Electrified bicycles, better known as e-bikes, continue to be a popular gift (even for yourself), and fierce competition means they’re better – and more affordable – than ever. Here are my top choices for all kinds of riding. Prices are MSRP, check the links for special holiday pricing.
All-Conquering Fat Tire Blaster: Himiway Cobra Pro $2,399
Oh, it’s raining? Snowing? Apocalypsing? The Himiway Cobra Pro full-suspension fat tire e-bike is ready to take it on. Sporting massive 26-inch tires nearly five inches across and adjustable suspension front and rear, this bomb-proof e-bike feels like you’re riding a two-wheeled tank.
At 88 pounds, this is not some flyweight racer, but if you’re a big person like me, this is your e-bike. The Cobra Pro features a 750-Watt geared mid-mount Bafang motor that produces a stout 86nm of torque – that’s lot. A big 48-Volt 960-Watt-hour removable battery sits inside the lower frame rail and will go 60 miles with light pedal assist, but you’ll definitely want to use the thumb throttle to power up and over… almost anything.
Fun to ride on pavement, it’s even more fun to take the Cobra down those roads that snake off into the distant hills or out onto the beach. And while it’s big, the sloping aluminum frame design and go-low seat post means pretty much anyone can ride it.
Ultimate Commuter: Stromer ST7 $13,200
If that price made you suck in your breath a bit, know this: It’s worth it. Like the Himiway Cobra Pro, the Stromer ST7 gives a feeling of invulnerability when riding. It’s big, burly and feels unstoppable. But the ST7 is no mountain bike or fat tire playbike, it’s a dedicated high-performance street machine thanks to its 1,440 Watt-hour battery that gives well over 100 miles of range, and it even feature regenerative braking to extend that range. Build quality is amazing and components are all top-shelf bits.
There’s no throttle, so you do have to pedal, but the powerful Sino II motor will get you up to it’s 28 mph very quickly and the Pinion gear system is innovative, quiet and fully self-contained. It also has a for-real ABS front disc brake that will take the panic out of a panic stop. Plus the superb tech suite lets you really dial in the bike’s performance and even track its location. Metal full fenders are standard and a suspension fork is optional.
If you’re dedicated to leaving the car parked and getting around by bike, it’s tough to top the ST7’s power, comfort, and build quality.
Keep It So Simple: Aventon Soltera.2 $999
E-bike curious? Avid bike rider but never ridden an e-bike? Need a little help on the hills? Haven’t ridden a bicycle of any kind in a few years (or decades)? Take a close look at the Aventon Soltera.2. It’s just like riding a traditional bike, except a whole lot better.
Updated from the popular original Soltera, the Dot-Two version features disc brakes, a seven-speed rear Shimano derailleur, and a 350-Watt rear hub motor with a thumb throttle for some free-wheeling, no-pedaling-required fun up to 20 mph. The color LCD even shows your carbon offset! At just 46 pounds, it’s easy to pedal with no assist at all. A bright LED headlight, brake lights and even turn signals are all standard!
Add racks and fenders for commuting and errands, or just enjoy getting out on a fun, practical and stylish bike that can really take you places.
Gravel Monster: Moots Express $9,999
“Gravel bikes” – that odd hybrid of road bike and mountain bike – are surging in popularity, and for good reason. The mix of roadie drop bars, a toughened hard tail frame and wider, grippier tires give gravel bikes the ability to hit high speeds on pavement while still traversing unpaved passages. The racing action is amazing!
Colorado-based boutique bike maker Moots is a hallowed name in traditional “acoustic” or “analog” road, gravel and mountain biking circles, but they’ve joined the e-bike era with the impressive Moots Express, a 31-pound carbon-framed gravel bike that will stun you with its light weight and then delight you with its impressive hill-conquering electrical assist.
Hand made in small numbers using only top-spec materials and components, the Moots Express comes with a lifetime warranty – like every Moots bike.
Just Bring Everything and Everyone: Lectric XPedition Cargo Bike $1,599
Long popular in Europe and Asia, “cargo bikes” merge many of the features of a small car with the efficiency and fun of a bicycle. Able to haul kids, pets, groceries and whatever else you want to load up, they are the workhorses of bicycling, now made even more fun and capable with the addition of an electric motor for more range and hill-flattening capability.
This year, long-time e-bike maker Lectric introduced the XPedition “long tail” cargo bike and added a welcome option: a second battery for even more range. Powered by a rear hub motor that peaks at over 1,300 Watts and 85nm or torque, it can haul up to 450 pounds of family fun – and even a trailer for your fur baby. It features pedal assist or just ease on the thumb throttle and enjoy a quiet ride under motor power.
The affordable price gives room to add racks, panniers, rear seats and more and if you decide to start leaving the car at home, it pays for itself quickly.
The Perfect Fit: SuperStrata Electric $4,000
Have a tough time finding a bike that will fit you? Want an e-bike that is literally made just for your personal dimension but doesn’t cost as much as a luxury car? The SuperStrata Electric is perhaps unique in the consumer market in that the company will 3D print your bike’s frame according to your very specific personal dimensions. This is sizing and frame technology that used to only be available to top-tier factory bike racers or those with bottomless wallets!
SuperStrata uses a fleet of large-scale 3D printers and a lot of math to create a unique, innovative frame out of high-tech thermoplastic carbon fiber that is strong, light and stunningly beautiful. With the integrated battery and diminutive motor tucked in the rear hub, it’s almost impossible to tell the SuperStrata is an e-bike at all.
Available in street style flat-bar or gravel-bike style drop bar options, the SuperStrata Electric is an almost sci-fi technological feat that is also a beautiful, functional and made just for you.
