170 Best Electric Bikes. Electric powered bicycles

The BikeRide Guide to Choosing the Best Electric Bike

What is an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes use an electric motor, along with pedals and some of the gearing of a traditional bicycle. This helps riders to travel longer distances and up more hills, than would otherwise be possible with their own energy.

Most bikes use a system known as ‘pedal-assist’. This means that rider input is ‘helped along’ by the motor. Electric bikes are great for anyone looking to travel further than they could on an unpowered bike. This makes ‘e-bikes’ suitable for senior cyclists and riders with compromised ability.

Some e-bikes offer throttle-only power, which means that riders can accelerate without pedaling at all. In most nations, it’s a requirement that electric bikes are partially human-powered.

The uses for an e-bike are as varied as the uses for regular bicycles.

What Can I Use an e-Bike For?

Commuting

There are probably more electric bikes designed for commuting than for any other purpose. The benefits are multiple.

You can use an e-bike to replace a vehicle commute. By doing so, you can avoid the costs of fuel, car maintenance, registration, tolls and parking. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint and any emissions you would otherwise contribute by driving.

It can replace your public transport commute. You won’t have to pay for bus or train tickets and you can avoid standing in crowds and queues. By switching to e-biking, you’ll never have to waste time waiting around at bus stops and train stations.

Your electric bike lets you commute much longer distances than you could by pedal-power alone. Not only this, but you can arrive at your destination without being exhausted or drenched in sweat.

Car Replacement

Some folk decide to go-the-distance by using an e-bike to replace their car, outright. For this, you’ll need a hefty steed that can haul your groceries and / or up to two children.

Off-Road

For some riders, it’s all about ‘ripping it up’ off-road. There are dedicated, high-powered e-MTBs (electric mountain bikes) made just for this purpose. They’ll help you make those exhausting climbs that precede an awesome descent.

E-Gravel is the most recent off-road e-biking genre. E-Gravel bikes give riders the option to hit higher speeds and longer distances on flatter dirt roads.

Weekend Rides, Family Rides and Jaunts

Many casual cyclists are seeking an extra boost on a weekend ride or family outing.

E-bikes have the potential to even-out the fitness level between energetic youngsters and easy-going grandparents.

They also offer a less exhausting way to run errands or make shop-runs.

Deliveries and Cargo

Professionally, an e-bike can be an important part of a job or small business.

If this is you, you’ll be looking for a bike that’s powerful, durable, and sturdy enough to haul your required cargo.

Large battery capacities feature on delivery and cargo bikes, in order to handle big loads and long days.

Rehab and Limited Ability

For whatever reason, you may have limited ability to cycle. This could be due to age, injury or a physical disability. E-bikes can be a great way to supplement or rebuild strength.

Depending on your intended use, you’ll have different requirements concerning motor wattage, battery capacity, torque, build and configuration.

Consider these factors while reviewing the following information and when choosing a new e-bike.

Types of Electric Bikes

Electric bikes are available in almost every style that regular bikes are available in. Whether you’re looking for something to get you to work, or you want a hardcore full-suspension rig to help you get to the top of that gnarly mountain trail, there’s an e-bike available to meet your needs.

Commuters and Urban / City Bikes

At this time, the most popular types of e-bike are commuter and urban bikes. Many riders are looking for an e-bike that can get them to work over long distances or without working up a sweat.

For an electric commuting bike, you’ll want all the features that you would seek in a pedal-powered commuter, plus a moderately powered motor and battery capacity (unless you are commuting exceptionally long distances).

Tough U-locks and a removable battery are essential if you are locking up your e-bike in a public area.

Folding E-bikes

Folding e-bikes are also popular as commuters. They suit a multi-modal work commute that also involves using a train, bus, car or ferry.

For some riders, they can be used in conjunction with travel, to suit being transported by car or stored in a mobile home or boat. A folder may suit you if you live in an apartment.

A good folding bike is small, light and often used for shorter distances. This means that you can get away with a less powerful motor and a battery of moderate capacity. These factors help to lower the overall weight of an electric folding bike.

Mountain – e-MTB

Electric mountain bikes (e-MTBs) are available in both hardtail (front-suspension) and full-suspension varieties. They are ideal for avoiding exhaustion on all-day rides, by hauling riders to the top of downhill runs.

Hardtail e-MTBs can be quite light

Some mountain bikers just like to ride for longer distances without exhaustion. If you’re a senior rider, less-able or recovering from an injury, these bikes can be ideal for keeping up with friends or family members.

You’ll be looking for a high-torque motor to get you out of difficult situations on less-stable surfaces.

Electric mountain bikes can be thirsty for power.

You may want a high-capacity battery. Alternatively, you can keep a second, fully-charged battery on-hand.

E-MTBs are now permitted in most National Parks. But in certain areas, they are still restricted. Check the relevant laws in your local area.

Fat Tire E-Bikes

Hauling heavy tires through snow, mud or sand can get tiring and limit rides to shorter distances.

The extra boost from a pedal-assist system can allow riders to carry more and ride further. A powerful motor and high capacity battery are important here.

But electric fat bikes are not just a niche choice.

Many first-time e-bike buyers head straight for a bad-ass, do-anything, monster-truck look and floaty ride style.

This can only be provided by a big bike with balloon tires. There are many models to choose from, in all price ranges.

Electric Road Bikes

Electric road bikes allow riders to ride for longer at faster speeds. They assist less-able or older riders to maintain pace with their riding group.

E-Road bikes can be discrete

Most electric road cyclists prefer to pedal actively throughout a ride. Accordingly, electric road bikes are configured to rely on active pedal-assist. Throttles are less common.

Most of these bikes are lightweight and are equipped with streamlined motors and batteries that are smaller than those found on other electric bikes.

Because e-Road bikes are so lightweight, the decrease in motor size and battery capacity does not necessarily translate to less power or battery range.

Gravel

A recent sector of e-biking has appeared with the emergence of e-Gravel bikes. You’ll be looking for all the usual gravel bike bike features available in your price range, plus a few specific to the electric bike world.

Gravel is more of a performance sector. High-speeds, long distances and efficiency are priorities. As such, you might look to light-weight builds with high-capacity batteries.

Cargo

For every household, e-Cargo bikes offer an exciting alternative to the family car. Some families have even sold their second or only vehicle, after purchasing a versatile cargo e-bike. High quality specimens can be configured to carry two children, in conjunction with a load of groceries.

For anyone employed in the delivery business, electric bikes provide a cheap means of transporting cargo, especially in urban areas. Running costs are low. Also, an electric bike can easily wend its way through heavy traffic and won’t need a parking spot when it reaches its destination.

Electric cargo bikes are usually quite heavy. In conjunction with the big loads that they’re expected to lug, the drain on batteries can be considerable. Look for a high capacity battery or a dual-battery system. You’ll also need a reasonably powerful motor and a system that expresses considerable torque.

Retro

For some, a retro-styled e-bike is the way to go. If this is the direction you’re heading, then performance and speed probably aren’t your top priorities. As such, you can get away with less torque and a moderately-powered motor.

Even so, some of these frames are large and heavy. So you’ll need at least enough battery and oomph to reach optimum cruising speeds.

Pedal Assist

Fill In many countries, pedal assist e-bikes are the only e-bikes that can be ridden without a license or registration.

In the United States, these are categorized as ‘Class 1’ and ‘Class 3’ e-bikes. The motor kicks in when you begin pedaling.

On the best electric bikes, this feeling is intuitive. It should allow you to maintain a desired level of input and fitness, according to the level of assistance that you choose.

Most e-bikes have 3 to 5 levels of pedal assist available. They’ll also give you the option of disabling the motor. With no pedal assist, your e-bike acts like a regular (but heavy) push-bike. Here’s a run-down of an average, three-level pedal assist system.

LEVEL 1 – ‘ECO’

This is the lowest mode and is optimized for maximum range. Some manufacturers will claim up to – and in excess of 60 miles. The level of assist offered here is usually 25% to 80% of the maximum available. It suits level terrain and a decent amount of rider input.

LEVEL 2 – ‘NORMAL’

At this level you’re looking at 100% to 150% assist, in addition to the rider’s pedal input. This level provides more torque on take-off, from a standstill.

LEVEL 3 – ‘HIGH’

At this level, you can expect a maximum of 200% assistance from your motor. It’s great for steep climbs and headwinds. Your range is greatly reduced at this level, and is best reserved for short bursts when in need.

Throttle Only

This is fairly self-explanatory. Some e-bikes offer a throttle-only option, activated by a grip-shift lever or button. Using this method, you can activate the motor without pedaling. These bikes come under the legal category of a ‘Class 2’ e-bike.

Many of these bikes also feature multi-level pedal assist options. Keep in mind that working the throttle unassisted will drain the battery fairly quickly.

Before you can make sense of the e-bike options available to you, it’s helpful to get a basic understanding of e-bike terminology.

Terms

Sometimes, approaching the world of e-bikes can be daunting. Even if you are a clued-up cyclist and bike aficionado, the additional knowledge needed to make a discerning e-bike purchase can be bewildering. But it needn’t be. You don’t have to be an electrical or electronics engineer, but it’s handy to have a few terms under your belt.

Watt Hours (Wh)

On your e-bike, ‘Watt hours’ is a measure of available energy. This is probably the most important measurement to look for in your e-bike specs. It will be abbreviated as ‘Wh’ and is the most reliable measurement of your bike’s battery capacity.

In gas-guzzling terminology, think of it as the size of your fuel tank. In simple terms, the higher the number of Watt hours, the more range that is available to you. The amount of energy that your battery has available is known as its ‘capacity’.

Watt hours can be calculated if you have access to the voltage and amp hour figures for a bike’s battery. It’s a simple calculation.

  • 24v x 20ah = 480Wh
  • 36v x 10ah = 360Wh
  • 36v x 11ah = 396Wh (≈ ‘400wh’)
  • 48v x 17.5 ah = 840Wh

So what does it mean, this term ‘Watt hours’ ? A ‘Watt’ is a unit of power. ‘Watt hours’ is a measurement of power used over a period of time and represents a measure of ‘energy’.

In terms of what you need to know, regarding your e-bike purchase:

A 250wh battery can deliver:

How does this translate to your ride? If you are really working the throttle at its limit, your battery will last half the time that it would if you were running the battery at half of its capacity. Simply put, if you lay off the juice and contribute some pedal power, your battery lasts longer.

A bigger battery will take you further, but can add considerable weight.

“But how far?”, I hear you ask. This varies according to a number of factors, including:

  • Bike weight
  • Rider weight
  • Elevation
  • Rider input (pedal power)
  • Wind speed (and direction) – this can dramatically affect energy consumption

One expert puts it like this:

“On a lightweight electric bike, on typical fairly flat roads, not much wind or none at all, while barely pedaling… not working up a sweat, on pumped tires, typical 200lb or less rider, expect burn rates of 17 watt hours per mile on average (= 10Wh per km)… It can be much more or much less depending on countless factors but this is a realistic number to start with.” 10

Therefore, as this same expert goes on to say, “A 36v 10ah battery pack with 360Wh of capacity would… in theory provide 22 miles (36km) of range, from a full 100% charge.”

These calculations are much more straightforward if you pay attention to the kilometer figures in the calculations (and convert them to miles). From this info, you can easily work out what battery would be suitable for you. Is your commute longer or shorter than 22 miles, return? If so, and you were using the battery mentioned above, you wouldn’t have to charge at your destination.

Amp Hours (Ah)

In reference to an e-bike’s battery and on manufacturer’s specifications, Amp hours should always be listed.

For the buyer of a new bike, Amp hours is useful in calculating Watt hours.

This is done by using the aforementioned formula:

VOLTAGE x AMP HOURS = WATT HOURS.

Amp hours will almost always be within the range of 8Ah to 28Ah.

Voltage

Voltage relates to the entire system on an e-bike. Voltage pushes the flow of energy and generally relates to speed. The higher the voltage, the faster your e-bike can go. A 36V system won’t necessarily use a battery that’s exactly 36V, but it will be close.

Usually, new e-bike systems sit between 24V and 48V. There are also 52V options.

Now that you get the basics, let’s look at the important components that make up an e-bike.

Batteries

The battery-pack you see on e-bikes looks like a singular unit. It usually takes the appearance of a long, black box.

Within this ‘battery pack’, a number of smaller battery units are connected together in succession (as a pack).

Individual battery units are clearly visible within this battery-pack

Once you’ve got the basic technical factors sorted, you can understand your battery needs. The experts advise to seek out a battery that offers slightly longer range than what you’ll usually need. This will cover you when you inevitably get lost on a lonely, unlit highway, far from home.

Many first-timers aim for a huge battery, in an effort to cover the longest possible ride. The problem here is that large batteries add considerable weight. This extra weight slows you down and requires more power to overcome, creating a Catch 22 situation. In any event, ‘slightly more than what’s needed’ is a good yardstick.

Some bikes come pre-configured to accept a dual-battery setup. This means that you can keep weight down and use a single battery on less-demanding trips, while having the option to slot in a second battery on epic quests and trips to the lumber yard. A second battery means double the range, but double the weight.

Many bikes come with a lockable battery. You will be provided with a key that allows you to lock your battery pack to your bike’s frame.

Almost all modern battery packs are removable. This allows you to charge the battery wherever a convenient outlet is located.

Just as importantly, it allows you to remove the pack to prevent theft. But if you’re just spending two minutes to dash into the bodega for a loaf of bread, it could be more convenient to lock the pack and leave it where it is.

Range

We’ve discussed how technical factors relate to range, but what should you expect when you’re shopping around? If you are consulting a seller about your needs, they should be able to give you advice based on a few factors. It’s a good idea to either consult an expert who can give you trusted advice or use the information available to assess the specifications listed for new e-bikes.

The reason for this, is that some vendors and manufacturers may overstate range expectations.

Using either of these methods, an expert or yourself should assess your needs based on your genre and style of riding (commuting, mountain bike, gravel, cargo etc), the amount of pedaling you’ll contribute vs. the amount of pedal-assist that you’ll require and your own weight.

The average range of an e-bike, using moderate levels of assist, is around 20 to 35 miles. Do you need more than this in a day? For most riders’ commuting needs, this is ample.

For bigger cargo needs, you may need more power and a bigger battery. Previously, we mentioned how range is affected by a number of factors including; wind, elevation, pedal effort and the combined weight of you and your cargo.

Your range is also influenced by how you use the motor. A lot of stop-starting and throttling will tear through juice in a Rapid fashion.

The resistance of muddy, slippery or snowy surfaces will require more effort from your battery to overcome.

One of the factors that is mostly outside of the rider’s control, is the outside temperature. Both extremes of weather can lead to deficits in battery capacity. First in the short-term, then eventually degrading the capacity on a long-term basis.

Battery Life

Most batteries are expected to last for 300 to 1000 charge ‘cycles’ or for around 3 to 5 years. After this period, your battery will not last as long as it did when box-fresh. It’s natural for battery life to reduce over time.

Most major brands give their batteries a 2-year warranty.

Temperature extremes can be detrimental to battery capacity

Experts advise e-bikers to seek a battery that has a two year warranty, at minimum. Other factors that affect battery life include:

  • Storage
  • Maintenance
  • Use with heavy cargo loads
  • Exposure to extremes of temperature
  • Frequency of charging (a battery should be charged at least every three months)

It’s a good idea to make every effort to prolong your battery’s life, as they can cost from a few hundred to as much as 1500 to replace.

Charging

Manufacturers will often state how long it takes to fully charge the battery on an e-bike model. This information can be invaluable. If you’re someone who has a long commute, you might need to charge-up for a few hours at your destination. Or, you might not have this opportunity.

Charging times vary according to the capacity of your battery and the amperage of your charger. 2-amp and 3-amp chargers are common stock options that are often sold with new e-bikes.

If your e-bike comes with a 4-amp charger, you’re in luck. This is considered to be a ‘fast charger’.

It’s possible to charge a battery at either a fast or slow rate, though persistent ultra-fast-charging would lessen the life of your battery.

Here are some rough averages of how long it takes to fully charge an e-bike battery, using the charger provided by the manufacturer.

  • Average time to full charge: 3.5 to 6.0 hours
  • Average time to half charge: 1.5 to 2.1 hours
  • Average time to 80% charge: 2.0 to 2.5 hours

According to recent figures, the average price of electricity in the United States is 13.72 cents per kilowatt hour. There are 1000 watt hours in one kilowatt hour, so a 250Wh battery will cost less than four cents to fully charge.

A fully juiced 500Wh battery would cost you less than seven cents! Removable battery packs are now common. They keep your battery safe, by allowing you to take it with you when you lock up. They also allow you to charge your battery separately from your bike.

Controllers

This device is the brain of your e-bike. It’s connected to your bike’s battery, motor and (if present), your throttle. It controls the movement of power from the battery to the motor, by pulsing on and off very quickly. This function is known as ‘Pulse Width Modulation’ (PWM).

It prevents excess stress and overheating of your battery, as well as ensuring that your motor doesn’t overheat. What this means, is that you can’t instantly slam the throttle from a dead stop to full bore.

The controller sets a limit of how many Amps are allowed to flow to the motor. This is known as the controller’s maximum amp rating. As we’ll soon see, this radically affects how much power is available to you.

Motors

Many sellers will advertise their e-bike models according to the motor’s wattage. Mostly, you’ll see 250, 350, 500 and 750-watt e-bikes. At first, this may come across as a straightforward way to determine the power of your desired e-bike. However, wattage means very little on its own. It’s important to take into account your battery’s voltage and the maximum current (in amps), that your e-bike’s controller can handle.

An e-bike with a 36 volt battery and a 15A controller is capable of putting out 540 watts at peak power. 36 x 15 = 540. This is the case, even if it’s advertised as having a ‘250 watt’ motor. So you might be getting more power than you originally expected.

The intricacies of e-bike power ratings can become very detailed. You can find resources online to satisfy your deepest level of curiosity. For now, let’s go into the other characteristics of e-bike motors.

There are two main types of e-bike motor, each being positioned differently on your new e-bike. They both have benefits and drawbacks.

Hub Motors

Hub motors are situated within the hub of an e-bike’s rear or front wheel. On new e-bikes, rear hub-driven motors are common. They are the most affordable option available. Front-driven hub motors are becoming less popular and are usually found on electric conversions of standard bicycles.

A direct-drive rear hub motor

Hub motors can be either Geared or Direct Drive.

Geared hub motors use internal nylon gears to reduce the motor’s output to optimal speed and efficiency. This makes them more complicated but lighter than direct drive systems.

They offer more torque and are a bit noisier than direct drive systems, which are simpler, more reliable and more powerful. But they’re heavier and larger than geared options, resulting in more demand on your battery.

Benefits

  • Hub motors are usually the cheaper option
  • As a reliable, self-contained system, it requires minimal maintenance
  • If your chain breaks, you can ride home solely on the power of the electric hub
  • If your hub motor fails, you can pedal home using your bike’s drivetrain
  • Hub motors put less stress on the bike’s other gearing components

Things to Consider

  • Hub-driven systems can overheat on long, steep climbs
  • They’re heavier than mid-drive options
  • Tire changes can be complicated, involving disconnecting motor wires
  • Direct-drive motors don’t have any internal gears
  • Geared hub motors have a single gear ratio
  • Having a heavy hub motor on the rear or front wheel can imbalance an e-bike
  • Spokes are more likely to break, due to the weight of the hub in the wheel
  • The width of a hub motor may limit cassette gears to seven speeds
  • Tire widths are limited by the rim that’s attached to the hub motor
  • Hub motor cadence sensors may result in lurchy or awkward motor timing
Internally-geared hub motors can be discrete

Rear wheel hub motors may place too much weight at the rear of your e-bike.

Front hub driven systems have decreased in popularity. With minimal weight on the front-end of most bikes, riders can easily spin-out under torque, on wet and slippery surfaces. This has led to a number of wipe-outs.

Mid-Drive Motors

Mid-drive motors are situated between the cranks of your e-bike. These motors require a specific kind of frame, that accommodates a motor in place of a regular bike’s bottom bracket. What’s the skinny?

A mid-drive motor on an electric mountain bike

Benefits

  • A central location leads to even weight distribution on your e-bike
  • They are typically lighter and smaller than a hub motor of comparable power
  • Direct pedaling input leads to more range, especially across climbs
  • Tire changes are unaffected by mid-drive motors
  • A torque sensor accurately meters out assistance according to pedal power
  • Riders generally report a smoother ride quality
  • Tackles steeper hills for longer than a hub motor of similar power
  • open to different set-ups that use standardized bike components

Things to Consider

  • They are the more expensive option
  • These motors depend on more rider input, through pedal-power
  • Mid-drives wear harder on chains and cassettes
  • They are more complex and require more maintenance than hub motors
  • Most brands don’t offer repair options outside of warranties

Choosing a Motor

Hub-Driven Motors offer maximum assistance for less pedal effort. This suits senior riders or those with a disability, as well as anyone seeking physical rehabilitation for an injury.

But they’re also great for anyone who’s a less-experienced or less-frequent cyclist. If you’re a new rider or returning to cycling, a hub-driven e-bike may be for you.

Mid-Drive Motors suit riders who want a boost, but who still want to stay fit. They are the preferred option for experienced cyclists. Riders who know how to change gears will be able to attain an efficient ride and extend the life of a mid-drive e-bike.

Torque

To simplify, torque describes the amount of power available to you at lower revolutions (RPMs). In straightforward on-road terms, the benefits are two-fold. A motor with higher torque will give you more power from a dead stop. It will also help you climb hills at a faster speed, for a longer period of time.

This motor claims up to 160Nm of torque

Torque is measured in ‘Newton Meters’ and you’ll see it listed in e-bike specs, using the abbreviation ‘Nm’. Lighter bikes require less torque, so 40 to 50Nm should be plenty, while e-mountain and cargo bikes need more torque to overcome heavier loads and troublesome terrain. Expect figures up to and beyond 75Nm.

Direct-drive hub motors have less torque than geared hub motors.

Geared hub motors are the choice for more torque, from a hub-driven option.

Mid-drive motors in low gear, can climb steeper hills for longer than a similarly powered hub motor.

Brakes

An hydraulic brake on a rear hub motor e-bike

There’s nothing unique about e-bike brakes. But with consistently high speeds and extra weight (compared to a regular push-bike), you’ll be seeking ample stopping power.

Almost all e-bikes use disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are reliable and easily adjusted. Hydraulic brakes are more powerful but may require professional adjustment and repair.

Some cheaper e-bikes come fit with rim brakes, usually as v-brakes. You may also find drum brakes on a rear wheel, sometimes used in combination with a front wheel rim brake. Be wary of the increased stopping distance and foresight that these brakes will require.

Weight

Lightweight e-Road bikes sometimes conceal their electric components

Electric bikes are heavier than their pedal-powered counterparts. That’s just a fact. Maybe one day, this won’t be true. But for now, it’s unavoidable. A motor, battery and cabling all add up to decent heft.

Eventually, most e-bikers run into the unexpected situation where they run out of battery. It’s important to consider how heavy an e-bike is to pedal unpowered. Some e-bikes are relatively easy to propel on flat ground, without juice. Others can be a real slog.

e-Cargo bikes are heavy but capable

There is another situation where the weight of your bike can have heavy implications.

If you live in an apartment or walk-up, carrying some e-bikes can be almost impossible. Others aren’t too much of a problem.

Here’s a rough idea of e-bike weight ranges:

Commuter, City and Hybrid Bikes commonly sit somewhere between 33lbs and 55lbs, but can get as heavy as 100lb. ‘Moped-style’ e-bikes can reach 120lb.

e-MTBs are powerful but hefty

Full-Suspension e-Mountain-Bikes: Lighter, more expensive models can be as svelte as 37lbs, which aids maneuverability on technical trails and jumps. Full-suspension fat bikes can weigh up to 100lb. Retro-style e-Bikes may have large, sweeping frames. They suit a casual riding style that isn’t radically affected by extra bulk. They often weigh between 55lbs and 65lbs.

The weight of a long, flowing frame keeps things ‘slow and low’ on a retro e-Bike

E-Road Bikes are the lightest of all, with an overall weight as low as 19lb. Most sit somewhere between 28lbs and 31lbs. These trim figures are reflected in the high of these bikes.

E-Cargo Bikes present the heaviest options, weighing in above 70lbs. But these rigs may be capable of carrying as much as 440lbs in extra baggage.

Cost

As it is with most other kinds of bicycles, there are options available at all price-points. Here is a rough idea of what to expect for your dollar.

500 to 700

Hub motor, front v-brake and rear drum brake

At this price, expect e-bikes with a hub-driven motor in a configuration that may be similar to an e-bike conversion. You can source bikes at this price from big-box retailers. Componentry and gearing will be similar to the level of a low-cost big-box bike. Some folding e-bikes come in at this price range.

Most bikes in this range are urban commuters or present as ‘mountain bike-style’. Some will have mechanical disc brakes. Others are set up with rim brakes (v-brakes) or even drum brakes. Heavier aluminum and steel frames can be expected.

On low cost bikes, front suspension is not unheard of. At this price, it can offer limited benefits and durability. It’s possible that cheap suspension will only add complexity and weight, without real benefits. 36V systems are affordable in this price range.

The price savings you receive from online retailers are due to the fact that many of these manufacturers don’t have to pay for a ‘middleman’ or storefront. Your e-bike will be partially assembled for packaging and transport. Keep in mind that any warranty that’s offered may be contingent on having your e-bike professionally assembled by your local bike mechanic.

After-market servicing and parts may or may not be locally available.

700 to 1400

Motors at this price range are mostly hub-driven. Frames are usually mid-range aluminum.

A rear hub motor and disc brakes

Componentry may be similar to that found on a 250 to 500 pedal-powered bike. Most bikes in this range are commuters and city bikes.

1400 to 2500

In this arena, quality shoots up a notch. Known brand-name mid-drive systems enter the fray, including Bosch and Shimano. Frames may be of a lighter, higher-quality aluminum construction.

Handy extras include racks, mudguards and lights that are integrated into the bike’s electrical system. Many of these bikes are still urban / city / commuter types but some lower-end and flat-bar road bikes also become available.

A few mid-range, hardtail e-MTBs can also be found. Hydraulic brakes are now common.

2500 to 3500

A mid-drive motor and hydraulic disc brakes

In this range, your dollar gets you a more powerful mid-drive motor and a higher-capacity battery.

Hydraulic brakes should be standard. Integrated lights and accessories can be expected, while name-brand components are a given.

At the least, frames should be high-quality aluminum.

3500 to 10000 and Beyond…

A full-carbon, high-powered, top-end beast

In this corner, we have full-suspension electric mountain bikes, high-end commuters, performance e-Gravel, drop-bar e-Road bikes and reliable cargo machines.

Components are lightweight, high quality and durable. Racing rigs are fast and light, with concealed batteries and inconspicuous motors. Many are made from carbon fiber.

Motors will be powerful and batteries are high capacity. Some options come ready-built to incorporate a second battery in a dual setup.

Accessories

Ready-to-go: fenders, lights and a rear rack

It pays to consider the inclusion of extras and integrated accessories as part of the cost of your new e-bike.

Some e-bikes come fit with front and rear lights. The best systems are connected to your e-bike’s battery and can be operated from a switch on the handlebar.

Other e-bikes are equipped with fenders and racks. A chainguard may be integrated into the design of your e-bike. It’s a sure way to keep your clothes grease-free on commutes.

These accessories can cut costs and make things easier, because your bike is ready-to-go from new.

E-Bike Classes and Laws

In the United States, electric bike laws vary massively from state to state.

It’s best to check your local laws before purchasing an electric bike.

This is especially true when you are ordering a bike online, as it may be tuned to match the laws of another state or country.

E-bikes are not illegal and you needn’t fear that you’re flouting the law by buying and owning one. Local governments and authorities are also users of electric bikes.

In many areas, electric bikes are classed into three categories. This affects where you can ride your chosen e-bike and how fast you can ride it. All classes are limited to a motor size of 750 Watts.

Pedal-assist bikes are also used by the enforcers of road regulations

Class 1 – Pedal Assist Bikes

On these bikes, the electric drive of the bike must be activated through pedaling.

Sensors measure pedal movement, pedal torque and / or bicycle speed.

In most parts of the United States, these bikes are limited to a top speed of 20 mph.

Because of their limited power, they are permitted to be used in the same areas as regular ‘push-bikes’; streets, bike lanes, bike paths and off-road trails.

Class 2 – Throttle Activated

These bikes are able to be activated by a throttle, without any pedal assistance.

Many of these bikes also have a pedal-assist function.

Like class one bikes, they are limited to a top speed of 20mph and are permitted to be ridden in the same areas as regular push-bikes.

Class 2 bikes are less common outside of the U.S. and China, where they are more highly regulated.

Class 3 – Speed Pedelec

These bikes are pedal-assisted, with a top-speed limit of 28mph. This speed must be achieved with pedal assistance.

Class 3 e-bikes are permitted on roads and on-road bike lanes but are not allowed to be used on bike trails and multi-use paths.

Even though the higher speed of a Class 3 bike may seem attractive, keep in mind that this may limit your access options to paths and trails.

Class 3 e-bikes are suitable if you enjoy on-road cycling and use your e-bike purely for commuting.

Feel the Spark!

In the last decade, cyclists have realized that e-bikes are a great way to ride for longer distances and at higher speeds.

Riding at the first UCI e-MTB World Championships in 2019

Electric bikes allow many cyclists to make that long-distance commute to work, while leaving their car in the garage.

In times past, e-bikes were sometimes seen as exclusive to a less-able or less-motivated rider base.

Some competitive cyclists looked down on them. This is no longer the case. They even have their own dedicated professional racing events.

In recent years, e-bikes have revealed themselves as one of the fastest-growing transport solutions in built-up metropolitan areas, worldwide.

Whatever your reason for choosing to go electric; shop around, choose wisely and ride on!

Owen Jesse Owen has spent decades building and riding bikes; as a messenger, photographer and for an environmental non profit. He’s volunteered teaching others to fix their bikes and loves a genre busting bike build.

Sources

Are electric bikes the future of green transportation?

U.S. sales of e-bikes nearly doubled in just one year as commuters looked for accessible and affordable modes of transportation. If you’re considering one, here’s what you should know.

E-bikes, electrically-powered bicycles, are an increasingly popular option for people looking for a more sustainable alternative to cars.

Nearly everything we do contributes to our carbon footprint. But a two-wheeled solution is zipping through the world at 20 miles an hour.

Sales of electric bikes, or e-bikes, are on the rise.

In 2021, more than 880,000 e-bikes were sold in the U.S., compared with 608,000 electric cars and trucks. That’s up from 450,000 e-bike sales in 2020. Cities, counties, and states are implementing e-bike rebate programs to respond to growing demand. And as commuters look for more sustainable and accessible ways to travel, many are asking if e-bikes are the solution.

“People just find that [e-bikes are] fun,” says Jennifer Dill of Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC). “I don’t think we can undersell how that can motivate people.”

How do e-bikes work?

E-bikes have the same components as your traditional, so-called acoustic bicycles: frames, seats, handlebars, and wheels. They differ in their power and speed.

The speed of a non-electric bike relies on the rider’s physical strength and endurance. Casual cyclists can pedal at 10 to 14 miles per hour, depending on the terrain and weight of the bike and the rider.

E-bikes, however, are fueled by batteries, making them heavier. Some models have a pedal assist system with a motor to amplify pedaling power, while others have a throttle and don’t require pedaling. The max speed an e-bike can reach is 28 miles per hour, which is comparable to moped speeds.

“[An e-bike] splits the difference between a car commute and a regular bicycle commute,” says Wake Gregg, founder of The eBike Store in Portland, Oregon.

E-bikes have either hub-drive motors or mid-drive motors. Attached at the back of the bike, hub motors are simple, durable, and affordable but inefficient at higher speeds. Mid-drive motors, mounted in the center of the bike, can handle a wider range of torque and speed but are expensive and difficult to maintain.

Because e-bikes can go faster, they require more safety precautions than traditional bikes.

“You’re going to be moving faster than cars think you will. They may not see you,” says Gregg. When stopped at red lights and intersections, he recommends cyclists look at the front wheels of cars to ensure they’re not headed in the biker’s direction.

Safe e-bikes cost thousands of dollars, providing a huge obstacle for some would-be riders. Many jurisdictions have started following the lead of cities like Denver, which launched an e-bike rebate program in 2022, to reduce costs. The proposed E-BIKE Act would provide a nationwide 1,500 tax credit for e-bikes.

A more accessible bicycle?

E-bikes require less physical exertion than traditional bikes. The pedal assist can encourage riders to bike farther and more often than they would on a traditional bike, leading to more exercise long-term, according to research on rider behavior.

This feature also makes e-bikes a versatile option for older riders and individuals with disabilities that would otherwise prevent them from biking. Some women chose e-bikes because they make them feel safer, research says.

In 2019, Shared Mobility Inc. (SMI), a nonprofit advocating for accessible, equitable transportation, partnered with the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) to better understand the mobility needs of older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans.

“The FOCUS groups revealed there was a lot of need for recreational options and [improved] quality of life,” says Mitch LaRosa, SMI’s chief development officer. “Ultimately, [e-biking] gives folks more confidence to get outside and do things.”

After receiving more than 3,000 donated e-bikes from Uber Technologies in 2020, SMI collaborated with local community-based organizations to pilot free e-bike libraries in Buffalo’s East Side and Niagara Falls. The successful libraries have since inspired similar programs in cities like Los Angeles.

