Electric bikes have taken certain segments of society by storm. Sure, they are nice to have during a pandemic, when your family needs a reason to get out of the house and hit the local greenways, but they are so much more versatile than that.
Electric bikes offer a crowd-free way of commuting in urban areas and small towns alike, and for outdoor enthusiasts, several of the more prominent bands now sell e-bikes built for off-roading. Electric bikes will take your journeys further, faster.
In the age of door dash and other delivery services, there are also a surprising number of side hustlers using cargo bikes to get the job done. Electric bikes are efficient, effective, and fun. E-bikes are also earth-friendly compared to vehicular transportation.
Which Electric Bike Is Best?
But how do you pick the right bike for your circumstances? We reviewed some of the best e-bike brands out there to help you make a decision. Check out the side-by-side comparison table, or read the detailed analysis below.
Do You Need A Driver’s License For An Electric Bike?
The short answer is that electric bike regulation varies by state and local law, but there are some helpful resources online to help kickstart your research. We recommend checking out PeopleForBikes.org to get started. One interesting consideration is that the murkier guidance might surround electric mountain bikes (eMTB) because the specific landowners or land managers may not have consistent rules.
The guidance regarding driver’s licenses will be the same for e-bikes and electric mountain bikes, but some trails do not allow electric mountain bikes at all. Naturally, if a route is open to both motorized and non-motorized traffic, then an electric mountain bike will be acceptable. States may have specific trails designated for electric mountain bikes, while federal rules are a little more cut and dry. Electric mountain bikes are considered motorized vehicles by the US Forest Service, so they are allowed on trails open to motorized vehicles.
Is It Worth Getting An Electric Bike?
Electric bicycles provide many of the same benefits as old-school bikes but provide additional capabilities, making the bicycles useful to a broader audience. For example, if you live in a hilly area or your best fitness days are still ahead of you 😉, e-bikes will give you a little extra power and speed to get where you need to go. This is the primary reason they are useful for commuting as well.
Electric bikes can also be configured in countless ways, so if you want to use your electric bike for local errands or local food delivery, you can do so. You can also configure your electric bike with extra seating so you can take your kids over to the local park.
Electric bikes get more sophisticated every year as more and more companies enter the market. In fact, Car and Driver magazine once wrote that “The ride into our electric future will be led by bikes.” Electric bikes are so versatile that on the global stage, they are expected to outpace automobile sales in the future.
So, if you are asking us, an electric bike is an excellent investment.
Rad Power Bikes Review
If you know much about the e-bike movement in North America, then you probably have heard of Mike Radenbaugh and Rad Power Bikes. I am a big fan of NPR’s How I Built This, and Guy Raz’s interview with Mike Radenbaugh is one of my favorites. Mike had quite a hike to school each day and started tinkering with bikes to convert them to electric bikes.
Through trial and error and a few unsuccessful trips to school, Mike eventually became very good at what he was doing. His first bike venture was converting standard bikes into electric bikes for people in his hometown. Today, Rad Power Bikes is North America’s largest electric bike brand, with bikes so popular they are often sold out.
What started with Mike’s tinkering has grown into a brand with around ten different models of e-bikes, which might be grouped into three main categories: Off-road, Utility & Cargo, and City E-bikes. In addition to these three main categories, Rad Power Bikes also makes bikes that fold so they are easier to store and carry, and step-thru bikes that are easier for some to mount and dismount. The step-thru bikes also have a nice stylistic look, regardless of whether it is easier to mount.
Rad Power Bikes Product Categories
Off-Road E-Bikes: Sometimes, you hear rumblings that e-bikes are kind of like cheating, and to hard-core snobs, you might hear straight derision toward e-bikes, but Rad Power Bikes off-road series aims to set the record straight. The RadRover Electric Fat Bike sports 4” fat tires that will conquer the most rugged terrain. And if you are looking for a bike that will stow and go, the RadMini Electric Folding Fat Bikes is a fully capable bike fat tire bike that will fit nicely in your vehicle as you are trying to get where you are going.
