Best electric bikes | 15 top-rated ebikes for every type of rider. Fixie e bike

Best electric bikes | 15 top-rated ebikes for every type of rider

The best electric bike for you will depend on the type of riding you want to do, so in this guide we’ll cover the whole range of different electric bike types and recommend some of the best we’ve tested.

Electric bikes – or ebikes as they’re commonly known – are bicycles with an electric motor and battery that provides assistance as you pedal. There are many benefits to riding an electric bike. Electric bikes make riding up hills easier and will enable most riders to travel at a higher speed over longer distances without arriving at their destination covered in sweat.

Despite common misconceptions, you can still ride an electric bike for fitness. Electric bike laws limit the power of an ebike’s motor, so you still need to pedal – there’s no twist-and-go throttle here. There is an electric bike for every type of riding. Electric folding bikes and electric hybrid bikes are great choices for cycling to work, the best electric mountain bikes will help you get to the top of the next trail so you can enjoy more descending and the best electric road bikes and electric gravel bikes will enable you to take on longer adventures. Making sense of how an electric bike works and how to choose the right one for you is a daunting task. Luckily for you, BikeRadar’s team of expert testers have put in hundreds of hours riding more than 175 electric bikes across all categories. Our testing is 100 per cent editorially independent, so you can always trust our recommendations. In this in-depth buyer’s guide to choosing the best electric bike for any rider, we’ll talk you through the things you need to consider for each category of ebike. We also highlight the best bikes we have reviewed, as selected by BikeRadar’s expert team of tech editors, for each type of ebike, with links to our detailed buyer’s guide for each category. We also have a general buyer’s guide to electric bike tech at the bottom of this article that answers common questions. For even more information, take a look at our ebike FAQs. There’s a lot to cover here, so use the links below to skip to the section you need, or read on for every detail.

best, electric, bikes, top-rated

Best electric hybrid bikes

Like a non-assisted hybrid bike, electric hybrid bikes feature an upright riding position, flat bars and stable handling. They’re often the least expensive entry point into ebikes.

With lots of mounting points for accessories such as pannier bags and mudguards, electric hybrids are great if you’re planning to commute to work by bike, ride around town or want to go for leisurely rides on bike trails or through parks.

Electric hybrid bikes can be quite heavy because they tend to use less sophisticated motor systems and the bikes are built for robustness. This is worth bearing in mind if you need to carry them up stairs.

Below is a selection of four of the very best electric hybrid bikes as tested by our senior road technical editor, Warren Rossiter. For more recommendations, check out our full round-up of the best electric hybrid bikes.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

  • £2,600 / €2,999 / 3,500 as tested
  • Pros: Well-tuned power delivery; low weight
  • Cons: Lower-torque motor means you have to put in more work

Specialized makes two electric hybrid bike ranges. Whereas the standard Turbo Vado is a heavy-duty ebike, the Vado SL uses a less powerful motor with 35Nm of torque. This reduces the weight to under 15kg, but the flip side is that you have less assistance than with the Turbo Vado, which could be a problem on hills.

The other advantage of the lower output is clean looks, with the concealed battery giving a sporty appearance. Specialized fits lights to all models and includes mudguards and a luggage rack on pricier models.

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Canyon Pathlite:ON 5

  • £2,499 / €2,699, as tested
  • Pros: Great handling and confident off-road
  • Cons: Heavy versus its rivals

The Canyon Pathlite:ON 5 is a powerful electric hybrid bike that handles and rides commendably. Our testing found the Canyon’s 100km claimed range to be true, but there’s no denying the bike is heavy at 23.5kg.

Where the Pathlite:ON 5 truly stands out is off the tarmac, where it rivals electric mountain bikes with confidence-inspiring chunky tyres and a shock-absorbing suspension fork.

Tern Quick Haul P9

  • £3,100 / 3,299 / AU4995 as tested
  • Pros: Great fun to ride and versatile
  • Cons: Official add-ons are fairly pricey

The Tern Quick Haul P9 looks like a cargo bike at first glance, but its compact design means it isn’t much longer than a typical electric hybrid.

With the option to fit a huge array of useful add-on accessories both front and back, our tester described the Quick Haul P9 as a “genuinely viable car replacement”.

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Best electric folding bikes

Commuters who travel by public transport or are short on space are catered for too. Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

If you want to cycle to work or are just pressed for space to store your ride, a compact electric folding bike could be the answer.

Folding ebikes often have the battery hidden in their frames, or they may come with a removable battery to make carrying them on and off public transport a bit easier.

A removable battery also means you can take it somewhere where it’s easier to charge (at your desk, for example, if you use the bike to ride to work).

But the extra weight of the motor and battery means carrying a folding ebike on and off public transport, and up and down stairs, will be harder. The available range can be quite limited in some models too.

For more product recommendations, check out our round-up of the best folding electric bikes.

Brompton Electric

The Brompton Electric adds a front-hub motor to the iconic folder. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £2,725 as tested
  • Pros: Very compact fold; smooth power delivery
  • Cons: Quite heavy; two pieces to carry

A front-hub motor adds electric power to the classic Brompton folding bike, giving you a range of around 40km. The battery sits in a separate pack, which can be removed from the bike for carrying.

Since we tested the Brompton Electric, the standard bike has been redesignated the C Line Explore. It’s been joined by the P Line, which uses lighter frame materials and components to chop almost 2kg off the C Line’s 17.4kg claimed weight.

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GoCycle G4

  • £3,999 as tested
  • Pros: Larger wheels ride more smoothly; stylish design
  • Cons: Expensive; doesn’t fold as small as some ebikes

While pricey, the GoCycle G4 is a folder, commuter and electric bike in one. The ride and handling are far more assured than most folding bikes on- and off-road, thanks to the meaty tyres and larger wheels.

The bike folds in half at its centre, making it easier to roll than to carry and the removable battery in the front of the frame is accessed via the fold. At over 17kg, it’s quite heavy though.

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MiRider One GB3

The GB3 is an upgrade on the original MiRider One, with an accompanying price rise. David Caudery / Our Media

  • £2,495 as tested
  • Pros: Very compact
  • Cons: Price has increased significantly from the original bike

The MiRider One GB3 is an upgrade from the original model we tested a few years ago. Unfortunately, that’s resulted in a significant price hike, but the ebike is still a compact, nippy city commuter.

The belt drive is cleaner and lower-maintenance than a chain, there’s good adjustability, and built-in rear suspension and wide tyres add comfort.

The GB3 design has three speeds, adding flexibility over the singlespeed predecessor, and you can change gear while stationary. We achieved a range of up to 50km.

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Best electric mountain bikes

Electric mountain bikes can be great on the climbs, but handling on the descents can take a bit of getting used to. Ian Linton

An electric mountain bike will get you to the top quicker, particularly on technical, steeper climbs, and with more energy to enjoy the descents. Plus, getting up the ups more easily will give you extra range to explore further.

Recent improvements in eMTB performance mean handling is approaching that of the best mountain bikes without a motor, providing heaps of flat-out riding fun.

But, nevertheless, the extra weight can make handling more tricky on particularly technical sections, so it’s a good idea to ease off a bit until you’ve got the feel of the bike

This is a small selection of the best electric mountain bikes we have tested, as selected by our expert team of mountain bike tech editors, Alex Evans, Robin Weaver and Tom Marvin.

Vitus E-Sommet VRX

For the money, the E-Sommet has to be one of the best electric mountain bikes out there. Ian Linton / Our Media

  • £5,499 as tested
  • Pros: Quality spec; great geometry and suspension
  • Cons: Awkward cable routing and bottle placement

The Vitus E-Sommet adds a powerful Shimano EP8 motor and large-capacity battery to Vitus’ enduro platform. It rolls on a 29in front and 27.5in rear wheel mullet build and is impressively specced for its price, with a 170mm RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork, a Super Deluxe Select RT shock and Shimano’s XT groupset.

