The 10 Best Electric Bikes for Commuting, Hauling, and More, Tested by Our Editors

a person riding an aventon electric bike
The 10 Best Electric Bikes, Tested by Our EditorsTrevor Raab

"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

No riding segment is growing faster than electric bikes. Improved battery technology, more efficient motors, and lighter bikes have helped to increase the range, reliability, and overall fun of electric bikes. And with bicycle prices falling in recent months, now is the best time in many years to find really good deals on many of our best-tested e-bike models.

To make these reviews as helpful as possible, we focus on lower and mid-price options from brands you can purchase directly online—though we did include some recommendations for e-bikes available through bike shops and more expensive models that our bike testers loved.

Brands like Aventon, Ride1Up, and Lectric offer affordable models you can buy online that perform well in our ride testing. If you want to purchase an electric bike in person or test ride before you buy, established players like Specialized and Trek offer many types of e-bikes and have hundreds of dealers nationwide. Additionally, REI has many locations across the U.S. offering its Co-op e-bikes and models from other popular brands.

Check out Bicycling’s 2023 Bike Awards for 12 exceptional, high-performing e-bikes rigorously vetted by our editorial team.

The Best E-Bikes

[table-of-contents] stripped

How We Test E-Bikes

Our experienced bike test team evaluates each model included here on its overall quality, safety features, handling, motor, and battery life. We also assess whether the components and features added to the overall quality of the ride. Bicycling editors tested 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 see how long they last on one charge. Deputy editor Tara Seplavy, the author of this article, also worked in bicycle product development for two decades and led product management for major bike brands. Plus, she commutes to Bicycling HQ daily on an e-bike.

While we rode most of the e-bikes in this story, sometimes we can’t get our hands on a great electric bike. In those cases, we rely 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’ve tested.

Our Full Electric Bike Reviews

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Level.2 Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$1700.00</p><span class="copyright">Trevor Raab</span>

Although we dug the original Level, its update is outstanding in practically every way. A much smoother ride than its predecessor, it sports a new torque sensor that evenly distributes power, resulting in a more natural ride feel that’s easier to control and manage. Its update also adds visibility, not just with integrated lights, but also a full color, easy-to-read display. The Level.2 isn’t just one our favorite e-bikes—at its price, comfort level, and premium features, we think it just might be the best.

[image] stripped

Our only gripe is with its Zoom Aria suspension fork, which can’t handle bigger bumps, though the lockout feature works well. Still, if you need an e-bike for doing just about anything, from commuting to work to zipping around pavement on the weekend, the Aventon Level.2 is our top nomination.

Read Full Review More of the Best E-Bikes from Aventon

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Generation e1.1 Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$900.00</p><span class="copyright">Maegan Gindi</span>

The Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1 is a reliable workhorse for around-town use, from short grocery trips to quick coffee runs. It has a rack, integrated lights, Schwalbe Super-Moto-X tires with puncture protection, hydraulic disc brakes for improved stopping power, and a suspension fork to smooth out bumpy rides. Oh, and it’s affordable, too.

Through testing, Bicycling contributor Aithne Faey found the Generation e1.1 lacked city-appropriate gearing, but REI’s product team has since resolved this issue after hearing feedback. As for the bike itself: “The aluminum frame may not be light, but it feels stiff and reliable. The Shimano Altus drivetrain is tried-and-true and shifts smoothly, and the Tektro hydraulic brakes inspire safety and confidence with their short stopping distance. The Gen e1.1 even includes a suspension fork from SR Suntour. The only parts of the bike manufactured solely for REI are the frame, wheels, seatpost, and saddle.”

Because Co-op Cycles is an REI in-house brand, its stores offer one year of free adjustments or two years for REI Co-op members (with free flat repair!), including derailleur and brake adjustments, lateral wheel truing, hub and headset bearing adjustments, tire inflation, chain lubrication, and e-bike firmware updates. Its in-store service also makes it great for anyone intimidated by at-home e-bike assembly, too—just buy it online, deliver it to your nearest REI store, and have them do it for you.

The Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2 Electric Bike is also available for more power.

Read Full Review

Another utility e-bike we like:
Electra Ponto Go!

