An In-depth guide
BEST ELECTRIC HYBRID BIKES
UPDATED - 21st September 2020
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For years, bicycling has been about freedom. People want affordable, easy-to-maintain modes of transport that allow them to travel from location to location, experiencing the great outdoors and cutting vehicle costs.
Electric hybrid bikes are perhaps the most freeing of all bicycles available on the market today. You don’t have to take out an onerous insurance policy, they're surprisingly affordable, and, thanks to the battery, they power you along, giving you way more range than a regular bike. You don’t even need to be fit!
Electric touring bikes are, for many, a godsend. Here’s a bike that is just as capable on the road as it is on a dirt track, giving you the means to ride between scenic destination while escaping dangerous traffic.
Here, we’re interested in finding the best electric touring bikes on the market. On this page, you’ll read reviews of the top products from a variety of manufacturers, where they excel, and where they might need to make improvements. The aim is to provide you with a resource so that you can make the right decision when buying an electric touring bike:
1 - KALKHOFF INTEGRALE i11 ELECTRIC HYBRID BIKE
The Kalkhoff Integral is a kind of do-it-all e-bike, suitable for commuting, touring and taking detours off the beaten track. While it lacks some of the suspension features of other bikes in this review, there’s no denying that it is a quality offering.
The standout feature of the i11 isn’t its battery or its motor. Nor is it the bike’s sophisticated sensing technology which is helpful when transitioning from one to speed to another. No - the main draw of the bicycle is the high-quality components that come as standard.
The drivetrain, including the cassette, chain, and derailleur are all Shimano XT, the company’s enthusiast lightweight, durable shifting components. It also comes with custom DT Swiss wheels with carbon rims and ultra-lightweight hubs. The low-weight wheels mean that the battery has to work far less hard to accelerate the bicycle, providing extra performance and acceleration when you want to get out of a tight spot.
You’ll also notice that the bike is virtually cable-free, thanks to the Shimano Di2 Gear Lever concept. Instead of changing gear using a tensioned cable, the Kalkhoff uses Shimano’s premium wireless solution that gets rid of annoying a cable bulk and rattle while providing reliable shifting performance.
2 - KALKHOFF INCLUDE i8 ELECTRIC HYBRID BIKE
When Kalkhoff was designing the Include I8, it’s clear that the company wanted to appeal to the women-specific market. The Kalkhoff, therefore, offers a variety of features designed to improve comfort and support.
There are three features that you notice immediately: the large, plush seat, the seat post suspension, and the missing top tube. The Include I8 is an urban electric bike that sacrifices a small (and mostly unnoticeable) amount of rigidity for comfort.
The bike, of course, comes with all of the usual features, you’d expect from Kalkhoff: Bluetooth display and integration, a range of gears, a large, 250 km battery, high-quality shift sensors, and a quieter, more discreet motor. The bike also has a control panel that integrates all of the onboard functions into a single dashboard.
The appearance of the bike is incredibly understated. The dull green matte finish and red accents of the Rucktritt version mean that this is an electric bike that will blend in easily with the surroundings. It will not catch the attention of prying eyes.
The way that the battery integrates with the bottom bracket also means that it’s not immediately apparent that it is an electric bike. The large cover on the drive train serves to hide the great bulk at the bottom of the frame, giving the impressing that the rider is cycling a regular human-powered bicycle.
3 - RIBBLE HYBRID AL e ELECTRIC BIKE
For those who can’t decide whether they need a road bike or a mountain bike, Ribble’s hybrid range has always provided a happy medium. The Hybrid AL e, however, seems most at home in the assisted urban market. It’s desirable good looks, charming profile and well-rounded spec make it an excellent choice for all kinds of riders who spend a lot of their time on the road but like to venture off the road in their downtime.
With flat handlebars and a comfortable posture, you can virtually see the comfort that this bike offers. The aluminium frame is sturdy and durable enough to deliver peace of mind on the rolling hills while full carbon forks take care of “road buzz”. Tyre clearance of up to 45mm (40mm with mudguards) helps to lend the rise a smooth and pleasant feel.
Yet, that’s not to say that this bike can’t deliver speed when called for, using the same X35 ebikemotion system as the other entries on this list. Meanwhile, the Sram NX single chainring groupset offers low gearing when it’s needed for austere uphill climbs.
Easy and intuitive controls, a comfortable build and great value for money make this an excellent choice for anyone looking for their first e-bike.
