This review will focus on class 1 electric bikes, a popular choice for those seeking a convenient and efficient mode of transportation.
In this article, I'll highlight the features and benefits of class 1 e-bikes, as well as any potential drawbacks you need to be aware of before making a purchase.
I have found class 1 e-bikes to be a great choice for those looking for a balance of power and speed without the added complexity of higher-class e-bikes.
You'll also find information on some of the best class 1 e-bikes available and important features to consider before you make a purchase.
In addition, I'll share my personal experience and recommend the best option in this category.
So, without further ado, let’s learn about class 1 e-bikes and find the best electric bike for you.
Best Class 2 Electric Bikes
1. Nakto Camel
250W brushless gear motor
CST fat tires 26"x4.0"
I have to say, testing the Nakto Camel electric bike, I was thoroughly impressed. The bike is designed with durability in mind, featuring a sturdy carbon steel frame that ensures it will last for many years to come.
Carbon steel is stronger than 6061 aluminum, which is generally used in e-bike frames. It can provide a more comfortable ride due to its natural ability to absorb vibrations and road shocks.
However, it is also heavier than aluminum, so there is a trade-off between strength and weight.
The Camel's 36V, 250W brushless motor is located in the middle of the rear wheel, which makes for a smooth and stable ride. The battery provides a range of up to 25 miles on a single charge, which should be sufficient for anyone’s daily commuting. The battery is positioned behind the seat and can be easily removed for storage or recharging. And since the battery is placed in the middle of the bike, it helps with weight distribution, furthermore improving the handling of the bike.
With a maximum speed of 18mph, I was able to effortlessly tackle inclines, and the bike's power was more than enough to keep up with traffic. I was also impressed to find out that the Nakto Camel is one of the few e-bikes under $1000 that comes with a 36V battery, making it a great value for its price.
In addition to fully electric mode, the Camel also offers assisted biking mode, where the motor provides additional power when you start pedaling. This made it easy for me to ride without breaking a sweat. The bike also has a 6-speed Shimano transmission system with rear expansion brakes and front V brakes - I would appreciate it if the bike came with some better brakes.
Other features include a horn and bright integrated LED lights for night visibility, 26" by 4" CST fat tires (30 PSI) that can handle a variety of terrains, a rear rack, and a high-quality Shimano 6-speed gearset and front suspension fork for smooth rides on any surface.
500W, 48V Brushless Rear Hub Motor
Lithium-Ion 48V, 14Ah
20" X 4"
I recently had the opportunity to test out the Aventon Sinch electric folding bike, and I was pleased by its overall performance.
The bike's frame is made of 6061 hydroformed aluminum, which not only looks sleek and visually striking but is also strong and durable.
The integrated battery design gives the bike a modern look, and the position of the battery in the frame helps to distribute weight evenly and improve handling. The welds are smooth and seamless, giving the frame a cast-like appearance.
The Sinch comes with a front fork suspension with 45 millimeters of travel that provides added comfort on rough terrain.
This feature makes the ride smoother and more enjoyable, as you won’t feel bumps during your ride. The large backlit LCD display also provides important ride information like speed, distance, and battery charge so you can easily keep track.
The 500W geared rear hub motor provides smooth and responsive acceleration, with a maximum assisted speed of up to 20 MPH. The five levels of pedal assist allowed me to customize my riding experience and adapt to different terrains. The powerful motor is also efficient, but it does produce some noise that dissipates at higher speeds.
This e-bike battery is also impressive - it is a high-capacity 48V lithium-ion battery with Samsung cells that can provide up to 40 miles of range. In my experience, the battery lasted for around 31 miles on a single charge, which was more than enough for my daily commute.
The battery is easy to remove for storage or charging, and it provides consistent power throughout the ride. I never had to worry about running out of juice, even on longer rides. The battery also comes with a 5-hour charging time which is reasonable.
With 180 mm rotors and an automatic cut-off system that disengages the throttle when the brakes are applied, Tektro mechanical disc brakes provide reliable stopping power. The Kenda Krusade wide puncture-resistant tires with an aggressive tread are very grippy on rough terrain.
The bike's folding capability is also an amazing feature, which makes it easy to transport and store, perfect for city riding and small apartment living.
In the end, I was more than satisfied with the Aventon Sinch electric folding bike, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The bike performed great on different terrains and in various weather conditions. It was easy to handle, and it felt sturdy and safe.
750W Geared Hub Motor
20”x3.3” Kenda tires
Another e-bike on this list is the Rad Power RadRunner, and I like it very much. The bike is designed with a sturdy frame made of 6061 aluminum alloy, featuring a step-through design and riser handlebar. The low standover height of 16.5 inches makes it easy to mount and dismount, regardless of how tall you are.
As someone who has tested various electric bikes, I can confidently say that the RadRunner motor is impressive.
