Best electric road bikes: e
The best electric road bikes reviewed by the BikeRadar test team
This competition is now closed
By Paul Norman
Published: April 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm
It wasn't so long ago that the world of electric bikes was dominated by electric hybrids and electric mountain bike models. Alongside electric gravel bikes, electric road bikes are increasingly popular and, in some cases, look very similar to non-motorised machines.
A road ebike will have drop handlebars and a more sporty riding position than a hybrid – just like a conventional, non-assisted road or gravel bike.
You’ll get the gear range to ride faster and to tackle hills, plus narrower road bike tyres for more rapid progress on the road.
As with any road bike, reducing weight is important, although not usually at the expense of battery capacity and range. Electric road bikes will always be heavier than their conventional counterparts.
However, some road ebikes will have carbon-fibre frames and lightweight wheelsets, bringing their weight down to under 12kg – not a lot more than some unpowered bikes.
A road ebike's handling will also be tuned for a sporty ride, so you can enjoy fast descents, while still getting a helping hand from the motor on the uphills.
As with any electric bike motor, an e-road bike's electric assistance will be limited to speeds below 15mph/25kph as per electric bike laws in the UK, EU and Australia. The limit is 20mph in the US. That's more than enough for climbing – you’ll be able to climb much quicker than on a regular road bike – but could limit an e-road bike's appeal on flat roads if riding in a fast group, for example.
For more advice on what to look for in an electric road bike, our full buyer's guide is at the bottom of this article, while we’ve also got a separate guide to electric bike types to help you choose the right motorised machine for you.
Scott's Addict eRide borrows heavily from the Addict RC aero lightweight bike, with similar geometry and Scott's top-spec HMX carbon.
It's powered by the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor, with its fully enclosed battery in the down tube, for a really clean look.
Power assistance is smooth, both in delivery and when it cuts out, so that you’re supported as you ride, rather than the motor taking over.
The eRide is available in a range of builds. The top-level Premium spec has a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, a fully-integrated Syncros Creston SL bar/stem and Syncros Capital carbon wheelset, for a sub-11kg weight – about as light as electric bikes come.
Our tester judged the BMC Roadmachine AMP One "simply one of the best e-road bikes available".
Its geometry and silhouette closely match those of its non-assisted sibling.
However, it packs in a Mahle X20 motor and a 350Wh battery for an impressively lengthy range aided by clever assistance management.
The handling is well balanced and The SRAM Force AXS groupset shifts with precision. Braking is excellent too.
The Vittoria Rubino tyres gripped and rolled well on dry roads, but wouldn't be the best choice for more hostile winter conditions.
The motor-equipped Bianchi Aria E-Road aero bike is blessed with the same great handling offered by its unassisted sister bike, the Bianchi Aria.
The Aria E-Road also uses an ebikemotion motor unit at its rear hub, while the 250W/h battery that powers it is concealed within the frame's down tube. This makes for a road bike that appears unassisted, at least to the untrained eye.
Despite its appetite for speed, the Aria isn't a bone shaker on rougher surfaces, thanks to its 28mm tyres.
The best compliment we can pay the Aria is it would work well as a non-assisted bike – it just happens to have a 250-watt boost on tap.
Unlike the racier Bianchi Aria E-Road, the Impulso electric road bike isn't as much of a looker, but we were still very impressed with the ride.
More relaxed geometry and a higher front end make it a good choice if you’re a rider who is less flexible, recovering from injury or looking to keep up with fitter riders.
The Polini bottom-bracket mounted motor system of the Impulso was another pleasant surprise, with plenty of power and an impressive real-world range.
Mounts for mudguards and racks mean this one will also make a great commuter bike.
Another ebike that uses the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo is based on our 2020 (non-assisted) Bike of the Year, the SuperSix EVO.
It's inherited both that bike's looks and its race-bike ride quality and responsiveness. There's a long reach and low stack, as well as short chainstays for a performance ride feel.
Quality finishing kit includes Cannondale's aero bar and stem, a Prologo saddle on a carbon seatpost, and Cannondale RDe alloy wheels, for a bike weight of 12.1kg in size large.
We managed 122km with 1,124m of climbing elevation on a single charge, comfortably beating the 75km claimed range. Above all, we were impressed by how well the motor worked with us, rather than dominating the ride.
If you’re spending your time predominantly off-road but want drop bars and the flexibility of a motor then the Cannondale Synapse Neo SE is hard to beat.
The Synapse may be best known as Cannondale's endurance bike but, with 650b wheels and massive 47mm WTB Byway tyres, the Neo SE is more gravel bike than road bike.
That's not to say this machine isn't sufficient on the road, but its ability to monster truck off-road terrain is seriously addictive. Bosch's excellent drive unit provides generous assistance, even in its minimal-assistance Eco mode.
We managed to get in excess of 60 miles of power from the battery despite a test route that was almost entirely off-road. Cannondale also offers the new Topstone Neo as a dedicated electric gravel bike.
The Focus Paralane² was born out of the prototype Project Y electric bike, and makes use of a removable Fazua motor. This minimal motor/battery system weighs only 3.5kg.
Remove the Fazua system and attach the included cover and the Paralane² effectively becomes a standard road bike, with minimal resistance from the gearbox buried in the bottom bracket. Without the motor, it weighs around 11kg.