4 - CANNONDALE QUICK NEO SL 2 HYBRID ELECTRIC BIKE
If you’re looking for an electric bike that can cope with a variety of terrains, the Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 Hybrid Electric Bike provides the versatility and reliability you’re after. The quick and light design is great for getting around and works well as a fitness bike, while the presence of the Mahle ebikemotion drive system gives you a little extra power to fall back on when you need it.
One of the reasons Cannondale e-bikes are so popular is because they retain the real feel of riding a bike. Too many electric cycles overpower the rider and turn cycling into a passive experience, rather than an active one. However, you’ll have no such worries with the Quick Neo SL 2. It’s a hybrid bike in every way, so you can be sure that you’ll get that same great feeling as you zip through the city streets or coast downhill.
Of course, the addition of a 250W motor and in-frame battery doesn’t go unnoticed. When you need an extra boost of power, you’ll have three levels to choose from. The intuitive controller is situated on the crossbar, which can take a bit of getting used to. When you’re travelling at top speed, you’ll want to ensure you’re in complete control before you take one hand off the handlebars to adjust the power.
Based on the Cannondale Quick bike design, the Neo SL 2 is simply enhanced by the battery power it offers. With a range of up to 75km/47mi, the Mahle ebikemotion battery provides enough power for short to medium rides, but the Range Extender kit will boost your capacity to a whopping 450Wh.
Perfect for fitness, fun or commuting, the Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 is hard to beat if you’re looking for a great all-rounder hybrid bike. The lightweight aluminium frame and 9-speed Shimano gears give you complete control over your ride, while the extra power makes cycling easier than ever.
ALWAYS CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS WHEN BUYING A ELECTRIC HYBRID BIKE
If you’re planning on buying an electric hybrid bike, then it’s essential to consider your needs. While hybrids can perform in practically any surface, they’re not a substitute for specific types of bicycles. For instance, an electric hybrid bike won’t replace a race-ready road bike. Neither will it perform as well as an electric mountain bike over rough terrain.
THE RANGE OF THE BIKE
The reason electric bikes are taking off now has to do with two the declining cost and increasing power density of lithium-ion batteries, driven by the needs of the smartphone and car markets. Cells are smaller, lighter and more energy-dense than there were in the past, providing electric bicycle owners incredible range.
Different hybrid bike batteries, however, come in a variety of sizes. Thus, if you're in the market for a hybrid bicycle, be sure to check the battery capacity and range. Some manufacturers will quote the size of the battery in units called “mAh” or milliamp hours. The higher this number, the more energy the battery can store. Batteries for e-bikes go up to an impressive 20,000 mAh and sometimes more.
Other manufacturers quote the range that the battery provides under normal riding conditions. So, for instance, the bicycle maker might claim a range of 250 miles for their hybrid model.
THE SENSOR TYPE
The way that electric bicycles deliver power is quite sophisticated. On most hybrid models, the amount of energy that the bike supplies relates to user pedal input. (You don’t just press a button on the handlebars to make you go faster). Bikes use sensors to detect the level of rider input and then adjust their output accordingly.
Sensors on hybrid bikes come in two flavours: speed and torque. Speed sensors respond to the rate that the pedals are rotating to provide you with a little extra help. Torque sensors react to the force going through the pedals, providing a remarkably different feel.
This difference in sensors is one of the reasons why you should always test ride a hybrid bicycle before purchasing. You might not like the feel of a speed sensor and prefer to use a model with a torque sensor instead.
THE QUALITY OF COMPONENTS
While the main features of hybrid electric bikes are the battery-powered assistance and ability to go offroad, they shouldn’t be your only considerations. Just like other bicycles, the quality of hybrid bikes relates to the quality of their components too.
The most important components are those in the drivetrain and the brakes. Electric bicycles exert a lot of torque through the pedals, thanks to the assistance provided by the motor. This additional force means that you need robust components that can withstand the intense wear and tear over the long term. Check that the bike that you want to buy uses a quality chain, cassette and derailleur. Also, be sure that your bicycle has quality brakes and suspension forks. Cheaper models will let you down very fast.
Electric hybrid bikes are one of the most exciting products to hit the cycling industry in recent years. The growth in their popularity stems from the fact that they offer users immense freedom, providing additional range, and battery assistance for all those problematic, pannier-laden climbs.
When choosing an electric hybrid bicycle, always check the range, the components, and whether it’s suitable for your needs.
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