Editor’s note: This roundup of the best e-bikes will be updated regularly.
We think that e-bikes are going to take off in a big way. They might have had a slow start and so far it just cycling enthusiasts and hipsters that have taken them to their heart. That is going to change.
Because an e-bike is the perfect vehicle for most inner city commuters and all it will take is a solid marketing push and secure storage for people to abandon the metro in droves. We even think that a lot of people could give up their car when they see the benefits.
Getting to work every day is a serious expense for people that live in congested areas. Parking is a luxury, many cities have imposed their own congestion charges to keep people off the road and then there’s the fuel your car burns while you’re dawdling at a snail’s pace through the rush hour.
Add the spirit crushing time it takes to the equation and it’s not hard to see that a large portion of the population would jump at a better solution.
The best e-bikes can fold up to fit on the train or in a trunk, so they mean you can leave your car on the edge of town. They slot between cars so you can pick your way through traffic and there’s hardly any real physical exertion. They’re starting to look the part, too.
Of course, there is an element of danger when cars and bicycles mix, but more effective city planning and the provision of bike lanes will remove that particular obstacle at a stroke.
So here are 10 of the best e-bikes that you could be using to get through the city in the not too distant future.
1. Sondors eBike
When it first launched, the Sondors e-bike was priced at just $500. It has crept up, slightly, but you can still have this incredible bike for just $598. That’s cheaper than a seasonal metro ticket in some cities.
The bike comes with five levels of pedal assist, so you can really get into your cycling or make a token effort and let the 350W motor take the strain. It goes up to 20mph, which is faster than you’ll go in a car in the middle of a city most the time and it comes with signature fat tires that mark this bike apart.
It’s designed as a go-anywhere e-bike and the design is basically an old-school mountain bike with an electric motor mounted neatly in the frame. It comes with a 50-mile range, which is more than enough for most daily commutes and, apart from the outlandish tires, it looks like a relatively conventional bike.
This bike made Storm Sondors internet-famous and now he’s working on an electric car and other projects. The e-bike, though, is his crowning glory.
2. Italjet Ascot
Italjet was a celebrated motorcycle manufacturer and now the brand is back with a full range of vintage e-bikes that pay homage to the old school racing bikes of the 1920s.
The Ascot is a bewildering combination of old and new. It’s a piece of modern art as much as a bike and it’s so pretty that you might not want to take it out in traffic. The level of detail has to be seen to be believed, from the brushed aluminum and brass sprung handlebars through to the leather-clad battery pack that mirrors an old motorcycle’s fuel tank.
Even the brown Kenda Flame tires are custom, the fenders are hand beaten and the chain is gold. We’re not even kidding. So that goes some way to explaining the brutal price tag.
Don’t expect to see too many of Italjet Ascots out in the wild. They’re just too expensive and arguably too ornate with all that leather. But if you want to arrive in style, albeit at 15mph, this might be the bike you’ve been looking for.
3. Trefecta URB Speed Pedelec
This is the Street Hawk of the e-bike world. It weighs in at 82lb thanks to an injection molded aluminum chassis and comes with regenerative braking and 120mm of suspension travel in the front forks and another central shock absorber.
It even comes with a wheelie mode, which basically lifts the angle of a wheelie and prevents the e-bike flipping over.
You get carbon-fiber wheels, handlebar-mounted controls and an LCD screen atop the battery pack, together with an integrated smartphone dock. This could go beyond SatNav, it’s total connectivity and that could even mean an early collision warning system for you and neighboring autonomous cars as the technology catches up.
That battery provides 100 miles of range and you’ve got a 4kW motor that will make this bike one of the fastest in the pack.
It folds up to fit in a trunk or on a train, does 28mph and is in street trim and there’s a faster off-road version. You’d need to check your local laws before taking this on a cycle path, but if you want the ultimate then this might just be a contender.
It’s only available for pre-order right now, but we have to admit we kind of want one.
4. Wave E-bike
This beach cruiser style bike is much cheaper than most of its obvious rivals and yet you can’t really describe it as a low budget option.
It’s heavier than some other bikes at 60lb, including the 10lb battery pack, but a lot of riders prefer the extra heft as it results in an exceptionally stable platform. If you haven’t cycled in a while, that can be a real bonus.
It’s good for 28mph, which is pretty swift even in this exalted company. It can also return 26 miles if it does all the work and up to 52 miles if you put in some effort with the pedals. You get a decent luggage rack, a stylish bike that the world has warmed to and it’s a solid rival to the Sonders bike.