Rad Power Bikes off-road electric bikes have batteries ranging from 25-45+ miles on a charge, but few other features make these bikes great off-road companions. The off-road e-bikes have puncture-resistant fat tires and front suspension forks so that you can keep moving through any terrain. Adding a rear rack will completely change your outdoor adventures. Throw some gear on your bike, and get off the grid for your camping or fishing excursion.
Cargo & Utility E-Bikes: If you are fond of your car, you might want to skip down a little bit because the RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike turns two-car families into one-car families. While these bikes look a bit different than traditional frame bikes, they pack crazy versatility. The best part of the RedWagon Electric Cargo Bike is that you can add running boards, deckhands, a caboose, or a full seat to keep your kiddos safe and comfortable on the back of your ride.
Of course, if you don’t have kids to chauffeur around, the RadRunner Electric Utility Bike is perfect for local deliveries and other small businesses (a center console and rearview mirrors are even available!), while the RadRunner Plus Electric Utility Bike offers a premium passenger seat.
City E-Bikes: While the off-road e-bikes and cargo/utility bikes offer surprising functionality, the city electric bikes have a range of 25-45+ miles, providing plenty of capacity for commuting or weekend fun. The RadMission Electric Metro Bike is Rad Power Bikes’ most affordable option, and it is an excellent option if you want the versatility of an e-bike but don’t plan to use it every day.
The RadCity Electric Commuter Bike and RadCity Step-Thru Electric Commuter Bike provide optional features such as wheel locks and a little more comfort than models meant for rugged adventures. We particularly like the step-thru variety because of the extra-sleek styling.
Must-Have Rad Power Bike Accessories
Rad Power Bikes might be best known for the wide range of accessories and customization that are available. Many bikes have standard features such as puncture-resistant tires and front suspension forks. Still, this type of practical quality is just a signal toward how functional Rad Power Bikes are, and the accessories are geared towards enhanced functionality.
We mentioned the RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike has running boards and a compatible Thule Yepp Maxi Child Seat, which helps transform the e-bike into family-style transportation. And the RadRunner Passenger package includes a passenger seat, retractable footpegs, and transparent protective wheel skirt. Not unexpectedly, front and rear racks are available for most bikes too.
Rad Power Bike Review: The Verdict
When you consider there are ten models of Rad Power Bikes, that there are fat tire and traditional tire options, and that there is such a wide range of accessories, there really might be a perfect Rad Power Bike for everyone.SUMMARY PROS
- Ten models to choose from
- Externally visible battery packs
- Fat tire available
- Most functional accessory line-up
- Off-road or around town
There is a reason Rad Power Bikes have thousands of 5-star reviews from their customers. Whether this will be your first e-bike or your tenth, Rad Power Bikes make high-quality and versatile bikes you will be proud to own.
Pedego Electric Bikes Review
Pedego’s origin story is significant because it directly impacts its quality and vision to this day. Don DiCostanzo loved riding bikes from his house to the local beach, but one large hill took all of the joy out of the experience. After purchasing one electric bike that he loved, electric bikes became such a passion that he eventually purchased seven.
This infatuation inspired Don to open his own electric bike store in Newport Beach, which was so successful it became the largest electric bicycle retailer in the United States. It was based on this passion and in-depth knowledge of the electric bike market that Don became dissatisfied. He felt the entire market was the same, dull and lacking quality. Rather than quietly complain in disappointment, Don teamed up with his good friend Terry Shaw to start Pedego.
Today Pedego Electric Bikes builds premium quality bicycles with eye-catching designs because that was the real inspiration behind starting the company. No compromises here. Pedego Electric Bikes are made to be the best.
The Pedego portfolio now includes nearly 20 premium quality electric bike models, which, in addition to being sold online, are available through a network of over 100 locally-owned Pedego stores focused on customer satisfaction. Pedego Electric Bikes are so popular that Navigant Research named Pedego the number one brand sold in the United States.
There is undoubtedly a model that will be perfect for your needs with so many quality bike models. Here is an overview of their product line-up.
Pedego Electric Bikes Product Categories
Off-Road E-Bikes: Pedego is partially defined by the wide range of models fit for anyone, and their off-road series is an excellent example of this. The most expensive off-road model is the Elevate, a full-suspension eMTB. The Elevate model is more than 3.5X as expensive as its most affordable eMTB model (The Element), but the Elevate is loaded with cutting-edge technology that justifies the bike’s price.
