid design that they are worth every penny.
- Is it a comfortable e-bike? We’ve been doing this long enough, and have ridden some of the harshest, most performance-oriented bikes on the planet, that we can tell whether a manufacturer really thought about the rider’s comfort or just chose a few cheap components to make the marketing copy good. When we say these are amongst the best electric bikes, we know it won’t feel like the 10-speeds so many of us grew up riding.
- Is the range sufficient for its intended use? As e-bike owners ourselves, we can attest that a bike’s maximum range number is essentially meaningless. We only use our bike’s eco mode when the battery is nearly dead and home is still a mile away. We look at whether a bike can handle a few days of round trips with some grocery or school stops thrown in while riding at full power or near full power.
- Is the bike safe? Disc brakes are the industry standard these days, but not all disc brakes are created equal. Some are more equal than others, to quote George Orwell. Hydraulic brakes are better than mechanical ones for a host of reasons, and bigger rotors increase braking power. A mechanical brake with 160mm rotors isn’t something I want to see on a Class 3 bike because at 28 mph, that brake will need some time to do its job.
And while we didn’t judge bikes based on the following question, we always ask ourselves:
- Can it replace a car? We don’t know too many people who have sold their car, but many friends and colleagues have an e-bike that allows us all to leave the car parked for days at a time. Some e-bikes really haven’t fulfilled their promise if it isn’t a substitute for a car. To do that, it needs things like a rack or basket, lights, fenders and maybe a place to seat a kid or two.
Everyone’s priorities will differ, but in being transparent about what we look for, that can help buyers consider what they need and whether a electric bike is a fit for their needs. Some of our considerations may raise flags that buyers hadn’t previously considered, like whether or not those brakes will stop a loaded bike in less than 20 feet once it has groceries and two kids aboard.
The good news is that there are terrific e-bikes at nearly every price point. Our final advice is this: Test ride as many bikes as you can. Even if you’re not planning to buy a Specialized e-bike, go take a test ride on one just to experience their take on the experience. It will inform your sense of what an e-bike can do and just how much fun they are. Going for a test ride has no downsides. That’s how fun works.
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