The company has kept the whole process streamlined. There are no stores, you order direct online and that has helped them keep the costs down. The end result is a great e-bike for the right money, although there are some loose cables and it doesn’t have the finishing touches of some of the more expensive options. Still, we like this one a lot.
5. Gocycle G3
This lightweight folding bicycle is about the best example you’ll see of a bike you can bundle up and take with you on the train.
It comes with a 250W motor that takes the Gocycle G3 up to 15.5mph. That’s more than enough for the last miles to the office or to get you round a college campus.
The Gocycle weighs in at just 35.9lb thanks to a lightweight magnesium frame and the 300Wh battery means that you can go up to 50 miles if you put in some effort on the pedals. You can fully charge the bike in just seven hours, too.
It comes with another neat feature. E-bikes are an obvious target for thieves, but with the Gocycle you can immobilize it with a smartphone app if yours is stolen.
Aside from that, it isn’t the sexiest e-bike you’ll ever see. But it is practical, convenient and portable. Those qualities will take it a long way.
6. Greyp G12H
When electric supercar maker Rimac announced it would build an e-bike, we always knew it would be special.
First came the off-road, 43.5mph Greyp G12S, which was cool and yet essentially useless for the man on the street. Now, we have the roadgoing version and it’s a 28mph cruiser that can cover 150 miles on a single charge.
Now it’s not cheap, but this is the, well, Rimac of the e-bike world. It comes with a 3kWh battery, a headlight and high-tech designer styling.
A lot of city commuters use a motorbike to get to and from work and in the center then this bike really won’t be much slower. That makes the price a little easier to bear and there’s no doubt that this is a spectacularly engineered bike. For some people, that will be enough to justify the price of admission.
We love the Motochimp and we think it’s a style statement that will go down a storm with hip young urbanites. There are no pedals, which means it’s not a bike if we’re being strict about it and we’re not sure how this one will stack up legally.
If you can ride this round town, though, it means there’s no effort. So this really could be the lazy hipster’s e-bike of choice. We also love the blocky, modular design that reminds us of an old-school hobby horse.
There are hints of monkey bike, hints of homebrew motorcycle and even chopper handlebars. Like the Smart car, we can see an entire cottage industry growing up around this bike to provide personalized parts.
The top speed is 19mph and we’re not sure you’d want to go any faster perched atop this little creation. It comes with a 37-mile range and it’s small enough to take into the office with you and plug it in next to your desk.
8. Budnitz Model E
The world’s lightest e-bike comes with a cro-moly steel and titanium frame with a 250W electric motor and 160Wh battery that is packed into the hub of the rear wheel.
This e-bike is simple, retro and elegant. It’s clever, too, as that twin-tube cantilever frame weighs just 4lb. Every bike is custom built, so you’ll get a perfect fit and a bike that you can ride until it runs out of juice, or further if you want to take over with the pedals.
It depends on the terrain, but the Budnitz can return up to 100 miles range and comes with electric assist up to 15mph.
That means it’s free to roam the cycling paths of the world and it should be more or less maintenance free, thanks to a carbon-fiber belt that replaces the chain.
9. Riide E-bike
Price: Rental program $79/month, purchase price $1,999
An e-bike is a big investment and there’s always a chance it will find its way to the shed, next to the surfboard, road bike, drumkit and other abandoned hobbies.
So Riide has the answer. It’s basically a rental program where you can have an e-bike for $79 a month and see how well it fits into your lifestyle. You do have to commit for 12 months, but if you like it then just keep paying and you own the bike after two years.
The company has just one bike and it only has a 25-mile range, but it does do 20mph. For short commutes it could be ideal, though, and it takes just two hours to fully charge it up.
The bike weighs a relatively svelte 40lb and it’s a sturdy, simple e-bike that owes a lot to classic mountain bike design. It’s also a simple way to dip your toe in the water and see if you could handle the city on two wheels.
10. Tern Vektron
This folding bike comes from Taiwan and you can set up and go in just 10 seconds. It will do 80 miles between charges, which is more than enough for any last-mile commute, it weighs in at just 49lb and it measures just 40.9 x 86.1 x 65 cm when it’s folded up.
It gets a 250-watt motor from Bosch, a 400 watt-hour battery and it even has a walk-assist mode so it won’t weigh you down when you push it uphill.
The Tern is in the development stage after blasting through its Kickstarter goal recently and we’re sure it’s going to make a splash when it arrives. It isn’t cheap, but then it could be a much better way to get to work than the metro and it’s way cheaper than using Uber over the course of the year.
Read next: The best electric motorcycles you can buy
There you have it for our list of best electric bikes. Which e-bike is your favorite? Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments!