Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Igor Karni
Are you only just starting to test the e-bike waters and excited about getting your first model? Or did your previous choice fall short of your expectations and simply want to make a smarter choice this time around? Regardless of your intent, know that this guide will help you to do just that.
Much like any item you buy, there are criteria to be mindful of. Before anything else, the first decision you need to make should be about what type of e-bike you will be buying. Electric cruiser bikes and mountain bikes are two of the most popular nowadays, but brands would not have added newer categories like gravel and junior e-bikes if they don’t have their unique perks to the table.
That said, various types of electric bikes do fulfill various purposes and have differences in design that allow them to do that (and it just won’t do to lump them all into a single category). We will be discussing how you can make a good decision for each one.
With regards to fundamental e-bike factors, the ones that overlap most e-bike types are obviously the battery, the motor, and the features that make the riding experience better, improve safety, and heighten durability, to cite a few.
However, more importantly, you also have to make sure that all of these criteria are attuned to your preferences and requirements. This could not be applied more to how you should gauge the price of a certain model.
At best, it’s never recommended to just opt for more expensive e-bikes, even if they claim to be high-end. The best choice you can make is one that gives the most value for money based on how the e-bike ticks all checkboxes of your preferences and needs.
Let’s start to consider various types of electric bikes one by one and understand their unique features and advantages they provide to their riders.
Mountain E-Bikes (or eMTBs)
|Specialized Turbo Levo SL Expert Carbon||38.8 pounds (17.6 kg)||30 – 70 miles (50 – 110 km)|
|Orbea WILD FS M-LTD||49.6 pounds (22.5 kg)||30 – 160 miles (50 – 250 km)|
|Bulls TWENTY9 EVO 1||53.8 pounds (24.4 kg)||30 – 85 miles (50 – 135 km)|
|Surface 604 Shred||57.3 pounds (26 kg)||20 – 45 miles (30 – 70 km)|
Being the most widely praised and put in the spotlight on a consistent basis, it’s only right for eMTBs to head this list. They’re the height of versatility, being able to power through most rough trails and still smoothly go over most street roads and highways without any major issue. They can fulfill most of the purposes of electric bicycle riders, hence, their almost unbeatable popularity.
For instance, if you’re just going for an e-bike you can use for your regular commute, you can just opt for more affordable mid-range and even low-end eMTB models. This gives you the perk of being able to have an e-bike on hand that is compatible with riding fire roads and outdoor trails should the need arise.
Do keep in mind, though, that as far as prices go, electric mountain bikes occupy the top portion of the hierarchy because manufacturers often don’t pull punches in the quality of the battery and motors they use in their models.
However, if you’re buying a mountain e-bike to fulfill the conventional purpose of riding (or racing, even) over technical or rugged terrain, then you will need to start paying attention to the riding range. It serves as a reliable estimate for how much you can rely on the model’s motor assistance, after all, which is an integral capability that sets e-bikes apart from an average bicycle.
Besides riding range, it will also do to dive into specific criteria like what type of eMTB you want, the different motors integrated into each and the top brands that manufacture them, how you can use the Travel parameter to determine what type of roads your eMTB will perform best on, the importance of ensuring your e-bike’s frame is compatible with your size and height, among others.
|Pedego Classic Comfort Cruiser||60 pounds (27.2 kg)||15 – 40 miles (25 – 65 km)|
|Blix Sol||64.5 pounds (29.3 kg)||19 – 40 miles (30 – 65 km)|
|Electric Bike Company Model X||53 pounds (24 kg)||28 – 70 miles (45 – 110 km)|
|Tower Beach Bum||51.5 pounds (23.4 kg)||25 – 60 miles (40 – 95 km)|
Cruiser e-bikes are often omnipresent in local beaches as much as any beach bum out there. It’s hard to regard cruiser e-bikes as anything other than contraptions made for laid-back riding.
If comfort is your top priority, you need not look further than a lot of the cruiser e-bike models you can choose from nowadays. From their design alone – particularly in the way most models have handlebars that are set high – you can immediately see that they are built for leisurely cruising down beaches and most street roads and even mildly rough trails.
They’re also characterized by the soft, plush seats that they have. Once you decide to go for a cruiser e-bike, you obviously have to look into greater detail how these comfort criteria will be suitable to your wants. A lot of models make great e-bikes for commuting because who doesn’t want to make the regular commute as comfy as possible? Can they still be considered as adaptable e-bikes with this considered? Definitely.
Apparently, you’re not going too much for performance once you choose to make a cruiser e-bike your primary transportation medium. So don’t sweat on the battery and motor too much. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them altogether. As much as possible, keep your riding range in sync with the usual distance you travel with every commute or excursion into your local park or beach.
You will also want to know the importance of the tires that are used in helping you get the hang of the bike and in boosting comfort as well. Besides this, it’s also vital to be a bit more mindful of the weight because cruisers can be very heavy (and that’s saying a lot because electric bikes are heavy enough as they are.
|Yamaha Wabash||42 pounds (19 kg)||38 – 75 miles (60 – 120 km)|
|BULLS GRINDER EVO||52.5 pounds (23.8 kg)||30 – 85 miles (50 – 135 km)|
|Cairn E-Adventure 1.0||31.9 pounds (14.5 kg)||34 – 56 miles (55 – 90 km)|
These types of e-bikes are especially recommended for bikers who want to have a sturdy and reliable e-bike that they can easily take to rougher trails and roads without worrying about it not being able to handle the bumps along the way. Take note that while gravel e-bikes came late in the e-bike game, they already have two distinctive categories, namely: models used for gravel racing and those that lean more towards casual use.
You’re probably wondering, “Why to choose a gravel e-bike over an eMTB if the latter can pretty much do what a mountain e-bike can?” Well, for one, most of their models are more affordable than the more high-end mountain e-bikes out there. Also, gravel racing is entirely different from the type of racing mountain e-bikes are designed for. Again, this underlines the importance of knowing the seemingly subtle differences between these e-bikes.
Casual off-road bikers who can make do without too much of the techy stuff you see in electric mountain bikes and other performance-based e-bikes will not take long to fall in love with a gravel e-bike. There are also a lot of great models available, so you won’t have much of a struggle finding an exceptional and highly adaptable gravel e-bike that you will be able to ride anywhere (they can handle most roads pretty well, too, after all).
As for the things you need to look at, it rests a lot on your main purpose for buying a gravel e-bike. For racers, you will want to get a dynamic motor that will manage to continually provide enough support through most inclines and unpredictable terrains; for casuals and bikers that do not rely too much on assist, on the other hand, this is not the case.
Furthermore, you also have to be looking at riding range in relation to the battery, riding habits, and frequented terrains. Also, be more on the lookout for features that heighten durability, safety, and weight distributions – and who can forget about the price?
|Ride1Up 700 series||62 pounds (28.1 kg)||30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)|
|Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru 3||65.2 pounds (29.6 kg)||30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)|
|Gazelle Ultimate T10+ HMB||57.3 pounds (26 kg)||30 – 120 miles (50 – 190 km)|
|Trek Allant+ 7||47.4 pounds (21.5 kg)||30 – 120 miles (50 – 190 km)|
Urban riding doesn’t get any better when it comes to city e-bikes. At once functional and stylish, city e-bikes are a crowd favorite precisely because they predominantly cater to casual riders and the quintessential bike commuter.
In cities with well-designed bike lanes that can let you beat the morning rush with relative ease, you can get from house to office and back again without breaking a sweat and stress caused by traffic. Motor-run city e-bikes ensure this. A win-win situation for any commuter.
All the more so if your city e-bike is the pinnacle of comfort, as brought about by the features it incorporates. It goes without saying that you should use this as one of the main criteria for buying a city e-bike that suits you.
Yes, you still need to get the adequate range (and what e-bike rider doesn’t love a model with as much of this as possible?) but in urban riding, comfort, easy handling, and safety usually take precedence over anything else.
It has to be able to traverse the urban landscape as smoothly as if it’s made to ride through it. For that is precisely what makes a city e-bike different from an eMTB or a more direct comparison such as a cruiser. All its features, as much as possible, are designed for more bustling city lanes and traffic.
