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10 Best E-bike (2021): Reviews and Buying Guide

Best E-Bike review and buying guide

Electric cars have already challenged the dirty modes of transportation and started making an impact. They increasingly offer the same amount of power and range while eliminating carbon emissions. 

Electric bikes are taking a different route: augmenting the human muscle power to make an already clean mode of transport even more efficient. 

The US is going through an e-bike fever these days. 

Electric bikes are so popular that the supply often can’t meet the demand. Some people are even turning to e-bike conversion kits to make their own bikes electric. 

Yet, most of us keep our sights on the market. 

Allow me to share my e-biking experience by recommending the 10 best e-bikes in 2021.

My Top 3 Picks for Best e-Bikes in 2021 

Best E-bike

Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep

Overall Rating: 5/5

  • Quality Bosch and Shimano Parts
  • Range Boost Battery
  • Legal Everywhere
  • Easy to Use
best e-bike

Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

  • Quality Bosch and Shimano Parts
  • Range Boost Battery
  • Carbon Frame
  • Premium Quality
best e-bike

Aventon Pace 500

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

  • Pedal Assist & Throttle
  • Great LCD Screen
  • 750 W Motor
  • Very Competitive Price

10 Best E-Bikes of 2021 Reviewed

1. Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep — Best Overall

Motor Power: 250W | Motor Type: Mid-Drive | Bike Class: Class I | Torque (Nm): 50

best e-bike Trek verve+

I’ve left many happy miles behind with the Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep e-bike. It’s a well-rounded package that has everything you need for a smooth zero-emission ride, commute, or workout. 

The Verve+ 3 comes with lights, fenders, and a rear rack so there’s no need for you to spend money on add-ons.

No DIY sets or kits here. Just quality and durable parts from the very start. 

The Bosch pedal-assist motor is the top of the line and you can still remove it without any tools. That is if you decide to drop a couple of pounds and ride it the traditional way. 

This version has a step-through frame, so even your granny can take it for a ride. Joke aside, this is a big plus for versatility and comfort. 

Although not as powerful as mountain bikes and off-roaders, the Verve+ 3 is optimized for no-nonsense performance in and out of town.

Pros

  • Step-through design
  • Excellent balance with a mid-drive motor
  • Integrated Bosch battery
  • Expandable with a second battery
  • Street legal almost everywhere

Cons

  • 50 Nm of torque is on the lower end for this price range  

Why Do I Like It?

I like having the option to double my range and time between charges with the Range Boost external battery. Plus, the top-quality Bosch and Shimano parts are always desirable.


2. Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger — Best for Commuting

Motor Power: 350W | Motor Type: Mid-Drive | Bike Class: Class III | Torque (Nm): 75

best e-bike trek allant+ 9.9S stagger

There's a lot to like about the Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger

Its Bosch Performance Speed Motor will help you cycle up to 28 mph, and the high-capacity battery won't let you down even if you need to commute from one end of the city to the other. 

This top performer is the bike for you if you expect the best there is — and are ready to pay for it. Unfortunately, the Allant+ 9.9S costs double the price of the Verve. 

Still, if you came to value the sleek looks, a carbon frame, and the SmartphoneHub that turns your phone into an onboard computer, seriously consider this e-bike.

To be honest, this Trek e-bike is my personal choice. 

But, we have to stay unbiased. 

The steep price and the fact that it isn’t as comfy to mount and dismount as the Verve+ 3, put this superb e-commuter to a strong second place. 

Pros

  • Motor assistance up to 28 mph
  • Integrated Bosch battery
  • Quality Bosch and Shimano parts
  • Expandable with a second battery

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Limited rear rack

Why Do I Like It?

I really like the e-bike infotainment system that the Allant + 9.9S provides when you plug in your phone. It really brings joy to morning commutes. Again, none can deny the appeal of the Bosch and Shimano parts.


3. Aventon Pace 500 — Best Budget Option

Motor Power: 750W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class III | Torque (Nm): 50

best e-bike Aventon Pace 500

If you’re looking for a sweet spot between comfort, power, and price, take a look at his sleek cruiser frame with a cushy saddle. 

As a long-time fan of cruiser bikes, I had to try out the Aventon Pace 500 as soon as they came about. 

Although much more affordable than the first and second choice, this bike lacks neither in tech nor in the fun department. 

Five levels of pedal assist combined with a throttle function let you put as much effort into pedaling as you wish, saving the battery at the same time. 

The large LCD display is easy to read and comes with a backlight function for those night chillout rides. 

