Best Electric Bikes for 2016

Bikes have been a popular substitute to cars for years but suffer a number of drawbacks that make them a less than ideal replacement for many commuters.

 

For one, those with poor health might struggle to ride a traditional bicycle very far, severely limiting their use for daily tasks, such as going to work or grocery shopping.

 

And even if you are fit enough to make the journey, who wants to arrive at the office covered in sweat?

 

An electric bike solves these issues, allowing almost anyone to enjoy the benefits of riding a bicycle without the usual headaches associated with them.

 

The E-bike market has exploded in the last 8-10 years as technology has allowed manufacturers to make more efficient and cost-effective bikes, drawing in more and more riders from across the world.

 

If you’re confused at all the choices available just keep reading to find out not only how an electric bike can make your life easier but which model is right for you.

 

 

Advantages

 

Need to be convinced on why ebikes really are better than both driving and, in many cases, even riding non-electric bikes?

 

Here’s a lot of some of the top reasons why many people have chosen an electric bike for their main mode of transportation:

 

  1. Health

 

With more and more people leading increasingly sedentary lives, riding a bike is an easy way to get in exercise while still performing necessary day-to-day traveling.

 

Not only can you improve cardiovascular health through increased blood flow, but excess calories consumed during riding will help fat melt away.

 

For many people, however, maintaining a long distance on a typical bicycle might not be feasible, due to poor health.

 

But, with the helping hand that an E-bike provides, even those who couldn’t normally enjoy bike riding can now take part.

 

In turn, the electric bike can eventually strengthen their health in ways that a normal bike might never have achieved

 

 

  1. Cost Savings

 

Compared to your average car, electric bicycles require far less ongoing expenses to run and maintain.

 

Once the initial cost is out of the way, an E-bike only needs recharging to keep it in service, as opposed to costly gas fill ups and those unexpected, but annoying, repairs.

 

The cost of running an e-bike per mile is between 5-30 times less than car – the wide variation accounting for different driving habits and usage.

 

Even on the more conservative figures, it’s still quite a huge gap in savings that will easily offset the initial cost of your e-bike.

 

 

  1. Practicality

 

Bikes can only take you so far owing to limitations with both the speed and distance that they can travel.

 

With the extended range possible from an electric bicycle, even those that have to travel farther to work can now get there by bike instead of car or bus.

 

Even if you live close to work you might be feeling tired one day turning a normally easy ride into a real struggle.

 

The power assist that an electric bike provides will easily help you get over the hump and to your destination without hardly breaking a sweat.

 

 

  1. The Environment

 

Recent studies show increasingly worrying data about the state of global warming. Electric bikes produce far less carbon emissions than cars, trucks or SUVs.

 

While there will still be a small carbon footprint generated from charging the battery, modern advancements in technologies such as wind turbines can provide truly green means of keeping your e-bike going with almost no impact on the environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Types of Electric Bikes

 

Before looking at different e-bikes models it’s a good idea to have a general idea of what types you’ll encounter and what main differences there are in their basic operation.

 

E-bikes are categorized in depending on how their power is applied, either manually or automatically.

 

There are potential legal ramifications depending on where you live so it’s important to know up front what you’re dealing with.

 

These bikes can be put into two main groups, either ‘pedal-assist’ or ‘power on demand’, or a combination of the two.

 

The first, ‘pedal-assist’, also known as a pedelec means that sensors on the unit will detect how fast and or hard you are pedaling and then extra power is added from the electric motor automatically.

 

The idea here is that you only use the power when you need it to aid in your pedalling, like when starting from a dead stop or riding uphill.

 

Pedelecs are also considered to normally be lower powered and therefore slower speed units which are legal in most countries.

 

‘Power on demand’ on the other hand gives you a throttle so that you can directly influence when and, usually, how much power is generated from the motor.

 

This allows more control, and speed, than the assisted only bikes. Because of this (and other factors such as the size of the motor), these bikes might have more regulations than assisted only (which are considered to be closer to an actual bike).