Should this be your e-bike of choice, know that you might struggle a bit because of the more than a handful amount of brands and models already vying for bikers’ attention. This type of e-bike also requires a good eye on its design, what setups and features ensure optimal comfort and safety, what aspect of the bike makes it perfect for busy city streets, as well as a host of other important criteria – not least of which are the tech it integrates, its motor, and price.
|Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO||31.6 pounds (14.3 kg)||35 – 75 miles (55 – 120 km)|
|BULLS ALPINE HAWK EVO||33.1 pounds (15 kg)||20 – 50 miles (30 – 80 km)|
|FLX Baby Maker||33.2 pounds (15.1 kg)||10 – 35 miles (15 – 55 km)|
Road e-bikes are popular among racers so you can expect them to be a bit more on the heavy-duty side in terms of battery and motor power. However, they are also one of the best to use for pavements and trails that are rougher or for pretty much any known bike trail in your country. It wouldn’t be a surprise if bikers learn to love using road e-bikes in lengthy trips to other nearby cities, towns, and states as well.
If you are already aware that e-bikes also use GPS technology and riding range calculators and indicators, know that road e-bikes often showcase the best of how these technologies are incorporated into a lot of road e-bike models. Tech lovers who also happen to be e-bike enthusiasts will fit right in with the road e-bike crowd.
Once you decide that this is the right e-bike for you, do not waste any more time in knowing and remembering the criteria for choosing. Road e-bikes do not really depart too much from what can be considered as the fundamental criteria of electric bikes such as battery and motor which dictate riding range and motor assist respectively.
Racers and riders that love to go on bike marathons will definitely benefit well from having a road e-bike with high capacities of these two essential parameters. As a whole, these two affect the other criteria for road e-bikes, asserting the importance to focus on both before other factors.
You should also not forget about the features you need and how the model assimilates it. It’s also important to discuss what roles these components play in keeping you comfortable all throughout the ride, particularly the importance of the position of handlebars. Weight and safety should also be considered, and how the price should be tied to your requirements.
|Ride1Up Prodigy||50 pounds (23 kg)||30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)|
|BULLS TWENTY8 E45||59.9 pounds (27.2 kg)||30 – 80 miles (50 – 130 km)|
|CUBE Town Sport Hybrid One 400||53.9 pounds (24.4 kg)||40 – 90 miles (65 – 145 km)|
|Trek Verve+ 2||52.2 pounds (23.7 kg)||38 – 88 miles (60 – 140 km)|
You don’t get anymore to-the-point and no-nonsense with an e-bike that has the “commuter” label attached to it. Think commuting is all you will be using your e-bike for? If yes, then it’s best to go all the way with a commuter e-bike.
However, you’re probably curious as to what makes it any different from a folding, city e-bike or cruiser e-bike. To be succinct, commuter e-bikes often shun what may be deemed as e-bike “bling”, stuff like techy features and other components of secondary importance. Although most commuting e-bikes admittedly overlap with most city models.
It’s an e-bike that’s all about getting you to Point B from Point A, and vice versa, without fail and hassle for the rider. Does it need to have a competent battery and motor? This depends a lot on the commuter but it’s arguably rare for practical-minded users to opt for anything other than what’s necessary to fulfill the daily commute. That said, you are right to think that commuter e-bikes make for more budget-friendly e-bike options.
Choosing a commuter e-bike requires you to look at comfort. Who doesn’t want to feel at ease every time one rides his bike on a day-to-day basis, after all. Next comes the usual factors you can’t ignore like the e-bike’s riding range and motor assist – these should both be congruent to your riding and terrain requirements.
Furthermore, commuting has to be kept as safe as possible, emphasizing the need to be more mindful of features the model includes to ensure this. Everything should, in turn, come together in the price and warranty. Remember, since this is a bike that is all about practicality, you should adopt the same principle when it comes to spending. Spend only on a model that will fulfill all your needs – with bonuses you will actually be using.
|Riese & Müller Load 75 Touring HS||85 pounds (38.6 kg)||30 – 160 miles (50 – 250 km)|
|Xtracycle Edgerunner eSwoop||62 pounds (28.1 kg)||30 – 160 miles (50 – 250 km)|
|Rad Power Bikes RadWagon||73 pounds (33.1 kg)||25 – 45 miles (40 – 700 km)|
|Motiv Sherpa||70.2 pounds (31.8 kg)||35 – 60 miles (55 – 95 km)|
For riders with carrying loads and passengers in mind or those that realize how much fuel they can save using an e-bike for business (i.e. transportation of materials), then there’s really no other option than a cargo e-bike.
Unless you’re opting for it because of the added stability of the extra tire in some models (for which a trike e-bike is often more recommended), cargo e-bikes can be good alternatives to motor-run tricycles and cars by virtue of their added load capacity.
It’s more about functionality and utility, that much is certain. It’s just difficult to think of any reason or scenario for you to purchase a cargo e-bike other than that. Even so, you can always just choose e-bikes with a small container you can use to put your groceries or pet in. That e-bike arguably falls under the cargo e-bike umbrella.
Should you choose cargo e-bikes to help you haul hefty-weighing stuff (and people) around, you should certainly be very careful when considering the included battery and motor. The latter, in particular, must be minded because it shoulders most of the burden of carrying the extra weight. Assists should be sturdy if not completely powerful, especially when negotiating inclined spots.
Be prepared to shell out more money when deciding on a high-end cargo e-bike, though. Brands often don’t skimp the battery systems they use after all. Along with these additions come tolls on weight, so be sure you don’t neglect to look at weight as well.
Additionally, you also can’t go wrong with accessories and added parts that fulfill your requirements when riding your cargo e-bike. Always keep them ahead of everything else so you won’t end up with a model that under- or overperforms.
|HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS 26||68 pounds (30.8 kg)||35 – 90 miles (55 – 145 km)|
|EMOJO Caddy Trike||90.1 pounds (40.9 kg)||30 – 65 miles (50 – 100 km)|
|Electric Bike Technologies Electric Eco-Tad Trike||72 pounds (32.7 kg)||12 – 26 miles (20 – 40 km)|
Trike e-bikes impart the best stability out of all e-bike categories simply because of the additional wheels that they incorporate. Are you having a hard time balancing your e-bike or, perhaps, you just want to get to ride an e-bike with better stability? Then trike e-bikes are your best bet. The same goes for people who want to have an e-bike they can rely on in the same way they would an actual tricycle.
Take note that electric trikes often come in two forms: upright and recumbent. You’ll find most high-end trike e-bikes to belong in the recumbent category. This is why if you want to acquire the most range from these kinds of e-bikes, then you’ll be sure to get plenty from a lot of the recumbent models available from brands like HO Velotechnok.
Casual riders can settle for upright varieties, considering they still have satisfactory ranges and motor power as well. That said, you need not look further than those two if you want to know what criteria in electric trikes you should be looking at. Don’t go overboard, though.
If the trike doubles as a cargo e-bike, you need to be wary of weight because it can largely impact the riding experience. Besides this, it won’t hurt to go for models that aid you as you ride via the tech features they include, which boost safety and comfort at the same time.
Knowing where you need to go and how long a specific trip often proves useful for most trike e-bike riders that go for long distances. Lastly, you have to be wise when deciding on the price; keep it within your budget and needs – no more, no less.
|Blix Vika+||54.8 pounds (24.9 kg)||20 – 40 miles (30 – 65 km)|
|Aventon Sinch||67.6 pounds (30.7 kg)||30 – 70 miles (50 – 110 km)|
|Furo Systems eTura||28.25 pounds (12.8 kg)||10 – 30 miles (15 – 50 km)|
|Magnum Classic 48||57.1 pounds (25.9 kg)||25 – 55 miles (40 – 90 km)|
Do you think being able to fold your e-bike once you ride the local bus or subway is neat? Folding e-bikes give you plenty of freedom when it comes to this and loads of other perks that can put their non-folding counterparts to shame.
Their foldability boosts not only portability but space-saving for storage, too. Should you have limited space to store an e-bike in, folding e-bikes provide you with a smooth solution with this main feature alone.
Folding e-bikes also readily exhibit a lot of versatility. You won’t have to deal with a shortage of options should foldability be your primary purpose for buying an electric bike.
What criteria should you be looking at when determining the best folding e-bike for you? One immediate concern should be the total weight. The bike should obviously still be manageable (i.e. highly portable) once it has been folded. If you aren’t already aware of it, know that e-bikes generally weigh more because of the addition of batteries and motors.
