So You Want to Buy an E-Bike

Not your grandpa’s boneshaker.

You might know that bicycles have been around since 1817 when German Baron Karl von Drais built a brake-less, pedal-less prototype called the velocipede. That invention was followed by a bunch of pedal versions (somewhat) affectionately called “boneshakers” in the 1860s. But did you know the first electric bikes rolled out in the 1880s? Shocking, right? Here’s what to look for when checking out the latest e-bikes.

This hybrid gives riders the flexibility to toggle between manual, assisted and fully automated modes. ANCHEER

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An e-bike is really a hybrid bicycle that combines multiple cycling modes into one piece of equipment, empowering the rider to choose how they want to ride. This means the bike can run fully on the battery-powered motor, tap into the power assist as needed or operate like a normal bicycle. Switching between modes is as simple as pressing a smart button, so the rider can match the mode to the terrain and their comfort level.

This option has an old-school vibe but packs modern tech for rides up to 25 mph. NAKTO

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Of course, the best part of an e-bike is the option to cruise at high speeds over long distances. Look for a removable lithium battery designed to charge on the bicycle or off the bicycle, depending on user preference. Many batteries can power the bike for around 25 miles of travel (or more) on a single charge with speeds up to 25 mph.

Fold this 40-pound model for easy portability and stowing. Murtisol

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The only thing better than a hybrid bike is a hybrid bike that folds to fit inside a small space (like your trunk or public transit stow areas) and is light enough to carry up flights of stairs. This makes it easy to pack your e-bike for urban commutes or biking trips so you’re always ready to—in the immortal words of Optimus Prime—transform and roll out.