The Best Electric Bike

Updated on 20 January 2023

After 41 hours of comparing 66 e-bikes, of which 6 were tested, we concluded the RadCity 5 Plus Step-Thru currently offers the best price/quality ratio on the market.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best high-end

RadCity 5 Plus

Apart from its excellent performance in terms of endurance, acceleration and engine, this urban-style bike is well-equipped and offers an ultra-comfortable ride.

£ 1899.00 on Rad Power Bikes

RadCity 5 Plus Step

This city bike offers good performance in terms of recovery and smooth pedalling with its torque sensor and an excellent motor. Even when abusing the level 5 electric assistance, the range remains quite high. During our test, we appreciated its many accessories making it ideal for the city, but it is quite heavy (about 29 kg). As a result, we had to play with the gears to get started without difficulty when climbing. In addition, although it lacks brightness, the control screen is easy to use, and the hydraulic disc brakes are responsive. The frame geometry also provides a comfortable and convenient riding position for visibility, and the suspension improves comfort on rougher roads. Despite this, we did experience some difficulties with the assembly.

 

 

Best budget

Elops 120 E

Its ease of use, its many features, its walking assistance and above all its affordable price are major advantages of this urban electric bike.

£ 799.99 on Decathlon

This legally compliant electric bike offers good value for money for short journeys in a city with few gradients. Easy to ride, it adapts to your movements and includes different riding modes including walking assistance. Its battery is removable. It is equipped with numerous accessories specific to urban bikes. Although its range is a little short (from 20 to 55 km), its components are insufficient for those seeking the best performance or for intensive use.

 

Best mid-range

Riverside 100 E

For its price, this all-around bike guarantees convincing performance with smooth pedalling. Its simplicity, lightness and handling convinced us.

£ 1099.99 on Decathlon

Riverside 100 E

Equipped with a reactive cadence sensor, this VTC offers fluid electric assistance. The range is claimed to be from 40 km (in boost mode) to 70 km (in Eco mode), but during our test, we were often satisfied with the lowest assistance mode as it is already satisfactory on many routes. The small LED display is basic but functional, and we found the bike very easy to handle. According to the manufacturer, it will soon be linked to an app. It also has a 6-speed gearbox to manipulate to get the best possible performance. On top of that, it’s light and some accessories are included. The gel seat is quite nice and the front suspension improves riding comfort. Nevertheless, the mechanical disc brakes could be more responsive in our opinion.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best high-endBest budgetBest mid-range
RadCity 5 Plus Elops 120 E Riverside 100 E
Apart from its excellent performance in terms of endurance, acceleration and engine, this urban-style bike is well-equipped and offers an ultra-comfortable ride. Its ease of use, its many features, its walking assistance and above all its affordable price are major advantages of this urban electric bike. For its price, this all-around bike guarantees convincing performance with smooth pedalling. Its simplicity, lightness and handling convinced us.
£ 1899.00 on Rad Power Bikes £ 799.99 on Decathlon £ 1099.99 on Decathlon

 

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How did we do the testing?

To evaluate the responsiveness of the electric assistance, the autonomy and the comfort of use (handling, riding position, shock and vibration absorption, etc.), we rode on different paths, taking flat and hilly routes, and alternating smooth roads and more technical trails.

To check the brakes, we made sure to ride on dry and wet (rain, mud, etc.) surfaces, without hesitating to descend steeper slopes. Then we looked at the quantity, practicality and quality of the equipment and accessories provided. For the connected models, we checked the ergonomics, the handling and the proper functioning of the application.

 

How to choose an electric bike?

The electrically assisted bicycle (EAB) is an undeniable asset in everyday life. It is certainly, at present, one of the best solutions for the development of sustainable mobility. But the number of models on the market can be confusing.

