Some links may be affiliate links. We may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these.
Jun 10, 2021
Intro to Best Commuter E-Bikes of 2021
*Electric Bike Report aims to help consumers find the right electric bike for their needs. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.
The daily commute for an average person can be a lot of different things. It can be dozens of miles spent in a car each morning and evening; an hour or two on public transit a day; or a myriad of other things. So why can’t your commute be spent on an electric bike?
From powerful speedsters and long-haul pedalers to nimble and comfortable cruisers, the team at Electric Bike Report reviewed some of the best commuter e-bikes money can buy in 2021. We’ve compiled our favorites into a list to help you pick the best commuter e-bike for your needs.
E-bikes are changing the world’s relationship with bicycles for the better. They’re making the sport — and, more importantly, the mode of transportation — more accessible for more people, making bicycle commuting an increasingly popular choice among those who never considered it before. The commuter e-bikes included on this list will not just get you to your destination without sweating through your clothes, they’ll get you there quickly and have the battery capacity to cover far distances with ease. EBR’s team of experienced testers have put many of these commuter e-bikes on this list through their paces on our home roads and paths in southwest Utah, but some of these bikes were included on merit alone — their reputations and spec sheets were just too good to ignore.
Because commuting can mean so many different things depending on where you live and work (especially here in the U.S.), we’ve tried our best to stick to bikes designed with commuting as their best intended use. These bikes are primarily built for pavement, and their motor and battery systems were chosen with speed, efficiency and longevity in mind. If you’re looking for a lighter-duty commuter more at home in a bustling urban environment, check out our list of the best city and urban e-bikes — a category closely related to this one.
Our Best Commuter Electric Bikes 2021
How we picked these bikes
There’s no such thing as the perfect commuter e-bike. There are just too many factors to consider; too many different things that each person needs for their daily commute. But there is such a thing as a really, really good commuter. We’re here to help you find that bike.
Many of the bikes on this list we’ve ridden and know very well, but there are others that we’ve included purely based on their design characteristics and components. The bikes we test are put through a number of assessments including a hill climb, a timed circuit and braking tests to get a feel for how they actually perform in the real world. Our team of testers then puts their heads together to compare notes and opinions.
To make this list, we evaluated commuter e-bikes based on a few key criteria, mainly:
Range: The average commute in the U.S. is about 15 miles one way, so a good commuter should be able to go twice that distance (you’ve got to get to and from work, right?) on a single charge. So a minimum 30 mile range.
Speed and power: Commuters should be fast, so every bike you’ll see on this list is a Class 3 (speed pedelec) e-bike with a top speed of 28 mph. They also need to have enough power to get you to and from your destination without breaking much of a sweat. Some of these bikes come as a Class 3 and others can be turned into a Class 3 by changing some settings.
Comfort and efficiency: A commuter bike, at least in our opinion, should feel something like sitting on a well-balanced eMTB. You should be comfortable enough to show up at your destination without lower back pain, but in an efficient enough body position that your pedaling actually gets you somewhere.
Components and extras: Does it have Bluetooth to connect your phone? Will the bike help you navigate, carry your groceries home and does it have good lights? If that sounds like we’re describing extras that make a good car, it’s because we kind of are. Commuter e-bikes are made to replace cars, so they should have some of the same features.
What does the manufacturer say it was built for? This may sound obvious, but it’s actually not. E-bike categorization is nebulous at its best and downright nonsensical at its worst. But e-bike manufacturers do their best to describe the best intended use of their bikes, so we take that into account. We sometimes break from their definition in categorizing bikes for our best lists, but not always.
This is not an exhaustive list. Far from it, actually, especially considering one person’s daily commute can be wildly different from the next. What this list is, is a catalogue of some of the best dedicated commuter e-bikes according to the EBR staff’s collective expert opinion. Does that mean you can’t commute on an eMTB or an electric cruiser? You absolutely can, it all depends on what you want from your commute.
A lively and nice looking electric commuter that won’t break the bank
With sleek styling, a powerful motor and a smooth ride to boot, the Aventon Level is one of the Electric Bike Report staff’s go-to commuters when we need to run a mid-day errand or just need to get out of the office for a bit.
