These are the Most Popular Commuter Electric Bikes Reviews in 2020
Perhaps, the most important category in the industry, commuter electric bikes have become wanted for any kind of person.
They could be affordable, stylish and reliable. Regardless of the high number of alternatives, these are some of the most reviewed by people.
Commuter Electric Bikes Guide (Update for 2020)
Although seen as a new-fangled technological invention of the modern world, the first commuter electric bike was actually invented over 120 years ago.
A bit of history and background
In 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted the first US patent for a battery powered bike, and there were several changes and updates in the years following.
These days, commuter e-bikes are becoming an increasingly popular way of getting around.
Combining modern technology and innovative design, the latest cycling tech is changing up peoples’ journey to work and back around the world.
E-bikes are often referred to as pedal assisted bikes, which mean that a battery powers a motor, that subsequently assist with the pedaling motion.
What is a electric commuter bike?
This is obviously the million dollar question! In simple words, an electric commuter bike is fundamentally a standard – non complex – bike that has been fitted with a motor and battery pack.
They are available in a whole host of different styles, designs and lately, technology therefore you can ride comfortably along city roads.
Standard commuter bikes typically have narrower tires, a slim-lined saddle and possibly a front suspension system.
What I love more about this ebike category, is the fact that any element to power it, is very well designed in order to make it look sleek, solid and lightweight too.
A great example is the Orbea Gain D40 road ebike. It was designed to assist the rider in a way to make the experience more enjoyable, without loosing the purpose of the bike.
Advantages and disadvantages of commuter electric bikes
As any other standard bicycle, they have various positive aspects. Nonetheless, there are some limitation that can be a deal breaker for a few riders. Let’s see what are some of those aspects:
Electric commuter bike benefits
- They can be fitted with hub or mid-drive motors.
- Since the electronics are minimalist, they will requires little maintenance.
- Overall weight is better than e-MTB.
- It is accessible for many people since the price could be affordable.
- Clean energy, green and better for the environment.
- There are several models, styles and designs available in the market.
- They can reach higher speeds when fitted with the right electric bike motor.
Electric commuter bike limitation
- Usually they don’t come with any suspension (you may need to pay extra for it).
- Just a few manufacturers include a front suspension, which normally would cost more.
- Can’t customize much, meaning, it won’t be a good idea to upgrade the power (poor quality of some components).
- Due to low cost of some models, you could experience a lot of issues with the quality of the elements.
- Tires may not be the best ones when rainy, nevertheless, they will be thicker than standard models.
When should I use my commuter e-bike?
It may sound like a silly questions but there are factors that would change your mind when deciding to ride it or not your e-bike.
Access to showers
Not all workplaces have shower spaces, and cycling to work can mean that you are sweaty throughout the day.
You will easily be able to get to the office with an electric commuter bike, whilst still gaining from the health benefits.
Also, consider your storage space available at the office; you will not be able to hanging the e bike, due to its weight.
Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, commuter e-bikes are well suited for everyone, including older cyclists, individuals with poor mobility or anyone who would appreciate the extra boost.
It has been noted that some e-commuter bikes have issues with batteries exposed to the elements. If after inspecting all the connection of the battery you feel like something doesn’t look great, then don’t ride it under a rainy day.
What to know when buying an electric commuter bike?
There are just the most important points when buying an electric commuter bike.
Weight & Portability
The weight of the e-bike is also important, particularly when you consider that they are much heavier than traditional cycles.
A lower weight is associated with increased speed and the motor and battery can make a difference. However, with technology ever advancing, commuter bikes are getting lighter all the time.
Style and Design
To some extent, style is a matter of personal preference, but the type of e-bike you choose will depend on the terrain that you are cycling on the most.
As well as the traditional commuter e-bike, a hybrid design could also be ideal for a city commute.
Combining the agility and lightweight nature of road bikes with the increased stability and more comfortable seating of a mountain bike design, they are a popular choice.
Why the design is important? There are two (2) types of frames only associated with electric commuter bikes and foldable ones:
- Low-step: as its name says, the top tube is low. Generally, this is the type of frame a woman could benefit from.
- High-step: this is the common high tube design seen in 80 % of the bikes on the street. Frames usually are bigger than the low-step one.
Commuter electric bike test drive
One of the biggest mistakes a buyers fails to do is the test drive.
A test drive should be long enough in order for your to feel the power of the motor, the brakes, the smoothness of the saddle and suspension (if any) and finally how comfortable you feel the ride.
