Electric bikes, often called e-bikes, are motor-assisted bicycles that combine a regular bike with a motor that assists the rider in pedaling. Often capped at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour, e-bikes are a faster alternative to manually-pedaled bikes but cheaper than owning a four-wheeled vehicle.
The rising cost of gas all over the world has prompted in an eco-friendly and econo-friendly movement for commuters.
One of the main reasons people are switching over from cars and public transportation to e-bikes (or a combination using e-bikes with their vehicles and bike-friendly mass transit) is the value for money. Realistically speaking, 15 mph is a decent average speed, even when a bike is carrying as much as 400 pounds (combined weight of the cyclist and their bags). Some e-bikes cost less than $1,000. Ebike maintenance is also a tiny fraction of the cost of maintaining and gassing up on a standard sedan or other four-wheeled vehicle.
Top 5 E-Bike Companies
There are many e-bike companies all over the world, but here are the top five manufacturers leading the way in the United States:
- Pedego Electric Bikes – Arguably one of the best brands today, Pedego has been around since 2009. The company offers a wide variety that spans different needs, including trail bikes, cruisers, and the like. Their bikes have 500-watt hub motors, and their geared hub motors can scale even the toughest hills around.
- X-Treme Electric Bicycles and Scooters – Often sold out in shops, many of X-Treme’s e-bikes are staples in the cycling community. One of the reasons they sell like hotcakes is because their e-bikes cost anywhere between $500 and $1500, a great price range for a good quality e-bike.
- iZip eBikes – Founded in 2005, the company is one of the largest and longest operating companies in the North American region.
- Specialized – One of the more high-end brands, with e-bikes costing around $10,000 a pop, this brand is of premium quality and top-of-the-line technology.
- Rad Power – This company offers all-terrain e-bikes (also called fat tire bikes) with 750-watt motors in an affordable $1,500 to $1,600 range. The brand has been around since 2007, and also offers a foldable version of their e-bikes – a unicorn in the industry.
Best E-Bike Batteries
Even cheaper e-bikes can be upgraded, especially when it comes to changing the motors and batteries they come with. Experts say that many cheap bikes get a low price because of a cheap lead-acid (PbA) battery, which is twice as heavy as nickel-metal hydride (NiMh) batteries and three times as heavy as lithium variants. Lead-acid types are okay for minor bike use around a small neighborhood. However, for more extensive use, it is advised to replace them with higher quality types.
E-bike enthusiasts and experts alike have their own preferences, from NiMh to nickel-cadmium (NiCd). Others prefer lithium based ones, such as lithium-ion polymer (li-pol), lithium cobalt (LCO), and lithium manganese (LiMg204). Overall, the most preferred is the lithium ion, with its proven safety and range. While it’s the most expensive among their counterparts
While some riders are already experts, even building their own do-it-yourself (DIY) Li-ion batteries, some of the best brands are:
- HK Kingbopower Technology – one of the top names in the world when it comes to e-bike batteries, their diverse range of Li-ion batteries can fit various bike brands. Based in China, their batteries are exported to as far as North America, Europe, the Middle-East, and Africa.
- LG Chem – they have powerful rechargeable batteries not just for bikes but also other gadgets including laptops, powertools, and cellphones, an indication of their battery expertise.
- OptimumNano Energy – another major global e-bike battery brand, with a wide range of Li-ion batteries.
- Samsung SDI – a subsidiary of the well-known eponymous digital brand, they also offer various li-ion and lithium polymer e-bike batteries on top of other various power sources for other gadgets and uses.
- YOKU Energy – the tech company specializes in the manufacturing and development of Li-ion polymers, with a focus on being environment-friendly, often exceeding various international standards.
In addition to the above mentioned brands, a notable player in the charging game is Luna Cycle – a great brand of e-bike chargers with a wide range that suits various voltages and chemistries for e-bike battery packs.
E-bikes are increasingly popular in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and recently in North America as well. Here are some of the fastest models to date:
- Wolverine BM by HI-TREK Cycles – The Wolverine can reach 65 mph, with a range of 50 miles. With its 7,000-watt power, this e-bike has a 10-speed pedal as well.
- Falcon Airforce – Second in line is the Falcon Airforce at 62 mph, with a 5,000-watt rear wheel drive motor. It features a range of 56 miles and a powerful 72-volt Panasonic Li-ion battery running it.
