Believe it or not, the electric bike has been around far longer than you may guess. The first e-bikes—that’s a motorized bike with an integrated electric motor to help propel the rider forward—were documented in France as far back as the 1880s and 1890s. But it’s only been within the last few years that these fun new toys have become mainstream.
In fact, the pandemic—and now, those rising gas prices—are also helping propel sales. U.S. retail sales of e-bikes jumped 85 percent in March 2020 than the previous year. And historically, bike sales have always increased whenever gas prices go up—especially during the 1970s oil crisis.
Best Electric Bikes to Buy in 2022
While e-bikes might be trending right now, navigating which bike is right for you is a lot. That’s why we’re comparing the top brands and models so that you don’t have to do the research. Keep reading for the best electric bikes to buy in 2022. As always, the prices listed may fluctuate over time.
What You Need to Know: An excellent introduction to electric bikes, the SWFT Fleet Cruiser is relatively affordable and, perhaps most importantly, approachable. If you’re on the fence about e-bikes or are afraid to have too much power, this bike is for you. The Fleet will make you a total e-bike convert—even out of the most adamant naysayers. With a sleek, beachy look that stands up to its title of “cruiser,” the Fleet features vegan leather detailing, a comfortable, plush seat and a detachable, rechargeable battery that’s easy to juice up.
It also features a throttle that takes advantage of the bike’s 500W motor, and when you use it conservatively, the bike can get up to about 37.2 miles per charge. And though this e-bike makes a great introductory bike for its accessibility and the fact that it’s lightweight, it’s also no joke. Either via pedal-assist or throttle, you can get up to 20 miles per hour on the Fleet.
User reviews: One reviewer wrote, “These bikes are so much fun! They were pretty easy to assemble and it didn’t take long to get used to the power assist and the power assist is wonderful. I go through the same path as with my standard bike and I never have to stand up pedaling nor walk the bike. And I get all the exercise I want.”
What You Need to Know: No doubt you’ve heard the name Cannondale! A trusted brand in the biking world, Cannondale makes an epic e-bike in the form of the Adventure Neo 3 EQ. Great for everyday traveling through the city or cruising down open roads, the Adventure Neo 3 EQ features 9-speed shifting, hydraulic disc brakes and a 400Wh battery. With double the range of some of these other bikes, this Cannondale can—at its best—get you 65 miles on one charge. Also very lightweight and featuring a step-through frame for easy dismounting, the pedal-assist on this e-bike works up to 20 miles per hour. But even cooler is that you can customize the pedal-assist setting that you’re on. Need the 20? Turn it up to Turbo. Need less? Keep it on its “slower” settings.
The Adventure Neo 3 EQ also has a convenient walk-assist feature. This attribute provides extra support should you need to get off the bike and walk beside it—maybe while navigating an obstacle or walking the bike across a cross-walk.
User reviews: One reviewer wrote, “This bike is a life-changer! I’ve had this bike for 3 weeks and have fallen in love with cycling again. I wasn’t sure the model 3 had enough power but I’ve been up miles of decently steep gravel paths with ease, and without even using the highest assist setting (Turbo).”
What You Need to Know: If the SWFT Cruiser is a bit too small for you, no worries—it sounds like the SWFT Volt Electric Bike is more up your alley. For riders 5 feet 9 inches and up, the Volt is an excellent option for frequent riders going on everyday adventures. With a durable yet lightweight 26-inch steel frame and road tires with ideal traction for the smoothest ride possible, the Volt makes a perfect everyday bike for commuters. The LCD tracks your stats as you go—monitoring speed, throttle, the built-in headlight, pedal assist and battery level. But our favorite part? It’s sleek as hell! With all of the appearance of a traditional single-speed bike or mountain bike, the Volt even has a hidden (but still chargeable) battery for a sleeker look.
Speaking of that out-of-sight battery, it’s a 6V 10 mAH lithium-ion battery with a 600-cycle lifespan designed to last up to 32 miles before needing a recharge. The Volt also has a throttle option (so no need to keep pedaling once you’ve activated the pedal-assist) and can crank up to 20 miles per hour.
User reviews: One reviewer wrote, “Right out of the box, I was impressed with how it looked. It looked really sleek and did not look electric at all! The frame feels very sturdy while not being too thick housing the wiring. They really did a good job with the engineering to incorporate the system into the frame.”
What You Need to Know: You want power? The RadCity 5 Plus Step-Through Electric Commuter Bike will give you that—and then some. Available in both charcoal and white, the RadCity 5 has a step-through, ergonomic frame that makes it easier to hop on and off your bike. But that’s not even what you’ll love most about it. This model has increased range (from past models) by 11 percent, features puncture-resistant tires and a semi-integrated battery that can pop on and off the bike. This e-bike also boasts the biggest LED display of all the electric bikes on this list. This LED speedometer monitors your miles per hour, lifetime mileage and time of day. The other, smaller LED tracks the pedal-assist and features a button to turn the headlights on and off. This bike also has automatic brake lights, so it feels more like a vehicle than a bicycle.
What’s also really cool about the RadCity 5 is that it’s completely customizable. Need a bike chain? You can grab the ABUS Bordo Granit X-Plus 6500 for $199. Want the e-bike built for you and delivered to your door? That’s a $199 service. Plan on riding to the local farmers market to buy groceries or bringing a dog along? The Small Basket is $59, and the Basket Bag (a covering for the basket) is just $49.
User reviews: One reviewer, who rated the bike five out of five possible stars on RadPowerBikes.com, wrote, “The RadCity 5 is an excellent bicycle. It is a very sturdy and well-built bike. The motor is powerful, and it climbs hills with ease. The battery lives up to the manufacturer’s specifications, and I like the option of being able to remove the battery from the bike to charge it. I am extremely satisfied with this bicycle and it’s worth the cost, if not more.”
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