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Aventure.2 Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$1800.00</p><span class="copyright">Trevor Raab</span>

Aventon has been on a roll, with new models and continuous revisions to existing platforms. The brand’s update to its Aventure fat-tire e-bike is no exception. At first glance, there are few significant visual differences between the original Aventure and this second-generation model. However, once outside, the small changes feel huge.

Compared to the original Aventure, this second gen rides much more smoothly. The new torque sensor allows more control over the acceleration of Aventure’s 750W rear hub motor; previous lighter-weight testers found the previous model to have too much torque, but the latest Aventure remedied this fault. Additional updates include a new head unit interface, integrated turn signals, a front light, a rear rack, and fenders for keeping clean.

The Aventure.2 is an excellent fat-tire e-bike for commutes, especially on snowy days and gravel pathways. Off-roading, it excels on doubletrack trails, but with this burly bike’s weight and components, it has limited functionality on singletrack and more aggressive mountain trails.

More of the Best Fat-Tire E-Bikes

More fat-tire e-bikes we like:
Denago Hunting 1, Velotric Nomad 1

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>RadRover 6 Plus Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$1600.00</p><span class="copyright">Chris Goldin</span>

Brawny, big, and bold, the RadRover 6 Plus is powerful at its best and sluggish at its worst. With its 750W rear hub, 4-inch-wide tires, and RST spring suspension fork (with 60mm of travel), it’s cushy and stable enough to eat potholes as much as dirt, rocks, and snow. Compared to its predecessor, an updated display and solid hydraulic disc brakes make the RadRover 6 Plus a substantially comfortable and casual ride.

But with its extreme weight of 74 pounds (without a rack!), we wouldn’t dare to roll this thing upstairs. If you need a do-it-all bike to help get you to and from work or the grocery store and frequently battle the elements while doing it, or if you have a lot of land you’d like to tear up, the RadRover 6 is your beast. But anyone living in a small space might have trouble handling this steed.

Read Full Review

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ramblas eMTB</p><p></p><p>$2699.00</p>

The recently launched Aventon Ramblas is a category-defining hardtail e-MTB that impressed us during trail testing. Its trail-forward components—1x12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain that can handle most climbs, powerful 4-piston SRAM brakes, a solidly stiff 35mm RockShox fork, a comfy dropper seatpost, cushy 2.4-inch wide tires—are unmatched by any other hardtail e-MTB, especially given its price.

"The Ramblas has no true competitors for comparatively priced, trail-ready e-MTBs," says Seplavy in her rave review. "Every so often a bike comes along that entirely shifts the bicycle market—the Ramblas might do that for mountain biking. And once more bike brands see and ride the Ramblas, I expect several will soon follow Aventon’s lead with sharp-priced, trail-capable hardtail e-MTBs."

Read Full Review

More electric mountain bikes we like:
Trek Fuel EXe 5, Santa Cruz Heckler 29 Carbon S, Specialized Turbo Tero 3.0

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Portola Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$995.00</p>

Ride1Up’s new Portola folding bike packs a lot of punch for how small it is. Folding down to a compact 19 x 29.5 x 33-inch footprint, this bike features a 750W rear hub motor with 65Nm torque, hydraulic disc brakes, a Shimano 8-speed drivetrain, and an integrated rear rack with 130-pound carrying capacity.

For less than $1,000, this is a great deal for bimodal commuters, RVers, vanlifers, or folks living in a small apartment. The standard 10.4Ah battery has a claimed range of 20-40 miles. Or bump the range up to 45 miles with an optional 13.4Ah battery for an additional $100.

More folding e-bikes we like:
Denago Folding 1
, Brompton Electric P-Line, GoCycle G4

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Globe Haul ST Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$2800.00</p><span class="copyright">Trevor Raab</span>

If you need to haul it all, go with our 2023 Bike of the Year: Specialized’s Globe Haul ST. With a carrying capacity of a whopping 419 pounds, it’s good for a range of riding tasks, from grabbing groceries at your local farmer’s market to dropping Fido off at doggy daycare. Specialized designed this bike with the average commuter in mind, motivating riders to swap those short- and medium-distance car trips with a bicycle instead. The result is a well-designed short-tail cargo bike with wide 20 x 3.5-inch tires that can eat bumps while keeping you stable and low to the ground. It’s also a blast to ride.