- Stealth Bomber – Third is the Stealth Bomber, with top speeds of a little over 50 mph. Powered by a 5,000-watt battery, a 9-speed pedaling gear box, and a hub motor, this durable bike is worth its hefty price tag.
- Outrider Trike – The 422 Outrider Trike moves at up to 45 mph, and the rider can sit comfortably in a slightly reclining cycling position. With its mega efficient motor and battery, its range can go up to 100 miles.
- M55 – Last but not the least, the M55 is a bike that can reach 50 mph on 2,000 watts. The only reason it’s in fifth place due to its heavy price of $36,000.
Top E-Bike Companies by Region
- Alter Ego Bikes
- eProdigy Bikes
- OHM Cycles
- Trillium E-Bikes
- Umov Technologies
- Currie Technologies
- FIFIELD eBIKES
- Gi Fly bike
- Vintage Electric
- Wave Electric Bike
- OverVolted – Electric Bike News and Reviews
- ProdecoTech Electric Bicycles
- Propella Electric Bikes
- Sondors Electric Bikes
- AGOGS electric Bikes
- Riese und Müller
- Stevens Bikes
- BH (Beistegui Hermanos)
- Brost Bikes
- EGO Movement
- Eco Voltz Electric Bikes
- Electric Bike Plus
- Fully Charged
- Momentum Electric
- Wisper and Riese & Muller
- VOLT™ Bikes
Other notable European brands:
- Greyp Bikes (Croatia)
- NxBike (Finland)
- M55 (Hungary)
- Sparta (Netherlands)
- Ondabike (Portugal)
- EvoBike (Sweden)
- A2B, China. German designed, UK corporation. One of the first.
- Mando, Korea
- Mahindra Group GenZe, India
Australia & New Zealand
- Byron Electric Byron Bay, Australia
- Dyson Bikes, Australia
- RIKONDA, New Zealand
Clearly, the e-bike industry is blooming not just in the US but all over North America and the rest of the world. It is up to various bodies of law to enact rules that can ensure the safety of riders and pedestrians alike.
UPDATE, 7.26.21: More Top E-Bike Brands on the Market Today
The following are among the top e-bike brands to consider:
- Rad Power – This Seattle-based company is well known for its high-quality, customized e-bike options. Likewise, Rad Power offers highly affordable and useful products allowing significant versatility. Its Rad Runner is popular and has been recognized as one of the best utility e-bike brands. It lists for around $1300, which helped make Rad Power one of the most sought-after e-bike brands today.
- Batch E-Bikes – Batch is another one of the most popular e-bike brands, known for its durability. While many of its e-bike options offer few frills, they make up for it in dependability. Batch uses only high-quality components like Bosch, Shimano, and Tektro on its products. It also makes one of the best commuter e-bikes that runs around $2100.
- Trek – Most people recognize Trek as one of the best bicycle manufacturers in the world. But it is also one of the top-notch e-bike brands as well. Though Trek e-bikes may not be the most affordable e-bike options, they are certainly well-designed and well-built. Its Allant+ 9.9s has been recognized as the fastest commuter e-bike. However, it also costs around $6,000 to purchase.
- Specialized – Like trek, Specialized is also a well-known traditional bicycle company that makes quality products. But it too has evolved into one of the top e-bike brands as well. The company has invested research and development into making the smallest motors and batteries without sacrificing distance and power. Its Turbo Vado SL Equipped e-bike has been rated as the best overall e-bike by some reviewers. It lists for $4750.
- Charge City – Though Charge City doesn’t have a longstanding history, its e-bikes have gained a following by consumers. The most popular of its e-bike options is a Class 2 e-bike that has both pedal-assist options as well as a full throttle. It is also highly affordable with a price around $1700. It also offers space-conscious features that include folding pedals and handlebars. It too has become well-recognized among e-bike brands for value.
- Electric Bike Company – As the name implies, this e-bike company is dedicated to offering the best e-bike options around. It also offers various classes including a Class 2 e-bike that is named the Model X, which is best described as a beach cruiser. It lists for $1700, which is a great price based on the level of detail and quality the e-bike offers. This is one of the e-bike brands that also offers a number of customizable upgrades on its models.
- Propella – This company is among the rising stars of e-bike brands today. In fact, it offers a 7-speed e-bike model that has been rated among the best in value overall. Propella also uses quality components, like Shimano and Samsung. Likewise, it is light-weight at 39 pounds and has premium suspension seating. These e-bikes can be ordered and directly shipped to one’s home as well.