Pedaling into the future

E-bikes are a powerful tool on the road to sustainability. When it replaces trips made by a car, an individual e-bike can reduce CO2 emissions by 225 kilograms each year. That’s equivalent to the emissions produced by one passenger flying economy from Philadelphia to Chicago.

Experts say the biggest hurdle to adopting e-bikes on a large scale is infrastructure. Most cities–especially low-income neighborhoods and communities of color–don’t have pedestrian-friendly planning. That includes unsafe streets for people not driving cars.

“We need infrastructure that makes people feel safer and that is safer to be traveling on any type of bicycle,” Dill says.

The national nonprofit PeopleForBikes advocates for safer speeds, protected bike lanes, traffic reduction, and more inclusive road planning to make cities more bike-friendly.

“It’s one thing to get an e-bike into the hands of someone who is interested in having it,” says Ash Lovell, the organization’s e-bike policy and campaign director. “It’s another thing to have someone feel confident and comfortable where they are riding.”

E-bikes also need public storage and charging stations, adds Lovell. PeopleForBikes is supporting a New York City government initiative to convert defunct newsstands into charging stations. The nonprofit will also publish a guide in August about how to ride e-bikes more safely.

Best Electric Bikes for Seniors 2023

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Electric Bike Report aims to help consumers find the right electric bike for their needs. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.

Whether you’re looking to get back on a bicycle for the first time in years or you’re just looking for a forgiving way to get back in shape, the number of seniors getting into e-bikes has exploded over the past several years.

The team at Electric Bike Report is often asked for our opinion on the best electric bikes for seniors, enough so that we put our heads together and came up with this list of our favorites.

Electric bikes have fast emerged as one of the most low-impact and most senior-friendly modes of exercise. While the small motor helps take the edge off obstacles — like hills — that may have kept some seniors off traditional pedal bikes in the past, they still require enough physical effort to make for a great workout. They’ve also been proven to help maintain cognitive and mental health among older riders — the light assist from an e-bike, according to one study, can inspire confidence and improve self-esteem in older people who may feel limited by mobility issues.

Thanks to the assistance of a motor and battery, there’s a laundry list of e-bikes that work well for seniors. This list is a selection of our favorites.

How we picked the best e-bikes for seniors

There are undoubtedly many seniors who read the above list and scoff because the bikes we chose are too laid back or aren’t fast enough.

That’s fine, we’ve got recommendations for other e-bikes (like electric fat bikes and high-speed commuters) that might suit your tastes better. But while what makes someone a “senior” is nothing more than their age, there are certain considerations that often come up when we get asked for our opinion on the best e-bikes for older riders. Those considerations often involve mobility constraints, concerns over balance and flexibility and whether a bike’s riding position is too aggressive. Oftentimes, on top of any one of those considerations, this is that person’s first time back on a bicycle in a long, long time.

This list was made with those seniors in mind.

We used a few key criteria to compile this list, mainly:

  • Stability and comfort: Comfort and how stable they feel on the bike is often high on the mind of older riders. Bikes that earn a spot on this list shouldn’t just be supportive, they should invoke a feeling of confidence in corners and over varying terrain.
  • Quality and components: We evaluate each bike’s spec sheet to make sure manufacturers are making good component choices; a good bike is much more than its frame.
  • Value: What are you getting for your money? Are the components better than average and is the craftsmanship on par? We also account for things more intangible than parts bolted to the bike, such as quality customer support, brand reputation and the availability of good in-person service.
  • Power and range: How fast does the bike go and how far can I ride on a single charge? These questions are often the first on the mind of someone shopping for a new e-bike so they’re at the top of our mind, too.
  • Was it built specifically with seniors in mind?: This may seem like an obvious one, but we tried to find e-bikes built specifically for older generations of riders. Do these design characteristics make sense and are they executed well?

This list does not cover every single bike on the market today that would be a good option for seniors and older riders. In fact, I think most of the EBR staff would argue that almost any e-bike would be a good option for seniors. But, based on a plethora of reader questions (we get TONS of questions about e-bikes for seniors), we compiled this list of our recommendations that we feel are suited best for the fast-growing demographic of older e-bike enthusiasts.

Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus ST

When considering our list of the Best Electric Bikes for Seniors, the Dutch-inspired RadCity 5 ST (step-through), has the “whole enchilada.” This user-friendly e-bike from Rad Power Bikes has the main features and components – comfort, stability, power and quality – that are preferred by older riders.

Classic design and exceptional performance are two distinctions not always found on electric bikes. The classic Dutch style provides a posture for comfortable riding, and the step-through frame produces rider stability. Powered by a 750-watt rear hub motor, the RadCity 5 ST cruises with distinction, and never feels like it wants to jump out from under you.

Energizing the sleekly integrated 12.3-amp hour battery, sleekly integrated into the frame bottom tube, to help you travel up to 50 miles between charges. Helping you maintain good looks while in a logjam, the half-twist grip throttle gives you the quick acceleration you need to dart ahead.

As this bike makes you look good as you go, it also confers an air of eminence as you stop. The hydraulic brakes perform well and the suspension forks keep you in control. The medium size aluminum frame can accommodate riders ranging in height from 4’8” to 6’0”. The tires are 27.5” x 2” puncture-resistant tires and you get riding experience that makes you feel in full control.

With its 15-inch seat post tube, this bike is sure to be a hit with shorter riders. The 275 lbs capacity allows for heavier riders or riding with cargo, using one or more of the optional rack accessories.

Looking at all the features this e-bike includes, the RadCity 5 ST is a great deal.

Pro’s

  • Stable, comfortable posture makes it easy to climb aboard and ride for miles.
  • Predictable handling, the power from the 750W motor is nice and moderate at low speed with plenty of torque for climbing.
  • Rad’s reputation in the affordable customer service
  • Looks
  • The NUTT hydraulic disk brakes are spectacular under hard braking. This bike set a new record for the best stopping distance of any e-bike we’ve reviewed.
  • Rear rack capable of carrying lbs of cargo.

Con’s

  • The cable tidiness from the handlebars can be better. Instead of shortening cables where needed, they’re managed in zip-tied clumps that detract from the overall finish of the bike.
  • The dual display setup is a unique and useful design, but the left-hand display can be tough to read in direct sunlight.

Blix Sol Eclipse

Many senior riders will appreciate the Blix Sol Eclipse as a classic step-thru beach cruiser. It’s comfort, control and stability will make you want to ride it often. Its stylish looks are enhanced by its powerful 750-watt motor that can really climb hills.

This Class 2 e-bike has a throttle that gives you that extra oomph when you need it. The motor is managed by the pedal assist system (PAS) featuring 5 levels that will take you up to 20 mph. Energy is provided by the 48-volt, 12.8 amp-hour battery that will take you up to 45 miles between charges. The 17.8” medium/large frame accommodates riders between the height of 5-1 to 6-2. Enhancing riding comfort is the comfy wide seat.

Designed to provide an upright riding position, this bike is great for casual cruising down any street, path, or trail. The Sol Eclipse comes with a front cargo rack (50 lbs capacity) and a rear rack (55 lbs capacity) that will help carry groceries, or a little one in style. The total capacity is 270 lbs, and most child bike seats can be mounted on the rear rack. Total weight of this e-bike is 56 lbs, which makes lifting a little easier than other cruiser e-bikes.

A great feature is the USB charging port you can use to charge your smartphone or other electronic accessory. The Blix Sol Eclipse is a quality bike at a budget-friendly price, so if you’re looking for a simple e-bike that is easy to ride and will provide you tons of fun, then you should consider this as your next e-bike.

Blix sells and ships their bikes directly to consumers. Some final assembly is required after the bike is delivered to you. They offer assistance with in-home assembly.

Pro’s

  • Great for easy, leisurely rides – you’ll want to ride this e-bike a lot!
  • RetroShift makes it easy to change gears.
  • Good gear range with the 14-28T cassette and 48T chainring.
  • Powerful 750w motor, great hill climber.
  • Quality components, competitively price
  • Comfortable seat ergonomics during our 100-plus mile series of test rides.
  • Stylish looking beach cruiser, available in 4 colors.

Con’s

  • Throttle still active at PAS 1, safer to have auto shut off.
  • PAS 1 and 2 are underpowered, mostly used PAS 3 – 5.

Aventon Pace 500 Step-Through

Seniors looking for a casual cruising bike that packs power will like this e-bike. With its upright cruiser frame, this Class 3 (throttle and PAS up to 28 mph) e-bike offers a good balance of comfort and power. The 500w motor dishes out power when you need it, and the 48-volt 12.8-amp hour battery will take you up to 60 miles.

The Pace 500 ST’s 500-watt rear hub motor, 5-level pedal assist system and throttle offer a great mix of cruising speed and acceleration – when you need it. We never felt like the bike wanted to storm ahead and shake us out of our seats – something less experienced riders will definitely like. The Zoom hydraulic disc brake system

The upright positioning and nimble handling made this bike feel more like a city commuter as we maneuvered around sharp corners and obstacles. The Shimano Acera 8-speed makes pedaling pretty pleasant in every gear. Stylish but simple looking, the Pace 500 ST has two frame sizes – medium and large, in four available colors.

Rolling this 53 lbs lightweight down the road on 27.5” x 2.2” Kenda multi-purpose tires, stopping is managed with the help of Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, which automatically shut of the motor when in use. Also keeping you safe are the integrated headlight and taillight.

This e-bike satisfies the needs of most senior riders with its reliable performance, good design and a comfortable ride. Whether you’re an experienced rider looking for something more casual, or someone getting back into riding after a long hiatus, we think you will have fun riding this e-bike. Aventon has dealers throughout the US and also ships bikes to buyer’s homes. Some assembly is required.

Pro’s

  • Powerful 500w motor engages smoothly with the rider’s pedaling
  • Upgraded 12.8 Ah battery can take you up to 65 miles on a single charge.
  • Great ergonomics providing a comfortable ride.
  • Adjustable stem makes sizing a snap for different size riders.
  • Zoom hydraulic brakes provide safe stopping power.
  • Shimano Acera 8-speed gives good range with no ghost pedaling.
  • Rear rack can carry 55 lbs of cargo.

Con’s

  • Pedaling in turns might cause the pedal to scrape the ground, due to the low bottom bracket and 170mm long crank.
  • Suspension forks and seat post would be nice to round out rider comfort.

Lectric XP 3.0 ST

Lectric’s XP 3.0 is a great e-bike for seniors due to it’s comfort, stability, and value, But it also has a feature most other e-bikes don’t have – it’s a folding e-bike. The folding frame is convenient for storing, whether it be an RV, car trunk or small apartment, and is convenient to transport, which is great for seniors who want to take their e-bike when they travel. This e-bike has a simple design, is easy to ride, and very affordable.

The XP 3.0 is a Class 2 e-bike, which means the throttle and pedal assist system (PAS) will help this bike reach a top speed of 20 mph. It’s a little heavy for its size at 64 lbs, but it can carry 150 lbs of cargo on its rear rack, which means you can carry a passenger larger than a small child. The overall capacity for this e-bike is 330 lbs.

The 500-watt motor has more than enough power to move this bike, and the 48-volt, 10.4 amp-hour battery offers a range of up to 45 miles on a single charge. Rolling on 20” x 3” all-terrain tires, the short wheel base and low profile provides good handling and good overall control. This e-bike can accommodate rider heights from 4’10 to 6’1.”

