Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 1

Ebikes: Everything I wish I knew before testing 22+ bikes

Two years ago, I received my first eBike and put it together in my basement in -10 degree weather because I was so excited. Since then, I’ve tested and reviewed over 20 different eBikes from all the major brands.

Here’s what I wish I knew before getting into all of this 2+ years ago.

Many eBikes are VERY similar

It’s true, many eBikes are made from very similar components. There are only so many different ways to make a battery, derailleur and brakes.

Because of that, you’ll notice that MANY eBikes look the same and even have very similar features. It’s no coincidence that these bikes look VERY similar:

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 2Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 3

Of course, that makes things for you, the consumer, more difficult

Honestly, it leads to even more questions, like:

What eBike is the Best?
Which eBike is the most reliable?
What brand should I get?
Can I put an eBike together myself?

Here are a couple of quick “rules” that I tend to give people when shopping for an eBike

Rule 1: Don’t blow your budget on the 1st eBike

Chances are, you will either:
1. Decide that eBikes are the wave of the future and be 100% obsessed
OR
2. Have a fun eBike you ride 2-4 times a month.

Either way, you don’t want to be stuck with an eBike that isn’t right for you. If you fall in camp 1, there’s a good chance you don’t 100% know what you want in an eBike.

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 4

In that case, you don’t want a $6,000 QuietKat Apex (read our QuietKat Apex Review) when what you really want is something like the RadWagon 4 (read our RadWagon 4 Review).

Rule 2: Buy a Class 2 eBike, with a Throttle

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 5

Class 2 eBikes are the best for MOST people. Why? They have a throttle. I really like Class 2 eBikes for most people – the throttle is there if you need it.

Even if you think you don’t want a throttle, it’s nice to have. Honestly. Sometimes, just to get started with an eBike (they are heavier than “regular” bikes and sometimes the extra push is just helpful)

Class 1 eBike

Top Assisted Speed: 20 MPH

No Throttle

Class 2 eBike

Top Assisted Speed: 20 MPH

Throttle

Class 3 eBike

Top Assisted Speed: 28 MPH

Can include a throttle (or not)

Rule 3: Go with a Reputable Direct-To-Consumer Brand

Sure, big names like Trek and even REI have their own brands of eBikes these days. But they come at a hefty price. Getting an eBike Brand like Rad Power Bikes (Read my Rad Power Bikes Review) saves a ton of money simply because the middle man is cut out.

Why do I recommend a reputable company?

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 6
This Rad Power Bike Battery is $599!!!!

Super simple: the most expensive part of the eBike is your battery. It’s going to be a lot easier to replace your battery if the company is still in business.

Can you put it together yourself?

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 7

You can get put together the eBike yourself, and get a local bike mechanic to put it together (and/or inspect it – which I REALLY recommend for anyone). Velofix will even have someone come directly to your home.

Rule 4: Take it slow

I know that 20 MPH doesn’t sound very fast, but it is. Make sure to take it slow. Everyone I know with a new eBike has biffed if it in one of their first couple rides.
Be sure to wear a helmet, too!

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 8

Read all about the best ebike helmet in our thousand helmets review and check out the other best accessories for electric bikes.

What are the best eBike Brands?

As I mentioned, many electric bikes share many of the same components. However, you should really care about the electric bike brand for one simple reason: service.

While brakes and derailleurs are easy to fix from most bike shops – batteries and controllers are a bit more tricky. For that reason, we recommend sticking with one of the more mainstream bike brands.

This doesn’t mean that other bike brands aren’t “good” – we just recommend the well-known bike brands (or brands owned by other well-known brands)

Our #1 eBike Brand
A great eBike Brand
Great value eBike
5.0
4.5
4.0
$1,199 - $1,999
$1,199 - $1,999
$1095 - $2,295
Our #1 eBike Brand
5.0
$1,199 - $1,999
A great eBike Brand
4.5
$1,199 - $1,999
Great value eBike
4.0
$1095 - $2,295

Can you put together an eBike yourself?

Yes, you sure can. But I’d recommend having a professional bike mechanic look at your handy-work after putting it together and going on a couple test rides.

20 MPH is pretty fast on a bike. And you don’t want an accident due to an improperly put-together eBike.

What’s the range on an eBike?

One of the first questions is always about range: how long will the battery last? It depends on a wide variety of factors. But technically:

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 9

Since eBikes have pedals, that are powered by YOU, the range is as far as you want to go!

Only Throttle

Most eBikes will only go about 15-20 Miles if you are using ONLY throttle before the battery is dead.

Heavy Pedal Assist

If you are pedaling, but using a higher level pedal assist, you can go about 25-35 miles before the battery is dead.

Light Pedal Assist

If you’re using a lighter medal assist level, you can go about 35-50 miles before your battery dies.

20 MPH is pretty fast on a bike. And you don’t want an accident due to an improperly put-together eBike.

Range depends on many factors: overall bike payload, wind, hills, terrain, overall speed and much more!

Mid-Drive or Rear Hub Drive?

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 10

This is another question that comes up a ton! We’ve written a full post on Mid-Drive vs. Rear Hub eBike Motors, but you can probably sum it up in this one chart:

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 11

If you are an extreme mountain biker, a bicycle purist or just don’t want to go fast – then a mid-drive ebike might be for you. Otherwise, check out a rear hub eBike (and see Rule #1).

What bike do I ride the most?

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 12

This one is really simple, I ride the RadRover 6 Plus (read that RR6 Review) or the RadWagon 4 (read our RadWagon 4 Review) if I’ve got 1-2 kiddos with me.

Ebikes: The ultimate guide after testing 22+ electric bikes 13

As you’ll read in our best electric bike accessories, we also really like the kids UrRider – but my oldest kid is now too big.

eBike Guide: Final Thoughts

To be honest, it’s REALLY hard to go wrong with an eBike – as long as it comes from a reputable manufacturer. It’s hard-pressed to ride an eBike and be grumpy about it. You may even become hooked, like me!

Check out the best eBike Brands below, and let us know if you have any questions or concerns!

The Best eBike Brands

  1. Rad Power Bikes
  2. Rad Power Bikes
    5.0
    $1,199 - $1,999
    Pros:
    • Unique designs, proprietary to Rad
    • Backed by institutional investors
    • Can talk to a real-live human for support
    • Owns their own stores
    Cons:
    • Not many models with hydraulic disc brakes
    Buy Now

    We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  3. Aventon eBikes
  4. Aventon eBikes
    4.5
    $1,199 - $1,999
    Pros:
    • Wide variety of bikes
    • Local dealers
    Cons:
    • No cargo bikes
    Buy Now

    We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  5. Ride1UP eBikes
  6. Ride1UP eBikes
    4.0
    $1,095 - $2,295
    Pros:
    • An incredible value
    • A wide variety of products
    • Owners love the product
    • Comes with cool swag
    Cons:
    • Not as well-known as other brands
    Buy Now

    We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Latest eBike Posts: