Electric bikes have gained in popularity over the last 5 years, thanks to cheaper models and lighter batteries making them accessible to more people. An electric bike is particularly useful for commuting, especially if you’re coming from outside a city. On an electric bike a 40-mile bike ride every morning is suddenly achievable, making cycle commuting possible for people living outside of the city where they work. If you’re investing in an electric bike, you want to be comfortable and make sure it suits your needs. We’ve included some of the best electric bikes for commuting, whether that’s with kids, shopping, or on your own. For short city trips an electric bike is almost always quicker than driving a car, and it’s definitely a lot more fun. We would like to present you some of the best electric bikes for commuting that we have found on the market.
The one that’s best for carrying everything you could ever need
Founded by Ross Evans in 1995, the Xtracycle was built to replace your car. The company offers 5 different models and to help you choose which one suits you best they offer step-by-step guides and telephone consultations. We found the “The Stoker” was best for carrying everything. As Xtracyle puts it, the Stoker carries “anything, anywhere”. As a longtail cargo bike is a longer bike that means there is additional carrying capacity at the rear for kids, shopping, coolers, or even kayaks, which makes it one of the best electric bikes for commuting when you need to carry stuff.
The stoker comes with 24-inch wheels and Schwalbe tyres, making it easy to take off-road, and down the gravel path; useful if your commute to work involves a deter through a forest, cutting off build-up of car traffic. The electric version of this bike also comes with integrated front and rear lights that are charged using the motor. You can choose from two types of Bosch powered electric assistant, cruising at 20 mph with a CX motor, or up to 28 mph with a Speed motor.
Xtracycle are unique in that they really want to help you find the best bike for your needs, so before you go ahead and make a purchase, you can schedule a meet-up with one of their consultants, who will help you find the right components for you. If you’d prefer to go ahead and build your bike, you can customise your Stoker on their website. Additional accessories include a porter rack, a magic carpet for carrying kids or other adults, handlebars and footrests for your passengers, and also useful for towing kids’ bikes, as well as a range of accessories for carrying shopping, snacks and camping gear. At around $5000, depending on your customisation, the Stoker isn’t cheap, until you think about it as a replacement for a car. With all of the extra storage, the ability to carry other passengers and kids, as well as anything else you’d want a car for, a 5000 USD bike instead of a much more expensive car suddenly seems like a good option.
Check the latest price on the Xtracyle website
The one’s that best for combing a cycle commute with train transportation
For someone who was unaware that folding electric bikes existed, this bike is revolutionary. GOTRAX started out making electric scooters but has now released an electric foldable bicycle. At $799 this is the cheapest bike on the list, but despite this low price, it is a viable option for a comfortable ride. The bike comes with 16” wheels and an outrageously quick 19 mph. You would rarely want to use those kinds of speeds in the city centre traffic, but this is where the bike comes into its own. The fact that you can fold the bikes also means you can take it on all trains, and when you’re out in the countryside the 19 mph gets you where you need to be going in half the time; perfect for those that live far out in the country.
You can adjust the seat and handlebars on this bike, making it suitable for riders of varying heights. To get the electric assist started you have to manually pedal the bike first before being able to use the throttle and adjust the speed of the electric motor. Starting out by pedalling actually saves a significant amount of battery and avoids the possibility of the motor failing on startup, making this simpler mechanical set-up more favourable for most long-term electric bike users. The only downside might be that starting on a hill requires more effort, but you only have to be pedalling for a second or two until you can use the throttle and activate the electric assist. Once you are cruising along you can release the throttle and cruise control will kick in, which means you don’t have to hold down the throttle the entire time you’re riding, making it much more comfortable. The braking mechanism is also simply and smooth, but like a car this kills the cruise control, but gives you the chance to use the throttle immediately, without having to pedal. The bike has four levels to choose from, include an assist only mode, and other levels depending on the top speeds you need.
The battery on the bike is unusually small, much smaller than any other e-bike battery we’ve seen. It could easily fit inside your backpack or even the front pocket of your jeans, which also means it’s much easier to use. Interestingly, you can also use it as a portable charger for your phone as it has a USB output. We really like the dual use of the battery charge but using it to charge your phone all day might drain the battery making it useless on your ride home. You also can’t leave it in your bike as it doesn’t lock it, so could easily be stolen.
For a price of $799 this foldable bike makes a viable alternative to taking taxi’s, buses or public transport in and around cities and is probably the best foldable electric bike for commuting. It is portable and light enough to carry, so it’s also a good option if you live in an apartment building. If you like the idea of a foldable electric bike you might be also interested in the reviews of the best foldable Ebikes for 2020 post we did a while ago. For other affordable alternatives check out the 5 best value electric bikes, or, for the most affordable alternative out there, check out the 5 best electric bike conversion kits.
Check the latest price on the GOTRAX website
The best for a family on a budget
We have recently reviewed the Top 10 best electric bikes under $1000, and although The Rad Power Bike is above that price point, it was still built to make electric bikes more affordable. It is highly customizable with lots of accessories to make sure your bike suits your needs. The makers of Rad Power Bikes have focused on finding ways to encourage you to replace your car and have even took care of little details such as building a center console for the bike that has a cup and phone holder.
