After long hours in the saddle we’ve selected our ten favorite touring ebikes. We’ll go through the details of these in a moment, including the Pros, the Cons, and the typical price you can expect to pay for each. Before that, we’ll look at the key features that you should consider when choosing an electric bike for touring.
There’s no denying that cycle touring is quite hard work. Pedaling yourself and your bike along (even on the flat) for 10 miles, 20 miles, or more is a challenge. Once you’ve loaded up your bike with all the essentials for touring (including your toothbrush and clean underwear) you might even have difficulty going once around the block. Luckily, there’s an easy answer to this and it comes in the form of electric bikes (AKA ebikes). These are bikes that have an electric motor fitted to give you assistance as you pedal and they’re exploding in popularity.
How to choose an ebike for touring
At its most basic, an ebike is a pushbike with a battery and an electric motor fitted. Start hunting around, though, and you’ll soon discover there’s a wide array of brands, models and specs available. So, how do you choose the right one for your budget, tastes and needs? Well, there are a few key factors to consider and we’ll take a look at them now.
First up, you’ll want a bike that is comfortable to ride as you’re likely to be on it for long periods of time. Go for bikes that have a more upright riding position rather than the hunched-over position of a racing bike – our goal here is to see the sights, not set a PB time. Similarly, pick a bike that has wider tires and a more padded saddle. These will help soak up the lumps and bumps of the road or trail surface and be more enjoyable to ride.
In recent years battery technology has come on in leaps and bounds, with some ebikes now able to take you up to 230 miles on a single charge. Choose an ebike that has a lithium-ion battery from a well-known manufacturer (such as Panasonic or Samsung).
The best place to store your gear when you’re bike touring is on the bike. Loading up a heavy backpack will get uncomfortable and sweaty very quickly. It will also make you top-heavy and more likely to topple over. Look for ebikes that either have pannier racks pre-fitted or have the fixings so that you can add your own.
It’s also worth considering a step-through or low-step bike if you plan on carrying lots of cargo with you on your tour. This can make it easier to get on and off a fully-laden bike without tilting it dangerously over to one side.
Best ebikes for touring
Let’s take a look at our ten favorite electric bikes for touring. These cover a wide range of different styles and price ranges. Some have loads of added extras and some are a simpler design.
Haibike 2020 SDURO TREKKING 4.0 STEP THRU
Our recommended ebike for touring
Haibike are well known for their top-class mountain bikes, so it’s no surprise that their SDURO Trekking bike is a rugged and very capable machine. This is packed full of features that make touring a breeze. There’s front and rear fenders and a rear rack to start with. There’s also a handy sloped down tube (useful for getting on a laden bike) and front suspension to smooth out the trail and reduce wrist vibration. All of that in a package that comes at a surprisingly appealing price
Pros: Fully-integrated battery, fitted rear rack and fenders, sloping downtube, front suspension
Cons: 27.5” tires less common in the US
Typical price: $3200
Multicharger GT Touring
German manufacturer, Riese & Müller, have been producing bikes since 1993, so they know a thing or two about building a great ebike. They have a broad range of ebikes, but my favorite is the Multicharger. Why? Well, it’s a fusion of cargo bike (with its front and rear racks) and all-terrain bike with rugged build and front suspension. Two stand-out features of the Multicharger are its double kickstand (useful when the bike is fully-loaded) and the low-maintenance, oil-free carbon belt drive (rather than an oily chain).
Pros: Front suspension, front and rear racks, oil-free carbon belt drive
Cons: Not a light bike
Typical price: $5600
Stromer are an ebike company with long experience in building commuter electric bikes. The ST5 is their flagship bike and it oozes styles and sophistication. Many ebikes, unfortunately, look like a pushbike with a massive battery bolted onto the outside. The ST5 integrates the battery into the frame and the motor into the rear hub for a sleek finish. It’s also got the features to back up those good looks, with a range of up to 110 miles, 3G-connectivity, and fitted LED lights.
