It’s official. Electric bikes are here to stay, and their popularity is through the roof. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, someone has built it. From cargo bikes to city and commuter bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, folding bikes, and even beach cruisers and tandem bikes, there is something for everyone. The beauty of e-bikes is that they make the joy of cycling accessible to so many people in so many ways.
See at-a-glance reviews below of five of our top-rated e-bikes that are available for preorder or in stock now and available to ship, or scroll deeper for full reviews of these and other high-ranking options, plus buying info.
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The Three Classes of E-Bikes
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider which class you prefer. In the U.S., there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you’re pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec,” can also have up to only a 750w motor (aka 1 horsepower), but can assist you up to 28 mph. Both are allowed in most states and cities without the need for a license. Class 2 models have a throttle that can propel a bike up to and maintain 20 mph without having to continuously pedal. Aventon’s Pace 500 is technically a Class 3 e-bike in that it reaches speeds up to 28 mph, but it also has a throttle that tops out at 20 mph (the maximum legal speed for a throttle).
A Wide Variety of Motors and Batteries
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. (Some bike brands, like Specialized and Giant, use motors that are made specifically for their bikes—the Specialized SL 1.1 is made by Mahle, and the Giant SyncDrive Pro is made by Yamaha.) A few other brands exist but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque, and others, like Bosch’s Active Line, are nearly silent. Look for motor output (in torque), which will give you an idea of total power. Just like car engines, more torque equals more power off the line and more boost to your pedaling. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a more important figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a more accurate reflection of power (higher Wh equals bigger range).
What’s New With E-Bike Motors?
As the momentum of the e-bike trend continues, advancements in motor technology is the obvious next step. And with more and more road and mountain bikes becoming “electrified,” brands are looking to add power without adding a bunch of weight or taking up a ton of space on the frame. This is especially important for full-suspension mountain bikes because smaller motors leave more room for suspension, better tire clearance, and fewer geometry compromises. And lighter motors result in a more natural ride feel. Shimano’s new EP8 motor, for example, is 10 percent smaller and 380 grams lighter than the E8000 it replaces, yet it produces 21 percent more torque (85Nm max vs. 70). This trend doesn’t apply only to mid-drive motors. The Mahle X35 hub motor in the Argon 18 Subito is just 100mm in diameter and weighs about 1,900 grams. Bosch’s newest Performance Line CX motor offers 85Nm of torque and an eMTB mode that automatically responds to a rider’s effort and the terrain without the rider having to switch between modes. And the MicroTune function on the Specialized Turbo Levo’s Turbo Full Power 2.2 motor lets the rider adjust power in 10 percent increments.
For many bikes, battery range is more important than total power (because they’re all pretty powerful). You want a bike that delivers a range long enough for your rides at the power levels you want. Most e-bikes will have three to five levels of assist that kick in anywhere from 25 percent of your pedal power to 200 percent. Consider how fast the battery takes to recharge, especially if you’ll be using your bike for long commutes. And remember, if you won’t settle for anything less than turbo, you’ll get the least amount of range (but the most amount of fun!) your battery offers. Many bikes also now offer the option to piggyback a second battery that lets you double your range, or, in the case of the Electric Bike Company Model X, three (one on the rear rack and two in the front basket, for up to a 200-mile range).
Other Features to Consider
As electric bike options continue to expand, brands are integrating the batteries more seamlessly, which makes the bike look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Most batteries lock to the bike and come with a key that lets you unlock and remove it, which serves at least four good purposes: You can remove the battery and charge it off the bike, a locked battery deters (and hopefully prevents) a thief from stealing it, and an e-bike with the battery removed is safer for hauling on a bike rack and lighter for carrying up steps.
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide better traction and the freedom to leave the pavement with little penalty, and a suspension fork will help tame some of the rougher roads you might explore. Good disc brakes are a must, too, for slowing a heavy bike at high speed. This is not a place to skimp.
Some e-bikes come with an integrated lighting system that turns on when you power up the bike. While this is an awesome feature to have, it’s not a deal breaker if your bike isn’t equipped this way. With so many great bike lights available, it’s just as easy to attach your own. Same with rear racks: Some e-bikes come with one, some don’t. You decide how important that feature is to you.
