How to Choose an Electric Bike

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi guys! I'm moving some content off of the main site and into the most relevant categories of the forum. This post was originally made on September 15th 2012:

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Buying an electric bike can be intimidating and frustrating at times. When I set out to build this site I had just spent over $2,000 on a bike I found online that ultimately didn’t end up working out very well. Shortly after buying it I chose to resell it on Craigslist at a huge loss and start over. It wasn’t powerful enough and felt unstable. I was worried about who could fix it down the line if it broke and I just didn’t feel comfortable with the motor style and pedal assist integration.

There is so much effort required to learn what components really matter; the motor size, battery type and amp hours etc. but so much money is at stake it’s worth digging in so you don’t end up regretting your choice.

Test Ride Before You Buy
The best way to compare electric bikes is to ride them and many large cities have electric bike shops that offer daily rentals for ~$30. Take a weekend trip and rent a bike for the afternoon! It may seem like a hassle but this is worth doing before you settle on a purchase. As an alternative, you can search Craigslist for used electric bikes nearby and then test ride them. This will also give you a chance to ask the original owner why they are selling and what they did or didn’t like about the bike.

Understand Weight and Placement
Weight plays an important role in how an electric bike may or may not fit in your life. Heavier bikes are harder to lift and will hurt more if they fall on you or a friend at the bike rack. This really comes into play if you ever have to walk your bike home after getting a flat tire or running out of battery and can be a limiting factor if you live upstairs or plan to ride the bus/train and have to lift it a lot. Some electric bikes are too heavy for traditional racks like those on the front of busses and might even be too heavy for your car’s roof mounted bike rack! Think about all of this before buying but also realize you can reduce the weight by removing the battery pack or explore options like electric powered trailers.

Where the battery pack is mounted on the bike also makes a difference. The higher up it is, the higher your center of gravity will be and that can cause the bike to tip over sideways or even backwards more easily. I prefer mid-frame designs that keep the battery low but some of my favorite high-end bikes still use a rear saddle-rack design that can work okay if the battery isn’t too heavy.

Consider Your Weight and the Bike’s Power
Next big consideration is your weight! That’s right, if you’re a heavier rider I’d recommend paying extra for a higher Watt motor and higher Voltage battery. These two measures determine how strong the motor will be and how much energy goes into driving the strength of the motor. In parts of Europe there is legislation limiting the power of ebike motors to 250w and because of this, most bikes there are built with pedal assist to help boost power and extend the ride. Pedal assist mode is a setting that requires the rider to pedal along in order to make the electric motor kick in vs. just using a throttle to go.

Storage
Another big consideration when buying an electric bike is how you intend to store and maintain it. Will you be parking it in safe places and keeping it inside? If so, you might be okay with a fancier computer system, built in lights and other bells and whistles. If you’re going to leave it outside in the rain, vandalism and theft become more of an issue along with general wear and tear.

Lifestyle
I’ve tried many ebikes over the years but the one I own and use most includes built in fenders, a welded on rear-storage rack and a water bottle holder. These may seem like simple considerations but at the end of the day I want to stay dry, I want to avoid noise and rattling and I need water. My bike also uses a hub motor which I feel is more balanced and durable. The motor placement and computer style also just look more like a bike and that helps keep away unwanted attention. This bike really fits my lifestyle!

Everyone’s different and there are lots of bikes to choose from out there with more coming every day. I hope the reviews on this site help you make an informed decision because electric bikes are good for the environment, healthy to ride and more social ways to get around than cars. Good luck!
 
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Court

Administrator
Staff member
Following are some of the original comments that were made on that post:

MARCIA
Could you please provide some insight on an Ebike for a larger man. I am looking to get a bike for my husband and think this is a great way to start getting into the outdoor life after his retirement. I am thinking of the following features: A step through or low bar for ease of access. Upright riding capability (Schwinn style). My husband is 6’2″ with a 31″ inseam (long torso). Powerful motor and good electronics (my husband weighs approx. 280 lb) and he will likely travel a max of 30 km ~20 mi (if that is possible). Although it is a starter bike I think I will have to go higher end to make the experience positive. I appreciate your insight.

COURT
Hi Marcia, that sounds like a wonderful activity for your husband and I appreciate you outlining his needs so well here. Several ebikes come to mind at different price points and frame sizes. The tricky part might be finding a frame that is step-thru but also large enough for his height. The top of the line options would be from Kalkhoff which are new to the US for 2015 but have been a leader in Europe for a long time. They are powerful, can go long distance and have multiple frame sizes available. Only a select few dealers carry these so you can contact me if you need help finding one. For a bit less money (and a more limited, smaller frame size) you could go with an IZIP Zuma. Given his weight, I might actually lean towards the high-step version of this bike for increased strength. It’s not super tough to mount because there’s no rear battery rack in the way. For a bit less still you could get the Motiv Sleek or Spark which have the mid-battery design and are pretty relaxed/upright. They also have powerful motors and several gearing options but lack pedal assist (which the Zuma and the Kalkhoff ebikes have). One final suggestion is the Pedego Interceptor which is actually what I’d suggest for overall value, power and size (to fit his height) but they only make it in a high-step version and it does have the rear rack. I hope this helps you out, feel free to also explore the forums compare section here for advice. The people are pretty friendly and some of them might actually be his size and have some feedback about what has worked for them.

ERIC
Ok, Court. Please tell us the e bike that you ended up purchasing, and for how much, and if you were able to get a good deal on it. Let’s end all this mystery once and for all. If I was a betting man, I would guess that you got an izip e3 Dash, but, I could be wrong. Thank you in advance. Eric

COURT
Ha! Hey Eric, I’ve actually posted about the ebikes that I’ve purchased over the years on the EBR YouTube Channel and in the ebike forums here and there when people brought it up but try to focus mostly on reviews and remain even handed. For a while at the beginning, people would ask how I was affording to buy so many electric bikes! Mostly I just visit shops and company headquarters across North America to do these reviews but I do love to ride on my own and have purchased a few ebikes over the years just to commute to work (before I left my job to do EBR full time) and now just to get around town for fun and stuff.
So… my first electric bike was purchased at full price from Rocket Electrics in Austin Texas, it was a Pedego City Commuter Step-Thru and it worked out pretty well (but was stiffer than I wanted when going over bumps). I eventually put a Thudbuster on it but that would slip down into the frame so I got a Salsa Lip Lock and that helped. The second one was purchased at cost from Easy Motion because I wanted to spend more time with their drive system, battery and display and it was the 26″ Neo Jumper model. Last year when I was preparing to leave my job and travel full time to build the site more I realized I didn’t have room for the Jumper so I sold it on Craigslist and then spent a bunch of time with family in Colorado… I knew I needed another bike for exercise and was excited about the Bosch system and the new Haibikes coming out so I got an Xduro FS RX 27.5″ at cost through Currie Technologies.
So that’s it, never owned a Dash but I was given a kit once as a sample and I built that into a bike for my Mom. The kit never made it through Kickstarter so they just let me keep it vs. mailing it back, normally I do not accept gifts and I always try to be transparent and fair about the bikes that I do purchase. All were chosen based on my personal ride style and interests and I got cost because I work in the space very closely with each brand and I live on a very low budget (trying not to sell out!)

DAVID
Marcia, if you haven’t bought that bike yet you might want to consider the Pedego City Commuter. It comes in a 28″ stepthrough, and when coupled with the larger battery and motor should do the trick. I have the smaller battery and motor and weigh 245. I commute to work as many days as weather permits and have never had a problem. The bike performs fine and handles the hills well in peddle-assist mode. I have had mine since August and have put a little over 500 miles on it, and absolutely love my bike.

CRAIG KINZER
Court, is that you on the viedo reviews? my wife wants a recumbant electric bike. is there such a thing? or clsoe to it? c

COURT
Hi Craig, yeah that’s me on video and I also answer comments and do the reviews (it’s basically a one person operation here but I do have some moderation and programming help at times). There are recumbent electric bikes but they are few and far between. One possibility is the Ridekick power trailer which can be connected to most bikes (including recumbents) or you could add a BionX kit to a recumbent frame or explore these alternativepre-built recumbent ebikes.

DAVID
Court, Love the website, reviews and all the information. My wife and I (w/ our 4 kids) are looking to purchase 2 cargo’s with motors. Have narrowed it down to the elMundo, Edgerunner, and I’ve actually been in touch with Urban Arrow in Holland. The frontrunner is elMundo, but you seem to have edgerunner slightly ahead in your reviews. We do a lot of urban biking (Cincinnati), mostly rolling hills, with usually a few big hills where we need assistance. We currently use tug-a-bugs and iberts to carry the kids, but I have to truck the bikes downtown (3 miles) because the hills to get out of the downtown basin are too big for human pedal power (w/ 70-90lbs extra) each. A few questions — given that this is family oriented weekend riding with a few hills, is a 350w motor enough and are there enough differences between the edgerunner & Yuba that a weekend rider would notice or care about (both currently use the same 350 Bionx– correct?) . My biggest fear, drop some good money down for a couple of bikes that I’m going to be unhappy with in a few months…. and still having to truck the bikes to our destination.

COURT
Hi David, great question… my favorite design for a cargo style ebike right now (especially for porting people around) is the Xtracycle Edgerunnger using the Bosch Centerdrive. The BionX System is definitely solid (quieter, offers throttle mode and has regen) but isn’t as strong when climbing or hauling because it’s a direct drive hub vs. a mid-drive that can leverage the rear cassette. Being able to switch down to a lower “easier” gear and share that advantage with the motor is huge… I used to pull my sister around in a Burley trailer when I was a kid and can relate to your struggle with the hills. If you really want to go for power there’s a Super Mundo by HPC that offers a custom built mid-drive and in the video we haul three fully grown men up a very large hill with it. Coming back to one brand vs. another, Xtracycle was first and one of their employees left to make his own thing with Yuba. I prefer Xtracycle myself and have had the opportunity to meet with the team and see all of the innovative accessories that they make. Yuba is solid but when I think about the brand that Bosch (this German company with really high standards) chose to partner with first it inspires confidence in me that Xtracycle is doing a great job and earned their trust.

DAVID
Court — over a year in and we are loving our El Mundo’s… BUT, (big BUT).. the 350Bionx just doesn’t do it. Two kids on the back of each bike and lots of hills just doesn’t cut it. Lo and behold, 2 months after I buy my 2 – 350 Yuba’s, they come out with the 500. So… I’ve reached out to Bionx as well as Yuba to investigate into an upgrade program. Have you ever seen these companies do these types of programs? Any input on what I should try to do…. The bionx is so quiet and smooth, but if they just expect me to shell out another $2K for new 500’s… probably going to punt on Bionx and get engaged with the folks from HPC.

HAYLEY G
Hello,
I am going to college in the fall and I am a small light weight girl. 4’11 and 90 pounds to be exact. I need some advice on what type of electric bike to get.
I need a light weight bike that I could carry on a bus if I’d need to or lift up stairs. The campus I would be on is very hilly so I would need a bike that goes up and down hills well. I have heard of bikes that fold up? I do not care as much for the speed, just the sturdiness and weight of it. I have trouble with my left knee and cannot bend it well, the electric bike would help me bike and get to places far away on campus. It is a 2,000 acre campus in the redwoods.
What type would you suggest? Thanks so much. Any info would be appreciated.

COURT
Awesome! Sounds like you’re going to the University of Santa Cruz!! I used to practice with the gymnastics team there (the gym was at the bottom of the long hill so I can relate to wanting a decent ebike… especially since my knee also hurts sometimes). Okay, so you’re relatively short and light weight. You’re a college student that might be on a budget and you also want it to be easy to move around. Hmm… My first thought was the e-Joe EPIK SEbecause it is relatively small and easy to mount and also fair light at ~42 lbs. I like that this ebike has built in suspension because that improves comfort. The battery is also removable so you could take it out to reduce the bike weight by ~4 lbs if you need to lift the frame and since it folds, you can fit it into your dorm closet or the corner more easily.
If you have a higher budget and don’t want a folding ebike… and are excited about more torque and power for those hills then check out the Felt SPORTe Step-Thru which comes in low-step and weighs ~40 lbs with a 5.5 lb battery that’s removable. It also comes in two frame sizes so you could get the smaller one. Another great alternative (that isn’t quite as powerful as the Felt SPORTe but is very comfortable and cool) is the full suspension BESV Panther PS1. I hope this helps! Whatever you get, do store it in your room if possible or at least charge the battery inside to help it last :)

HAYLEY G
Thank you so much for responding to me! Yes UCSC is where I am headed. I will look into the bikes you suggested. :) thank you again.

ROBERT REIFF
Hi Court. I think you have developed a very good website for providing people with truly independent reviews on Electric Bikes. I am in London UK and electric bikes are really taking off here. Funnily enough I did some Market Research for a new Electric Bike company in London called Emu Bikes. You might want to check them out. I was lucky enough to trial their prototype Emu Electric bike for 5 weeks for commuting from my home to work and to keep a detailed daily log of my trips for them and did over 450 miles. I absolutely loved it. I spend all day last Sunday looking at all of your reviews on YouTube which were all excellent and I found them compulsive viewing. What’s your take on the Electric Bike conversion kits and the Dillinger Range made in Australia which you reviewed (although you don’t have bike kits on your website)? Is there any difference getting a front or real wheel drive system? Keep up the excellent work you are doing for all of us prospective electric bike riders out there. Regards. ROBERT

COURT
Hi Robert! Someday I’d like to visit the UK and see some new brand, I haven’t seen an EMU before but I’d love to check out your journal, could you share the link? As for Dillenger, I really liked the first kit I tried with a standard 350 watt geared hub motor. The second kit was more powerful but used a rear rack battery that just wasn’t as refined (or well balanced). I do have a kits section on the site but I guess it’s a little hidden. My plan is to do a redesign soon… working on it right now in fact which is why reviews have slowed a bit in recent weeks :) Kits are alright but I prefer purpose-built electric bikes. They just look nicer most of the time with integrated wires and I feel safer knowing that they took extra weight and strain into consideration. As for front vs. rear, I almost always prefer rear or mid-drive for better traction and improved steering agility. Some of my favorite ebike designs are those from Haibike and Easy Motion. I want to try CUBE at some point, I think they sell those in the UK and they use the Bosch system (though a bit stepped down at 250 watt vs. 350 here in the US). Cheers!

NAYYAR
Hi Court. This is Nayyar from Pakistan. I want to buy an ebike. My current crush is R & M Delite GX Rohloff HS. But still I am not sure that I should go for this or not. Being no such bikes available here, I have to travel to euorope for this purpose only. I shall be grateful for your guidance. Thanks and best regards

OLD DOC
I’m a really big guy, 6’2″ and over 420 lbs. Could you tell me if a 48v 500w rear motor can handle pushing 500 lbs (bike+rider)? No large grades on my chosen route, and it’s all paved. I have a Schwinn OCC Stingray Chopper, and I have found a company that makes motors for my 20 by 4.25 inch rear wheel, and I would love to make the conversion. I have to deal with some provincial limitations on power and speed. But there’s a bit of ambiguity in the law in New Brunswick, Canada, and more attention should be paid to top speed rather than wattage. Any POSITIVE input would greatly appreciated.

COURT
Sounds like a nice setup and I agree with you about speed vs. power. In parts of Europe the top speed is limited to 15 mph with motor output of just 250 watts… I feel like they should regulate ebikes by how the rider handles it vs. focusing on technology. It’s like saying that Ferrari’s are illegal because they can drive faster than the speed limit. Maybe part of this distinction with bicycles is that under aged users can get them and no license is required. In any case, I think a 48 volt 500 watt system will suit your needs well, especially for flat paved surfaces. I bet you’ll have a blast! Please share back here or in the forums once it’s all setup (you could even post pictures). I know you’re not the only one considering this type of option who needs to carry a bit more weight.

GEORGE
Explain the low speed electric bicycle laws in the US. I have a 220 lb. Tao tao electric bicycle and have had police in both Cleveland and Lakewood pull me over. Also explain how federal law superceeds state.

COURT
Hi George! The laws are a bit different from state to state and seem to be evolving. The best resource I can offer is Wikipedia here but generally speaking, I think the rule is 750 watt motor or less with top speed of 20 mph or less unassisted. If you do get a ticket for riding a low speed electric bike you can probably fight it in court and explain that you were riding responsibly and following federal law, you might have luck with an argument about how your leg and knee muscles need assistance and possibly even a doctors note if you’re concerned about the outcome. In my experience, tickets are given to people who ride too fast or recklessly and not those who exercise restraint in how they use the drive system.

RUFINA
Hi Court! I really enjoy your website! My beloved Sanyo Eneloop ebike was stolen last week. Sanyo no longer manufactures ebikes so I’m on the search for a new one. I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for me. I loved the Eneloop’s integrated design – the battery wasn’t just attached onto the bike as an after thought. It also had a regenerative battery, LED front and back lights, full fenders, and a luggage rack. Ahhhh I miss it so much! Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

COURT
Hi Rufina! That’s such a bummer, sorry… I wonder if the thief even realized it was electric, maybe you could keep an eye out on Craigslist if the bike turns up? Sounds like you’re keeping your head up and looking for another great ride. Based on what you’ve told me I think the Easy Motion bikes could be a great fit (integrated battery, some have fenders and lights as well as racks). Depending on your height and budget three ebikes come to mind. The most affordable but basic is the Evo Eco Lite which is smaller and has 26″ wheels. It resembles the Evo Street which upgrades to suspension, more gears and a larger battery pack. If you want a slightly larger electric bike then the Evo City Wave offers larger wheels at 700c ~28″ and that elevates the frame. There are lots of other urban electric bikes to explore out there and some are very advanced with mid-drive motors that offer excellent range while others are designed for comfort cruising. Hope this helps :)

RITA
Hi! I am a first time e-bike purchaser and rented a peddle assist recently which was fun, except for the lack of control over speed and take off. It looked sort of like a BMX bike which doesn’t suit me. I saw a Eizzy online for 1000.00 its medium frame looks quite new, they say its been barely used. I am 5’2, 115 lbs. The bike is for someone 5’2-5’8. I also have tennis elbow and a bit of a knee issue, so the lighter the better. This bike would be for pleasure and not a lot of hills.
Any input you could provide would be great! Thanks a lot. Rita.

COURT
Hi Rita! I’d like to help you but am not familiar with the Eizzy brand or model? Did you spell it correctly? If you have a link to the product please paste it into your reply comment. Also, feel free to share your question in the forums here where many other ebike owners are often willing to chime in :)

PATRICK
I am interested in buying an e-bike for my girlfriend and I to ride to and from work. What is the best recommended model for having a passenger in the back

COURT
Hmm… if you’re looking for a tandem (like where you can both pedal) then the Pedego Tandem would be a solid choice. Alternatively, if you wanted to just let one person sit on the back or maybe pull a trailer then a cargo style ebike like the RadWagon or Electric Edgerunner from Xtracycle could work :)

MIKE S
Hey Court, Great website. I bought my wife the Diamondback Lindau ebike thru REI, partially based on your good review. She loves it so far. My question: if I’m not mistaken, isn’t the IZIP E3 Path the same bike as the Diamondback Lindau? Everything sure looks the same from the pictures and video but at a cheaper price for the Lindau. Mike

COURT
Hey Mike! Good eye… the bikes are very similar (and use the same drive system and battery from Currie Technologies) but the frames and other components are unique. Diamondback is owned by the Accell Group (a big conglomerate out of Europe) along with IZIP so they are just sharing parts. Diamondback is available through some dealers and in some regions where IZIP is not… IZIP has been doing ebikes longer but is less well known, so they shared the best parts to introduce the Lindau and it might be cheaper based on a few frame and component differences or just for marketing purposes, I can’t really say for sure. I hope you guys like it!

RAY
Hi Court! First, I appreciate what you are doing and I love all your videos. I’m considering buying an ebike from the HPC guys and wanted to hear your more in depth thoughts on their bikes, but more importantly their position in the ebike world. I don’t know much about bikes so I’m somewhat hesitant on dishing out thousands of dollars for an ebike and worried who can help me with maintenance/repairs later down the line? I’ve seen all the HPC vids they posted, and I’ve also seen your HPC vids including your visit to their shop in Chatsworth, and I’m wondering if a bike from HPC is a smart choice for a first bike. Also, are their custom Crystalite motors and prismatic pouch battery systems really all the hype? I highly value speed and torque, and plan to ride this thing more like a motorcycle than a bike (heavy throttle-only usage with minimal pedal). I’m looking at their 2000w thunderbolt with 52v 12.5ah battery system (HT-1), and wondering if there are other bikes around the same price point of $3400 that equally deliver on power, speed, torque, and range. I mean what is the real tangible difference from a 500w motor to a 2000w? Thanks again and keep up the great work!

COURT
Hi Ray! My experience with HPC has been limited and I was only able to test the bikes for a limited time and in a fairly tame environment (compared to their videos and possibly what you want to do). My feeling is that these guys are passionate about power and delivering something unique and cool. They have been responsive with me via email and they had lots of tools for testing, optimizing and repairing in their shop. I even saw one owner who was upgrading his old HPC bike to be all wheel drive and they were just helping him for fun. They behave like a smaller local shop but have reached the level of being able to negotiate with manufacturers and do some custom stuff in terms of motors and batteries (they do a whole lot of custom stuff in their shop just for fun). If you feel drawn to their offerings I’d say go for it! They have been around for several years and I feel like they have the momentum in the “power” oriented niche to endure. Again, this is just my qualitative take but I didn’t feel like they were feeding me BS during the visit, they care about truth in power and that’s why they have a dyno on site. Just give them a call and chat, say hi for me and good luck! I think you’ll be happy with something custom from them and I feel like they will support you… but it might take some extra time and money to ship stuff back and forth. Honestly, I’m not sure what high power alternatives even exist for electric motocross type of setups :)

RAY
Thanks for the quick response, Court! Everything you said makes sense, and I appreciate your insight. Haha, I’m no motocross type guy. I’m just a regular guy wanting a powerful ebike for no real intended purpose :) I’m really just looking at HPC’s entry-level stuff (these guys consider 2000w “low power” lol). I’m in SoCal, so HPC is somewhat local to me (40 miles away, which is a huge plus!) Thanks again, Court, and keep the vids coming!

COURT
Cool, happy to help Ray! Maybe give them a call and make a day trip out of visiting the HQ. They seemed cool with people stopping by and I bet you could get a lot of questions answered and maybe even get a custom setup! Definitely post about it in the HPC forums if you go that route :D

STEVE
Hi Court,
I love your site. Been looking into ebikes for many years, and think I’m ready to jump on! Price isn’t really a concern, though I would prefer to spend less than 4k. Mostly street rider (daily commute) and my current bike is a Specialized crosstrail with a 61 cm frame.
I’m 6 foot 8, and weigh 280 pounds. And because my torso is the longest part (my inseam is 34 in) I need something more upright, or a more aggressive angle to the handlebars. What can you tell me about the largest frame bikes with the most torque or higher wattage for my get up n go? What do you recommend for really tall riders?
Thanks in advance!