Made For The Mountains: Hi Power Cycles TrailBlazer Pro: $9,000
Lots of companies make electrified mountain bikes, but few make them as well as Hi Power Cycles, better known as HPC. With the Trailblazer Pro, HPC ups the game again with a tiny mid-mount drive motor that somehow pumps out an incredible 100nm of torque to push you to the top of the hill in record time.
And once it’s time to descend, the fully tunable DVO suspension smooths out the ride while Magura quad-piston 203mm disc brakes supply rapid and reliable slowing and stopping power. This a real-deal mountain bike with the added benefit of an electric boost that doesn’t get in the way of competition-level riding excitement. And if you want even more power and range, HPC has upgrade options galore.
Commute with Class: Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0, $5,000
Specialized has refined the formula for a do-everything e-bike over the years, and it’s reached its pinnacle with the Turbo Vado 5.0. Featuring a new and very quiet mid-mount motor with 85nm of torque, it can effectively quadruple your pedal power and tops out at 28 mph in U.S. trim while still riding like a traditional bike.
Designed to work as a tough commuter and comfortable general-purpose bike, the Turbo Vado 5.0 comes ready to ride with fenders, rear rack, lights, a front suspension fork, 11-speeds out back and a big 710 Watt-hour battery for long range. It’s a great looking, well-built e-bike that’s ready to serve for many years to come.
Because You Never Grew Up: Juiced Bikes RipRacer: $1,499
Juiced Bikes is one of the OG e-bike makers and offers many models, but the one that gets ridden the most on our group campouts is the BMX-styled RipRacer.
Simple, stout and seemingly unbreakable, the RipRacer sports a single gear and a heavy-duty frame like a BMX bike, but adds in fat 20 by 4-inch tires and a powerful 750-Watt motor coupled to a big-for-the-bike 52-Volt 15.6Ah battery. Fast and fun, the Rip Racer wakes up that kid in every adult who throws a leg over it. There is no suspension so it’s quick and responsive – just like a BMX bike. Pop it into Race mode, crank the pedals and it will push to 28 mph – and quickly. Commute on it? Run errands? Nah, the Rip Racer is a pure grin machine. Go get dirty.
Cool Cats Only: Ride1Up Revv 1 Roadster/Moped: $2,195 (full suspension)
Ride1Up makes a wide range of ebikes but this year, they added a new model in the popular “moped” category: the Revv 1. With a sharp sense of style in green, sand or dark grey, the Revv 1 is really more of a lightweight motorcycle or moped than an e-bike – but it still has pedals!
It’s available in either hard tail or full suspension (recommended) and packs enough motor and battery power to get the single-speed, 90-ish pound machine up to 28 mph – or a little faster with an unlock code, but save that speed for private riding areas.
The lightly knobbed tires even allow some off-road exploration around a campsite or overlanding outing. Back in town, it can take over commuting duties thanks to the big battery that gives up to 60 miles of range with pedal assist. I also love the small optional cubby you can add to fill in the frame – perfect for hauling snacks, gloves, a water bottle and more.
The Power of Style: Vintage Electric 72-Volt Roadster: $5,245
Speaking of roadster-style ebikes, no one makes them quite like Vintage Electric. More rolling art than e-bike, the Vintage Electric is a curvaceous, powerful, exhilarating machine that calls back to era of board track racing with its v-twin engine-shaped battery, monster rear hub motor and top-quality… everything. Leather wrapped hand grips? Brooks-style saddle? Deep, lustrous metal-flake paint? Anodized front suspension? Stout disc brakes? Bright LED lights all around? Check!
Now, Vintage Electric has bumped up the power significantly with a new 72-Volt battery system that feeds a 4,000-Watt rear hub motor that is whisper-quiet. Pop for the $149 “race key” and the bike will hit 40 mph in the flat away from traffic, or 28 mph in street-legal trim. It’s as close as you can get to an electric motorcycle – except you can also pedal it!
Fantastic Foldie: Heybike Tyson $1,499
I’ve gotten several folding e-bikes in for review but the standout this year was the Heybike Tyson, a powerful, comfortable and fairly big bike that will still slip into a trunk or rear hatchback area, so you don’t need a bike rack or roof rack to transport it.
We took it on several trips over the summer and enjoyed its quiet but powerful motor and effective full suspension system. It’s also a tech showcase, with a gull-style rear swingarm, six-spoke cast wheels, LED lighting with turn signals, 1,200-Watt peak output motor and 28 mph top speed under assist. It’s a great hill climber! In their effort to make a folding e-bikes as small as possible, most bike makers make their folding e-bikes… small. But for this large rider, I fit best on the larger Heybike Tyson.
The Hidden Talent: Aniioki A8 Pro Max: $2,287
Aniioki specializes in making long-range e-bikes and their latest is the A8 Pro Max. It looks a bit odd because it’s built around a massive 2,880-Watt hour battery that sits in the frame. That kind of power cell gives the A8 Pro Max an amazing 100 miles of throttle range on a single charge! Plus it has adjustable suspension front and rear, a massively bright LED headlight, complete color LCD display, and keyfob activation for better antitheft security.
Yes, it’s big. It’s heavy. And yes, you can commute on it, but the thing I like most about the A8 Pro Max is that Aniioki also sells a voltage inverter that connects to the removable battery and lets users power or charge just about anything that runs on A/C, from lamps to TVs to laptops and more. That greatly expands what an “e-bike” can do outside of just being transportation. The inverter can also hook up to solar panels that will recharge the big battery or run your gear!
The Aniioki A8 Pro Max is built like a tank, but it has the power to get going nearly 30 mph under pedal assist. The ability to use the bike’s battery to power your gear or keep the lights on and phones charged in an emergency or while off the grid is a truly useful and welcome feature that makes it unique.