These are the best e-bikes to buy in 2021
From the first e-cycle made by motorcycle manufacturer Triumph to a compact, folding option for commuters, here are the best e-bikes to buy…
Are you still cycling? We didn’t think so. After the two-wheeled, locked-down bicycle boom last summer, most of us are all pedalled out. Despite the recent Olympic action, we’ve left our bikes to gather dust due to the colder weather blowing in last winter — and our imminent returns to the office.
But, even if your commuting route is a little longer than your Sunday cycle ride, we’ve got a solution; e-bikes. Motoring onto the mainstream cycling scene at the end of last decade, these electric-powered happy-mediums combine traditional pedal propulsion with bicycle-boosting electric powertrains.
And that’s not their only innovation — many e-bikes also incorporate indicators, alarms, and ergonomic touchscreen controls. For our pick of the best, see below…
For a statement cycle, the Superstrata E
What’s it made from? Industrial-grade thermoplastic and carbon fibre composites — which is as technical as it is a mouthful. It’s a unibody frame, that weighs just 1.7 kilograms — upping to 11 kilograms once you factor in those spoked alloy rims.
What makes it special? The design, for one. You can customise your Superstrata across almost every element; from the riding style to brakes, gears to seat, colour to tyres. But the best part? Enter your basic measurements, and Superstrata’s biometrics system will perfectly tailor the frame to your specifications.
What can the motor do? It’s a 250W motor in this one, which can push you, sans pedals, along to a healthy 20mph.
For comfortable off-roading, the Whyte E-160 RS V2
What’s it made from? Whyte hasn’t revealed a weight for its E-160 model, but it’s likely only marginally heavier than the Superstrata above. The frame is hydro-formed aluminium, with the brand’s custom alloy used for the handlebar and rear hub.
What makes it special? That meaty rear shock. It’s a Fox Float Performance DPS — and a bit of off-road kit that’ll make short work of mountain tracks. Add in the Fox Float 38 fork and a couple of Maxxis Assigai WT tyres, and you’ve got a two-wheeler one-step short of a dirt-bike.
What can the motor do? This E-160 benefits from an entire Bosch eSystem. That means a Performance Line CX (Gen 4) motor, Bosch 625 battery and Bosch Purion display. Expect a top, unaided speed of 15.6mph.
Whyte E-160 RS V2
For a folding option, the VELLO Bike+
What’s it made from? The most compact electric folding bike in its class, this VELLO Bike+ is assembled from shock-absorbent chromoly steel. The brand, however, also offer a full titanium version of the model — but for over €1,000 more…
What makes it special? That it manages to incorporate an electric motor, 20-inch tyres folding function — and still manage to look this good. That’s no mean feat. It’s also got a nifty 31-mile range, which is considerably more than any average commuter will need.
What can the motor do? Again, it’s a 250W motor — and one that delivers an unaided top speed of 15.6mph. However, with the optional Schlumpf ‘Speed Drive’ gear system, you’ll easily top 25mph.
For road racers, the Boardman ADV 8.9E
What’s it made from? Unlike many of the e-bike brands on this list, Boardman has a rich, pedal-powered wealth of existing experience in the sector. As such, the ‘6061’ aluminium frame of the ADV is already tried-and-tested, with a few electrifying tweaks.
What makes it special? Its weight! Its speed! Tipping the scales at a ludicrously light 16 kilograms, Boardman’s electric offering can really move. What’s more, the nimbleness gives it one of the most impressive ranges on this list.
What can the motor do? The Fazua ‘Evation’ e-bike drive system, with hidden motor for added style credentials, has a top, unaided speed of 15.6mph — and a range of up to 56 miles on its ‘Breeze Mode’ setting.
Boardman ADV 8.9E
For a stealthy motor, the Nua Electrica
What’s it made from? Luxurious, lightweight titanium. Nua’s ‘Electrica’ model is sporty, sexy — and almost certainly the most extravagant commuter bike you’ll ever see whizzing its way to work.
What makes it special? Its constituent parts. This urban racer features a leather saddle and hand-grips from Brooks, Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Alfine cranks and DT Swiss rims. It also weight just 13 kilograms.
What can the motor do? The Electrica’s Gates Carbondrive is mated to a Zehus Bike+ motor system, encased in a chrome shell. It’s got 18 miles of range in ‘Turbo’ mode, and pedal assist up to 15.5mph.
For a tech-savvy cycle, the Angell Smart Bike
What’s it made from? High-strength aluminium — with a carbon fork. Designed by Ora Ïto, this makes the French e-bike exceedingly lightweight; just 13.9 kilograms without its battery.
What makes it special? A seemingly endless list of skills and features. Fall detector, hyperbolic lights, reflective tyres strips, automatic locking, anti-theft alarm, front and rear indicators, a 2.4-inch touchscreen. We could go on.
What can the motor do? As the only currently available e-bike that changes its assistance depending on your terrain or incline, the Angell is smart. It can also get you to 12.5mph in 3.8 seconds and has a range of 56 miles in ‘Eco Mode’.
Angell Smart Bike
For a London-based load-bearer, the Volt London
What’s it made from? Lightweight aluminium. The Volt ‘London’ was inspired by the needs of capital city commuters; with a flat front rack, detachable rear rack and sleek single-speed set-up.
What makes it special? Once again, the high-end components result in this bike being more than the sum of its parts. Expect grips and saddle from Fabric, pedals from Acros Components and puncture-resistant, grippy tan wall tyres from Schwalbe.
What can the motor do? A 250W SpinTech with Bafang Motor, Volt have hidden the London’s powertrain away in the rear hub. With a handy removable battery and Bafang Torque Sensor, it can assist your pedal power up to 15.5mph.
For motoring pedigree, the Triumph Trekker
What’s it made from? 118 years of two-wheeled heritage and history. Or, more accurately, an internal cable-routed alloy frame, lightweight Alex FR30 rims and a Rockshox ‘Paragon Silver’ fork.
What makes it special? That Triumph really tried. Everything from the Schwalbe tyres to the Selle Royal Vivo saddle show that the motorcycle manufacturer put as much thought into the ‘Trekker’ as it does into its top-line models of motorcycle.
What can the motor do? It’s a Shimano DU-E6100; the Japanese company also supplies the battery, shifter, crank arm and cassette. Smooth, satisfying, and with a top e-assist speed of 15.5mph, it also boasts a magnificent riding range of 93 miles.
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