Cyclists have never been more spoilt for choice. Although many cities are awash with rental e-bikes, the devoted rouleur demands their own machine. Here are some of the best e-bikes for 2023
June 3 is the fifth World Bicycle Day, a date nominated back in 2018 by the United Nations as a way to boost this most efficient of all modes of transport. E-bikes are a central spoke of this strategy, be they consumer-owned, or leased from one of the many ride-sharing rental schemes around the world. The pandemic also gave the industry an unexpected boost as public transport options evaporated.
Vela Bike Components
Scarcely a week goes by without another e-bike maker popping up to offer their superficially appealing wares. E-bikes vary wildly in style and price. Some new brands have clearly been drop-shipped from the vast and admittedly highly advanced bike industry in China, while others take a more bespoke approach, meticulously building to order in small volumes akin to the very best traditional bicycle manufacturers.
For the sake of argument, we’re defining an e-bike along the same lines as the EU; pedals have to be present, and electric power can only be delivered via pedal assistance, not a throttle. US regulations allow bikes to go a bit faster, with a specific category for throttle-equipped bikes.
Mokumono Polder's removable battery
While we can't claim to be completely comprehensive, our two-part guide to the burgeoning e-bike market should get your research up and running. Improvements in urban storage, rural bike paths, charge times, weight and price are all coming together to make the e-bike one of the most tempting types of around-town transportation. Saddle up, and explore what's out there with our A to Y of modern e-bikes.
A surprise entrant to the market from a brand best known for its laptops. Acer's ebii eschews conventional bike structure in favour of a solid cross-bar structure integrating battery and lights.
Acer ebil, price tbc, Acer.com
Available in two sizes, with a simple, traditional-style frame that cleverly conceals the battery pack, Ampler's Juna is designed and made in Estonia. The single-speed bike is city-focused and there's an optional rear carrier.
Juna, £2,690, Ampler Bikes, AmplerBikes.com
Angell S Cruiser
Established e-bike maker Angell has introduced its new ‘S Cruiser’ model, a lighter version of the Ora ïto-designed streamlined city bike. Available in both dune and graphite, the S Cruiser integrates lights, dashboard and a fall detection mode and weighs in at 18.1kg.
Angell S Cruiser, €2,990, AngelMobility.com
BMC 257 AMP AL Two
BMC is best known as a performance bike brand, building professional riding machines for on and off-road competitions. The company is now venturing into consumer e-bikes with its new 257 brand (‘the concept behind the name is that commuting by bike gives you an extra hour in your day’.) The powder-coated aluminium frame incorporates lights and has bold contrasting fenders, with a high-quality Bosch motor and Shimano gearing.
BMC 257 AMP AL Two, from €5,299, BMC-Switzerland.com
Cairn E-Adventure 1.0 Rambler Edition
Cairn's Rambler is a hybrid e-bike with a long-distance battery (74 miles). Developed in the UK, the Rambler combines a 13-speed drivetrain with drop handlebars and a rugged frame.
Cairn E-Adventure 1.0 Rambler Edition, £4,289, CairnCycles.com
Cake's Åik is a utility bike, complete with removable battery and an unconventional aluminium frame design that provides maximum space and flexibility for cargo. With a maximum range of 360km from the modular battery system, the Åik is pitched at those who need to ride non-stop for a living, whether delivering goods or running surveys off the beaten track.
Cake Åik, £5,500, RideCake.com
Canyon Grand Canyon:ON
The Grand Canyon:ON is the latest iteration of Canyon's impressive multifunctional e-bikes, part of a suite of new products that includes the Strive:ON and Torque:ON models. This triumvirate of long-distance e-MTBs are designed for adventurers and thrill-seekers, with Bosch power and a maximum 750 Wh battery for endurance.
Canyon Grand Canyon:ON, from £2,899, Canyon.com
Cortina's new E-Blau is a handsome contemporary machine, our pick of the Dutch company's extensive product line that includes modern designs as well as more traditional layouts. The E-Blau is an urban bike designed to be functional and no-nonsense, with a low-maintenance belt drive and practical cargo-carrying accessories.
Cortina E-Blau, €2,749, CortinaBikes.com
Cowboy 4 is the latest version of this sleek e-bike model, available in two frame types (crossbar and the company's first step-through model) as well as three contemporary colours, Absolute Black, Khaki and Sand. The removal battery simplifies charging, and there's also a charging dock for your phone.
Cowboy C4 and C4 ST, £2,690, UK.Cowboy.com
Ducati's dedicated e-MTB is a fearsome looking machine, unsurprising coming from the famed Italian racing motorbike builder. The company also builds ultra-light e-bikes for road use, but the MIG-S's focus is purely on slopes and scree.
Ducati MIG-S, €5,590, Ducati.com
Engwe's X-26 is a bit of an unknown quantity; many previously unknown manufacturers are springing up in the West, bringing plenty of experience from China's vast bicycle market. The fat-tyred X-26 is folding but hardly portable – this is more about having a bike that can squeeze into small storage spaces than one you’d take on the train – it weighs 34.8kg.
Engwe X-26, $1,999, ENGWE-Bikes.com
Evari describes its new 856 as a ‘super e-bike’, a machine that is to a conventional bike what a Ferrari is to a Fiat. The British manufacturer has spared nothing in its pursuit of the best in design and components, and the sleek crossbar, complete with embedded info screen, has a hint of vintage motorbike as well as a supercar's central console.
Evari 856, £9,495, Evari.cc
Fiido M1 Pro
Another hefty folding model, Fiido's M1 Pro has more than a hint of the quintessentially drop-shipped product, with solid looking design and branding but little more to go on. Clearly intended as a low-cost option, it could work well as an occasional ‘guest’ bike.
Fiido M1 Pro, $1,299, Fiido.com
A delightfully clean design, Honbike's Uni4 is a ‘Long Range Electric Commuter Bike’. That means an impressive range of 100km, with a belt drive for low maintenance. Magnesium wheels help keep the weight down to a manageable 20kg, and there's also a built in LCD display.
Honbike Uni4, £1,799, Honbike.com
HPS's Domestique looks like a high performance road bike, with professional grade Campagnolo components and a sporting frame. Into this equation goes HPS's ultra-compact electric motor, the WATT Assist pro. At just 8.5kg, the company claims it's the world's lightest e-bike; the ‘bottle battery’ is obviously removable for quick charging.
HPS Domestique, €14,400, HPS-Bike.com
Another contender in the lightness stakes, Islabikes’ eJimi has an aluminium frame and a carbon fork to help it weigh in at 13.8kg. Everything is focused on range and simplicity, with all-terrain tyres and a range of pannier options.
Islabikes eJimi, £2,699, Islabikes.co.uk
Lekker Jordaan GT
An e-bike designed for practicality and endurance, the Jordaan GT packs a lot of performance into its very traditional, almost military-style frame. Practical front and rear panniers, a comfortable saddle and up to 100km range on a single range from the detachable battery, the GT is a trusty companion of an e-bike.
Lekker Jordaan GT, €2,998, LekkerBikes.com
Mate's e-bikes are unconventional but well-proven, with folding forms and a strong sense of design identity. The Copenhagen-based company has also announced its first cargo bike, the Mate SUV. With a 100km range and a 250W motor, the SUV should be able to fulfil many light commercial tasks with a minimal carbon – and physical – footprint.
Mate SUV, price tbc, MATE.bike
MCM Urwahn Magazin edition
MCM has joined forces with German design retailer Magazin and typographer Erik Spiekermann to create this special edition of their Urwahn e-bike. Combining a pebble gray and traffic cone orange frame with typographic labelling of the frame, the machine pays homage to Spiekermann's enthusiasm for cycling. An 80km range is the icing on the cake.
MCM Urwahn Magazin edition, €5,249, Shop.Urwahnbikes.com
Another new start-up from the biking capital that is the Netherlands, Mokumono's Polder is defiantly different. The company, founded by twins Bob and Tom Schiller, will build the 21kg Polder in Amsterdam, using 90% European parts. Available in a rainbow of different colours, the Polder also promises a range of 80km.
Mokomuno Polder, €2,990, Mokumono.com
Momentum PakYak E+
Momentum's PakYak is another contender in the small but fast-expanding sector of bikes designed to replace cars. An electric cargo bike that can carry up 164kg, there's an optional auxiliary battery to boost range as well hefty panniers front and rear for a multitude of functions, from school run to camping trip.
Momentum PakYak E+, $4,900, Momentum-Biking.com
Moto Parilla Trilix
Italian luxury bike maker Moto Parilla has two core models, the high-performance Carbon and the Trilix. The former takes inspiration from motorbike design, while the Trilix could be described as a Brompton on steroids, with hefty space frame, small wheels and high-end leather accessories. The Moto Parilla name originally belonged to a motorcycle manufacturer, hence the design influence on Carbon. All e-bikes are hand-built to order at the company's base in Reggio Emilia.
Moto Parilla Trilix, price on application, MotoParilla.it
NIU Hull Muto
NIU Hull specialises in e-scooters, with the Muto its only conventional e-bike product. An integrated Dutch bike lock allows you to secure the accessories and batteries, and there are integral front and rear lights and a clean, uncomplex design.
NIU Hull Muto, £1,999, NiuHull.co.uk
OL+EM bespoke titanium e-bike
Based in the Czech Republic, OL+EM is a family business specialising in bespoke e-bike building. This gives the small company the ability to tailor-make frames to fit each individual rider, using titanium for strength and lightness.
OL+EM bespoke titanium e-bike, from €6,000, OLEMebikes.com
Porsche eBike Cross Performance
Porsche is parlaying the experience it has gathered in electric cars into a range of high-performance e-bikes. Subsidiary Porsche Design's Cross Performance model shares its colour palette with the famous sport cars, and has a full-suspension carbon frame and a Shimano drive unit for maximum acceleration.
Porsche Design eBike Cross Performance, from €8,900, Porsche-Design.com
The Plus from Rad Power Bikes is a true hybrid, a modern utility bike that blends chunky, puncture resistant tyres, integrated fenders, and a 136kg payload capacity with a 72km range and a traditional sit-up-and-beg riding position.
