Best Electric Bike For Commuting

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Whats The Best Commuter Bike

Best E-bike for Commuting | Velotric Discover 1 Electric Bike Review

What type of bike you choose to ride to work will depend on a number of factors, including journey distance, terrain, where you live and your taste in bikes.

To help make your decision easier, weve done our best to explain how eight common types of bike fare when turned to commuting duties.

Its also worth mentioning that, with a little modification, most bikes can be made into great commuters with the addition of full-length mudguards to ward off foul weather, some kind of luggage-carrying capability and lights for year-round visibility.

With these affordable modifications, your languishing, older bike may be a prime candidate for resurrection as a commuter. But its important to safety check your bike before jumping back on your two-wheeled Lazarus.

Great For City Riders

Power: 350W | Weight: 41 lb. | Top speed: 20 mph | Range: Up to 63 miles

Aventon Soltera
Cons

This affordable single-speed model from Aventon delivers simplicity and style that is tough to beat. The bike also comes as a 7-speed geared option, but we like the easy maintenance and convenience of this one-speeder. Simply push the throttle to get started and the brushless hub motor kicks in, assisting you more gently as you start pedaling. There are disc brakes or rim brakes and an integrated light. The battery is hidden in the bikes frame, a surprising feature compared to the bolt-on vibe of many bikes in this price range. Best for smoother roads and bike paths, the Soltera delivers the most essential features a city rider needs in a strikingly light 41-pound package.

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 typeLess 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 shouldnât be a major determining factor for your purchase. More important, there is no industry standard for measuring Watts . So in general, a motorâs Watt rating isnât a reliable indication of power.

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

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How To Choose The Best Electric Bike For You

As you’ll see from our picks above, there are many different types of electric bike and a whole range of prices from the inexpensive to the very pricy, so there are a range of questions to consider when looking for the best electric bike for your needs, that will help to narrow down your search. We’ll go through them.

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We’ve got e-bike picks for almost any budget, plus answers to your electric bike questions.

Joseph Kaminski

Senior Associate Technology Editor / Reviews

When not juggling the dual demands of parenthood and playing basketball, Joseph is a life-long Manhattanite who can be found testing the latest tech in the CNET Labs and developing new benchmarks and testing methodologies.

Seeing an electric commuter bike was a rare occurrence even as recently as a few years ago, but today there are plenty of excellent options available if you want to reduce your carbon footprint while zipping around your city or neighborhood. Plus, if you’re in school, an e-bike is perfect for getting around campus without breaking a sweat. But which is the best electric bike option for you?

The market for electric rideables is straight-up booming and, as a result, we’ve had to divide our recommendations into two different categories: the best electric bikes, which you’ll find below, and the best electric scooters and skateboards. Most of the rideables were tested on a commute through sections of midtown Manhattan, bike paths around Central Park or on the West Side Highway bike path. Note, these all fall into the category of “commuter bike,” and we don’t recommend trying to traverse rough terrain on one of these babies.

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Schwinn Coston Ce 275 Step

Power: 250W | Weight: 55.8 lb. or 56.8 lb. | Top speed: 20 mph | Range: Up to 35 miles

Schwinn Colston CE 27.5 Step-Thru
Schwinn Colston CE 27.5 Step-Thru
Cons
  • Mechanical disc brakes arent as powerful as hydraulic brakes

It took some time, but one of the most well-known bike brands has embraced the fastest-growing bike category: e-bikes. Judging by Schwinns first offerings, which are appealing, it should have made the move sooner. The Coston is one of several new electric-assist models that offer a lot of attractive features at a low price. This one has a 250W hub-mounted motor and up to a 35-mile range, making it a capable option for commuting, cruising, or exploring. Theres an integrated front light, and one on the battery that makes you more visible when riding at night. Theres also an easy-to-use control unit, 7-speeds, and mechanical disc brakesnice features for the price.

Vanmoof S3 Electric Commuter Bike

VanMoof is known for making elegant and techie e-bikes that are designed for commuters and urban navigators. You wont find giant tires or suspension or huge motors. What you will find is modest power combined with urban-centric features.

The S3 will get you up to 20 mph in the US and comes with a high torque motor paired with an automatic electronic shifter.

Theres also a nicely enclosed chain, which is a very nicer feature for urban riders that dont want to deal with chain lube on their pants or ankles.

The dot matrix display is considered odd by some, by others prize its minimalism.

