This is list of the best performing, best value electric bikes for 2017 / 2018. For each category I list two models, the first recommendation is based on performance and the second is based on affordability. As you explore the list and get to know EBR, check out the ebike community forum for more personalized feedback. Share your height, weight, budget and intended use (along with bikes you like) to get advice from actual owners and moderators.
Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.
Once I’d done my part, I invited eight cyclist friends over for test rides, asking them to rate the ride quality and the ease of folding and unfolding, as well as to provide commentary and suggest a price, as a way to gauge their perception of value. (Note: The Mariner model they tested was the D7, but we’re confident they would have similar opinions on the upgraded D8). Finally, I asked bike expert Damon Strub to peruse the spec sheets and highlight any pros or cons of each model.
Many folding frames follow the classic frame pattern of the safety bicycle's diamond frame, but feature a hinge point (with single or double hinges) allowing the bicycle to fold approximately in half. Quick-release clamps enable raising or lowering steering and seat columns. A similar swing hinge may be combined with a folding steering column. Fold designs may use larger wheels, even the same size as in non-folders, for users prioritizing ride over fold compactness. Bikes that use this kind of fold include, Dahon, and Montague, and Tern.
In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.[5]

Some power-on-demand only e-bikes can hardly be confused with, let alone categorised as, bicycles. For example, the Noped is a term used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for e-bikes which do not have pedals or in which the pedals have been removed from their motorised bicycle. These are better categorised as electric mopeds or electric motorcycles.
Commuting Made Easy – Commuting is made easier as the foldable electric bikes do not require much space for parking and can be easily folded and carried through train or bus stations anywhere. The major benefit of a power bike is that there are no more traffic problems. You can easily cruise through due to its speed and when you see a traffic jam just fold it and start walking through the jammed passage. Moreover, the speed of this bike can get you to your destination in less time. No more being late.
Out of the box, the Schwinn Adapt 1 needed a lot of adjustment; the handlebars were loose in the frame, which was a serious safety concern, so I paid my bike expert to be sure it was set up safely for me. I enjoyed the ride just fine, but for $420 or so, you’re better off with a Tern and its brand-name components. Also, the Adapt 1 has no mechanism to hold the bike closed when it’s folded; you’re supposed to pack it into the included bag for storage, which is a lot of work and annoying if you need to use your bike regularly, as a commuter would.
German designers Heiko Müller and Markus Riese began working on the Birdy in 1992 for their university thesis – the first model comprised of parts of two old bicycles welded together. Fast forward 26 years and the Weiterstadt-based company have mastered the art of folding bikes. With 18-inch wheels for a more stable ride than the Brompton, the Birdy City offers impressive stability and comfort, and its aggressive, sporty geometry means it’s faster than many of its competitors. At 12.8kg, it’s not the lightest model around, but if you’re happy to take that hit in favour of a superior ride it won’t let you down. Eight-speed hub gear, front suspension/rear shocks, disc brakes adjustable-height handlebars and optional rear rollers all tick the right boxes, and although it’s not the smallest fold, it only takes 20 seconds or so to pack it down for the train or trunk.
As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
The Dew-E packs functionality and fun into a rather traditional and conservative package. Front and rear fenders, integrated Busch & Müller front and rear lights, and a built-in Abus wheel lock make this a very practical commuter bike. An 11-34t 9-speed cassette and 1.75-inch tires provide versatility: You’ll stay smooth over rough city streets and zip down gravel bike paths with confidence. Front and rear rack mounts also give you the chance to outfit this bike for carrying more cargo or supplies for a longer day on the bike. Whichever way you think you’ll be riding an e-bike, this bike deserves a second look.
The 20” wheels run on puncture resistant Kenda tires. Keeping you comfortable when riding is a suspension fork, a rear shock, and a seat shock. With the huge range on offer, you may want to take the GB5 500 on some big rides, so this added comfort will be welcome. Even if you just use it for commuting, the smooth ride from the pothole-eating suspension will keep you smiling.

Folding bike adjustability: Most folding bikes will be ‘one size fits all’, with a great deal of adjustability – meaning that it’s easy to share the bike across members of your household. However, if you know this is an important consideration, it’s worth ensuring that the model you buy offers a wide range of adjustment that’s easy to use. Brompton bikes, for example, have a long seatpost that is adjusted via a simple quick release lever, making it easy to swap between riders.


Tern has been in business since only 2011, but it has an interesting pedigree: It was formed by the son and wife of David Hon, none other than Dahon’s founder. This development has proven to be a boon for folding-bike buyers, with Tern quickly turning out folding models of excellent quality. The Link D8, Tern’s best seller, is feature-packed, with just enough upgrades to merit the current $150 premium over the Dahon Mariner D8—if those upgrades matter to you.
Once I’d done my part, I invited eight cyclist friends over for test rides, asking them to rate the ride quality and the ease of folding and unfolding, as well as to provide commentary and suggest a price, as a way to gauge their perception of value. (Note: The Mariner model they tested was the D7, but we’re confident they would have similar opinions on the upgraded D8). Finally, I asked bike expert Damon Strub to peruse the spec sheets and highlight any pros or cons of each model.

"[My Bike Friday] represents the pinnacle of 31 years of cycling for me. It is incredibly well designed and features excellent, predictable road manners consistent with high end road bikes. Steering response is very quick due to the lack of gyroscopic force in the front end. Low wheel mass makes for excellent acceleration and climbing. A delight to ride and own."
Commuting Made Easy – Commuting is made easier as the foldable electric bikes do not require much space for parking and can be easily folded and carried through train or bus stations anywhere. The major benefit of a power bike is that there are no more traffic problems. You can easily cruise through due to its speed and when you see a traffic jam just fold it and start walking through the jammed passage. Moreover, the speed of this bike can get you to your destination in less time. No more being late.
The suspension works, but there isn’t any true dampening. That means you’re just riding around on springs. On a real full suspension e-bike (i.e. a few thousand dollars) you get actual oil-dampened shocks. Those absorb bumps and dampen the shock. With springs, the bike bounces a few times after bumps, with the energy dissipating through the spring stretching and compressing.
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