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Best Electric Bikes for Commuting

Bicycles are fantastic machines that offer a fun and fast way to get about town and country. However, traditional bicycles that were peddled with only the power of one's legs had their drawbacks. While yes, the committed can use such traditional people-powered bicycles to commute five, ten, even twenty miles to work and back, such distances and efforts can turn many away. Commuting by pedal power alone can get frustrating as it lends to one arriving sweaty, disheveled, and sometimes late. What to do? One solution is to enjoy the freedom, fun, and efficiency bicycles offer but with less physical effort. That solution is switching to electric bikes for commuting.

Electric bikes for commuting purposes have been around for several decades now but exciting technological advancements have made them more accessible to the general public. Today's electric bikes are cheaper, lighter, and take the rider further than ever before, making now a fantastic time to invest in one. They make commuting an enjoyable breeze and will help their owners save significantly on commuting costs over their lifespan.

But while electric bikes for commuting do have a lot to offer, there are some important things buyers should know before investing in a machine. The following is a look at the different styles and types of electric bikes so that you can choose the best of electric bikes for your commuting needs:

The Beginner Guide to the Best Bikes for Commuting

The Basics of the Commuter Body Style & Different E-Bike Classifications

Technically, any bicycle you use to commute can be called your commuter bicycle. Many bikes also, regardless of their technical body style, get sold as "also good for commuting", such as folding bikes and many road bikes. All that said, there are a few key qualities that will set a true commuting style bicycle, especially a commuting style electric bike, apart from the rest:

  • The overall goal of the commuter bicycle is to make running errands and commuting to work comfortable, fast, and efficient.
  • To achieve comfort, the commuter bicycle is typically designed for upright riding, so that riders can easily view their surroundings. Included accessories that make commuting more comfortable are also typically included, such as a plush saddle, comfortable grips, and rain guards to protect against mud splashes. Some commuter bikes will even come standard with little mirrors mounted on the handlebars that make it easy for cyclists to view any oncoming traffic behind them.
  • To achieve speed and efficiency, commuter bikes often boast large 700c tires that are narrow in width and built for pavement riding. These tires work to make riding on roads more efficient, helping the cyclist go further, at better speeds with less effort.
  • Finally, to enhance practicality, since commuter bikes are or should be the paradigm of utility, most will include helpful accessories like rear racks for panniers and water bottle holders.

The above characteristics are characteristics you will find in both peddle-only bikes and electric bikes. When shopping for an electric bike for commuting, you will also need to be aware of the different types of classes. The three general classes of e-bikes that those buying for commuting purposes should know are:

  1. Class 1: Class 1 electric bikes are ideal for those commuters who only want a bit of assistance to reduce fatigue. These bikes only offer electric pedal assist when the cyclist themselves are pedaling, giving the cyclist a bit more zoom with each downward stroke of their foot. There is no throttle on these bikes, but you really don't need to pedal very hard to go fast. Simply put the bike in a lower gear and push the pedals forward at your desired pace to get the electric motor to jump in. This class of electric bikes will stop assisting whenever the cyclist reaches a speed of up to 20 miles per hour. Class 1 electric bikes for commuting can be ridden on roads as well as bike-only paths and lanes.
  2. Class 2: Class 2 electric bikes also are equipped with an electric motor that will stop assisting at a top speed of 20 miles per hour. The difference, however, between this class and the one below is that it has throttles. With a flick of the throttle, the cyclist can activate the motor to take the bike at your desired speed (up to 20 mph) without you pedaling. In addition, you can use a class 2 electric bike just as you would a class 1 electric bike to operate as an assist with your pedaling. Class 2 electric bikes can also be used on traditional bike-only paths, lanes, and general roads.
  3. Class 3. Class 3 has become the top pick of commuter electric bikes as these are machines really built to get their riders where they want to go, and to do so quickly. A class 3 electric bicycle must come with a speedometer and most will go to speeds upwards of 28 mph. Some of these bikes will come standard with a throttle, but not all as some are similar to class 1 bikes in that they will only turn on pedal assist up to the regulated 28 miles per hour. The downside to this class of commuting bike is that, because of their higher speeds, some states and municipalities won't allow them on bike-only paths that exist outside the roadways, such as shared bike trails in a park.

In general, newcomers to electric bikes, especially those who are comfortable with general bike riding, should look at class 1 electric bikes. These are the most affordable option. For those new to bike-riding in general who are just looking for a quick, easy, and long-term cost-effective way to get to work, the class 2 commuter e-bike is a good choice -- just make sure to practice with the throttle away from traffic before commuting your regular route the first day. Finally, class 3 electric bikes are an ideal choice for serious commuters who are comfortable with high speeds -- but who are also okay with spending a bit more as this is the most expensive class of e-bikes.

