Road e-bikes rival gravel e-bikes in terms of versatility. In fact, it can be hard to distinguish between the two. Other e-bike enthusiasts might even state that gravel e-bikes are simply an offshoot or subcategory of road e-bikes – the latter having been around for years now. Even so, it can be argued that gravel e-bikes tend to be thrown into rougher conditions and terrains than most road e-bikes.
When pundits refer to road e-bikes, after all, they actually refer to e-bikes that can perform well on paved roads that are a little on the rugged side (i.e. not as smooth as those in city roads and bike lanes).
Hard packed trails are a good example of where road e-bikes are often ridden, which is why they are often referred to as gravel grinders (hence the gravel e-bike misconception). Oftentimes, many opt to use them for racing as well, similar to their non-motor counterparts.
That said, the most important criteria for choosing the best road e-bike is definitely how it will fulfill your e-biking purpose. Now that you already know what this type of e-bike specializes in (or even if you already knew this), can you say 100% that this is the right bike for you? If yes, then read on to find out what other criteria you should be looking at.
Top criteria when selecting the best road e-Bike
You do not really need to look further than essentials like the battery, motor, features that boost your convenience, price, insurance, and weight. These, in turn, should all be gauged based on your needs and preferences.
Certain road e-bikes tend to be big-ticket for the simple fact that a lot of models are designed for racing, pro and casual alike. These types of e-bikes also tend to be the ones that get to be incorporated with the latest innovations, so do not be surprised if they cost a lot more. Brands are more than willing to push the boundaries of road e-bikes since they are one of the most popular types among serious bikers.
It is difficult to top newer models since they are almost always a step ahead of their more “becoming obsolete” counterparts. They are certainly more recommended, especially if they are made by brands known for producing premium models like BULLS and Specialized. Most of their road e-bike models perform stellarly in all the criteria we mentioned. But there are, of course, others that stand out which we have included here.
|Model Name||Price||Riding Range||Weight|
|Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert||$9,000||35 – 75 miles (55 – 120 km)||28.8 pounds (12.7 kg)|
|BULLS Desert Falcon Evo||$6,299||30 – 80 miles (50 – 130 km)||41.5 pounds (18.8 kg)|
|Trek CrossRip+||$4,499||18 – 92 miles (30 – 150 km)||45.8 pounds (20.8 kg)|
|Giant FastRoad E+||$3,350||Not indicated||42.2 pounds (19.1 kg)|
|Yamaha Cross Core||$2,399||30 – 80 miles (50 – 130km)||44.6 pounds (20.2 kg)|
Road e-bike weight can be polarizing
There is a continuous trend among electric road bike manufacturers that involve prioritizing models that deliver lighter weight above everything else. How do they achieve this? They use smaller batteries and motors that limit riding range and assist, respectively.
And, you will see most of the best road e-bikes going down this route because, firstly, it takes less toll on the battery and motor, giving you more range and better torque, and, secondly, they are often easier to handle as well.
However, certain brands actually do the exact opposite and go all the way in the battery and motor department, while having a heavier weight that is still, more or less, manageable. There are great road e-bike models that go this route (the Giant Road E+ 1 Pro being a good example).
As you can see, there is more than one way that weight affects battery consumption and riding range, hence, its importance in road e-bikes and most e-bikes for that matter. The former and the latter both hinge on one factor, though, which is riding habit. If you are more of a rider who prefers to rely on motor assistance a lot, then you can probably do with more weight (assuming it will not affect your riding).
Otherwise, the lighter varieties might be more appealing to you if you like models that feel more like a regular bike with regards to the extended range they can give. They might give you more range, but do not expect most of them to have great batteries and motors. Great in the sense that you can rely on them a lot in actively extending riding range and providing support when you are negotiating tricky, uphill climbs.
Read also: Are e-bikes built to go up steep climbs? – in this article.
Lastly, you also have to place more importance in knowing how much weight you can handle to ensure a consistently comfortable ride. Oftentimes, brands rely on a carbon fiber frame to offer greater weight reductions.
Read also: How much does an e-bike weigh? – in this article.
Make sure you do not fall short on range
While most lightweight models do provide battery savings, it can be argued that having a better, long-lasting battery is the better route to take. This is why you can expect most road e-bikes that manage to be lightweight and still incorporate capacious batteries to be nothing short of godsends.
Indeed, it surely never hurts to have as much riding range as possible, especially if you want to go on races. Certain road e-bike models, after all, can compete with electric mountain bikes in this area. Even so, it also does well to make sure that you will not end up with a model that goes over your usual range limit. You will be saving yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you do so.
Read also: How far can e-bikes go? What is e-bike range? – in this article.
Consider ascents and speed when gauging motors
Will you be riding through roads with a lot of steep climbs? If so, you will probably need to have a good torquey motor to get over them without breaking much of a sweat with each pedal. You probably already know that e-bike motors provide different levels of assist.
Read also: How to manage electric assistance levels on e-bike? – in this article.
Most models let you switch (or shift gears) between them easily. Make sure you get the ones that will be able to provide you with enough motor assist every time you are negotiating slopey areas. A lot of mid-mounted shine when climbing slopes, hence, making them the safest motor option for riders who have to go over them regularly.
Are you more of a speed demon who will settle for no less than the 28mph speeds? A lot of high-tier road e-bikes have this top speed limit mainly because of their high-quality motors. Most of the motors in Bosch’s Performance Line are worthy of the spotlight when it comes to reaching and maintaining these speeds and climbing hilly portions. What’s great is that models that use them do not cost that much.
Read also: What are the differences between e-bike motors? – in this article.
Do not miss out on useful perks as much as possible
For instance, since road e-bikes tend to be ridden over various terrain than other types of e-bikes, they will surely benefit a lot from tires with puncture protection. Not all models, even though they perform spectacularly in other facets, include these tires. The same goes for hydraulic brakes since they are the most powerful types of brakes that models incorporate at present.
If you are on the road for lengthy periods of time, you also can’t do without a fast battery charger. Some brands provide extremely lightweight battery chargers that you can easily carry around with you and charge up your battery quicker than most. You need no look further than the charger of the BULLS Desert Falcon Evo for a great example.
Certain road e-bikes also include drop bars, normally not found in most road bikes, and they can help you adjust your hand positions better for high-speed rides. Expect modes with top speeds of 28mph to have them. Other great features to have are monitors that display battery life, current assist level, and range estimator.
Warranty and price come last – but certainly not least
How much value you give an e-bike, after all, ultimately depends on how it was able to satisfy your needs and requirements. Who needs a road e-bike that has a dynamic motor that can go for 28mph if you’re uncomfortable with such high speeds in the first place? Will you really be making the most out of an e-road bike with 90 miles of range?
If you know what you need and opt for an e-bike that can give them all to you, you will certainly end up with the best road e-bike. And, no, you do not have to shell out thousands of extra dollars just to get it.
Read also: How much does a road e-bike cost? – in this comprehensive pricing guide.
Take note that the price and warranty go together when buying any type of e-bike. If a model has a two-year comprehensive warranty, expect it to be a bit expensive than most. As long as you are confident of the brand’s reputation and it is supported by numerous dealers, they are often the safest picks.
Few words in conclusion
E-road bikes easily fall into the category of conventional e-bikes due to the highly satisfactory riding experiences that they can assure for anyone using them. This rings true in a lot of excellent models, particularly the new ones that are essentially upgrades of the models that came before them.
Yes, it might be hard to resist innovation, but do not let it distract you from what matters the most: your riding habits.
What’s best for a lot of people may not necessarily be the best for you. Just keep that in mind, and you’ll never regret any road e-bike purchase from here on out.
Take a look at this quick video review of Orbea Gain road e-bike: