What Makes the Best E-Bike Around?

Commuter e-bike for road use.Riding an electric bike is one of the best ways to get around. E-bikes are fast, eco friendly, and allow you to exercise and get some fresh air while traveling from one place to another. An electric bike can even be the perfect addition to a great camping experience if you want to take your hike to the next level by adding some wheels.

If you’re thinking about investing in an electric bike, though, you’ll want to make sure you choose one that’s the right fit for you. There are so many electric bikes out there to choose from, so it can be tough to know which one is the best when it comes to making a selection.

In this article, we’ll help you figure it out. Below, we’ll go through all the factors you should keep in mind when you’re picking out an e-bike — from the way different batteries affect performance to the benefits of different types of frames and styles.

Table of Contents

  1. Motors
  2. Batteries
  3. Frames
  4. Wheels
  5. Brakes
  6. Pedal Assist Levels
  7. Features
  8. Different Types of E-Bikes to Consider
  9. Choose the Best Electric Bike for You

Here are all the aspects of an e-bike you should look into when you’re choosing one.

Motors

Hub motor on electric bike.Typically, an e-bike will have one of two types of motors: a hub motor or a mid drive motor. Each of these motors has specific advantages and drawbacks to keep in mind.

  • Hub Motors — When it comes to hub motors, these will either be located in the front or rear wheel of your bike.
    • Torque — A rear hub motor will give you the most torque, making it a perfect option for off-roading and climbing steep hills.
    • Control and Maneuverability — A front hub motor is the best option if you want a lot of control overall. This type of motor will be helpful if you’re going to be maneuvering tight spaces and city streets.
  • Mid drive motor on e-bike.Mid Drive Motors — A mid drive motor is positioned at the center of the e-bike, usually where your e-bike pedals are located.
    • Torque — Though rear drive motors offer the most torque, a mid drive motor will give you a decent amount of torque, too.
    • Lightweight Design — Mid drive motors are much lighter than front and rear hub motors. In addition, their position at the center of the e-bike makes weight distribution much more even.

Batteries

Charging e-bike battery.Your e-bike’s battery is another super important component. In fact, the battery is just as important as your motor, because your bike needs it to run. Just like the gas tank of a car needs fuel, the battery of an e-bike needs a charge if you want to be able to operate it without pedaling.

It’s important to consider how the different wattages and amperages of batteries will affect an electric bike’s performance. Here’s some info to take note of:

  • Wattage Amount — Wattages range from 250 to 1000+.
  • Lower Wattages — A 250w battery will give you a long range, allowing you to travel far distances. The flipside is that e-bikes with lower wattages move at lower speeds.
  • Higher Wattages — A 1000w battery will give you a lot of power, but significantly less range. So while you can move at higher speeds with a 1000w e-bike, it won’t take you as far as, say, a 250w e-bike.
  • Mid-Range Wattages — Maybe your sweet spot is a 500w or 750w battery that will give you a decent, but not exceptional, amount of both speed and range.
  • Pedaling — Of course, pedaling affects both range and power. So if you plan on pedaling along with your e-bike a significant amount, this is something you can also consider.

Frames

The frame of your e-bike is an important factor to consider — not only for the sake of style, but for the role it plays in performance, as well.

An electric bike’s frame determines what type of bike it is and what it’s best for: Do you want a beach cruiser, mountain bike, roadie bike, or hunting bike? How about a bike that folds for easier storage and transportation?

Here’s a quick rundown of a few options to consider.

Mountain E-Bikes

Riding a mountain electric bike.Just like their standard non-electric counterparts, mountain e-bikes, or electric mountain bikes, are great for taking on the mountains.

Who Are Mountain E-Bikes Best For?

If you want an e-bike that you can take on an adventure off the beaten path, you’ll probably want to consider a mountain e-bike.

  • Climbing Steep Hills — With an electric mountain bike, you’ll be able to tackle steep inclines. These e-bikes are perfect if you’re taking on uphill mountain trails.
  • Off-Roading — Mountain e-bikes typical feature tires that are designed for off-road terrain. So if you’re into challenging yourself with off-road courses, this type of e-bike will give you great control.
  • Riding on Uneven Terrain — Electric mountain bikes are designed to handle whatever uneven terrain nature may throw at you, much like standard mountain bikes.

Electric Beach Cruisers

Electric beach cruiser parked on sidewalk.An electric beach cruiser is great for casual, day-to-day riding. Beach cruisers are ideal for the casual biker who won’t be going on many strenuous trips.

Who Are Electric Beach Cruisers Best For?

Whether you want to ride along the coast or you’re looking for something to ride to work in style, a beach cruiser makes an excellent e-bike.

  • Daily Commutes — If you’re looking for something that’ll get you from point A to point B with no hassle, a beach cruiser e-bike is a fine choice.
  • Quick Rides Through Town — For riders who want to take their e-bikes on quick rides through the city, to the store, or to the beach like the name suggests, a beach cruiser is a perfect option.

Note: Roadie e-bikes are another good option for commuting.