The Pedego Elevate model includes a best-in-class Shimano mid-drive system and the same lithium-ion battery technology used in full-size electric cars. The Elevate features both front and rear suspension, advanced software connecting to an app via Bluetooth, and a computerized display. This top-of-the-line off-road ebike gets up to 20 MPH with motor assistance only.
If the Pedego Elevate is too much bike for you, the Element, Trail Tracker, and Ridge Rider are all capable off-road models available from the Pedego team. While the Element and Trail Tracker are both fat tire models, we are particularly fond of the Ridge Rider. The Pedego Ridge Rider Electric Mountain Bike features an advanced 48 Volt battery that can take you up to a whopping 56 miles on 10 cents worth of electricity. That’s an exceptional performance.
Cruiser E-Bikes: While electric mountain bikes require premium performance for off-roading, cruisers need completely different performance features. The Comfort Cruiser, Interceptor, and Boomerang are the main Pedego cruiser models, and each provides distinct styling that will stand out in a sea of bike frames that look just alike.
Our favorite cruiser is the Pedego Interceptor Electric Cruiser Bike. It is available in a classic frame, but we prefer the sophisticated step-thru frame available in many colors. The Interceptor has kevlar-belted balloon tires that help prevent flats, five levels of ‘twist-and-go’ pedal-assist in the handle, and bright front and rear lights for enhanced safety. All of this is in addition to a beautiful display and a battery that will take you 60 miles on 10 cents of electricity.
City E-Bikes: The City Electric Bike line includes e-bikes designed for commuters and a stretch cargo bike, but the most exciting bike in the collection is the Conveyor Belt Drive Electric Bike. Instead of the greasy metal chain, the Conveyor utilizes a carbon belt drive, which makes very little noise at all. It’s durable too. Pedego’s testing has shown it can last up to 10,000 miles. The Conveyor is both innovative and understated and works unlike any other electric bike you have seen. This bike is the commuter’s dream, including bright lights and a GPS anti-theft tracking, crash detection, and emergency alert system.
Specialty E-Bikes: - It’s worth mentioning that Pedego also has a pretty cool series of specialty bikes, like the Trike Electric Adult Tricycle and the Tandem Electric Bicycle Built For Two, but we really like the Ford Super Cruiser. It carries the Ford badge, along with lines and curves reminiscent of early Ford cars. Fittingly, the Pedego battery system makes it one of the most powerful electric bikes money can buy.
Must-Have Pedego Electric Bike Accessories
While Pedego doesn’t offer as many racks and other accessories as does Rad Power Bikes, they still have plenty of accessory options to customize your new Pedego for your specific needs. Pedego focuses on baskets and bags for cargo, rather than racks, including trunk bags, pannier bags, and handlebar bags. Unless you plan to strap on a heavy-duty load, these accessories are sufficiently functional and stylish.
Pedego Electric Bike Review: The Verdict
Pedego makes it pretty clear that they don’t sell the cheapest electric bikes. That’s not a game they plan on chasing. Instead, the company focuses on value, and in fact, every product page proudly displays, “Pedego Electric Bikes are not the highest or lowest priced. They are the greatest value.” We are generally hesitant with self-proclamations, but this time the shoe fits. Pedego Electric Bikes are high quality and uniquely designed bikes you will be proud to own.SUMMARY PROS
- Extensive line-up of models
- More expensive than some competitors
- Speciality E-bikes like Trike or Tandem available
- Range of up to 60 miles on 10 cents of electricity
- Top-notch quality
- Fat tire available
- Off-road or around town
Juiced Bikes Review
Where Rad Power Bikes focuses on versatility and Pedego Electric Bikes on top-tier quality and style, Juiced Bikes focuses on performance. For evidence of this, look no further than the battery platform. While many e-bike platforms are based on 36 Volt or 48 Volt platforms, Juiced Bikes are built on a 52 Volt platform.
