3 Perfect Electric Bikes for Commuters with Easy eBike Storage
Easily accessed, secure bike storage at home is a rare luxury for city commuters. If you also have easily accessed, secure storage for your electric bike at work or school, you are minted. The main features you should think about when determining which electric bike is best are performance and value for money.
Click here to jump immediately to some recommendations. Or, continue reading to understand the thinking behind these recommendations.
Weight and Weight Distribution
Weight is not a major consideration as you will not be lifting your bike that often. Although heavier bikes require more effort to propel, the electric motor will more than compensate.
Similarly, weight distribution is not a major consideration - unless you have to mount many kerbs in which case you should avoid a front hub motor. Front hub motors are mounted on the front wheel and add noticeable weight to the front.
Yes, there are advantages to weight and weight distribution that are worth paying for (and these are covered below when we discuss individual bikes) but this should not be your first concern.
The starting point for your decision process is how you like to ride? Slower, easier, more comfortable but over shorter distances? Or faster and more determined over longer distances?
Click here for a fuller discussion of the difference between road bikes, city bikes, urban bikes, and hybrids. In simple terms, if you want a faster ride over longer distances, look for a road bike. Road bikes have higher (often less comfortable but more supportive) seats and sometimes handlebars with a drop curve.
If you want a more leisurely ride, look for bikes where the seat is lower than the handlebars. Typically city bikes have flat handlebars.
The difference between road and city bikes is much more substantial than what I have just described, but seat positioning is a good indicator of how the bike is configured.
In addition to the length of your commute and your riding style, have a think about what you might want to carry with you. If you may need to transport a lap top, papers, books, or other small items, you may need storage bags (panniers) attached to a rack mounted above your rear wheel.
Road bikes don’t tend to come with bike racks and thus do not lend themselves to carrying even light loads.
You may be tempted to carry possessions in a backpack but be aware that quickly this will make your ride feel more precarious. An important goal is to keep all weight low down so as to have a low centre of gravity.
If you might occasionally want to transport even more significant loads, have a think about cargo bikes. Don’t dismiss these bikes due to weight concerns. The electric motor will more than compensate.
Even if you have easily accessed, secure storage at work or school, likely this space is shared and therefore you will still want to lock up your electric bike. See our discussion about locks, and keep in mind that the best locks are heavy.
You may decide you want a pannier just for carrying your bike lock, which again will steer you towards a city bike instead of a road bike.
1st Option - Emu Roam Crossbar Electric Road Bike (£997)
Perhaps one of the least expensive electric bikes available in the UK, The Guardian summarises the Emu Roam as " a good bike at a fair price."
A British brand and a UK company, the Emu Roam is configured as a city bike and so a more comfortable, leisurely ride - perhaps not suitable if you have a longer commute. The entry level battery has a range of 50 miles, which can be removed and charged during the day - taking a good top up in 1-2 hours but requiring 6-7 hours for a full recharge.
The components are good quality: Shimano breaks and gears, Samsung battery cells, puncture-resistant tyres, chain guard.
One drawback is the front hub motor. Although this is simpler (and thus an inexpensive bike) and easier to maintain, the bike is heavier, especially in the front, noticeable even when mounting a kerb.
Another drawback is the 250W motor. Although this is the highest power allowed for an EAPC (see FAQ: Are electric bikes legal? ), combined with the overgearing typical of city bikes and the loss of traction typical of a front hub, this means that the Emu Roam is good on the flat but might not give sufficient assistance on reasonable hills.
It has a nice security feature. The display is password protected and the motor won't work if you don't unlock the display. On the other hand, if the display is stolen during the day you will be in a pickle getting the bike home.
2nd Option - Emu Evo Crossbar Electric City Bike (£1,697)
The Emu Evo is a good step up from the Emu Roam. Same British brand and UK company, this bike is configured for a longer or more varied commute. First, the seat is slightly higher, pushing you into the more traditional cycling posture.
Second, rather than a front hub, the Evo has a rear hub mounted electric motor. Thus, although still 250W, this bike is easier to handle and maintains better traction on loose surfaces and inclines. An advantage of a rear hub motor is that the bike is noticeably lighter (18.5 kg instead of 22.5), and given that the weight is in the back, you will find this bike much more natural to ride.
The entry-level bike has a smaller battery and thus less range (30 miles) and, unlike the Emu Roam, the battery is not removable meaning that to recharge you need to plug in the whole bike. If it is inconvenient to charge the bike during the day, you might want to opt for the larger batter (range 60 miles). If it is inconvenient to charge overnight, then this may not be the right bike for you.
Similar good quality Shimano gears, Samsung battery cells, and puncture-resistant tyres. The Evo comes with Shimano hydraulic disk brakes rather than V-brakes, giving better stopping power.
It comes with the same nice security feature. The display is password protected and the motor won't work if you don't unlock the display. On the other hand, if the display is stolen during the day you will be in a pickle getting the bike home.
3rd Option - Ghost Hybride Square Cross B2.9 Urban Electric Bike (£2,599)
If you have further to commute or want more natural power assistance, Bike Review magazine rates this bike 9.1 out of 10, adding that they are "hugely impressed by the quality, price, reviews and features" of this bike.
The bike comes with mid-drive Bosch Performance CX motor, which was rated the "Best Motor" by EBIKE Magazine in 2020 and was awarded Gold in 2021 by the readers of eMTB News. Mid-drive ebikes offer the best feedback and control as they monitor the pressure and power you are putting into the pedals.
The Ghost comes with a 500 Wh battery giving you a range of 68 miles before charging.
The bike weighs 22 kg but is easy to manage as the weight is in the centre and low down. This bike comes with Shimano components and the Bosch Purion display. Which? magazine reviewed components for ebikes and found that the Bosch motor and better were the best, and the Bosch Purion display was only beaten out by the Bosch Intuvia display.