The Level is a Class 3 e-bike equipped with a throttle, so while its top motor-assisted speed is 28 mph the throttle cuts out after 20 mph. While many Class 3 e-bikes claim they easily hold these top speeds, the Level is one of the few we tested that actually held high speed really well and really consistently. The bike is equipped with a 500W rear hub motor and a 672Wh battery that’s fully integrated into the frame, making for a combination with enough power to last all day. It also has an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes.
At right around $1,500, this is a really great value-priced commuter that we think performs really, really well. We love the styling, the comfort and its spec sheet is bar-none for a commuter priced this low. Our testers found this bike really well balanced with handling that inspired enough confidence to brake late into corners and maintain higher speeds.
The Aventon Level is a great choice for a commuter who wants a nice looking and reliable ride that’ll let them ditch the car for their trip to work.
The Level holds its speed exceptionally well
There is a distinguishable difference between the pedal assist levels, which we don’t always see on all e-bikes
We love the handling. It’s snappy but stable enough to cruise comfortably
The sleek and integrated design looks great and matches nicely
The cadence sensor is finely tuned and responds quickly when you start pedaling
The battery readout on the display is percentage based, which we found tough to read at times
Aventon sells two versions: One with throttle on demand and one without. It would be nice if this was a setting instead of two different bikes
A powerful mid-drive motor and eye-catching frame make this a standout commuter
The Priority Current was designed with simplicity in mind.
It was given a Gates Carbon Belt Drive and a Shimano 5-speed internally geared hub to keep things clean and low maintenance. The frame is elegant and sleek; there’s no gimmicky features and the mid-step toptube is a happy medium that makes it easy to get on and off of. And it was given a powerful mid-drive motor and a large battery to boot, so range anxiety could be a thing of the past. It’s a thoughtful, simple and aesthetically pleasing e-bike.
Priced near $3,000, the Current sits solidly in line with other mid-range commuters. It’s components are good quality and the frame has been designed around comfort, so it’s a good option for all sorts of riders. The 500W motor produces an impressive 140Nm of max torque and a 500Wh battery is large enough to keep the bike moving, but not so large it weighs down the bike or jacks up the price. It’s a Class 3 e-bike, so it can reach motor-assisted speeds up to 28 mph but it does not have a throttle.
The Priority Current is a great e-bike for anyone looking for a premium feeling bike but don’t want to pay premium prices.
The 500W mid-drive motor produces enough torque (140Nm) to flatten virtually any hill
The Current easily flips between Class 1 and Class 3 settings, depending on your local laws
Hydraulic brakes and a Gates Carbon belt drive complete the slick components package
The mid-step frame is a nice compromise between traditional high-step and accessible low-step
Aside from some general specs, there’s not a lot of information out there about the Current’s motor and battery. It’s not a big deal, but it would be nice to know the motor’s maker
A drool-worthy car killer with a carbon fiber body and Bosch guts
If an e-bike looks fast, does that mean it is fast? In the case of the Trek Allant+ 9.9S, the answer is a very enthusiastic yes.
Trek’s flagship e-commuter is equipped with Bosch’s top-of-the-line Performance Speed mid-drive motor and the 625Wh Bosch PowerTube battery. Tack on the optional 500Wh piggyback battery, and you’ve got a long-haul commuter that won’t quit — even after a full day of gassing it around town. The frame is made from carbon fiber — a rare feature in the commuter category — and the drivetrain is Shimano XT 12-speed, which the eMTB crowd might recognize as one of the most durable and reliable groupsets on the market.
The Bosch drive system integrates with an app on your smartphone, and there’s a docking station on the handlebars that turns your phone into a display that lets you listen to music and navigate while keeping an eye on your bike’s data. On top of it all, the Allant is just a really nice looking bike. It’s a Class 3 e-bike, which means the motor is capable of propelling you to a max assisted speed of 28 mph before it cuts off.
The Allant+ 9.9S was built to be the best in its class, according to Trek, and we’d say they were successful in that bid. If you’re a dedicated commuter who’s ready for an uncompromising ride, look no further.