COURT
Hi Steve! Great question… I’ve been impressed with the Specialized Turbo and Turbo X (because it has a suspension fork). If you already have one of their traditional bikes and like the brand/style then this could be a good option and it comes in several sizes. The same could be said for Stromer, they offer a bunch of models that look similar to the Turbo and come in a few frame sizes (including a 22″ frame). You could check out their ST2 but note that it’s a bit more expensive than the Turbo or Turbo X. If you already have a frame that you like or want to buy another one that fits well you could always convert it to electric by adding a motor kit, I like the E-Rad systems because they are very powerful, well balanced and feature shift-sensing so they aren’t as hard on the drivetrain. If you want to look forward to 2016 I’ve been posting some videos from Interbike here including a new one from Stromer that should be up by end of day today.

ANDREW MOSCO
Hi guys what are your stance on having an stereo system and mp3 player onboard on a ebike is it worth it?Because I dont drive but getting my licence in a few years and i want an alternative to one and because my Ecoped ebike broke.one where I can listen to music while riding to keep me company at night not up loud or anything low volume.Is a Stereo MP3 System built on an ebike worth it for music lovers like me?

COURT
Hey Andrew! That’s an awesome question… I’ve seen a couple of custom converted electric bikes with built in stereo systems but I think most people just use portable MP3 players with headphones. Here’s one custom trike with a stereo I saw that was done by the guys at Hi-Power Cycles, they called it the Grub Hauler because it was built on a trike platform and they would use it to go get lunch :D

PAUL
Hi Court, I’m a novice looking to abandon my car and e-bike to my bus station (6 miles from home). I’m 5’9″, 160 lbs. The road from my home to bus stops is slightly hilly and at times uneven pavements. Plus I would travel more in the wee hours like 6 am so I would require head and tail lights. I don’t have any price restraints. I need an e-bike that is lightweight enough for me to load on the bus bike rack with decent power (in case I’m getting late to catch the bus). Although not a priority, I would like to use it as a normal pedal bike at times to fit in some exercise in my daily commute. What is the best e-bike for me? What would be a good website to buy that best bike? Do e-bikes also have Thanksgiving Day deals? Best regards, Paul.

COURT
Hi Paul! If you want something light, well balanced and efficient I feel like the Haibike Urban or Race could be a good fit. The Race can hit 28 mph so you can commute more quickly and I believe one shop having a sale right now (to change from 2015 to 2016 models) is Propel Bikes and they do ship nationally if you are in the USA. I just saw that they have a demo model of the Urban for $3,800 right now and I like this bike for how light it is (just 41 lbs) so riding without power and lifting it onto the bus rack would work for you. If you want a model with a rack and fenders for commuting then check out the Haibike Trekking models but note the extra weight… I personally like the suspension fork on this model and the larger tires help to add some comfort. There are lots of other ebikes to consider but Haibike strikes a balance for me of cool looking, affordable-ish (given the Bosch drive system) and lots of different options.

RUFINA
Hi Court! I want to say a big ‘thank you’ for your ebike recommendation! My new Easy Motion City finally arrived and I absolutely love it!! Rufina

COURT
Nice!! Thanks Rufina, I really like the City models… got the lights, fenders, everything you need. I hope it works out well for you over time, drop by here anytime and ride safe out there :D

JACK
Court, thanks again for the consistently thorough effort you put into this site and all it holds. I am bike shopping for a location and my intended rides more than a class of bike, and with one eye on my fixed pension income. I live in a valley in Montana surrounded by mountains, and in a city laced with bike and walking trails (Bozeman, MT). I don’t think I’ll be doing the truly hard-core mountain biking but definitely trail riding with elevation changes plus city commutes. I was taken by the Superpedestrian concept since I could use a (lighter) regular bike for the city commutes and trails, and swap in the hub system for longer distances and more rugged mountain trails. Sadly, I’ve concluded Superpedestrian is too iffy a product for me to plan on. Are there other products similar in approach to that concept that you can recommend? And if I opt for an e-bike alone, might you have a suggestion or two for the under-$2K buyer to best meet these needs? (I’m 6′ & 170).

COURT
Hi Jack, is this your website with all of the boating? Looks fun! The Superpedestrian Copenhagen Wheel gets me excited too but given how long some people have waited on the preorder I’m just not sure it’s worth while right now. I like the FlyKly but I think they have been slow on orders as well and that product won’t let you use a cassette so you’ll only have one gear. this past week I posted a video with my Uncle who has had a Haibike for over a year now and gone 4,000+ miles. I was amazed by how well the bike held up (motor, battery etc.) and feel that this type of setup can be worth the extra money if you plan to do some trails and use the bike on a more regular basis. One of the more affordable options in this line is the XDURO RX 29″ and it’s possible to get last-season bikes for a bit less from dealers so that might be worth exploring. I tend to go for purpose-built complete ebikes vs. kits because I know the frame is strong, the wires are integrated and you usually get some fancier features like pedal assist. Given your budget of ~$2,000 I’d think something like the Biketrix Stunner could work well. They have a low-step and high-step version depending on your style. Here’s a whole list of ebikes I’ve reviewed that are more affordable, hope this helps!

JACK
Thanks, Court, for the links and recs. And for those who are looking for an excellent overview of using an ebike as a regular commuter AND trail rider (in the Rockies yet!), be sure to watch Court’s discussion with his Uncle. Just excellent. (But 6 chains in one year…Yikes!) Yes, that’s us, Court. Catching our breath mid-Atlantic on the island of Faial in the Azores.

GI
Thank you for the fantastic web site! I’ve wanted an electric cargo bike for years and have learned so much from your reviews. I’m looking for something that will take me (5’4″, 105 lb.) and my two kids (5 years old and 45 lb.; 1.5 years old and 23 lb.),around the city we live in, which has a few moderate hills (hence the need for electric). Which bike would you recommend for someone like me? I don’t care much about speed, but since I’ll usually have at least one kid with me, I’ll need something stable and easy to handle. I’ve tried out and liked the Yuba elBodaBoda and Spicy Curry, do you have any other (hopefully less expensive) suggestions? Thanks!

COURT
Hey Gi! Thanks for the compliment, so glad the website has helped guide you to find a solid ebike. The two you mentioned are great options but yeah… both are expensive. Do you want the 5 year old to ride on the bike with you? That’s definitely possible with the longer cargo bikes from Yuba, Xtracycle and Currie but you could also just put both kids in a trailer. Alternatively, the 5 year old could go one one of those “follow me” bike trailers and the 1.5 year old could be in a front mounted seat like this one from Yepp. There are so many variables for a multi-passenger ebikes and even some funky designs like the Urban Arrow. Maybe I can help more if you zoom in on how you’d like everyone to be seated… or like the layout you prefer. Depending on your own weight and strength, it may not be necessary to get a super powerful bike for moderate terrain and that could lower the costs a lot. If by contrast you plan to scale large hills and the combined weight is going to exceed 200 lbs (and maybe include groceries or other supplies) then something like the Xtracycle EdgeRunner 10E with Bosch mid-drive would be ideal and achieve great range.

GI
Court, thanks for responding so quickly! I’m definitely open to having my son on a tag-along and my daughter in a bike seat, but I’m not sure about a front-mounted seat, since I’m fairly small and not confident about my ability to reach around her and maintain control, especially as she gets older. I doubt the combined weight will ever exceed 200, or that I’ll ever scale big hills. I’m flexible on the layout – open to having the kids behind me (both on the bike with me, or with one on a tag-along) or in front of me in a bakfiets – but just want something stable, relatively easy to handle (especially when the combined weight of two kids is more than half my weight), and not outrageously expensive. What do you think of the Virtue Gondoliere+?

COURT
Cool, I like the designs coming out of Virtue but haven’t had an opportunity to test ride them yet. The Gondoliere+ looks a lot like the Urban Arrow and having ridden that bike I have mixed feelings on stability… Maybe it’s more the change in balance with a far-out front wheel where you have to prepare for turns in advance and lean a bit differently than traditional bikes. It’s not bad, just different. This front loaded design does create extra space for kids, groceries etc and I noticed that the Virtue bike has a battery rack where you might be able to mount a rear child seat like this. One of the challenges with the rear rack and rear seat is that it blocks the seat post attachment that a follow-me bike would use. Adding one slot for a child is doable but when you get up to two it can become more complicated. My sister and I rode around in a Burley Trailer like this when I was a kid and it worked out alright. The nice thing about these is that they mount to the rear axle vs. the seat post so you could use this for cargo and one child with a rear seat for the other. Coming back to power, I’d recommend a 500 watt motor with a 48 volt battery given the added weight of kids and potentially a trailer. You could do a 350 watt motor if it’s a mid-drive from Bosch or even a 250 watt from Impulse like those on Focus and Kalkhoff bikes. Kalkhoff has a bunch of well made step-thru models that would be easy to mount and have sturdy built-in racks. The motor and battery are kept low which further improves stability and they are more efficient for climbing and even have shift sensing to reduce wear over time. the downside is that you won’t have a throttle so in order to activate the motor you’ll need to pedal. Feel free to call me to discuss more if you’d like.

KATYA
Hello: Wonderful site, thank you for maintaining it so well! I’m trying to use my car a bit less here. Could you please suggest a relatively light weight folding e-bike for an urban longish commute. I’m 5 ft tall, 115 lb, 53 y.o.; live in the small city; will use it to commute to/from work & grocery shopping (need to be able to attach a basket or two). I often ride late evenings (so built-in light would be most appreciated). Are any European brands available in U.S.? I’ve been using a small e-scooter (e-zip 1000), but decided to replace it with an e-bike.Thank you for your suggestions. K.

COURT
Great question, thanks for all of the details! It helps me to make a good recommendation for you… The first ebike that came to mind was the e-Joe Epik Lite which is really popular because it comes with a rack, lights, even a suspension fork for comfort and it’s very light weight and affordable. There are actually several ebikes that resemble this one including the Daymak New Yorker (which doesn’t have the lights) and the Enzo Ebike (which is a bit higher quality, rust resistant for people who take it on boats and cots more). I’ve reviewed many folding electric bikes to be honest and you can explore them at your leisure on this page. Most of the products I look at are in the United States but some are imported and even modified such as the Brompton Ebike which is only sold through NYCeWheels in New York but I believe they ship nationally. Most bikes can be shipped to you or your local shop to be assembled and tuned up in my experience :)

KATYA
Thank you kindly for helpful recommendations. How do this bikes behave in the rain in terms of water licking into battery compartment? Two other questions, please: Genze/Mahindra makes a decent enough e-bike, they assemble and service it, but unfortunately it’s not folding and fairly heavy. Have you heard any rumors of Genze making folding bikes in the near future? Also out of all the bikes (folding and not, in all price range) , if you had to choose one women bike – what would you recommend? Thank you again for your help with this.
Best regards, K.

