We are well into 2023, and while the global bike market may be slowing down, the weather is warming up and e-bikes are still hot, hot, hot! What’s more, we’re here to help you find those diamonds in the rough with the help of a brand-new “best bikes” list that will help you find the right electrified two-wheeler for you!
Once again, I’ll be introducing you to my personal picks for the best e-bikes you can buy this year, based on nearly 30 years of riding, fixing, and building stuff that goes fast — as well as, you know, wild conjecture (since there’s one or two bikes on this list that I haven’t yet had a chance to ride — I’ll make that clear enough in the article, though). We’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my picks — and learn more about your picks! — in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Without further ado, then, here they are, in something that feels tantalizingly like a logical order: the best e-bikes you can buy in 2023!
Best Electric Bikes for Kids
1. Kawasaki Elektrode (little kids)
Marketed as electric balance bikes instead of beginner motorcycles, the new Kawasaki Elektrode takes on similarly-sized powered balance bikes with Harley-Davidson, KTM, or Husqvarna branding. They’re all great fun, but the novelty of the Kawi, combined with something closer to an e-bike than a cordless drill battery, makes it our 2023 choice for introducing little ones to the physics and fun of motorcycles.
2. Woom UP 5 (big kids)
The Woom UP 5 is an ultralight 24″ electric mountain bike with a suspension fork, Fazua drive, and disc brakes designed for children aged 7 years and up that uses the electric motor to “boost” the kids’ leg strength. The thinking is that your child will be able to keep up (UP! I get it!) with faster adult riders on uphills and trails, but still teach them the physics and muscle memory they’ll need to grow as riders.
The Woom UP 5’s features and aluminum frame, adjustable “AIRFORK” suspension, disc brakes, and a trigger-shifter operated SRAM NX transmission. Pricing starts $3,599 in the US, for riders age 7 and older.
Best Electric Bicycles / E-Bikes
3. FLX Babymaker II (entry gravel/road bike)
To my eyes, there’s nothing quite as sexy as a simple road bike. In the past, I’ve owned a Specialized Langster that remains a fond memory, twenty years on, but I secretly loved them all. Even so, the FLX Babymaker II, in the right light (above), is one of the best-looking pieces of rolling art I’ve ever seen. In person, they’re absolutely gorgeous, the electric motors and batteries are practically invisible, and … did I mention they’re gorgeous?
The best part is that those heart-stopping looks don’t carry a heart-stopping price tag. As I type this, the Babymaker II can be had for a mere $1499, which makes it one of the least expensive e-bikes I’ll recommend on this list.
4. Pivot E-Vault (high-end gravel bike)
The top-shelf Pivot E-Vault is one of those rare machines that gets better the longer you stare at it. It’s very nearly perfect — but, with a starting price of $9299 and only going up from there, it had better be!
For the price of a reliable new car, the Pivot Cycles E-Vault packs a 252Wh battery and 250W Fazua Evation drive pack that offers up to 55 Nm of electric power and top speed of 28 MPH. Pedal power is sent through a SRAM XPLR XG1271 10-44 cassette and ETAP AXS 12-speed derailleur and shifter, while a set of all-carbon 700c wheels from Reynolds keep this e-bike’s weight down to unelectrified levels.
5. Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL (road bike)
I’m a sucker for Specialized. The bikes’ clean frames, composite materials, and achingly beautiful finishes have always spoken to me, and even their most utilitarian bikes inspire sporty and aggressive riding. When you’re willing to push yourself, Specialized bikes tend to reward you for your efforts, and their Turbo line of e-bikes, marketed as “you, only faster,” do so double.
That said, where the comparatively pedestrian Specialized Turbo Vado I rode last summer is a supremely capable daily ride, a bike like the S-Works Turbo Creo SL (shown, above), is a Formula 1 car. And, like a Formula 1 car, no one has yet been daft enough to let me ride theirs. With a starting price of $21,400, I wouldn’t let me ride one, either. The Turbo Creo SL Comp E5 I have ridden, however, is a rocket ship at about a third the price. I can’t imagine a better machine, and yet: the S-Works Comp exists.
6. Aventon Sinch Step-Through (folding, fat-tire e-bike)
The Aventon Sinch Step-Through is thoroughly redesigned version of the brand’s Sinch folding fat-tired e-bike that’s priced at just $1,499. For that money, you get a 20 mph top speed, up to 40 miles of electrified riding range, and a backlit color display with app integration on a bike that’s ready to power you along just about any trail you find — as well as, of course, the beach!
