Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of throwing my leg over hundreds of electric bicycles. And with the skyrocketing popularity of e-bikes this year, 2020 saw me doing more electric bicycle reviews than ever before.
With so many unique advantages among the many different bikes, I’ve chosen my favorite models from several different categories of e-bikes below.
Commuter electric bikes
When people think of electric bicycles, this is often the class they imagine first.
Commuter-style e-bikes are designed for mostly urban riding and favor a balance between comfort and efficiency.
Rad Power Bikes RadCity
The RadCity is a $1,499 e-bike from the largest electric bicycle company in the US, Rad Power Bikes. It offers familiar Class 2 e-bike performance with a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) from its 750W rear hub motor.
The RadCity offers a number of accessory-mounting hardpoints that are a bit of a golden handcuffs situation. There are tons of accessory-mounting options, but you’re largely limited to Rad’s vast walled garden of in-house accessories. For me though, the sheer number of accessories that Rad offers makes it well worth it.
Plus, the RadCity already comes nicely outfitted with included lights, fenders and rear rack. So you’re perfectly set up for commuting right out of the box.
See my review of the RadCity here.
The Aventon Level is a bit pricer at $1,599, but you get the benefits of an integrated (yet still removable) battery, a beautifully welded frame and hydraulic disc brakes.
Oh yea, and it can take you all the way up to 28 mph (45 km/h) as a Class 3 electric bicycle.
As much as I love this bike, I still ding it for not including built-in lights – but since those are easily added it still makes my favorite list for being such a high quality, well-made electric bike with a fair price.
The Priority Current is the priciest commuter e-bike on my favorites list at $3,299, but it deserves this spot due to its high-end component suite.
Not only does it have strong hydraulic disc brakes, bright built-in lighting and an integrated battery, but it also sports a powerful mid-drive motor and a choice between two different internally geared rear hubs: a NuVinci Enviolo continuously variable transmission or Shimano 5-speed rear hub. Plus it adds a Gates belt drive system as the cherry on top.
It’s just a beautifully designed and outfitted e-bike at a very fair price. See my full Priority Current review here.
Moped-style electric bicycles
Mini-bike and moped-style electric bicycles were perhaps one of the fastest growing e-bike trends of 2020.
While designs vary, they generally share a few things in common, including small diameter wheels with wider tires, bench seats and pedal-forward geometries.
The ONYX RCR is the epitome of a classic moped-style e-bike. Despite including pedals, the 60 mph (97 km/h) ONYX RCR fully embraces the “mo” part of moped with its 5.4 kW peak motor.
This is not an e-bike for the casual rider though. It’s an incredibly powerful machine that requires high-speed two-wheeler experience to be ridden safely.
The Juiced HyperScorpion brings us back down into borderline electric bicycle territory. It is still plenty powerful with an over 1.5 kW motor and top speed that nudges into the low 30’s of mph (50+ km/h).
But it is also a pedalable electric bicycle that can be easily returned to Class 2 or Class 3 mode for legally operating in bike lanes.
With its full suspension, wide tires, bench seat, mirrors, turn signals and other features, it makes an awesome e-bike for cruising the town in style and comfort. And at its current sale price of $2,199, it is reasonably priced for all that you get. See my full Juiced HyperScorpion review here.
And if you ask Electrek’s Seth Weintraub, he’ll tell you that the bike’s HyperScrambler 2 cousin is equally awesome.
Ariel Rider D Class
The Ariel Rider D Class is more mini-bike than moped thanks to its top-tank style frame, but it definitely fits in this category. With a pair of 1.5 kW peak motors, this e-bike is ridiculously powered. I’d even call it over-powered, especially since I can do dual-wheel burnouts on it.
The AWD nature of the bike is fun, though you can switch it into front or rear wheel drive and limit the power if its too much for your riding conditions.
The front suspension is nice, but the rigid rear will have you appreciating the plush bench seat as substitute suspension.
At $2,199, this is another reasonably priced e-bike considering the high power and high capacity battery you’re getting.
While the Super73 Z1 doesn’t have the power or battery capacity of these other impressive e-bikes, it made my list for its low cost and swagger.
It’s only $1,260 and still gives you that fun, vintage-look that Super73 is known for, yet costs half the price of most other vintage-style e-mopeds.
You’re only going to get up to 20 mph with this Class 2 e-bike, but you’re going to look cool as hell while you do it!
Single-Speed electric bicycles
While single-speed e-bikes are certainly a type of commuter e-bike, I gave them their own category due to the rising popularity in 2020 of this style of e-bike.
Ride1UP Roadster V2
I’m currently putting miles on a Ride1Up Roadster V2 and I’m loving this thing. It looks like an old school fixie messenger bike, yet still offers good power and 15 mph (25 km/h) top speed.
It is pedal assist-only, but the belt drive makes it a pleasure to pedal and oh so quiet!
But the cherry on top is definitely the $995 price. You just can’t find another stealthy, belt-drive e-bike like this one for less!
Rad Power Bikes RadMission
The RadMission caused a huge stir when it was announced this Summer, and for good reason.
It is Rad’s lowest-priced e-bike yet at just $1,099. It still offers the typical 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed found in other Rad Power Bike models, though the 500 W motor and 500 Wh battery are both a bit smaller than the rest of the company’s line up.
Still, at this price the bike is a no-brainer. You get the peace of mind of a colossal brand and the fun ride of a lightweight, single-speed e-bike!
Full-Suspension electric bicycles
Full-suspension e-bikes offer a ride unlike anything else.
They can smooth out bumpy roads and let you tackle rutted-out trails at speeds you wouldn’t imagine trying on a hardtail e-bike.
FREY EX PRO
It’s hard to choose just one FREY bike for this list, especially after I visited the company’s headquarters in China and tested out just about every model they make.
But if I had to choose one, it’d be the FREY EX Pro. Not only does it have phenomenal top-shelf RockShox suspension, including a RockShox Lyrik fork that alone costs more than some e-bikes on this list, but it also rocks TWO batteries and a 1.5 kW Bafang Ultra mid-drive motor.
This is just a beast of a full-suspension e-bike that can hit speeds of over 35 mph (56 km/h) and fly meters in the air, all in the same ride. It’s not cheap at just over $4,000 depending on the options, but it is an entirely different class of e-bike.
E-cells SuperMonarch AWD Crown 1500
E-cells has several models of the Super Monarch AWD line with varying motor power levels, from 700W to 1500W.
Of course my favorite is going to be the 1500W model though!
With dual motors, dual suspension and dual batteries, this massive fat-tire e-bike is a beast that can tackle anything from urban riding to sand dune climbing to forrest trails and even overlanding.
The giant e-bike feels like a truck and is not for the meek rider. If you’ve got the need for speed and power, this 30+ mph (50+ km/h) e-bike will get you there.
And if the $4,195 price is too steep, check out the slightly lower power (and some would say more reasonably powered) models from E-cells, which are still tons of fun while being more affordable.
And be sure to take a look at my full Super Monarch Crown AWD 1500 review here.
Cargo and utility electric bicycles
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4
Rad Power Bikes updated the RadWagon with the RadWagon 4 this year. The motor was changed to a geared motor, the wheels size was reduced to 22″ and other smaller changes were made to help make the bike more comfortable and even better handling. Having reviewed the previous model, I can say that the updates made this long tail cargo bike even better than it already was at hauling both people and gear.
The RadWagon features Rad’s standard performance figures of a 750W motor, 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed and 672 Wh battery.
And with that long bench on back, you can fit just about anything imaginable on this e-bike. For $1,599, this is an incredibly capable cargo e-bike.
Rad Power Bikes RadRunner
Rad Power Bikes actually scored two bikes in my favorite cargo/utility category.
The RadRunner can still haul cargo and passengers like its RadWagon big brother. But the RadRunner is a smaller, lighter and more nimble e-bike.
It can wiggle around in tighter places, take up less room in your garage and more easily fit into a vehicle for transportation.
And at just $1,199, the price is outstanding for the value that you get with this utility e-bike. Sure, there’s no front suspension and the display is a simple model, but who cares? The bike rides great on those big tires even without suspension and it is simply a blast to use!
While Rad Power Bikes makes great cargo and utility bikes, they can’t compare to the higher quality (though higher priced at $3,100+) Tern HSD.
