Electric bikes are one of the fastest-growing trends across the global scale, and while the United States is slow to meet pace, there are millions of electric bikes in use all over the world, every single day.
It’s an environmentally-friendly, eco-conscious way to get a workout in while keeping transportation costs to an all-time low. These top five electric bike models come in at the perfect price points, and offer excellent value in terms of battery life expectancy and durability.
If this is your first time checking out electric bikes, take a peek at these reviews, and then visit the bottom of the page for a deep dive into electric bike information in our buying guide.
Our Reviews Of The Best Electric Bikes
NAKTO Electric Sporting Bike
Our top contender comes with a heavy focus on protection, and a great deal of power while remaining in the category of best electric bike under 1000. The pricing is excellent, but the manufacturer’s fail to provide sufficient information online until you receive your manual.
NAKTO built this out of carbon steel for extended durability and corrosion resistance if your bike were to get a little bit wet. NAKTO included a lot of electrical protection, including overcurrent, short circuiting, overcharging, temperature and disconnection.
Because this is an introductory bike, there are higher maintenance costs associated with your first year of use than there would be with bikes that are 3x-4x the price. The good thing is NAKTO offers a one-year warranty with your purchase, so you aren’t left in the dark about what to do if an issue does arise.
They fit the industry norm for charing times and overall weight, while still offering a maximum speed of 28 MPH with pedal assistance, making this bike completely street legal without requiring a license or registration for your ebike.
NAKTO grants a 300 lb maximum weight capacity for this bike, thanks to the high quality steel alloy frame. Choose from six speeds in your Shimano gauge, and use your pedal assistance to recharge your battery during use. The included lithium-ion battery is designed to last for two to three years of consistent daily bicycle use.
Tomasar Power Electric Bike
Looking to get your feet wet in the world of electric bikes? The creators at Tomasar have built a perfectly balanced model that is arguably the best entry level electric bike available on the market.
They manage to keep things nice and lightweight at just over 50 lbs, and for a non-folding electric bike that’s a pretty good weight. One of the main benefits of this electric bike is that it’s ideal for intercity transit where you don’t have super long commutes.
You get a range of about 32 miles with this, with a top speed of 20 MPH so that it remains within the legal limit. Your charging time is reduced from the standard eight hours to an average maximum of six hours, and in some cases even less time.
The key slot on this bike is rather odd, since it hangs out of the side of the battery housing found under the A-frame. There’s a chance you’re going to snag the dangling key or loop with your leg, so be on the lookout for that.
The motor is also very vulnerable as it doesn’t have much of a case on it. Most motors are housed at the pedal point of the drivetrain, but this is on the back wheel.
Tomasar does include a wired-in headlamp, which will obviously reduce the battery life as you use it, but makes it far safer to travel with this at night. Set your bike between five different conditions to enact different levels of electric assist, giving you a range of options to choose from.
It’s a lightweight, low upfront cost electric bike with a few oddities about it, but a powerful motor and reliable battery nonetheless.
Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 Electric Mountain Bike
Now we’re on to mountain bikes, which have arguably benefitted the most from the electric bike revolution. The CX1 was designed to give you more mobility without extra components, so they kept it down to 47 lbs in total weight with three electric assist modes. Those particularly come in handy when you’re trying to traverse dusty trails.
They kept the price fairly low for what you get, but that’s not without sacrifice. The maximum user weight capacity is only 220 lbs, which is fairly limiting when you look at the competition offering about 300 lbs of weight capacity.
The CX1 is still the best electric mountain bike for a few reasons, one of which being the quiet brushless motor that doesn’t distract you during use. Choose from the 21-speed Shimano gear changer to fully customize your ride, and pair it with three different levels of electric assist modes.
The range is average at best, sitting around 28 miles for a single charge. As your battery deteriorates, that will drop to about 22 miles per charge after a couple of years.
There’s a relatively quick charging time of less than six hours, as well as a highly adjustable seat. Most electric bikes fall flat on riding comfort, but Cyclamatic delivers on a very intuitive electric mountain bike experience.
Kemanner 26 inch Electric Mountain Bike
For electric mountain bikes, you’re looking at batteries that usually should belong in leisurely city bikes, but Kemanner did something truly remarkable with this model.
You get a 36V battery, when most brands us 12V/24V. That means faster acceleration, and in this case, it doesn’t come with longer charging times. It only takes about 4-6 hours to get a full charge on the Kemanner.
But you do run into a problem when it comes to the maximum speed. It can hit a peak of 21 MPH, which is perfectly outside the range of the maximum allowed MPH in the United States. This product is designed and manufactured outside of the US, so you will see a lot of kg/km measurements on their sales page.
Where this is a mountain bike and you won’t be using it on roadways, you shouldn’t encounter any major problems. It also comes with a fantastic weight capacity of 330 lbs, partially due to the high quality aluminum alloy frame and extra stable wheels.
Use your Shimano 21 speed system to alternate between different levels of electric assistance, and climb over terrain that was previously unreachable.
There are a lot more cables in this electric bike than most (due to additional battery power), which makes it slightly easier to damage or ding the wires while in use, so exercise with caution. We would have liked to see slightly better housing for the wires and drivetrain, especially where this is deemed for off-road use.
Aceshin 21 Speed Electric Mountain Bike
For the last mountain bike on our list, Aceshin found a way to outdo most of their competitors. One of the first features that you simply cannot ignore is the eccentrically stupendous shock absorption capabilities. It’s difficult to put this into an electric bike where there’s a lot of weight coming down with each movement.
You’re also just under the radar with a maximum MPH of 20, so you don’t have to worry about licensing and registering your electric bike. You get quick charging times, a USB headlamp for the front of your bicycle, and a front-hanging bag off the handlebars that works for storage.
While the bike is lightweight, the kickstand is a bit of a joke. It doesn’t hold your bike up properly, especially with all that weight from the battery housing pushing down on it.
Most of the drawbacks to this bicycle are fairly arbitrary (just look at their nearly perfect Amazon review track record), because they include a high-end 36V Samsung removable battery, durable wheels, and a 330 lb user weight capacity.
A Beginner’s Guide To Electric Bikes
Electric bikes (or ebikes as they’re commonly referred to) are lightweight bicycles that receive an electrical boost from either a full throttle motorbike-like function, or they help you pedal along faster while taking the impact off your joints.
Electric bikes were mockable in the 1990’s when they made their debut, but since then, everyone is focusing on the environment and the impacts that traditional transportation methods have on it. Ebikes help you cut down on annual maintenance and fuel costs, while still getting you from A to B in excellent time.
Electric Bike FAQ
How to Convert Your Bike to Electrical One?
If you already have a traditional bicycle and want to convert it, you have a small DIY project coming up. It’s not an overly difficult task, and can take as little as one afternoon to modify your bicycle.
You can buy kits that include all the necessary wiring that are all pre-cut to specific lengths (based on the frame size of your bike), that come with instructions on how to install them properly. Before you purchase the kit, be sure to check what tools you’ll need and do a quick inventory check.
The difficult part comes with the battery. You can’t usually find kits that also include batteries, and that’s where half of the cost of converting your traditional bike into an electric bike comes into play.
You need to get a battery housing that you can attach to the frame of your bicycle without majorly damaging the frame, and purchase batteries separate from manufacturers.
Your kit should include information about the maximum voltage that the motor can handle, so purchase your battery accordingly. Stick to brands like Samsung, LG and Panasonic to ensure you get a quality battery.
How Fast Can Your Electric Bike Go?
The best value electric bike for you will be one that goes precisely 28 MPH with pedal assistance, and we’ll explain why. There are laws in a handful of states that dictate the maximum allotted speed of electric bikes is 20 MPH with motor assistance.
If it exceeds 20 MPH, you have to register the vehicle and get a proper license to operate it. If you are able to find an electric bike that maxes out at 20 MPH with motor assistance, but has the option of reaching 28 MPH with electric assist through pedaling, then you technically come in under the radar and do not have to register or license the vehicle.
You could also go with the best budget electric bike on your shopping list instead, if you want to go for full throttle and avoid pedaling altogether. Full throttle electric bikes cannot exceed 20 MPH, otherwise they need to be registered with your state’s DMV.
Buying electric bicycles from international dealers can be tricky, because the laws are slightly different in places like Germany and the UK (popular manufacturing countries for electric bikes).