Hunting E-Bikes
Hunting e-bike with rear cargo rack for carrying equipment and game.

Like the name implies, a hunting e-bike, or electric hunting bike, is an especially good option if you’re a hunter. That said, the benefits of hunting e-bikes are good to keep in mind for any type of rider.

Who Are Hunting E-Bikes For?

Maybe you’re a hunter looking for a good, quiet way to sneak up on prey. Or maybe you just want a really cool, feature-heavy e-bike. Whatever the case may be, a hunting e-bike is worth considering.

  • Hunting — Hunting e-bikes are some of the most quiet electric bikes, which makes them ideal for tracking prey, and they work great off-road.
  • Off-Roading — Because electric hunting bikes are designed to travel on uneven off-road terrain, they’re great if you just want to ride through your favorite mountain path.
  • Low Sound Levels — Even if you don’t hunt, electric hunting bikes are great if you prefer something that runs quieter. Though standard e-bikes run at a low hum, hunting e-bikes are even quieter!

Folding E-Bikes vs. Standard Frames

Portable folding electric bike.When trying to pick an electric bike, you should definitely also consider the different benefits of standard frames and folding e-bike frames.

Who Are Folding E-Bikes For?

Due to their super compact design, foldable electric bikes come with their own set of perks that you won’t get from any other e-bike.

  • Easy to Store — Folding e-bikes are much more compact and offer great storage capacity. So if you ride to work or school and you need to tuck it under your desk, that’s not a problem.
  • Ideal for Riders Who Are Constantly on the Move — Folding e-bikes are easier to take on the go than standard electric bikes. So if you ride the bus or train, or you need to store your e-bike in your trunk or backseat, a foldable frame gives you ease of use.
  • Lightweight — Riders who live in big cities may have to carry their e-bikes up stairs or elevators to get to their apartment or office. A folding electric bike is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry anywhere.

Wheels

Standard tires on electric bike.Wheels are another extremely important component of an e-bike, and there are a number of different varieties. Depending on your needs as a rider, you’ll want to take wheel size into consideration.
  • Fat Tire E-Bikes — Fat tires are the best option if you’re going to be taking your electric bike off-road on rough terrain often. This is because they absorb shock and make for a more comfortable, safe ride on surfaces like gravel, dirt, rocky paths, sand, and any sort of loose terrain.
  • Standard Tire E-Bikes — Thinner wheels are ideal for your day-to-day leisure rides, commutes, and trips around town or to the store.
  • E-Bikes with 26-Inch Tires — 26-inch tires are standard for most e-bikes. These larger wheels are functional for everything from commuting to off-roading. In addition, they offer more overall speed and power than smaller wheels, allowing you to move at faster speeds.
  • E-Bikes with 20-Inch Tires — 20-inch tires are typical of folding e-bikes, adding to their compact size. Smaller wheels allow for more control, so they’re one option to consider if you’re going to be riding on busy streets where you’ll move through tight spaces.They also offer great maneuverability on off-road terrain and pits.

Brakes

Electric mountain bike with high stop power.Brakes are sometimes overlooked when factoring electric bikes. You may not even have thought about the fact that there’s a wide variety of brakes to consider when choosing an e-bike.

While most e-bikes use front and rear disc brakes, those come in multiple variations.

  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes — Most off-road e-bikes are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. These give you a lot of stopping power, making them the safest option for climbing steep hills and off-roading. They also provide maximum safety on other e-bikes that aren’t necessarily ideal for off-roading, like daily commuters — if you’re riding through busy city streets, stopping power may be an important factor to consider in your e-bikes brakes.
  • Mechanical Brakes — Another option is an e-bike with mechanical brakes. These cost less, so they’re decent if you aren’t looking to break the bank. That said, you should be aware that mechanical brakes won’t give the same level of stopping power as hydraulic brakes. They’re still safe and get the job done, and they do it for a cheaper price — you just may not want to take them on a steep mountain.

Pedal Assist Levels

Mountain e-bike with multiple pedal assist and speed options.One of the most unique — and best — benefits that electric bikes offer is pedal assist. With pedal assist, you can enjoy a nice e-bike ride without having to exhaust yourself with a lot of pedaling!

If you use pedal assist at lower levels, you’ll get just a little bit of a boost. Meanwhile higher levels of pedal assist can make pedaling super smooth and easy. If you’re looking to take long rides, take your e-bike climbing on steep hills, or have physical limitations that make pedaling difficult, pedal assist is a factor that should be at the top of your list when you’re choosing an e-bike.

Keep in mind that different electric bikes offer different levels of pedal assist, allowing you to choose just how much riding assistance you want from the bike’s motor. Having options is always great. You may be looking for an e-bike that has a wide range of pedal assist options, or one that only offers three different options. Whatever the case, there’s undoubtedly an e-bike with exactly the level of pedal assist you want.

