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9 of the Best Lightweight Electric Bikes

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What are the best lightweight electric bikes?

The word lightweight isn’t something that usually springs to mind when thinking about electric bikes. Traditionally e-bikes have been very heavy, mainly down to the extra weight of the electric motor and in particular the battery. Thanks to recent developments in motor and battery technology, the weight of electric bikes is starting to come down significantly. In fact, some are even lighter that regular bikes. In this article I will be looking at a selection of 9 of the best lightweight electric bikes currently available **plus a bonus bike at the end.

Check out 11 of the best electric gravel bikes in 2021

Summary

About 20 years ago, early e-bikes were still using very heavy sealed lead acid batteries, as we moved through the first decade of the 21st century, NiCAD batteries started to be used, but is wasn’t until this last decade we saw lithium battery technology become commonplace.

As the technology has evolved so has the energy density of the lithium cells – put simply you can cram more power into a single cell than you could a few years back.  The upshot of this, is a more powerful battery, that is not only smaller but considerably lighter.

best lightweight electric bikes

Another big leap in technology is motor efficiency. Back in the day when e-bikes first became available, the motors used were typically heavy direct-drive hub motors.

The latest generation of electric bike motors like the Fazua Evation and X35 ebikemotion are small, lightweight and efficient. Not only that, but they result in an e-bike that is practically indistinguishable from a regular bicycle.

The benefits of owning a lightweight e-bike

Owning a lightweight e-bike is a particularly good idea if you have trouble lugging heavy items around. One of the first questions a lot of my customers used to ask me was ‘how heavy will my bike be’ after I had fitted a conversion kit.  Another thing to think about is a lot of bike racks made for cars have a weight limit, and a lot of modern e-bikes exceed this limit. Below I have listed four of the key benefits to owning a lightweight electric bike.

Ease of transportation

With the difference in weight being as much as 10kg, owning a sub-15kg electric bike is going to make life a lot easier, particularly if you want to put your bike on a car rack or you live in a flat and have to take your bike up stairs. They’re  also a lot easier to cart around especially if you take your bike on a train from time to time.

Easy to pedal with motor switched off

Regular e-bikes that weigh in excess of 20kg can be pedalled with the assist off, but the extra weight quickly becomes a burden, even on the slightest hill – you will feel like you are cycling with a couple of panniers loaded with shopping!

Using an ebike for commuting

When riding a lightweight electric bike, pedalling with the motor off isn’t an issue. In fact, all the lighter e-bikes I have tested feel like regular bikes and the moderately extra weight doesn’t really impact on the overall riding feel.

Increased efficiency

Most lightweight e-bikes have lower capacity batteries by design.  There are a couple of reasons for this – the main one is to keep the weight down, the second is so the battery can be neatly integrated into the frame.

Lower overall weight will improve the efficiency of the motor, as it will not need to work so hard in order to produce the assist. 8-10kg can make one hell of a difference to a 250w motor.

An e-bike that looks like a regular bike

All of the bikes featured in this article don’t really look like electric bikes. This can have a few benefits – from an aesthetics point of view these bikes look a lot neater, there’s no large battery pack dominating the frame. Also, they are less likely to be targeted by would-be thieves.

ribble al e hybrid bike

Another thing is, there is still a bit of isolated snobbery within the cycling community regarding e-bikes and some riders don’t want to ride a bike that shouts out ‘I’M RIDING AN E-BIKE’. Personally any cyclist who knocks someone for riding an electric bike is a backward-thinking idiot and shouldn’t be given the time of day!

The best lightweight electric bikes are…

And so, on to my selection of 9 of the best lightweight electric bikes currently available. None of the e-bikes below are particularly cheap. There are cheaper bikes available, but I have gone with models that, in my opinion offer the best all-round riding experience and versatility.


1. Orbea Vibe H30

orbea vibe review

The new Orbea Vibe H30 is a totally redesigned replacement for last years Gain F40. It uses the latest version of the tried and tested Mahle X35 ebikemotion system which a small and lightweight 250w rear hub motor and 250Wh (watt hour) internal battery. Pedal assist is provided by a magnetic sensor ring installed on the rear freehub. This ensures smooth electric assistance as and when needed.

Conclusion

If it’s light weight you’re looking for, the Orbea Vibe H30 will fit the bill perfectly. Weighing in at under 14kg it weighs about the same as a regular hardtail mountain bike. The 42t front chainring combined with 11-46 10-speed rear cassette give a good spread of gears and the excellent Magura MT30 hydraulic brakes do a good job of slowing the rider down.

