Electric Commuter Bicycles To Tackle The Traffic

Mid-priced options for short-distance treks and frequent riders.

Schwinn electric bicycle.
Feeling stressed on your urban commute? Take advantage of all those new bike lanes with an electric commuter bike.Amazon

The typical commuting scenario is getting uglier by the day, with more urban roadways feeling the squeeze from irate drivers, endless Uber cars, ubiquitous delivery trucks, and those annoying commuter buses. Making things worse is the fact that many metro areas are addressing all that gridlock by taking out car lanes and replacing them with bike lanes (ask us how we know). The answer to the madness might be an electric bicycle; it’ll cover short distances better by letting you into those bike-only lanes (check the laws in your state) and slash your commuting time. So what do you look for in a commuter-friendly electric?

Hybrid-style bikes are generally the most popular style of electric commuters, delivering a comfortable ride that can handle flat roads and occasional packed dirt, with an upright position thanks to flat or raised handlebars. They’re usually heavier than road-style options, placing a greater emphasis on day-to-day usability and comfort than their drop-bar cousins. They’re essentially made to tackle the worst obstacles of city riding.

You’ll probably get a hub-mounted motor on less expensive models, which tends to be quieter but not as adept at climbing hills. Spend a little more and you’ll reap the benefits of a center-mounted motor, also known as a mid-drive. Here, the weight distribution of the motor is better, which makes the bike more stable, and they’re also more efficient.

For this list we chose bikes weighing less than 70 pounds (!) and offering at least a year’s warranty, but to be honest this list only scratches the surface. There are plenty of other robust, fully featured, and well-equipped commuter eBikes out there from industry leaders such as Giant, Trek, Specialized, and Yamaha—but they don’t sell their products online. Do yourself a favor and visit your local bike shop before making any decisions.

Hollandia Evado 7

Hollandia Evado 7
Sit-up style ergos and a traditional crankset with seven speeds and five power levels from the 240-watt Bafang motor.Amazon

It's called a "Dutch cruiser" because the Hollandia Evado 7 has the sit-up style seen on taller-framed Dutch bicycles which allows for better visibility and ergonomics. The Dutch handlebars curve in toward the rider for a more relaxing ride as well, but it's the 240-watt Bafang front-drive motor that really got our attention: It has a capacitor in the front wheel hub that allows for a traditional crankset, so there's less weight than on many other eBikes (though it still weighs in at around 60 pounds). The motor also offers five power assist levels, propelling you up to 20 mph and sensing your cadence en route. Or just shut off the motor and use the Shimano Tourney seven-speed derailleur to shift your way along on the smooth-rolling 700c tires; after all, you want some kind of a workout, right? The 480Wh rechargeable battery will power the Hollandia to an estimated range of about 25 miles per charge, depending upon your power usage.

Raleigh Cadent IE ST Electric Speed Bike

Raleigh Cadent IE ST Electric Speed Bike
A zippy mid-drive motor, integrated racks, and front suspension—the Cadent brings a super-nice feature set for the price.Amazon

If the Cadent IE looks a bit ungainly, that's because it gets design cues from European-style trekking eBikes, with an emphasis on utility and practicality. But it also means the Cadent's flat handlebars and integrated rack, fenders, and lights paired to a mid-drive 350-watt TranzX M16 cadence-sensing motor with a top speed of 28 mph (as well as a throttle option) make it a ready commuter right out of the box. The smallish (and bulky) rechargeable 418 Wh battery claims up to 35 miles of range depending on your power assist level, but it comes off easily for charging. Other high-quality components include the adjustable RockShox Paragon air fork with 65mm of travel to tackle harsh city streets and fast-rolling 700c Schwalbe tires stopped by Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. A nine-speed Shimano drivetrain fine-tunes your pedaling, and it all combines to make for a surprisingly high-quality package for the price.

Schwinn Vantage FXe 650b Electric Hybrid Road Bike

Schwinn Vantage FXe 650b Electric Hybrid Road Bike
With its flat bar, mid-drive 250-watt motor and 50 miles of range, the Schwinn Vantage has a solid and well integrated setup for most short-distance riders.Amazon

Schwinn's eBikes come in mid-drive and hub versions, and the Vantage FXe utilizes the more premium mid-mounted 250-watt Bosch Performance Line Cruise motor, which has a torque sensor and is more effective at tackling steep hills than its hub drive stablemate, the single-speed Monroe. That motor arrangement is also more efficient, offering assistance up to 20 mph, and getting up to 50 miles of range from the 400 Wh lithium-ion battery. The Vantage isn't really set up for commuting as is, but the alloy frame holds a carbon fork and Tektro mechanical disc brakes with an 11-speed SRAM drivetrain pushing the Kenda 650c tires—made to tackle a variety of surfaces. You can tack on an accessory rack and some lights and you'll be good to go for a commute. The 57-pound weight might seem heavy, but that's just about midpoint for bikes in this category.

Swagtron EB5 Pro Lightweight Aluminum Folding eBike

Swagtron EB5 Pro Lightweight Aluminum Folding eBike
The Swagtron is all about convenience, with its lightweight foldable frame, height-adjustable seat, and a power-assist 240-watt hub motor.Amazon

The Swagtron series gets high marks online, where the EB5 Pro is the #1 selling adult electric bike, so it's fair to say enough people don't consider it just a bundle of gimmicks slotted onto two wheels. The 250 Wh hub motor will give you a boost if you need it (and you will—with only a single fixed gear, pedaling might be less attractive in some instances) and the rechargeable battery claims 15.5 miles of range on just power alone. The 14-inch wheels help the Swagtron's compact footprint, and when you fold the handlebar, frame, and pedals (!) you can easily stuff it in the trunk of a car, unlike most other commuter bikes. The best part of this feature-packed machine is it weighs in at just 37 pounds.