Best Electric Road Bikes in 2022
Electric road bikes are performance-focused e-bikes that look most similar to a traditional or classic bike model. Weight is low and the handlebars are dropped to help riders to achieve max speeds of 15.5 mph. This is a thrilling style of electric bike that doesn’t actually look like an electric bike. With a tucked-in battery and motor inside the frame, they look just like a regular old gravel bike. Riders coming back from illness or injury find that they can easily enjoy the bike riding experience without having to be in tip-top physical shape.
Reasons To Buy an Electric Road Bike
Electric road bikes are becoming increasingly popular among folks of all ages and riding levels. That’s because electric road bikes appeal to those who want the lightweight look of a bike while still having that hit of power. Why should you buy an electric road bike? To start, like any electric bike you can ride legally, these bikes offer up a whopping 250 watts of continuous power and top speeds of up to 15.5 mph.
Unlike a traditional electric bike, most road bikes are comprised of lightweight carbon fiber or very lightweight aluminum. This helps to keep weight down low so they’re not difficult to ride unassisted if you so choose. To save on weight, most road bikes also have lower capacity batteries that are stealthily placed inside the frame. The point is to use assist sparingly, rather than always riding on full power. With this, they appeal to a far larger range of bike enthusiasts.
Additionally, electric road bikes are great commuter bikes. They give you that handy burst of speed without all of the heft. Many will also have nice provisions such as mudguards, wide tires, and a mounted rack for your essentials.
Difference Between Electric Road Bikes and Traditional E-Bikes
E-road bikes boast many merits, but how do they truly differ from a traditional electric bicycle or other bike types? For the most part, the major differences come down to weight, speed, pedal-assist, and the overall design of the bike. As mentioned above, electric road bikes are going to be much more lightweight than a regular e-bike or fat-tire electric mountain bike. They are designed to look like a regular bicycle with stealthy embedded battery components and motors.
Electric road bikes also tend to reach slower top-speeds than some other e-bike models. While you’re only going to reach speeds of around 15.5 mph on an e-road bike, you can often get up to 20 on a standard commuter e-bike. Much of this has to do with pedal assist. On an e-road bike, you can ride completely unassisted as you would a regular bike and then hit assist for a boost of speed. On most e-bike models, assist is always on, meaning you’re getting a consistent hit of power from the beginning to end.
Electric Road Bike Motors
Generally, with an electric road bike, you’re going to find one of 4 major types of motors on the bike itself. Motors used on electric road bikes include:
- Compact rear-hub motor
- Hub-based Motor
- Mid-motor system
- Rear-hub motor system
Compact rear-hub motors are the newest addition to the bunch. This motor type allows the battery and motor to be completely concealed within the frame, making the e-road bike look more like a regular old bike than an electric bike. Hub-based motors tend to be in the 250W variety much like a regular electric bike, propelling you to top speeds of 15.5 MPH, with higher speeds going downhill or on flat surfaces.
Cheap Vs. Expensive Electric Road Bikes
Do you get what you pay for when it comes to electric road bikes? That depends on what you’re looking for. Generally, with a more expensive electric road bike, you’re going to get a lightweight carbon fiber frame, a concealed compact rear-hub motor, and battery, as well as additions such as a bike rack. If you want an electric road bike that looks exactly like a high-end gravel bicycle, you’ll probably want to dole out a bit more cash for all of the concealed stealth offerings.
However, if you’re fine with a traditional hub motor and a lack of motor concealment, you can do just fine with a cheaper or mid-range electric road bike. Looks aside, you’ll generally get the same amount of power from an expensive road bike or a cheaper road bike. The major differences will be in frame type (aluminum vs. carbon fiber) and whether or not the motor/battery is completely concealed within the frame itself.
Electric road bikes offer up all of the thrills of an electric bike while still harboring some of that old school gravel bike charm. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t crave consistent power via pedal assist and doesn’t mind doing a bit of the leg work themselves. Coming in at a disparate range of price points with options for customization, there are plenty of electric road bike choices.