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The Best Electric Bikes of 2021

The bicycle remains one of the most popular ways for people around the world to get a great workout in while having a lot of fun, and one category of bike that's been trending upwards for the past decade or so is electric bikes. Also known as e-bikes, electric bikes have exploded in popularity as they've become more affordable - largely due to battery costs also becoming more affordable. In fact, it's estimated that since 2013, battery costs have dropped by nearly 90 percent. And while the average $1,600 cost for a new e-bike is still a bit higher than what you're likely to pay for a new conventional bicycle, it's a much more affordable price point than it was when e-bikes first hit the market.

Just how much more popular are e-bikes becoming? Consider this: In 2013, only about 180,000 e-bikes total were sold in the United States. In 2018, that number increased to about 400,000 - and it's only been continuing to rise ever since. In fact, it's estimated that between 2020 and 2023, some 1.3 million e-bikes are expected to be sold. That's incredible growth over a relatively short period of time.

In this post, we'll dig deeper into e-bikes, what makes them so popular, what to look for when you're purchasing one and some of the top models that you can purchase in 2021. Pick up your kickstand and let's ride:

Electric Bike Basics: What You Need to Know

Let's start by discussing some of the key differences between an electric bike and a standard bicycle. First, let's take a look at what's not different. The wheels, handlebars, pedals and overall bike aesthetics are largely similar to a conventional bicycle. The biggest difference is the integration of the electric drive system. E-bikes integrate a motor, a battery and, in some cases, a display screen into the bicycle platform. Similar to an electric vehicle or any device that operates with an electric motor, it's the rechargeable battery that powers the motor, providing pedal assist, throttle and full electric mode to help move the bike forward.

It's important to note that the pedal assist feature does not replace standard pedaling. In fact, users can often activate the pedal assist function when they want to use it. On that note, e-bikes tend to provide a little bit of the best of both worlds when it comes to riding a bike in that you can pedal and ride as normal and then activate pedal assist when you need a break from pedaling, are riding uphill, etc.

The "too long, didn't read" version of an electric bike is that it looks, feels and rides just like a standard bike - all except for the addition of the electric motor and battery.

Who's Riding E-Bikes?

Electric bikes are ideal for a lot of people. They're great for the senior citizen rider with mobility issues (or anyone with mobility issues, really). They're ideal for eco-conscious consumers who want to adopt more sustainable practices into their lives. And they're great for anyone who's looking to get a great workout in and realize all of the benefits that come with bike riding. Let's dig a bit deeper into some of the reasons that make e-bikes a great option for such a wide demographic of people:

  • Physical impairment: Like we noted earlier, e-bikes are particularly ideal for the senior citizen population or anyone with a physical impairment. E-bikes can be ridden just like a standard bike with the motor turned off and then users have the ability to activate pedal assist when they need it. To this note, riders can select their own workout intensity. In fact, it's estimated that up to 25 percent of all e-bike riders have some sort of physical impairment that prevents them from riding a conventional bike.
  • Sustainability: More consumers are ditching their gas-powered vehicles and opting for a bike instead. It's estimated that the average daily commute is about 25 minutes long - and that's a distance that's more than attainable by bicycle. Even just a four mile trip on an e-bike is estimated to keep up to 15 pounds of pollutants from entering the environment. What's more is that purchasing and using an e-bike - whether it be as a replacement to a motor vehicle or as a complement to one - could save big money in fuel costs, which are only becoming more and more volatile these days. And finally, there's also a sustainable total cost of ownership. Following the initial purchase of a car, the average American spends up to $10,000 per year on fuel costs, insurance costs, registration fees and maintenance. After the initial purchase of an e-bike, riders can expect to spend only about $200 over the total span of their bike ownership.
  • Great exercise: Just because it's worth mentioning again, electric bikes can still help Americans get a great workout in. E-bikes act just like a standard bike, with the exception of the pedal assist feature. Noting this, they're still an ideal low-impact exercise that can help increase mobility, reduce stress, help manage weight gain and improve cardiovascular health. One of the biggest misconceptions associated with e-bikes is that they don't offer the same physical health benefits as conventional bikes - and that's simply just not true.

