The Best Electric Bike For Every Type of Rider, Plus Price

Find the e-bike that’s right for you, whether you’re a kid-toting parent, a suburban commuter or an apartment-dweller with little extra space.

In the first year of the pandemic, electric bikes were part of a US boom in outdoor goods: Americans bought fire pits, coolers, camper vans, chicken coops and just about anything else that would help them to pass the time in open air. But when life started returning to normal, so too did most of the outdoor industry — except demand for e-bikes continued to climb.

According to data from NPD Group, which tracks sales at bike shops, outdoor stores and other retailers, the US e-bike market more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, and grew by another 40% the following year. In the first nine months of 2022, e-bike sales were up 16% over the same period last year as Americans continued to discover what riders in Europe and Asia have long known: E-bikes are not just for breezy weekend rides. From commutes to grocery-store runs to school drop-offs, they’re great for a variety of everyday short trips that might otherwise be taken in a car. E-bikes get the job done — and make it feel like recreation.

“E-bikes are going to change the world, and they already are,” says Ryan Johnson, co-founder and CEO of the car-free housing development Culdesac Tempe. Johnson is to e-bikes what Jay Leno is to classic cars: He owns more than 70. He keeps much of this “bike library,” as he calls it, parked at the Culdesac offices in suburban Phoenix for easy lending to employees and friends. 

With that expertise in mind, we asked Johnson to be a guest expert for the first Bloomberg Green e-bike buying guide. Below are 16 great car replacers, selected by Johnson and sorted by user types. For each we’ve included specs on price, weight, estimated range, top assist speed (i.e. speed at which the motor quits helping), throttle (which allows for a boost of power without pedaling), and whether the bike has a removable battery for easier storing and charging.

Read on to find the e-bike that’s right for you. 

The Urban Commuters

For riders in New York, San Francisco or other big cities who are looking to avoid the train, get some exercise — and look cool — on daily trips to the office, coffee shop or bar.

• VanMoof S5/A5

“VanMoof is pushing the envelope of what an e-bike can be. The S5 and its ‘step-in’ counterpart, the A5, come with built-in GPS tracking, an automatic transmission, and a ‘kick-lock.’ And there’s an anti-theft program with replacement insurance and bike hunters who will try to track down your bike if it’s stolen.” —RJ

S5 Price: $3,498

Weight 50.7 lbs

Range: 37-93 miles

Top assist speed: 20mph

Throttle: No

Removable battery: No

A5 Price: $3,498

Weight 48.5 lbs

Range: 34-87 miles

Top assist speed: 20mph

Throttle: No

Removable battery: No

• Specialized Turbo Como 5.0 IGH

“With every Specialized, you get an established brand and a local dealer network. This one is comfortable and maneuverable. One of my Culdesac investors is [Reddit Co-Founder] Alexis Ohanian. A couple of years ago, he asked me what bike he should get for his wife and I said, ‘Your wife is Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all time. She should get a Specialized.’” —RJ

Price: $5,750

Weight: 59 lbs

Range: Up to 90 miles

Top speed: 28 mph

Throttle : No

Removable battery: Yes

The Suburban Commuters

For riders who want to get from A to B reliably and affordably.

• Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 2

“I call this one the standard. It’s the most popular bike that people try from my fleet. It’s versatile. They have accessories for carrying grocery bags or pets, or passengers. And the durability is better than average for the price.” —RJ

Price: $1,499

Weight: 65 lbs

Range: 25-45 miles 

Top assist speed: 20mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

• Aventon Pace 500.2

“It’s fast and it’s nimble and it has hydraulic brakes. I don’t recommend any e-bike without disc brakes and I prefer hydraulic.” —RJ

Price: $1,699

Weight: 52 lbs

Range: 24-47 miles 

Top assist speed: 28mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Cruisers

For riders who want to sit back, enjoy the view and turn a few heads.

• Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser

“The company is based in San Diego. They make a good bike. Earlier this year, they announced a $6.5 million funding round. When a company is well-funded that bodes well for the support that you’ll get.” —RJ

Price: $1,595

Weight: 65 lbs

Range: 30-50 miles 

Top assist speed: 28 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

• Electric Bike Company Model Y

“These are assembled in the US. You can choose the colors of individual parts. They have dozens of options. It costs extra, but I just can’t help myself adding a few hundred dollars for the custom paint.” —RJ

Price: $1,999

Weight: 58 lbs

Range: 40 miles with standard battery, 80 miles with optional ($499) battery

Top assist speed: 20 mph**can be “unlocked” to run up to 28mph where legal

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Mock Motorbikes

For riders who want the look of a motorcycle without the noise and insurance premiums.

• Super73 Z-1

“The seat on this does not adjust up and down, so it doesn’t fit everybody, but the style really resonates. People use cars for self-expression and e-bikes are becoming about that as well.” —RJ

Price: $1,495

Weight: 64 lbs

Range: 15 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: No

• Juiced RipRacer (class 3) 

“This is a new model from Juiced. It’s a bit smaller than the typical e-bike. It’s just fun. People love this bike. They love the size. They love the torque. It’s peppy.” —RJ

Price: $1,499

Weight: 66 lbs

Range: 55 miles 

Top assist speed: 28 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Jobbers

For riders who use their bikes for work or chores, carrying pizza, takeout, small packages or other bundles.

• Tern GSD S10

“These are expensive, but they’re good. The components are generally premium. They have a dealer network. And you can store them vertically by tipping them upwards on the rear wheel. My only gripe on this is that it does not have a throttle. I hear over and over again with cargo bikes that people want to throttle.” —RJ

Price: $5,399 

Weight: 74 lbs

Range: 26-53 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: No

Removable battery: Yes

• Rad Power Bikes RadCity 5 Plus

“These have been used by Domino’s to deliver pizzas, which is just a great billboard for e-bikes. It’s a good mix of comfort and capability.” —RJ

Price: $1,699

Weight:  65 lbs

Range: 28-50 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Kid Carriers

For riders who need to carry little passengers — kids or pets — on their appointed rounds, or those with inanimate cargo. (For this category, Johnson relied heavily on the advice of Vanessa Valenzuela Erickson, chief people officer at Culdesac and a mother of four.) 

• Urban Arrow Family

“This is a bakfiets. It’s a Dutch word for a bike where the cargo hold is in the front. I think that the next great American e-bike is going to be a bakfiets, but with a throttle, which this doesn’t have. The format is very versatile. If you’re carrying kids, having them in front of you feels great. And that box seat is also good for a dog.” —RJ

Price: $7,999

Weight: 110 lbs

Range: 31 miles average

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: No

Removable battery: Yes

• Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4

“This bike is fantastic. It’s a cargo bike for under $2,000 with a throttle. I just wish they had one that came with hydraulic brakes.” —RJ

Price: $1,999

Weight: 77 lbs

Range: 24-45 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Enablers

For the elderly, injured or anybody else who needs a little extra help and probably wouldn’t be getting on a bike without it.

• Tern NBD P8i

“Tern made this to be their easiest to ride, and it shows. It has an especially low step-thru and more swept back, Dutch-style handlebars.” —RJ

Price: $3,899

Weight: 52 lbs

Range: 34-67 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: No

Removable battery: Yes

• Lectric XP Step-Thru 3.0

“This company is also based in Arizona. It’s a classic entrepreneurship story. Their first bike flopped, so they talked with customers and then built the XP. A lot of their earliest customers were folks that had stopped biking and this gave them a way to start again.” —RJ

Price: $1,099

Weight: 64 lbs

Range: 17-45 miles 

Top assist speed: 28 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes

The Space Savers

For apartment dwellers, ferry hoppers and other space-conscious riders who need a foldable bike.

• Lectric XP Lite

“This is the lowest priced bike that I recommend. Lectric took the basic idea of the original XP, which is also foldable, and made it more affordable by making the tires smaller and getting rid of the gears.” —RJ

Price: $899

Weight: 46 lbs

Range: 15-40 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: Yes 

Removable battery: Yes

• GoCylce G4

“This company was founded by a former McLaren engineer. This bike folds and is lightweight. There’s also an available carrying case that makes it very convenient.” —RJ

Price: $3,999

Weight: 39 lbs

Range: 40 miles 

Top assist speed: 20 mph

Throttle: Yes

Removable battery: Yes


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