Pros

  • Attractive cruiser frame — looking good!
  • Comfy riding position
  • Fast charging battery
  • Very competitive price

Cons

  • Hub drive motor is not as smooth as Bosch mid-drives

Why Do I Like It?

I like the look on the faces of road bikers when they get overtaken by a cruiser bike. Not something you see every day. But most importantly, the price. You can't find anything better in this price class.


4. Aventon Level — Best City e-Bike

Motor Power: 750W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class III | Torque (Nm): 50

best e-bike aventon level

Not everyone believes that e-bikes can replace the convenience and comfort of cars for completing our daily tasks around the city. 

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Aventon Level — the e-bike designed with comfort and utility in mind. 

The low center of gravity, step-through design, and soft front suspension will make any ride a breeze, while built-in fenders will let you cycle even in rain, safely protected from puddles below. 

You need to haul groceries home? No problem. The sturdy cargo rack can take both a basket and a pair of saddlebags so you’ll never feel short of space. 

As a Class III e-bike, the Level allows for a max pedal-assisted speed of 28 mph. There is also a throttle control so you can cruise up to 20 mph without pedaling at all. 

I’m telling you — people are underestimating the Aventon Level at their own risk!

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Step-through frame
  • Range of 30 miles without pedaling
  • Versatile rack

Cons

  • With over 60 lbs. on the heavy side
  • Battery not removable for charging

Why Do I Like It?

After an excruciating day at work and hitting the gym just after, the bike’s no-pedal throttle function is all I need to take me home.


5. Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XTR — Best Mountain e-Bike

Motor Power: 210W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class I | Torque (Nm): 55

best e-bike Trek E-Caliber

I admit I’m not a big fan of mountain biking. Uphill, downhill, it’s all the same to me and not worth losing one’s head over. LOL

This is why I asked my buddy Rob, who is an avid “mountie” to point out a few features that make Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XTR the best in class. 

Thanks to the carbon frame this bike lets you maximize the power of your legs and the advanced Fazua Evation motor to the limits. 

Designed purposely for this type of bike, the motor gives zero drag when it’s off, allowing you to make the most of your downhill descent. 

What’s more, this motor is paired with intelligent software that allows it to respond immediately when you start to pedal. 

This feature gives you more power when you need it and yet rides and feels more natural, much closer to riding traditional MTBs.

Pros

  • Advanced motor concept
  • Very lightweight carbon frame
  • Sporty look

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No dropper post

Why Do I Like It?

Apart from being a capable all-terrain bike, this is an excellent (albeit expensive) workout bike that welcomes forest trails and gravel paths. Also, Fazua Evation is one of the most popular motors available in the market.


6. Ancheer 500W Hummer Electric Bike — Best Budget Trail Bike

Motor Power: 500W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class II | Torque (Nm): N/A

ANCHEER_Electric_Bike

I’ve heard so many negative things about this bike from many YouTube experts that I had to see it for myself. 

And let me tell you, they were mostly wrong. 

First of all, this is a great value e-bike. Sure, it’s a Chinese-made bike that comes in a large box and takes a little know-how to put it together. 

Nonetheless, the Ancheer 500W Hummer is a solid offroader that comes with extras that are usually sold separately for bikes in this class, like the headlight, horn, and kickstand. 

Even if you use only the pedal assist, the 500W motor will let you ride uphill without breaking a sweat.   

On the downside, in this price range, you can’t expect much from the LCD display. You’re stuck with basic data on battery charge and power modes.  

Pros

  • Great value for the money
  • Solid frame and finish
  • Capable hub-drive motor

Cons

  • Limited battery range
  • Average brakes
  • Only one size is available

Why Do I Like It?

This is an excellent beginner e-bike that you’ll have a hard time parting from even when you upgrade to a more high-end model. If you're looking for the best entry-level e-bike to "try it out," you should definitely check this one. 


7. MaxFoot MF-19 — Best Folding e-Bike

Motor Power: 1000W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class II | Torque (Nm): 90

best ebike maxfoot mf-19

This e-bike is one of those things you have to have, the moment you see it. For a long time, folding bikes were seen as an afterthought, and something you keep in your apartment or RV just in case. 

However, the MaxFoot MF-19 is about to break that image. 

This little powerhouse feels at home both on the asphalt and dirt, while the Shimano 7-speed Freewheel gives you more torque for treacherous uphill climbs. 

Talking about torque, the 1000W Bafang hub motor provides 90 Nm of torque, which is more than many full-size electric bikes. 