How We Tested
Our team of experienced testers incorporate electric bikes of all types into our routines almost daily. We’ve spent many hours and miles using e-bikes for their intended purpose. We’ve commuted to and from work on them, used them to stock up on groceries and beer, tested their passenger-hauling capability, ridden them on questionable terrain to see how they handle, and run their batteries down to officially see how long they last on one charge. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, handling, value, reliability, fun, aesthetics, and overall e-factor to come up with this list of bikes that will best serve the needs of anyone looking to add a little pedal assist to their ride.
City, Cruiser, and Commuter E-Bikes
―Powerful, Well Optioned E-Commuter―
The Aventon Level is the sleeper car of city and commuter e-bikes. Similar to a Volvo V70 R wagon, the Level is practical, understated, but also packs a punch. The Level cuts the same profile as many other commuter-styled bikes on the market: upright geometry, full fenders, rear cargo rack, kickstand, and subdued graphics. It is not until you jump onto the bike, and give the throttle a blip, that you realize the Aventon Level has some serious muscle behind that reserved exterior. Providing the Level’s muscle is a rear hub motor, which puts out 500 Watts of sustained, and 750 Watts at peak power. Feeding the motor is a 672 Watt hour lithium-ion rechargeable battery, housed cleanly inside the bike’s downtube. The 8-speed Shimano drivetrain clicks through gears effortlessly, the SR Suntour fork soaks up cracks in the pavement well, and the ebike rated 27.5″x2.2″ Kenda tires rolled smoothly and without additional noise. Best way to buy it: Order it today. It’s available and ready to ship.
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―Great Around Town & E-Commuter―
Cannondale Adventure Neo 4
The Adventure Neo 4 is a classy looking, modern city and commuter e-bike. The Neo 4 eschews some of the bulkier features—suspension fork, rack, and fenders—of the Neo 3 we reviewed for a lighter, zippier ride. The Bosch Active Line motor and 27.5″x2.2″ Kenda tires move the Neo along smoothly while the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide powerful stopping power. Best way to buy it: Order it today. It’s available and ready to ship.
READ FULL REVIEW OF NEO 3
―Fast, No-Nonsense E-Commuter―
Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger
The Trek Allant+ 9.9S is a fully focused, I-have-someplace-to-be, don’t-get-in-my-way e-rocket ship with the aggressive geometry to match. It has a full carbon frame and fork, Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, and a Bosch Performance Speed motor (that means it tops out at 28mph). Even more good news for the dedicated commuter: It’s compatible with Range Boost, which lets you piggyback a 500Wh Bosch battery to the already frame-integrated 625Wh Bosch PowerTube, almost doubling your range. And the Bosch Smartphone Hub display, which is compatible with the nftgamef.com app via Bluetooth, lets you charge your phone, stream music, get turn-by-turn directions, make/take calls, and track data. Don’t expect to haul much on the rear rack; its size makes it pretty limited. Perfectionists beware: If you can’t handle even the slightest smudge, the easily marred matte frame and fenders will drive you bananas. Best way to buy it: It’s currently out of stock online; find it through a local dealer or retailer.
―Most-Connected, Luxury E-Commuter―
This class-3 e-bike is stable at speed, steers smoothly and accurately, and is light on its toes. The hub motor has regenerative braking, which converts your kinetic energy to electrical energy and feeds it back into the battery. The ST3 uses the brand’s OMNI connect interface, a wireless touchscreen in the top tube that controls the bike’s functions. From your phone, you can track your bike’s location, get an overview of your ride data, activate Stromer’s anti-theft mode, and remotely lock and unlock your bike, among other things. OMNI also connects to mobile data networks, so Stromer can perform diagnostic tests, push out updates, and notify you if someone tries to move your bike (or track it if it does get stolen). And if you forget your PIN code, Stromer can unlock your bike for you. All Stromers can be customized on the brand’s website. This model’s base price is $7,499, but our tester upgraded to a battery with longer range ($500) and a suspension fork ($1,099) instead of the stock rigid aluminum model, which he said added some welcome comfort and control. It’s traffic-ready, too: The rear light blinks brighter when you hit the brakes, its horn is loud enough to cut through pedestrians’ earphones, and the TRP brakes are appropriately powerful for stopping a 70-pound bike traveling at 30mph. Best way to buy it: Available online, or configure it your way on Stromer’s site and have it shipped to a local dealer for pickup.