As for how fast your electric bikes can go, it all depends on the voltage of the battery, and how powerful the motor is. There are sensors on your electric bike to regulate the speed to comply with the law, but if you alter or remove that sensor, you can push your electric bike to the limit and see speeds of 28-35 MPH.
Keep in mind, this is not street legal and is not recommended.
How Far Can They Go
If you go for an electric commuter bike, you can actually get a lot of distance out of it. Commuter bikes are designed with lightweight frames and are often foldable so that you can bring them into your home/place of work.
This lightweight design makes them more aerodynamic and gets more distance out of the battery.
The distance depends on the battery, total carry weight, and efficiency. On average, most electric bikes can go for about 30-40 miles before running out of charge.
If you go with an electric assist bike and not full throttle, then you can use regenerative pedaling and braking to lengthen your maximum distance per charge.
These bikes come with multiple speeds that you can set for electric assist, and the lower you set it, the more distance you will get out of each battery charge.
Under the right conditions, you can get about 55-60 miles of distance out of a pedelec bicycle with electric assist. As your battery ages, the total distance will decrease by about 10-20%.
When your efficiency wanes more than 20%, it’s time to start considering a replacement battery to get the maximum distance out of your electric bike.
How Long to Recharge a Battery?
Batteries are fickle. Most electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries, the same kind that you would find inside of your phone or laptop. If you’ve ever thought, “My phone is taking longer to charge than usual,” or “This charged really fast for some reason,” then you’re right on both accounts.
Recharging batteries is not a 1005 perfect science. You’re going to encounter different charging times based on unforeseen variables. This is why you’ll see big gaps in charging time on product sale pages, like 4-6 hours or more.
The average time to recharge a 24V lithium-ion battery in a standard-sized electric bike is about eight hours. After about 500-1,000 charges, you’ll notice that it isn’t taking as long to charge.
Batteries die out as the years go on, and a standard lithium-ion battery is only good for three to five years before it requires a full replacement. Eventually they will require less charging time, but you’ll also get less distance out of them.
If your battery is taking too long to charge, you may have a few dead cells. You can use a repair service to replace those cells, or opt for a brand new battery.
Are Electric Bikes Waterproof?
Whether it’s an affordable electric bike or one that climbs into the thousands, you should never assume that any part of your electric bike is waterproof.
Moisture will find a way into the wiring and battery housing one way or another. Manufacturers don’t offer waterproofing for electric bikes because then they would have to cover it under warranty, and the liability is too large.
That raises another question of what to do if you get stuck in the rain. Well, you can waterproof your bicycle, but it’s not guaranteed and it will severely alter the aesthetic appeal of your bicycle.
You can use a waterproofing spray over the motor and battery housing, and use electrical tape to secure any and all visible wires to the frame of your bike, but it’s not going to look pretty.
If you get stuck in the rain halfway home on a commute, the best thing you can do is to cover key areas, such as the LCD screen, the battery wiring, and the motor. Get home or into shelter as quickly as possible.
How Does Electric Bike Pedal Assist Work
Battery powered bicycles are either full throttle, or offer pedal assist. This is referred to as pedelec mode, and the goal is that is quite literally assists you while you pedal.
You will have an option on your LCD screen to change what speed your pedal assist is set to, which will use the motor to push your bike along and often match the same speed that you’re putting into pedaling.
Pedelec bike motors work in tandem with your own kinetic energy, so if you’re not pedaling, it’s not going to move for you (that would be a full throttle electric bike).
Pedelec bikes also usually come with two features, called regenerative braking and regenerative pedaling. If you turn the electric assist off entirely, you can pedal and give a small current of charge back into your battery, effectively charging it while you are in fully manual mode.
For regenerative braking, this is the same thing that Hybrid cars use. If you’re going downhill or trying to stop your momentum, hit the brakes and your motor will flip into reverse mode.
This uses the heat and friction created by braking to generate a fast and quick current that goes into your battery. Although it is used less often, a small amount of regenerative braking will offer more recharge to your battery than regenerative pedaling.
The Very Best Electric Bikes on the Market
You’ve seen the cream of the crop, found out what makes them tick, and now it’s time to jump right into the world of electric biking. Switch up your commute, conquer nature trails, and explore the healthiest way to travel that the modern age has to offer.
For more information on electric bikes, such as travelling with them, modifying them, and everything in between, check out our other articles on the subject.
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