Buy Now: Orbea Vibe H30 £2199.00


2. Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

The all-new Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 uses the same technology as found on their £10k + S-Works Creo carbon e-road bike. Their latest SL 1.1 mid-drive motor was developed in collaboration with German company Mahle (who also make the x35 system).

Riding the Turbo Vado SL is a totally sublime e-bike experience – imagine losing 20kg in weight overnight, then having a super smoothie for breakfast before heading out on a ride with a strong tailwind… You get the idea?

specialized turbo vado sl 4.0 electric bike

What the Specialized offers isn’t a motor that takes over, but an assist system that mechanically enhances your own abilities in a way that make you feel superhuman!

Tipping the scales at just 14.9kg, makes the Vado SL an easy bike to get along with. When you bear in mind the impressive 320Wh internal battery and the 1.96kg motor, you have the perfect combination of e-assist combined with a potential range of up to 80 miles.

Conclusion

In my opinion the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 is the best hybrid electric bike in it’s class. There’s nothing else at this price that has the battery range combined with ultra smooth pedal assist all wrapped up in a bike that weighs under 15kg. The Vado SL has given us a glimpse of things to come, and from this point onward, e-bikes can only get better. The Vado SL 4.0 is also featured in my article 10 of the best electric hybrid bikes under £3000

Buy Now: Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 £2900.00


3. Ribble CGR AL e Step-Through

 

For those of you already familiar with Ribble’s excellent range of e-bikes, the new CGR AL e Step-Through is basically an easy-entry frame version of their best-selling electric gravel bike. The CGR AL e Step-Through is available with Shimano Tiagra (Sport version) or Shimano 105 (Enthusiast version) and comes fitted with high volume Schwalbe G-One gravel tyres and a practical low-step frame geometry that can also handle the rough and tumble of riding unpaved surfaces.  Not only is this an incredibly versatile electric bike, but it tips the scales at just 14.1kg. Making it lighter than quite a few regular hybrid bikes.

Read the full article here

The Ribble is powered by the latest version of the Mahle X35 ebikemotion system, as used in the Orbea Gain. This drive system is not only very lightweight, but has proven to be generally very reliable over time. The 250Wh battery will give an assisted range in the region of 50 miles, or more if you only use the assist occasionally.

Conclusion

The Ribble CGR AL e gravel bike heritage is unmistakable, this step-through version is a game-changer and will open up the world of gravel riding to a lot of people who may have previously been put off by the standover height of the original version. The basic frame geometry is the same as its regular counterpart apart from the sloping top tube. It’s a very capable all-terrain bike, and would be perfect for the daily commute or exploring trails on the weekend.

Buy Now: Ribble CGR AL e Step-Through Sport (Tiagra) £2399 or the Enthusiast Edition (Shimano 105) £2799


4. Boardman HYB 8.9e

boardman hyb 8.9e electric bike review

Boardman have obviously put a lot of thought into the HYB 8.9e – it uses the excellent Fazua Evation modular drive system and the total bike weighs in at under 16kg. Better still, if you want to ride without the motor and battery, you can remove it in seconds, fit a blanking plate (optional extra) and away you go!

The HYB 8.9e is the cheapest Fazua-powered e-bike currently available, and the rest of the bike uses quality Shimano components, particularly the excellent Deore M6000 1 x 10 drivetrain.

Conclusion

The Boardman HYB 8.9e offers excellent value for money. It is a well-designed bike that can comfortably handle a mixture of terrains. It’s a bit heavier than both the Ribble and Orbea, but has the benefit of an easily removable drive system and battery. Here is my full review of the Boardman HYB 8.9e.

Buy Now: Boardman HYB 8.9e Hybrid Electric Bike £2199


5. Lapierre E-Sensium 2.2

 

lapierre e sensium 2.2 review

It’s good to see this excellent and affordable lightweight electric bike has been continued in 2021. The Lapierre E-Sensium 2.2 is the latest version of last years E-Sensium 200. It looks to be largely unchanged from last years model apart from a different colour scheme.

The Lapierre E-Sensium 2.2 uses the same x35 ebikemotion system as a lot of the other e-bikes in this article, but the E-Sensium is the cheapest one available. It really is excellent value for money and the bike is incredibly well finished off and uses Shimano’s 2 x 9 Sora drivetrain. This is basically a flat handlebar road bike that benefits from a more upright riding position while retaining the sporty feel of its more expensive stablemate, the E-Sensium 3.2 – this really is a quality bike for the price and weighing in at around 15kg it’s nice and lightweight.