―Most Customizable Electric Beach Cruiser―
Electric Bike Company Model X
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The Model X feels like a higher-quality product than the price indicates. It’s assembled in the U.S., and the attention to detail is immediately evident; the bike makes almost no noise while in motion, save the subtle whir from the rear-hub motor. The Schwalbe Fat Frank tires, aluminum frame, and steel fork combine to deliver a smooth ride, and the comfortable saddle and retro handlebar put you in a relaxed position while the e-assist does most of the work. Its 500-watt motor peaks at 1,500 watts for quick bursts of power, making the Model X sporty enough for most. Pedal assist maxes out at 28mph, and you get a throttle as well. The model shown here starts at $1,949 but can be upgraded (at a cost) to include things like a front basket that houses one or two batteries, a rear rack, custom frame colors, suspension seatpost, GPS tracker, and more. Best way to buy it: After customizing it to your liking on Electric Bike Company’s site, add it to your cart and proceed to checkout. It’s in stock and available.
―Great Parts at a Great Value―
One of the lower-priced e-bikes we’ve tested, the City is a smartly equipped commuter. This Class 2 e-bike has a hub motor, five levels of pedal assist, and a throttle. But it also comes with fenders, a rear rack, and running lights (nice additions at this price). Anyone with space issues will appreciate the folding pedals and handlebar (a flip of a lever at the stem rotates it 90 degrees). The Charge is available with a low-step or standard frame, and comes in four pleasing colors (red, blue, silver, and turquoise). and in one size only (it fits riders 5-foot-1 to 6 feet). Best way to buy it: Order it today. It’s available and ready to ship. Bonus: For a limited time, order two and save $200.
―Low-Maintenance Drivetrain, High-Quality Everything Else―
Gazelle Ultimate C380
Nothing about this thoughtfully designed and equipped model looks or feels cheap. There’s a sleek, 500Wh battery in the down tube, a ring lock on the rear wheel, reliable hydraulic disc brakes, an adjustable dynamo-powered headlight, and a taillight cleverly integrated into the rear rack. Looks aside, a bike has to ride well, too. And the C380 does. Powered by a Bosch Performance Line 3.0 mid-drive motor, the bike steadily hums along paved and unpaved surfaces at up to 20mph, and its low step-through frame is pleasantly stable and balanced. Busy people will love the low-maintenance belt drive and Enviolo Trekking Manual stepless gear system, which has all the gearing you want for typical urban—and suburban—hills. Add in comfort touches, like ergo leather grips, a squishy Selle Royal saddle, and a bit of suspension in the steerer tube and seatpost, and the C380 is a smart choice for riders who want an upscale downtown e-bike—and who want to feel good about their investment. Best way to buy it: Available now online.
―An E-Commuter With E-MTB Capabilities―
Trek Powerfly FS9 Equipped
Built like a mountain bike, the Powerfly has a 120mm Suntour Zeron 35 fork, a RockShox SIDLuxe Select+ shock, an aluminum frame with 100mm of rear travel, a dropper post, 27.5- or 29-inch wheels (depending on frame size), hydraulic disc brakes, and a 12-speed Shimano XT drivetrain. With a Bosch Performance CX motor and a 625Wh battery, the Powerfly goes up to 20mph and has exceptional range, and its eMTB Lite mode provides a more real-feeling ride—and also extends battery life. While it may not be the hard-charging mountain bike you expect from a bike with those parts, it did perform admirably on singletrack. That said, the bike’s narrower tires and utility-minded features—lights, fenders, racks, and a kickstand—reveal its ideal use: This is an incredibly capable commuter that feels most at home on rides with a mix of paved streets, dirt roads, and smooth trails. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer
―User-Friendly, Upright E-Cruiser―
iZip Simi Step-Thru
For less than two grand, you get a sweet little cruiser with an upright riding position and a user-friendly step-through frame that lets you easily put a foot down at stop lights. You also get fenders, a rear rack, a kickstand, and lights—not a bad deal at this price. Some of the Simi’s cost-saving features are more noticeable than others. The Shimano Tourney 7-speed drivetrain is heavier and not as smooth as Shimano’s higher-end groups, but it works fine and provides a decent range of gears for getting up moderate inclines. “The hub-driven SR Suntour motor is a little touchy when engaging and disengaging, but it smooths out once you get going, and is incredibly quiet,” said our tester, who also appreciated the Tektro mechanical disc brakes for their ability to come to a gradual stop rather than a jarring one, which saved her basket of veggies and flowers on one particular ride. The SR Suntour battery will last about 62 miles in the slowest setting, but only 15 in the fastest—so you may want to hold back on kicking this bike up to turbo and just use it for what it does best: cruising. Best way to buy it: Currently on back order; join the waitlist.