Of course, you can’t forget about the riding range and the motor’s power, too. At best, folding e-bikes follow the standard e-bike criteria, with the exception of the need to look at the model’s size and weight once folded. Also, your budget should also be thrown in the bag, although know that most folding e-bikes are generally more economical than other types of electric bikes.
There, you will also learn that although folding e-bikes offer a notably useful perk, they are not without disadvantages (like having smaller wheels, for instance).
|Pedego 20″ Trail Tracker||52.5 pounds (23.8 kg)||20 – 35 miles (30 – 55 km)|
|TrekLift+ Lowstep||45 pounds (20.4 kg)||30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)|
|Carrera Vengeance E-Junior||48.5 pounds (22 kg)||40 miles – 65 km (max)|
For older children and teenagers, junior e-bikes. Made with a similar likeness to e-bikes for adults, junior e-bikes can be considered as the best introduction of people in this age group to the electric bike world. For their more manageable height, they make great options for the elderly who want to join in on the fun, too!
However, do take note that junior e-bikes offer a comparatively limited number of models to consumers. It’s only now that these e-juniors are gaining traction, though, with brands manufacturing for-kids versions of the e-bikes they are producing. This way, the specs of the original are retained in the junior version. Brands that practice this are still relatively few, though, but trends seem to point toward a surge of junior e-bikes in the future.
And why not? E-juniors make perfect options for older children; it allows them to not miss out on what an actual e-bike experience feels like. It gives them a way to ride with their parents and for everyone to have an authentic e-biking experience.
Junior e-bikes are also made with them specifically in mind. And if we are going to consider the importance of making sure your bike fits your size, it basically guarantees that teens and kids will be able to gain better handling of the bike.
That said, make sure you or your child (assuming you are buying the e-bike for him) fits the junior e-bike’s size and handlebars. Look at the battery life, charging speed, and the motor’s power. Certain brands don’t skimp on their batteries and motor quality, even when manufacturing junior varieties. These are recommended if you want your child to be able to keep up when you’re riding together.
Don’t forget about safety features, as well as keeping everything within your allotted budget.
|Model Name||Weight||Riding Time|
|Burromax Yellow Lightning TT350R||50.7 pounds (23 kg)||8 hours|
|Razor Pocket Rocket Miniature Electric Bike||42 pounds (19 kg)||45 minutes|
|Razor Dirt Rocket SX500 McGrath||98 pounds (44.5 kg)||40 minutes|
Usually characterized by buoyant dirt motorbike designs, e-bikes for very young kids are the epitome of every child’s want: to move freely (and quickly) and explore the world. These bikes unlock that possibility for them, hence, their undeniable popularity among boys and girls.
Keep in mind that most kids’ e-bikes are not as advanced in design as adult e-bikes. A lot of models use less powerful lead-acid batteries that often cut riding time short. However, there are also numerous models being released now that adopt more powerful lithium-ion batteries that let your child get extended hours of riding, which only means double if not triple the fun.
Obviously, you want your child to have as much enjoyment as possible. However, it’s best to choose models that will allow you to take better control of your kid’s safety. Know that there are remote-controlled models that let you do just that. If your kid is still very young, this might be the best route to take. Otherwise, you can always just buy extra gear for safety.
Besides safety, you may want to decide whether you’ll choose a lead-acid battery or a lithium-ion one. Interestingly, there’s not much difference in the prices of models with either one, but lithium-ion tends to generally last way longer than lead-acid. When it comes to brand options, Razor and Burromax are household names, and their models should be adequate examples of what can be deemed as great e-bikes for kids.
Other criteria you need to look at are how your child will fit his e-bike, the bike’s ability to handle the roads and trails your child will be frequently riding on, the durability of the bike overall, and the price. E-bikes for children are way cheaper than standard e-bikes, but the experience is arguably not the same in the first place.
A few words in conclusion
As long as you take the time to know about the kind of e-bike you are interested in buying, all the doubts and second thoughts that enter your mind when trying to choose an e-bike that fits you should be dispelled.
If you want more information – and we’re actually going to go ahead and say that you need it – don’t hesitate to read up on our more in-depth guides. Equipping yourself with all the necessary knowledge will only go a long way in helping you make what would rightfully be deemed as an “educated e-bike choice”.