Best Electric Bikes for Kids and Adults
Electric bikes have been around for a long time, but only with improvements in lithium rechargeable batteries, they have reached the level where they can offer plenty of power, plenty of stored energy, lightweight design, energy-efficient brushless motors, with some models even offering regenerative braking systems, improving energy efficiency even more.
Note: Laws and regulations regarding electric bikes may differ from state to state (or from country to country), but they are not the topic of this article.
When looking for a new electric bike, there are few important things to look for, including:
- Battery: Electric bikes are mostly powered by Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, ranging from 12 to 48 volts (or more), with capacities up to 10-20Ah or even more.
Some electric bikes feature batteries with even higher voltages, improving energy efficiency and allowing the batteries to store more energy without increasing the number of batteries connected in parallel.
For example, the 48V 10Ah LiFePO4 battery which consists of 32 3.2V 5.0Ah cells features 16S2P construction - there are 16 cells connected in series and two such sets are connected internally in parallel to create the battery pack with a nominal capacity of 10Ah, and a nominal voltage of 51.2 volts.
Although Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are some of the safest lithium rechargeable batteries, each battery comes with the internal Battery Management System (BMS) which monitors the cells and the whole battery and protects them from unwanted events like overheating, overcharging, over-discharging, overcurrent, and similar.
Also, BMS ensures that the battery's cells are well balanced.
Note: Some manufacturers even offer Lithium Polymer rechargeable batteries with their electric bikes, which offer excellent discharge characteristics, better even than the discharge characteristics of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. However, Lithium Polymer batteries should NOT be left unmonitored when charging. Also, they should be stored and carried in fireproof bags - personally, that is enough for me to look for an electric bike powered by a LiFePO4 battery.
Charging time depends on the battery's Depth of Discharge (DoD), but most models support charging with the 0.25-0.5C currents. Faster charging is not recommended in order to prolong the battery's lifetime.
Note: Lithium Polymer batteries are usually charged with 0.5-1.0C currents with some models allowing even faster charging. Again, don't leave Lipo batteries unattended when charging them ...
Lithium batteries are known for their ability to cycle well, especially when they are not discharged down to 100% DoD, when they are charged with proper lithium battery chargers and when they are stored in cool areas.
The actual number of charging/discharging cycles differ and should be checked for each battery.
Bike range significantly depends on the terrain and user weight, but it is usually given for flat terrain and for lighter riders.
Some brands offer even data for range when the bike is used by users having different weights, which is excellent. However, not all brands do that!
Also, the range depends on the riding mode, but it is usually given for Full Electric Mode.
Additional features of the good battery are the presence of the USB charger, allowing the user to recharge any device having a USB charging port, and the safety keys, which allow the user to turn off the battery, increasing the safety of the electric bike.
For short, when checking the battery features, check the battery voltage, capacity, energy stored, number of supported charging/discharging cycles, bike range, chemistry, and similar.
- Bike's Weight differs depending on the bike type, size of the battery, frame construction and material, motor type and output power, and similar.
Usually, bike weight ranges from 30 or so pounds (~13-14 kg) for smallish bikes to 60-70+ (~27-32+ kg) pounds full-size mountain/commuter bikes.
- User's Weight is the maximum load capacity of the bike and includes the rider's weight combined with any additional weight (backpack, for example).
Maximum load capacity is usually in the 200-400 pounds (~91 - 181 kg) range, with the most bike supporting maximum loads around 250-300 pounds (~113 - 136 kg).
However, bike performances like maximum slope, maximum speed, range, and acceleration depend on the user's weight - the heavier the user and the larger the slope, the slower the bike.
- Motor: most modern electric bikes come with energy-efficient brushless motors that require very little or no maintenance at all.
The most important feature of electric motors is their output power which ranges usually from 150W for small and lightweight bikes to 1500+W electric bikes intended for serious riders.
Note: upper motor power limit of electric bikes and lower motor power limit of electric motorcycles may differ ...
The stronger the motor, the faster and more agile the bike is.
For example: 25 kg (~55 pounds) bike with 75 kg (~165 pounds) rider featuring 250W motor, in theory, in Full Electric Mode, would be able to go 2.5 m/s (9 km/h, 5.6 mph) uphill on 10% slope without losing speed (actual speed is a little bit lower since we didn't count air resistance, rolling resistance and losses withing the bike's transmission and similar).
However, 45 kg (~100 pounds!) bike with 100 kg (~220 pounds) rider featuring 1500W motor, in theory, in Full Electric Mode would be able to go 10.5 m/s (~38 km/h, 23.6 mph) uphill on 10% slope without losing speed - again, actual speed would be a little bit lower, for the same reasons.