The E-Sommet descends and climbs impressively, with both comfort and great grip, making it fun, engaging and highly capable.

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Marin Rift Zone E2

  • £5,895 / 6,299 / €6,899 as tested
  • Pros: Lively; great spec
  • Cons: Slightly over-geared; less powerful motor than its competitors

The Marin Rift Zone E2 is a classy, comfortable full-suspension electric mountain bike with 140mm travel. It can take you beyond its trail riding mandate, handling more technical descents well.

The Rift Zone ebike is well specced for its price, although the Shimano EP801 motor’s 85Nm torque is a little less than competitors. We’d have preferred a smaller chainring than the 38t fitted for easier climbing.

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Whyte E-160 RSX

  • £7,999 as tested
  • Pros: Calm and composed handling; hides its weight well
  • Cons: Some chain slap; seat tube too slack for optimal climbing

The Whyte E-160 RSX is a well-equipped enduro bike, with its battery mounted below the Bosch motor to lower its centre of gravity.

Whyte says the full down tube this allows improves torsional rigidity as well. Lower-spec E-160s are available in both 29in and ‘mullet’ form, so you can pick your preferred wheel configuration, although this top-spec model is 29in only.

best, electric, bikes, top-rated

Despite its 26kg-plus weight, we found the low centre of gravity made for impressive downhill performance, although we’d have liked to see a slightly steeper seat tube for better climbing.

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Best electric road bikes

It’s often hard to tell many electric road bikes from their unassisted counterparts. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

If you enjoy road cycling, but want a bit of help to keep your speed up or to get you up hills, an electric road bike could be the right choice for you.

Most e-road bikes use lightweight motor systems that provide less power than the motors used on electric hybrid or mountain bikes. This means they’re typically a bit lighter too, with the very lightest models tipping the scales at around 11kg.

However, with many road riders achieving speeds on the flat of 15mph or above, you may feel you’re carrying dead weight around, with the motor cutting out at that top-assisted speed, although assistance can continue to 20mph, or even in some cases 28mph in much of the USA.

Below are three of the very best electric road bikes senior road technical editor Warren Rossiter has tested to date.

BMC Roadmachine AMP One

  • £7,600 / €7,999 as tested
  • Pros: Smooth ride; compact motor; impressive range
  • Cons: Tyres may need a swap-out for colder, wetter conditions

The BMC Roadmachine AMP One doesn’t look much different from its non-assisted sibling; it’s only the slightly expanded down tube, hiding a 350Wh battery, that shows there’s extra assistance. The Mahle X20 motor is so compact it hides between the largest cassette sprocket and the disc rotor.

The ride feels like the non-assisted Roadmachine as well, despite the 12kg weight. Range is impressive, heading up to 160km, depending on the conditions. We’d swap out the tyres for winter use though.

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Scott Addict eRide Premium

The Scott Addict eRide Premium looks and rides like a racy road bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £8,349 / 9,299 as tested
  • Pros: Great looks; top-spec build; lovely handling
  • Cons: Non-removable battery

The Scott Addict eRide Premium has similar geometry to the Scott Addict RC Disc and the same carbon frame. The result is a possible sub-11kg build powered by the consistent ebikemotion rear-hub motor.

Neatly concealed in the down tube, the battery managed 100km and 2,000m elevation in testing. The 2022 version of the bike has been renamed as the Scott Addict eRide Ultimate.

Fixie e bike

After 3 years SUSHI BIKES we launch our third bike: The Maki 3.0 is here! The clean design remains, but technically the bike plays on a completely new level.

NEWS

The Maki 3.0 is our latest model with many upgrades that provide more comfort, safety and fun on every ride.