COURT
Hi Katya! I have not heard of GenZe making a folding electric bike at this time but I could see something like that happening eventually, it’s a very popular design. Here’s a new folding ebike I tested just a few days ago that worked very well and protects the battery from the elements by storing it inside the frame. One of my favorite bikes for women is the BESV Panther PS1 because it’s compact, light weight, has dual suspension for comfort and looks very beautiful :)

ADAM
Hi Court, Thanks so much for your comment yesterday. I stopped by my local bike dealer yesterday and got some good news. The head repair guy is in California learning all about e-bikes! However, they are a dedicated Specialized shop in terms of purchases. We live in a small town and I really want to buy local if possible. I’m looking at the Specialized Turbo X, which retails for $4,500. Do you have a view on this bike? Thanks!!!! Adam

COURT
Nice! Sounds like you can buy local and get an awesome bike… The Turbo X is my favorite in the series because it comes with suspension and given the higher top speeds and distances that ebikes offer comfort is a big consideration. The Turbo X is also one of the more affordable models in their line and they offer a solid warranty, sounds like you’re set :D

SHARON
Very helpful website. After riding an e-bike for the 1st time in Europe last summer, I came home & thought I’d find one right away. But I became intimidated by the process of trying to find the right one for me (69 yo, 140# retired gal who likes the idea of exercise more than hard work.). I have several friends who bought e-bikes over the internet & had regrets (more like disasters!) So I really appreciate what you have put together on this site. After much reading on your site, checking my bank account, etc. I think I’m honing in on one of the Easy Motion bikes. Can you give me some pros & cons comparing the EVO Jet, the EVO Cross & EVO ECO Lite? Anything else I should consider? Mostly I will be doing riding on bike trails, 20 mile stretches, country roads, light-med hills, vacation riding in the south. I just want to be able to keep up with my husband who is not ready for an e-bike.
ps-the bike shops around in Alabama that I have checked are pretty low in knowledge about electric bikes so we’re going to see the guys at Certified Electric Bikes in Chatanooga-a dedicated electric bike shop. A long trek for us but I’m excited!

COURT
Hi Sharon! My first ebike purchase was done through the Internet like your friends and I felt disappointed with the end result. Even when I was able to visit a shop and test ride some different models, my second purchase was close but not perfect. Eventually I started working on this website to help people who might be in a similar position and now it’s my full time focus… You’ve narrowed down pretty well in my opinion, my third ebike was the Easy Motion Neo Jumper and I loved the look, balance, comfort and zip that it offered. The torque sensor used on all of these Neo and Evo models is called a TMM4 sensor and can lag a bit when you stop pedaling (meaning the motor still zips for a little while) but otherwise they’re great. The Jet is going to be more active and aggressive with a forward body lean, it’s the smaller equivalent of the Cross which is a high-step for taller riders. Depending on your height and ride style the Jet or Cross could work (how tall are you?). The ECO Lite is a smaller, cheaper version of the Street and City models with the former having smaller diameter and fatter 26″ wheels vs. 700c (28″) on the City. I think the Evo Street or Evo Eco Lite would be the best options for a petite rider who wanted to emphasize comfort because the geometry is more upright… I love that they come with fenders, lights and with the Street you get a suspension fork (which adds cost and weight but also more comfort). If you’re not super tall and are okay with a slightly less active geometry either of these bikes could be a fit. I just reviewed another model called the IZIP E3 Vibe+ which is similar to the Evo Eco Lite but doesn’t have a throttle and uses a mid-drive vs. geared hub motor. I hope this helps, you could also just click through all of the city style ebikes and see if anything else jumps out.

SHARON COOK
Court, Thanks for your most helpful response. I settled on the Evo Eco Lite after riding for a few hours on several models. With the seat dropped to the lowest level it fits my 5’3″ height nicely & allows my toes to touch the ground when seated which feels safe. The option for throttle and pedal-assist seems like it has the most options. I bought it from Certified Electric Bikes in Cbatanooga-Chandlee & Garnet were most patient and helpful. They recommended also installing Cane Creek Thudbuster to make the ride more comfortable. I’ll try this out today. Ok-warning-for most stupid question: is there something I can read on most efficient way to use the throttle vs pedal assist? What kind of road conditions, when, etc?

DHRUV JAIN
I am considering getting the 2013 izip E3 ultra model; its brand new and my local shop is giving me a good deal on the bike ($1000). I saw your review for the bike, and was wondering if the technology and performance of the bike is still comparable to the newer models? and will it be good for a heavier rider at about 200 pounds? Some background: This will be my first e bike ever and I will be using it for commuting to work which is about 8 miles each way. The trails will be relatively simple (not much of hills). Would love to get you insights. Thanks.

COURT
Hi Dhruv, sounds like a great price… which IZIP E3 model are we talking about? Is it the Dash, Zuma, Peak or something else? Since it’s older the battery will likely have some wear on it but the systems should perform well enough. Given your moderate terrain and required range I think you’d be alright as long as you take your charger to work and maybe top the bike off. Does the model you’re considering have a removable battery pack to make charging easier?

DHRUV JAIN
Hi Court, Thanks for the quick reply. The model I am looking at is the Ultra. I understanding is that the battery is not easily removable. I am planning to rent the bike for a day before making my decision – besides the comfort and battery performance are there any aspects I should pay attention to in the trial period? Thanks, Dhruv

COURT
Hi Dhruv! Thanks for specifying the bike… definitely not my favorite model from IZIP, the battery is not removable and although it has suspension the narrow tires weren’t comfortable (though you could replace them) and I thought it was ugly. Keep in mind older batteries degrade and since this one is custom it’s not going to be easy to replace so you’ll be left with ever-decreasing range and probably have difficulty selling second hand. I think $1,000 is still too much for this ebike given all of the brand new super affordable models that look better and ride better. Here’s the full list of affordable ebikes I’ve reviewed, one brand I really like is Magnum but the price is definitely higher… It’s just very difficult to get a good ebike at $1,000 but once you’ve spent that much and possibly been disappointed the additional $500 or so to get a much better ebike seems like a small price to pay. My first ebike really disappointed me and that’s part of why I created EBR.

JUNA MADRONE
Terrific site. Thanks. Recommendation please: I’m 63, 5’9″, 140 pounds. I’m looking to replace my car with an electric bike, so I need to be able to transport groceries & stuff around town. Ashland OR is very bike friendly. I am not a confident bike rider — it’s easy to lose my balance, so I like to be able to put my feet on the ground, and wear a skirt — so a step through is probably good. I need reliable, stable, easy, and not too heavy. Much Thanks JBM

COURT
Hi Juna! There are so many great step-thru ebikes to choose from these days… if I were in your shoes I’d visit the local bike shop and take a test ride. Just did a Google search and found Ashland Electric Bikes which carries two good options including the GenZe Recreational which I reviewed here and the Pedego Boomerang that I covered here. The Pedego is larger, heavier and more expensive but also more powerful and super-low step. Note that Pedego has a bunch of other models including some with 24″ tires. If you’re looking to buy online and want a model these guys don’t carry feel free to contact me directly using the phone number on the contact page and I can discuss some different ideas with you :)

JUAN NOVAL
Hi Court, first I would like to comment on your great site. It is simply awesome. Lots of great content, with good write ups and excellent video reviews. I have been binge watching your reviews and I am amazed at how may choices there are for electric bikes. Didn’t know there were so many choices. Now, I would like your input on my particular situation. I have been looking on getting a bike to replace my very heavy Diamondback Edgewood. I have been looking at various hybrid bikes, i.e. Trek 7.2 FX, Giant City Escape, Specialized Sirrus etc., and then I came upon your site. After watching a few videos I like the idea of getting an electric bike so I can go further and a bit faster. Currently I ride on the weekends for the most part on my current ride, but can only average about 12-14 miles. I was thinking of a lighter hybrid so I can commute to work (about 10-12 miles each way depending on route), but an electric bike would make it a cinch. Now, some specs on me that might help in your suggestion. I am 5’10” tall with an inseam of 31 inches, I have lower back issues, so a City Style bike with a more upright sitting position would be best, I weigh 195 lbs, and I am turning 50 next month. This last fact is relevant because it seems that I don’t have the recovery capability that I had at an earlier age, so an electric bike seems to overcome the age factor. Also, most of the riding I do is on surface, paved streets or trails at local parks. I live in San Antonio, TX, so we are making progress in having more bike lanes around town, but I don’t think we have any shops that cater to electric bike aficionados. Maybe I’ll have to travel to Austin to try any of your suggestions? That would not be a problem as it is only one hour away by car but would be a bit inconvenient to service the bike if any of the electric components were to fail. Lastly, I am thinking about spending $2000 or less if possible? Again, great site and thx in advance.

COURT
Hi Juan! Yeah, it sounds like a city bike or cruiser would make the most sense and Rocket Electrics in Austin has a wide selection to look and they will deliver anywhere in Texas from the looks of it, Also consider Small Planet EV’s in Dallas (which is further but might also offer delivery). I recommend buying in person from a shop if possible so you can test ride and usually they throw in a free tune up and will be more eager to help maintain your bike ongoing. Ebikes tend to be ridden more frequently and just have more complex systems than traditional bikes so ultimately they need more maintenance and having a shop to help you is a big deal in my opinion. Your budget is pretty solid, I feel like they’d be able to help you at either shop and maybe a Pedego Cruiser, Juiced Bikes or one of the Easy Motion City or Street models could be a fit. Pedego comes at a premium, Juiced Bikes has models with excellent range and more of a cargo feel and the Easy Motion stuff looks the most polished. I’m not completely up to speed with what models Rocket Electrics has in stock right now but they do a good job in my experience and their website has more info or you could call them, say hi for me to John and Nicole :D

JUAN NOVAL
Hi Court, Thx for the prompt reply. I will certainly take a look at the options you mention. I do think that testing the different bikes in person would be the best idea, so quick trip to Austin, or maybe even Dallas for the weekend would not be bad at all. I’ll look at the different brands you mention in your response. Appreciate your help. Thx again. JN

JAMES LEE
Hi Court – As many people have said, thanks for such a great site – so informative as I look to purchase a first electric bike. I’d like your input on a bike to primarily be used for commuting. My parameters:
  • 5’11”, 160lbs
  • 1-way commute – 8.5 miles. I live in the Bay Area, but the only hills to speak of on my commute are overpasses.
  • I currently (try to) commute on a regular bike, although it has drawbacks: need to shower twice a day as I break a sweat during the ride. And now that I have kid dropoff in the morning, I have a shorter window of time to get to work in mornings (about 30 min.)
  • Part of commute is on a dedicated bike path so 20mph max speed
  • I hope to be able to use the motor in the mornings on the way in and then ride mostly non-pedal assisted on the way home, so looking for something more lightweight. This way I don’t break a sweat and can wear work clothes on the way in, but can get exercise on the way home.
  • My current commuter is a cyclo-cross bike fit. I added lights, fenders and rear rack, but I can switch them onto the e-bike.
I’ve been thinking about the Emazing Bike Artemis, as its lightweight and seems suited for commuting. I like that it looks like a normal bike. The Artemis is at the upper range of what I want to spend. Wondering what you thought and if there are other bikes that fit the bill. Thanks in advance!

COURT
Hi James! Thanks for laying all of your details out to discuss… The Artemis is a neat bike, I like how light weight it is, but one other option I enjoyed is the Magnum Mi5 which is very affordable at ~$1,700 and comes with assist as well as throttle on demand. There are no lights integrated but there are mounting points for a rear carry rack since you’re commuting. I personally like the larger tires and suspension fork here and the “trail bike” style but it would make an excellent platform for commuting and the battery is quite large. I believe you can see and test ride this bike at ELV Motors in Santa Clara. If you prefer something more sleek, consider the new Riide which is exactly $2k or can be financed but is sold online vs. shops.

JAMES LEE
Thanks for the reply! I will definitely check out some of these options at ELV!

