After long hours in the saddle, we’ve selected ten of our 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. Road bikes are built for speed and great for touring and will get you to your destination fastest. But, if you’re not used to cycling on one, then choose a bike that has a more upright riding position – our goal here is to see the sights, not set a PB time. Similarly, bikes that have wider tires and a more padded saddle are useful as 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 Trekking 1 Step-Thru e-BikeHaibike are well known for their top-class electric bikes, so it’s no surprise that their Trekking 1 Step-thru 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: Bosch battery and motor combo, fitted rear rack and fenders, sloping downtube, front suspension
Cons: What’s not to like about this Haibike!
Typical price: $2600 / Purchase at Backcountry.com
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. Probably the best aspect of the RadRunner is how customizable the bike is. Fenders, extra racks, even a passenger seat. The list of optional extras goes on and on.
Pros: Integrated rear rack, low-step through frame, budget price
Cons: No suspension, small wheels
Typical price: $1299 / Purchase at Radpowerbikes.com
Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2 Electric BikeREI have produced their own range of Co-op Cycles and the CTY e2.2 is a great example of their ebike range. Take a close look and you’ll see that you get a lot of bike for your buck with the CTY e2.2. The electronics are delivered by Shimano and feature a powerful 250W motor that offers various levels of pedal assist and, as a bonus, has a ‘walk mode’ that lets you wheel the bike along. It’s a handy feature that you’ll really appreciate when you’re setting off up a steep hill with a fully-loaded bike.
Pros: Great Shimano electronics paired with a light and strong aluminum frame
Cons: Limited space to install water bottle cage
Typical price: $2399 / Purchase at Rei.com
Tern Vektron D8 Folding Electric Bike
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 56 miles range per charge and suits riders between 5’3 and 6’5”. It’s a bike that’s designed for commuting, so it comes with lots of useful touring extras, such as fenders and rear rack.
Pros: Folds for easy transport, pre-fitted fenders and rear rack, suits wide range of rider heights
Cons: No suspension, small wheels
Typical price: $2799 / Purchase at Rei.com
Diamondback Current e-BikeI’m a big fan of this highly versatile ebike from Diamondback. The Current e-Bike is for going anywhere and everywhere and doing it fast and stylishly. Take a look at the ebike and you’ll see that it has lots in common with road bikes and the latest hot trend: gravel bikes. The aluminum frame, sleek lines, and drop handlebars mean that you’ll go fast – in fact, with the help of the fully-integrated Bosch motor, you’ll be able to reach speeds of up to 28mph. And, yet, you’ll also be comfortable touring for long distances because the seating position is more upright than a road bike and the 700x40c tires will soak up any lumps and bumps in the pavement surface.
Pros: Bosch motor, 28mph top speed, light aluminum frame
Cons: no integrated rear cargo rack
Typical price: $4100 / Purchase at Backcountry.com
Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 2 Electric BikeCannondale have a long heritage of producing excellent bikes and the Tesoro Neo X 2 is a great addition to the lineup. The Bosch Line Speed motor and PowerTube battery will take you up to 28mph with a huge grin on your face. The front suspension forks soak up any road unevenness and help reduce juddering in your arms as you cycle along (as do the excellent Schwalbe G-One 29×2.25in tires). Add in the useful touring features, such as front/rear fenders and rear rack and this is a bike that is screaming to be taken on an off-road tour…now!
Pros: excellent bike package for trail touring and bikepacking
Cons: non-locking front fork
Typical price: $4100 / Purchase at Rei.com
Tern GSD S00 Electric BikeThe Tern GSD is an ebike that’s perfect for those tours where you have no interest in either traveling light or traveling solo. At its heart, it’s a cargo bike, and so it’s ideal if you’re delivering pizzas during the week and touring at the weekend. But, whether or not you have extra pepperoni stashed in your luggage, you’ll have room for lots more. There’s room for two child seats on the rear rack or up to a whopping 400 lbs of gear. That might sound like a tough ask to get moving on but, with the Performance Line CX motor from Bosch, 20 mph is a breeze to cruise along at.
Pros: Massive cargo-carrying capacity, ideal for wide range of rider heights (4’8” to 6’4”)
Cons: at 71 lbs, it’s a heavy bike
Typical price: $4999 / Purchase at Rei.com
Wilier Cento1HY Ultegra E-Bike
Amongst die-hard bike tourers, there’s an obsession with trying to cut out weight before a tour commences. Eating salads and sawing toothbrushes in half are all common practice. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Wilier does away with the need for all of that scary green stuff and suspect dental hygiene by giving us the Cento1HY. An ebike that is one of the lightest around (at only 26 lbs) and has oodles of power available (a 250W motor delivering speeds up to 20mph).
Pros: super-light ebike
Cons: limited cargo-carrying potential
Typical price: $6000 / Purchase at CompetitiveCyclist.com
Bianchi Aria Ultegra Di2 E-BikeYou might be forgiven for thinking that the Aria is a ‘standard’ road bike without any power-assist. However, those sleek Bianchi lines hide a 250W battery (in the down tube) and a 250W motor (in the rear hub). It’s also got a full complement of Shimano components in the drivetrain delivering smooth performance (with a particular highlight being the Ultegra Di2 electronic shifters and derailleurs). This bike is fast, light and responsive and, while you won’t be lugging a ton of cargo with you on your tour, you will get to your destination at speed and in style.
Pros: 26 lbs bike weight, hidden power, Shimano drivetrain
Cons: limited cargo capacity
Typical price: $7200 / Purchase at CompetitiveCyclist.com
Pivot EVault GRX Carbon Wheel E-BikeWhilst Pivot may not be a name you’ve heard of, they’ve been a driving force in the high-end ebike market for a long time. This is a bike that will accompany you on any tour, on any terrain, whatever the elevation profile of the route. It’s a gravel bike that gets a kick out of zipping along rough trails and it’s also at home outpacing club riders on smooth pavement. The power delivery from the Fazua Evation drive system is smooth and faultless, topping out at 28mph. The carbon frame and wheels are light and responsive, and the 700x32c tires give excellent dampening no matter the trail surface.
Pros: Shimano GRX Di2 electronic shifting, go-anywhere touring bike
Typical price: $9999 / Purchase at CompetitiveCyclist.com
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.