Front and rear lights are now permanently installed on the bike and are supplied with power from the battery. You can switch them on and off via the display.Hydraulic disc brakes allow very precise braking and require little adjustment. Encapsulated from moisture or dirt, the brakes are also particularly low-maintenance.The robust, puncture-proof tires provide even more safety thanks to the grippy profile and are now even branded with the SUSHI BIKES logo.To be able to easily transport your bike, a quick release is installed on the front wheel of the SUSHI BIKES 3.0. You don’t need any tools and the bike can be removed and reinstalled in seconds.Thanks to the new saddle and ergonomic grips, you’ll sit super comfortably on your SUSHI BIKE.

In addition to these new features, the 3.0 models also convince in terms of sustainability: The SUSHI BIKE 3.0 is manufactured in Portugal. We were able to shorten our supply chains enormously, gain efficiency and thus reduce the ecological footprint of each bike extremely.

BATTERY ENGINE

Small miracle battery: The battery is small, light and handy.

Innovative display: Super small and simple. and yet everything is there.

Efficient engine: Just what you need for inner-city routes.

SIZE FRAME GEOMETRY

The Maki 3.0 is available in sizes S, M and L.

We recommend frame size S / 50 cm frame height for a body height under 172 cm.

We recommend frame size M / 55 cm frame height for a body height between 173-179 cm.

best, electric, bikes, top-rated

We recommend frame size L / 60 cm frame height for a body height over 180 cm.

While height provides a rough guide, your stride height is also very relevant. If the frame is too high, you could injure yourself in the event of an abrupt descent by banging on the top tube. Accordingly, you choose the height of the top tube so that there is still some air between the frame and your crotch. To do this, you can simply compare your step height with these measurements:

So if you measure more than 83 cm, you can without hesitation the Maki 3.0 in frame size L ride. With a crotch height of 83cm or less, we advise you to size M, and so on.

TECH SPECS

The installed components have standard dimensions for the most part. This gives you maximum flexibility in terms of conversions and accessories. Of course you can also Child seats and trailers be mounted on the SUSHI BIKE.

DELIVERY ASSEMBLY

Everything you need to know about delivery.

You can also have your bike delivered to one of our partner workshops.

WARRANTY

Even though our price is tough as nails and we think we can solve most problems without return shipping, we won’t let you down.

Here you can find the complete General warranty conditions.

How to convert a bike to electric power | Electric bike conversion kits explained

The best electric bike conversion kits will enable you to add a motor to your existing bike simply and relatively cheaply – at least compared to the price of buying a whole new electric bike.

There are an increasing number of ebike conversion kits out there, and they’re getting more sophisticated and easier to install on your bike, making for a practical alternative to a new purpose-built electric bike. An electric bike conversion kit will include the motor to drive you along and the battery to power it. It also needs to include the apparatus to control the power output level. This usually takes the form of a bar-mounted display.

In addition, a kit will include sensors to detect how fast you’re travelling and your level of pedal input to ensure the power supplied matches your needs. We’ve tested a few electric bike conversion kits here at BikeRadar, but there are lots more we’re yet to try. A full test of the best electric bike conversion kits is in the works – stay tuned. If you want a more detailed explanation of the different types of kit available and things to consider when purchasing an electric bike conversion kit, then head to our explainer further down the page.

Best electric bike conversion kits 2022: our picks

Swytch electric bike conversion kit

Swytch says its electric bike conversion kit can convert any bike into an electric bike. Stan Portus / Our Media

  • Pros: Very compact; easy to install; variety of range options
  • Cons: 100mm threaded front axle only; not compatible with thru-axles

London-based Swytch makes a conversion kit that, it says, is the lightest in the world at 3kg total weight. It can convert any bike into an ebike.

The kit includes a 40Nm brushless hub-based motor that comes pre-laced into a replacement front wheel. The lithium-ion battery pack connects to your handlebars and also acts as the system controller and LCD display.

