If it seems like e-bikes blossomed in the last couple years from gimmicky toys for early adopters into actual functional mobility tools, you’re not alone. Consulting firm Deloitte predicted between 2020 and 2023 more than 130 million e-bikes would be sold globally, but sales have exceeded even those rosy numbers. The category exploded in our Year of the Pandemic 2020, no doubt aided by a shortage of pedal bikes across the country, increasingly leaning consumers towards plugging into motor-boosted versions. Even one of our favorite New Yorker writers, Jelani Cobb, got in on the e-bike action.
Of course, not all e-bikes are cut from the same cloth. Some are pedal-assist-only (Class 1 and 3), whiles others simply let your press a throttle and zip away in an explosion of electrons (Class 2). Additional differences in powertrains, frame geometry, design, tech and other peculiarities mean there’s a surfeit of options out there, and probably a perfect model for your specific needs. So we long-term tested some of the best sellers out there to determine where they excel. Below, five e-bikes that stood out above their peers.