Gas prices may have peaked, but they’re still. While it’s not possible for everyone to make do without a car, many people are choosing to leave their gas-guzzling cars at home and using electric e-bikes instead. More like a traditional bike than motorcycle, e-bikes feature a battery that charges while you pedal or charges ahead of time, providing a boost of extra power to use when you need it.
Top products in this article:
Cult favorite e-bike: RadRover 6 Plus, $1,999
Harley-Davidson’s e-bike brand: Serial 1 Rush/Cty, $4,999
Our favorite high end e-bike: Alchemy e-Ronin, $10,999
Unlike motorcycles, which do all the work for you, e-bikes include small rechargeable battery-powered motor fueled by pedaling that you can charge before your ride. There are three types: Class 1, limited to a top speed of 20 mph with an electric motor that works only when the rider is pedaling, Class 2, also a top speed of 20 mph but with throttles that work even when the rider is not pedaling, and Class 3, throttle optional e-bikes which can go up to 28 miles per hour.
You ride an e-bike like a normal bike. You simply switch on the pedal assist when you need some extra help.
Keep in mind: You might not want to pinch pennies on these motorized transportation gadgets, because you get what you pay for. E-bikes range in price from under $1,000 to over $10,000. The less expensive bikes tend to be mass produced using cheaper materials, while those on the upper end of the spectrum are custom made-to-order using high-quality materials and top-notch technology. They also boast better battery life and often weigh less than cheaper models. The less expensive bikes tend to have fewer features and less battery life, torque and overall power, as compared to higher end models.
Whether you commute to work in the city or suburbs or simply desire a fun recreational vehicle, you should consider buying an e-bike. CBS Essentials rounded up some of the best e-bikes on the market for a variety of riders.
(Looking for other ways to save on gas? You can get a $45 gift card when you sign up for a Sam’s Club membership, which is essentially like getting a year’s access to discounted gas for free. You might also want to consider .)
RadRover 6 Plus and RadRover 6 Plus step-through
Rad Power Bikes, a Seattle based brand specializing in e-bikes since 2007, has amassed a large following in the past decade and-a-half, including celebrities like Justin Bieber, Robert Downey Jr. and Prince Harry. This latest incarnation of the flagship Class 2 fat tire model, the RadRover 6 Plus series, offers serious value for the everyday rider. Features include a custom geared-hub motor, high-performance hydraulic disc brakes for stopping power and a semi-integrated battery that easily pops in and out for charging purposes. It also boasts auto activated headlights, an easy-to-use digital interface, five level pedal assist, and offers 25-45 miles per charge. Available as both traditional and step-through frames in one size.
Flyer M880 and L885
Radio Flyer (yes, the same brand famous for making those red wagons) recently unveiled two e-bikes, the Flyer M880, a midtail fat tire version and the Flyer L885, a longtail option better suited for hauling kids and cargo. Both Class 2 options offer five levels of pedal assist with a throttle-only option, a 500-watt motor and up to 50 miles of riding time. The midtail accommodates one additional passenger and up to 300 pounds, while the longtail, with room for a total of three passengers, holds 400.
Another great perk of these family-friendly bikes? An abundance of optional accessories, including rear and front baskets, cargo and kid carriers, extended range batteries and even a Thule children’s bike seat designed specifically for use with Flyer e-bikes. Choose from various colors (red, white and blue) and sizes (small, medium and large). Once ordered, bikes ship within two days.
Serial 1 Rush/Cty
The next best thing to hopping on a hog? Riding a Serial 1e-bike, a new-to-the-market brand powered by Harley-Davidson. A great Class 1 option, the sleek Rush/Cty boasts a top speed of up to 20 mph and a lithium-ion battery fully chargeable in less than three hours (both on the bike itself or via easy removal with 25 to 115 miles of riding time per charge). For those looking for extra speed, they also make the Class 3 Rush/Cty Speed, which goes up to 28 mph.
While the price tag may seem steep, the brand works with Affirm offering financing as low as 0% APR for up to 36 months, which averages out to about $139 per month.
Aventon Level commuter e-bike
One of the most popular commuter e-bikes on the market, the Aventon Level offers a lot of bang for the buck. With a 28 mph top speed, a removable battery that charges in five hours and offers a range of 40 miles, an easy to read backlight LCD display, five levels of pedal assist and lots of included accessories (like a preinstalled rack and fenders), this e-bike is perfect for city slickers or suburban dwellers who mainly ride on paved roads. Available in a few colors and sizes in step-over and step-through styles.
The first electric gravel bike from Alchemy, the eRonin, might be a major splurge, but consider it the Rolls Royce of e-bikes. Specifically designed for gravel riding, the lightweight carbon gravel electric bike weighs under 30 pounds — significantly less than most other e-bikes. Each bike is custom crafted in Colorado, with an order-to-delivery time of several months. The brand also works with you to design the perfect bike, from color and size to motor type.
Leon Cycle F1000 foldable e-bike
Another great option for city commuters is the Leon Cycle F1000. Built with fat tires rugged enough for sand, asphalt, dirt or snow and powered with a 500W continuous Das-Kit motor, the all-terrain bike conveniently folds up for easy storage and transport. Other great features include an easily removable battery with up to 125 miles of charge, a USB port for gadget charging and an included front rack for storage.