Does this mean that weaker motors are useless? No, it just means that You should pick the electric bike according to your own needs and preferences.
- Riding Modes: There are three basic riding modes, including:
- Full Electric Mode: in Full Electric Mode the bike is propelled using energy stored at onboard battery via the electric motor.
- Pedal Assist Mode: in Pedal Assist Mode the bike is propelled by combining the electric motor and by the user's pedaling.
- Pedal-only (Normal Bike) Mode: the user pedals and propel the bike.
If You intend to use the bike in mostly Full Electric Mode, You should consider models with stronger motors and larger batteries. In fact, some electric bikes are offered without pedals, and can be used only in Full Electric Mode - such units are simpler, lighter, and cheaper, of course, but when the battery is discharged, You can only push your bike around...
Most models intended to be used in Pedal Assist Mode and Pedal-only Mode feature electric motors in the 250-500W range, allowing the users to cover larger distances easily.
- Maximum Speed is usually given for Full Electric Mode when the bike is used on the flat terrain by some lighter rider. In real life, maximum speed depends on many things, like bike type, motor condition, battery condition, the weight of the rider, tires' pressure, and similar.
Maximum speed is usually in the 15-25 mph (~24-40 km/h) range, but there are even faster models than that.
However, to increase safety, be sure to always wear required protective gear and obey local laws, regulations, and of course, the speed limits!
- Frame Material: Most electric bikes are made using alloyed aluminum or high-strength steel. While both materials have their pros and cons, the users should focus on the bike's weight first. Graphite frames are very strong and ultralight, but increase the overall price of the bike.
Similarly, if the wheel rims are made of magnesium alloy, they may be very light, but the overall price can easily go up ...
- Folding Frame saves the storage space, allowing the users even to take their bikes on the subway, or to store them in the trunk of the car or similar.
Note: Lithium batteries generally should not be stored in the cars during the summer heat - they may overheat, catch fire, or even explode when heated by the summer sun ...
- Wheels and Suspension: Wheels range in size from 10 inches (25.4 cm) to full-size mountain or city bikes with 26 inches (~66 cm) or even larger wheels.
The larger the wheel, the smoother the ride is. However, larger wheels tend to be heavier and require more storage space even when the bike is folded.
Electric bikes without suspension are intended for flat and even terrain only, while electric bikes with front or even both front and rear suspension can be used almost everywhere.
Note: Call me spoiled, but front suspension should be minimum even for city bikes unless we are talking about rather compact, entry-level bikes.
- Tires: electric bikes have tires just as any other bike - wider tires support larger loads even when in off-road conditions, while narrower, high-pressure tires ensure very low rolling resistance.
- Brakes: disc brakes ensure good braking performances and increase overall safety. However, some models feature caliper brakes, which do their job well - if You like the bike with caliper brakes and You have the opportunity to try it, go for it, some of the most popular models still have caliper brakes!
- App Support: some electric bikes, or at least their batteries come with WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, allowing their users to check the battery and bike condition using their smartphones.
Some models also allow the users to block/lock the battery via smartphone, preventing unauthorized users from using the bike, at least not in Full Electric or Pedal Assist modes. Again, model dependent.
For more information, feel free to check our Articles and Guides:
Here is the list of our electric bikes reviews and recommendations, ordered according to their date added or modified:
ANCHEER AT1 Electric Mountain Bike is a very popular electric bike suitable for everyday commuters, but also for people who like offroad rides as well.
ANCHEER AT1 Electric Mountain Bike features a very balanced design, with a high capacity removable battery, efficient brushless motor, Shimano 21-speed gear system, aluminum frame, front and rear disc brakes, etc.
ANCHEER AN-EB5 14" 500W Electric Commuter Bike is a lightweight and compact electric bike, supporting all three riding modes and featuring a rather strong and efficient 500W brushless rear hub electric motor, ensuring good power reserve.
ANCHEER AN-EB5 14" 500W Electric Commuter Bike doesn't feature suspension and is suitable for flat terrain. But, air-filled tires are robust enough even for trail and other off-road rides...
Heybike Mars is a very popular foldable electric bike, featuring a strong brushless motor, fat tires, and dual suspension, making it suitable for both flat and even terrain, but also for snow, sand, trail, and similar terrains.
With good load capacity, durability, and compact folded size, Heybike Mars is becoming one of the more popular fat-tire go-anywhere electric bikes.