This e-bike is well-suited for senior riders in its ease at shifting, thanks to the Shimano Tourney 7-speed shifter, and the easy pedaling provided by the efficient gear range. With this being a more affordable ebike, the XP 3.0 uses mechanical brakes that stop almost as well as hydraulic brakes. One of the benefits of having less expensive brakes is the lower cost in fixing and replacing them as well.

Considering all the options that come on this bike, such as folding frame, good power and range, and cargo capacity, the XP 3.0 is competitively priced. Selling for under 1400, this is the most affordable e-bike on our Seniors list.

Pro’s

  • Great hill climbing from the 500.2w motor’s peak output of 1000w and 55Nm of torque.
  • Gearing range from the 11-28T cassette is in balance with motor engagement and no awkward pedaling.
  • 180mm rotors and mechanical brakes stop superb, while keeping costs down.
  • Coil spring fork, with 50mm travel, absorbs bumps well.
  • Rear rack has 150-lb capacity, accommodates a child passenger heavier than the 55 lb average on other e-bikes.

Con’s

  • Can’t remove the battery key when riding, which increases the risk of losing the key when parked.

Rad Power Bikes RadTrike

Rad Power Bikes’ new RadTrike made our list of Best e-Bike for Seniors because it is the most stable and well constructed trike that’s available at an affordable price. Also consider Rad has been around since 2007, is an authority in e-bike manufacturing and is one of the leading e-bike distributors in the U.S., and you can see why we picked their e-trike for our list.

The RadTrike’s load capacity is 415 lbs, which includes 325 lbs for the rider, 60 lbs for the rear rack, and 30 lbs on the front rack. The frame dimensions can hit a wide variety of rider heights, with its low 13.4” bottom tube, 28″ – 35.4″ seat height, and 18.1″ handlebar reach riders as short as 4 ’10” to as tall as 6′ 4″ can adjust the Trike to accommodate their size.

RadTrike is designed to be stable and allow the rider to be in control at all times. Its maximum speed is capped at 14 mph. The 750-watt front hub motor climbs hills exceptionally well. The pedal assist system (PAS) has five levels, 1 – 5, and comes with a throttle when you need quick bursts of power when starting from a stop.

The 10 amp-hour battery can take you up to 50 miles between charges. The drive train consists of one single 16T gear rear axle and only distributes power to the right wheel. The left wheel spins freely. That allows for both rear wheels to spin at the speed they need to spin at to make safe turns. Trikes that had mid-drive or rear hub motors make both rear wheels spin at the same speed, which can make the bike tip over or crash.

Stopping is provided by the reverse pedal activated coaster brake on the rear wheels, and the front mechanical disc brake. The Trikecan folded and transported in the back of most SUVs. The strong steel frame gives it a total weight of 82 lbs, which means for most, lifting the RadTrike. is a two-person task.

Rad has a good shipping and customer service history as a direct-to-consumer seller. They can ship your RadTrike to your home or mailing address, with only minimal assembly required. If you aren’t sure you can do the necessary finishing work to make your RadTrike. road ready, then be sure to find someone local who will either come to your house to complete, or have the RadTrike. delivered to a shop that will do the work. Rad offers buyers a 14-day trial, so you can make sure this e-bike is for you. Purchase includes a limited 1-year warranty.

Pro’s

  • One of the most affordable, quality electric trikes on the market.
  • Designed with safety in mind, capping top speed at 14 mph.
  • Unique free wheel design makes this trike handle better and much safer in turns.
  • Great ergonomics: seat, back rest, grips, handlebar reach, leg extension to the pedals – all designed for max comfort.
  • Powerful 750w motor overtook every hill we needed to climb.
  • Depending on your speed and reliance on the motor, range is between 25-59 miles.
  • Size convenient for getting through doorways and storing at home or in car.
  • Folding design makes it easier to transport and store when not using

Con’s

  • This trike deserves a torque sensor to better manage motor engagement with the pedaling, and efficiently manage battery use.

Specialized Turbo Como 3.0

The Specialized Turbo Como IGH 3.0 is among the best as a high quality top performing commuter e-bike. With its comfortable geometry, sleek and stylish design, and lightweight aluminum frame, this e-bike is perfect for the senior rider looking for a bike that needs less maintenance and can better withstand outdoor conditions.

Propelling this Como 3.0 is the Specialized proprietary Rx Street Tune 250-watt mid-drive motor. With its smooth, silent running, free of vibrations, this throttle-less Class 3 motor has a pedal assist system (PAS) that will take you to a top speed of 28 mph. Rather than using a cassette and derailleur like most bikes, Specialized uses the Enviolo CVP Multi-Turn internal gear hub [IGH], which provides smooth, trouble-free shifting.

Powering the motor is the 10.4 amp-hour battery, frame integrated and removable for re-charging and storage.

The 2.2-inch LCD display has a USB port for you to recharge your smartphone. The 27.5” x 2.3” Pathfinder Sport Reflect tires handle great and keep you in control. You can use this e-bike for commuting and for cargo. Front and rear cargo baskets can enable you to carry up 75 lbs (30 lbs front, 45 lbs rear) for a total of 275 lbs.

The Specialized Como 3.0 IGH is like the Cadillac of commuter e-bikes for seniors. That means the quality build and components are reflected in the total price. But you know you’re getting a high quality e-bike when you buy from them, which says a lot about the overall value.

Pro’s

  • High quality design, build and components from a top bike company.
  • 250w proprietary mid-drive motor produces great power, and 50Nm of torque while economizing on energy.
  • Ergonomically designed for ride comfort will keep you on the seat longer than you thought.
  • Custom frame-integrated 48v, 10.4Ah battery will take you up to 90 miles on a single charge.
  • High quality gearing with internal gear hub to withstand elements, no greasy sprocket
  • Awesome stopping power with the Shimano BR-MT200, hydraulic disc brakes, 180mm front and 160mm rear rotors.
  • Built-in lift handle for easy maneuvering.

Con’s

  • High quality comes at a price, the price on this e-bike is around 3400.
  • Most American riders will encounter a learning curve when first riding on the internal gear hub.

Blix Packa Genie

The Blix Pack Genie e-bike is a one-of-a-kind, built to carry cargo like no other cargo e-bike we’ve tested, which is why it’s on our list of Best e-bikes for Seniors. The stability and control this bike offers is surprising when considering its size. The rear cargo capacity allows you to carry 150 lbs, which could be groceries and a grandchild – amazing!

The step-through frame and 23“ height between the ground and step-over point makes it easy to climb on and off the bike (if you need a boost up, there are inexpensive folding step stools you can use and carry on one of the racks). Riders ranging in height from 5’1” to 6’3” will find they fit this cargo bike very well.

You get a lot of power from the 750-watt rear hub, which really matters when you’re carrying the extra passenger or cargo. Energy for the motor comes from the 48-volt, 12.8 amp-hour battery.

Stopping ability is provided by the Bengal hydraulic disk brakes. Changing gears is through the Shimano Acera 7-speed, making pedaling easier and the ride more fun. The 24” x 2.4” puncture-resistant tires cushion you from the bumps and rough parts of the road. This bike can take a 250 lbs rider weight, and its total weight is 75 lbs.

But aside from that, the Blix Packa Genie really offers a lot of value for your money, especially when you consider the basic one-battery e-bike which sells for under 2000.

Pro’s

  • Good quality, value-priced e-cargo bike that lets you carry up to 400 lbs (up to 200 lbs of cargo)
  • Great handling for an e-cargo bike. Riding around I easily forgot that the bike is 81” long
  • Lots of accessories, making it easy to load the bike up with cargo and/or kids
  • Very long range with dual battery setup (up to nearly 80 miles in our real-world range test)
  • Powerful climbing hills, even when loaded up with weight
  • Good, quality components (hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano drivetrain)
  • Easy to get on/off thanks to 24” wheels and low, 19.4” step-over frame

Con’s

  • This is me being super nit-picky, but I’d like to see a slightly larger front chainring. On PAS 5 you really don’t have to pedal much at all to get the bike cruising at 20 MPH.
  • You can do so much with this bike, and there are a ton of accessories already. I just want more – specifically some type of large cargo basket for the rear rack.

Denago Commute Model 1 ST

Denago Commute Model 1 ST makes our list of best step-through e-bikes for seniors based on its user-friendly acceleration, riding comfort, and overall value. The Shengyi 500w motor makes this a Class 3 e-bike (throttle and PAS limited at 28 mph). The motor is calibrated to give the senior rider a happy medium with its tempered acceleration. This bike will make you feel like you’re in control at all times.

Power to the motor comes from the 48v 13.6 Ah battery which will take you up to 45 miles between charges. Using the Microshift 8-speed, this bike has a gearing setup that is senior-friendly, providing gear options that work with your pedaling efforts and the road conditions. Whether you’re going uphill, or using PAS 5 on a straight away, this e-bike won’t leave you feeling under-powered or out of control.

The Commute is 66 lbs, a little heavier than similar style e-bikes, but the Zoom hydraulic disc brakes work well bringing it to a stop. The Zoom suspension seatpost and suspension forks do a good job absorbing the bumps. Riding atop 27.5” x 2.6” puncture resistant tires gives you positive traction and good overall handling in pavement, gravel and dirt roads.

Denago has priced the Commuter 1 for under 2000. When looking at the quality components and overall design, this bike has a lot of value with its price. Taking into account its stability, comfort and reliability, it is also a good e-bike option for seniors.

Pro’s

  • Good mid and top end power from 500.2w Shengyi hub motor Class 3 (PAS limit 28 mph).
  • 48-volt, 13.6Ah integrated battery has a low-key look and provided 27 Mi. of range in PAS 5.
  • 8-speed gearing great for top speed and climbing hills.
  • Good traction from 27.5 x 2.6-in.-wide tires.
  • Frame size and reach well-suited for taller riders, too.
  • Theft protection provided by PIN lock.

Con’s

Rad Power Bikes – RadRunner 3 Plus

Whether you’re a senior looking for an alternative to your car, a good small cargo bike or an electric bike that will seat another person, the RadRunner 3 Plus, from Rad Power Bikes, could be the e-bike you’re looking for. This Class 2 e-bike features a well thought out frame design and a powerful 750-watt motor that will power you and your goodies all around town.

The RadRunner 3 Plus has a newly designed frame with a hauling capacity of 350 lbs. There is tons of versatility with what you can carry when using the optional rear passenger seat, front and rear racks with plenty of optional accessories, and an optional trailer.

The 750-watt motor is also newly designed and really wowed us with its performance. Distributing power from the bike chain is the 7-speed Shimano Altus shifter/derailleur, which worked well with the motor when pedaling in low gears, on hills, and flat straightaways. This bike has a right grip twist throttle. Providing greater safety and sure-footed stopping power is the upgraded hydraulic brake system. The brakes worked well for us when carrying cargo.

Considering all the features on the RadRunner 3 Plus, you definitely get a great bang for your e-bike buck. To learn more about this e-bike, or for information on price and availability, please click the link below.