There’s a crank-mounted cadence sensor, and that’s all you need to fit to your bike to get going.

There’s a Brompton-specific kit available too, with an adaptor for the Brompton’s front luggage mount.

Depending on the range you want, there are three sizes of battery pack available, which provide a claimed range of 35km, 50km or 100km.

Swytch has recently unveiled an even more compact kit with a.sized battery that weighs just 700g and, Swytch says, gives 15km of range.

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Cytronex electric bike conversion kit

Cytronex makes electric bike conversion kits for Bromptons, as well as standard bikes. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • Pros: Clever sensor tech; decent range
  • Cons: Not much onboard info on battery level and range

Weighing between 3.2kg and 3.6kg, the Cytronex ebike conversion kit is another front-wheel conversion to house a hub motor, but in this case, the battery is designed to fit in a standard bottle cage.

We tested the kit on a Cannondale Quick hybrid and reckon that conversion takes around 30 minutes. The charge level is displayed via LEDs on the battery, which also houses the system controller. We got up to an impressive 48 miles on a charge.

We’ve also tested the kit on a Brompton P Line lightweight folder, where the total weight undercut the C Line-based Brompton Electric. Fit it to a C Line and it’s also cheaper than the Brompton Electric.

Electric bike conversion kits: different types explained

Electric bike conversion kits come in styles to suit all types of bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

There are a number of ways to electrify your existing bike for assistance up those hills: you can fit a powered wheel, either front or rear; you can attach a drive unit to the bottom bracket; you can fit a motor above the rear wheel and drive it via friction; or, most sneakily, you can conceal a motor in the seatpost.

Whether you ride a hybrid, mountain bike, road bike or even a folder, tourer or gravel bike, it should be possible to convert your bike.

Many can even be fitted by a competent home mechanic if you’re feeling handy and have an afternoon spare.

So, what are your options? Let’s take a look at the different ways to convert your non-assisted bike into an electric bike.

Powered ebike wheels

The Swytch is a good example of a readily available universal electric bike conversion kit that uses a motor at the front hub. Swytch

best, electric, bikes, top-rated

Fitting a powered ebike wheel is probably the most practical option for many people.

A powered ebike wheel is built around a special hub that contains a motor. This is usually powered by a separate battery.

This sounds simple, but the main downside is that it adds rotating mass to your bike, which feels harder to accelerate than non-rotating mass.

There’s a steady stream of front- and rear-wheel conversion kits on Amazon and eBay, all looking suspiciously similar, priced from around £150 and with names you’ve probably never heard of.

Be wary of systems controlled by a throttle (also called ‘twist-and-go’) though. Legally, they’re classified as electric motorcycles rather than ebikes, and need to be taxed and insured. Take a look at our guide to ebike laws for more information.

Rear-mounted friction drive ebike conversion kit

Readers of a certain age may remember earlier incarnations of these in the 1980s/90s: a box that sits on your rear wheel and powers it via friction with a rubber flywheel driven by a motor.

The idea hasn’t gone away, and lives on in devices such as the Rubbee, which promises bolt-on electric assistance for nearly any bike.

Rubbee’s base model has a claimed weight of just 2.8kg, with a 16km range that can be extended up to 48km with the top-spec, 4kg version.

It works with any wheel diameter between 16in and 29in, has an integrated carrying handle and clips on and off your seatpost. start from €579.

Concealed ebike conversion kit

The Vivax Assist hid a motor in the seat tube of the frame and applied power directly to the axle of the crank. Vivax

Now we come to the low-key way to do it – hiding a motor inside your bike so no one knows it’s there.

The Vivax Assist was the best-known device for doing this, although the company has now ceased trading. It’s the system that was used by Belgian cyclocross pro Femke Van den Driessche in 2016 to power her way to victory in her home championships. She was found out at a subsequent race, got a six-year ban and quit racing.