Vélo électrique

It is therefore necessary, in order to make an informed choice, to know the main types:

  • The urban electric bike: this was the first to be developed, and is undoubtedly the most widespread in Europe, as it provides exactly what we are looking for in an EAB: the possibility of doing without a car in town, particularly to go to work.
  • The VTC or Trekking electric bike: mainly developed for cycle touring, electric VTCs are becoming increasingly popular, as are classic VTCs, because they make nature tours accessible to almost anyone. They are slightly heavier and more solid than urban electric bikes, but also have a motor that is better suited to steep slopes and hills.

Cowboy C4ST

  • Electrically assisted mountain bikes: initially more controversial, electric mountain bikes are now gaining legitimacy. They are increasingly used by experienced mountain bikers in search of thrills and by beginners for whom they are a precious aid in climbing certain impassable obstacles without necessarily being in optimum physical condition.
  • The electrically assisted road bike: this is the most recent model on the market. It is generally used by cyclists who want to set themselves certain challenges or in a peloton to allow the less experienced to keep up with their elders.

The most popular type is the urban model, and there are models to suit all budgets. Here are some criteria to consider when choosing one:

Cowboy C4ST

  • Driving power: this is calculated in watts (W). In Europe, the power must be less than 250 W for the bike to be approved and potentially eligible for subsidies. If you want to ride a sportier bike (with higher peak speeds), it is possible to go for more powerful models, at 400 or 500 W, but this will subject you to certain legislative constraints (see below).
  • The battery: it is displayed in Wh, but this is not always representative of its autonomy in use. There are various factors to take into account, such as the level of assistance you use, the gradients you cover, the load, the direction of the wind, the inflation of the tyres, etc. It is best to go for at least a 250 Wh battery, for comfortable cycling that does not require daily recharging.

Rad Power RadRunner Plus

  • Quality materials: an electric bike is expected to have a solid frame, a good motor, a strong battery and tyres that are suitable for the environment in which you ride. Similarly, the brakes ensure your safety. Hydraulic disc brakes are the most reliable. V-brakes (often found on entry-level bikes) may be suitable but are not adapted to sporty riding.

Vélo électrique

  • Accessories: Depending on your use, you will probably need certain accessories, and these are rarely all supplied with the bike. These include headlights, a luggage rack, a mudguard, a basket, lights, a bell, a kickstand and panniers.
  • Comfort: If you want a transportable model, we recommend choosing a foldable one and light. An electric bike weighs on average about 20 kilos. Its handling depends on the ergonomics of the handlebars, as well as the adjustment of the saddle. The saddle should be comfortable, as this is often the problem with bikes. The stronger the pedals, the smoother the experience. Don’t forget to check the maximum load the bike can carry.

Vélo électrique

In addition to these criteria, you need to consider the legal framework for using an electric bike. In France and Belgium, for example, its power must be limited to 250 W, and the assistance must stop as soon as you reach 25 km/h. Wearing a helmet is not compulsory, but recommended. Respecting these constraints is essential if you want your bike to be legally in order and to give you access to potential subsidies.

 

Other electric bikes we recommend

Elops Longue Distance 500 (£1299.99 upon publication): Good performance for everyday cycling but is too stiff. It has a power sensor and you can feel its acceleration from the first pedal stroke. Its range is impressive (from 60 to 115 km), which allows it to be used for long journeys. The hydraulic disc brakes provide progressive braking and it is well-equipped for city riding. However, during our test, the high frame was difficult to step over, and it lacks comfort in our opinion due to the long riding position, the hard and narrow seat, and the lack of suspension which does not sufficiently cushion the imperfections of the road.

Cowboy C4 ST (from £2790 upon publication): A top connected profile. This one focuses on safety, like the accident detection system and air quality awareness. It takes great care of you, and in our test, we found it easy to drive and quiet. It is also easy to maintain, and its design is a strong point in our eyes in terms of aesthetics. However, the lack of suspension proved detrimental when we drove on rougher stretches of a street or cobbled roads. 

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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