Ebikes are one of the hottest products going right now, and while they were rare just a few years back, there are now thousands of options to choose from. Here are my picks from the bikes I reviewed this year and some I’d like to try out as well. Be sure to check for special holiday pricing at the websites for each bike.
There are more expensive e-bikes, but not many more capable or better built – or with true antilock braking (ABS) built in. Called just ‘ST5’ now, this heavyweight urban blaster from Switzerland packs Class III power with pedal assist up to 28mph in the U.S., and it’s packed with tech, including battery regen from the rear hub motor, 4G connectivity, bonkers bright LED headlight, and a hydro formed aluminum frame.
The capabilities and design of this 33-pound carbon fiber urban-focused single-speed ebike surprised me. I was expecting it to be small, delicate and finicky. It turned out to be fast, fun, comfortable and durable, and that frame design is a real head turner. It only has a single gear but it still cranked up hills with aplomb. The clever dot matrix display up top also shows navigation when paired to the bike’s app and your phone. Truly fun to ride and a beautiful, award-winning design.
Like the Urtopia Carbon One, the Superstrata Electric features a beautiful frame with no center post. However, the Superstrata’s frame is unique in that it is a one-piece 3D-printed unibody carbon fiber composite that is very strong and stiff, and when you order it, it is custom printed according to your personal dimensions, bike type and your intended riding style. Your bike will be different from any other Superstrata bike. I have one in for review now and it’s amazingly comfortable – and amazing looking.
One clear trend with ebikes is how they are getting people back on bikes again after years away. Want a solid ebike that is both fun and functional? Aventon’s Level.2 can do it all, from cruising around the neighborhood to work commutes to grocery store runs. A Class III 28mph top speed, thumb throttle, included rear rack, excellent included lights, solid build quality, handy app and an affordable price make it a segment winner.
The first fat tire ebike I rode was the Rad Power Bikes RadRover 5, and it was an unexpected hoot to ride. Rad upped their game with the RadRover 6 Plus, refining the design, slimming down the battery, and offering it in a step-through for those short on inseam. It’s still a blast to ride and the fat tires and 750-Watt motor power through just about anything, including commutes, errands and mud puddles, of course. Fenders come standard!
This award would typically go to the venerable Brompton Electric (a solid choice), but I was a bit bewitched by this newcomer which originally arrived last April but was recalled due to a frame defect. Updated and reissued later in the summer, the Fiido X is unexpectedly roomy, innovative and feature-packed, with a 350-Watt motor (U.S. version), hydraulic disc brakes, built-in lights, keypad-locked security system, and a crowd-drawing design. But most of all, it’s a great-riding Class II ebike that fits in your trunk or under your desk. And it just looks like nothing else out there.
Like the Fiido X, the Vanpowers City Vanture is another think-outside-the-box ebike with a clever design and unexpectedly good road manners. Slim and sleek at just 35 pounds, the single-speed City Vanture features a 350-Watt motor (U.S. version), gates belt drive, hydraulic disc brakes, a small color LCD display and sharp design. The clever part? Buyers assemble the bike using an ancient woodworking technique. If I can do it, you can do it, and I did do it and loved riding it. Best of all, once completed (give yourself an hour to complete it), it’s tough to tell it’s even an ebike al all.
I’m a fairly burly individual, at 6-foot-1 and 225+, so I don’t fit well on some bikes. Not so with the Cyrusher XF-900, a fat-tire full suspension ebike that loves to get dirty. With triple-clamp front forks, cantilever rear suspension and a no-apologies paint scheme, the XF-900 was one of my favorite play bikes this summer. Able to conquer any terrain with its phat 4-inch wide tires, powerful 750-watt motor and a big battery for long range, it’s also an unexpectedly adept (and comfortable) commuter and errand runner, with fenders and a rack as standard. But it’s most fun just blasting down a dirt road while standing on the pedals, no matter the weather.
I grew up riding mountain bikes, and my first was a Specialized hard tail way back in the 90s that sadly was stolen. Riding the Turbo Tero 5.0 brought back a lot of great memories – and a bit of boost for these old legs from its 250-Watt mid-drive motor that makes a stout 90nm of torque. This is a real-deal 29er dirt machine, with 11 speeds out back, stout disc brakes and adjustable front suspension. It will allow you to test your downhill riding skills, and then give you a helping hand back up to the top for another run.
Before I got onto mountain bikes, I raced a bit of BMX like most 80s kids, because BMX bikes are Rad. Juiced Bikes cribbed a bit from the iconic P.K. Ripper name for their RipRacer, a pure fun machine with 20-inch fat tires mated to a 750-Watt hub motor, stout disc brakes, a throttle and a lot of ‘tude. Over the summer at several group campouts, it was the clear favorite of our teen crew – and their teen-at-heart parents – because it quickly adjusts to fit pretty much anyone, and it absorbed a ton of abuse without issue. Commute on it? Sure, and you’ll be the coolest adult kid at the office.
I have this bike in for review right now and while my personal finances won’t quite make the cut to buy one, I would if I could. It’s light. It’s fast. It’s a technological marvel. And it’s incredibly light. At just 25 pounds, it’s really effing light. Carbon fiber construction, tubeless tires, electric shifting through Bluetooth, top-shelf components and bonkers good brakes complete the package. This is no commuter (but hey, why not?), it’s a full-on racing rig that seems to defy physics. Did I mention it’s light?
I rode the first model from Vintage last year and loved it, and in 2022 they refined a few things and added in more power with a new 72-Volt powertrain. Yes, you can pedal it, but this gorgeous single-speed board-track styled city cruiser is really best experienced via the stealthy thumb throttle that pushes it right up to 40 MPH with the optional race key (recommended). Beyond the miles of style, the Roadster is truly useful, with a huge battery for massive range, and an optional rear rack for panniers. But it’s the details that matter at Vintage, and from the leather-wrapped grips to the artisan bike bell to the lustrous paint and gorgeous arching frame, this is the ebike for anyone wanting to arrive in silent, sophisticated style.
New Toy From An Old Name: Serial 1 RUSH/CTY Speed: $4,099
Serial 1’s RUSh/CTY ebike is a stout, stylish and capable ebike from an unexpected source: motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. The bikes have been in development for years and now that they are out, they are unexpectedly good. The RUSH/CTY Speed is a Class III 28mph standard-style bike with a definite dash of style, but the tech is also impressive, especially the automatic-shifting Enviolo rear hub that picks the gearing depending on your pedal input, speed and assist level. If there was ever a “fully automatic” ebike, this is it.