If you’ve ever tried driving through the heart of Los Angeles, the Washington, DC area, or similarly congested places, you’re probably all-too familiar with the rage-inducing crawl of inner city traffic. Unfortunately for many, living and working in these areas means braving the bumper-to-bumper slog on a daily basis, especially since public transportation options in US cities can be inadequate. Bicycles have long served as an energy-efficient alternative to car travel in urban areas. Recent times, however, have seen a surge in the popularity of an updated take on the traditional bicycle.
Like their analog ancestors, electronic bikes, or e-bikes, allow riders to travel green and bypass heavy traffic, while also reaping the benefits of physical activity. But in addition to pedals, e-bikes come equipped with electric motors capable of maintaining speeds as high as 30 mph. While they’ve been a relatively common phenomenon in Europe for decades, US adoption of e-bikes has spiked only recently, with sales rising by 80% (260,000 units) between 2016 and 2017.
For those in the market for an e-bike–or those simply interested in learning more–here’s a summary of a few top brands’ innovative features and qualities.
Beachgoers looking to speed up travel on the sand might prefer Ecotric’s Fat Tire Beach Electric Bike. Outfitted with 4-inch tires, Ecotric’s bike is made for traversing a range of terrains, from sandy beaches and dirt trails to snow. The bike includes both pedal-assisted and fully motorized modes of travel, and has a max speed of 20 mph. In addition, Ecotric offers a 30-day home trial option, after which any unsatisfied customers can get a refund or exchange their bikes for another type.
Elby’s flagship 9-Speed Electric Bike is designed to embody “innovative style, comfort and power.” Many of its core features aim to compensate for the shortcomings of traditional bikes; it’s battery supports up to 80 miles of fully electric travel and it’s rear section includes storage racks for saddlebags. Other features of note include deflation-resistant tires, a high-intensity headlight, and Tektro hydraulic disk brakes.
A sixteen-year veteran of the powersports industry, Bintelli prides itself on incorporating extensive feedback from dealers in building a brand of e-bikes that “sets itself above the rest.” Bintelli bikes arrive 95% assembled, minimizing the potential for lost or missing parts. Bike variations include a three-wheeler with extra storage, an e-bike/scooter hybrid, and a folding bike for space-efficient storage.
As the future shifts toward energy efficiency, gas-guzzling cars may become increasingly impractical. By acquiring the right e-bike now, riders may be able to limit energy consumption, cut travel times, and, depending on local laws governing where e-bikes can be driven, sidestep the never-ending traffic jam that can characterize urban driving.