The last thing you want is to find yourself on a hill with insufficient juice, or worse, at the end of a dirt trail with a dead battery. Battery matters, and Juiced Bikes is hyper-focused on performance metrics that matter. The 52 Volt platform enhances power, speed, range, and efficiency. The obvious downside to the 52 Volt platform is that the battery is more prominent, heavier, and less discrete than competitor batteries.
Of course, under the right conditions, some of the Juiced Bikes’ e-bike/battery combinations will make it over 100 miles, which is nothing to scoff at. If you are looking for an e-bike that will take you the furthest distance and the fastest speed, then Juiced Bikes is where you want to start your search.
Juiced Bikes Product Categories
Moped Style E-Bikes: The Juiced Bikes Scorpion and HyperScoprion are electric moped-style bikes with a range of up to 70+ miles. The HyperScorpion features a bright headlight, twist throttle handle, and rear rack. Stylistically, the HyperScorpion is one of the coolest looking electric bikes you can find. While traditional mopeds have a very tame look, the HyperScorpion sports a mean look you might pair with a leather jacket.
Adventure E-Bikes: Juiced Bikes Scrambler and HyperScrambler look as tough as dirt bikes, and if you weren’t paying attention, these bikes might pass for performance dirt bikes too. The hyper scrambler is particularly interesting because it has a dual battery capacity that extends the range of your electric bike to over 100+ miles. I’ve never even considered riding a bike close to that far, but the HyperScrambler has me dreaming of epic adventures, and that’s what Juiced Bikes is all about.
Commuter E-Bikes: Juiced Bikes CrossCurrent series is their ultimate commuter series. The CrossCurrent X hits 28+ MPH with an 80+ miles range, which is more than capable of getting you to the office and back home. The CrossCurrent series sports a streamlined design compared to Juiced Bikes more aggressively styled bikes but packs the same performance and character you would expect.
Fat Tire E-Bikes:** The RipCurrent series is Juiced Bikes’ electric fat-tire bike, which might be their most versatile e-bike. The RipCurrent hits 28+ MPH and has a 70+ mile range, and works as well on the beach as it does on the road. If you don’t have a particular need for your electric bike and aren’t quite sure where to start, the RipCurrent series is a good place to start.
Must-Have Juiced Bike Accessories
Juiced Bikes platform is pretty straightforward. Rather than try to be everything to everyone, Juiced Bikes make high-performance bikes for individuals looking for adventure. Maybe, for this reason, the Juiced Bikes accessories line-up isn’t as expansive as the competition. That said, they do sell some pannier bags, helmets, and other vital necessities.
Juiced Bikes Review: The Verdict
The one significant advantage Juiced Bikes has over the competition is their 52 Volt battery platform. The battery is bigger than batteries you will find on most electric bikes, which produces more power, range, speed, and efficiency. Juiced Bikes might be the right choice for someone that considers themselves an adventure or adrenaline junky.SUMMARY PROS
- Adventure and performance focused
- Limited model selection
- Range of up to 100+ miles
- Lack of functional accessories
- Fat tire available
Our Recommended Electric Bikes
Electric bikes are set to change everything from leisure to off-road adventuring to commuting. Some are enticed by the idea of riding next to the ocean with the wind in their hair, while others dream of alternative commuting that skips uncomfortable public transportation and inefficient car travel. Still, others daydream about going deeper into the woods than previously possible because of the rugged build modern electric mountain bikes represent.
Regardless of what fills your daydreams, you want to make a quality investment with friendly customer service and locally owned service shops. The only e-bike from this motley crew that fits that mold is Pedego Electric Bikes.
We’re big believers in buying the highest quality products at a reasonable price, and Pedego Electric Bikes fits this philosophy well. They don’t sell the cheapest bikes, but they do sell high-quality bikes, unique in styling from almost every other electric bike on the market. Pedego uses the highest quality parts and matches the innovative functional design to innovative technology and performance.
With 20 e-bike models, Pedego has a bike for every occasion, most in multiple body frames and color options. And while it is easy to say, “Pedego is higher quality and a better value,” the Pedego team puts their belief to action with the Pedego Care 5-Year Warranty. Through their network of operators, Pedego also has over 100 storefronts and service centers, so you are probably not far from face-to-face customer service when you need it.
Get peddling and try a Pedego on for speed soon.
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