No segment of bicycles is growing faster than electric bikes—and that demand is good for you, the e-bike shopper. Newer brands like Aventon, Rad Power Bikes, and Ride1Up have sprung up, offering affordable options you can buy online, bolstering the higher-performance e-bikes from more established players like Specialized, Trek, and Pivot.
Designs keep improving, tech is becoming more reliable, and capabilities are expanding. Whether you purchase online or through a retailer, you can find everything from folding e-bikes, fat-tire e-bikes, electric-assist road bikes, and a sea of commuter and city electric bikes. Liberated from some of the standard bike constraints like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded.
To make these reviews as helpful as possible, we focused on lower to mid-price options from brands you can purchase directly online—though we did include a couple of recommendations for more expensive e-bikes that our team of bike testers loved.
If you are looking for a higher-performance e-bike—or specifically want the help and service you can get from a specialty retailer—be sure to check out recommendations for our Best High-Performance E-Bikes. You’ll find 18 exceptional, award-winning bikes rigorously vetted by our editorial team.
The Best E-Bikes You Can Buy Right Now
The Three Classes of E-Bikes
After determining which style of bike is right for you, the next consideration is which class of e-bike best fits your needs. In the U.S., there are three classes, defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes are defined as class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while pedaling up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec,” can have up to a 750w motor (aka 1-horsepower) but can assist you up to 28 mph. Both are allowed in most states and cities without needing a license.
Class 2 models have become more popular with riders, especially at lower prices. These models have a throttle that can propel a bike up to 20 mph without needing continuous pedaling.
Some bikes blur the lines. Aventon’s popular Pace 500, for example, is technically a Class 3 e-bike in that it reaches speeds up to 28 mph, but it also has a throttle that tops out at 20 mph (the maximum legal speed for a throttle).
Two E-Bike Terms to Know
Torque: Measured in newton meters (or Nm), torque is a rotational measurement of force—and the number to pay attention to when you want an idea of an e-bike motor’s output. More torque means more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. The heavier the bike, the more torque it needs. Lighter road bikes typically have 30 to 40Nm of torque, and trail and cargo models (generally) have at least 80Nm. Most commuter bikes fall somewhere in between.
Watt Hours: The size of an e-bike’s battery is measured in watt-hours (or Wh). This measurement represents the energy stored in the battery and how many watts it can deliver each hour. The higher the number, the longer the range, but the faster you go, the less range you get. So, if a 504Wh battery paired with a 500-watt motor gives you one hour of ride time at the highest assist, riding at about half that power will double your range.
Other E-Bike Features to Consider
Locking Battery: As electric bike options continue expanding, many brands now seamlessly integrate batteries to make the bike look sleeker (and more like a traditional non-assist bike). Most batteries lock to the bike and come with a key that lets you unlock and remove it, which serves multiple purposes: You can remove the battery and charge it off the bike, a locked battery deters (and hopefully prevents) a thief from stealing it, and an e-bike with the battery removed is safer for hauling on a bike rack and lighter for carrying up steps.
Wider Tires: Because e-bikes can maintain higher speeds for longer periods than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide better traction and the freedom to leave the pavement with little penalty, and a suspension fork will help tame some of the rougher roads you might explore. Good disc brakes are a must, too, for slowing a heavy bike at high speed. This is not a place to skimp.
Integrated Lights: Some e-bikes come with an integrated lighting system that turns on when you power up the bike. While this is an awesome feature to have, it’s not a deal-breaker if your bike isn’t equipped this way. With so many great bike lights available, it’s just as easy to attach your own.
How We Tested
Our team of experienced bike testers evaluated each model here on its overall quality, its safety features, handling, motor, battery life, and whether the components and features added to the overall quality of the ride. We tested most of these bikes on our local roads, commuting to and from work, using them to stock up on groceries and beer, and running their batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge.
A few bikes here were not available for testing. In those cases, we relied on the expertise of our test team, interviews with product managers, and rigorous research to compare the bikes’ value and performance against similar models we have tested.
BEST OVERALL E-BIKE
Aventon updated its outstanding Level e-bike to have a smoother ride and added visibility. A new torque sensor delivers power to the rear hub motor more evenly than the previous generation bike. The Level.2 has a more natural and intuitive feel when riding. The integrated lights and a smaller, easier-to-use display help make one of our favorite commuter e-bikes even better.
