The electric rideables market keeps expanding exponentially as people consider new alternatives to public transportation. In fact, it has grown so much that we’ve now divided our recommendations into two different categories: the best electric scooters and skateboards and the best electric bike options, which you’ll find below. Most of the rideables were tested on a commute through sections of midtown Manhattan, down the West Side Highway bike path or bike paths around Central Park. Some were given a test ride recently, others before the coronavirus pandemic.
If you do get into rideables and electric commuter bikes, be sure to be safe by keeping several guidelines in mind. Keep your battery charged and make it a habit to check on your tires often. Leave enough space between yourself and both cars and riders on plain old human-powered bikes and scooters. Ride and pass with caution, because an electric bicycle will go faster than a traditional bike or scooter. Most important, wear a helmet every single time you ride.
For more like this
Subscribe to the Bioreports Now newsletter for our editors’ picks of the most important stories of the day.
We update this list regularly.
Buying your first e-bike: What you can expect
Great for a commuter with limited storage space. The Swagtron EB5 Pro is a folding pedal assist bike with an electric motor that also has its own throttle (so you don’t really have to pedal at all). With a full battery, it can travel up to 15 miles at a speed of 15 mph. This folding bike is a single speed, and you can even turn all the powered features and pedal assist mode off and use it like a regular bike. It weighs a solid 37 pounds and the seat supports riders up to 264 pounds, but when the seat is folded down, this commuter bike is surprisingly small.
See our Swagtron EB5 Pro gallery.
If it can be put on a bicycle, Rad Power Bikes probably offers it. With a slew of accessories, you can outfit one of their nine different electric bike models for cargo, kids or just riding through the mud.
We got our hands on the RadRunner 1 electric bike with a rear bench and foot pegs. This particular configuration is great for a parent to get out and run errands with their little ones on board the electric cargo bike. The 48-volt, 14-amp-hour battery powers a 750-watt motor that can pedal-assist or throttle the RadRunner up to 20mph. With four levels of assistance, riders can increase or decrease to help conserve battery, if necessary, or make it up a steep incline.
The step-through frame makes it easy to mount and dismount, even with a passenger or packages on the rear of the bike. The RadRunner is rated to support up to 300 pounds. I can assure you it does that as my passengers and I pushed past the weight limit without any problems.
Read our RadRunner 1 hands-on.
The Charge XC is a clean-looking e-bike that’s made to go anywhere — dirt, gravel or on the road — for $2,299. The XC doesn’t have a throttle, but it does have three levels of assist (eco, normal and high) and the 250-watt middrive Shimano motor was just enough to tackle any hill. Its front shocks were great for getting around the bumpy New York streets.
The motor was efficient enough for the Shimano E8035 integrated battery that I always had enough juice to get home. The bike has a travel distance of up to 50 miles depending on the assist level you’re using and its charge time is approximately 7 hours. With no throttle and a pedal-assist that gets you up to 20 mph (32 kmh), the Charge XC is a Class 1 e-bicycle. Along with pedal-assist the XC also has eight manual gears and dual 180mm hydraulic brakes that worked in any weather and on any slope. And its puncture-resistant Good Year knobby tires worked well on or offroad.
The frame is made from aluminum, weighs 55 pounds (25 kilograms) and supports riders up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms). The pedals fold and the handlebars rotate in line with the bike for easy storage. I have to say that was a standout feature for me living in a typical small Manhattan apartment. The bike currently comes in one color, Charcoal, which I personally think is a great color for a city bike. You don’t need a key to use it but does have one for removing the integrated battery — a welcomed feature I’ve seen more and more on e-bikes.
The bike’s comfortable seat made the ride more enjoyable, and it also has front and rear fenders that’ll keep you dry on wet roads and there’s a rainproof battery cover. The XC is equipped with both head- and taillights along with a rack that can support up to 50 pounds (23 kilograms), making it great for a quick run to the market.
Other nice touches include a display that’s clean, lowkey and easy to read with an option of white-on-black or black-on-white characters (the latter was easier to see in sunlight). Tire caps that tell you when tire pressure is low so there’s no more guessing, and you get a portable hand pump along with the tools needed to assemble the bike. The box it comes in is cleverly designed to hold the wheel to assist with the installation.