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―Fully Loaded E-Commuter―
Gazelle Ultimate T10+ HMB
This shiny-red, confident-looking commuter is as fast as it looks, with aggressive geometry that complements its 28mph max speed. The aluminum-framed Gazelle Ultimate is powered by a Bosch Performance Line Speed mid-drive motor (with 75Nm of torque) and has a 500Wh battery that lasts up to 55 miles on one charge (25 miles on turbo). A Shimano XT rear derailleur moves the bike through its 10 gears to provide you with all you need to zip uphill and fly on flats at a steady cadence. Relative to the wider tires we usually see on urban e-commuters, the Gazelle’s 1.75-inch Schwalbe Energizer Plus tires—which are smoother down the center and grippier on the sides—are fairly narrow. But the Suntour 80mm-travel suspension fork makes up for any lost bump-absorption a wider tire might provide (you might notice it, you might not). An adjustable stem lets you fine-tune the angle of the handlebar to suit your comfort, and the included rear rack has a bungee to strap down a small haul (think jacket, not 30-pack). Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
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―Best Cheap E-Bike―
Aventon Pace 350 Step-Thru
The $1,000 price level is where e-bikes can get sketchy: Lithium-ion battery technology is still pricey, so corners must be cut elsewhere to keep costs down. At $1,199, the Aventon Pace 350 is one such bike, but our test revealed it’s not too cheap to be quality. The Class 2 e-bike rolls on 27.5×2.2-inch Kenda Kwick Seven Sport tires, stops via Tektro mechanical disc brakes, and tops out at 20 mph, whether you get there by pedal-assist or a throttle. A 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain and five levels of e-assist provide you with various pedaling options. You don’t get fenders or integrated lights, but the Pace 350 felt totally viable for daily commuting. If you want to be more noticeable to motorists, go for the white frame, which looks sharp against the black components. Best way to buy it: Available now.
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―Best Cheap Speed E-Bike―
Aventon Pace 500
If the 20mph Aventon Pace 350 (above) is on your radar, but you crave a little more speed, go with the Class 3 Aventon Pace 500 urban e-bike, which tops out at 28 mph (and also comes in a step-through model). Like the 350, you have the choice between five levels of pedal assist and a throttle to propel you forward. Note that on both bikes, throttle speed maxes out at 20mph (for legal reasons), meaning if you want that extra push to reach 28mph, you gotta get there by pedaling. Like the 350, the 500 has an aluminum frame, a swept-back handlebar, ergo grips, a sturdy kickstand, and 27.5×2.2-inch e-bike-rated tires. But the 500 comes with 8-speed Shimano Altus shifting and gearing and hydraulic disc brakes. Power comes in the form of a 750-watt rear-hub motor and a semi-integrated battery on the down tube (with a range of about 40 miles); a backlit display unit mounted on the stem shows your speed and distance and tells you how much juice you have left. Best way to buy it: Available now.