Vivax Assist may be no more, but we reckon this idea still has legs – at least for the budding cyclocross cheat.

Mid-drive ebike conversion kit

eBay and Amazon are awash with mid-drive motor electric bike conversion kits like this one from TongSheng. TongSheng

Many commercially available ebikes are powered with motors mounted around the bottom bracket, near the pedals.

These have the advantage of placing the weight low down on the bike, making it more stable.

This isn’t just a ready-made option though – you can also buy aftermarket conversion kits with mid-drive units.

Bafang is a brand that is increasingly focusing on complete ebikes, but it also offers a mid-drive conversion kit on Amazon, as well as wheel hub motors.

Priced from £360, Bafang says the conversion is easy to install using only a few tools to remove the bottom bracket and fit the drive on the front of the down tube.

As above, be careful of throttle-controlled kits that won’t pass the UK ebike regulations and will legally be considered a moped.

You’ll find other mid-motor systems on Amazon too, such as that from TongSheng, which is claimed to fit 95 per cent of standard bike frames and be 30 per cent lighter than a Bafang unit.

It uses a torque sensor, so should fall within the ebike regulations, and is priced from around £350 – although that doesn’t include a battery.

German brand Pendix has a mid-drive system priced from €999 to €2,190 that weighs from 5.4kg for a 28km range. It replaces a BSA bottom bracket and can be fitted to folding bikes as well as a wide range of regular machines.

Folding ebike conversion kit

The Brompton electric conversion from Electric Concepts is one of many kits available to electrify an existing Brompton. Electric Concepts

What can you do if you’ve got a folding bike and want to join the electric revolution?

Well there’s good news if you’ve got a Brompton – a number of ebike conversion kits are available. They generally work with a powered hub in the front wheel and a battery carried in a bag mounted on the front.

As discussed above, Swytch and Cytronex can both be used to convert a Brompton. Swytch’s Brompton kit is priced at £999, although discounts of up to 50 per cent are sometimes available on the site.

As with its other systems, there’s a front wheel hub motor, a clip-on power pack and a bottom bracket torque sensor. Quoted range is up to 50km.

Swytch will also build wheels for folders with other wheel sizes and different fork blade widths, such as Dahon’s models.

Are electric bike conversion kits legal?

If your electric bike uses a throttle, it is technically classed as a moped, and must be taxed and insured as such. Simon Bromley / Our Media

Most electric bike conversion kits are legal to fit to a bike, although the precise rules differ depending on where you live.

In most of the world, the motor needs to be limited to a maximum of 250 watts of continuous power output, unless the electric bike is only used on private land.

You also need to be pedalling for the motor to work – a throttle can only operate at low speeds and assistance needs to cut out once the speed exceeds 25kph. There may be a minimum age to ride an electric bike: in the UK it’s 14.

The rules are different in the US, where higher power outputs and higher speeds are usually legal, while Australia has some variants as well, so it’s worth checking that your electric bike conversion kit is legal where you live before purchasing.

Is converting an electric bike worth it?

An electric bike conversion kit is not cheap, so you want to be sure it’s going to work for you.

You need to have a candidate bike in decent condition to justify taking the kit route.

If you’re going to have to buy a bike to fit the kit to, or going to need to make a lot of repairs to your bike to make it roadworthy, the total cost is probably going to mean it’s not a lot cheaper than buying a complete electric bike.

You need to be confident you can fit the kit yourself as well. If you’re going to have to pay a shop to fit the motor or sort things out if the conversion goes wrong, your savings over purchasing a new electric bike may dwindle quickly.

It’s also worth noting that an electric bike conversion kit may affect your bike’s handling, particularly if there’s a heavy motor and battery mounted somewhere where the bike was not designed to carry it.

Drivetrain components may not be adequately beefed up for the extra power they need to transmit and may wear or break. Factors such as torque steer may be a problem, and cabling and sensors can be unsightly.