In our testing, the Level.2 performed better than expected in every situation. The Aventon Level.2 remains the best commuter e-bike you can purchase for less than $2,000 and one of the best commuter bikes you can buy overall. The updates to the platform make an already great bike even better. Aventon still has the first-generation Level available for a great price.
This e-bike has everything you need for commuting or getting around town. Plus, the Level.2 rides great and is priced right. Now's the time to level up!
AVAILABLE IN STEP THROUGH READ FULL REVIEW
BEST-PRICED WITH SHIMANO MOTOR
Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1
The CTY e2.1 from REI's Co-op Cycles house brand is one of the best deals on a fully Shimano-equipped e-bike that you can find. The Class 1 bike has a 300 lb. carrying capacity and is powered by Shimano's dependable E5000 mid-drive motor and a 418Wh Shimano battery semi-integrated into the downtube. Additionally, REI equips the e2.1 with a full Shimano 9-speed drivetrain and sure-stopping Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. An integrated rack, lights, and center mount kickstand make this bike ideal for commuting or riding around town.
For those unsure about assembling a bike at home, the Co-op CTY can be purchased online and delivered to an REI store for assembly (or if you're buying it as a gift). Plus, for REI members, it comes with free flat tire repair and two years of free adjustments.
BEST E-BIKE UNDER $1,000
Velotric Discover 1
Mango and gray color high-step models are currently on sale for $1,000!
This commuter model from Velotric delivers style and features that are tough to beat for the price. This 500W e-bike rolls on 26" wheels with 2.5" wide tires, providing quicker acceleration and extra grip. The bike also features front and rear fenders, hydraulic disc brakes for better stopping power, and a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain. While only offered in a single size (standard or step-through frames available), Velotric gives you five color choices (six on the step-through) from which to choose—from the bright and poppy (mango or cyan) to more neutral tones (forest, sand, or gray). Save $200 at checkout when purchasing two bikes using the code BUYTWO.
BEST COMMUTER E-BIKE
Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 EQ
We're fans of the Treadwell for its clean looks and upright rider position. Not quite a hybrid (but also not a foot-forward style cruiser), Cannondale's Treadwell models are unique, practical bikes for city commuting or riding around town. The Treadwell Neo 2 EQ has much-needed commuting features—fenders, quality front and rear lights, and rack—without incurring a big weight penalty. This makes for a lighter and zippier riding bike at a lower price. A Class 1 rear hub motor moves the Treadwell along smoothly with up to 20 mph pedal-assisted power. The 8-speed drivetrain and a wide-range cassette help you get up longer hills, and the Maxxis 650b tires roll fast on pavement.
BEST NEW FAT TIRE E-BIKE
Aventon has been on a roll, with new models and revisions to existing platforms. The brand's update to its Aventure fat tire e-bike is no exception. At first glance, there are not many big visual differences between the original Aventure and this second-generation model. However, once outside, the small changes feel huge.
Compared to the original Aventure (on sale for $1,500), the Aventure.2 rides much smoother. The new torque sensor allows more control over the acceleration of Aventure's 750W rear hub motor, making the bike's ride more intuitive. Some of our test riders found the previous model to have too much torque, particularly for lighter-weight riders or those new to e-bikes; the Aventure.2 remedied this fault.
In addition to the new torque sensor, the Aventure.2 has an updated head unit interface, integrated turn signals, front light, rear rack, and fenders. We found the Aventure.2 well-suited for commutes (especially on snowy days and gravel pathways) and off-road on doubletrack trails. The bike's weight and components limit its functionality on singletrack for more aggressive mountain bike riding.
Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser
Designed with a classic moto style, Ride1Up's Cafe Cruiser has a casual ride feel. And it's also practical with a built-in rack and light. The zippy 750W motor powers the Cruiser to 28mph (20mph using the throttle) while the suspension fork and 3-inch wide tires help smooth out the ride. Ride the Cafe Cruiser to the bar, along the boardwalk, or to Sunday morning brunch. Add an optional passenger kit for $125 with a padded seat for the rack, footpegs, and wheel guards.
BEST NEW E-CARGO
Aventon’s Abound is a highly capable and competitively priced mid-tail cargo-hauling e-bike. And it has the features, power, and options to carry needed for carrying almost anything by bike. The Abound’s 750-watt read hub motor with torque controller provides a zippy ride feel, Tektro hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors provide strong stopping power, and other features like the dropper post help the bike outperform similarly priced competition. The bike’s internal battery provides up to a 50-mile range (though we experienced about 25 miles using the highest power setting and the throttle). The Abound’s reinforced rack accommodates passengers up to 143 lb., with a total bike capacity of 440 lb.