Lapierre are a quality brand with a long heritage in producing thoroughbred race bikes, that heritage is evident in the E-Sensium 2.2.

Buy Now: Lapierre E-Sensium 2.2 £1999.00


6. GT eGrade Current Gravel E-Bike

 

gt egrade current review

Gravel bikes are designed to be versatile ‘do everything’ bikes  and the new GT eGrade Current is designed for riding on tarmac, gravel paths and forest trails. GT Cycles have a long and illustrious history producing award winning mountain bikes and this experience is evident in the frame geometry of the eGrade.

Another great thing about the eGrade Current is the sensible use of a wide gear range – with a 40 tooth front chainring paired up with an 11-48 10-speed rear cassette, you’re guaranteed to never run out of gears on steep climbs. Tektro flat-mount hydraulic brakes provide good stopping power.

At the heart of the eGrade is the popular x35 ebikemotion system with 250Wh battery, which helps keep the total weight to around 14kg.

Conclusion

If you’re after a lightweight electric bike that can handle the rough stuff, then the GT eGrade Current is hard to beat. The gearing is perfect for off-road riding and the bike benefits from light and responsive handling. Well worth considering if you’re after a light e-bike for riding off the beaten track. Read the full review here.

Buy Now: GT eGrade Current Flat Bar Gravel E-Bike £2300


7. Ribble AL e Fully Loaded Step-Through

ribble al e fully loaded step through ebike

Ribble cycles have just released their first step-through electric bike range using the same X35 ebikemotion technology as other models. The Hybrid AL e has now been given the low-step treatment and this ‘fully loaded’ version comes complete with rack and mudguards. Weighing in at a total of 15kg, it’s very light for a hybrid e-bike. It also comes ready for light trail riding courtesy of the gravel bike frame geometry and Schwalbe G-One tyres. There is also the excellent SRAM NX 1 x 11 gearing which uses a massive 11-42 rear cassette for a good spread of gears.

Conclusion

Ribble have succeeded in producing a practical and versatile step-through electric bike that not only looks great, but is substantially lighter than some of the competition. Here is an e-bike that will be equally comfortable on canal paths and urban streets. Use the assist only when you really need it and ride it like a regular bike any other time – the best of both worlds!

Buy Now: Ribble AL e Hybrid Step-Through Fully Loaded £2399


8. Orbea Optima E50

orbea optima e50 review

The Orbea Optima E50 is designed to be a lightweight alternative to the raft of heavy low-step urban e-bikes currently available. It uses the same x35 ebikemotion system as its sibling the Orbea Vibe.

Designed to be nimble and easy to ride, the Optima E50 can be ridden as a normal bike without feeling the weight penalty you would usually associate with an electric bike. There is a useful boost of electric once the assist is engaged which feels like you have a very strong tailwind all the time!

I really like the Orbea Optima E50, its appeal is in its simplicity – if you’re looking for a lightweight electric bike to negotiate urban streets the Orbea Optima is ideal, it’s also the cheapest bike on this list.

Buy Now: Orbea Optima E50 £1899


9. Specialized Como SL 4.0

specialized como sl 4.0

Just released is the new Specialized Como SL 4.0 – this great new low-step electric bike uses the same excellent SL 1.1 motor and 320Wh battery as the Turbo Vado SL but with a unisex design easy-entry frame, and load-lugging capabilities. Another great feature is the city-friendly Shimano Nexus 5 internally geared hub.

This is going to be a great choice for commuters or anyone who wants to negotiate busy urban streets to run errands like popping to the shops or going out to meet friends for a coffee. I can also see it being useful for the ever growing band of cycle couriers working for companies like Deliveroo or Stuart.

Considering this bike is fully-equipped with mudguards, pannier rack, front rack  with useful basket and heavy-duty puncture resistant tyres it weighs in at a very respectable 17kg – this is for a bike that’s designed to carry 130kg (including rider).

If you’re after an efficient and practical e-bike for commuting, shopping or leisure riding, the new Specialized Como SL 4.0 looks like a great machine!

Buy Now: Specialized Como SL 4.0 £3500


🥇My Personal Recommendation – Vitus Mach E Urban Electric Bike

2021 Vitus Mach e urban electric bike

I had a chance to ride a Vitus Mach E Urban recently and I was so impressed with it, I’ve brought one! It really is a cracking electric bike for the money. Although slightly heavier than the other e-bikes featured here, it does feature a powerful Shimano Steps E6100 motor and long-range 504Wh battery. I have personally weighed this bike and it comes in at 17.8kg (for the large frame) which is still substantially lighter than something like a Cube Touring  Hybrid One 400, which weighs 25kg.

