Here are our top picks for the best city electric bikes of 2021. These top five city ebikes represent the best combination of features and value available right now, but you can see all 496 of our detailed city ebike reviews listed by date here. Reviewing electric bikes is our sole focus, EBR has the industry’s most complete and objective reviews. Since 2012, we’ve helped millions of people find and choose the best ebike for their needs and budget. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents:
- Best Premium City Electric Bike
- Best Value City Electric Bike
- Best Affordable City Electric Bike
- Promoted City Electric Bike
- Honorable Mention City Electric Bike
Things to Consider:
- Features. City is a very broad category of electric bikes that includes commuter-ready products… which may have fenders, racks, lights, and usually some sort of suspension! These extra features cost money and add weight. So, if you’re just riding around town during the day, not carrying cargo, and you don’t plan on riding in the bad weather or after dark, you can save money by sticking to the basics. Another consideration is riding surface, if you only ride on smooth roads and bikeways, a narrower tire is sufficient, but if you ride on gravel… you will want more width. Similarly, you do not need a lot of gears if you only ride on flat roads.
- Durability. Regular use in varied conditions increases wear on parts. The solution is paying more for a product with a dependable motor, battery, and drivetrain from a company with great support. You can save money by skipping the accessories, but make sure the important hardware is done right. Name-brand motor and battery cells, upgraded derailleur, and puncture resistant tires are all good considerations.
- Comfort. Frequent use and bumpy terrain can stress the bike and your body. Potential solutions are higher volume tires, an adjustable suspension fork, a suspension seat post, and quality touch points (locking ergonomic grips, adjustable angle or upright stem, wide sturdy platform pedals).
- Total Cost. Consider the added costs of accessories and assembly if you buy direct. Add-ons can be expensive… remember to focus on total cost. A fully equipped preassembled ebike might be cheaper. For assembly, paying the professionals at a local bike shop can save time and money vs. the tools and mistakes of DIY.
- Approachability. Bikes with step-thru frames aren’t as stiff or sturdy, but they let you mount and stand over the bike more easily, which can be important in a busy city setting. More companies are offering step-thru and mid-step frames in gender neutral colors these days, because people like how approachable they are… but they may not be as easy to hang on some car and bus racks that rely on a flat top tube. It’s wise to consider your unique needs.
If you would like to spend a bit less, but not sacrifice too much in terms of quality parts and performance, the Magnum Ui6 is a great choice! Just like the OHM Quest above, this ebike comes stock with fenders, lights, and a rear rack. You might not need those extras, but the relatively low price point, vast network of dealers who let you test ride the bike and provide ongoing support, as well as the reliable motor and battery make this one a winner! Furthermore, it comes in white and black… The mid-step frame combines strength with approachability, and has become popular for city electric bikes in recent years because it allows people to mount and ride more comfortably. Magnum produces a wide variety of ebikes, but the Ui6 is one of their most popular because it’s a great all-around product. Highlights include reflective puncture-resistant tires that improve safety and longevity, an adjustable suspension fork AND suspension seat post for added comfort, and an adjustable stem with swept-back handlebar and ergonomic grips. The style of this ebike is clearly not cruiser, but it borrows some of the comfort features, delivering a more upright ride depending on how you adjust the stem. Trade-offs compared to premium city electric bicycles include the one frame size and mechanical disc brakes vs. hydraulic. Whether you’re enjoying casual rides or need a platform for hauling some cargo, staying dry, and dealing with nighttime conditions in the city, the Magnum Ui6 is an incredible value for the price. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
A beautifully designed, purpose built, affordable electric bike well suited to urban riding or commuting. Step-thru frame is easy to mount but relatively stiff thanks to a double tube mid-section,…...
If price point is your primary driver, but you still want a product that offers quality and reliability, the Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru 3 is an excellent choice. I picked the step-thru for approachability, but Rad also offers a high-step version of the RadCity for larger riders and those needing increased frame stiffness due to higher weight and cargo needs. Regular cycling means increased wear and tear on products, especially if you encounter rain or snow. These environmental factors can lead to creaking, rust, and misaligned drivetrains. For all of these reasons, our value pick is not the cheapest commuting product we’ve covered in 2021, but one that we have seen excelling in the space for many years… In fact, our first review of the RadCity Step-Thru was way back in 2016 for the 2017 season! This is a company that still offers parts and batteries for some of their earliest products, and we love to see that. Despite being affordably priced, these are not “throwaway” electric bikes like we’ve seen from some big box retailers and online stores… this is an important point because most customers will not buy a Rad Power Bike in-store like the more premium choices above, they will get it shipped direct. What’s neat however, is that Rad is launching a line of mobile service vans in major cities to assemble, deliver, and support their products. Rad’s latest round of ebikes uses a common battery design that works with any model, so you and a friend or family member could get one for commuting, another for light neighborhood riding, and still another for off-road use while relying on the same charger, same battery, and benefit from the same one year comprehensive warranty. Some downsides to this model, in exchange for a lower price, are that it uses mechanical brakes vs. hydraulic, only comes in one size for the step-thru (though the high-step is larger), and utilizes a less efficient gearless hub motor. However, it does offer regenerative braking to recapture some of your energy when stopping or coasting down large hills. For added comfort, you can add an aftermarket suspension seatpost for $50 to $150, just like the Magnum Ui6 above. This will further improve comfort for regular and longer rides. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
A feature-complete, approachable step-thru, comfort oriented, hybrid electric bicycle with regenerative braking. It has a built-in USB charging port below the display, features a modular battery pack that works with all other Rad models of this generation, and comes with integrated lights! The headlight offers a bright 80 lumen center beam and a unique LED circle to keep you seen, while the rear light offers solid, flashing, and bright mode when the brakes are activated. Sturdy adjustable angle stem and long 350mm seat post improves fit for a wide range…...
