We often receive emails from readers asking us what is the “best ebike” on the market. We have therefore decided to write this article in order to answer this question more easily and more in depth, for everybody to read.
The ebike market is in great expansion; the producers fighting for a share of the cake are many, and the models available to consumers are innumerable. When he/she decides to buy an ebike, a careful consumer tries to obtain informations on the various models available to him, trying to understand their characteristics. Due to the abundance of ebikes on offer, however, it is easy to be confused: hence the need to simplify things, and the fatal question: What is the best ebike?
What does “best ebike” even mean?
Answering this question is not easy. First of all it is not clear what “best” means. For some, the best ebike is the one that has the best available components; for others, it is the ebike that is most useful for their needs; for others yet, it’s the lowest-priced “good-enough” ebike; and that is not all: so far, we have only taken into consideration the ebike itself, but the post-sales services and the warranty are also very important: this is why someone may consider an ebike coming with a three-year full warranty on the battery to be “better” than an ebike with only a 6-months warranty on the battery.
It is by now clear that there is a high number of variables to take into consideration. Let’s concentrate on the bike itself for the moment, dealing later with the question of warranty and post-sales services.
How will the ebike be used?
We think that one of the definitions of “best ebike” can be as follows: the ebike which is most suited to what we intend to do with it. This is the most important question to ask yourself at the start of the process of buying an ebike. It seems obvious, but many people skip this step. Do you want to use it just for some urban rides, a few miles at a time, maybe to go shopping or to carry the kids to school? Then you will need a city ebike, with a step-through frame, and the room to attach mudguards, panniers and/or child seats; with this kind of use, even a simple ebike, costing little more than 1000€, will be ok.
Can you imagine yourself going for some long day trips during the weekend? In this case the “best” ebike will be similar to a city bike; however, we strongly advice to invest into buying a better-quality ebike, with some improvements: a higher-capacity battery (at least 400Wh) to ensure a longer range; high-quality mechanical components are also very important, as you will be pedalling for many hours: a good seat, a suspension fork, puncture-proof tyres…
Do you have trouble with finding room for the ebike in your house? Do you prefer keeping it always with you, at home or in the office? Would you like to take advantage of the public transport? In this case, look for a folding ebike, and be aware of their characteristics: smaller wheels (20″ or less) have a worse impact angle on the obstacles which you will find on the roads; moreover these bikes often force you to have a very high cadence in order to reach speeds above 20 km/h. On the other hand, an ebike with a small frame can also be very agile and very fun to ride on.
Do you intend to go for some adventures in the paths around your area? Then choose an electric mountain bike, or e-mtb, the latest entry into the ebike world: there is now a wide range of e-mtbs: 26, 27,5 and 29 inches; front suspended or full suspended.
Pedalling sensors – or not
A lot depends on the kind of pedalling sensor that the ebike uses. Those who are not used to pedalling, or to making any kind of physical effort, would do better to choose an ebike with a simple sensor that picks up only whether the pedals are turning or not: with these the so-called “symbolic pedalling” is possible (turning the pedals without making any real effort, relying entirely on the motor).
Those who are used to pedalling may be more interested in an ebike with a torque sensor, which results in a more natural feeling. To have a better idea of the differences between the two kinds of sensors, read our page on ebike pedalling sensors.
Of course, if you live in a country where pedalling sensors are not necessary, and you can just turn on the motor without turning the pedals, then you can choose to rely on that kind of system, knowing however that the range will be much less.
More thoughts on the best ebike
Once you have decided which kind of ebike is better suited to your needs, you will have to start dealing with the price tag. In general – and without it being valid in each and every occasion – a more pricey ebike will be better than a lower-priced one, and if you’re in doubt between two models, better aim high and get a higher-quality ebike. Day-to-day costs for an ebike are very low, especially if the ebike takes the place of a second car in the family, and you will not regret spending a couple of hundred euros (or dollars) more – while the opposite is true, and many people regret having “saved” 100 or 200€ for an ebike which is not the “best” for them.
Pay a lot of attention to the after-sales service offered by the seller and the producer, especially for what concerns the battery (which is often the single most expensive component in an ebike). Some producers offer a full warranty of 2 or even 3 years (which basically translates into having a free spare battery), but many others offer a diminishing warranty, and after the first 6 months the customer is asked to contribute an increasing percentage of the price of the new battery. In this sense, an ebike with a full 2-years warranty is better than another ebike with a less comprehensive warranty.
Try to buy your ebike from a seller who can make small reparations – avoid buying your ebike from a shopping mall. Some retailers are also able to put their hands on the electrical parts, which can come in handy when the warranty expires.
A last word of advice: try the ebike as much as you can before buying it. Only this way will you make sure that it is the best for you.
Conclusion: which is the bst ebike on the market?
If you have read this article so far it should be clear that the “best ebike” does not exist. There is a continuum of ebikes, from where we can choose a few models that are better suited to our needs.
See also: ebike buyer’s guide