How to Select the Best Commuter E-bike? (with examples)

Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by Igor Karni

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Commuter e-bikes, with their straightforward name, readily reveal their purpose. Knowing this, would you ever really be purchasing them for any other reason besides their obvious practicality? Probably not. This is why you should not be surprised if their manufacturers also tap into the same thinking when designing their models. And for the average commuter, this will suffice. 

But since we are talking about the best commuter e-bike, we need to go beyond this thinking and include notable premium commuting e-bikes and those that provide exceptional value for money.

Read also: Why are e-bikes so expensive? And, will e-bikes become cheaper? If they do, when?

It can be argued that most of the value of an e-bike should be derived from how much it suits your style and riding habits, especially for a bike that is arguably more “purpose-built” than other models. And it definitely counts as one of the criteria you should look at.

That said, this guide will surely help you pinpoint what a superior commuter e-bike is. Considering the volume of models flooding the market, you will probably need as much information you need about buying criteria. We mean to provide you with just that. 

Top criteria for the best commuter e-Bike

The best commuter e-bikes stand out in all of these criteria: They should be able to serve their main purpose of providing you a relatively smooth, easy, and comfortable commuting experience. Besides price, warranty, value for money, and safety features, the motor should be strong enough to help you climb any steep portions of your day-to-day rides, and the riding range has to be just right to cover for the entire back-to-back commute.

Any commuter e-bike that manages to do this (and more) for you every time can be considered as one of the best. 

The premium models we have picked pretty much fulfill these criteria, so if you are the type of buyer who prefers to just have a tried-and-tested commuter e-bike then go ahead with one of these models. Take note that these high-end commuter e-bikes relatively cost lesser than high-end electric mountain bikes, cargo e-bikes, gravel e-bikes, and other more top-drawer e-bike types out there. This fact, in itself, raises their value. 

In the end, as long as you take these criteria in mind, you will have an easier time picking the best commuter e-bikes. 

The best commuter e-Bikes according to customer feedback

Model NamePriceRiding  RangeWeight
Rad Power Bikes RadCity 4$1,49930 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)63.6 pounds (28.8 kg)
Schwinn Commuter$1,39945 miles (70 km)50.3 pounds (22.8 kg)
BULLS TWENTY8 E45$4,59930 – 80  miles (50 – 130 km)59.9 pounds (27.2 kg)
Magnum Metro+$2,17530 – 60 miles (50 – 100 km)59.2 pounds (26.9 kg)
Story Electric Bike$1,99935 – 45 miles (55 – 70 km)33 pounds (15 kg)

Commuting has to be hassle-free and no-sweat

Regardless of traffic volume and the overall layout of bike lanes in your locale, commuter e-bikes’ appeal largely hinge on their ability to give working men, women, and students a mode of transportation that can help them easily get to work or school while still leaving them looking and feeling as fresh as they do the moment they step out of their homes. 

Read also: How not to sweat on your e-bike commute? Trip planning – in this article, on the road – in this article, when you arrive – in this article.

For this, you will have to pay attention to motor assistance and weight. If you want to ensure you still remain sweat-free during the entire ride, you will want to refrain from having to pedal too much. And if the electric bike is too heavy and the motor cannot provide you with enough pedal assist, this becomes less likely the case. 

The model should, as much as possible, be able to compensate for the hefty weight of the e-bike by making sure the motor can afford to let you rely a lot (if not solely) on pedal-assist for the entire commute. You will not have to limit yourself to 1,000W motors immediately because of this.

Oftentimes, commuter e-bikes with 500W motors can achieve this, assuming, you will not have to conquer inclines often; otherwise, you can settle for 600W and above. If you do not mind pedaling more, then you can definitely just go for 500W.

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Of course, you also have to pay attention to the battery and riding range as well for this, since you will certainly be putting a lot of the burden on the battery if you are going to be relying a lot on the pedal assist. This illustrates the close relationship between the motor and the battery of electric bikes, which is arguably more important for most commuter e-bikes.

Riding range should be adequate for the entire commute

This is true for most commuter e-bike riders because they rarely ever use it for anything else. Unless you are the type of rider who occasionally uses your commuter e-bike for doing anything other than its primary purpose, then you really need to start being mindful of the battery and its approximate range. 