Lastly, VanMoof employs some awesome anti-theft features, such as a built-in kick lock and find my iPhone integration from Apple to help locate the e-bike if it goes missing.

Check out our review of the VanMoof S3 here.

  • Motor: 350W peak-rated front hub motor
  • Top speed: 20 mph in the US
  • Range: 60-150 km in Eco mode
  • Battery capacity: 504Wh LG cells, non-user removable.

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Commuters And Urban / City Bikes

At this time, the most popular types of e-bike are commuter and urban bikes. Many riders are looking for an e-bike that can get them to work over long distances or without working up a sweat.

For an electric commuting bike, youll want all the features that you would seek in a pedal-powered commuter, plus a moderately powered motor and battery capacity .

Tough D-locks and a removable battery are essential if you are locking up your e-bike in a public area.

Rad Power Bikes Radrunner

Top Commuter Electric Bikes

The RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes has been an industry favorite ever since it was first announced back in 2019. The company is actually on the RadRunner 2 now, but the update only made minor changes since the original was already so well designed.

The bike uses a step-through moped style frame to create a short utility bike or mini cargo e-bike. Its quick up to the 20 mph top speed and offers a ton of uses. When outfitted with the Passenger Package, it has a seat and footpegs that let you carry kids or adults on the back, turning this into a multi-passenger e-bike.

The high-capacity battery and powerful motor also make for sprightly acceleration and longer than average rides, so youll have enough power to ride all day.

The RadRunner is truly one of those do-anything e-bikes because it has so many uses. The same bike can be used for fun recreational riding, city commuting, trail riding, or grocery shopping. Theres something for everyone.

Theres even an upgraded version known as the RadRunner Plus, which adds suspension, a seven-speed transmission, a more detailed display, and the passenger package, though the RadRunner Plus costs a bit more at $1,899.

Check out my complete review of the RadRunner 2 here.

RadRunner 2 quick specs:

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Ecotric Hybrid Electric Bike

Buy from Walmart

The Ecotric Hybrid Electric Bike is a great choice for those who are after a basic and cheap ebike.

The Ecotric frame is made from steel, which is manufactured to be strong and durable. This bike can support up to 265 lbs of weight, which is lower than most bikes on this list but should still be fine for most cyclists.

The motor on the Ecotric Hybrid Electric Bike is a 350W rear hub motor, which is capable of speeds of up to 20mph. The 36v removable battery will provide plenty of power to the rear hub, which you can feel when using either the pedal assistance or the full-throttle mode.

When using pedal power, the Ecotric is fitted with a Shimano 7-speed cassette, which provides a good amount of flexibility for when you need to drop down a gear to ride up gentle hills.

You also get mechanical disc brakes, which will provide a good amount of stopping power when you need it.

Why we love it:

This is a great entry-level bike for those who want to dip their toes into the hybrid electric bike world without breaking the bank.

Nakto 250w Fashion Foldable City Electric Bike

Heres our first best electric bicycle for commuting and the most affordable on this list.

The Nakto 250W Fashion Foldable City Electric Bike is a great choice for those who want to take their daily commute to the next level. With a sleek and lightweight design that allows it to fold in half with ease, this stylish bike is perfect for busy people on the go. The large seat is adjustable, allowing you to ride comfortably while the front and rear V brakes provide additional safety.

If youre living in a cramped apartment or just want a bike that can follow you anywhere, an electric folding bike is the right choice. The small physical size of the Nakto Fashion City electric bike and its minimal weight of 50 pounds means that youll be able to move it around with ease, even if you have a small car.

The Nakto Foldable City e-bike has a 20 wheel, which is smaller than the more common 26 offerings. Fitting in easily with city bike riders will make you seem more accessible to urbanites who are used to bikes with 20 wheels. This smaller wheel is also beneficial as it is lighter and more responsive to your adjustments.

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Ancheer Folding City Commuter Electric Bike

No doubt another best electric bicycle for commuting!

The Ancheer folding electric bike allows you to travel up to 15 mph on the road without breaking a sweat. Simply turn it on, and you can ride as far as you need to. The 36V, 8AH lithium-ion battery provides enough power to take you up to 25 km in distancethats for those people who like to push themselves.

The e-bike is a great choice for the urban commuter, thanks to its lightweight design and ease of transport. It only weighs 41lbs and is made from 100% lightweight aluminum alloy, which is extremely tough and durable but also makes it easy to carry around. The e-bike will stay at your desk or office, instead of in the corner of your garageyoull love being able to make the most of your commute!