The USP for the Paralane² is that the motor is designed to work in tandem with you. The result is unobtrusive power delivery with a feel that puts you in control rather than letting the bike take over.
We’d rather see tyres larger than the 28mm specced as standard, particularly seeing as this frame can accept 35mm tyres without issue, making it a great option for year-round riding or dabbling in light gravel.
When it was announced, the Orbea Gain was one of a host of refined electric road bikes that eschewed the bulky ebike looks in favour of something more streamlined.
Built for a group test we conducted last year, our luxuriously kitted out Orbea Gain Carbon M20 was configured using Orbea's MyO custom builder programme. The result was a bike that was a joy to ride, even with the motor switched off.
In 2021, Orbea updated both the carbon and alloy Gain, borrowing features from its OMX aero road bike, upping tyre clearance to 40mm, fully enclosing the cable runs and dropping weight to 11.8kg or less.
It also has integrated front and rear lights, its own head unit with an out-front mount for more info on the motor and battery life, and Mahle's newest ebikemotion X35 Plus motor. Orbea says it has tuned power delivery to more closely replicate the feeling of riding an unassisted road bike.
You’re paying a superbike price for the Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL, one of the most expensive electric bikes available. But the high-spec frame and top-drawer specification, including Roval CLX50 aero carbon wheels, Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and a built-in power meter, help justify the outlay.
Ride quality feels like the Roubaix endurance bike and the Turbo Creo SL even comes with the FutureShock 2.0 headset damper fitted to that bike. The motor weight sits low down to ensure stability and it's nimble despite its 13.7kg weight.
The Fazua motor system on the Trek Domane+ LT7 drops the weight down to 13.8kg and is removeable, so you can ride the bike like a non-assisted Domane too. Like the non-electric bike, it incorporates Trek's IsoSpeed front and rear decouplers and IsoCore bars for loads of road comfort that transfers over to light gravel rides.
We got over 100km range with 2,000m-plus of climbing – impressive, as is the handling and comfort on offer.
Electric road bike drivetrains are sleeker and more covert than ever, with low-profile batteries often fully enclosed in the bike's down tube or disguised as a water bottle.
Electric road bike motors tend to be compact and hidden away in the bottom bracket shell or the rear hub – a far cry from the bulky units of old – while controllers are often small, with a tiny button in the front of the top tube being an increasingly popular placement, although you’ll also find bar-mounted controls. That can lead to a bike that at first glance is hard to distinguish from a conventional road bike.
Fazua and ebikemotion motors are a popular choice seen on many e-road bikes thanks to the progressive power delivery well-suited to road riding, although Bosch units and own-brand motors from the likes of Specialized can also cut a minimalist silhouette.
Most electric road bikes have a battery enclosed in the bike's down tube. Again, that leads to an unobtrusive look. In the case of Fazua, you can drop the battery pack out of the down tube for recharging, or remove it to take it indoors closer to an electric plug. You can even remove it completely and ride the electric bike like a non-assisted road bike.
Other batteries such as ebikemotion's are more firmly lodged in place, though, so you need to be able to get the bike to a socket to add some juice.
Typical battery capacities are around 250W/h – usually enough for 60km or so of range, although you should be able to get more than that on flatter ground with judicious use.
The lightest electric road bikes tip the scales at 12kg or less, which isn't a lot more than some unpowered bikes. That's achieved by having a frame and fork made of carbon fibre, often accompanied by carbon-rimmed wheels. That tends to be a pricey menu.
Weight is important, though. On the flat, many road riders will be managing over the 15mph/25kph legal limit (or 20mph in the US) at which the motor cuts out, making the motor and battery a dead weight above those speeds. Keeping the bike's weight low will make riding without assistance easier, adding to performance and enjoyment.
On the other hand, a more robust, heavier build could be an advantage if you’re aiming to mix in gravel riding. Weight is also less of an issue if you plan to predominantly ride within the legal limit for motor assistance.
With more power delivered to the road and a heavier bike weight, electric road bikes tend to have wider tyres than standard road bikes. Many pair that with beefed-up wheels with alloy rims, although higher-spec models may come with aero carbon hoops.
Tyre width on electric road bikes tends to start at 28mm. That's not unusual on a pedal-powered road bike now though, and provides a more comfortable ride, with additional versatility for rough roads or dabbling on light off-road trails.
While less common than, say, an electric hybrid conversion, it is perfectly possible to convert your road bike to an ebike.
Check out our in-depth guide on how to convert a bike to electric power for more info.
Paul has been writing about bike tech and reviewing all things cycling for almost a decade. He had a five-year stint at Cycling Weekly and has also written for titles including CyclingNews, Cyclist and BikePerfect, as well as being a regular contributor to BikeRadar. Tech-wise, he's covered everything from rim width to the latest cycling computers. He reviewed some of the first electric bikes for Cycling Weekly and has covered their development into the sophisticated machines they are today, on the way becoming an expert on all things electric. Paul was into gravel before it was even invented, riding a cyclocross bike across the South Downs and along muddy paths through the Chilterns. He dabbled in cross-country mountain biking too. He's most proud of having covered the length of the South Downs Way on a crosser and fulfilling his long-time ambition to climb Monte Grappa on a road bike
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