Shimano claim a range of around 62 miles (100km) when used in ‘Normal’ assist mode, with a potential range of 180km in ‘Eco’ mode (based on 100kg combined rider/bike weight riding flat terrain). I went out on my first ride yesterday (19/10/20) and rode 25 miles with 2200ft climbing – I kept the bike in Eco mode for the entire ride and only used one bar off the battery indicator. After the ride, the estimated remaining range (on the display) is still 65 miles using Eco mode. This is really promising, considering I weigh 107kg, making the combined rider/bike weight 124.8kg – I reckon a 100 mile range is quite possible.

I personally found ‘Eco’ mode more than adequate, even for a 12% climb. Others may need to use higher assist as it really depends on your level of fitness. In full power mode it absolutely flies, and I can say without question it is the liveliest e-bike in this group.

Pedalling beyond the 15.5mph cut-off point was not a problem, and the transition is incredibly smooth (almost seamless).  The Vitus Mach E has a 44t chainring with a 9-speed 11-34 rear cassette and the Shimano Alivio gears work flawlessly. The Shimano UR300 flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes work really well, and the high volume gravel tyres make for a really comfy ride.

Apart from the incredibly smooth, quiet and responsive motor, the display has some really neat features – I really liked the pedalling cadence reading and the estimated range, which is given for ‘Eco’, ‘Normal’ and ‘High’ power modes. There is also bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity available through the Shimano E-Tube Project smartphone app. You can even connect to a Garmin compatible bike computer.

The Vitus Mach E is a really well-made e-bike. The 6061 alloy frame has a relaxed geometry and is finished with smooth welds and a great paint finish. It also comes with a full-carbon fork (including steerer) and tough wheels with thru-axles. I did a 3 mile gravel loop on Bodmin moor and it handled rougher terrain with confidence.

The Mach E is a great all-rounder and at the current price is unbeatable. I cannot recommend this bike enough, and I’ll be doing some much longer rides in future to test the battery range to its fullest. Read my full review of the Vitus Mach E Urban e-bike.

Buy Now: Vitus Mach E Urban £2199


The Verdict

So, out of all the lightweight electric bikes featured in this article, which one is the best?

I have updated this post to include the Vitus Mach E Urban which I purchased in October 2020.  It’s great value for money.  I love the way it rides and the smooth power delivery, but the big deal clincher is the massive battery range. Although it’s marginally heavier than the other e-bikes featured here, I find it is fine to ride with the assist off, even on moderate hills.  The 2021 model Vitus Mach E is now available (subject to stock).

The Mach E is a great bike to ride. It handles very well, and inspires confidence on tarmac and gravel. I personally find ‘Eco’ assist mode to be just right for me, but it’s good to know there is more power on tap if needed. It’s more gutsy than the other bikes featured here and the 60Nm torque Shimano Steps E6100 motor is an absolute gem!

 

2021 Vitus Mach e urban electric bike

I still really like the Specialized Turbo Vado SL  at £2900 for the entry-level model it really is a great bit of kit. It’s lightweight, looks great, has a very good battery range and that motor is just sublime! The Specialized was released late in 2020 and uses the same e-assist technology found on the £10k + Turbo Creo S-works.

specialized turbo vado sl 5.0 review

If you’re looking for an e-bike that can handle rougher terrain but has the practicality of a low-step frame, then the Ribble CGR AL e Step-Through takes some beating (for the price). The GT eGrade Current also has a good set of gravel riding credentials and would certainly be worth considering if you’re going to be riding on unpaved surfaces.

ribble cgr al e step through

The Boardman HYB 8.9e is a best seller, and is still the cheapest electric bike (that I’m aware of) that uses the removable Fazua Evation drive system.

For lightweight urban e-biking, both the Lapierre E-Sensium 2.2 and Orbea Vibe H30 are both fairly evenly matched as far as specification is concerned, although I think the Lapierre definitely has the edge in both price and on-road performance.

The Ribble AL e Hybrid Step-Through  is a worthwhile alternative to the Cannondale and Orbea, particularly if you prefer the practicality of an easy-entry frame. It boasts an impressive list of components, and comes with a useful pannier rack and mudguards – there is also a ‘naked’ version which is £100 cheaper.