The three pedal assist modes give you full control over how fast or slow you want to get from place to place. Additional features include LED display, 7-speed Shimano professional transmission system, and front and rear hydraulic disc brakes. With its bright LED headlamp system and horn, the Ancheer Folding Electric Bike is perfect for riding around town at night.

If youre looking for quality pocket-friendly e-bikes, head over to our list of the best electric bicycles under $500.

How To Choose The Best Electric Bike For Commuting

The Best Electric Bikes For Commuting To Work in 2021

There are many commuter eBikes available on the market, including electric hunting bikes, electric mountain bikes, and foldable electric bikes. So which electric bikes are best for commuting?

QuietKat bikes are not your average commuter bike. However, if you want a bike that can take you from city to country roads and even some light off-roading, these are the best electric bikes.

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Are Electric Bikes Safe To Ride In Crowded Spaces

The answer is mixed. Even if you take a lot of time to practice away from other people and become super proficient at riding, there are always unknown variables about driving, such as finicky pedestrians, people on scooters not paying attention, drivers looking at their phones, trucks stopping abruptly, and so on. Always use the most caution possible and follow all local laws to be as safe as possible for yourself and everyone you are driving around.

What Kind Of Motor Should I Look For

If you’re using your bike for a commute on a flat road and you’re fairly fit, a motor with 40Nm to 50Nm torque will likely suit you. However, if you’re riding somewhere more demanding or expect to be carrying some cargo, then a bike with a motor that provides more torque will be a better choice. Some motors can offer up to 80Nm or more.

A mid-drive motor will most likely keep your electric bike most stable due to it being low down and central on the bike. However, a rear hub motor won’t have any significant impact on handling and stability either and as your weight is over the rear wheel grip isn’t likely to be an issue.

Front hub motors are a bit more tricky because there’s less weight on the wheel which can affect the bike’s stability if it’s not been carefully designed.

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Gravel/adventure/cyclocross Bikes: Best If You Want To Ride Far On Bad Roads

Russell Burton / Immediate Media

A gravel, adventure, cyclocross, #groad or whatever else you want to call it bike, is best thought of as a road bike with some changes that make it more suitable and comfortable for off-road usage.

Primarily, on the best gravel bikes, clearances are improved so that chunkier gravel tyres can be fitted, smoothing out the ride on broken surfaces. The wheelbase of a gravel bike is also often considerably longer than a road bike, with the head angle also often slackened in a bid to ease handling over rougher terrain.

Most gravel bikes are fitted with disc brakes, with only a few now available with cantilever or V-brakes.

Gravel bikes are designed with versatility in mind, with most having provisions to mount mudguards, racks and multiple bottle cages. Combined with a road-like fit, these bikes make excellent commuter bikes for those who have to contend with poor roads or even light off-road detours.

Dedicated cyclocross bikes tend to lack these commuter-friendly provisions and also usually feature a more aggressive fit than their all-road minded cousins, but still make great commuter bikes with some modifications.

Pros: Incredibly adaptable with a fast and comfortable ride

Cons: Not as quick on tarmac as a road bike, but more suitable for commuting overall

What Are The E

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What classifies as an e-bike and what regulations apply to riding it vary by where you’re located.

At present, most e-bikes in the UK fall under EPAC amendment regulation mandate. This means bikes have to be moving before the motor can kick in, it can provide a maximum of 250 watts of aided power and has to stop aiding at 25 kph. You also have to be at least 14 years old to ride an e-bike.

So long as your bike meets these criteria , then youâll have the same legal standing as regular bicycles and youâll be allowed on roads and bike paths. If your bike assists you up to faster speeds itâll be considered a two-wheel moped, and therefore youâll require insurance, a certified helmet, and a valid driving licence.

Australia

In Australia e-bikes can assist you up to a maximum speed of 25 kph. The two legal systems in Australia are throttle-operated and pedal-assist. If you have a throttle-controlled bike they can provide up to 200 watts of power, whereas pedal-assist e-bikes can give you 250 watts of assistance. Anything above that is legally considered a motorbike and must therefore be licensed and insured.

Given the structure of the American legal system, the rules governing the use of e-bikes are predictably more complicated than those in the UK and Australia.

Yes, this is a lot to get your head around, but thankfully the kind folk at People for Bikes have put together a state-by-state guide.

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