Cycling is a great move for a number of reasons: it’s free (after the initial bicycle purchase), it’s good for your health and in many cases, it can be faster than cars and public transport.
Cycling with an electric bike for a commuter is all these things, plus leaves you less sweaty – what’s not to love?
Different brands take different approaches to electric bike manufacture. Some choose to place an electric motor in the front or rear wheel hub, with a torque sensor in the cranks that tells the on-board batteries to send power to the wheels.
Others – notably Bosch and Yamaha – opt for more advanced designs, with the entire motor and sensor unit situated around the bike’s cranks, meaning more visually appealing and aerodynamically advanced frame styles can be fashioned.
If you’re used to non-electric cycles, be aware that e-bikes are heavy and capped at 15mph. In many cases, that means the bike starts to feel like its actively fighting against you, if you try to push the speed higher than that by pedalling.
This can take a while to get used to.
Realistically, 15mph is a very decent average speed when commuting in town or taking on hills, however. This is despite what all cyclists will tell you is their average speed – you’re not fooling anyone, guys!
Joking aside, a lot of cyclists will find riding an e-bike odd, and not necessarily a lot of fun. You can usually push them to 20mph by pedalling hard, but really they’re nearly all built for acceleration (to 15mph) and not speed. Also for comfort/stability and not excitement.
Once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren’t pancake flat. They’ll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or, I dunno, an inflatable sumo wrestler costume. Whatever you like.
These are the best electrically assisted bicycles on the planet right now, and there are options for casual commuters, road riders, hill climbers and mud-track scramblers.
We’ve started with what we consider to be the most generally useful mix of power, range, practicality and price, but there are models further down from off-road bikes to fold-up ones, and plenty of price options, from cheap to not-quite-so cheap.