TRACEY LIND
I need advice. I’m ready to buy an electric bike and I’m overwhelmed by choices. I’ve ridden a few on the west coast, but living in Cleveland, Ohio, I’m going to have to order on line as our local bike dealers don’t sell them. I want a bike to ride for work; I’m a local minister so I have to move around town throughout my day – often in a skirt, so I’d like a step-through model that can accommodate a tall woman, and I would like one with fenders and good tires as it rains a lot in Cleveland. I’d also like to ride this bike on country roads as I am a summer minister on Cape Cod. I would prefer both peddle assist and throttle with decent gear options. I also need to be able to put it on a sturdy, hitch-mounted Yakima Bike rack. I would prefer to keep my investment under or around $2,000. Any advice or suggestions?

COURT
Hi Tracey! A few models come to mind including the EG Athens (which is a bit weaker but very affordable). You mentioned that you’re a bit taller… what’s your height and also the round trip and terrain (flat or hilly?). You can see a long list of step-thru ebikes using this advanced search query and I’ll try to dig in more if you reply with more details but there are several great shops that sell online in the US including Propel Bikes in New York (they sell higher end stuff), Electric Cyclery in California (still higher end but more of a mix) and the Electric Bicycle Center in California (more entry-level affordable). I hope this helps… if you decide to up your budget and go for quality and a wider range of sizes then definitely check out the Kalkhoff models… they are very popular in Europe and some of the best ebikes around… they will last, power through all kinds of terrain and come with fenders, lights, a bell and other nice upgrades.

CIARA
Hi Court, I was wondering if I could also get your help in choosing a bike. I live half way up a mountain (literally – I live in the Rocky Mountains) so getting to work is not a problem, but I have not been able to conquer the way home so I am interested in pedal assist. I’d like a bike that’s strong enough to get me up the paved mountain and gentle enough for the 15 month old baby I’d like to attach in a handle bar baby seat. Thank you for your help – Ciara

COURT
Hi Ciara! Cool name… I grew up in Colorado at the base of the Rockies so the steep climbs (and high altitude) are not lost on me ;) sounds like a wonderful goal you have, riding with your child. One of the firs ebikes that came to mind was the Electra Townie Go! which uses a powerful, durable and efficient mid-drive motor from Bosch. The older models used hub motors that were louder and way less powerful. Once I thought of this however, an idea struck me which is that as your child grows you may want to put them on the back of the bike or even let them sit on a cargo deck and hold a handlebar. This is all possible with a cargo style ebike and two companies offer models that also use the Bosch Centerdrive. Check out the Felt Bruhaul and the Xtracycle Edgerunner. They aren’t cheap but they can literally replace your car with excellent range, plenty of climbing power, tons of cargo space for groceries in addition to a second passenger and solid warranties. This is an ebike you buy once to keep (just lock it up well!)

CIARA
Thank you Court! I really appreciate your responding and have found your website an amazing resource for find a new ebike! I look forward to trying these bikes out! Thanks again for your time :)

MARK
Hi Court, first of all thanks for your website! I’m completely new to ebikes and it’s been very, very helpful. I need help finding the right ebike for my situation. I’m 65 years old, 5’8″ and weigh 215. I also have back issues so am looking at either full suspension or at the very least front suspension with a thud buster or similar product. I will be riding both at home, which means fairly steep hillls, and at RV campgrounds. I visit beach campgrounds with sand roads and would also like to ride on the beach. The ebike needs to be almost indistinguishable from a non-motorized bike. I also need to be able to transport the bike on a hitch mounted bike carrier of some sort so it needs to be light enough for me to handle. I would like to ride upright as much as possible. Good suspension is very important considering the condition of my back. I would also like to spend $2500 or less if possible. The whole idea is to be able to get some exercise but have electric assist for the hills and sand and to keep up with my wife when we ride together. Any suggestions?

COURT
That’s a very tall order Mark but I think the biggest killer is that it needs to be indistinguishable from a traditional unpowered bicycle. My first thought given your budget was the RadRover but it has a battery pack on the downtube that would stand out. The good news is that the battery is removable which is great for lifting. For a bit more you can get the beautiful Surface 604 Boar which also has a removable battery but looks a lot more “normal”. I really like the E-Lux Tahoe but the fenders and rack would get in the way of any rack you choose… there are heavy duty hitch racks with larger trays for fat bikes like this but they usually push down on tires and fenders tend to get in the way.

DAVE KELMAN
Court – Though repetitive, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer kudos for the great site.
My ebike saga started with a Sharper Image Electric Cruiser about 14 years ago, a beast of a bike, which I absolutely loved although it wasn’t long before I could no longer get up a hill on it. I learned to tinker with the electronics quite a bit, even “Frankensteined” a replacement battery pack onto it (Nickel Metal Hydride Cells!) so I consider myself a bit of a pioneer, And a bit of an outlaw too since ebikes were not legal in Ontario at the time. Once I actually rode up to two bicycle cops to ask them whether they had seen any ebikes on the road, what they thought of the upcoming pilot project to allow them… they had no idea what I was riding. It was cycling bliss until someone stole the rear wheel with the motor, and I had to let her go…
I ended up moving on to motor scooters but last year sold them, they have great range and speed but they aren’t fun like an ebike…. So last spring I ended up buying a “barely used” 2013 iZip E3 Zuma, the step through model. I have really been enjoying it although it’s in the shop now and I’m told that the motor had a bunch of water in it, I guess because it was not covered well enough while spending a cold snowy rainy winter outside. Very bad, I have learned my lesson. Between the cost of a new motor, replacing the burned-out controller, and the labor required to put Humpty together again, it may not be worth it. I don’t have an easy way to store it over winter though, and kept hoping the temp would rise enough to ride it…. but alas it didn’t.
OK yes, I have a question – was looking at your review of the Voltbike Urban. It seems to combine of the attributes I might want in my next bike – I can bring it inside in the winter, or bring it on the subway or throw it easily in a car… It’s within my price range (about $1200-1400 USD)… It’s shipped from Canada so I don’t pay the exchange rate or duties or customs clearance fees etc… But I can’t ride it before I buy. I’ve never ridden an electric folder and I know it’s a low-end bike. I’m about 190 lbs. Do you think I’m going to like this bike, moving from a Zuma? My ride to work is mostly up a low incline (up and down hills but mostly up) and about 9 miles, and I like riding pretty fast. It’s mostly smooth roads but there are some very bumpy patches (which aren’t great on the Zuma). Thoughts?

COURT
Hi Dave! Yeah, the reviews can get repetitive… I’m always trying to balance an introduction to ebikes with details about what differentiates each model and a bit of entertainment and variety. Glad you’ve enjoyed the site and thanks for sharing your great story about the Zuma! I actually just posted a guide about riding in wet conditions and washing ebikes, maybe you could chime in about your failed motor to help guide readers on what to avoid so their’s don’t break ;)
And so, on to your question! The Voltbike Urban performs pretty well for a more affordable electric bike but it isn’t going to feel as solid or powerful as your Zuma. I really like the Zuma models because the heavier frame, larger tires and oversize saddle add some comfort. You won’t get that with the lighter frame and small wheels of the Urban (with limited suspension and an underwhelming fold lock on the stem). The saving grace is actually that the hub motor benefits from the smaller wheel size which should help with those hills and you get throttle and assist so pedaling along feels natural and you can extend the range and avoid overworking the system by pedaling. As you’ve read, the Urban offers six speeds and comes with a medium front chainring so pedaling feels natural and errs on the too-easy side vs. too hard. Those bumpy patches you mention on your ride do worry me but with a larger saddle (perhaps your old Zuma saddle?) and a bit of care, this ebike would offer the convenience and storability which ended your last ride. I hope this helps, you could opt for a suspension folding ebike but that will cost more and likely originate in the USA. One other folding ebike that is more full sized and does originate in canada is the Daymak Arsenal, have you checked that one out? It uses larger, more traditional 26″ wheels.

JUNE MANION
Court, congratulations on a really great website and information. When you are new to this its so confusing. I live in a mountainous part of New Zealand and ebikes are just starting to come in here. I was wanting your thoughts on one for myself. Lady – Age 67, Height 5ft 5 in, Weight 155 lbs. Wanted a step through preferably that could take panniers and would be using for mountain trail rides and trekking. Prefer an upright position. I am not a mountain bike enthusiast and going off road but just want some extra oomph to get up the hills but also bike around the village. Budget is relaxed – just want to get quality that will hopefully outlast me. I would most certainly be wanting to travel to where ever to try them out [possibly overseas] but just need to have an idea as to models to consider. How do you get the lithium batteries back home if you purchase overseas? Do you have any recommendations for European brands? Any ideas?

COURT
Hi June! I’m excited for you, glad that ebikes have caught your attention and wish I could help more than just posting these reviews… I realize it can be overwhelming with all of the seeming-choices. The truth is that you’re best off finding a shop in NZ that sells ebikes and buying locally. My understanding is that shipping or flying with Lithium-ion batteries is difficult if not impossible for consumers without help from a shop or manufacturer. There are some brands that sell online then ship overseas and in that case your options really open up. One shop that might be willing to work with you (that also carries good stuff) is Motostrano in California, try reaching out to them, I hear they have successfully sold and shipped internationally but cannot say for sure. They would also be able to help you narrow down options based on their availability vs. coming in stuck on one idea or another. Most ebikes these days are getting pretty reliable and strong in the $2,000+ range.

JUNE MANION
Court. Many thanks for your response and I will most certainly contact Motostrano. All the best

JENNIE BROWN
Wow! Thanks for the amazing & informative website. I admit that with all its vast array of information that I am finding trying to figure out the best Ebike for my needs to be a bit overwhelming so I am hoping maybe you could help me narrow things down. I plan to commute 13 miles each way to work and am very interested in an Ebike because I don’t think I am up for a daily 26 mile round trip ride on my hybrid bike. I will have a number of small hills to go up and down with one long relatively steep hill that is almost 1/2 mile long. Do you think an Ebike could make it up the big hill? I weigh 140 and am 5’8″. I can spend up to $3000ish. I am excited about the possibility of ditching my car and continuing to enjoy the thrill of being on a bike without having to do all the work, thanks so much for any input you could give me!

COURT
Hi Jennie! In my experience, electrified bicycles massively reduce the time and effort involved with riding. I’m not sure how steep your hill is but imagine more than doubling your own pedal power output and making it constant. I’m almost positive that if you pedal along with the bike you will have no problem making it up… The biggest challenge for ebikes is when you stop half way up a hill and try to use a throttle only to get it going without helping. The motor does best when you help and when you have some momentum going in. Given your height and weight, I’d say you’re pretty average and most bikes would be able to handle the distance and those hills. Maybe the next question is, do you want a mid-drive, a hub motor, a step-thru style vs. high-step, do you want a suspension fork and more active design that could go on trails or mostly just city… going the other direction, would you like a cruiser that’s really relaxed but also heavy? My first suggestion would be to seek out a local dealer where you can go and take a test ride. Buying local comes in very handy down the road for helping with tuneups and warranty service :)

JENNIE BROWN
First of all my husband and I would like to thank you for your really excellent web site! It is incredibly informative and quite extensive. This leads us to some questions and a desire for your recommendations for e-bikes that meet the following criteria;
  1. First the frame geometry. I want an “upright” or “relaxed” riding position as opposed to a “lean forward” position (but not cruiser). I also want a frame with an upper tube. It can be a drop tube (mild step through) but not a full step through frame. These would be deal breakers.
  2. After a full read of your motor position comparison it seems as though a mid motor would be best. I will use the bike to commute to and from work, a bit less than 30 miles round trip, with a long steep hill at the end of the return commute. After a day of work the thought of the motor not pulling the hill with ease, even with me helping, is not pleasant to say the least. It also sounds like having shift sensing is important for less stress on the drive train and a more enjoyable riding experience. I am not clear on wether the throttle feature is important on a mid motor or if having all three sensors (torque, pedal cadence, and rear wheel speed) is a must. The Bosh mid motor sounds good but suggestions would be appreciated. Having a mid motor is not a deal breaker if a rear motor handled the end of commute hill with ease, although the spoke, flat tire, and weight distribution cons you point out also seem to favor the mid motor.
  3. I am hoping to stay in the three thousand dollar range.
Thank you very much for your advice! It would be extremely helpful to narrow down the possibilities.

COURT
Hi Jennie! The first bike that came to mind for me was the Electra Townie Go! which now uses the Bosch mid-drive. Trek acquired Electra in recent years and has a great dealer network and support. I like the bike a lot with its fenders and cruiser aesthetic but love that they put a fancier drive system on the bike. This bike fits right in your budget and is available in high-step or low-step so you can decide what looks/feels right. Bulls has a mid-drive powered cruiser that I have not yet reviewed but theirs uses the Brose motor that is also really solid (I Have tested that motor on other bikes). It’s called the Sturmvogel and I’m not sure exactly how much it costs?

JENNIE BROWN
P.S. to last question, any input on Bosch vs Impulse 2.0 motor would be appreciated. Again, thank you so much for being such a valuable resource to those of us looking into purchasing an EBike.

COURT
Hi Jennie! I really like the Focus and Kalkhoff ebikes but they use the Impulse motor which in my experience is slightly less powerful than Bosch. It’s quiet, small and relatively light weight… but just not as zippy feeling. I prefer Bosch in general because my ride style is more off-road. I feel like with Impulse I have to work harder even in the higher levels of assist (unless it’s the speed drive from Impulse). Hope this helps, both are very solid!

MICHAEL T
Hello,I just started attending college and my license is revoked. My commute is 8 miles there and 8 miles back so 16 miles. I am 6’4 roughly 190lbs. I have been looking into American Electrics Superfly 2016 model . I’m going to be spending my financial aid from school on this so I’m trying to be as careful as possible. I just wanted to ask for some advice on this particular one or if you had another one to recommend ,I’m trying to keep the “electric bike” as close to a scooter as possible and am interested in higher speeds even though technically the speed limit is 20 mph for these.

COURT
Hi Michael, Interesting situation… I’d like to hear more about your budget, my first thought is that a speed pedelec like the IZIP E3 Protour would offer the best of all worlds ie. speed, lower cost, great features like a scooter but lighter weight and easier to service. Why don’t you give me a ring to chat sometime and we can discuss more options, my Aunt just took out some student loans and I know it’s a big decision what to do with the money, maybe there’s a good deal we could find 650-930-0342

KAY S
Hi Court, Your website is wonderful and so extensive. I’m overwhelmed and am hoping you can help me make a decision on which bike(s) to consider. I’m a 67 yr old woman; 5’4″; 135 lbs and thankfully, in better than average physical condition but with a bit of back and knee issues. I’m hoping to find a pedal assist and throttle bike to ride on paved trails and streets in and around the Denver area to visit friends and do shopping and to keep moving and exercising every day, weather permitting. There are lots of hills around which I absolutely could never conquer with my vintage Raleigh bike.
Features I “think” I need/want are: Upright/comfortable seating; must be low step-through frame; features for comfortable riding on uneven pavement; fenders; lights; maximum cargo capability for groceries, etc.; removable battery, mid-mount battery to aid stability, and a bike I could lift into my Honda Fit (with rear magic seats) or onto a bike rack. As I was reading along I started writing a list of bikes you recommended to others in different scenarios and the list is LONG which accounts for my being overwhelmed.
I’m able to spend up to $2k unless you recommend a bike which is more because of the features I’m requesting. Are there features I forgot to request? Thanks for helping me though this cloud of information! I’ll happily test ride as many bikes as you recommend.

COURT
Sorry for the late reply Kay, I have been traveling recently and just got back to a space with Internet :p I have a great suggestion for you… Right now the industry is changing from 2016 to 2017 electric bikes and there are sometimes sales. You could probably get a nicer bike from last year if you visit the local shops. One such shop that has a storefront in Denver and Longmont (meaning they have more bikes and might even transfer the perfect model between stores) is called Small Planet E-Vehicles. Rather than give you a general advice about the entire world of ebikes I’d say go there and see/test what they actually have. Buying locally from a shop ensures you have a place to return to with questions, maintenance or even warranty support :D the owner is a wonderful man named Tom Wilson and he’s a little older and might be able to relate to your needs.

LYNN
Thank you for all of this great information! My family and I love riding bikes together but this past year I have been battling Rheumatoid Arthritis and it has been impossible for me to go with them. I am looking into getting an eclectric bike so that I can keep up with our 11 year old son and not miss out on the family fun. The things I am looking for are: a bike that is easy to get on and off, a bike that gives me enough power to get up the huge hills around our neighborhood (all paved roads) and also is comfortable enough to sit on for someone with joint pain. I’d love to not have to spend a ton of money, but I also don’t want something that will break down on me. Any suggesstions? (and in case you need more info, I’m 5’9″, 145 pounds) Thanks so much!

COURT
Hi Lynn! One bike that I’ve tried which has a very easy frame to mount and still offers good power is the Pedego Boomerang. Unfortunately it’s not super affordable or light weight but there are other step-thru models listed on the site which might suite your ride style and budget. Try using the advanced search options at the top right section of the page to narrow down based on step-thru frames and your budget :)

JAY
Court, Thank you for all the work you do to review e-bikes. I want your thoughts about the Prodecotech fat tire bikes. (Rebel x9) I am six feet tall, weigh 160, and am very fit. I live in Minnesota and would like to ride year round. Security, weight, and price are not issues. Any reviews? Thank you.

COURT
Hi Jay! I’m hoping to visit ProdecoTech again sometime to review their latest ebikes, I feel that they’ve gotten a lot better over the years and while I haven’t tried the Rebel x9 I believe Pete Prebus has, he runs Electric Bike Report and you can check it out here. I like the battery setup and am guessing that the front mount motor works well given the larger heavier wheel with the fat tire. Sometimes front wheel drive ebikes spin out. The cranks and chainring are also nice! Reminds me of BMX hardware I used as a kid :)

CONNIE WELLES
HI Court. Multiple “dittos” and “kuddos” on all the comments thanking you for this wonderful site. Me? Single, 5 feet tall, healthy, fit, female, age 68, weight 120. I recently bought a used 22′ van /RV and want to be able to travel around campgrounds (sometimes gravel / dirt roads) and into local towns with a bike rather than breaking camp. Thought about motor scooters (which I can’t lift) and tried out some bikes at our 2 local shops (loved the 14 ” Trek) and have ultimately decided that an electric bike will fit my dual needs (RV campgrounds / surrounding areas as well as local paved road travel). I have also upped my budget (gulp) appropriately :) I really liked your review of the 2016 IZIP E3 Vibe Plus Low Step which comes in a XS frame. I’m now getting down to the nitty gritty and would like your thoughts on other bikes that work for petite ladies. If needed, can go above the list $1,600 – 1,800 for IZIP E3 Vibe Plus but would like your honest recommendations for other ebikes in this lower price range that would work for smaller women. I do have a garage for local storage and am currently studying bike hitch mounts that I can lift into the RV tow receiver ;-) Totally LOVE your reviews, Court!!! Thanks so much, Connie

COURT
Hey Connie! Glad the site has helped and I’m happy to share a couple thoughts here… First off, there are lots of great bike racks out there and the hitch style works very well (don’t have to lift the bike very high, can support heavier bikes). I got the Küat NV2 but there are cheaper ones from Thule, Yakima and others. Make sure you get the correct size for your receiver, I’m guessing it’s a 2″ hitch which is the larger stronger size.
As for bikes… you could sort the City Style category by price ascending like this and the EG Copenhagen came up as a possibility because it’s small and affordable. The challenge is that smaller wheels aren’t as comfortable to ride or as grippy for loose terrain like the gravel and dirt mentioned. Thankfully, the tires on that ebike aren’t super narrow… but still. I hope this helps and welcome you to text or call me using the contact form later if you narrow it down further. I might even be able to recommend some shops that are selling last-year inventory cheaper now since it’s getting to be winter time :)

LINDSAY
These are good things and great guides to choose electric bike. I have found some great E-bikes here and confused which one to buy lol. anyway, great post here!

COURT
Hey Lindsay, thanks for sharing the link! I have not heard of those bikes before as I do not think they are sold in the USA but I do like how they look. I hope you find a good bike for your lifestyle and budget, thanks for posting your comment and good luck! Perhaps you can ask around for tips and feedback in the EBR Forums for help with choosing an ebike here?

TRAVIS
Hi Court, so I’m swimming in all these options and a little lost lol. I am looking into purchasing my first ebike and could use a little guidance I think. I’m 6ft tall about 180 lbs. I am looking for something to go back and forth to work with every day and out on the weekends riding. I live in S Florida so it’s very flat and I will be on the street almost exclusively. My daily commute is about 14 miles round trip and I am looking for a bike that I don’t have to pedal if I don’t want to at all. I believe I need a throttle bike instead of just assist. I am looking to spend less than 2,000 all in. Do you have any suggestions as far as a good reliable solid bike like that? Thank you for the amazing site, just a lot of info to sort through.

COURT
Hi Travis! Great description… I think the only other consideration would be style of bike. If you’re alright with a cruiser (which tends to be relaxed and comfortable) then the Electric Bike Company Model S could be a fit. They just dropped the price and offer some great accessories, a powerful battery pack, and high capacity battery. Try using the search filters at the top right side of the page so you can narrow down more by price and type of bike. I hope this helps! I definitely recommend visiting a shop and taking a test ride or two. I almost always buy from shops because of the setup, warranty support, and cheap accessories and tuneups for customers. I realize it may be slightly higher up front but with ebikes being more complex and being uses a lot (for commuting in you case) it can pay off long term for sure.

TRAVIS
Thanks Court! I was actually looking at a cruiser, I’m really liking the OceanCurrent, I read your review and it sounds like it checks all my boxes and it’s not too hard on the wallet. Have you had any other experience with that bike? Have you heard any horror stories lol?

BRAD
Hello! I’m looking at commuting year round in Chicago. Figure a belt drive bike with extra wide or fat tires would be ideal given the conditions. Did some poking around, but couldn’t seem to easily find any insight on belt driven bikes on the site. Scrolled through all of the fat bike reviews and looks like they all have chain drives. I did find a company named Tout Terrain that sells a bike named the Chiyoda eXpress and it looks like it’d do a decent job for what I need. Only real hesitation is regarding the rear hub motor (as opposed to mid drive). Wasn’t sure if you had any experience with this company or bike model. Thanks!

COURT
Hi Brad! I think you’re correct that there are not any belt drive fat bikes yet… that’s kind of two niches combined, and in order to have a belt drive you really need a special (more expensive) frame to be built with a cutaway or lowered dropout so the belt can run below the right chainstay. Hub motors can work really well and tend to be easier on the drivetrain… but mostly they are just less expensive. I don’t have any information on a bike that has not been reviewed but is not here and I haven’t seen or tested the Chiyoda that you mention but I’ll keep an eye out and try to review it in the future. Thanks for sharing your question and feel free to repost or poke around in the electric bike forums here for more opinions or input.

BRAD
Court – Thanks for the follow up. After some research I’m thinking I can get away without a fat bike, but would still like the lower maintenance of a belt drive. Is there a way to easily filter or search for belt driven bikes on EBR? Thanks again!