In contrast, if you buy a complete electric bike from a reputable brand, it will have been engineered around the motor and battery, and you’ll know what the finished product looks like.

Can you convert any bike into an electric bike?

There are designs of electric bike conversion kit that will work with pretty much any type of bike. Kits are available that are engineered specifically for certain bikes, such as the folding bike conversion kits we’ve talked about above.

A design such as the Rubbee should be mountable on most bikes. However, tyre wear may be an issue with a road bike with narrower tyres, and wet-weather grip between the motor’s drive wheel and the tyre may also be a problem.

But some kits, such as those that work with a specific bottom bracket configuration, may not fit on some bikes. An unusual wheel size may also limit available options, so it’s worth checking the compatibility of your planned solution before buying.

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Three E-Bikes to Help Throttle Up This Fall

A clever commuter, a knobby-tired beast, and a folding, carbon-fiber two-wheel-drive bike with a McLaren connection.

If you’ve never ridden an e-bike, it might be easy to miss the appeal. You don’t get the exercise of a regular bike, nor the speed of a motorcycle—or, for that matter, of a 50-cc moped. But e-bikes are sneaky fun. Most of them go at least 20 mph, with some models providing assist to 28 mph. And while that’s not enough to hang with traffic on a two-lane highway, it’s plenty around a local neighborhood or downtown, and the sensation of gliding silently down the road is unexpectedly satisfying. It’s the rush of releasing the brakes on your old BMX and ripping down a big hill, everywhere you go.

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

It puts a grin on your face, says Richard Thorpe, a former McLaren design engineer who founded e-bike manufacturer Gocycle. People get it. It’s a transformative product. Just this year, I’ve seen loads more on my daily commute.

Or, as one of our 11-year-olds said as she cruised up a hill on a Gocycle, I’m never going to pedal again!

(She has since pedaled plenty on her own old-fashioned bike. Uphill. Both ways. Because that’s how we had to do it.)

Since e-bikes are constantly evolving and morphing into new forms, we took some time this summer to test three examples that target decidedly different riders and price points: the Charge Comfort step-through, the Biktrix Moto dirt-bike-in-disguise, and the Gocycle GXi, a carbon-fiber folding bike with an usual feature: two-wheel-drive.

Charge Comfort

The Charge Comfort (1699) is a step-through city bike that, with the flip of a few levers, can turn itself two-dimensional. The handlebars spin to line up with the frame and the pedals fold up vertically, allowing you to place the bike flat against a wall in your house or garage (or, as we did, flat on a hitch-mounted cargo carrier without worrying about the handlebars scraping the pavement). Great idea, especially if you have multiple bikes.

The Comfort arrives almost fully assembled, with an easy-to-follow printed guide that makes it hard to screw up—the valve stems on the tires even turn green when the air pressure is high enough, in case you don’t have a gauge. Really, all you have to do is install the front tire and tighten a few nuts with the included torque T-handle torque wrench.

A Suntour fork provides about three inches of travel, which is enough to take the edge off of cracked pavement—it’s not like this is a Stumpjumper—and a 6061 aluminum frame helps keep weight down to 51 pounds. This is an e-bike that you can actually pedal without assistance, if need be (range is up to 50 miles, depending on how much you use the motor). It’s also one that you’ll pedal along with the electric assist, because the rear hub motor is only 250 watts. On flat roads, it’ll get the Charge up to its 20-mph limit, but on hills you might need to pedal along to keep things moving. Especially if you’ve loaded up the rear rack to its 44-pound capacity. Our only other critique? Placing the thumb throttle on the left bar feels a little awkward. But that’s good news if you’re a southpaw.