With my weight of 160 lbs. and pedal-assist set to “1”‚ I manage to cover between 50 and 60 miles before the battery goes flat.  

This little guy really means business. Rides great on snow, too!

Pros

  • Easy to fold
  • Powerful hub motor from Bafang
  • Capable all-terrain fat tires
  • Fully concealed battery

Cons

  • Heavy for a folding bike
  • The motor has a distinct on-off feel
  • Hydraulic brakes would be better with such a powerful motor

Why Do I Like It?

It’s not that this little e-bike can take me literally everywhere, but the fact that it still fits in my trunk. Plus, it comes with a Bafang motor which literally the "popular" choice due to its price-to-performance ratio.


8. Ecotric Rocket Fat Tire Beach Snow Electric Bike — Best Fat Tire e-Bike

Motor Power: 500W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class II | Torque (Nm): N/A

best ebike ecotric fat tire beach snow

One good thing about bike heads is that they are always eager to share a story or two and let you try their gear. 

This is how I got my hands on this baby — a thoroughbred fat e-bike. 

Seriously, the electric motor was the missing link between traditional fat bikes and the ultimate off-roading fun. 

The Ecotric Rocket comes with a solid 500W hub motor with five power assist levels. However, even with a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, its range is hardly above 20 miles.  

This makes the Rocker a poor commuter, but honestly, who buys a bike with 4” tires for going to work?

It’s the snow, sand, and dirt where this bike excels. 

To save on battery power, I advise you to use it like a regular bike until you get off the road. And then the fun begins. 

Pros

  • Pedal-assist and throttle
  • SHIMANO 7 Speed Derailleur
  • UL certified
  • Front suspension fork
  • Informative LCD display

Cons

  • Non-adjustable handlebars
  • Not the most comfortable seat
  • Heavy

Why Do I Like It?

With a better seat this could easily be the most comfy-riding e-bike on the list. The Shimano parts and the UL certification are two additional features that I REALLY love about this bike.  


9. Bunch The Original — Best Box e-Bike

Motor Power: 750W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class II | Torque (Nm): 45

best ebike bunch original

Nothing screams “Holland” more than these e-trikes with a utility box in the front. Ok, maybe it’s the tulips, canals, and legalized weed for you. 

Whether you’re taking your kids to the playground, taking your pups to the vet, or just making a good old grocery run, the Original Electric Cargo Bike from Bunch will definitely put a smile on your face.  

The box can easily fit 4 kids on benches with seat belts, and when you need more space, the benches go out in seconds. 

For this e-bike configuration, great stopping power and perfectly balanced front brakes are a must.

And Bunch hasn’t disappointed. 

The Tektro hydraulic disk brakes are ready to apply a gator-like grip at a small squeeze of levers, helping you stop instantly and safely. 

Pros

  • Roomy cargo box
  • Heavy-duty brakes
  • Powerful throttle

Cons

  • Slow
  • Not for long distances
  • On the pricey side

Why Do I Like It?

Right now I can think of at least five start-up ideas revolving around these cargo e-trikes! Although the concept of e-trikes are still alien in the USA, I am certain that the trend will shift. 


10. Opeak Ebike Foldable Electric Bike — Best Large Folding 

Motor Power: 750W | Motor Type: Hub-Drive | Bike Class: Class II | Torque (Nm): N/A

Opeak Ebike Foldable Electric Bike

When you need more out of your foldable e-bike, you go Opeak. Unlike most bikes in this class, the Opeak e-Bike has 26” wheels and all-terrain tires. 

This means the frame is much bigger than that of the MaxFoot MF-19. Here, your bike is delivered with already mounted fenders and a rack.

If you ask me, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. 

A foldable bike of this size is still small enough to fit a corner in the cramped garage, but for most people, it would be just too big to haul it around in their car trunk.

The one I tried was riding fine, but I hear people complaining about it making strange noises when pedaling and poor uphill performance. 

Not something you’d expect from a 750W motor, huh? 

Well, I’ll explain this in the Things to Consider section.

Pros

  • Reliable brushless motor
  • Comfortable ride
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Too large for many people
  • Quality control issues
  • Pricey for what it offers

Why Do I Like It?

The Opeak e-Bike Foldable may be too big for your car trunk, but it definitely fits every elevator. Downtown people know why.


Comparison Table: All the Best E-Bikes Compared Head-to-Head

Header

Motor

Gearing

Battery

Throttle Assist?

Top Speed

Weight (Approx.)