I would recommend the Charge XC for anyone who enjoys riding and doesn’t want too much assistance, but wouldn’t mind an extra boost from time to time.
The $2,299 Camp Scrambler from Juiced bikes is as fun as it is unique, and as comfortable as it is fast. The long banana seat is reminiscent of a conventional bike from the ’70s, but with a modern twist. The Camp Scrambler electric bike comes with a 750-watt Bafang rear hub motor, can pedal assist up to 28 mph and throttle up to 20 mph. It’s powered by a 52-volt battery giving riders the ability to travel up to 50 miles on a single charge. Recharge time is approximately four hours. There are seven pedal-assist modes and a Shimano seven-speed freewheel cassette to shift gears as well.
The long seat is cozy for riders of all sizes and still has room for a second rider (my speed-demon daughter loves to ride on the front section of the seat) and the high handlebars are pleasing for long rides. I’ve put more than 500 miles on one and still enjoy riding it every bit as much as I did at the start. The wide Kendra knobby tires make it easy to hop on- and off-road, but for those who strictly ride pavement and want a road bike, there’s the City Scambler, which has a similar look and specifications with street tires.
The bicycle weighs 71 pounds and can support riders up to 275 pounds. Lights on the front and rear of the electric bike help for nighttime visibility, and it comes with a bell to let people know you’re coming down the lane. Dual hydraulic brakes bring the Scrambler bike to a stop quickly and safely. The hydraulic disc brake system and the whole package make for a great riding experience.
Read our Juiced Bikes Camp Scrambler first take.
The gorgeous, futuristic-looking $2,799 GoCycle GS is not your average folding electric bike. Its motor is located in the front and it has a fully enclosed chain that runs to the back wheel. This allows you to commute without worrying about getting grease on you or your clothes or lubing the chain after being out on a wet day. Roads with rough patches are less of a problem with its rear suspension, too.
The wheels attach with single-sided mounts, which is a major design standout, allowing them to be quickly removed by hand. It also means you can break it down into smaller pieces to take up less space. The whole thing weighs 36.3 pounds (16.5 kg) and you can get a Portable Docking Station that’s essentially a rolling suitcase for the bike for stowing and transport.
The GS settings on this folding electric bike are controlled by an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth through the GoCycleConnect app. Two bands on the handlebar securely hold your phone while riding. While riding the GoCycle you’re able to change assistance modes, speeds and toggle the throttle on and off.
Throttle assistance can only be used when traveling at least 4 mph, so as not to put too much pressure on the 500-watt motor. The GoCycle’s 300Wh battery gets about 40 miles (65 km) on a full charge depending on your riding style and weight; it’ll support riders up to 220 pounds and pedal/throttle assist up to 20 mph. A full charge takes about seven hours or three and a half with a fast charger (sold separately).
The GS focuses on the little details, such as its center stand that folds up discreetly under the bike making it almost invisible. I can not emphasize enough how beautifully designed this bike is. How they squeezed so much into this small bicycle is just amazing.
At $2,799 you’re getting a premium and smooth ride (and it’s not even the company’s top model), but if you’re not sure it’s worth it sight unseen, you may find a local retailer that carries the GoCycle line and allows test rides.
See our gallery of the GoCycle GS.
The $6,000 Trek Allant Plus 9.9S hits a lot of premium notes. The design is sleek, with a Removable Integrated Battery (or RIB, as Trek calls it) built right into the frame. There’s also an optional secondary 500-watt-hour battery that mounts just above the integrated one for extra range.
The built-in display shows riding mode, speed and more, while the Bosch app for iOS and Android keeps track of where you’ve gone and how long it took to get there. The frame is made from lightweight carbon fiber, but still hits 51 pounds.
In my hands-on testing, the Allant handles as if it were gliding over the pavement, and having the option to use the 75 Newton-meters of torque from the Bosch motor with pedal assist — taking you up to 28 mph — just adds to the experience.
See our gallery of the Trek Allant Plus 9.9S.
Note that the Trek Super Commuter electric bicycle, which had previously been on this list, is no longer a current product according to the manufacturer. The bike was subject to a recall in Dec. 2019 because of a possible fall hazard relating to the bike’s front fender.
Read more: Best cheap electric bike and electric scooter under $500