Pro’s

  • Thanks to its weight capacity, frame style, and 350-lb weight capacity, the RadRunner 3 Plus is hugely versatile e-bike.
  • Tons of optional accessories, like additional seats, lockable hard-shell panniers, and even the new Rad Trailer, allow the bike to carry kids and pets, or haul just about anything.
  • With a cargo rack significantly longer than previous models, the RadRunner 3 Plus has plenty of room for passengers or gear.
  • Compared to earlier models, the bike’s frame is stronger and more maneuverable, while still accommodating riders between 4′-10″ and 6′-2″.
  • The RadRunner 3 Plus feels great and handles well thanks to its improved motor, 3.3″ tires, and BMX-style handlebars.
  • The bike’s PAS system offers a wide range of assistance levels to match the preferences of a wider range of riders.
  • Comfort is at the forefront, with the bike’s upright positioning, improved saddle, suspension fork with 60mm of travel, and 17″ standover height.
  • Currently in development, a second battery will be available soon to double the RadRunner 3 Plus’ range!
  • The bike’s updated frame design and semi-integrated battery are welcome sights that also look great!

Con’s

  • We love the overall visual redesign, but still wish the bike had better cable management and came in more than just one color – but these things are pretty minor when considering all of the Pros!
  • The single-leg kickstand is a bit of a downgrade from previous models that used a dual-leg one. This version is easier to use, but isn’t quite as effective when loading cargo.

Electric Bike Company Model S

The Model S, from the Electric Bike Company, is great for seniors, combining a classic look with quality components on a bike virtually anyone can ride. Its welded rear rack, with a 55 lbs capacity, is great for carrying groceries, picnic goodies, and even a bike seat for the grandchild. Add an optional front rack, and you can carry another 45 lbs of fun.

Powering you along with goodies at hand is a powerful 500-watt motor, claimed to be the best e-bike motor in the world. It has a 10-year warranty, which is the best in the industry, and gives the buyer greater value. The 12 amp-hour battery can provide enough energy for 60 miles of riding in between charges.

Designed to offer great ergonomics for comfortable posture, the 27” wide handlebars are easy to reach. The super comfy seat is great for longer rides, and the 7-speed shifting and pedal assist adjustments on the LCD display safely control your speed. The aluminum frame will accommodate a rider height range of 5’2” to 6’ 10” and the total weight capacity is 420 lbs, making this bike very inviting to almost anyone.

Optional anti-theft alarm is available, as well as numerous accessories, including a suspension seat post for smoother rides, and a variety of cargo carrying items. The Electric Bike Company sells directly to consumers, which means this bike arrives fully built, making it convenient for seniors who aren’t comfortable using tools.

All in all, you get a lot of value with this superbly built e-bike.

Pro’s

  • 10-year warranty on motor – great value.
  • Great riding control and stability for new and returning riders.
  • Smooth, reliable power from the 500w motor.
  • Impressive 65 mile range from the 48v 18Ah battery.
  • Color LCD display was easy to see while riding, giving pertinent details.
  • Good stopping power from Tektro Dorado hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Weight capacity 420 lbs, welcomes most riders, regardless of weight.
  • Optional suspension seat post smooths the bumps, and many accessories for customizing rider needs.

Con’s

  • We would like to see an optional suspension fork for smoother rides.
  • High priced bike (but it does feature high quality components.)

Evelo Galaxy SL

Senior riders who are more active and who want an e-bike with innovative features will really like the Evelo Galaxy SL. Featuring its state of the art Enviolo gear hub and 500-watt Dapu mid-drive motor, the Galaxy comes packaged with nifty components that provide unique riding experiences and add value to your purchase.

The Enviolo continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a new take on the old internal gear hub that you see on Dutch bikes. With a manual twist shifter, you can change gears when you’re not moving and the unit needs very little maintenance throughout the life of the bike.

The Dapu 500-watt mid-drive motor is of higher quality than most motors you see elsewhere, and it complements your pedaling, rather than replacing it. When climbing hills you will appreciate the 95 Newton-meters of torque it generates – something mid-drive motors are known for. This e-bike comes with a throttle and is chain-driven.

The rear rack-mounted 36V, 13Ah battery allows for the shorter step-through frame, and is super easy to remove for charging and security. The battery should last for 50 miles between charges, depending on your shifting and pedaling.

The SL has rigid suspension, which helps keep the weight down, and the Zoom hydraulic brakes provide good stopping power. Complementing the shorter frame height are the 24” x 2.4” wheels, providing good traction and handling on pavement and gravel roads. The 350 lbs capacity allows you to take advantage of the cargo-carrying accessories that are available. But if you just want to ride this e-bike as is, then you will appreciate its light 52-lb weight.

So, in conclusion, the Evelo Galaxy SL is a unique e-bike more suited to active senior riders. But the technological features can help elevate your riding experiences to new levels. Evelo sells and ships e-bikes directly to consumers, and their bikes are delivered with some final assembly required. Shipping is included in the price of the bike, and they offer a 21-day at home trial offer, allowing you to make sure this is the e-bike for you.

Pro’s

  • Enviolo’s continuously variable planetary transmission provides effortless gear changes and low maintenance.
  • Peppy 500-watt mid-drive motor still provides a traditional riding experience.
  • Low step-over makes it easy to hop on.
  • Lightweight build, easy to maneuver, transport and store.
  • Quality components give added value, especially Evelo’s 4-year, 20K mile warranty.
  • Smooth, predictable motor engagement with pedaling, enables safe speed selections.
  • Classic styling harkins to an earlier era of bicycling, but with modern amenities.
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Con’s

  • expensive, but you’re getting a higher quality electric bike.
  • Riders unfamiliar with CVT gear hubs may face a learning curve; plus upshifting is difficult in the first 500 miles.

Summary: Electric Bikes Keep Seniors Active, Happy And Healthy

I’ve spent most of my life riding bicycles, and I like knowing that electric bikes are there to keep me riding no matter my age.

E-bikes are sometimes called the great equalizer of cycling. Cycling, as a sport and a mode of transportation, was formerly reserved for the (relatively) young and fit; those unfazed by hills and long durations of physical exertion. But e-bikes, thanks to their small motor and battery, make it so that anyone — no matter their age, fitness level or ability — can enjoy going for a bike ride. E-bikes make hills feel flatter, accelerations easier and give riders the power to choose exactly how much they want to ask of their bodies when riding a bike.

I like to think of it as the democratization of bikes.

Few demographics have been more impacted by e-bikes than the older generations of riders. Not only do they give existing cyclists the power to continue riding at any age, it’s helping people who haven’t ridden a bike in years rediscover the sport. They’re less intimidating, more forgiving and can give you the sensation of turning back the clock to a version of you that used to do laps around the neighborhood on a one-speed bicycle.

We’ve spent hours testing with many of the bikes on this list, testing their braking, handling and acceleration to demonstrate how they handle in the real world. So if you’re a senior on the hunt for an e-bike, you’ve come to the right place.

Now you’ve seen all our picks for the best electric bike for seniors in 2023. Are there others you think should make the list? Let us know down in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев section below!

Reader Interactions

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

One crappy bike after another. If your goal is to get a bike that breaks down then by all means, buy one of these. If your goal is to get a bike that lurches when you start to pedal, get one of these. If you want a super unstable trike that wants to tip over in turns, get the one they list here. If your goal is a reliable, safe and easy to ride, then go to your local IBD that sells quality bikes and listen to their recommendations. This list represents nothing more than paid advertising. Look elsewhere for advice

Nope, several solid and better bikes were left out including the fact that none of the Gazelle bikes were listed all of which are better made and will last longer than any of these bikes.

Unfortunately, Gazelle does not make an e-bike that will better accommodate a petite person. Petite people are not necessarily lightweight people but those of us less than 62 inches tall have trouble with Gazelle e-bikes. My good friends have two Gazelle e-bikes and let me ride from time to time – while I love the experience overall, it’s frightening when I have to immediately stop or dismount. I’m too far up off the ground. Because of the quality of the Gazelle e-bikes is outstanding, I keep communicating with them about creating a customized version with 20 inch wheels and/or a compact frame. Gazelle bikes, in every other aspect, are my favorite. The only reason I have not purchased, as I get older (yes, I am a senior), the higher bikes are more daunting.

I could not miss that you did not mention your qualifications and were completely negative in your Комментарии и мнения владельцев while providing a solution of your own. When I followed the link attached to your name it took me to Freedom Folding Bikes. I submit Sir that your motives are not in the best interests of the target audience of this article. I am a senior who purchased an ebike for several reasons not the least of which is my reduced capacity to ride a traditional bike. I found the article well written and with seniors in mind. Every potential purchaser has their own criteria that needs to be met. My advice to those investigating is to talk with people who have purchased an ebike, take some out for a test ride, and to remember that only you can decide if it is right for you.

Bryan ……. I’m a 79 senior. Riding a Pedego Stretch (cargo bike) for almost 6 years with over 10k miles. Your Комментарии и мнения владельцев regarding hands on consideration and test and trial of what’s good way to decide on an e-bike are very good. Especially for seniors, who may be less interested in being their own mechanic than younger generations, finding a dealer nearby with a track record of service and being in business for a while is especially important. Also, consider that with e-bike assist, some added weight is not particularly a burden. Especially with regard to wheels and tires, because skinner tires and rough trails or streets potential for flats are something that seniors want to stay away from. Invest time in shopping and talking to experience will pay off. Being on 2 wheels is so much liberation and fun for seniors …….

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And the price point on the Freedom Folding bikes is substantially higher than those in scope for this article, too. Another important point about the critical comment.

I don’t know anything about freedom bikes but cost per mile is more important to most seniors than initial price.

best, electric, bikes, powered, bicycles

Couldn’t agree more. Seniors want low/no maintenance. A lot of seniors have an above average budget to spend. You only have one belt drive bike on your list. Where are the Reise Muller and Gazelle e-bikes that feature belt drives and internal gear hubs for maintenance free riding?

Agreed, lifetime costs, cost per mile and no grief are the most important factor. I have a Gazelle with 4k miles in 18 months and zero issues. From the Schwalbe Marathon tires that have never had a flat to the Bosch drive system everything is built to last.

At just 68 years old I have found my Radcity to be very reliable, safe, and easy to ride. Extremely smooth and quiet-VERY relaxing to ride.

In my case one of the most important decisions for seniors like myself when considering an e-bike is “WEIGHT”. It affects all aspects of riding and also transporting. I’ve been riding e-bikes since 2013 and I could not recommend any bike that approaches 60 pounds to a senior.

David, likewise. I’m a 50 year cyclist; road, mountain, folding (Brompton) and now e-bike (Pedego Stretch). Pedego offers many model options. The nationwide independent dealer network is especially important, unless one has the ability, tools and a lack of arthritic joints to be a bicycle mechanic. As we age, good dealer service is increasingly important consideration.

As a 69 year old senior that migrated to an e-bike two years ago due to health reasons, I find that one key item is not addressed in your recommendations. The weight of e-bikes is a significant factor to understand when buying a bike. While I understand not everyone has a need to transport their e-bike on their vehicle, those that do need to understand the following: If you want to transport your bike on a car rack, you have be strong enough to lift it up onto the rack and take it off. (with or without your battery installed). You also have to have a car bike rack made to handle the weight of e-bikes. The only e-bike rated car racks I have seen require a car hitch, so that might limit your ability to have a bike rack if you do not have a hitch on your vehicle. You analysis and recommendations should include the weight of the e-bike.

Hi Gary! Saris makes an electric bike rack for ebikes! Check out: https://www.saris.com/product/door-county

I am 78 and ride a recumbent trike with a super pedestrian wheel on the hills of upstate New York. Excellent for seniors. Did you consider recumbent trikes in your research?

Don a great comment. Not only are recumbents more comfortable to ride, but much more attractive than the bikes in this article.

I am 85 and have been riding a three wheel Bionx assist recumbent for the past five years. My wife and I switched to recumbent trikes after crashing our mountain bikes three times each while touting on the GAP with panniers. I tried switching back to an ebike about a year ago and found them to be heaver than my trike and very short front to back. I felt very cramped and unstable.

I’m a 69 yr. Old senior with hip and knee issues. I bought a Aventon Aventure Step Thru. Other than its a little heavy as expected ,its great, especially on hills. My area is not very bike friendly, riding on the road mostly. One of my rides I can ride approx. 12 miles in 40 minutes with approx 30% hills, that’s riding on level 3 of 5. Need to work my way up to lower levels, less power, better workout,when. I want. I rode the same area. shorter rides,20 yrs ago on a Mtn bike. So much easier and more fun on ebike at almost 70 vs 50. My backside is the most limiting factor. Looking at new seat,maybe suspension seat post and tougher backside.

The saddle is crucial! It doesn’t have to be expensive. A suspension seat post is a real bonus. Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You appear to be my age with the same problems. I built my own bike as there is nothing on the market with the features I want. (That I can afford).

Thanks for a nice report. Some of the negative Комментарии и мнения владельцев by readers are not true. I recommend that a customer test ride 3 different types of E-Bikes from 3 manufacturers before they buy a bike.

I’m 69 with some hip and knee issues riding a Aventon Aventure. I’m new to ebikes. 20 yrs ago I rode a Mtn bike. No hip or knee issues then. The ebike is much easier to ride and I can ride much further. Ebike is a lifesaver on hills or when my knee is hurting. My backside is my limit so far doesn’t last as long as the battery. The bike is a bit heavy. But I’m also a big man. 6 ft 1″, 255 lbs.

Out of all of these, the RadCity is my favourite. I suppose I am a Senior now – no escaping the fact. I wanted a bike with the things that were important to me. It had to have: Central battery,low step frame, disc brakes, hub gears, hub motor, steering stabiliser, proper centre stand, proper luggage racks, suspension forks and suspension seat post. I almost achieved what I wanted by building my own for about £800, but the frame was the limiting factor. Out of all these bikes for review, you can cross-off anything with the battery hanging off the back, central motor or fat tyres. The trike I’m not sure of, but I may have to have one in the future – who knows? I will be honest and admit I have ordered a Rad Runner as it has most of the things I/we wanted, although I’m not keen on the tyres. It is supposed to be for my wife. Time will tell.

Its true the RAD City is a well made and excellent bike. I was 81 when I rode my purchase bike 29 Miles total and fell standing still in my garage at 29 Miles dismounting. Determined bike was too heavy and sold it. I broke 3 ribs and had rehab for 3 months. I still ride a 1999 Curie kit at the beach 24V 600W MAC Chain rear Drive with 12,000 miles. The stock Kollmorgen lasted 8k miles before Hurricane rise of 5 ft in my garage where bike was hanging. Blew the controller with an audible Pop. My experience before the 90s was a kit from Mobility Co in NJ Mounted over front tire. Was friction setup with 12v tractor battery between your legs. Starter Motor with a bench Grinder disk mounted to the shaft. The mechanics was a break lever that went thru a block and tackle arrangement under the fiberglass housing which had a standard old starter switch that started the motor on contact with tire. It worked if adjusted correctly and your were moving else you grinder a hole in the tire! It was called Pedal Power Kit. From a company that pioneered Mobility Handicap Scooters in Swell NJ. Frank Flowers was the designer. For 99 it came with kit wires and battery with charger 1979. Ive narrows my new bike down to 2 Blix models. Both Step thru The Food up and Beach Cruiser light weight step thru. That’s my experience of many years peddling with Power. Bob

I was shocked that you did not list one recumbent or one trike with a body. All of the bikes listed were ugly. We older folks are still interested in riding an attractive vehicle.

Don a great comment. Not only are recumbents more comfortable to ride, but much more attractive than the bikes in this article.

Hi I’m a senior in my middle 70” always enjoyed bicycles, hiking. I have been shopping for a Trike. EBR Court give the Raleigh Tristarie IE the Izip Tristar Plus a High Rating. It was a few years ago. The price on this Trikes is 3000. The Evelo Compass Trike is at present time 4,299.00 Oct. 2021 Worth ones time, to check them out. All are good quality. Take Care Carmen

  • Griffin Hales says October 11, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Thanks Carmen! We did take a look at the Compass earlier this year and enjoyed it. https://electricbikereport.com/evelo-compass-review/

I didnt get to see this article when it came out much earlier, but found it today and gave it a read. SOrry, but Chucks initial reply rings true to my own experiences dealing with older customers who still want to ride. Reliability is a HUGE factor when choosing a bike. When a bike breaks down for most people its just an inconvenience, but when that bike is a mobility device, a break down can turn a fun afternoon into a survival problem. Weight is another. I laughed when I saw the 70 pound aventure on the list! This is NOT a bike for seniors. Choose wisely from an actual bike shop and not from review shills on a website, and god forbid you pick ANYTHING from amazon! I’ve also found out that 2000 seems to be the price point to having a repaired often bike to a reliable AND supported one.

I just turned 60 and my wife and I have owned our eBikes since early 2019. We love it! We test rode several brands before we landed on the RadCity 5. No complaints. As to reliability, I’ve got over 700 miles on it and it’s going strong. It just works. No need for service yet. It’s well built and has decent components. Check the reviews… they are solid and have thousands of satisfied customers. And an amazing value at under 2K. The only negative is that it is a bit heavy. Not an issue for me but could be a bit much to handle for a smaller or older person. The big bike manufacturers (Giant, Trek, Specialized, etc.) have eBike models as well. Even Harley Davidson has entered the eBike foray (check out Serial1.com). I’m sure they are great (integrated batteries, high quality components, sleeker look more like a traditional bike, etc.) but you are well over 3K with this option. If money is no option, then check them out but I’m sure any of the options listed here will serve you well. I recommend that you test drive as many models within your price range, talk to owners/check the reviews, and go for it… you won’t regret it!

I am the 88 year old founder and President of North Bay Elder Ebikers in northern San Francisco Bay and my overall assessment of your list is that it is geared more for your advertisers and general readers than for potential older eBike riders. In a nutshell, they should want to buy the best quality bike they can afford from the closest eBike store that has a full service operation run by knowledgeable people. Also, I don’t believe value should be an issue if one plans to go down any hills, off road or in traffic. Ease of access and operation, proper fit, quality components, stability and, above all, safety should be their main concerns. In my opinion, any list for older riders that leaves off the Gazelle and Riese Muller step through eBikes is, at best, incomplete.

I own a Rad rover step, through I have almost 1900 miles on it and love it. I am 79 yrs young ride almost daily. I have added a brooks saddle and double actuated brakes.

I have not read anything about hand comfort for those of us with arthritis in our hands. Squeezing a hand brake after an hour or so becomes painful. Same with a thumb throttle. The throttle twist is better, but not ideal either. I would love to have coast brakes where I don’t have to use my hands at all. I am a small 71 yr. old woman. Do not want to give up bike riding, dang it.

I’m sure it’s possible to fit a rear wheel with a coaster brake to a bike with a front motor or even a mid-motor. Would that solve your problem? (Partially).

Make sure you check bikes with hydraulic brakes before trying to get someone to install a coaster brake, which would be an unsafe option, especially for the typical heavy ebike.

TOWNIE GO by Electra bikes. I am a senior and have 3500 mile on my Townie. This bike has the FLAT FOOT design with the pedals moved about 6 inches forward is extremely comfortable and easier to control. I commute about 6 miles roundtrip on most nice days and have enjoyed this bike. It has a Bosch mid engine and is fine for the hills in our city. I believe Trek bought this company to be able to use the patented design. The bike has been durable and held up well.

You identify the Ride-1-UP 500 Series (which I ride), but a number of the Комментарии и мнения владельцев you give are about the Core 5. Which model are you really trying to describe and recommend for (us) seniors?

  • Griffin Hales says April 6, 2022 at 10:17 am

Thanks for the catch, Lou. We updated our recommendation from the Core-5 to the 500 series. Looks like the page had an error when updating.

For those whose ability to lift and/or carry heavy loads, weight of the bike is everything. I’m a woman aged 62, and I’ve had my Electric Bike Company Model S for 2 years. It’s lovely–the envy of all the neighbors (that custom paint is gorgeous!)–but it has become too big and heavy. When I purchased it, the weight wasn’t that big an issue (I was 60 at the time). But now I’m older (and an inch shorter!), and I do lift weights, but apparently it’s not enough for me to handle this bike. At 63 pounds in weight (including the basket and battery), it’s just too heavy to handle when I stop to cross at an intersection, for example. At this point, I’m afraid to ride it. I will try to sell it and get something lighter so I can ride without worrying if it’ll tip over and hurt me. Before you choose a bike, TAKE IT FOR A TEST RIDE. See if it’s too heavy, because you’re only going to get older (and likely: weaker) as you age. If you want to ride it for a couple of years, make sure it’s easy to handle now.

It was a great article, thanks for covering such a great piece of information about the best electric bikes for seniors.

Still riding Bionx since 2010. Since 2013 I have accrued over 30,000 miles On both bikes. My PL350 motors no problem. My Cruiser is a Townie 26″Schawble Marathon e-bike tires.21 Spd. Bike. Equipped with front shock forks, suspension seat post, Textro Rear Mag. Brake Lever,11.5 Amp 48 V. Battery. Range 45 miles. My Other Bike is a KHS 700cc Schawble Marathon e-bike tires Touring Bike PL350 Freewheel Motor Equipped with front shock forks, suspension seat post, Textro Rear Mag. Brake Lever,8.5 Amp 48 V. Battery. Range 45 miles. Both Bike batteries have been Rebuilt by Jhonathan Nethers. BionX Has Regenerative Braking and Regen Charging at 10 MPH.

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E-Bikes

Electric bicycles or electric-assist bicycles, commonly called e-bikes, are similar to standard bikes in appearance and operation but feature a small electric motor. The motor assists the rider by adding power to the wheels. Broadly speaking, e-bikes are either pedal-assist, meaning the motor is engaged by pedaling and cuts off at a designated top speed, or throttle-on-demand, with which the motor can propel the bike even if the rider is not pedaling.

It is the existence of a motor which explains why so many authorities at state and local levels struggle to classify these vehicles—whether as bicycles or as motorized vehicles like mopeds or motorcycles. How they are classified in turn informs how they are regulated. Among other restrictions, motorized vehicles (with the exception of personal mobility devices, such as electric wheelchairs) are often prohibited from shared use trails.

Although some in the cycling community approach the idea of a motor-powered bicycle with skepticism, these bikes are actually growing in popularity. Market research shows that sales of e-bikes in the United States totaled 65 million in 2016-17, a 95% increase over the previous 12 months. This growth is despite the high cost of e-bikes when compared to their traditional counterparts, which can serve as a deterrent to some potential users. But it’s not just individuals buying in: 1 in 4 bikes in Birmingham, Alabama’s bikeshare fleet are e-bikes, and dockless bikeshare providers have made e-bikes available to residents and visitors of several cities across the United States.

Proponents argue that with an e-bike, barriers to cycling such as hilly topography, long distances to destinations and the need to carry children or cargo—and the associated exertion and sweating—can be overcome. This enables people to make trips by bike that they might not have otherwise, substituting e-bikes in place of other modes, including cars.

There is no doubt that e-bikes are quieter and better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. While there is debate about whether the health benefits of riding a pedal-assist bike are comparable to those from riding a conventional bike, e-bikes can act as a gateway to biking for sedentary or unconfident users.

Perhaps most significantly, e-bikes can grant people with physical limitations new recreation or transportation options. Indeed, the National Institute for Transportation and Communities’ (NITC) 2017-18 survey of e-bike owners indicates that the bikes not only appeal to the young and the able-bodied, but also to older riders and persons with disabilities, health issues or injuries who still wish to be able to bike for recreation.

E-bike related blogs:

Exploring America’s E-Bike Evolution

E-bikes have gained a solid foothold since emerging in the biking world over the past two decades, and their increased usage has sparked interest and questions in the trail community. This article examines the current policies and recommendations on e-bikes, the perceptions and concerns around them, and their potential benefits.

Trail Moments | Adventure for All: Advocating for Accessible Outdoor Spaces

People with disabilities also like a spectrum of experiences and—especially with all this new technology—are capable of a wide variety.

#TrailMoments with Albert Ting (@pootie_ting)

For me, the positive impact that going car-free has on air quality, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing traffic congestion far outweighs the benefits of owning a car.

Trail Moments | A Journey Along the Anacostia River Trail

As a longtime resident of Hyattsville, Maryland, I watched as the Anacostia River Trail (ART) was expanded and finally completed. It meanders along the Anacostia River from Bladensburg, Maryland, to D.C.’s Wharf area, about 12 miles one way. This is my favorite local trail—and it’s only 2 miles from my house!

Classification of E-bikes

The bike industry has developed a three-tier classification system for e-bikes to clearly delineate them from other motorized vehicles. This system is based on the power source and maximum assisted speed of the bicycle.

Class I e-bikes are those in which the motor provides a boost only when a rider is pedaling. The boost cuts out at 20 miles per hour (mph), and the rider must rely on their own muscle power to go any faster than that.

Class II e-bikes are those in which the throttle can be switched to provide a boost up to a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph, without any pedaling required. The boost cuts out at 20 mph, and the rider must rely on their own muscle power to go any faster than that.

Class III e-bikes are pedal-assist like Class I’s, except they have a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph. They are also equipped with a speedometer.

Typically, where e-bikes have been allowed off-road on multiuse trails, they have been Class I’s and Class II’s, and are subject to the same rules and regulations that govern other cyclists.

Regulation of E-bikes

Federal Policy

Federal regulation of e-bikes is the responsibility of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which regulates the manufacture, initial sale and recall of low-speed e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph under throttle. Critically, CPSC regulation of e-bikes does not include their usage.

According to the CPSC, a low-speed e-bike is defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.

Electric bikes which do not meet this low-speed definition may be subject to other regulations at the federal, state and local level, such as those governing mopeds, scooters or motorcycles.

State Policy

The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a primer of the state laws relating to e-bikes. From that data:

  • 31 states and the District of Columbia have a law defining e-bikes. In most cases, the bikes are considered distinct from motorized vehicles.
  • 19 states gave no definition of e-bikes and are likely to classify them as motorized vehicles, typically with all the licensing and registration requirements implied therein. Since motorized vehicles are typically not allowed on multiuse trails, this precludes their use on these facilities, as well as in bike lanes and on sidewalks.
  • Some states have instituted age restrictions on the use of e-bikes. And some states mandate helmet use while others do not.

E-bikes on Multiuse Trails

Pilot Programs

In Colorado, state law classifies e-bikes as bicycles, a default used across the state unless the local jurisdiction wishes to make its own regulations. In 2014, following this change to state policy, the City of Boulder introduced a year-long pilot program in which Class I and II e-bikes were allowed on certain hard-surface trails to investigate the behavior of e-bike users and whether they were compatible with other non-motorized uses. During the pilot, the City collected safety data on reported collisions and close-calls involving e-bikes on these trails. They also conducted outreach to solicit public opinion and educate the public about the study.

The City found that there were few e-cyclists among the population of trail users, and there were no reports of bike collisions during the study period. Confident about the safety of e-bikes, the City of Boulder adopted a rule allowing their use on paved trails within the city while banning them from trails in designated open-space areas. The city website hosts a downloadable map of all trails on which e-bikes can be used. In addition, the City partners with a local trail advocacy group to educate users on trail etiquette.

The Boulder approach inspired other cities to attempt their own e-bikes-on-trails pilot programs:

Park City, Utah. performed their pilot in 2015, limiting Class I and II e-bikes to paved trails wider than eight feet within city limits. The City added signage at trailheads to indicate where e-bikes were allowed or prohibited. The pilot included a data-collection component, with the City performing trail counts, field observations, intercept surveys and speed counts, as well as reviewing police reports; and an outreach-and-education component using traditional media, a dedicated website and an online survey. Today, the City allows e-bikes on all paved multiuse trails, as well as on soft-surface trails wider than five feet with a 15-mph speed limit for all users. A map of trails where e-bikes are permitted is available on the city website.

In addition, Park City introduced Summit Bike Share in 2017, a bikeshare with exclusively pedal-assist e-bikes, available to be rented by residents 18 years and older.

In Seattle, Washington, five trails were chosen to be part of the trial period for Class I and II e-bikes in response to the city’s hilly topography, availability of dockless bikeshare e-bikes and changes to state law allowing e-bikes on multiuse paths. The program began in August 2018 and ran for one year; as of November 2019, the pilot results were under review. Seattle Parks and Seattle Police will collaborate on the enforcement of trail rules, which may include a speed limit of 15 mph.

Other Examples

Some cities have allowed e-bikes on their multiuse trails without first running a pilot program. Boise, Idaho, revised its bicycle laws in 2017 to allow Class I and II e-bikes to be operated on streets, bike lanes, sidewalks and on the Boise River Greenbelt. For the mountain biking trails in the Boise Foothills, only persons with mobility impairments are allowed to use e-bikes.

Earlier that same year, the City of Tempe, Arizona, adopted an ordinance which, among other things, permitted use of e-bikes on multiuse trails at a top speed of 20 mph. E-bikes must yield to pedestrians and equestrians and slow to 5 mph when passing. Riders must also be 16 or older, and riders between 16-18 have to wear helmets.

The influx of dockless bikeshares and electric scooters inspired Scottsdale. Arizona, to mull over the parking and operating codes for these vehicles. As of December 2018, Class 1 and 2 bikes, as well as e-scooters, are allowed on shared use trails.

The state of Arizona officially adopted the three-tier classification system for e-bikes in January 2019. The new law also allows e-bikes with a top speed on 20 mph to be used on any trails statewide, with flexibility for local authorities to decide whether to restrict or allow e-bikes on trails within their own footprints.

Safety, Speed and User Conflicts

The prevailing concern about allowing e-bikes on trails is the question of safety—particularly related to speed. The perception is that motor-assisted riders will race down trails, making them dangerous and unpleasant for other types of users.

However, a study conducted in Switzerland showed that while average speeds of cyclists on e-bikes were higher than those using traditional bikes (14 mph vs. 8.7 mph), the top speed of most e-bike users was usually well below 20 mph.

over, the issue of speeding is not peculiar to e-bikes. Many a trail user can attest to being startled by cyclists blowing past them at unsafe speeds.

User conflicts are an unfortunate but expected reality of multiuse trails, where a variety of user types share a fairly constrained space. As with other types of user conflicts, maintaining safety on a trail is often better accomplished by enforcing proper behavior rather than strictly regulating the equipment used. If e-bikes are allowed on a trail, they should conform to the existing rules of the trail and norms of trail etiquette including :

  • Maintain safe speeds. Heed all posted speed limits.
  • Keep right, pass left and call out as you do.
  • Yield to pedestrians. equestrian users and other slower trail users.

Electric powered bicycles

The use of electric-assist bicycles (“e-bikes”) has grown rapidly over the last 5 years. Modern e-bikes often look indistinguishable from a “regular” bike but have robust batteries and technology which are capable of sensing when a rider needs a helping hand over a hill, into a headwind, or accelerating from a stop. While e-bikes have existed for years, recent advances in technology have allowed batteries to become smaller, lighter, cheaper, and longer range, enhancing the usefulness, appeal, and affordability of these machines. E-bikes appeal to many types of people but particularly for those who use them as a tool to overcome limited physical fitness, for people running everyday errands who want to carry heavier loads, and for parents transporting children. In addition, several bike share systems have begun adding e-bikes to their fleet in Pioneer Valley, in the LimeBike network, and elsewhere around Massachusetts, enhancing the appeal of bikeshare for everyday riding.

Current E-Bike Laws in Massachusetts

As of August 10, 2022, the e-bike definition language was signed into law as amendments to the Transportation Bond Bill (H.5151 ) to include Class 1 and Class 2 definitions for e-bikes. This law went into effect 90 days from signing, on November 8, 2022.

CLASS 1: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph, with an electric motor of 750 watts or less. CLASS 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph, with an electric motor of 750 watts or less.

Note: MassBike will continue to advocate for a Class 3 definition in order to match MA law with federal definitions and statewide regulations set by the Department of Conservation of Recreation.

Regulations

E-bike riders are afforded all the rights and privileges related to all bicycle riders, except that e-bikes are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks.

Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles are not considered to be motorized bicycles as further defined in MA law, as such are allowed on bikeways and bike paths, however a local jurisdiction may regulate and prohibit their use, but only after a public notice and public hearing.

E-bikes are not allowed on natural surface trails (ie. mountain bike trails) unless otherwise permitted by a local jurisdiction.

The Previous Law

Before the e-bike definition amendment passed in the Transportation Bond Bill, there was no designation with which to regulate e-bikes. However a “motorized bicycle” is defined as having a helper motor with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour. Motorized bicycle riders must be licensed, and are prohibited from off-street pathways.

The lack of similar designation for e-bike riders left ambiguity in where electric bicycles should be ridden on paths, trails, and sidewalks.

Want to read more about e-bikes? Click here for our in depth FAQ.

E-Bike Rebates

Thanks to Representative Natalie Blais (1st Franklin), the Transportation Bond Bill included a provision for 1M to establish a state rebate program to offset the cost of e-bikes with 500 rebates to consumers – and 750 rebates for low-income consumers. The bill directs the Department of Energy Resources to evaluate offering electric bicycle rebates at the point of sale through Massachusetts owned and operated bicycle retailers. This is a bond authorization that still needs to be included in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to be allocated, which is done by the Governor’s administration. Typically, the finance teams will begin this work early next year in 2023, with a plan released in late May or early June. Once the funding is included in the CIP, the grant program can be announced.

MassBike is advocating for the ability to apply the rebate retroactively, which is still in discussion.

Interested in e-bike rebates? You can elevate the issue by contacting your local State Representative and Senator to ask for their help making sure the CIP includes this rebate when finalized in 2023.

National Legislation

There is a bill in the House of Representatives, Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment Act or the E-BIKE Act, which would allow a refundable tax credit for 30% of the cost of a qualified electric bicycle. You can see the full bill here: H.R. 1019. E-Bike Act

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