 

 

Other Considerations

 

Once you have decided whether to get an assisted or power on demand e-bike you’ll need to think about a few other factors such as the type of battery, weight, speed, and distance to name a few.

 

Most electric bikes will utilize Lithium batteries with either Ion or Iron Phosphate designs. These are safe, lightweight, and durable but can be expensive to replace.

 

Alternatively some models might use lead type batteries which are heavier but a lot cheaper to not only replace but keep the overall bike cost down.

 

If you need to be able to carry your bike then weight will be a big consideration, as will be the range so that you can reliably get to your destination on a single charge.

 

For those who wish to transport or store their bike in a small area such as a trunk or office corner being able to fold up the bike can be an asset too.

 

Finally, price will be a serious consideration for many, we’ve listed models in both the lower and upper ranges here so there’s something for everyone to choose from.

 

 

 

 

Prodeco V3.5 Outlaw SS Speed Electric Bicycle

Sporting a unique candy orange color frame, this brawny electric bicycle is perfect for those looking to go off-road or just want a more rugged looking design.

While the original V3 version proved to be very popular, Prodeco decided to update it with a larger battery to add a generous 30% more operating range to this bike.

It runs off a 750 watt motor being fed by the beefy high quality 48v 12 amp Lithium Iron Phosphate battery.

This allows it to reach speeds up to 28 mph, one of the fastest electric bicycles you can find,  with a range of 30 miles, although your results may vary depending on the type of terrain riden.

Any downsides?

Some riders found it difficult to manage due to the heavy rear mounted battery that raises the center of gravity.

Taller riders, however, have found the overall weight and size a perfect fit.

Stability is helped by the inclusion of Avid Elixir 5 hydraulic disc brakes and Avid 200mm HS1 rotors.

Brakes of this quality are uncommon to find on an ebike, even at this price, and go a long way to help smooth out any bumps.

Make sure to invest in strong lock as the Outlaw will get a lot of attention from passers-by which can be both a good and bad thing if the wrong person comes around.

This is one of the best electric mountain bikes produced in the past few years and will make ditching your car or motorcycle that much easier.

Price: $2,199.00

 

 

Prodeco V5 Phantom X2 8 Speed Folding Electric Bicycle

If you don’t need the off-road capability of the Outlaw but still want the rugged looks (many people have held off on purchasing an ebike or scooters due to the ‘dorky’ designs) then the Phantom might just tick all your boxes.

Built with the same quality as other Prodeco bikes, it’s perfect for those looking to get to work by alternative means, have fun, and look good doing it.

With a smaller 500 watt motor it might not traverse the same terrain as the Outlaw but it’s no slouch either.

The 36v 12amp long lasting battery enables it to reach a range of up to 30 miles while pushing speeds close to 20 mph through the power on demand throttle.

Both the motor and bike run very quiet considering the speeds it’s able to reach.

One distinguishing feature of the Phantom is its ability to fold up, making it easier to store away when not in use.

This does slightly weaken the frame but this is offset by the strong overall design.

One downside is that there is only front suspension so more bumpy terrain could be uncomfortable for some, especially at higher speeds.

The Phantom can be seen as a good middle ground between weight, range, yet still affording some ability to manage rough terrain when you’re not busy commuting to work.

It has the looks, durability, and performance of higher priced bikes while still remaining affordable for most.

Price: $1699.00

 

Best Electric Bikes Under 1000

The next set of ebikes are for those who want to spend under a grand but still come away with a quality build that will last them for years to come.

These  three models prove you don’t need to break the bank to get an excellent quality ride.

 

X-Treme Trail Maker High Performance Electric Bike

X-Treme’s Trail Maker represents a mid-range priced bike that’s still built to a high standard.

This E-bike is powered by a 300 watt motor and 24v and 8 amp LiFePo4 battery. Stopping is handled with both front and rear disc brakes.

The Trail Maker, previously known as the XB-300LI, also includes a headlight and battery meter along with basics like a strong kickstand.

