We all had a Wild Hogs poster in our rooms growing up, right? (Or perhaps you opted for the Wild Hogs in Romania T-shirt.) Either way, we’ve definitely all fantasized about tearing down the highway on a motorcycle, looking like a badass. But, some of us—howdy—either a) don’t know how to ride a motorcycle, b) don’t own a motorcycle, c) think motorcycles are kinda scary, or d) all of the above. We do, however, know how to ride a bicycle, and we just wish they had a little more oomph to them. Luckily, the 21st century has the answer for our hogless existence: electric bikes.
E-bikes are essentially regular bicycles that offer a little electronic assistance to help you go farther, faster—and with less effort. The “E” in e-bikes won’t replace your legs; it just adds power when you’re pedaling, also known as pedal-assisted cycling. That’s huge for people who live in super hilly areas or have a particularly long commute that would otherwise mean having to drive or take public transportation.
If you’ve ever hopped on an electric Citi Bike (or other bike share service), you already know how convenient (and genuinely fun to ride) e-bikes are. There’s nothing like firing up a fat-tired electric cruiser and zoomin’ past a group of heaving, spandex-clad
dentists cyclists on carbon fiber Cervélos while you, a layperson, I dunno, eat a banana. Plus, while you may still get a little bit of a workout while riding, depending on how much pedaling your e-bikes requires, you won’t show up to work looking like a sweaty mess. (Although, if you're just a chronically sweaty person, we do have some choice deodorant picks for our sweaty bois.)
All you need to get started with e-biking is a road-ready e-bike. You may be looking for something aesthetically studly, an affordable starter e-bike, or just something reliable and practical that gets you from point A to point B without looking like a Silicon Valley dork. We've got the best options for all these needs, and more. Let’s ride.
What the Trek?
When you think of nice road bikes, Trek is a company that probably comes to mind—and true to form, the brand plunged into the e-bike game with the same trademark quality. Equipped with a Bosch pedal-assist system, Trek’s Verve+ 2 Lowstep is a perfect e-bike for beginners and veteran cyclists alike. It also features a road-smoothing suspension seatpost, wide tires for bumpy streets, and both front and rear lights.
In an analog world, e-biking is a radical act
Rad Power Bikes, despite the brand's name, are not powered by radness, but by electricity. The RadMission 1 is particularly cool because it’s a single speed—not a fixie, you can still coast with this bad boy—which makes it a great city bike, especially for commuters. It’s also on the affordable side, as far as e-bikes go, and features an integrated brake light, an LED control panel, a twist-grip throttle, and disc brakes.
An E-fordable option
Not looking to spend an entire paycheck on a new e-bike? No sweat. At less than $700, this model by ANCHEER is about as affordable as it gets when it comes to e-bikes. It features three power modes: e-bike, assisted bike, and regular bike, which means you can cycle (ha) between them depending on road conditions. Plus, it’s made with a sturdy, lightweight aluminum alloy frame and a high-strength front suspension fork, and comes with both front and rear mechanical disc brakes.
You’re a “turbo” kinda person
We see you, Lightning McQueen. Specialized is an industry titan, and its e-bikes live up to its prestigious reputation. This Turbo Vado 3.0 features new Spank handlebar grips for added control, and a 1x10 Shimano drivetrain. Plus, The Pros Closet is a great site to peruse for used bikes in your area—each is certified pre-owned and goes through an extensive expert inspection to make sure it's in top condition before you buy.
King of the mountain, comin’ through
The Tour de France isn’t something that happened two months ago—it’s something that’s happening 10 months from now, which means today is the day you begin your training regiment. Now, you could hit the weights and building up your strength on the road like a try-hard, OR you could figure out a creative way to sneak this Electric Pedal Assist Mountain Bike by Hyper Bicycles into the mountain stages. We recommend the latter, since it comes with an integrated, flush-mounted battery and an LED display, and there also isn’t enough EPO in the world to get you to the Tour in a year. (It’s also very on-sale right now, and the most bang-for-your-buck option on this list.)
You studied abroad in Amsterdam…
… And now you won’t shut up about the biking culture (though, fair enough, it is pretty cool). This Dutch-style step-through bike is actually made by Cannondale, an American company, and is “comfy, intuitive and sure to put you in a good mood.” We always go for a pleasant user experience, and we also like its SmartForm C3 alloy frame, post-mount hydraulic disc brakes, removable down tube battery, and hidden cables. It’s sleek, it’s chic, and it’s gonna get the job done in style.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.