I’m also really impressed with the new Specialized Como SL 4.0 – it’s probably one of the most versatile e-bikes featured here, benefiting from an internally geared hub and very good cargo carrying credentials.

Regardless of what you decide, all of the e-bikes featured above are excellent. My personal favourite is the Vitus, but it is a bit heavier than the rest. I absolutely love the new Specialized, but I realise that the price tag will put some people off. Ribble currently have a great range of lightweight electric bikes available including the AL e hybrid (pictured above).

Thanks for reading, and if you need any help or advice choosing the right electric bike, please leave a comment below and I will aim to reply within 24hrs.

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46 thoughts on “9 of the Best Lightweight Electric Bikes

  • February 17, 2021 at 2:48 pm
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    Hi Tony, Thanks so much for this useful article! I and my partner first tried out an electric haibike while in Austria a few years ago, and loved it! We’d like to buy our own hybrid electric bikes now, but with mudguards and pannier rack – and it has to be lightweight, as we need to be able to lift them up onto a high bike rack on the back of a motorhome. The positioning of this rack is fixed due to the shape of the vehicle – and it’s a bit of a struggle for me being female and 60. My touring bike is a claud butler at over 16kg, so if we could get an e-bike under 15kg that would be ideal. We don’t care if it looks like an e-bike … if we can remove the heavy battery to get it up onto the rack, even better. We’d like the battery/motor combo to be able to assist for over 50 miles – preferably at least 80 if possible. We’re both 5 ft 2 inches, around 60kg. Any advice you can offer will be very much appreciated! We did try a couple of other e-bikes after the haibikes – one type we hated as it depended on the speed/effort you put into pedalling to decide automatically what level of assist it would give you. We much preferred being able to select eco, or sport, or whatever as we saw the terrain ahead changing, to immediately get the level of assist WE chose, rather than the bike. Not sure what that is called? We’d be prepared to spend up to £3500 per bike to get what we need – though less is fine! 🙂 We’re up in NE Scotland, and would need to be able to go on a test ride … though we’re happy to travel to do this – once we’re allowed!

    Reply
    • February 17, 2021 at 6:25 pm
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      Hi Anne,

      I’ve received your message and will see what’s currently available that suits your criteria. The only e-bikes I’m currently aware of that weigh under 15kg are powered by the ebikemotion rear hub motor system, but these do have limited battery range, but a range extender can be purchased that effectively doubles the battery range. Did you require low-step or regular frames?

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
      • February 18, 2021 at 8:57 pm
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        Thank you Tony! Alternatively, if removing the battery takes the weight to under 15kg, that would be fine too. We don’t mind whether it’s a low-step or regular frame 🙂
        Warmest wishes,
        Anne

        Reply
        • February 19, 2021 at 6:22 pm
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          Hi Anne,

          My own e-bike uses the Shimano Steps motor with a 504Wh battery. I get about 60-70 miles in constant ‘eco’ mode with up to 100 miles if I don’t rely on the assist as much. Bearing in mind I weigh 107kg and live in Cornwall which is very hilly. I’ve weighed my bike and it’s 17.8kg with battery and 15.3kg without (that’s for a large frame). I have covered about 1000 miles on it since I bought it at the end of October last year and it has performed flawlessly. I’ve ridden it on rough tracks on Bodmin moor and it handles different terrains really well – I have written a detailed article here.

          Another good bike is the Ribble AL e hybrid. I am in the process of testing one out courtesy of Ribble cycles and it’s a great bike, very light (13.7kg) but it only has a 250Wh battery and because it uses a hub motor it doesn’t produce the same kind of assist as the Vitus. The main benefit of the Ribble is it feels like a normal bike with the assist switched off. My Vitus is fine to pedal with the assist off but you do notice the extra weight on the hills.

          The BMC AMP AL Cross is another very good bike which uses the Shimano Steps E6100 system, it’s available from Pure Electric and they have a shop in Edinburgh, which you could potentially visit and arrange a test ride. The BMC also weighs around 17/18kg minus 2.5kg for the battery, I had a go on one last year and was very impressed with the general feel and quality of the bike.

          I hope this information helps, if you need any more advice, please let me know.

