The 5 Best Electric Bikes of 2021
Whether you’re looking for your first or your fifth e-bike, you’ll find one to love in our list of favorites from 2021.
If you’re thinking of finally breaking into the world of electric bikes or you’re already hooked, this is an exciting time.
2021 has been great for electric bikes, as sales have continued to accelerate as they have over the last few years. Not only are more people interested in buying their first e-bike, more states and municipalities are incentivizing an e-bike purchase.
While e-bikes may seem new to many people, many of these manufacturers have spent decades refining their bikes, making them more efficient, faster, lighter, and better specialized for different needs and styles.
If you’re coming into this marketplace for the first time, this is something of a double-edge sword. There are more options now than ever before—and they’ve all gotten better over the years. But there’s also many more options to sort through before you find the one.
If you’re already an e-bike enthusiast like us, maybe you’re interested in seeing the new developments in this fast-evolving technology. Or you just want to drool over some truly great bikes, either way.
Whatever you need this list for, our top five e-bikes of 2021 is here to shine a light on the bikes we’re most excited about right now.
Best e-Bike Under $1,000
Of all the barriers to entry when it comes to e-bikes, cost is one of the stickiest.
We want your first experience on your e-bike to be great, so cheaply-made models that lack some of the features of their more advanced counterparts can turn people off the whole idea of an electric bike before it can get their hooks in them.
At the same time, people may look at the price tag for a great bike and walk away without a second thought. The only thing that was going to solve this conundrum was the exact right bike at the exact right price.
Enter the Ecotric Vortex City Cruiser.
This deceptively simple bike with a strong yet lightweight carbon steel frame is maybe the best entry-level e-bike to come out in years. Every detail is designed to give riders peak performance while minimizing cost and the learning curve.
Safety is always our top concern for any rider, and that goes double for people new to e-bikes. So it’s very helpful to know that while the Ecotric Vortex is light on the wallet, it’s backed up by robust safety features.
The Vortex is UL certified, which gives riders (and us as e-bike experts) peace of mind that this bike is tested and has proven safe.
The front and rear disc brakes allow riders fantastic control no matter the terrain or weather. At the same time—and there’s no other way to phrase this—it’s just such a fun bike to ride.
The efficient motor and long-lived 36V lithium-ion battery combine to give you around 20 miles per charge with a 20 mile per hour top speed. Perfect for your daily commute or a nice weekend trip as you get to know your new e-bike.
It’s been a great crop of new bikes this year. It’s almost unbelievable to think that these bikes will only get better as time goes on.
But if you’re in the market for an e-bike—whether it’s your first or fifteenth—now is the best time to dive in.
Best Commuter Electric Bike
If you’re looking to replace your car with an e-Bike for your everyday riding, the American Electric Raven bike is perfect for you.
The Raven is super functional with a handy front-mounted basket included, so you’re not cramming everything you need into your already-full backpack. Plus, the Raven is designed to be public transit-friendly, taking the headache out of your first-mile/last-mile transfers on your commute.
Everything about the Raven is geared toward making the whole e-bike experience as comfortable and accessible as possible. We love the step through frame that makes it easy to mount and dismount after a long day at work.
The strong but lightweight aluminum frame means that the bike boasts a 300 pound carrying capacity while weighing in at less than 50 pounds with the battery included.
With a 50-mile range and 350-watt motor, the Raven can handle your daunting commute, taking on hills and steep inclines with ease. The intelligent pedal assist gives you more backup the harder you pedal for a smooth, natural ride.
For extra security, the battery is integrated to the frame and requires a key to remove. It fully charges in 3.5 hours on a normal wall outlet. Plug it in when you get to work, and you’ll still have to work for hours before you can ride again. But we suppose that’s not the bike’s fault.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that the bike absolutely beautiful. The body is sleek, clean, and—true to its name—all black.
Best Class 3 Vintage Electric Bike
Look, every bike on this list looks good in its own way, but this one may just be the handsomest of all.
It helps that the Revi Bikes Cheetah has plenty of substance to go with all that style.
The 48V 750W BAFANG™ high-speed motor offers a peak output of over 1200W and a top speed of 25 miles per hour. All this power rides on meaty CHAOYANG™ BIG DADDY 26” tires that can take you from the city to the mountains.
The frame mimics classic motorcycle design in both the Night Black and Platinum Gray colorways. The tank cover is wrapped in PU leather for an extra authentic look and feel that we absolutely love. With this bike, it’s the details.
Take for example the stylish and bright headlight—included with the Cheetah because an aftermarket headlight would just not look right here. The whole silhouette of the bike projects power and style, but the bike is also highly adaptable.
The full-color LCD display allows you to switch between the bike’s three riding modes: Eco, Normal, and Power. It also gives you detailed stats from your odometer and trip odometer to your speed, motor output, battery indicator, and more advanced readouts.
You can use those controls from the comfort of the large saddle (that doesn’t leave us sore) while revving the throttle on your beautiful, powerful bike.
Best Electric Bike for Recreation
Every day feels like a long weekend on the X-Treme Malibu Elite Beach Cruiser.
It starts with the look, the classic shape and eye-catching colors that we think of when we imagine the classic cruiser bike. Just looking at it makes us want to grab our towels and head to the shore/pool/lake.
Fortunately, the beach cruiser is the bike for all seasons.
The 7 speed Shimano Tourney gears & shifting system is great whether you want a leisurely ride or to sweat a little bit more. The step-through frame can accommodate riders from 4’11” to 6’2” and carry weights up to 350 pounds.
The 24V lithium battery delivers 20 miles of riding with a 20 mile per hour top speed and a 4 hour recharge time, perfect for daily commutes or weekend excursions. And with the comfy seat and convenient folding basket, it’s a bike that encourages long trips.
Fill up the cargo rack, and it’s easy to spend a day turning errands into a relaxing, recharging experience.
Sure, it’s not a bike you’ll want to take on rough mountain trails, but don’t let its fun shape fool you: the Malibu Elite can go from beach to country to city with ease.
Sometimes you just need a bike to take you wherever the weekend leads.
Best Fat Tire Electric Bike
We love this bike so much that it’s really in contention for the category below, but this just seems the better fit for the Nakto Cruise.
Between the thick, rugged tires and the front suspension, we love that you can take the Nakto Cruise anywhere. Leave work or school and hit the trail without missing a beat.
The downside of a lot of fat tire e-bikes comes in the form of the additional demands the extra weight and friction place on the motor. It makes sense that the more stuff the motor has to push through, the less efficient it’s going to be.
This is where the Nakto Cruise really shines. The 36V, 300W brushless motor has been put through the wringer and proven to outperform its counterparts on the market, with a wider speed range and far superior thermal management.
That really takes this e-bike from a show piece (like many other fat tire e-bikes, sadly) to a dependable ride for your everyday use.
It also doesn’t hurt that the bike has the look of those show-piece bikes, to boot. The white and black colorways are both equally striking and do a great job highlighting the tires.
Don’t overlook the safety and convenience features on the bike either. The included headlight is specially adapted to the bumps of fat tire bikes while the disc brakes perform in all conditions.
The overcharge protection keeps the battery in tip-top shape, ensuring long lifespan and consistent quality.
Those really are the key words for the Nakto Cruise: consistency and quality. This is the fat tire e-bike other bikes envy.
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