Our test editor Dan Chabanov says it feels much more like a traditional bike than a souped-up e-cargo, which is to say, it’s actually fun. “If you haven’t ridden an e-cargo bike, you might take this for granted,” he says. “But the reality is that even some of the more compact e-cargo bike options out there often don’t ride like a typical bike, or worse, they simply ride poorly. As a cyclist, one of the Haul ST’s most enamoring traits is how much it rides like a ‘normal’ bike. Well, that and the ability to carry a week’s worth of groceries on it.”

Read Full Review

More electric cargo bikes we like:
Aventon Abound
, Tern HSD P-10, Lectric Xpedition

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Treadwell Neo 2 Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$1925.00</p>

We’re fans of the unpowered Treadwell for its clean looks and upright rider position. It’s not quite a hybrid but also not a foot-forward-style cruiser. The line is comprised of unique, practical bikes for city commuting or riding around town.

The Treadwell Neo 2 improves on this by offering electric assistance without 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 at up to 20 mph with pedal-assisted power. The 7-speed drivetrain and a wide-range cassette help you get up longer hills, and the Maxxis 650b tires roll fast on pavement.

More commuter e-bikes we like:
Aventon Soltera, Co-op CTY e1.1, Trek Dual Sport+ 2

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Turbo Vado 4.0 Step-Through Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$3250.00</p>

Specialized’s Turbo Vado 4.0 is smart and comfortable, with solid brakes, a terrific fork, a sleek design, and a clean iPhone companion app. We’ve 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 hesitated 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 bike 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.

Read Full Review

More premium e-bikes we like:
Ride1Up Prodigy V2 CVT, Gazelle Ultimate C8

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cafe Cruiser Electric Bike</p><p></p><p>$1195.00</p>

Sometimes, you just want a classic cruiser to take out on the weekends. And if that casualness is your desired style, the Ride1Up’s Cafe Cruiser is your best bet. Strapped with a built-in rack, front and rear lights, a 750W motor, hydraulic disc brakes, a decent suspension fork, and 3-inch-wide tires, this upright bike is stable enough for newer e-riders and, with an added passenger kit, the little one, too.

Our testing found that the bike had plenty of oomph to climb short hills despite its weight and laidback geometry. But, like several wide-tire bikes, it has some handling issues. It’s capable of speeds up to 28 mph (and 20 mph using the throttle), which is more than enough power to get you where you need to be.

Other cruiser e-bikes we like:
Electric Bike Co. Model R
, Electra Kakua Cruiser Go!, Sixthreezero Around The Block

Things to Consider When Buying an E-Bike

A Few E-Bike Terms to Know


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 40 Nm of torque, and trail and cargo models (generally) have at least 80 Nm. 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 500W motor gives you one hour of ride time at the highest assist, riding at about half that power will double your range.

Locking Battery

a removable battery helps for charging off the bike
Trevor Raab

Many e-bike brands 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

front tire of coop cycles generation ebike
Maegan Gindi

Since e-bikes can maintain higher speeds for longer than standard bikes, you want extra control when riding. 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

integrated lights on handlebar
Maegan Gindi

Some e-bikes have an integrated lighting system that turns on when you power up the bike. While this is a great feature, it’s not a deal-breaker if your bike doesn’t come equipped this way. It’s just as easy to attach your own since so many great bike lights available.

Warranty and Service

a person working on an ebike
Trevor Raab

E-bikes need regular maintenance and repair to stay in good working condition. Because they’re heavier and go faster than non-assist bicycles, e-bikes often require more regular service on parts like brakes, tires, and drivetrain components. We recommend having a good relationship with a local bike shop experienced in e-bike repair to keep your equipment running smoothly.

E-bikes use electronics for their motors, batteries, and displays. These parts are often proprietary to bike brands or even specific e-bike models, making replacement more difficult than parts on non-electric bicycles. Make sure to use the correct electronic replacement parts to avoid damaging your e-bike (or it catching fire). Established brands usually (but not always) have a good supply of these parts for replacement, even for years after a bike goes out of production. Bosch and Shimano are two e-bike motor manufacturers with some of the most compatibility between bikes and stock parts for previous generations of systems.