Features to Consider When Purchasing an Electric Bike

There are always features that you should take into consideration when it comes to shopping for any type of bike, let alone an electric model. In this section, we'll cover some of the key considerations that are specific to electric bicycles:

Battery Range

Electric bikes use a battery to power the electric motor - but these batteries can deplete over time. The good news is that the range is pretty good, usually around 40 miles with the pedal assist feature. However, you want to make sure that the battery range of the bike that you select is going to be enough to get you to and from your intended destination.

Battery Recharge Time

How long does it take to recharge an electric bike battery? It's an important consideration that you'll want to weigh before making a purchase. Usually, recharge can occur in as little as a few hours, but it's still something that you want to know before making any purchase.

End Use Purpose

Just like how conventional bikes come in a variety of different models (i.e., mountain, recreational, cruiser, fat tire, etc.), so too do electric bicycles. And on that note, it's important that you select the right e-bike for you based on your intended riding purpose. For instance, if you intend to ride your bike to work or to the store or just for general exercise, choose a bike accordingly. If you're planning to go off-roading, select a bike that's built for those conditions.

Accessories and Intangibles Matter Too

What type of storage does the bike come with? What about the warranty? What's the weight limit? There are various other intangibles that you should be weighing when it comes to an e-bike purchase as well. And we should also mention that it's important to shop with a reputable retailer as well.

Best E-Bikes of 2021

Now that we've discussed a bit about e-bikes and what to look for in a quality model, let's dive into some of the best models that you can purchase in 2021. Here's a closer look at the best e-bikes that you can purchase this year:

Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus

The RadCity 5 Plus is a quality electric bike that doesn't come in at too much over the average $1,600 price point for electric bikes. It features a 48 volt battery and 740 watt motor with a range of up to 45 miles on a single charge. A neat thing about this model is that it comes with three levels of pedal assist and also a twist throttle that riders can activate. It's known for its comfort and its flexibility, specifically when it comes to attaching add-on accessories like a back storage rack. If you're looking for an affordable option that can deliver plenty of juice to get you from Point A to Point B, the RadCity 5 Plus is a great option.

VanMoof S3

This bike eclipses the $2,000 mark when it comes to price, but it makes up for it in all of the features that it packs into the platform. Let's start with the minimalist design, an aesthetic that's unlike anything else you'll find in an e-bike or really any bike for that matter. And with a front drive motor and 500-watt battery, it packs the power to get riders wherever they need to go. What's neat about this bike is that it's quite high-tech. An associated mobile app allows users to customize gears and you can even connect it to your phone via Bluetooth.

Biktrix Juggernaut HD Duo

Many of the bikes on this list are general purpose and recreational bikes. But like we mentioned above, e-bikes come in different categories as well. And if you're into mountain biking and off roading, then one of the best options is the Juggernaut HD Duo. Though expensive, it's a rugged bike that's designed for those who yearn for a bit of adventure. It's powered by two batteries and it's durable enough to support a maximum load of more than 350 pounds - which should be plenty considering yourself and any supplies you're bringing for your off-road journey. One downside to the bike is that it is quite heavy - so it may not be ideal if you're storing it in an upstairs flat or have to regularly lug it up and down stairs.

Gazelle Ultimate C380 HMB

Though this bike comes with an expensive price point of nearly $5,000 - its quality is off the charts. Its 400-watt battery can provide up to a 43 mile range, and it's known for a smooth ride and accessories. The bigger wheels make it stand out in a crowd, and it even offers value-added features like a metal belt guard, mud quarts and lights on the front and back. Like we said, the quality will cost you, but if you don't mind spending money on a high-end electric bike, the Gazelle Ultimate C380 could be the perfect option for you.

Contact SixThreeZero Today

For more information on e-bikes, why people are riding them in increasing numbers and what to look for in a quality model such as the EVRYjourney, contact SixThreeZero today. As a leading e-bike manufacturer, we'll ensure that you're getting an electric bike that meets your riding needs and personal preferences as well. Contact us today for more information about what to look for in a top e-bike in 2021.


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