Features

High suspension fork an electric mountain bike.While looking for the best e-bike around, maybe you want something that offers special features. On top of all of the other factors we’ve gone over, here are some unique features and benefits you should look into when buying the best electric bike.
  • Full Suspension — Though not necessary, full suspension is a great option for off-roading. E-bikes with full suspension can be a bit pricier but it’s a good feature to consider if you plan on taking your bike off-road and on mountains the majority of the time.
  • Bright Bullet Headlights — If you ride a lot at night, you may want larger than standard headlights. Some electric bikes offer large bullet headlights. These often feature LEDs, which means you won’t have trouble seeing at night whether you’re commuting or just going for a late night ride.
  • Cargo Rack or Basket — A lot of hunting e-bikes and electric trikes offer rear cargo racks. There are also plenty of standard e-bikes that include a front basket. If you’re going to use your e-bike for carrying heavy loads, groceries, or other supplies, a rear cargo rack or front basket will make it easy to do so.
  • Phone Charger — Though this is completely a luxury item, some e-bikes also include USB smartphone charging ports. Keep in mind that this will run off of your e-bike’s battery. In addition, while it’s totally fine to charge your phone while riding, for safest practices we recommend not using your phone while you’re on the road.

Due to the high price points of some e-bikes with features like these, you should evaluate whether each feature is really worth it to you for the price. Someone who just plans on using their bike for commutes, for example, won’t need to spend the extra money on a full-suspension bike and should probably just look at some other options.

Different Types of E-Bikes to Consider

Now you know what factors to look for to determine which e-bike is the best fit for you and your riding preferences, let’s look at a few options you can choose from. Here are some of the different types of electric bikes out there that are great for a variety of riders.

Commuters

Gigabyke Swift 500w commuter electric bike.If you’re a casual rider looking to get from point A to point B on a daily basis, a commuter e-bike is a great fit for you.

This style of electric bike is ideal for getting to school, work, running errands, or just riding around town. Electric commuter bikes are perfect for riding around on city streets, and you really can’t go wrong with a 500w option as that should be enough to give you the speeds and range you need for daily rides. Emojo Panther 500w electric bike with step-through frame.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that commuters are also a good e-bike option for leisurely riding. These types of e-bikes do well on slight hills and can get up to some decent, medium-level power and speed. So if you want something that’s practical but can still be enjoyed on a day off, a commuter is a solid choice.

Recommended Commuter Electric Bikes:

Mountain E-Bikes

X-Treme Rocky Road 500w mountain e-bike with fat tires.An electric mountain bike is perfect for anyone looking for more adventurous rides out in nature and on tough terrain.

As you can guess from the name, mountain e-bikes are well-equipped for taking on mountain trails. These electric bikes are built for off-road and uphill adventures.

Mountain e-bikes feature sturdy frames, and they’re typically complete with fat tires that are ideal for keeping you comfortable on uneven terrain, rocky paths, and loose dirt.Rambo Krusader 500w dual motor electric mountain bike.

Mountain e-bikes are specially designed to give you all the traction control and torque you need to take on steep inclines and winding roads. If you want the most out of an electric mountain bike, we recommend going with something that offers great suspension and power.

As far as wattage is concerned, anything from 500w to 1000w should give you the power you need. Depending on the types of trails you typically ride, you’ll want to stick with mid-range to high wattage. This will ensure you get the solid power and control necessary to take on any off-road terrain.

Rambo Bushwacker 750w camo off-road electric bike.Recommended Commuter Electric Bikes:

Folding E-Bikes

Olic 20-inch folding electric bike.Sometimes you need more storage capacity out of your e-bike. Or maybe you’re looking for something to easily take with you on public transit or that you can put in the back of your car while you travel to and from different locations.

If space in your home or workspace is an issue, or if you're constantly on the move throughout the day, a folding electric bike is definitely something you should consider when selecting the perfect e-bike for you.

Micargi Casper 250w foldable electric bike.Electric bikes with a foldable frame are ideal for riders who are low on space in their home, too. Not to mention, they’re easy to carry up sets of stairs or take on an elevator if you live or work in an upstairs area.

Folding e-bikes are super easy to fold and store in your desk or closet, too. So aside from their portability, they're also super easy to move around tuck away when you're not using them, making versatile and convenient.

Some folding e-bikes are also built for mountain riding and off-roading. And because these electric bikes typically have smaller wheels, they give you great control while off-roading on dirt pits. Just fold it up, put it in your trunk, and head to your favorite trail! This is a picture of the Olic 500W TMB-26 Tank Mountain Folding Electric Bike.

Recommended Commuter Electric Bikes:

Choose the Best Electric Bike for You

Modern commuter e-bike.While many varieties of electric bikes out there might make it seem impossible to choose one, it also means there’s bound to be one out there that’s perfect for you.

Before making a choice, it’s important to evaluate all of the e-bike’s components like the motor, battery, wheels, and frame. In addition, it's super important that you figure out what your preferences are and what it is exactly that you’re looking for.

Once you know what you want out of an electric bike, figuring out which e-bike will best suit your needs and lifestyle will be easier than ever!

What really makes the best e-bike around is finding one that gives you the features you’re looking for — whether you’re just looking for an eco-friendly way to get to work or you want to find adventure on mountain trails.

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