Electric road bikes have come a long way since their first incarnations. We have been riding them lately from the ultra-powerful crank drive versions to the new breed of sleek, hub driven models now made. Here we have picked five of our best and most up to date choices from this burgeoning area of cycling.
Yes, the electric assistance on all bikes is limited by law to 15.5 mph, which to a road rider might seem too low. But these bikes really come into their own against headwinds or inclines. Taking a corner and turning into the wind needs no change from the rider, keep the same cadence and let the motor aid you to keep the same speed regardless. When you are presented with a climb, switch the mode of assistance to Turbo or the equivalent top mode to gain an instant grin, accelerating up a 20% incline is quite a novel feeling that never gets old!
Orbea Gain D50
Motor Ebikemotion X35, rear hub drive, 40Nm torque
Battery Pack Ebikemotion 36v downtube integrated battery pack
User Interface iWoc One top tube button & smartphone app
Best for Those who want a stealthy E road bike
When the Gain from Orbea was first launched people could not believe that the battery could be so smoothly integrated into the design of a bike. Many who were put off by the first generation of e bikes, with the bolted on batteries and huge crank drive motors were attracted to the Gain purely on an aesthetic level.
The Gain can back up the good looks. The hub drive motor is incredibly quiet, and unlike the traditional crank drive systems there is hardly any drag when the hub drive motor is not in use from either simply having the assist off, or when riding over the 15 mph limit for assistance, most riders comment on how it feels very transparent and very much like a normal bike.
Many will never buy an e-bike, and we thought similarly until now. But the Orbea Gain e-bike radically changed the way we think about them.- gearjunkie.com.
Giant Road-E+ 1 Pro
Motor Giant SyncDrive Pro by Yamaha
Battery Pack Giant EnergyPak 500 Wh
User Interface Giant RideControl EVO
Best for Big distance, ultimate power
The Giant SyncDrive Pro motor is one of the most powerful on the market. Initially designed by Yamaha, Giant have tuned the SyncDrive Pro to deliver up to 360% assistance. The RideControl EVO display gives control over 5 modes of assistance, the lowest "Eco" mode will give a quoted range of up to 130 Km from the large capacity 500 Wh battery. A little more than an outright road bike, the Road-E has wider 32c tyres that are at home on rougher surfaces, keeping things comfortable and rolling fast. The top spec Shimano Ultegra hydraulic groupset is seamless, shifting instantly and braking powerfully. Although the assistance of this bike can be incredibly powerful, you always feel in control when riding.
To test the claimed range of this bike we did a real-world test by riding from Bristol to Cardiff, a distance of 65 miles (100 Km). We used the Eco mode and occasionally the next level up "Basic" allowing us to revel in the added power on some of the climbs. Arriving in Cardiff we were very impressed that there was still 25% battery remaining.
Uphill the Road-E+ is phenomenal- bikeradar.com
Bianchi Aria E-Road
Motor Ebikemotion X35 V.2 M1
Battery Pack Ebikemotion 250W battery
User Interface iWOC One toptube button
Best for The ultimate in lightweight e road bike riding
Perhaps the lightest and sleekest looking e road bike available. The Aria E from legendary Italian manufacturer Bianchi uses a system very similar to the Orbea Gain above. The Ebikemotion system is incredibly light at only 3.5kg for the entire system (rear hub motor, 250W battery, iWOC One user interface and all wiring) the X35 V.2 system is the smallest and lightest full-power pedal assist motor available. The X35V.2 M1 36V/250W rear hub motor is extremely powerful, producing 40Nm of torque when you need it. The joy of a hub drive system like this is that when the system is off, or you are riding over the 15 mph assist limit it feel just like a normal bike
With its ultralight carbon frame, fork and seatpost the bike is not hampered by the extra 3.5 kg of the motor and battery system. As the hub drive is almost transparent the electronic assist can be used as and when you require it, up hills or against headwinds, for example, therefore increasing range from the battery and enjoying a longer ride.
It’s a carbon bike with race personality, disc brakes and additional power when you choose you want it.- cyclingmagazine.ca
Cube Agree Hybrid C:62 SLT Disc
Motor Fazua Evation 1.0 Drive Pack, 60Nm, 250Watt
Battery Pack Fazua Evation 1.0 Battery, 250Wh
User Interface Fazua Evation 1.0 Remote
Best for The best and most up to date e road bike available
The Cube Agree is a thoroughly modern and up to date race bike. Using their advanced top-grade carbon fibre technology for the frame and forks, Cube adorns the bike in a carbon wheelset, bars, seatpost, crankset and even saddle to keep weight to a minimum. Shifting is handled by the incredible Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain, the ultimate in Shimano shifting technology. A race geometry further cements the intentions of the bike as a thoroughbred machine.
Although the bike is top-spec and already exciting, the star of the show is the new type of motor and battery from Fazua. This is the first e road bike available featuring this motor and battery. Fazua have captured the best parts of crank and hub drive motors and created one very light and powerful system. The battery and motor are cylindrical and fit discretely in the downtube of the bike, where they meet the bottom bracket area where the power is delivered to the crank spindle. This gives all the power directly to the pedals and chain but unlike most crank drive systems, there is no drag when not in use. The assist can be used only when needed, to destroy climbs and help in headwinds to keep a much faster average pace than possible without the motor. This system could be the future of e bikes, not only on the road but also in the mountains and city streets.
It’s the most road-bike-like electric bike I’ve ridden, with a very low (for an e-bike) 14.3kg all-in weight, and the ability to drop the motor for unassisted rides. If you’re looking for a new road bike and the idea of getting a bit of help appeals to you but not for every ride, you can have your cake and eat it.- ebiketips.road.cc