What do you think of when you hear “electric bike”?
While the idea for an electrically-powered bicycle has been around for a long time, they’ve really started capturing the imagination of riders in the past decade or so.
But there are still a lot of misconceptions.
People think that e-bikes are clunky, or are basically motorcycles, or are outrageously expensive when, in fact, there’s a huge variety of options out there.
Today we’re going to take a look at a few modern e-bikes to give you an idea of what’s available.
Electric Bike Price Comparison
- REI Electra Townie ($2,599)
- Raleigh Tamland IE ($4,749)
- Stromer ST5 ($10,000)
- IZIP E3 Dash($2,299)
- Trek Powerfly 5 ($3,499)
REI Electra Townie Go!
Electra’s Townie series has long been synonymous with sensible, functional bikes, and the Go! electric version is no exception.
This is a class 2 e-bike, so the pedal-assist motor will help you up to 20 mph (it’s worth noting that many bike paths only allow class 1 and 2 e-bikes). And with four different assist modes, you can choose how much assist you want.
Depending on the mode and terrain, you can get up to 100 miles of pedaling assistance—that’s tough to beat.
Another great feature of the REI Townie Go! is the internally geared hub. There’s no external derailleur or cassette, so there’s a lot less maintenance. This would also make for a great commuter bike. We picked 9 of the best bikes to commute to work. Be sure to check out that article for some fun bikes.
Combined with a rear rack, fenders, and lights, you have a winner of an all-around e-bike. Whether you’re commuting, running to the store, or just cruising around your neighborhood, the Townie Go! is a great choice. And at $2,599, it’s not a bank-breaker.
Raleigh Tamland IE
Raleigh has fully jumped into the world of e-bikes with numerous models that cover many different types of bikes. The Tamland, while not yet released at the time of this writing, is one of their most exciting.
It’s a drop-bar adventure road bike that forgoes the typical bulky battery in favor of a larger downtube that hides the internal battery. It’s a very stylish bike—from a distance, you could mistake it for a regular aero road bike.
But it packs some interesting features that you might not expect. For example, almost every road bike available uses 700c wheels (about 29″ in diameter). The Tamland IE uses 27.5″ wheels for quicker acceleration and better tire clearance; the stock tires at 47c, which are plenty big for gravel and light trail riding.
The class 3 motor will help you push up to 28 mph, which is probably faster than you’ll need on this adventure machine.
They’ve been making e-bikes for a long time, and Stromer continues to push the envelope. The ST5 puts all of their awesome tech on display. Most e-bikes pack a 500W motor; the ST5 brings 850W to bear.
The bike looks like a spaceship, and packs some really cool features. It has keyless locking and unlocking of the battery cover. Locking and unlocking the bike via Bluetooth from your phone. Electronic Shimano Di2 shifting. Headlight, rear light, and daytime running light.
It even has special e-bike-specific tires made by Pirelli.
This thing is absolutely packed to the gills with awesome technology.
It’s not quite out in the United States at the time of this writing. But when it releases, it’ll cost something like 10 grand.
You read that right. $10,000.
But for a spaceship on wheels, that seems pretty reasonable, doesn’t it?
Get the low-down on the Stromer ST5 – $10,000
IZIP E3 Dash
The E3 Dash is a class 3 e-bike, which means it can provide pedal-assistance power up to 28 mph. And with a large battery, you can get assistance for up to 16 miles. This makes the Dash a great commuter for people who need a little help keeping their speed up.
With a standard rear rack, fenders, kickstand, 50c tires, and a suspension fork, this bike can handle anything from paved city streets to light gravel paths.
IZIP’s lithium-ion batteries charge up in a couple of hours (or longer for very large batteries), and you can plug them into a regular outlet.
And every IZIP bike comes with a digital screen that shows you the battery charge, so you have an idea of how long you can go before you need to charge it up.
With an MSRP of $2,599, it’s definitely more expensive than your standard non-electric commuter. But if it’s going to get you out on your bike and let you use your car less, that’s a steal.
Trek Powerfly 5
Big-name bike brands are getting into the e-game as well. Trek’s Powerfly channels many years of successful mountain bike manufacturing into an electric format.
With mountain-bike standard components, rock-eating 29″ wheels, disc brakes, and a class 2 electric motor that gives you a boost up to 20 mph, you’ll be getting up and down the mountains more efficiently than ever.
For a bike like this, you might expect to pay a lot of money—but at $3,499, it’s no more expensive than some of Trek’s other mountain bikes. Of course, that’s still a lot of money. But it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of reason.
E-Bikes for Everyone
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of e-bikes out there for every use and price point (well, to a degree). Commuting, grocery-getting, trail riding, adventure races, road rides, cruising . . . anything you can do on a bike, you can do on an e-bike. Need something with a little more grit? Our picks for the best full suspension mountain bikes of the year will surely wet your whistle.
There will always be controversy over whether e-bikes should be able to share the same paths as traditional bikes, and whether or not riding one counts as “real” cycling.
But the more innovation and diversification we see in the e-bike world, the better.