We love the adjustable seat height, the powerful 750-watt motor and the high weight capacity (which means there is no limit to what you can haul). This bike is heavy, so you’re not going to be wanting to carry it up flights of stairs, which can be limiting if you’re living in a city. There is also no suspension, but the fat wheels with wider Kenda tyres make it incredibly comfortable to ride, even if you’re off-road. The bike has built-in lights, a dual kick-stand and an integrated rear rack for attaching panniers, child seats, or seating for extra passengers.
The consumer direct pricing means that an electric cargo bike is available even for those on a tight budget. Where the bike saves money, in the pedals and simple drive train for example, it more than makes up for with its strength, speed and reliability. The Rad Power Bike can be delivered by mail and is therefore available wherever you are. You do have to spend time putting it together, but the process is not too difficult, with most of the smaller components already attached to the bike.
Check the latest price on the Rad Power Bike website
The one that’s best for big city riding
VanMoof bikes are simple, electric bikes for people who are living in and around cities who care about the look and feel of their bike and want to get to work without getting sweaty. These European bikes look like something out of a style magazine, with their classic triangle frames and thick, rounded parts. They are easily recognisable and growing in popularity across big, busy European cities.
These electric bikes can easily maintain a cruising speed of 17 – 19 mph, even up hills, meaning you can ride in work clothes and not worry about showing up to a meeting looking unpresentable. Although they aren’t the fastest of the bikes we’ve reviewed, you shouldn’t often want to be travelling more than 20 mph alongside other cyclists or slow-moving traffic.
These bikes have front and rear lights integrated into the frame, meaning the lights can’t be stolen, you’ll never forget them, and they’ll always be charged; essential for during the winter when you’re arriving and leaving the office in the dark. They also look good, and complete the streamlined look of the bike, however, it is the VanMoof smart security system that really sets this bike apart. With an integrated alarm system, the VanMoof allows you to park your bike without attaching it to anything, making the transition from bike to office seamless. If anyone approaches or touches your bike it immediately lets off a loud alarm, similar to that of a car, and prevents anyone from moving the bike. Users have found that the system rarely fails and is effective at preventing thieves from taking the bikes. We probably wouldn’t recommend that this bike is left out over night, but then again we wouldn’t recommend that for any bikes!
There is a limited ability to attach panniers or other cargo to the bike, but with fenders, integrated lights and an integrated alarm system, this bike is ready for city riding as soon as its out the box.
For a price of around $3700 VanMoof bikes offer an excellent build quality, a unique riding experience and a stunning design.
Check the latest price on the VANMOOF website
The one that’s best for when it’s just you
Xiaomi is a Chinese company headquartered in Beijing who are known for the production of household electronics. They have recently joined the electric bike market, and uniquely have foldable versions of most of their bikes, which are useful when trying to store bikes in small apartments. However, the HIMO C26 is a powerhouse of an electric bike, with a top speed of 15 mph and a range of 62 miles. At $1500 new, it is one of the cheapest electric bikes we’ve found, and with frequent sale prices offering the bike at around $700 it is a reliable cheap option for a cargo bike with a mountain bike style frame and thicker Jianda 26×2.125 Pneumatic tyres to match.
The bike has three modes, allowing you to choose from pedalling, assist and pure electric modes, with the bike suddenly becoming more of a scooter when using the electric only mode. The length of travel on one charge varies depending on the weight of the rider but using a mix of the different modes you can go for 62 miles or more; on electric assist only you can travel up to 37 miles on one charge.
The rest of the bike’s specs are what you would expect from high-end electric bikes, including front and rear disc brakes, shock absorption, and a strong aluminium alloy frame. Both the seat and the handlebars are adjustable making the bike a suitable fit for a wide range of people. The Xiaomi doesn’t offer the same range of accessories as some of the other bikes we’ve mentioned here, so we would recommend this bike for people who are looking for an electric bike just for themselves, rather than for transporting cargo and luggage. If you’re looking for something to take you from A to B more efficiently for the fraction of the price of other bikes this is the one for you. Shipping is available to most countries around the world.
Check the latest price on Gearbest
As we enter a world where the security of its future is increasingly uncertain, riding a bike instead of driving a car, comes with the peace of mind that you are contributing to a more sustainable future. While traditional push bikes can convert people from taking inner city transport to riding a bike, electric bikes are suitable for a wider range of people with different needs, including mothers and fathers who are dropping kids off at school, older or weaker cyclists who are now able to keep up with the traffic on an electric bike, and anyone who finds the carrying capacity of a backpack or panniers on a traditional bike limiting and frustrating. With all the possibilities and different use cases the best electric bike for your commute will not only depend on technical specifications, but especially on your specific needs and budget.
We hope this list has been helpful in your search. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with us on our Facebook.
Read More on AltRiders
- Folding Electric Bikes: Reviews of the best foldable Ebikes for 2020
- Top 10 Best Electric Bikes under $1000
- The 5 Best Value Electric Bikes in 2019