DONNA
I am looking to gain my adult son with some intellectual disabilities some independence. He can ride a typical bike, but we live outside of town about 8 miles with hills. I am looking for something simple to use, something that can be used on packed and paved roads. Something that would help him get to a job when I am not around to drive him. He is 5′ 6″ about 130lbs.

COURT
Hi Donna, I really like the fat bikes for how stable they are (and fun looking) they can handle paved and packed roads and Rad Power Bikes makes a decent quality but still affordable one that ships nation wide called the RadRover, check it out here. You can also explore the site by using the different categories or the Top Rated Ebikes page here.

ZACH
Hi Court, I am looking to buy an electric mountain bike. I have had my eye on the Bulls E-Stream evo 45 fs because of the 28mph speed and the overall look of the bike. However it is a bit out of my price range. Are there ways that i could get it at a discount? Maybe at a certain time of year it will go on sale? Or are there any other (cheaper) 28mph mountain bikes? Thanks.

COURT
Hi Zach! This is a unique one, there aren’t many speed pedelecs that are setup for trail or mountain riding. Getting a deal seems to depend on time of year and availability. Towards the end of summer and early Fall (like around September/October) things may lower in price and then around Black Friday before the winter holidays they also can go on sale. Another option is to purchase a less expensive full suspension Bosch powered ebike and then use a speed dongle to get the higher speeds… but it will void the warranty and changes the speed readout on your display. Once you pay for a bike, pay for a dongle and possible get help installing it, you still end up spending a lot. I’m not sure if there are ways to change the speed on Brose powered bikes so you wouldn’t have the same integrated battery look as you have here. Maybe call a dealer that sells online and ask them about a discount. Sometimes if you just express that you’re willing to wait a bit, flexible on size, or ready to pay cash if they can work with you on a deal they will have some flexibility.

BIFF
Greetings Court – here’s a new scenario for you…I’m looking for an e-bike to use as my bug-out vehicle in a SHTF (*sh*t hit the fan) event. In the mean time, it needs to also serve as a means of exercise, more than anything else. My trip would be approx. 100 miles from home to my retreat, pulling a trailer (i.e. Burley Flatbed or Nomad), starting at the coast (flat) and ending in gently rolling hills. I’ve watched and read a LOT of your reviews, and you’ve only made it more confusing. Every time I think I’ve made up my mind, I see another option.
My first thought was the Catrike / Greenspeed style trikes, but they’re pretty pricey new with the power option. I haven’t seen any on Craigslist with motors… plenty without, though. Then I started looking at diamond framed bikes, and found some possibilities, but I’m just afraid sitting upright for extended periods would give me the shoulder and neck aches. Next on the radar was the true recumbent bike, but few (none?) have motors that I’ve seen. But I really like the laid-back riding position. (Saw your suggestion for the RideKick above).
Tonight was spent reviewing delta style recumbent trikes. I didn’t find a lot to offer there, either. Oh, how my head is spinning now. Here’s my wish list… what do you suggest for someone who’s 5’8″ and 240 lbs?
  1. Preferably a recumbent, bike or trike
  2. Folding would be nice
  3. $1500 – 2200 if possible
  4. 48v/750 watt motor preferred, 30v/500 watt minimum
This is what I’ve been pondering for the last 3 weeks…
  • Electric Trike Company Eco-Delta SX (new for $2300 with the 30v/20ah battery upgrade)
  • AdventureCycle Model T (1.5 years old for $1700 – has a lot of options AND folds – could add the motor later)
  • Bacchetta Corse recumbent bike – (2 years old for $1400 – could add the motor later)
  • Prodeco Phantom X2 (4 years old for $1500 – has a lot of options AND folds)
  • RadRover (530 miles on it for $1000 – with a few accessories)
  • And finally…a brand spankin’ new Rad Power Bike Rad City, Rover or Mini. I like them all. (the ONLY thing stopping me from buying any one of these now is the upright position).
Am I missing something… is there another option? Thanks for you advice in advance… and keep making those reviews. I’m going to keep reviewing them, and will find the right bike soon (hopefully before the Zombies hit the streets!!)

COURT
Hi Biff! You’ve listed some great options there and clearly defined your needs. I think the Electric Trike Company makes comfortable ebikes but I don’t think the range would be what you’re asking, you might need a second battery pack. The RadRover is nice because it’s affordable, but again, the battery isn’t going to get you as far with those big inefficient tires… but they will be slightly more comfortable :)
The RadCity would be a good fit, probably the clostest here in terms of efficiency and the suspension fork offers comfort. The alternative idea I have for you is a Day 6 electric bike. They are built to work well for heavier, taller riders, and they situate your body partially like recumbent but still upright. The seat is big and soft and there’s a back rest. The handlebar is adjustable, and the mid-drive motor offers throttle or pedal assist and you can get a bunch of different battery size options. How about this. I will try to review the Day 6 Samson for you tomorrow, I filmed it on a trip recently but have yet to write it up. Stay tuned, I hope this brief feedback helps and that you find this extra option worth considering even though it’s not folding and might be above your price range.

BIFF
Thanks for the quick response. To clarify a little, I’m not looking for something that could make the entire trip on battery. I figure I can peddle most of the way, and use the battery for peddle assist from time to time. But a second battery would certainly be an option. Right now, I’m really leaning toward a RadCity bike, but I’m looking forward to your review of the Day 6 Samson. Thanks again!!!

BIFF
Hey Court – just wanted to give you an update. I ended up buying TWO bikes!! The first is an older Cycle Genius LWB recumbent that has less than 300 miles on it. I got it pretty cheap, so I’ll be looking for an e-kit to add to it…maybe a kit from BionX or EBO? The BEST news is… I’m going to be the proud owner of a BRAND NEW RadCity Mini. I ordered it today, so I can’t wait for it to show up. Thank YOU for all the videos you’ve done. I may have seen them all… several times. This decision took about 3 weeks, and I’m thrilled with the outcome. Safe travels… Biff

COURT
That’s fantastic BIFF! I like your logic on the kits and think that Electric Bike Outfitters might be a win in terms of price and DIY. My understanding is that BionX requires you to get help from a certified dealer? I’d love to hear what you find, EBR does have some new and improved kits as I understand it. As for the RadMini, that’s great! I hope it arrives in great shape and performs well for you. I like that bike, it’s fun but also kind of practical with the folding and lower frame design. Stable but still easy enough to mount :D

ABE
Hey Court, thanks for your awesome website (best e-bike website online HANDS DOWN). I’m looking to buy an e-bike which is:
  1. a good quality and reliable brand
  2. not TOO heavy
  3. is comfortable to ride
  4. has super long range
  5. has shocks or something that I don’t feel every bump
  6. built-in light system, battery level indication, need password to drive, (a security alarm or gps would be nice too)
  7. awesome motor and awesome battery
  8. goes super quick
  9. the appearance looks more like a reg bycicle than an e-bike
  10. if I get stuck in the rain it won’t damage the bike
  11. the bike can handle driving while it’ raining or snowing.
I want a company that’s reliable and uses top quality parts, and that they’re easy to deal with if a problem arises. There are thousands of options and I don’t even know where to start. What e-bikes to you suggest I look at? Thank you

COURT
Hi Abe, thanks for the compliment! I work hard to make this a nice place with good information and support. Your list is quite extensive, but it’s good to know what you’d like in an ideal world. Very few electric bikes have built in alarm or GPS systems but you can now get the COBI smart display system that will work with Bosch and use your cell phone as the display (which could work as a GPS), the COBI system does offer lights and I think it might even have an alarm feature. Most electric bikes will be fine in the rain and even riding through shallow puddles so don’t worry about that (just don’t spray your bike with hard pressure or submerge it).
So, with these things in mind. I’d recommend one of the Bulls, Haibike, Giant or Trek Class 3 speed pedelec models. You can use the search engine to filter through the site and enter the brand keyword and Class 3 to see what comes up. I’m constantly reviewing new bikes and each of these companies has a new lineup for 2018 but you could go the other way and try to get a deal on a 2017 model now. Bulls has some great options that get very close to what you want including the E-Stream EVO 45 FS and the DAIL-E Grinder which come in multiple sizes. I hope this helps! You can also ask around in the EBR forums help choosing section here.

SCOTT MOORE
Hi Court, I’ve watched so many of your reviews it feels like I know you now! You are awesome with giving information and detailed answers and I want to thank you for that and being the way you are with it.
I am helping a friend purchase his first ebike. I do a lot of cycling and enjoying putting together the research for him. He is sixty-five and not new to cycling but it has been a few years since he’s ridden much. He recently rented a Sondors at the beach on vacation and loved the experience. He did really well too but doesn’t want to get a Sondors. He feels the stability of a fat tire bike and upright position is best for him though, so a Fat Tire was decided as the type to get. That decision has been made. His price range $1,600 to $2,500.
He likes the Rad Rover and it’s at the very top of the list. It allows him to purchase the bike and with getting all the gear that goes along.
A car trailer rack is in his future too.
He is really liking the Rad Rover and will most likely get that because of your reviews, and how great a company they seem to be with support and information. They seem to be a positive company with a large following and gaining momentum. However before making the purchase we’ve identified a couple others that could knock the Rad off the top spot. The other two are very interesting but neither doesn’t seem to have that ease of contact and support that Rad Power does.
I know how you feel about the Rad but what are your thoughts on the other two below? You haven’t reviewed the M2S bike that I can find. They have a couple models that seem solid and one has a Mid Drive motor priced at $1,950. What do think about the Mid-Drive versus a Hub drive motor given the choice? The Teo is a feature rich bike too. I know there are other factors you would need and hard to put it all here, but do the best you can with your thoughts. He does want to do on-road rides and some off-road but nothing technical. More like rail trails. He envisions even pulling a small light trailer with it once he gets settled with it. So, fairly easy rides but can still handle some bumps, fields etc.
Help us make this decision. Thank you Court!!
  1. Rad Power’s – Rad Rover
  2. M2S – All Terrain MD with (Mid Drive) or possibly their All Terrain R750 (Hub)
  3. Teo S Limited
Thank you!
Scott
Louisville, KY

COURT
Hi Scott! It sounds like you’ve done some excellent research, I do my best to help narrow it down with you. Yes, Rad Power Bikes offers a good price point and friendly customer service… and their products tend to be in stock. This is a question mark with some of the Teo bikes and maybe even a bit for M2S (though I believe that they post what they have online, or you can contact them to check). Rad definitely has a more recognized brand, so reselling it could be easier and getting parts in a year or three could also be easier. M2S and Teo are newer, but they do seem to be using mostly standard parts. I think the way you ranked the bikes in your little list is how I feel too. The M2S could be fun to explore, but with a more basic Bafang mid-drive, you won’t have shift detection and the drivetrain could take more wear. Rad is simple, feature rich, and lots of fun… I rank it way above Sondors in terms of value, even though it’s more expensive. I hope this helps you out, I do plan on reviewing M2S products later this year at some point and maybe it will be in time for your decision :)

SCOTT MOORE
Incredible timing Court! I was just re-watching the Teo review you did and the ride you took through the woods. Then your email pops in. I think you are spot on with your evaluation too. I’m glad that you pointed that out about the reselling and accessible parts. I agree with you about the M2S and I didn’t think about it being more of a basic motor. Something to consider. I know my friend Mike will appreciate this and I’m going to share with him what you have said. I will keep you posted on how this journey turns out too. I hope this helps others. Thank you again for what you do. Love the details!!! Scott

SCOTT MOORE
Court, Don’t want to wear out my welcome here but you brought up a good point. You helped me go in the right direction with understanding mid drive motors better and how that Bafang entry level is probably not the best at this time for him to go with.
This caused me to investigate the different mid-drives. It helped a lot. I see and know now those motors like the Brose, Yamaha, Bosch and then there is even Shimano Steps that are better and easier on the drivetrain because of the shift sensing and overall smoothness and quality of their build. Having a quality mid drive motor is what to look for and would be the way to go for mid drive systems.
The Rad Rover is going to have a lot of the boxes checked for him though and a hub drive will still be adequate and best choice to get him started on an eBike.
I’ve watched a lot of reviews and I had no idea that the eBike wave was this strong. It’s really advanced over the last several years but I’m not seeing many here in Kentucky, although I’m sure they are out there. Something tells me in 2018 I will probably be seeing more of them. It’s coming for sure!
I personally am interested in an eBike now. It’s hard not to be. I’ll take my time as there are so many to choose from but when I do I think I want a mid-drive. Something like the Haibike that you sold your Uncle Greg but not as high end as that model. The Haibike brand and style bike is what catches my eye and their lower-end model may suit my budget more but satisfy my taste for a quality bike with the SDURO HardNine 4.0. EBR reviewed it and it comes with a decent mid drive it looks like. I’ll keep following your reviews as I know I’ll end up with something that is that type of bike.
You’re work ethic is amazing!!