Carbon fiber frame sheds weight, dampens bumps and keeps things stiff through the corners
The Bosch Performance Speed motor is a top-of-the-line powerplant that’ll easily get you where you need to be
The Allant has a proprietary stem that channels all the bike’s cables into the frame, keeping things tidy
The Shimano XT drivetrain is nothing less than stellar
The bike integrates with your smartphone
At around $6,000, this isn’t the everyperson’s e-bike, but Trek makes the Allant+ in several versions that are more affordable
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru
A powerful and economically-priced commuter with features that make it easy to use
We’re really big fans of step-thru commuter bikes. In fact, there’s at least one person in our ranks who argues all commuter e-bikes should be a step-thru design. I’m not sure we’re all on board with that opinion, but we are all on board with the Rad Power Bikes RadCity step-thru.
The RadCity is a powerful and well spec’d step-thru commuter that’s economically priced at right around the $1,500 range. The bike is equipped with a 750W geared rear hub motor powered by a 672Wh battery, making for a decent range. We like that its rear rack is literally welded on to the back of the bike instead of bolted, making for a 275lb carrying capacity. That rack, according to Rad, is strong and big enough to take a child’s seat, so you can take the kid along for the ride.
We also like that Rad placed a premium on comfort with their step-thru edition of the RadCity (it also comes in a high-step with a slightly different geometry). The distance between the rider and the handlebars is reduced and the low-step frame design makes it easier for people to mount and dismount the bike. The RadCity comes as a Class 2 e-bike with a throttle and a max motor-assisted speed limited to 20 mph, but that max speed can be bumped up to 28 mph.
The RadCity is a great option for anyone who wants a fast e-commuter, but might not want to go through the awkward one-legged gymnastics every time they want to get on or off the bike.
The direct drive rear hub motor has regenerative braking, which is a cool feature
The rear rack is welded to the frame, making a strong platform for cargo or a kid
Rad actually adjusted the geometry for this step-thru, making it even more comfortable than the high-step model
At 63lbs, the RadCity is pretty hefty
We’d like to see a larger battery as an upgrade option in the future, as a 672Wh battery might drain quickly at full power
A commuting weapon inspired by electric mountain bikes
Built on the chassis of an eMTB, the Evelo Delta X is an ultra-powerful commuter that reigns king on long, hilly commutes across all types of road surfaces.
It’s equipped with a monster 750W mid-drive motor custom built for the Delta X by Bafang and powered by a 556.8Wh battery. That motor produces far more watts than what we normally see from a mid-drive motor, and you can really feel the difference. Hills are hardly noticeable, and in the highest PAS setting, you better be hanging on tight when you step hard on the pedals. It handles really nicely, and the fatter (yet still sporting road tread) tires make you feel planted to the ground over a variety of road surfaces.
The Delta X also comes with the very cool and commuter-friendly Enviolo stepless transmission, which is an internally geared hub that has no gaps in gears when it shifts — it’s totally seamless. The bike also comes with a suspension fork, a rear rack and lights front and rear. The bike also lacks a rear derailleur mechanism that can snag on things (thanks to the Enviolo hub), which makes the back end nice and tidy.
If your commute has variable terrain and a smattering of hills — or, if you just want to go really fast — the Delta X is a great get.
The battery isn’t quite integrated, but it’s melded into the frame in a way that looks super cool
The 650b wheels and ballooney tires are a great combination
The Enviolo hub is super smooth and very easy to use
The suspension fork is a nice (and very usable) addition that kept us planted and in control over rough surfaces
The grips and saddle may be a tad firm for those looking for a cushy ride
The 67lbs isn’t noticeable while riding, but it’s a bit weighty if you have to pedal the bike with a dead battery
Built to replace your car on your daily commute, the Ride1UP 700 series is the brand’s flagship commuter that offers a lot of bang for your buck.