BEST FAT TIRE COMMUTER
Rad Power RadRover 6 Plus
With the Radrover 6 Plus, Rad Power has made a fat tire e-bike that is comfortable to ride on pretty much any terrain, from urban streets riddled with potholes to off-road paths with rocks or snow. Updated display and hydraulic disc brakes make the RadRover 6 Plus substantially nicer to ride than its predecessor.
The bike's extreme weight makes it feel sluggish at times. And the weight makes moving the bike up or down any stairs an issue. However, the RadRover's powerful 750w rear hub motor helps overcome increased rolling resistance and the weight of the four-inch-wide tires. The bike is available in traditional or step-through frame styles in your choice of charcoal or white color.
AVAILABLE IN STEP-THRU READ FULL REVIEW
BEST COMPACT WHEEL E-BIKE
Cannondale Compact Neo 20
Don't let the Neo's 20-inch tires fool you—this compact wheel e-bike rides better than many full-sized bikes. With a visual profile reminiscent of 1990s Cannondale's Killer V mountain bikes, the Compact Neo cleverly hides a 250Wh battery in the bike's downtube to make it almost indistinguishable from traditional acoustic bikes. The Compact Neo is light enough to carry upstairs or onto the train. And, the bike's foldable stem makes the bike more practical than some full folding bikes.
BEST PERFORMING CITY E-BIKE
Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0
Specialized's Turbo Vado 4.0 just feels 'right'. From the motor to the interface to the aesthetic design to the parts selection to the ride quality, the details on the Turbo Vado 4.0 have all been thoroughly thought through to perform as a seamless package. This is a rare quality that anyone—be they a lifelong cyclist or getting their first e-bike—can benefit from and enjoy.
We have ridden a lot of e-bikes over the years, and the Specialized Turbo models consistently test amongst the best in all categories. The brand puts a ton of development time into its Turbo series e-bikes by refining the motor tune and carefully selecting parts. This work pays off with best-in-class ride quality. If you have been hesitant to try an e-bike because you think it won't feel like your favorite non-assist bike, try a Specialized Turbo. You'll quickly become a convert.
Specialized offers the Turbo Vado at several price levels between $3,250 and $5,500. You can purchase Turbo Vados with traditional or step-through frame styles, derailleur or internal hub drivetrain configurations, and several color offerings.
AVAILABLE IN STANDARD FRAME READ FULL REVIEW
BEST E-ROAD BIKE
Trek Domane+ AL5
A great way to explore backroads or longer routes, electric-assist road bikes have opened up road cycling to more people. Trek's 31-pound Domane+ road bike provides pedaling assistance up to 20 mph and approximately 55 miles (in Eco mode) via a 250W (40Nm) HyDrive hub motor and 250Wh internal battery. For longer rides, an optional range extender battery can double the range. The AL5 model features a Shimano 105 2x11-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. The bike comes stock with 32mm wide tires but can be fitted with tires up to 38mm for light gravel and dirt road rides.
BEST PRICED FOLDING
Lectric XP 2.0
Lectric's XP 2.0 has a striking appearance for a folding e-bike. The 3-inch-wide tires mounted on 20-inch wheels and an industrial-styled aluminum frame help get you places traditional folding bikes can't access. And with folded dimensions of 37" x 18" x 28", the XP 2.0 can be stored in places non-folding e-bikes won't fit. An integrated battery hides in the frame and powers the 500-watt hub motor. This provides up to a claimed range of 45 miles. A seven-speed drivetrain provides gearing for varied terrain, and there’s a throttle to let you zip along pedal-free. It includes a suspension fork and a large and legible LCD screen. The bike ships as a Class 2 e-bike but can be upgraded to a Class 3, increasing its maximum speed to 28mph.
Denago Commute Model 1
This Denago has all the features a rider might want for city riding or commuting. It's a class 3 e-bike rolling on 27.5"x2.6" tires and powered by a 500-watt rear hub motor (capable of a maximum pedal-assisted speed of 28 mph or 20 mph with throttle alone). The 45-mile range, 652 Wh battery is neatly tucked into the downtube and removable for charging. But that's only the start of what makes this bike stand out.