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―E-MTB With Most Natural Ride Experience―
Specialized Turbo Levo SL
Launched a couple years ago in the Specialized Creo SL road bike, the smaller SL motor and battery now appears on the brand’s Levo SL mountain bikes and Vado SL city bikes. The motor weighs 1,950g and kicks out a max of 35Nm of torque. And because the motor requires less energy, Specialized was able to downsize the battery, too (without sacrificing much range, though you can get an extender that increases range another 50 percent). The low weight (about 10 pounds less than similarly equipped e-bikes with bigger motors and batteries) provides an incredible ride feel. At just 36.5 pounds, the Levo SL gives you the most natural riding experience of any e-mtb we’ve tested. Steer with your hips, bunnyhop logs, float over jumps. It’s all the same, with a modest boost. This S-Works is the most expensive electric mountain bike we’ve been on, but other models start at $6,500. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
―Best Value E-MTB―
Giant Trance X E+1 Pro
Among the full-powered e-mountain bikes we’ve tested, this Trance has the best combination of price and performance. It’s heavy, like most of those bikes—about 53 pounds—but this one feels easier to control. It’s a long, low bike with 27.5 wheels, that corners well and that you can ride with finesse. It’s almost agile, which is not how we’d describe most other e-mountain bikes. That’s appealing when you’re popping over a double or fighting to stay on your line through a rock garden. The Yamaha-made motor is good: It’s relatively quiet and applies torque smoothly without lag. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
―Best Women’s E-MTB―
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 Pro
With 150mm of travel up front and 140mm in the rear, you’ll be able to hit double-track ruts without veering from your line. The motor is powerful and torquey, meaning you can stay in the lower two (of five) assist levels to save battery and still get enough kick to ascend just slightly faster than you could on a regular bike. The highest setting has serious oomph, with a little too much power to use the bike on tight or technical trails. It’s better for fire road climbs or cruising on pavement on the way to the trailhead—or back home after a ride. The Yamaha motor with 80 Nm of peak torque has generous kick to get over small rises or tough spots on the trail. Liv says you get full boost (based on your power setting) in just 190 milliseconds—a quick response time that was noticeable, but not welcome in every situation, by our testers. The Liv feels lighter than other e-mountain bikes, so it’s a great option for women looking for a balance between power and maneuverability. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
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―One of the Most Agile 150mm E-MTBs―
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 7
The Spectral:ON gets a major upgrade with Shimano’s EP8 motor, a bigger 630Wh battery, and 85Nm of torque. Shimano’s latest e-bike motor is one of the best: lighter than many, relatively quiet, powerful, and efficient, with excellent power profiles (Trail mode is particularly impressive). You get a RockShox Yari RC fork and RockShox Deluxe Select shock, and a Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain. The Spectral:ON runs two different-size wheels—a smaller 27.5-inch in the rear and a 29er up front—to grant the bike some of the shortest chainstays around (435mm). Coupled with a steepish 66.5-degree head angle, those figures make this one of the more agile 150mm e-bikes out there. There which also a women’s version (also $6,300). Best way to buy it: Coming into stock in November 2021. Sign up on Canyon’s site to be notified of the availability.
E-Road, All-Road, and E-Gravel Bikes
―Best Overall E-Road Bike―
Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL
The Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL carbon e-road bike weighs around 27 pounds—half the weight of many e-bikes—and therefore feels more like a zippy, responsive road machine than anything else we’ve tested. For its owners, it also makes every ride a no-drop ride: Its magnesium-cased SL 1.1 mid-motor puts out up to 240 watts of assistance, which cuts out at 28mph, and the 320Wh internal battery offers up to 80 miles of range. That’s enough speed and range for spirited group rides with the fastest of the pack. A 160Wh Range Extender—included with S-Works models, a $399 upgrade for Expert models—fits into the seat tube bottle cage and adds up to 40 more miles of range. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
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―Best Full-Power Road Bike―
Trek Domane+ HP
The Domane+ HP takes Trek’s excellent Domane SLR endurance-road platform and gives it a 28mph kick in the pants from Bosch’s Performance Speed motor. What makes this bike particularly awesome to ride is Trek’s front and rear IsoSpeed decouplers, which enhance the frame’s compliance and offer a noticeable comfort improvement to the rider compared to a heavy e-bike with a rigid frame. They also help the tires stick better to the road, which improves control and handling of this almost-40-pound bike, especially in bumpy corners. The Bosch motor provides plenty of torque to make climbs faster and easier, and the 500Wh battery means you can ride with healthy assist without range anxiety. This Domane isn’t afraid to ride rough pavement, either. It fits up to 38mm tires, giving it decent gravel chops, and it’s ready for a rear rack and fenders if you want to commute or tour on it. Best way to buy it: Find it through a local dealer or retailer.
―Most Discreet E-Powered All-Road Bike―
Cannondale Topstone Neo SL 2
The Topstone Neo SL is a 700c-wheeled gravel bike with that powers you up to 20 mph with a Mahle ebikemotion X35 rear hub motor. With the sleek, but peppy, hub motor, the Topstone Neo SL has the look and feel of an analog bicycle. The Neo also has a Shimano GRX 2×10 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and plenty of mounting points for bottles or bags. Best way to buy it: Buy it now at nftgamef.com and or find it through a local dealer.
Niner RLT e9 RDO 4-Star GRX
The Niner RLT e9 RDO is a ride anywhere, super duty e-gravel bike. With a 28 mph speed assist via the Bosch Gen 4 Performance Line CX motor and 500 Wh battery, the RLT e9 packs a lot of performance punch. While the bike only have one chainring up front, the Shimano GRX drivetrain features an 11-42T wide range cassette to help get up the steepest climbs. The 50mm wide tires provide extra traction, stability, and control over a variety of road surfaces. Best way to buy it: Buy it now at nftgamef.com.
―Best Family Hauler―
Momentum PakYak E+
A sturdy and dependable way to transport cargo or small humans around town, the Momemtum PakYak E+ electric bike lets you enjoy the bicycle ride instead of the frustrations of car traffic and congestion for those short and medium length trips. The PakYak E+, a one-size midtail-style cargo e-bike from Momentum, comes equipped with a front basket, rear rack, a heavy-duty kickstand, and lighting. Momentum also offers several options to customize your PakYak based on your intended cargo. A class 3 e-bike, the PakYak E+ has 28mph of power assist via five power levels. Paired with a 5-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub, the bike helps you haul kids or cargo efficiently and comfortably without breaking a sweat. Best way to buy it: Available now.
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―Best Value Cargo, With Long Range―
This mid-tail bike is only slightly longer than a regular bike and, thanks to 24-inch tires, it’s easy to whip around town—despite weighing 85 pounds. A lot of the heft comes from two Samsung battery packs that combine to give you 1,171 watt-hours of power, twice that of most e-bikes and enough to take you 70 miles on a single charge. (Opting for the single battery will save you $300 but will also cut your range by more than half.) Blix outfitted the Packa with cheap but solid components, like a simple yet reliable Shengyi direct-drive hub motor, which puts out as much power as mid-drives from Bosch and Shimano but has half as much torque. You also get a cadence sensor instead of a more expensive torque sensor, which means your pedaling speed regulates the assist from the motor. The Packa’s motor delivers a smooth boost when you’re pedaling and cuts off as soon as you stop. Integrated lights, fenders, cargo decks, and a wide double kickstand give you everything you need to strap on two big panniers and start going everywhere on two wheels. Best way to buy it: Available now.
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―Compact E-Cargo With Lots of Storage Options―
Rad Power RadRunner 1
The singlespeed RadRunner 1 is designed to haul cargo while being nimble enough to outrun your deadlines. The step-through, moped-style frame has mounts for front and rear racks (whose options include baskets, bags, insulated bags, platforms, panniers, and more), and you can also opt to buy the $99 center console to add a third storage option (the battery is mounted behind the seat tube to free up space for it). A double kickstand keeps it upright so you can load all that cargo without fear of the bike tipping over, and there’s an integrated taillight that lights up when you hit the brakes. Beneath all this utility is a solid e-bike, too. The 750-watt rear-hub motor has enough torque to take you and all your stuff up hills and across level pavement at a comfortable 20 mph, and the wide 20-inch Kenda K-Rad tires balloon out over rough pavement and rocks, allowing you to take the RadRunner 1 (and whatever you choose to put on it) almost anywhere. Best way to buy it: Order it today to ship within the next two-weeks.
―Front-Loading E-Cargo With Tons of Storage―
Urban Arrow Shorty
This snub-nose, front-loading e-cargo bike is so sensible it had to be designed by Europeans. But you don’t need to live in Copenhagen or Amsterdam, where Urban Arrow’s HQ is, to enjoy the Shorty. The front box has an upper section for freight—or mounting a child seat—and a lower compartment for stashing even more stuff. The box is made of expanded polypropylene, a lightweight material that’s surprisingly durable and helps the bike maintain a low center of gravity. A Bosch Performance CX motor provides smooth power and 75Nm of torque, helping ease the bike’s 100-plus-pound weight coming off the line. At 80 inches long, the Shorty has a laughably poor turning radius, but it’s an easy enough bike to maneuver once you’re up to speed. And the centered position of the cargo hold means adding weight won’t throw off the handling too much, so load it up to your heart’s desire. Best way to buy it: Limited availability online—contact for latest stock; or find it through a local dealer or retailer.