It’s fitted with a Shimano 8-speed Acera drivetrain, Tektro dual-piston hydraulic brakes and the really well performing Schwalbe Super Moto X e-bike tires. At just above $1,600, that’s a lot of bike for the money. Powering the 700 Series is a 750W rear hub motor and 672Wh integrated battery. We’ve spent a lot of time on Ride1UP’s bikes and overall we’ve been incredibly impressed by their power and ride quality — they’re super comfortable bikes.
The 700 Series comes with lights front and rear, a rear rack with a 50lbs carrying capacity and a really useful color display. The 700 Series also sports nine different motor assistance levels (five is more typical), which allows you to really fine tune how much the motor is aiding your pedaling. Ride1UP also has a pretty stellar customer service department, which can prove an important factor considering it’s a direct-to-consumer company.
This bike will serve the commuter on a budget very well. It’s comfortable, well spec’d and backed by a company that stands by its products — not to mention it’s just a flat out fast bike.
The 700 Series comes with a really great outfit of components for the relatively low pricing
The battery is fully integrated into the frame
Nine PAS levels allows the rider to really fine tune the motor’s output.
The 750W rear hub motor offers plenty of power for hills, cruising and hauling a little cargo
We typically like seeing a few frame size options for people of different heights and body shapes, but the 700 Series only comes in one size
Specialized has a long history of building some of the best bikes money can buy, so it’s no surprise that they built an e-bike that perfectly embodies what a commuter should be.
The Turbo Vado 5.0 is Specialized’s purpose-built commuter, equipped with the company’s specially-tuned 1.3 mid-drive motor that doles out 250W of power. It’s a Brose motor that Specialized has given its “Rx Street Tune” treatment that the company says makes it more powerful and efficient than the competitors. Powering everything is a 600Wh battery that’s integrated into the frame.
The bike comes with a mixed Shimano XT/SLX 11-speed drivetrain that keeps shifting crisp, even under load, and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Efficiency is the name of the game, so while the Turbo Vado comes with a fork, it’s a notably short 50mm variation that takes the edge off bumps but doesn’t add wasted weight. It’s a Class 3 e-bike, so the motor will assist your pedaling until 28 mph but there is not a throttle.
The Turbo Vado 5.0 is the essence of a no-nonsense commuter bike. Specialized is an industry leader in the e-biker world, so their commuter won’t disappoint.
The full Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain is a workhorse that doesn’t compromise on shifting performance or reliability
Specialized isn’t kidding when they say their motor might lead the commuter class. They’re really, really good at perfecting e-bike power plants
It’s an understated e-bike, but still manages to look really nice
We hope you like black, because that’s the only color option for the 5.0. Other spec levels of the Turbo Vado come in other colors
A Swiss engineered super commuter unmatched in performance or reputation
In order for e-bikes to really replace cars, we’re going to need more e-bikes that, well, feel and act like cars. These e-bikes will need to rival a car’s comfort, reliability and ease of use to the point that anyone will feel comfortable ditching internal combustion for a two-wheeled machine.
Swiss manufacturer Stromer might be the closest to pulling this off.
The Stromer ST3 is a rightfully-heralded commuter that blends power, luxury and digital connectivity into a package that’s hard to resist. In the U.S., it comes with a 600W rear hub motor with regenerative braking and you can choose from two battery sizes ranging from 814Wh to a whopping 983Wh. The battery is integrated and you can customize the fit of the bike, making it more aggressive or more comfortable depending on your preference.
It’s a spectacularly good looking bike, and in addition to a full Shimano groupset and custom TRP hydraulic brakes, the ST3 boasts an innovative cloud-based display and controller system with 3G connectivity. You can lock your bike and even adjust power settings all from your phone.
The ST3 is the paramount of luxury for e-bike commuting. It’s a killer choice for the person looking to full-time commute by bike or for someone who anticipates spending a lot of time on their commuter e-bike.
Two very large battery options mean you can choose between a long-hauler and an extra long-hauler
The bike looks incredibly sleek and clean. Everything is integrated (including the cables)
Very customizable. You can choose from tons of options ranging from fit to if you want a suspension fork or not
Like anything luxury, the ST3 has a high starting price — over $7,000. But there’s few e-bikes that can compete with it
A stylish speed pedelec that’s nicely spec’d and nicely priced
If you like the ultra-posh Stromers and Riese & Müllers of the world but have a tough time swallowing the price, here’s a (not so well kept) secret: You don’t have to spend almost five figures to get a luxury commuter e-bike.