The Commute 1 has a hefty list of standard features. This includes a suspension fork, hydraulic disc brakes, lights, fenders, and a rack. The bike's cockpit is designed for rider comfort with a swept-back bar, adjustable stem, and ergonomic-shaped lock-on grips. We also like Denago's use of a suspension seatpost and big cushioned saddle.
Ride1Up Roadster v2
Singlespeed bikes are great because they are low maintenance, have a clean aesthetic, and typically weigh less than bikes with multiple gears and derailleurs. Ride1Up's Roadster v2 barely even looks like an e-bike, plus it features a belt drive drivetrain that doesn't need chain lube. We found the Roadster best for flatter terrain and bike lanes—the gearing makes it a little tough to get it up to speed in hilly areas. For an extra $150 you can step up to the Roadster Gravel with disc brakes, a Gates belt drive, and 42mm wide tires.
BEST CHEAP E-BIKE
Aventon Pace 350
Aventon recently updated its already outstanding Pace range with a brand new frame and fork, integrated battery, and tail lights sleekly designed into the seat stays. At $1,300, the Aventon Pace 350 continues to deliver an outstanding balance of price and performance, now with a fresh new look. As a Class 2 e-bike, it has a max pedal-assist speed of 20 mph along with a thumb-controlled throttle. The Pace 350 rolls on 27.5 x 2.2-inch e-bike-rated tires and stops via mechanical disc brakes. A 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and five levels of pedal assist provide you with various options. The bike doesn’t have fenders or integrated racks, but the Pace 350 felt viable for daily commuting.
If you need a little more speed and range, check out the Aventon Pace 500 for $300 extra. It has a 28 mph top speed, hydraulic disc brakes, an adjustable stem, and an 8-speed drivetrain. Read our review of the excellent new Pace 500 model below.
AVAILABLE IN STEP-THROUGH READ PACE 500 REVIEW
BEST VALUE E-TRIKE
Buzz Cerana T
E-Trikes are making big waves since e-bike heavyweight Rad Power launched its new RadTrike model. Trikes are a great option for riders uncomfortable riding more traditional two-wheel bikes or who regularly carry items (such as groceries, beach supplies, or pets). Buzz's Cerana T features a 350-watt mid-drive motor with pedal assistance up to 20mph. The wide-profile 24" x 3.0" front tire and dual 20" rear wheels provide stability, while disc brakes help ensure controlled stops. A step-through frame (holding an integrated battery) makes it easy to get on or off the trike, and the cushy seat and upright position add to rider comfort.
Use the code CHARGEDUP15 at checkout to save 15%!
You don’t have to be a gearhead to appreciate the polish that Gocycle achieved with its latest model. Gocycle designed the G4 to appeal to a broad audience. The bike's new lower price reinforces that goal by offering one of the most intuitive e-bike experiences in a terrifically smart package. The motor also feels massively powerful, yet it folds into a tidy 34.6" x 15.3" x 24.2". Thanks to the composite midframe, the G4 weighs less than its folding e-bike peers. The combo of lightweight and power allows you to get the most out of the bike.
BEST FULL SUSPENSION E-MTB
Santa Cruz Heckler C R 29
From suspension to geometry to assist system, the newly updated Santa Cruz Heckler is a masterpiece of an e-trail bike. Updates for 2022 include a longer-range 720Wh battery, adjustable geometry, and new lower-priced models. This bike just plain works—with suspension performance and handling ideal for all-around trail riding. The Heckler rides predictably and surefooted on challenging and fast terrain. It has quick enough handling to respond when the trail suddenly makes an awkward turn and with precision to confidently ride fins and ridges barely wider than the bike's 2.4” Maxxis tires.
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As Deputy Editor, Tara Seplavy leads Bicycling’s product test team; after having previously led product development and sourcing for multiple bike brands, run World Championship winning mountain bike teams, wrenched at renowned bicycle shops in Brooklyn, raced everything from criteriums to downhill, and ridden bikes on six different continents (landing herself in hospital emergency rooms in four countries and counting). Based in Easton, Pennsylvania, Tara spends tons of time on the road and trail testing products. A familiar face at cyclocross races, crits, and bike parks in the Mid Atlantic and New England, on weekends she can often be found racing for the New York City-based CRCA/KruisCX team. When not riding a bike, or talking about them, Tara listens to a lot of ska, punk, and emo music, and consumes too much social media.