―Adjustable Wheelbase & Tons of Options―
Xtracycle RFA Utility
The Xtracycle RFA (Ready for Anything) Utility is designed to evolve around your changing needs. Its adjustable dropouts allow you to shorten and lengthen the wheelbase by 5.5 inches. The shorter layout, dubbed the RFA Sport, comes with a shorter rear deck. We have the RFA Utility with its longer rack (might as well have a longer rack, right?), but in about an hour’s time, you can change the wheelbase length. The bike feels sturdy and stiff, and the component spec is similarly customizable, with options for motors, batteries, and accessories. The fat 24-inch tires dampen road vibration and make you feel like you can run over almost anything, an admirable trait on a bike designed to carry hundreds of pounds of cargo. Our test bike had the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor, which takes you up to 28mph rather quickly. We found minor sticking points in the inconveniently long kickstand legs, lack of stock fenders, and minimal clearance between your heels and the seatstays. Otherwise, it’s a quality platform for customization and years of use. Best way to buy it: After customizing it to your liking on Xtracycle’s website, add it to your cart and proceed to checkout. It’s in stock and available.
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―Lightweight, Space-Saving E-Cargo Bike―
Tern HSD P9
Tern’s HSD is a midsize cargo bike that shares many features with the original GSD. Fold down the HSD’s handlebar unit and the bike stands on its rear rack, taking up about as much space as a floor lamp. The fat 2.2 inch Schwalbe tires on 20-inch wheels roll smoothly, with a custom Suntour suspension fork providing a bit of extra comfort and control. Topping out at 20 mph, the Bosch Active Line Plus motor is glassy smooth and nearly silent. A 400Wh battery provides up to 69 miles of range and is secured by the same key that locks the built-in ring lock. The HSD can handle up to 374 pounds, accepts one child seat, and works with a variety of cargo accessories for the front and rear for all your commuting and errand-running pleasure. Best way to buy it: In stock online and available to ship.
―Best Value E-Cargo Bike―
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon
A $1,500, fully loaded e-cargo bike seemed too good to be true, so we borrowed the RadWagon from Rad Power Bikes to see if it could stand up to competitors that cost thousands more. In short: it does. A 750-watt Shengyi direct-drive hub motor provides powerful pedal assist at a much quieter hum than the mid-drive motors used on most e-cargo bikes; its only disadvantage is there’s not quite as much torque, but you’ll only notice on steep hills. A throttle lets you ride the bike like a scooter, and we had no problems with the 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain or the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Lights, fenders, and a kickstand are standard. Despite its length, the RadWagon isn’t difficult to maneuver: We thrashed it around an abandoned golf car path and didn’t scrape the rear foot platforms against the ground, a good sign for low-speed handling. It’s a lot easier to charge $5,000 or more for an e-cargo bike when you market it as a car replacement, but the RadWagon proves you can render your car mostly obsolete for the price of an e-bike, not another car. Best way to buy it: The bike in stock and ready to ship in 3-days.
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―Best Family E-Cargo Bike―
Benno Boost E 10D Speed
This latest version of the original Boost, which made its debut in 2016 and impressed us with its immense utility and bold design, improves on that model without changing ride quality. It goes faster, too—the Bosch Performance Speed Cargo motor gets you up to 28 mph in turbo mode. You can haul up to 130 pounds on the rear rack and 45 on the front, and the Boost is compatible with a ton of useful accessories, including a variety of front trays, Yepp baby seats (for two), and different rail systems for your little ones to hold onto. A Bosch PowerPack 500Wh battery sits cleanly on the frame and will provide up to about 75 miles of riding—a range you can double with a second battery. The whole package rolls on 2.6-inch tires wrapped around 24-inch wheels. Best way to buy it: Order it today; it’s in stock and available to ship.
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