          Kind regards,
          Tony

          Reply
          • February 20, 2021 at 11:55 pm
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            Thanks again Tony! Lots of food for thought there. We’ll be heading off to test-drive some of these as soon as we are allowed to move again!! Looking at the mudguards and rack you got for your Vitus Mach E, they would add another kilo or so of weight. Is there a lighter combo that doesn’t cost the earth? Living up in Scotland, and holidaying regularly in Cumbria, we do encounter rather a lot of wet weather and roads so full length mudguards are essential 🙂

            Best wishes
            Anne

  • December 19, 2020 at 10:41 am
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    Hi Tony
    I read your article on lightweight ebikes with great interest as I am about to replace my Smart ebike. I also live in Cornwall and have several of 10-15 % inclines on any route I take. I have always coped with the hills with my 30nm motor on my Smart bike but have run out of range a few times at 25-30 miles.
    I had been persuaded by my friends to go for the Cube Cross Hybrid All-road pro 625 with its large battery and 85 nm Bosch 4 motor. I went to Certini to order the Cube only to be distracted by the Specialized Turbo Vado SL. I was unable to try a Cube but had a quick ride on the Vado which I found slick and very easy to ride. Now I am unsure which bike to go for.
    I am 67 years old and weigh in at just under 100kg. I consider myself a reasonably strong cyclist. I have found the Smart ebike heavy to handle and ride without power and am concerned that I may find the same with the Cube. My other concern is that with the reduced power of the Vado would I be able to keep up with my friends on their more powerful bikes on hill climbs, at the moment I leave them standing with the Smart as I attack hills. I mostly ride on roads rather than trails and cycle for exercise rather than just leisure.
    When I change bikes I want to feel that I have up-graded from the Smart which was advanced with its regeneration braking system when I bought it several years ago.
    I would appreciate your advice as to which bike would suit me best.
    Thanks
    Pete

    Reply
    • December 19, 2020 at 12:57 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Pete,

      As much as I like the Cube (I’ve ridden several models including the 2020 Kathmandu 625)it’s incredibly heavy at around 25kg. I also had a go on the Specialized a while back and in my opinion the Turbo Vado SL is a much better option for a cyclist who wants a lightweight bike that can be ridden with or without the assist. Because the Vado uses an integrated mid-drive system combined with a wide-range rear cassette (11-42 for the SL 4.0), it does the job on the steep climbs in South East Cornwall. The latest Bosch CX motor does produce considerably more torque and feels more powerful when riding, but you tend to rely on the higher assist levels for the climbs to overcome the extra weight of the bike – there’s nearly 10kg difference between the Cube and Specialized. I ride a mix of regular road bike, CX bike and e-bike – my electric bike is a Vitus Mach E which uses the Shimano Steps E6100 motor. That weighs in at 17.8kg with pedals fitted. I have done a YouTube video of me comparing heart rate monitor and Strava segment data riding a local route on two different e-bikes vs a regular bike – Here is the link to the video. I’m doing some more videos on local Strava hill segments which I’ll be posting soon.

      If you have any more questions, please let me know. If you want to pop in for a chat, I live halfway between Saltash and Liskeard.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • December 17, 2020 at 5:23 pm
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    Hi Tony.
    Very good articles. Have you had a chance to ride a kinesis range e bike? I did & was very impressed with it the saddle was very unconfutable the handlebars were to wide it, it did give the ride i thought it would.
    I ride a Whyte Montpellier with carbon wheels, which makes for a very good ride considering I have arthritis of the knees, its a good light weight bike. I am after a ebike that will give a similar ride any suggestions.
    Regards Phil

    Reply
    • December 17, 2020 at 10:33 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Phil,

      I haven’t had a chance to ride any of the Kinesis range yet, but I’m hoping to get hold of one of their gravel e-bikes in the new year. The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Sport is an excellent bike, it weighs in at around 16.5kg, and uses the excellent Shimano Steps E6100 motor. I’ve ridden the Fazua, X35 ebikemotion and Shimano Steps motors side-by-side and the Shimano motor produces a lot more in the way of assist, whilst also being very efficient.

      I did have a quick ride on a Whyte Hoxton earlier in the year and that is very similar in design to the Kinesis and it uses the Fazua motor.

      If you’re looking for a really lightweight e-bike, the Ribble AL e takes some beating. I just handed back their CGR AL e gravel bike and that tipped my scales at 13.4kg. The x35 ebikemotion system fitted to the Ribble has a total weight of 3.5kg making it the lightest e-bike system currently available. I personally felt when riding it (without the assist) it didn’t feel like an electric bike. Although the assist wasn’t as strong as the Shimano motor, it still felt more than adequate to cope with the short, steep hills in Cornwall.

      Another fairly lightweight e-bike I’m hearing good things about is the Canyon Roadlite:ON – that also uses the Fazua motor and is currently on offer.