This e-bike uses a small format design yet still includes a big rear rack for hauling all of your gear. It can even be parked vertically on its tail to save space!
And with a Bosch mid-drive motor, you get much more freedom to choose your gearing with motor assist – though you have to give up a throttle unfortunately.
Still, Tern makes phenomenal e-bikes that are designed to last for years and years. They cost more, but they are worth it for anyone who favors the “buy it for life” mentality.
Folding electric bicycles
The Lectric XP folding fat-tire e-bike took the e-bike industry by storm over the past year and a bit.
The fast and fun 28 mph (45 km/h) e-bike is priced at an incredible $899, helping it become the first e-bike for thousands of people this year.
While it lacks high-end components and also saves money by foregoing any suspension, the bike still works great and is incredibly accessible. The company even launched a step-thru version this year, further opening the door of accessibility.
GoCycle GX 2020
On the other end of the pricing spectrum is the GoCycle GX. This e-bike may be more expensive at $3,299, but it is a highly-engineered e-bike that is designed for riders seeking the ultimate in hassle-free, long-lasting folding e-bike design.
Engineered by a former McLaren designer, the GoCycle GX uses a pair of single-sided proprietary wheels, a fully-enclosed CleanDrive drivetrain and offers rear suspension from a unique swingarm design.
The bike folds quickly and effortlessly in a way that still allows it to roll as it is pushed or pulled like a piece of carry-on luggage. It’s an engineering work of art.
The quality and craftsmanship really show you what happens when automotive designers enter the e-bike space, and the result is an awesome folding e-bike.
Recreational and playbike e-bikes
Serial 1 Mosh
I did not expect Harley-Davidson to make this list, but upon testing their first ever electric bicycle, I knew it had to be here. The Serial 1 Mosh is an incredibly capable bike that had me cruising city streets, weaving through traffic cones, hopping curbs and bombing downhill dirt trails all in the same afternoon.
This is really a do-anything type of e-bike.
Powered by a Brose S-Mag mid-drive motor and sporting high-end components, the Serial 1 Mosh is just a blast to ride. It’s not cheap at $3,399 but it’s so much fun to ride and built so well that I definitely think it is worth the price. And did I mention that it has a freakin’ glove box?!
Ecotric fat tire
Ecotric’s 500W fat tire bike isn’t fancy. It’s not really that special. It’s just a reasonably-priced fat tire bike that can handle a variety of terrain and is a great way for anyone on a budget to get into the hobby of fat tire e-bike riding.
The ride is a bit rougher without any suspension, but like the Lectric XP above, the low price of $869 helps you look past that and simply enjoy the fun of cruising on a 20 mph (32 km/h) fat tire e-bike that didn’t break the bank!
So while it isn’t a fancy e-bike, it’s a good e-bike a great price. And in that way, it actually became one of my favorites for bringing off-road e-biking to the masses at such an affordable price.
CSC is actually a motorcycle company, but their first electric bicycle nailed the mark for a fun, nicely-spec’d fat tire bike. At $1,699, you get nice suspension, 750W motors, hydraulic disc brakes, built-in lighting and great handling.
The bike even comes in two different models, a larger format 26″ wheel e-bike and a BMX-style 20″ wheel e-bike. They’re both a blast, with the larger one being a better commuter or cruiser e-bike and the smaller one being better for nimble or trick riding.
Electric Bike Co Model R
Speaking of cruisers, the Electric Bike Company Model R is something of a cruiser meets commuter e-bike. It has a more laid-back riding style, yet has urban-ready tires and front suspension that is perfect as an urban assault e-bike. And that 28 mph (45 km/h) top speed is certainly a big part of the draw as well.
Electric Bike Company even builds their e-bikes in California, making the low $2,199 price even more impressive.
An e-bike for everyone
As you can see, there is an amazing amount of variety in the e-bike industry.
With so many options, I truly believe there is an e-bike out there for everyone.
These are my favorites from the e-bikes I’ve tested lately, but that doens’t mean there aren’t other awesome models waiting for you as well.
I’ll continue putting the miles on to bring you more interesting electric bicycles well into 2021 and beyond!
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