It can act as either a power on demand bike with the twist throttle, or will sense your pedaling speed and assist as necessary.

With 26” tires you can still manage to do some off-roading (although some riders have found it a little less than desirable in this respect due to power and suspension limitations) and the slightly lighter design (52 lbs) makes it practical for getting to and from work easily.

Taller riders, as more than 6’, might need to play with the seat extension settings to find a comfortable riding height.

In some cases riders have had to customized the seat to accommodate their size, yet others found it perfectly acceptable.

Both its speed and range come to about 20 miles, this can be extender further by pedaling, however.

You will need to do some assembly which can take between 1-3 hours depending on your skill at putting a bike together.

For those who don’t want to spend in the $1500+ range, the Trail Maker combines all the features that even a demanding user could want in an affordable package that makes for a solid choice under $1000.

Price: $899.00

 

 

Cyclamatic CX2 Bicycle Electric Foldaway Bike

 

Arriving as one the more affordable range of bikes here, the CX2 is also lighter and more portable than the models above due to an easy fold design and reduced size.

 

You can choose between no power assist at all to ride just like a traditional bike or engage the auto assist mode to help out during more strenuous areas of your journey.

 

The CX2 still manages a respectable 15 mph speed, and although not as fast as some of the other bikes reviewed above it does match them in range, reaching up to 31 miles with a full charge.

 

With its smaller size frame, Cyclamatic’s Ebike is a good choice for more petite riders, and the reduced top speed will put parents’ minds at ease (it’s rated for riders ages 14 years or older), while still supporting a maximum weight of 250 pounds.

 

The 20 inch wheels won’t be a good match for off-road use, one of the above models is a better fit there.

 

For general commuting the 250 watt motor and 36v 9 amp battery combination should provide enough power to navigate most city streets, however.

 

Its ability to fold up into a much smaller footprint will allow it to be easily stored in the trunk of your car to take on a camping trip, or on a bus and then out of the way once you’re at the at the office.

 

There’s not many downsides to this design, some riders have looked into getting a replacement seat that’s softer than the one supplied, however.

 

As a plus it comes fully assembled so it will be ready to go out of the box.

 

For those who don’t need a more rugged looking design and heavy duty performance the CX2 is not only practical but extremely affordable too.

 

Price: $650.00

 

 

Watseka XP Cargo Electric Bicycle

 

If you care more about comfort than a modern design or peak performance, the Watseka XP Cargo might be exactly the bike you’re looking for.

 

With the same specs as its counterpart, the Sport (which simply omits the wooden basket), the Cargo won’t win any races with its 14 mph top speed.

 

Range on a full charge can reach 18 miles although the unit might struggle to achieve that on more difficult terrain and hills because of how heavy it is (including a much reduced top speed).

 

This is largely down to design decisions such as the lead acid battery that weighs in at 23 pounds just on its own. The upside is that a replacement only costs about $160, far cheaper than the $300-800 needed for Lithium type batteries.

 

A total weight of 72 pounds for this model means it’s not going to be the most portable ebike, the heavier weight does help with stability, however.

 

Most owners love the smooth ride the XP achieves, but some found the noisy fenders a turnoff but this was only a problem in certain instances, others have reported it to be super quiet.

 

Despite being a cheaper option, the XP still allows both power on demand and automatic assist modes.

 

And while it probably works better as a bike to just take out for an enjoyable ride, depending on your circumstances it could also serve as a way to commute to work.

 

The XP will require some assembly, expect to spend between 1 and 2 hours putting it together.

 

Some owners have also experienced damage on parts when their delivery arrived, so make sure to order from a reputable store that allows easy returns if needed.e

 

Price: $600.00

 

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see from this list there’s something for everyone’s needs and price range available when it comes to purchasing an electric bicycle.

 

Take into consideration the weight, speed, range, type of powering style (assisted, manual, or both) and then find the model that’s affordable for you before making your decision.

 

We hope that this guide has made choosing your new E-bike a little easier.

 

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