At around $4,000, the Bulls Urban Evo 10 is a more economical entry into the luxury commuting e-bike market. It’s all black (aside from some suede bits on the grips and seat), comes with a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain and the powerful Bosch Performance Speed motor. It’s a premium bike without the premium pricing. That motor is paired with the Bosch 625Wh PowerTube battery, meaning you can cruise at the bike’s maximum speed of 28 mph for a long time before you have to worry about running out of battery.
It’s got a more upright riding position and flat handlebars that keep the bike’s handling quick. It also has lights front and rear, a panierre-style rear rack and fenders to keep yourself clean.
We think this is a really nice spec’d and nice-looking bike that’ll serve any serious commuter well, without breaking the bank.
We think the matte black frame and fork look really nice and shouldn’t smudge or discolor easily
The Bosch Performance Speed motor is incredibly capable and torquey
Shimano drivetrain and brakes is always a plus in our eyes
Suede is an interesting choice for a bike seat and grips, especially in the light tan color chosen for this bike.
It’s not just premium. It’s premium and super customizable
If you tried to turn a Chevy Tahoe into an e-bike, my gut says it would come out looking a lot like the Riese & Müller Charger3.
The Tahoe is luxury blended with rugged capability; a SUV that can haul people and things anywhere in comfort, no matter the road conditions or distance. The Charger3 is an e-bike that can also do these things. Built around a frame that closely matches an eMTB, the Charger3 is a rugged, go-anywhere luxury commuter powered by the Bosch Performance Line of motors. It’s got Shimano XT shifting (on the base model), Magura hydraulic brakes and a 100mm suspension fork to smooth out bumps.
It’s also ultra customizable. You can choose from two Bosch motors, a handful of battery sizes and a whole host of other accessories to make the Charger3 into exactly the commuter e-bike you need. It’s also not an awful starting price for a luxury e-bike, at right around $6,000.
The Charger3 is an awesome choice for someone whose commute is unpredictable. It’s not quite as capable as an eMTB, but it’ll handle most anything you can throw at it during your commute from point A to B.
One of the more versatile bikes on this list. It’s capable on dirt roads, bumpy paths and urban streets
Impressively customizable from the factory. It’ll ship configured exactly how you want it
A sleek and minimalist design that’ll look great anywhere
There’s a dual battery option that boasts 1125Wh of energy
Riese & Müller bikes look quintessentially German: Understated and utilitarian. This might be a pro if you’re into that, but others might want something with a bit more flare
Bottom line: Pick a bike that matches your commuting needs
There’s an adage in the cycling world that there is no one bike that’s perfect for everyone, but there is the perfect bike for each person. Remember that when you’re shopping around, especially when it comes to commuters.
From coast to coast, what constitutes a daily commute varies wildly depending on where you live. A commuter in west Texas, for example, is going to need something much different from their commuter e-bike than a person in Portland, Maine. The most important thing to do before buying a commuter e-bike is to really think hard about what you want your bike to do. The former bike salesman in me wants to say that the only way to answer that question is to go ride as many e-bikes as you can — that’s a partially useful answer, as many of the bikes on this list are sold in brick and mortar bike shops, but it’s not entirely good advice considering many, many e-bikes are sold direct to consumer. It’s entirely likely that the best bike for you can’t be ridden until you buy it and it’s shipped to your door. If that’s the case, research is your best friend. Our bike reviews are useful resources, and if you’re a newbie to e-bikes we’ve got a handy guide that’ll help you get started.
If your commute is dirt heavy, or might even involve some light trail riding, it might be worth checking out some eMTBs or electric gravel bikes. The commuting category is so broad, we’ve even broken out a separate best list for lighter-duty commuters more at home in dense urban environments. Whatever your commute may be, an e-bike of some sort is likely your best alternative over a personal car or public transit. They’ll get you where you need to go, no matter what’s between you and your destination.