When I rode the original Aventon Sinch for the first time, it really surprised me with its overall competence. The new, Step-through version, though, responds to my criticisms that the original Sinch felt too big when folded up, and the Step-through feels lighter on the move (it isn’t), thanks to the center of mass being more closely level with the center of the wheels. Last year, I summed up my take on the original Sinch with, “What more could you ask?”
It seems like Aventon took that as a challenge!
7. Gocycle G4 (lightweight folding e-bike)
At just 38 pounds, the Gocycle G4 is one of the lightest folding suspension e-bikes out there, and one of the most stylish, too! Our own Kyle Field tested the GX model in 2020 and raved about it — as he should! The Gocycle G4 leverages some impressive engineering feats to pack a ton of functionality into a high tech but easy to use package. What’s more, it’s incredibly adjustable, allowing for a full range of petite, small, medium, or extra-large riders to find a position that works for them, while the sturdy, Formula 1-inspired frame composite inspires confidence, too, as does the bike’s proprietary front hub motor gear drive with electronic traction control.
At more than $3,499, this bike isn’t cheap, and you’ll want to budget for a few Gocycle accessories, too — but this isn’t a list of the cheapest e-bikes you can buy, is it?
8. Flyer FL885 (kid & cargo bike)
The Radio Flyer-built Flyer L885 is a comfortable, capable cargo bike that uses fat tires and clever frame geometry to feel a lot smaller than it is. I was impressed with the prototype I rode, and for its price, the production bike has continued to impress. That said, what makes the LWB Flyer the best cargo bike isn’t any part of the bike itself, per se. Instead, it’s the accessories — specifically, the $299 Kid & Cargo Carrier (below).
Like many other long wheelbase cargo e-bikes, the L885 can be had with a rear basket, passenger grab rails, and running boards to make loading and unloading kids easy and fun, but the Kid & Cargo Carrier goes a step further. It transforms from a kids’ seat to cargo basket in as long as it takes you to unzip and clip. It looks like it’s meant to be there, too, instead of the hasty add-on that so many other cargo bike accessories seem like. The tubes are the same diameter as those in the Flyer L885 frame, and they’re finished in the same durable, semi-crinkle powder coat.
The Flyer L885 offers 50 miles of electric range, 5 riding modes accessible through an LCD display, a standard center stand, and is available for order through the Radio Flyer website with a starting price of $1,999.
9. ONYX LZR PRO 900W (entry eMTB)
ONYX is best known in the e-bike community as a maker of 80s inspired, retro-themed, hi-fi styled electric mopeds like RCR and CTY2, Those high-powered machines blur the line between e-bikes and electric motorcycles, but their latest product — the Tim Seward-designed LZR PRO eMTB shown here — draws a bright white line and stands its ground with the e-bikes. To that end, the new ONYX arrived without a screen, without an app, and without any of the associated BS intended to make e-bikes “more accessible,” which is extra hilarious if you know that Tim wears a prosthetic leg.
Instead of aiming for mass appeal, then, the new LZR was seen tearing up a motocross course with riders leaping into the air and engaging all sorts of high-impact hijinks. And, for its part, the new bike seems ultra-capable. “When we let pro-riders try the LZR for the first time they came back with a huge smile,” explains Seward. “We are going to change the way everyone views e-bikes!”
The ONYX LZR starts at $1999 with a 500W motor, and $2299 for the LZR PRO model that ships with a more powerful 900W mid-drive motor and impossibly sexy MYST PEARL blue paint. That’s the one you want.
10. Pivot Shuttle (high-end eMTB)
With a starting price higher than I paid for my first car, the Pivot Shuttle is never going to be a mass-market choice. The Defender Green Team XTR build does its best to be worth the money, though — it carries a spec sheet that’s second to none, with a who’s-who list of top-shelf components from Fox, Shimano, and more, all complimented by a massive new 726Wh battery that’s fully integrated into the bike’s downtube, yet designed for easy “hot swaps” on the trail, for hours of hardcore riding.
The Pivot makes zero sense. No bike with an $11,699 price tag makes sense — but this isn’t a rational purpose. You don’t buy a Shuttle because you’re rational. You buy one because you demand — and can afford! — the very best eMTB experience the 2-wheeled universe has to offer.
11. NIU BQi-C3 Pro (utility e-bike)
Weighing in at 67.5 pounds and packing not one but two energy-dense li-ion battery packs, the high-tech and ultra-polished NIU BQi-C3 Pro e-bike is the slick, sleek, electrified car replacement for urban professionals too busy to constantly worry about their bikes’ state of charge.