COURT
Good choice Scott! I think the SDURO HardNine 4.0 offers great value because the Yamaha motor is nicer and more reliable than some of the others. It’s always nice to hear compliments and I’m glad EBR has helped you and your friend get to know the space. Send an update again if/when you go for a test ride or buy a bike, it’s always fun to hear how things turn out ;)

SCOTT
Hey Court! I’m forwarding this message from the the gentleman I’m helping to get a bike. Name is Mike and he hasn’t purchased yet but very close. Down to two. See below.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thanks Scott & Court! WOW, what a communication string! Court is as personal & diligent with one-on-one as he is on his reviews! I ditto the compliments you gave him and send my thanks and appreciation for all the advice, knowledge and motivation he has provided. Like you Scott, I too feel like I know Court! Since you have an open channel developed, maybe you can forward my thoughts about the Boar to Court?
Thanks in advance Court for your help with evaluating! I can’t thank you enough for your consideration of offering advice! I believe I’ve narrowed my decision down to the Rad Rover or the Surface 604 Boar. I watched your video with Sam from 604 at the outside show; the one where you took it for a ride in some rugged terrain. At the end you seemed exhilarated, more than usual, about the Boar’s performance. Did I read your enthusiasm correctly?
I know it’s tough to give advice and direction to someone you don’t even know. Having said that, your counsel will be invaluable to me and it will mean a lot in helping me decide! I also understand you have an excellent relationship with Rad as well as other manufactures and apologize if I’m putting you in an uncomfortable position.
I’m 65 and have some knee issues and a seasoned back! I intend on riding on some paved paths around the city, some gravel paths as well as some mild mountain trails. In addition, I collect driftwood and intend on using the bike as a hauling vehicle, which means off-road, more rugged terrain. I also like the idea of riding in the snow when we have the opportunity. And finally around my 10 acre, hilly, wooded property. Maybe some hunting trails with hunter friends, although unlike Sam & his Dad, I am not a hunter. At this point i’m not sure how much of each I would do. Maybe 60-70% on road & 30 to 40% off road.
I was all but ready to pull the trigger on the Rad Rover. Which I still feel like cannot be a bad decision. However when comparing and contrasting with the Boar (and the fact 604 is coming out with a 14 amp battery) I am starting to lean that direction. The heavier duty racks, adjustable stem, hydraulic brakes, 10 gear cassette and the torque sensor all seem like they would serve me better than what the Rad offers. The walk beside feature is a must for me & they both have that.
Do you feel like the Boar can be a good road bike as well as an off/road bike for my situation? How much would the Boar not having an adjustable fork be a negative? Is the torque system a big upgrade in your mind for my intended riding? Do you know if the total upright position on the Boar is more or less upright than the fixed Rad position?
Thank you again Court, I look forward to hopefully hearing your seasoned thoughts! If you ever consider attending the Kentucky Derby, first Saturday in May, please make sure you contact Scott and I. We’ll go for a ride! Keep enjoying what you do, continued respect for helping so many people!
Peace, Mike

SUSANNAH
Good morning, I was wondering if you might be able to give me any advice as I’m a bit lost. First of all, I live in Spain, in case that’s relevant. I live up a large and fairly long hill. I have two young daughters (aged 2 and 4) and I ride with them in a child’s seat on the back of my bike to activities etc. (one at a time, not together.) I can’t make it up to my house anymore! So I need an ebike. The factors I am taking into account so far are:
  • Easy to mount (bike topples over easily with a child on the back)
  • Able to install child’s seat (Yepp brand)
  • Enough power to get us all the way up the hill (current combined weight (me+1 child) is around 175 pounds / 80 kilos)
  • Able to install front basket
  • I can store the bike safely in our garage
There is a BH Easy Emotion Evo Jet Pro bike (350W) on sale near me for 950 euros, new it is worth 3000, so I am going to try that. In the meantime, please could you let me know if there is anything vital I am overlooking? I’d be so grateful. Thank you for your time! S.

SUSANNAH
Hello again, I have watched your excellent review of the BH Easy Emotion Evo Jet Pro and it looks promising. I’m not sure if the one on sale here is from 2015 or 2016 (and I understand there are slight differences.) I don’t think the throttle override issue would be a problem for me as I’ve never experienced that anyway, maybe I’m wrong but I think I’m OK just having the pedal assist mode (any improvement on me pushing the bike up for 10 minutes will be amazing.) Any other thoughts very welcome, Thanks for your amazing website. S.

COURT
Hi Susannah, I left a longer reply on your first comment, it sounds like you’re on a great path. I’m not even sure if the throttle is an option in your market, so it’s great that you only need pedal assist. Easy Motion (BH) is a Spanish brand, so hopefully you’ll have great support there. Feel free to share more once you decide on a bike or take some test rides :)

COURT
Hi Susannah! It sounds like your on the right track here. Yepp! child seats are great, and I believe that they sell a couple of options that should work with the Easy Motion rack. You may have to upgrade that rack (or buy one if it does not come stock) but with the great price you found, that should be possible. I like the Jet because it has a step-thru frame. You can easily mount and stand over the frame to stabilize yourself and your child. I am not sure about your location, but in the USA this model has pedal assist and a twist throttle. I have done an in-depth review of it here. There are some sturdier bikes with Yepp! compatible racks that are welded onto the frame, but they usually cost more. One example is the new Tern GSD mini-cargo bike here. And this is a search result for all of the bikes where I mention Yepp! child seats, it might help you get some other ideas. I hope this helps… thanks for sharing your comment and feedback, unfortunately my knowledge of the Spain market is limited so it is tricky to provide more insights. I would say that a step-thru or wave frame is good for balance, a sturdy rack for your child, a mid-drive motor would be the most efficient but could cause drivetrain wear when shifting gears, front baskets work with most bikes but some baskets can mount directly to the head tube like the RadCity. The Tern GSD would store in your garage easily because it can be tipped up, and the battery can be removed easily to charge inside :)

SUSANNAH
Dear Court,
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. I tried the BH Easy Emotion Evo Jet Pro this morning at the shop where it’s being sold second-hand. You were right, it doesn’t have the throttle and is worth 2000 euros new (not 3000 as I originally said), on sale for 950. It has one year original warranty left.
I found the handlebar to be too wide and the owner said they can cut it for me, up to 3cm on each side. Would that be a good solution?
I currently ride a Specialized Globe (10 years old) with a 3-speed internal gear hub so on the BH I found all the gears quite tricky and clunky to change. I’m not sure if I would just get used to them (I live in a fairly flat city – Malaga – apart from the hill my house is on) – I hope so as I presume an ebike with internal gears is pretty expensive? (I’m limited to what I can find in my area as well, and I don’t want to spend much over 1000 euros which is why I’m looking at second-hand bikes.)
Anyway, I just wanted to ask your opinion about cutting the handlebar on this model.
All the best from Spain!
Susannah

SUSANNAH
Sorry, pointless comment but I had to say I’ve just noticed the brand is Easy Motion NOT Easy Emotion as I’ve been calling it so far in this forum! I can’t stop laughing about that small but vital difference! Maybe once you discover the right ebike your emotions flow more easily?! S.

DONNA D. DAVIS
Hi, and thank you. I am a 5’6 180 lb female willing to pay more if it is worth it since i am buying for the long haul but i want to feel like i got a good value for my money so the better bike should definitely be worth it! I am a little nervous because i would prefer not to have to spend a mint on maintenance. having said that there is a bike coop in town that will teach me. I test road the trek supercommuter and liked the fact that it could be ridden without necessarily turning on the motor thanks to the high quality derailleur system or at least that is what i think it should be attributed to. I also test rode two rad power bikes and felt like they were zippy and like the fact that they had a throttle. I am just concerned that i will regret some of the modest equipment over the long run? I would like to ride a bike that is çomfortable in terms of not too hard of a road feel. I intend to commute 9 miles each way back and forth to work as often as possible and run errands on it so that means panniers filled with groceries once a week or so. There are lots of trails around including a gravel one. If tricking something out with a suspension seat pole or other things like that is something i should consider i am open to that too. Thank you so much again.

COURT
Hi Donna, it sounds like you’re on a good track. Rad Power Bikes makes some pretty good products for the money, but Trek has dealers all over the country and uses higher quality components and drive systems in my opinion. I think fit makes a big difference, most models should pedal freely (the Trek might actually have some drag because of the Bosch Performance motor with reduction gearing). You have many models to choose from, so I’d probably look at frame style first, do you want a step-thru? There are many ebikes with racks and lights integrated (like the Super Commuter). I filmed the new Super Commuter+ 7 recently, and it’s more affordable than the 8S. I liked it a lot but would DEFINITELY get a seat post suspension for myself because my back and neck can be sensitive. Feel free to share the specific models you’ve been looking at and I’ll try to help you narrow down, you can see all of the models I’ve reviewed by scrolling through the pages here.

LUCIANA
Hello, Court! I’m from Brazil and I’m moving to San Francisco in a couple of months. Since I got to know your website and YouTube channel I’ve decided to get an ebike as my main way of transportation in the city. I love your reviews and the way you make things seem so fun! I’m really excited but since there’s a lot of money involved in choosing an ebike I’ve wanted to ask your opinion on which ebike do you think it’s appropriate to me.
San Francisco has many hills, I’m currently heavy (200 pounds) and since I have a bad knee I’ll probably need a lot of help from the motor to go up those hills. I’ll need the ebike to commute to school (I’m doing a masters) and run errands but I’ll probably explore the city and the surrounding areas with it on the weekends as well. I’d like to be able to put a basket on the ebike (so I can take my dog with me), I prefer the upright or upright relaxed position, like the idea that sometimes I can only use the throttle and don’t have to pedal and I do like speed but it’s not a priority. Thank you so much for your help, Court! Luciana

COURT
Wow! That’s so exciting, Luciana. I moved to San Francisco to work after I graduated from CU Boulder (undergrad degree) and had a wonderful time. One powerful cruiser with basket options that comes to mind is the RadCity Step-Thru. This is a relatively affordable ebike with throttle, pedal assist, and pretty good customer support. They ship direct, so you could order and then have a company like Velofix actually build and deliver it. Another option would be to visit the New Wheel and look at the Gazelle and Kalkhoff models. They are very nice, efficient, and powerful with mid-drive motors but tend to cost more. I hope these ideas help and I’m very excited for you!! You can also ask around in the EBR forums for advice. Ride safe :)