RadRunner Plus utility bike, £1,749, RadPowerBikes.co.uk
Veteran British brand Raleigh (founded in 1885) is unsurprisingly a big player in e-bikes. Our pick of the range is the Trace, a lightweight model with an 80km range and a classically low-key frame paired with strong colour choices.
Raleigh Trace, £1,899, Raleigh.co.uk
Spanish bike maker Rayvolt has an eclectic line-up, from the hot-rod-style Cruzer, which draws inspiration from custom motorbike design to this, the Ambassador. Combining copper accents, leather accessories and traditionally styled frame and handlebars, the Ambassador weighs in at 22kg. The battery is contained within the leather bag slung from the frame.
Rayvolt Ambassador, €3,650, RayvoltBike.com
Rei Tern GSD S10
Rei's Tern GSD S10 is a compact folding electric cargo bike, seemingly an oxymoron. No longer than a conventional bike, the company's ‘FlatFold’ system only compacts the handlebar and seat, which still reduces the space the Tern takes up. The heavy-duty rear rack doubles as a stand to allow the bike to be parked vertically.
Rei Tern GSD S10, $5,399.00, Rei.com
Riese & Müller Multicharger
Riese & Müller's Multicharger is a utility e-bike designed for rugged terrain. The German manufacturer offers a huge variety of e-bike types, from cargo carriers to dedicated mountain bikes, with dependable models like the Multicharger offering up functionality across the board.
Riese & Müller Multicharger, from £4,909, R-M.de
Saracen Ariel 50-E Pro
Saracen builds high-performance conventional mountain bikes; the 50E range is its first foray into the e-bike world. The Ariel 50-E Pro sits in between the entry-level 50-E and the top-of-the-line 50-E Elite. With an aluminium frame that incorporates a shock absorber, and a powerful integrated 720Wh battery, the 50-E Pro is an accomplished off-road machine for all abilities.
Saracen Ariel 50E Pro, £5,999, Saracen.co.uk
Specialized Turbo Levo
Specialized's Turbo Levo is a high specification mountain bike from this acclaimed name. No expense has been spared in selecting the best components, creating a light and endlessly tuneable bike for pros to get the most out of any trail.
Specialized Turbo Levo, £12,000, Specialized.com
Urban Arrow Family
Urban Arrow makes luxurious cargo e-bikes, either for small businesses or for the important business of carrying your family around. The Family model has space for up to three kids, with a host of accessories like benches and rain covers to make assisted pedal family transit as pain-free as possible.
Urban Arrow Family, £5,820, UrbanArrow.com
VAAST E/1 Rohloff
Vaast's new E/1 is a luxury contender, an urban-focused model with rugged tyres, a solid-looking step-through frame and built-in accessories. The bike has a 14-speed push gearbox, a carbon belt drive and a magnesium frame.
Vaast E/1 Rohloff, from $4,999, VAASTbikes.com
We’ve already raved about VanMoof's S4 and X4 city bikes. The company has also launched the A5, its first model with a step-through frame. The bike integrates an LED interface into the handlebars, with its ‘LED Halo Rings’ that give info on speed and battery level, and there's also an optional phone mount.
VanMoof A5, £3,298, VanMoof.com
This undeniably nostalgic bike design is by Vela, a company founded in Sao Pãolo and now based in NY. Accessories tap into the vintage aesthetic, including a bell, racks and baskets, with a removable battery concealed in the frame beneath the seat. The seat and handlebars feature hand-stitched vegan leather.
Vela Bike, from $1,799, VelaBikes.com
Vello's slender Bike+ is billed as the ‘first self-charging electric folding bike’. Another explicit Brompton rival, the slim-framed Bike+ uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The top assisted speed is 25km/h, thanks to the belt drive system and the whole bike weighs 13.9kg.
Vello Bike+, €3,290, En.VELLO.bike
Veloretti Electric Ace Two
Veloretti's elegant Electric Ace Two has a modern, minimal frame, with distinctive built-in oval lights and a removable battery pack. The belt drive system features automatic gear shifts courtesy of the step-less Enviolo system and the 504Wh battery pack gives a range up to 120km.
Veloretti Electric Ace Two, €3,299, Veloretti.com
Vintage Electric Bikes Rally
Another exercise in retro style, Vintage Electric's Rally model evokes early motorbike design, spliced with the first wave of mountain bikes from the 70s. The Santa Clara-based company crafts its bikes by hand and to order.
Vintage Electric Bikes Rally, $4,795, VintageElectricBikes.com
Volt's London model is, as the name suggests, a city bike through and through. Elegant and sleek, the model incorporates front pannier storage, clean lines and has a range of up to 95k/h. There's also an optional GPS tracking system.
Volt London, from £2,199, Voltbikes.co.uk
Yuba Spicy Curry
Last but not least, Yuba's Spicy Curry is a durable cargo bike, powered by a dedicated Bosch drive system and with a 95km range The French company has created a small cargo bike with a long tail design, perfectly shaped for plenty of cargo or a couple of child seats.
Yuba Spicy Curry, from €4,999, YubaBikes.eu
Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine's Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper's first podcast.
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