      It really depends on how much assist you need, and how hilly the area is where you live. I personally love my Vitus Mach E Urban – it’s good to ride, with or without the assist and although it’s heavier than some of the other bikes, it still has light and responsive handling but with really strong e-assist when needed.

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 30, 2020 at 8:20 am
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    Good reviews, to me there is too much focus on heavy front suspension bikes whereas the bikes you’ve reviewed are a better option. However, my Boardman HYB 8.9e is once again back at Halfords after 5 months with a recurring problem of very clunky gear changes when the fazua system is operating. The latest solution (from Halfords) is to stop pedaling each time I change gears which to me not a viable solution at all. I think the Fazua system is great in principle but possibly the bikes other components are not up to the task. If Halfords offer a refund I’ll probably pay the extra and go for the specialized.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2020 at 8:34 am
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      Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for sharing. I have read about similar problems with other Fazua-powered e-bikes – it seems to be related to the motor gearbox. I own the Vitus Mach E which uses the Shimano Steps E6100, and gear changes are incredibly smooth and precise, despite Shimano Alivio being considered an ‘entry level’ derailleur. The Specialized SL 4.0 is a remarkable bike, they’ve done an excellent job of integrating the e-assist to the point that you feel like you’re riding an ordinary bike, but have the legs and fitness of a pro rider!

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 7, 2020 at 9:25 am
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    Hi Tony,
    I have a Trek Powerfly 5 Hardtail at the moment. The Bosch motor gives great assistance but the bike is heavy. A couple of times I have used all the battery after 45/50 miles. Really hard work finishing the last few miles without assistance. But as I have been cycling longer journeys recently and spend far more time riding on roads I have been considering the Vado 5 SL or the Cannondale Quick NEO 2 SL. I am 67 years old so slightly concerned about reducing the motor assistance level. Vado lists 35 NM, Cannondale 40 NM. Can you simply explain how much power assist I will lose although I realise a lighter bike will mean I can continue my ride anyway. Finding your reviews brilliant, very helpful by the way.

    Reply
    • October 7, 2020 at 6:49 pm
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      Hi Richard,

      Even though the torque figures for the X35 hub motor (fitted to the Cannondale)are marginally higher than the Specialized motor. The way the Vado SL transfers the power from the crank to the rear wheel is more efficient and will be better for hill climbing. The 320Wh internal battery should also give a potential range of 50-70 miles. Even though the Bosch CX motor fitted to your Trek produces greater torque, the actual power output is approximately the same (as the Specialized and Cannondale). The 8kg weight difference between the Specialized and Trek should compensate for the difference in torque – plus the Vado is a lot easier to pedal without assist, so if you do run out of battery power it will feel like pedalling a slightly heavy regular hybrid bike. The tyres on the Vado SL will also have substantially lower rolling resistance than the MTB tyres fitted to your Trek.

      Having ridden quite a few X35 hub motor e-bikes, I feel the assist is adequate for a rider who already has a reasonable level of fitness, but wants to ride a bit further without being totally knackered. The pedal assist is provided by a sensor ring mounted on the gear cassette and has a more on/off feel to it. The torque-sensing pedal assist on the Specialized SL 1.1 motor will feel more familiar if you’re used to riding a Bosch-powered e-bike.

      I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • October 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
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        Hi Tony,

        I really appreciate your explanation, describing the difference in motors/batteries.

        Many thanks
        Richard

        Reply
        • October 21, 2020 at 6:49 am
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          Hi Richard,

          You’re welcome. Glad you found the article useful.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 10:21 am
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    Hi Tony, as others, I have found this article very useful. I am thinking of buying a Specialized turbo Vado SL. In your article you link to a 4.0 model and say it weighs in at 14.9kg. Later, in response to a comment you mention the Future Shock suspension saying it takes the sting out of potholes. As far as I can see this is only available on the 5.0. Is this right? I cannot find anything which tells me how much it adds to the weight. Also are 38mm tyres really ok on forest tracks?

    Reply
    • September 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm
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      Hi Joanna,

      I can confirm the Future Shock 1.2 is only available on the Vado 5.0 and above. The 4.0 also has aluminium forks whereas the 5.0 has carbon forks. The Future Shock system adds approximately 200 grams to the overall weight of the bike.