Our Rating

Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep

250 W Bosch Active Plus (50 Nm)

Shimano Alivio M3100, 9 speed

500 Wh (Bosch PowerTube)

No

20 mph

55 lbs

Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger

350 W Bosch Performance Speed (85 Nm)

Shimano XT M8100, 12 speed

625 Wh (Bosch PowerTube)

No

28 mph

48 lbs

Aventon Pace 500

750 W Shengyi Rear Gear Hub Motor (50 Nm

Shimano Altus 11-32 T, 8 speed

556.8 Wh (Samsung Lithium-Ion Battery)

Yes

28 mph

49 lbs

Aventon Level

750 W Shengyi Rear Gear Hub Motor (60 Nm)

Shimano Acera, 12-32T, 8 Speed

672 Wh Removable Internal Lithium-ion Battery

Yes

28 mph

62 lbs

Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XTR

210 W FAZUA Evation (55 Nm)

Shimano XTR M9100, 12 speed

252 Wh FAZUA Remote bX Battery

No

28 mph

36 lbs

ANCHEER 500W Hummer Electric Bike

500 W Brushless Gear Motor

Shimano,  21 Speed

480 Wh Removable Lithium-ion Battery

Yes

20 mph

50 lbs

MaxFoot MF-19

1000 W Bafang Motor (90 Nm)

Shimano M-310, 7 speed

672 Wh Panasonic/LG Lithium Battery

Yes

23 mph

60 lbs

Ecotric Rocket Fat Tire Beach Snow Electric Bike

500W Rear Hub Motor

Shimano Acera, 7 speed

468 Wh Zhenlong Lithium-ion Battery

Yes

20 mph

55 lbs

Bunch The Original

500 W Dapu M155 Geared Hub Motor (45 Nm)

Shimano CS-HG41 8-speed

653 Wh Samsung Battery

Yes

20 mph

152 lbs

Opeak Ebike Foldable Electric Bike

750 W Brushless Hub Motor

SRAM, 8 speed

576 Wh Removable Battery 

Yes

20 mph

69 lbs

Things to Consider While Buying the Best e-bike 2021 

What Types of e-Bikes Are There?

Just like with regular bikes, in the world of e-bikes, you get different types like road bikes, mountain bikes, commuters, folding bikes, etc. 

And these different configurations have their e-parts incorporated in a different way. 

Electric Mountain bikes for example will likely have motors with high Nm value or torque, which is important for negotiating slippery slopes. 

Cargo and utility bikes benefit from having a low center of weight, so they often have mid-drive motors. 

Foldable e-bikes usually have their batteries hidden inside the frame, while commuter or hybrid bikes often have expandable batteries so you can double the distance. 

Pro Tip

Pro Tip: First of all, you need to know how and where you plan to use your e-bike as every type reviewed is designed to be the best is what it’s made for.

I Can’t See the Motor

When it comes to e-bikes there are three types of motors, each with its own set of benefits and downsides:

  • Geared hub drive motor
  • Direct-drive hub motor
  • Mid-drive motor

A geared hub drive motor is the most common type found on e-bikes today. It is located inside the rear hub of the wheel where it’s often almost concealed by the gears, looking from the side.  

These motors are called geared because they have gears on the inside as well, allowing you to select different power ratios. 

Hub-driven motors have one-way bearings, so when you’re pedaling and not using the motor, you’re not getting any resistance from the motor. 

A direct-drive hub motor is much bulkier, so you can hardly miss it. It doesn't have any internal gears so it needs to be physically larger to create all the torque you need. 

Direct-drive motors don’t have one-way bearings so you can actually use them to slow down without hitting the brakes. Some of the energy created this way is even fed back to the battery. 

This type of motor is usually seen on bigger and heavier bikes. 

A mid-drive motor is located in the middle of your bike — right between your pedals. Mid-drive motors are great for mountain e-bikes as they put the center of mass much more forward and lower down than hub-drive motors, which benefits the overall handling and performance, especially off-road. 

However, these motors put all the power through your drive train, which puts more wear and tear on your chain, derailleur, and rear freewheel.  

Pedal Assist System (PAS) vs. Throttle

So, does your bike have a pedal-assist or a throttle?

The truth is this is generally not “either-or”. Actually, I haven’t seen any modern bikes these days that don't come with pedal-assist (PAS). Throttles are something you can see on some bikes but not the others, as they are not legal in all countries. 

The pedal assist engages as you start turning the pedals, and there are usually 5 assist modes, so you can choose how much “help” you're getting from your motor. 