Look for e-bikes from brands that offer at least a one-year warranty on electronic components (many brands’ warranties are longer) and make items like replacement batteries for your bike. These parts are usually not cheap (sometimes up to half the cost of a new bike), but it’s the difference between having an e-bike that can be repaired or becomes a bicycle-shaped paperweight if something goes wrong.


ul certification sticker
UL Solutions

Following a dramatic increase in fires caused by the lithium-ion batteries used in electric bikes, there is a push from local officials, regulatory agencies, and advocacy groups across the U.S. for improved safety certification of e-bikes, batteries, and motor units. On September 16, 2023, a New York City law went into effect requiring that any e-bike sold in the city “has been certified by an accredited testing laboratory for compliance with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard 2849”. And in November 2023, Amazon announced it ceased sales of illegal batteries to New Yorkers.

However, just because something is marketed as UL 2849 compliant, tested to UL 2849, or even “certified to UL 2849” does not mean it is UL Safety Certified. Ibrahim Jilani, UL’s Global Director of Consumer Technology, notes: “Certification is always earned by a manufacturer and not a given when they undergo a product submittal. The UL Mark, or any authorized certification mark, can only be issued upon successful demonstration of meeting the requirements of the safety standard.” You can find UL’s updated list of products Certified to UL 2849 here.

We contacted many e-bike brands on this topic. Most companies informed us they are working toward the certification process. So, expect the list of certified e-bikes to grow in the coming months. If owning a UL 2849-certified bike is important to you, ask the brand from which you plan to purchase it for proof of certification. You can cross-reference OSHA’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories if you want to dive deeper into the topic.

Conversion Kits

Several manufacturers offer kits to add pedal assistance to a non-electric bike. We purchased a few popular conversion kits, fitted them to bikes, and rode them. We do not currently recommend these kits for use. While converting an old bike to an electric assist sounds good in theory, it rarely makes practical sense. Plus, it can lead to rider injury or failure of the bike.

Manufacturers do not design non-electric bikes to accommodate the extra weight and forces incurred when adding an e-bike motor, battery, and control equipment. This puts more stress on the bicycle frame and other components and can lead to breakage or failure of the bike.

conversion kit ebike
Converting a bike to e-assist isn’t as easy as it sounds.Trevor Raab

Selecting most conversion kits requires knowing fitment details about your bike and might require specialized tools for installation. Many do not have a straightforward installation process, and it can be a challenging project for novice mechanics. If you want a shop to install a conversion kit, check with the shop before purchasing it. Since most non-electric bikes are not engineered to accommodate electric conversions, many shops will not install these kits.

Many economical e-bikes do not cost much more than the total price of a conversion kit plus the installation price. We recommend buying a purpose-built e-bike for the best and safest experience.

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 e-bike classifications. These are 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 (sometimes known as “speed pedelec”) can have up to a 750W (aka 1-horsepower) motor but can assist you up to 28 mph. Both are allowed in most states and cities without needing a license.

gocycle folding bike ridden by aithne feay in brooklyn
Maegan Gindi

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).

How to Buy a Used E-Bike

Good quality e-bikes can cost a lot of money; purchasing a pre-owned bike is one way to save some cash and get a better model. If you want to shop for a used e-bike in person, some bicycle stores offer refurbished units. Shopping in person allows you to check the integrity and condition of the bike before you buy it. When purchasing from a shop, make sure that the retailer is experienced with e-bike service and that the bike includes the proper charger and battery.

If purchasing a used e-bike directly from another owner on a third-party site, it’s wise to have the bike inspected by an experienced e-bike shop or mechanic before handing over your money. E-bikes experience higher wear-and-tear than non-assist bicycles, and many e-bikes use proprietary parts or require special tools to service or update software.

With the boom in e-bike sales, a few websites have recently sprung up selling reconditioned and certified e-bikes. Often, these e-bikes have low mileage or were sales floor samples at shops—some are even brand new or are new old stock of a previous model year. While it costs more than purchasing from an individual seller, buying a used bike from these sites usually means you have some sort of warranty on your e-bike and ensures that it was inspected properly.

Two sites offering high-quality, certified pre-owned e-bikes include Upway and TPC.

Upway The Pro’s Closet

You Might Also Like