Those two batteries add a bit of weight to the NIU BQi-C3, sure, but they’re neatly integrated into the bike’s frame in a highly contrasting red and white (mine is red and white, it also comes in red and black) color motif that it hardly matters. And, because it’s from NIU, the electrical controls, throttle response, and connected app are all first-rate. The build quality, too, is excellent, and the whole thing is put together with a level of fit and finish not commonly found at the NIU’s surprisingly low $2199 starting price.
12. Aventon Aventure Step-Through (fat-tire utility e-bike)
Our own Kyle Field said the Aventon Aventure electric bicycle, “could be the ultimate fat tire utility e-bike.” More recently, Derek Markham agreed, adding that, “it could also serve as an excellent mid-life crisis motorcycle,” and, “the Aventure has ended up being my favorite electric bike so far.”
It’s hard to argue with those endorsements — and the specs back them up. Kyle said that the Aventure is, “an absolute tank of a bike.” Sporting massive tires, 720 watt-hour battery, a an impressive electric motor with a 750 watt average output and peak power output of 1,130 watts. Available in 3 sizes, covering heights from 5’1″ to 6’6″, starting at $1,899.
13. Rayvolt Cruzer (chopper-style e-bike)
E-bike reviewers like Kyle Field and Micah Toll have praised the Spanish Rayvolt bikes and their bespoke, proprietary, brushless 3 phase DC motors for years — and I’ve largely ignored them, decided very much on my own that these long, low chopper-style e-bikes were little more than pleather-wrapped lowriders. But it was not long after I first swung a leg over a Rayvolt in Miami last October that I realized how wrong I was: these bikes are incredible!
Despite looking like a vintage Indian motorcycle, Rayvolt’s bikes are decidedly high-tech, offering features like regenerative braking that engineers at other bike brands have assured me were impossible. What’s more, the frames, forks, seats, and wheels are expertly made., parts are powder coated and anodized when painting them might be enough, and the kickstand feels sturdier than anything you’ll find on a Harley Sportster weighing several times as much.
On the move, too, the bike sticks in my memory like few other bikes I’ve ridden before or since. Credit the unique motor, dual-sensor crankset, and wholly intuitive back-pedaling regen for that. At over $4800 the way I’d spec one out, the Rayvolt Cruze isn’t cheap — but nothing cheaper is better.
14 & 15. Super73 Z Miami & Indian eFTR Hooligan (moped-style e-bike)
When it was announced on April 1st of last year, I greeted the official Z-Miami press release with a sneer. “It sucks that this is an April Fools’,” I wrote one of my PR buddies. “This would be an awesome little bike.” The joke was on me, however: the Super73 Z-Miami was very, very real.
The “Miami” version of the bike was the result of Super73’s product team taking their original Z1 e-bike and re-engineering it from the ground up with a powerful new motor, lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame, and a convenient removable battery. On the move, it’s a noticeable step up from the Z1 that doesn’t make the old bike feel obsolete — it just makes you happy you waited to buy the new one, you know?
That’s not to say the Z-Miami was an easy choice. I very nearly gave the win to another moped-styled e-bike — one with a robust dealer network behind it, a convincing legacy brand tie-in, and a raft of upgrades and features above what the Z-Miami offers available as standard equipment … but that, too, was born from the Super73 braintrust. As such, I’ve taken the coward’s way out and declared this one a tie.
Whether you go for Super73’s spartan Z-Miami or their loaded-up, dealer-only Indian eFTR Hooligan 1.2, you can’t really make a wrong choice. Let us know which one you picked in the comments.
16. ONYX RCR 72V (blurring the lines)
If the Super73 bikes begin to blur the line between e-bikes and mopeds, the ultra-fast and gonzo powerful ONYX RCR blasts right over it at more than 30 MPH.
Despite a riding position and overall feel that’s similar to the Super73 and other moped-style e-bikes, the ONYX has a unique, almost handcrafted style that will make anyone who has vivid memories of VHS tapes and Atari joysticks feel right at home. Thoughtful details abound throughout the RCR, as well, with carefully managed cables, a bright, “Daymaker” style LED headlight, and ONYX logos placed subtly — but throughout the bike’s high-end components, this is one of those bikes that, if it speaks to you, it will speak to you like nothing else. The ONYX RCR 72V comes in at $5942 the way you want it, equipped with dirt kit, turn signals, pannier rack, fork covers, and knobby tires (you’ll want to ditch the plastic fender).
That’s a Wrap!
So, there it is. In what used to be a bit of an annual tradition at the old Gas2 that’s made its way back home to CleanTechnica — my list of the best electric bikes you’ll be able to buy this year. I’d love to hear what you think of it, what I may have missed, and what you would have put on the list in my place, so head on down to the comments section at the bottom of the page, and make your voice heard.
Original content from CleanTechnica.
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...