On the other hand, this affects your battery and range. The lower the assistance, the longer you can go.

The throttle works pretty much the same way as a motorcycle throttle. You don’t have to pedal at all, just hit the throttle and coast along. 

However, if you’re riding this way, your range decreases significantly.

The throttle comes in handy when you load up your bike with stuff and need to push it, for example through a crowd of people or a narrow path. 

Pro Tip

Pro Tip: Before you decide what you’re going to get, make sure to test a couple of bikes with a throttle and without, just so you can see what works for you.

How Important is the Battery 

Let’s make this one short and sweet. The battery is one of the most important and the most expensive parts of your e-bike. This is not something you want to save on. 

Stick to the brands like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic and make sure your battery has enough watt-hours to last you through a day. 

Luckily, you have many quality Lithium-ion batteries, so stay away from NiMh, lead-acid, and no-name batteries.

Another important consideration is the way you’re going to charge it.

If you get a bike with a non-removable battery, you’ll need to take the bike wherever the charger is. On the other hand, you’ve already guessed it — removable batteries are much handier but easier to steal. 

If you value portability and like having a spare battery, look for those that lock up with a key.  

Finally, there is a choice between a generic and proprietary style of battery.  

  • Generic: easier to find, easier to replace, easier to upgrade, doesn't look as good
  • Proprietary: sourcing depends on the manufacturer, looks sleek

Are e-Bikes Legal Everywhere?

As the street-legality of e-bikes is concerned, most states in the US use a so-called three-tier classification:

Class I 

An e-bike that has a motor (max. 750 W)  that assists only when you’re pedaling, and up to 20 mph. After you reach this speed the motor turns off but you can still pedal. — Example: Trek Verve+ 3

Class II 

This e-bike category has a pedal-assist AND a throttle that can propel a bike to and maintain 20 mph without you having to pedal — Example: MaxFoot MF-19

Class III 

Class III includes e-bikes that have up to a 750 W motor that assists only when you’re pedaling, allowing for maximum assisted speeds up to 28 mph. — Example: Aventon Pace 500

e-bike conversion kit

The federal law limits the e-bike speed to 20 mph when using a motor power only. 

Many states have specified the speed limit for classes I & II to 20 mph. 

Class III is the most restricted and depending on where you live, you may be limited to 28 mph or required to register your bike, wear additional protection, etc. 

Do yourself a favor and check your local state and municipality laws before cash changes hands. 

Do Numbers Really Add?

The question is, can you choose the best e-bike by looking at numbers only? Are watts, Newton-meters, and watt-hours that important? And what about the manufacturer range claims. 

Well, the answer is yes and no. 

If you’re comparing two similar bikes, say, from the same manufacturers, it’s clear that a 350 W motor will give you more power and more importantly torque (Nm) than a 250 W motor. 

However, when comparing e-bikes from two different manufacturers, not to mention different classes and price ranges, things can get wildly exciting. 

It’s all about compatibility and optimization of the parts. Just like with Apple products. 

On paper, the iPhone 12 might have less CPU power, less RAM, less battery capacity, and fewer megapixels, but still be better than the competition.

Why? Because the hardware and software are expertly optimized for performance and power saving. 

It’s the same thing with e-bikes. 

Although they have fewer watts and Nms than many of their counterparts, Trek bikes are at the top of the list because they use quality parts that make the most out of available power and battery. Not to mention manufacturer warranties and service support. 

Pro Tip

Pro Tip: You can’t trust the tech specs only, as not all bikes use the top quality parts and engineering.

Final Thoughts

After much consideration and weighing, I can safely say that the best e-bike in 2021 is the Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep.  

The Verve+ 3 is not a powerhouse, at least by the tech sheets. However, it’s a user-friendly all-around e-bike that is built with top-shelf Shimano and Bosch parts. 

You certainly won’t win any street drag race with this one, however, as a class-I bike, it will be legal to ride almost anywhere.  

If you plan on buying only one e-bike to serve you well for a long time, this year it is the Trek Verve+ 3. 

On the other hand, if you’re ready to spend twice as much for a top commuter, check out the Trek Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger. If you’re down on budget, but like to ride in style, the Aventon Pace 500 is the bike for you. 

Best E-bike

Trek Verve+ 3 Lowstep

Overall Rating: 5/5

best e-bike

Trek Allant+ 9.9S Stagger

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

best e-bike

Aventon Pace 500

Overall Rating: 4.5/5


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