Pros: Fully-integrated battery and motor for a sleek design, factory-fit rear rack and fenders, long-range battery power
Cons: Heavy, no suspension, not cheap
Typical price: $10000
Bulls ICONIC EVO TR 1 SPEED
This is a Class 3 ebike (capable of speeds of up to 28mph) that features front and rear suspension to smooth out any lumps and bumps. The TR 1 is a fully-fledged eMTB that is built for touring cross-country. On the downside, because of the rear sus, it’s a heavy bike. But, with the powerful Bosch motor and 36V/16.7Ah battery, you don’t need to worry as you’ll be able to load up this bike and coast along to your destination with ease.
Pros: Front and rear suspension, integrated fenders and rear rack, great Bosch battery and motor
Cons: A heavy bike
Typical price: $5600
Trek make great bikes and the Verve+ 2 is no exception. An ebike that is stripped back to a suite of features that make it the perfect companion for bike touring. It’s got a full set of fenders, plus a rear rack, so you can carry all your gear and keep the mud off your clothes. It has done away with suspension (which can add considerably to weight) and instead added in a suspension-smoothing seat post. There’s a Bosch motor hooked up to an uncluttered display on the handlebars (which are also adjustable) and a removable Bosch battery. Great package for a great price.
Pros: Suspension seatpost, integrated fenders and rear rack, removable Bosch battery
Cons: No suspension on the front or rear forks
Typical price: $2500
Not a bike for the faint-hearted, or for those with a tight hold on the purse strings. But if you want the perfect set of wheels for an off-road touring adventure, then the Delfast could be the one for you. It’s the holder of a Guinness World Record for the longest distance on a single charge. It’s also one of the most rugged ebikes out there with looks more reminiscent of a trials bike. There’s no chance of a rear rack but then, with a range of up to 110mph and max speed of 45mph, you’d probably get to your ultimate destination in a couple of hours anyway.
Pros: Very fast, huge range, motorbike looks
Cons: Too fast for some, no cargo racks
Typical price: $7000
For budget-conscious tourers then the RadRunner is worth a serious look. Winner of multiple awards for their bikes, Rad Power know what they’re doing when it comes to designing great ebikes. The RadRunner is a great option because it combines great carrying capacity (up to a total of 300lbs) and up to 45 miles range from its Li-ion battery. The step-through design makes it easy to get on and off, and the control panel is simple to operate whilst you’re cycling along enjoying the views.
Pros: Integrated rear rack, low-step through frame, budget price
Cons: No suspension, small wheels
Typical price: $1200
Thrive E+ EX PRO
Liv Cycling is an offshoot from long-established bike manufacturer, Giant, set up to specifically build bikes for women. That means you get a great set of bike components with female-specific frame geometry and components (such as the saddle). The Thrive E+ is a sleek package with its rainbow-white aluminum frame and integrated battery/motor. Earlier this year it won gold at the Taipei Design & Innovation Awards.
Pros: Women’s specific design, integrated fenders and rear rack, Giant tech and knowhow
Cons: No suspension
Typical price: $3500
What do you get when a manufacturer of electric hypercars decides to dabble in ebikes? The result, from Rimac Automobili, is Greyp and the slick G6. This is a full-spec mountain bike, with top-of-the-range electronic wizardry, from the custom 700w battery to the 4G and Wifi connectivity. You’ll have to wait a while for their future Trekking ebike but, for now, you’ll just have to put up with touring on this awesome machine. You’re unlikely to get much sympathy…
Pros: eHypercar heritage, full-suspension, Front and rear suspension, on-board cameras, remote locking
Cons: No fenders or rear rack
Typical price: $6500
Not your usual touring ebike, but this one is great for those tours where you might be taking transport TO the start point (arriving by car or train for example). You can then hop out, unfold your bike, and jump on and pedal off. Comes with a maximum 45 miles range per charge and suits riders between 4’10” and 6’2”. It’s a bike that’s designed for commuting, so it comes with lots of useful touring extras, such as fenders, rear rack, and front and rear LED lights.
Pros: Folds for easy transport, pre-fitted fenders and rear rack, suits wide range of rider heights
Cons: No suspension, small wheels
Typical price: $1600
Ben Jones is a lover not a fighter, a cyclist not a DIY-er, and the founder of BicycleVolt a handy resource for cyclists from Tour-de-France wannabees to those just starting out on their bicycling journey.