Nowadays, a lot of manufacturer offer the possibility to test drive what ever model you want. Of course, you will need to look after it and, honestly, try to be a serious buyer.
What motor is best for an e-commuter bike?
The answer for this questions will depend on what your particular situation is. There are three (3) type of motors commonly used for e-bikes: direct drive (hub), geared hub and mid-drive.
Manufacturers have identified that due to their common purpose, commuter e-bikes would be usually fitted with direct drive and geared hub motors.
Also, this motor would have a 250 to 500 watts power, which would be more than enough.
Each motor classification has specific points. In this case:
- If you frequently have to tackle hills, which requires a lot of torque and want to avoid motor resistance, then an e-bike with a geared hub motor will be the right one.
- Now, in the case that hills are somehow not present (meaning they are not too steeped) and like to have some good speed, a direct drive (hub) motor is what you need.
Mid-drive motors are commonly seen on expensive models. Having this motors doesn’t mean your e-bike is better. In fact, there are some motors that can generate resistance, something you may not want to have.
If you want to go deeper about mid-drive, direct drive and hub motors, check our electric bike motor guide for beginners.
How far can you commute on an electric bike?
Like most gadgets these days, commuter e-bikes feature lithium-ion batteries, with the size and quality determining how many miles or kilometers you can get per charge.
On average, an ideal capacity would usually be around 7.5-10 Ah and 20 miles would be considered as a minimum range expectation.
It is important to note that whilst a battery with a longer range will allow for more miles before it cuts out, this means it should be bigger and therefore heavier.
In that, if you only plan to be traveling around 15 miles at a time, a 50-mile range would ultimately mean a larger motor and battery adding unnecessary weight.
It is also important to remember that power capacity, the terrain, the weight of the rider, weather and other variables can impact upon performance.
The batteries are probably the biggest concern when it comes to e commuter bikes; as like with any other battery powered gadget, the battery is likely to deteriorate over time and will need replacing in the future.
What brakes are best for commuter electric bikes?
If you are frequently traveling on busy roads through rush hour traffic, good brakes are not only essential for your cycling experience but can make all the difference in a life-threatening situation.
Commuter electric bikes tend to have either rim brakes or hydraulic disc brakes.
Rim brakes are the more affordable option and are often seen on more affordable bikes. On the other hand, hydraulic disc brakes have more power and offer improved reliability and effectiveness in all weathers.
Having said that, you will have to decide if investing some additional coins to get a more powerful braking system is worth it.
How much an e commuter bike could cost?
Price is probably the most important determining factor when buying anything, with e-bikes ranging from a few hundred dollars right up to thousands (top ones like the Scrambler Ducati e bike).
Cheap is not always the best option.
Often lower priced models are imported from China, and they are more likely to consist of no-name parts (huge mistake!!! as in warranty issues or parts).
You can definitely feel the quality when it comes to big name motors, such as Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha. Cheaper e-bikes tend to feel less smooth, jerking forward a bit when accelerating.
More money could translate into good quality, warranty, customer service and serviceability.
For a mid-level e-bike, you are looking at spending around $1000-$1500. Within this price range, it is still likely to require a battery replacement after a few years but should need little maintenance in the meantime.
The overall cost of running your e commuter bike is minimal, with reports indicating that charging the bike will cost under $10 each year for the average user.
The battery will need replacing every few years, but it is still much cheaper than running a second car or paying for public transport.
Maintain my electric commuter bike
Care and maintenance for your commuter ebike are not that much different to a traditional bike and with regard to the power system, little maintenance is required.
If you have any issues, you should refer it to the manufacturer, always, always, always! It is advised to select a model with a good warranty to be on the safe side.
Attempting to open the motor, changing parts or modifying any sensitive element, could potentially incur in loosing the warranty.
Also, it is advised that you don’t let your battery go dead, instead charge it when it is below 50% and keep it topped up.
Charging it can take several hours, and it is recommended that you remove the battery when storing the bike for long periods and on cold nights.
Commuter electric bikes: Should I invest?
Whilst there will always be some cyclists out there who would argue that a power assisted bike is cheating, that is fast becoming an outdated view.
It is not like, bike riding is a competition all the time, there is no prize that you are working towards. Instead, we cycle because it is fun and enjoyable and having an extra boost of power does not take away from that.
Allowing for power-assisted pedaling so that you can travel further with minimal effort; looking at a commuter electric bike is a great way to get from A to B without getting all hot and sweaty.