The 750W Bafang geared hub motor provides ample power and torque, allowing you to reach speeds of up to 20mph with ease.
The four levels of pedal assist and half-twist throttle offer a range of performance options, making it easy to customize the ride to your preferences.
The 14-pulse cadence sensor ensures quick and responsive pedal assist, and the built-in motor inhibitor switch in the brake levers cuts power to the motor when activated for added safety. Overall, I found the motor to be smooth, powerful, and reliable during my rides.
The RadRunner's battery is another fantastic feature that I appreciated during my testing. The battery is made of Samsung 35E lithium-ion cells that provide a range of 25-45 miles on a single charge. In my tests, it was starting to flash red nearly to the 37-mile mark, which was impressive.
This e-bike's battery is lightweight and positioned against the seat post to balance the weight of the bike. It took me about 6 hours to fully recharge the battery, which is long, but it can be charged on or off the bike for convenience.
I do have to note that this cargo bike comes with a single-speed drivetrain. So if you’re looking for more versatility in the drivetrain compartment, the RadRunner might not be for you.
Also, even though I prefer that cargo bikes come with hydraulic disc brakes since they are generally more powerful, the Tektro cable-actuated disc brakes were decent.
The RadRunner also has 20” by 3.3” Kenda tires, which have been specially designed for use on Rad Power Bikes. These tires provide a sturdy, chunky feel that helps to counterbalance the weight of the bike and its cargo.
750W Brushless Shengyi Direct Drive Hub Moto
48V, 14Ah with Lithium NMC Samsung 35E Cells
26"x2.3” Kenda K-Rad
Moving on to the RadCity Step-thru - an impressive machine that's also very comfortable.
The first thing that caught my attention was the sturdy frame made of 6061 aluminum, complete with thick tubing and reinforcements to increase stability. This allows the bike to safely hold riders up to a maximum weight of 275 pounds.
The front Suntour spring fork has 50mm of travel to keep the front end stiff while having enough travel for a commuter bike, so I was able to take the edge off pavement bumps.
After testing the RadCity Step-thru, I found that the 750W rear hub motor was a standout feature of the bike. The motor provided smooth acceleration and was able to easily tackle short climbs. The torque output of 40Nm made the ride feel powerful yet controlled because of the twist grip throttle.
My experience with the bike's battery has been great. The high-capacity 48V, 625Wh battery featuring Lithium NMC Samsung 35E cells provides ample power to get me where I need to go. The company states that you can get up to 50 miles on a single charge from this battery. However, during my testing, I was able to get about 30 miles, which is way less than advertised but still more than enough for your daily commutes and weekend rides.
The bike is also equipped with Tektro mechanical disc brakes and large 180mm rotors for good stopping power. The 26" x 2.3" Kenda K-Rad tires offer a smooth and comfortable ride with good traction on the city streets. The checkerboard tread pattern on the tires is ideal for the urban environment. Additionally, the regenerative braking feature that allows the rider to charge the battery while riding was a convenient and practical addition.
Overall, I highly recommend the RadCity Step-thru as it is suitable for riders of all skill levels and ideal for everyday use. The step-through design, adjustable kickstand, and regenerative braking are great features that add convenience and functionality.
350W, 36V Brushless Rear Hub Motor
Lithium-Ion 36V, 11.6Ah With Samsung Cells
Mechanical Disc Brakes
The Aventon Pace 350 electric bike is a great option for those looking for a dependable and consistent ride experience.
The frame is made out of standard 6061 aluminum, and it has a sleek and visually striking design. The relaxed frame geometry and swept-back handlebars enable a comfortable ride, and the thick tires provide good stability.
The digital display with a backlit LCD screen is a convenient and user-friendly feature. I found it easy to check my speed, battery life, and the pedal assist mode I was on.
The display is also intuitive to navigate, making it easy to switch between different modes using buttons.
The 350W Shenyi brushless rear hub motor has decent power and is responsive, allowing you to reach a max assisted speed of up to 20mph. A cadence sensor powers the motor for pedal assist, which makes it easy to keep the bike going by simply ghost pedaling.
The 36V, 417.6 Wh lithium-ion battery with Samsung cells provided ample power for my rides, and I was able to get a decent range of around 20-25 miles on a single charge. The semi-integrated battery design is protected from the elements by the downtube, which is great.
The fast charger that comes with the bike is also a great addition, allowing me to fully charge the battery in under 4 hours.
During my testing, the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain allowed for smooth and effortless shifting on both steep hills and flat bike paths. The gears engaged smoothly and provided a good range of options for tackling different terrains.
The high-quality Tektro MD-M280 mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors provide decent control during rides. The 27.5" x 2.2" Kenda Kwick Seven Sport tires absorb shock from the road and offer reliable traction.