If you are the former, it’s better to just buy a hybrid e-bike (like a commuter/city or commuter/cruiser). 

The BULLS Twenty8 E45 model we included in the table is a good example of a hybrid, and you will notice that it is also a premium model. Most hybrids are like this (i.e. versatile) and often offer great value-for-money as a result. You can also see that it has a very notable maximum range of 80 miles as well.

Read also: How far can e-bikes go? What is e-bike range on a single charge? And, How fast are e-bikes?

If you are like most commuter e-bike riders who want only what is enough for the commute, then you better start paying attention to the riding range. It would even be amenable if you already have a solid inkling of the distance you will need to travel (back and forth). This way, you can calculate just the right amount of range that you will be needing. 

Of course, you need to anticipate that you will not be getting the exact range every time. Battery life depletes faster when you rely on stronger pedal assist levels, after all. You also have to be mindful of possible scenarios like not getting to charge the battery to full capacity on a certain day, among others. Such facts provide sound arguments in favor of having extra battery life as much as possible. 

In the end, your riding habits definitely play a big role as well. If you do not mind pedaling more when going home from work, then you will probably not be needing more battery life for this, right?

A commuter e-bike needs to ensure safety and convenience

There are certain features found in models that have been proven to be specifically helpful in making commuting on e-bikes very safe, convenient, and even preferable. As much as possible, you will need decent rear and front lighting to keep you visible to other commuters and people. 

Keep in mind that any additional feature or accessory might make the bike heavier, so you may have to start checking whether the integrated motor is powerful enough to support the extra weight and still manage to let you use pedal assist most of the time. 

Read also: Are electric bikes dangerous? What are e-bike risks? And, How safe are electric bikes?

This is also the criterion in which commuter e-bikes and cruiser e-bikes overlap. If you really want to be as comfortable as possible when commuting, then you probably have to start opting for those with wider and softer seats and higher handlebars. These are basically the prime gauges of comfort when riding an e-bike. 

Larger tires that can withstand punctures are also recommended because that means you get to cover more distance with every pedal and still have peace of mind about your safety. A couple of models even use reflective tires as an added precaution, so that is surely a plus, too. Lastly, do not forget about the brakes and fenders included, too. 

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The price and extra features should always reflect great value for money

This cannot be stressed more for practically any type of e-bike. Buying an e-bike, much like any gadget or vehicle, is not so much about affordability as getting your money’s worth. Admittedly, this criterion is also too vast and vague. What exactly is a commuter e-bike that provides great value for money?

Well, it’s safe to say that it has to be able to satisfy the other criteria mentioned here without going overboard with costs. Just because a model has a lot of extra features while still managing to be affordable does not immediately make it a “good” commuter e-bike. You should always think about how useful the added features are for your commute. 

Read also: Here is why e-bikes are really cool. And, How to select the best city e-bike (with examples)?

The same goes for gadget-oriented models that are techier than others. Will you really be needing these advanced features for your daily commute? You should have a solid answer to this before deciding to buy it. 

Many consumers tend to get hooked to fancy-looking e-bikes or those that promise vast riding ranges only to find out later on that the motor is subpar or any other essential feature falls short. This is why you really need to know the most important criteria before looking at other aspects of the e-bike. 

Do not overlook the warranty on the parts, too. If you get enough coverage for the frame (some brands even provide 10-year frame warranties), then that is a great sign of a truly superior commuter e-bike.

Two-year warranties for the entire e-bike are a noteworthy perk as well, especially if the brand is well-recognized and is supported by a large network of dealers. 

A few words in conclusion

Overall, landing the best commuter e-bikes is not as hard as, for example, deciding what mountain e-bike you need to buy. Again, this hinges on their largely practical purpose. A lot of brands are also already aware of what most riders look for in commuter electric bikes, and the ones we included in the table are but some of the ones that truly deserve recognition. 

Read also: Ever considered offering e-bike as a gift? Or gifting one to yourself? Check out our suggestions – in this e-bike gift guide.

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