Surface 604 pays us to promote their Rook electric bike here on EBR, but it’s worth noting that this is an invitation-only service. That means, we only invite companies that have a great value proposition and with whom we’ve worked for many years. We reviewed this ebike before we extended the offer to advertise. Much like the Magnum Ui6 in terms of appearance, the Surface 604 Rook offers fancier torque sensing pedal assist, which makes it feel more dynamic and sporty. You get the same approachable mid-step frame, two color options (black or white), and two frame sizes! For an ebike priced just under $2k, it’s impressive to have so many choices like this. Another big feature is the hydraulic disc brakes… compared to the value choice from Rad Power Bikes above, these brakes are going to be easier to pull, feel more consistent, offer reach adjustability for different sized hands, and provide better stopping power overall… it’s also nearly 10 pounds lighter than the RadCity Step-Thru! Following the pattern of “fully accessorized” city bikes, the Surface 604 Rook comes with suspension, a rear rack, integrated lights, fenders, and a chain cover to keep your pants or dress ends clean. This ebike has a large display panel, USB charging port built into the display (to charge your phone or other accessory), and trigger throttle for extra help when your legs need a break. Surface 604 is a Canadian company that sells to the US and Canada predominantly online. Unlike Rad, with their mobile service vans, and some of the more premium options here that have a dealer network, you’ll have to do a bit of extra assembly and rely on phone support vs. in-person. Still, having seen this company grow and refine their product offering… I recommend them and think that the mid-step Rook or larger high-step Colt are great options for neighborhood and city cycling. Note that the Colt has a sloped top tube for lower stand-over height, but only comes in black. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
A feature-rich and approachable step-through city bike available in two frame sizes and two colors, comes standard with a rear rack, fenders, and Spanninga lights, with a large dealer network in both the US and Canada for test rides and support down the road. A rare combination of a torque sensor with a rear hub motor gives a smooth…...
Rounding out this list of best city electric bikes is the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ. This thing comes with premium fenders, a sleek rear rack, and integrated lights for maximum utility… but you can skip the fenders and rack for $150 less if your city cycling needs allow! For me, the new SL motor that Specialized has developed with MAHLE is one of the best on the market. It’s small, lightweight, compact, and efficient, but still very powerful. The drivetrain and gear range are enough to let you start and climb easily, and the bike is much easier to lift and store because it’s so light. This could be important in a city, where stairs, elevators, and bus racks come into play. Unfortunately, the frame is only available in high-step at the time of this writing, but they do offer it in five sizes! Just look at this ebike, it almost looks like a traditional analog bicycle because of the integrated battery and beautiful hydroformed aluminum alloy frame design. Whether you get the EQ (equipped) or non-EQ version for a bit less money, the bike is very satisfying to ride, blending a sporty road bike feel with fatter tires and a more upright flat bar position with ergonomic grips that improve comfort and visibility. Furthermore, the wide network of dealers, excellent warranty terms, and ability to add range-extender bottle shaped battery packs really set it apart from the competition. It’s extremely versatile, and one of my favorite electric bikes in general right now. I’ve chosen different versions of the Vado SL as a winner on some of the other lists here like best Class 3 and best commuter. Note that it may not offer Class 3 higher speed operation in countries like Canada that do not allow for it. In those cases, it would just be a Class 1 with 32km/h (20mph) top speeds, which is still great for most neighborhood and urban rides. For applications where you do plan to ride fast and want more comfort, I recommended upgrading to the Turbo Vado SL 5.0 because it offers a vibration-dampening carbon fiber fork and suspension headset Future Shock 1.5 that reduces hand, arm, and back strain. To me, comfort is an important factor when riding fast and far. For city riders however, maybe simplicity, durability (of aluminum alloy fork vs. carbon fiber fork), and cost savings are the main focus? I do love how stealthy this ebike is, because that might help you blend in with non-electric cyclists and not stand out so much at bike racks as a target for would-be thieves. This bike platform gives you a lot of options and is priced right, and that’s why I picked it as the honorable mention for the City category here. Note that the 5.0 versions cost $1k more than their respective Vado SL 4.0 counterparts. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
One of the best ebikes I've ever reviewed. Relatively light weight at 36.9lbs including integrated lights, a rear rack, and custom designed tubular fenders with extra long rubberized flaps to keep your feet dry. Reasonably priced for outstanding motor and battery technology. Class 3 speed-pedelec performance offers 28mph (45km/h) assisted speeds for fun, respect from automobiles, and overall faster commutes. Boost hub spacing provides sturdier spoke bracing angle, 12mm thru-axles provide stiffness and control at…...
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