Choosing the Best Electric Bike for Your Commuting Needs

Your cycling experience will be different from someone else's cycling experience, just as your commute might be different and what you want generally out of cycling. As such, what would be the best electric bike for you might not be the best electric bike for someone else.

When researching the best electric bike for you and your needs, you will want to look at the following:

  • How far you need to commute (with a couple of extra miles stacked on for caution). All electric bikes utilize a battery system in which the stored electricity or energy is sent to the motor that propels the bike forward, either via throttle or pedal-assist technology. That battery comes with a specified range, which is the distance the electric bicycle will go before it runs out of stored power. Knowing how far you need your bicycle to go in a daily commute before you plug it back in is critical to ensuring you don't buy an electric bike that will keep running out of power on you, potentially leaving you stranded. Terrain is also an important thing to consider as if you have a lot of hills on your commute, that extra power to go up the hills may more quickly drain a battery.
  • Whether weight is a factor for your purchase. Do you live in an apartment in which you will need to carry your electric bike up a flight of stairs? Or stairs at your place of business? Are you looking to be doing a lot of group rides? In all of these situations, the weight of the electric bike will matter.
  • Your overall cycling experience and what you are comfortable with. As noted above, class 3 electric bikes are generally best for those with experience in electric bikes while class 1 electric bikes tend to be the best for beginners. If, however, you feel comfortable with scooters and motorcycles, then the class 2 electric bikes for commuting would be a good pick for you.
  • Whether you want a gender-specific bike. Men's and women's bikes are built differently to match with general body types. There is the very obvious step-through frame style difference, but that's not the only thing to look for. Women's bikes have a frame style that generally includes a shorter stack (distance between bottom bracket to top tube) and shorter reach (distance from headset to seat post) due to women generally having shorter torsos than men. Integrated components are also often different, women having shorter crank sizes and wider, more padded seats. For these differences and more, it is a good idea to get a bike fit before buying any bicycle. Keep in mind that your unique body type may have it so that your best fit bicycle might not tied to your gender.
  • Your budget -- and make sure to include your top accessories in that budget. The good news is that the price of electric bikes has really come down in recent years thanks to tech advancements and more bike manufacturers entering the market to compete with each other. Today, you can get a quality entry-level electric bike for commuting at around the same price as a top-tier traditional or analog bike for commuting. But when buying an electric bike for commuting, don't just stop at the base sticker price for your budget. Make a budget to include all the essentials you need to be comfortable on your bicycle and to commute to work or school on day one. This includes budgeting for things like:
  • Panniers or other bike bags to hold your items
  • Rain flaps and bike rack if not included standard
  • Quality bike lights
  • Warranty-backed bike lock, preferably a u-lock with chain
  • Helmet and potentially visibility vest or jacket
  • Phone holder that connects to the handlebars if you plan on needing to regularly view it for navigation reasons

Best Electric Bikes for Sale at Sixthreezero

Our team at Sixthreezero started out of our garage with the goal of building quality beach cruisers that were fun to ride and easy to care for as these two factors are what really motivate people both to buy bikes and to ride them. Shortly after our start, we added in electric bikes as they go a long way in making biking, especially commuting, more accessible to all.

Our best electric bikes for commuting that we currently have for sale are:

  • EVRYjourney Internal Battery 250W. This bicycle boasts an ultra-comfortable ergonomic frame design that will keep cyclists in an upright and relaxed position. This reduces muscle strain and fatigue while affording you more confidence as traffic is more readily viewable. This e-bike comes with a 36V battery that can take riders a full 20 miles when using full electric (at speeds of up to 16 mph) or upwards of 35 miles when switching to the pedal-assist mode. That's right, this is built more like a class 3 e-bike, enabling riders to easily switch from either mode or go full pedal if and when needed.
  • A/O Maya 500W. This electric bicycle was built using lightweight aluminum tubing, making it easy for owners to lift over curbs and up stairs when needed. It comes equipped with a touch more powerful motor that will take cyclists to top speeds of 20 mph when used in full-electric mode and 28 mph when in use with pedal assist. The range on this commuting e-bike is 20 miles in the full electric mode and 40 miles with the pedal-assist -- but remember, you can also use it as a traditional analog bike and enjoy 7 gears to choose from.

Of course, while these are the best picks for the balance of price and abilities, they aren't the only ones. Visit our online store today to see more options and to talk with one of our representatives about getting the best pick electric bike for your commute.


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