Biktrix Moto

We rode more than 100 miles on the Biktrix Moto (2499) before it occurred to us to try pedaling. Indeed, with its off-road-moped styling, 750-watt hub motor and low-slung seat, you can forget that the Biktrix is a bike. And once we actually tried riding it like one, we quickly went back to the throttle—with a single speed, nonadjustable seat height and 75 pound weight, the Moto’s pedals are vestigial signifiers of human-powered travel. If you have to use them, something’s gone terribly wrong.

The Moto is available with either 20-inch or 24-inch wheels, accommodating riders from 5’5” to “5’10” plus,” which we assume to mean Tacko Fall. We tested one of the first bikes off the line, and as such the assembly instructions were a bit confusing, in that there weren’t any. Biktrix soon put out a video guide, but in the meantime we’d gotten it all assembled except for the front headlight and fender, so we just started riding. And the Moto is a blast. It’s nominally rated for a 20 mph top speed, but will usually pull to 25 mph before grudgingly throttling back down. The motor feels stronger than 750 watts, an impression supported by the onboard computer’s power-output screen, which can spike at nearly 1000 watts when climbing a hill. Even hauling a 190-pound rider up a steep hill, the Moto never lacks for power, and the battery is good for up to 50 miles of range. The Moto also has a dual-battery option, with a second battery under the seat doubling the range. Maybe you’d need that if you’re a courier riding all day, but otherwise the single battery is plenty.

Other than the front fender, we also never got the front hydraulic brake dialed in. It looked like either the front wheel or the brake rotor was slightly out of true, so the rotor lightly scraped the pads with every rotation. It would probably be an easy fix for a bike shop, but in the DIY spirit we just ignored it and kept riding.

Gocycle GXi

The key part of what I was doing there, Richard Thorpe, Gocycle’s CEO says of his time with McLaren, was working with lightweight structures, composite engineering. For example, when you’re packaging an F1 car, or a Le Mans car, the aerodynamicist shapes it. As engineers we had to go out and fit everything inside.

You’ve got this outside skin and you have to make it work. There’s no compromise. that’s something I really gained an appreciation for and carried through into Gocycle.

Thorpe’s e-bike business began as Karbon Kinetics in 2002. In 2009, the Gocycle G1 was introduced and the last 12 years have seen the steady evolution of that first e-bike. The GXi we got to play with in Ann Arbor was introduced in 2019 and featured another carryover from the McLaren days—a premium price (4799).

Earlier this year, the fourth-generation Gocycle G4 arrived with more enhancements and a base-model price of 3999. (The next step up, the G4i retails 4999, and the premium G4i can be yours for 5999). The biggest change is the introduction of the new G4Drive, after two years of development, which replaces the decade-old GX system in the bike we tested. One of the areas of improvement is low-end start-up torque, Thorpe says.

The GXi made us do just a touch of work before we could engage the motor and startle the neighborhood walkers as we silently shot by them at 20 mph, which we knew because the Gocycle smartphone app offers all kinds of information, let’s you play with drive modes, and attaches easily to the top of the handlebars. It also connects to the bike with an ease you don’t always find with Bluetooth tech.

The bike is light, around 36 pounds. Charging time is between four and seven hours, and when that’d finished, it’ll give you roughly 50 miles of range, depending on how you’re riding it and how much you want to assist the motor.

What all the models have in common is how exactly you go about assisting that motor. Gocycle’s electric motor powers the front wheel, you’re legs drive the rear, meaning you’ve got a nicely balanced two-wheel drive ride at your disposal.

The other feature that’s helped Gocycle stand out since its first model is that it folds up neat. Really easily. And that’s also Thorpe’s wishes at work. He was living and working in London, riding his conventional bike around town, and he had two stolen. So he wanted something he could fold up and take into the office, or his home. That’s great for city living, but it also makes it easy to load it into the car and drive it across town for a ride. It’s a product that’s very, very easy to live with, Thorpe says.

Ezra Dyer is a Car and Driver senior editor and columnist. He’s now based in North Carolina but still remembers how to turn right. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and once drove 206 mph. Those facts are mutually exclusive.

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