48V 7.8Ah lithium-ion battery
The Lectric XP Lite is a fantastic choice for those looking for a compact and versatile e-bike.
The bike's folding design enables easy storage and transportation, and the lightweight battery (only 7 lbs) makes it easy to carry. The frame is made of 6061 aluminum, and the bike comes in four attractive colors.
One of the interesting features are its 20-inch wheels, which can accommodate 160mm rotors for excellent braking power.
The size of these wheels makes the bike more compact so you can store it more easily. The handlebars are also adjustable and feature comfortable palm rests and grips.
While testing out the Lectric XP Lite and I was amazed by its motor. The 300W motor provides snappy power, allowing me to easily tackle short climbs and reach speeds of up to 20mph.
The bike's cadence sensor for pedal assistance also adds to the smooth acceleration and makes it easy to keep the bike going by simply ghost pedaling. The motor is also protected from the elements by the downtube.
The XP Lite is equipped with a high-quality, 48V, 374Wh lithium-ion battery. During my testing, I found that the battery provided a reliable range of up to 25 miles on a single charge. This range is on the lower side compared to other e-bikes, but it is still suitable for shorter commutes or leisurely rides.
The bike also comes with a fast charger that can fully charge the battery in under 4 hours, making it convenient to charge the battery overnight or before a day of riding. I appreciate that the battery is removable, which makes it easy to store and transport or swap out if you have a spare and keep going.
I like the XP Lite's fat tires as they provide a comfortable and stable ride, even on rough terrain. The tires are designed to absorb shock from the road, making for a smoother ride. The fat tires also offer reliable traction, which is important for maintaining stability and control of the bike.
The XP Lite is equipped with front disc mechanical (noname) brakes that provide excellent stopping power. During my test rides, I found that the brakes were responsive and easy to control, allowing me to stop within two bike lengths at a speed of 20 mph. The brake levers also have a comfortable grip and are easy to reach, even for those with smaller hands.
Advice To Buyers
When considering purchasing a Class 2 electric bike, there are several important factors to take into account.
Types Of Motors
When buying a Class 2 electric bike, the type of motor is an important factor to consider. E-bikes with rear hub motors tend to be less expensive, while those with motors located in the center of the pedal crank shaft are usually more expensive but provide better balance and smoother shifting.
When choosing an electric bike, it's important to consider the size of the battery. The watt-hours (Wh) of the battery is a more reliable indicator of available power than the estimated range (usually around 40 miles) provided by the manufacturer, as it takes into account both the output and lifespan of the battery. A higher watt-hour rating generally means a longer range.
When considering the safety features of an electric bike, consider whether you will be riding in traffic or in low-light conditions, such as at dawn or dusk. If so, it may be worth looking for a model that has built-in front and rear lights. These are not always standard on all electric bike models, but they are becoming more common.
Also, look for e-bikes that have high-quality brakes that provide good stopping power. Many e-bikes come with mechanical brakes, but hydraulic disc brakes are generally considered to be more reliable and powerful.
Another important factor to consider is the weight capacity of the bike. Most electric bikes in this category have a weight limit of around 250-300 pounds, so it's essential to make sure the bike you choose can accommodate your weight and any additional cargo you may need to carry.
After 70 hours of research & testing, the overall winner is:
Our Rating - 4.5/5
The RadCity Step-thru is a comfort-oriented and practical urban eCommuter that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It boasts an array of functional features that deliver a more than satisfactory performance. For many, it is the perfect choice to run your daily errands around town!
The RadCity Step-thru offers a smooth and powerful ride with its 750-watt motor and 48V, 14Ah battery. Its step-thru frame design makes it easy to get on and off the bike, and the suspension fork makes it capable of handling various types of terrain and cargo.
Additionally, the RadCity Step-thru has a variety of features, such as a rear rack and integrated lights, making it a great option for commuting and errands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a class 2 electric bike?
A: A class 2 electric bike is a type of e-bike that is equipped with a pedal-assist system and a top speed of 20 mph. The PAS provides power to the rider as they pedal, making it easier to ride up hills and maintain a consistent speed.
Q: What is the difference between a class 2 and a class 3 electric bike?
A: The main difference between a class 2 and a class 3 electric bike is the top speed. Class 2 e-bikes have a top speed of 20 mph, while class 3 electric bikes have a top speed of 28 mph. Class 3 e-bikes also have a speedometer and other requirements for legal use on the road.
Q: What should I look for when buying a class 2 electric bike?
A: When buying a class 2 e-bike, consider your specific needs and budget. Look for features such as the motor, battery, and other features such as brakes, suspension forks, lights, and rear racks.
Q: Can I ride a class 2 electric bike on the road?
A: Yes, these e-bikes are legal to ride on the road in most areas, but it's best to check local laws and regulations.
Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API