      The suitability of the tyres really depend on how rough the forest tracks are. My touring bike uses 35mm tyres and handles gravel and forest tracks just fine (running slightly lower tyre pressure than on the road). If you were going to be riding off-road on a regular basis, then I might be worth getting something with front suspension like a hybrid or MTB. There is a weight penalty, but for regular off-road riding you can’t beat a bit of front suspension.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 10:32 pm
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    Hi Tony – as with other readers I really appreciated your article. So much so I decided to buy one of the bikes for my partner, she isn’t an experienced cyclist and is asthmatic so an e bike looks like a good choice. Unfortunately we can’t find anything in stock (12th September, UK). Halfords have sold out of the Boardman HYB 8.9e, can’t find a Orbeo Gain F40 anywhere and ditto the Vado SL.

    Is there a famine of these bikes and how would you recommend I go about ordering one? My first choice would be the Gain F40, followed by the 8.9e then the Vado.

    Regards,

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 7:17 pm
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      Hi John,

      There’s definitely been a shortage of available electric bikes recently due to the large spike in the demand caused by the current situation. I’ve had a look around an Pure Electric have some stock of the Gain F40, depending on colour and size preference – here is the link to the Orbea Gain F40 on their website.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 27, 2020 at 10:43 am
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    Great review.

    However I just tried to order a Ribble CGR ALe with flat handlebars and they advised me they no longer sell it ! Pity, as it looked like the right bike for me.

    Reply
    • August 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm
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      Hi Colin,

      Thanks for letting me know. That’s a shame Ribble have stopped selling the flat bar version of the CGR, I was always under the impression you could custom-build a bike using their ‘bike builder’ option. I know they’ve experienced unprecedented demand over the last 3 months, so maybe they’re only selling the more popular options.

      Reply
  • August 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm
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    Hi,
    thank you for this very interesting article.
    Could you tell me if the Vado SL can go on tracks, like a gravel? or is it really for the bitumen and the city?

    Reply
    • August 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm
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      Hi Dominique,

      I have tested the Vado SL on gravel and light woodland trails and it deals with different terrains very well (in my opinion). I was so impressed with its all-terrain abilities that I’ve included it on my list of Best Electric Bikes for Bikepacking.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 21, 2020 at 8:38 am
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    Hello,

    Excellent article!
    I was wondering: Have you ever tried the Schindelhauer Arthur?
    Thank you,
    Nas

    Reply
    • August 21, 2020 at 9:59 am
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      Hi Nas,

      I haven’t had a chance to test a Schindelhauer Arthur yet, but looking at the specification it looks like a well-designed e-bike. It’s also very stylish and I like the fact it uses a low-maintenance Gates Carbon belt drive. One exciting new e-bike I will be testing in the Autumn is the new Modmo Saigon – looking at the spec it looks very interesting, it also uses a Gates belt drive and has a high-capacity battery giving it a potential range of 200km. Here is a link to their website.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 1, 2020 at 12:44 pm
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    Really love your reviews. You hit the mark of giving enough detail and experience without going completely down the “lycra rabbit hole”. There is also no sense that you are just going with the herd on your opinions.

    The Boardman looks like favourite for me. Maybe worth mentioning that they do a women’s version as well, which is unusual.

    Reply
    • August 1, 2020 at 2:48 pm
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      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for the complement, glad you’ve found the reviews useful.

      The Boardman is definitely the best all-rounder of the bunch and excellent value for money. My personal favourite is the Specialized, but it does cost over £500 more. My friend’s wife has the Women’s specific Boardman e-bike, and uses it to join her husband on longer bike rides – she’s very pleased with the battery range, reliability and performance and only uses the motor to keep pace on the steep hills we get in Cornwall.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • July 25, 2020 at 8:45 am
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    Hi
    I’m a newbie rider no experience, I struggle to keep up with my friends and pushing the bike up not so big hills. I have a budget of 2k what would you recommend? Would above bikes have enough power to push me up with assist or is there a lot of effort still required?

    I’d prefer a light weight bike with a long battery if that’s possible?

    Reply
    • July 25, 2020 at 9:54 am
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      Hi Chris,

      It really depends on your level of fitness. When I started out four years ago I was well out of shape and unfit through years of bad diet and heavy smoking. I live in Cornwall and there’s very steep hills everywhere. In the beginning I didn’t feel 250w was enough power and still needed to put a fair bit of effort in – there are a lot of 10-15% climbs in my area.

      I stopped using e-bikes for regular cycling 3 years ago and lost about 5st since then riding a road bike, so now when I test ride and e-bike it always feels quite powerful. Depending on the style of bike you’re after I would be inclined to go for something like the Ribble CGR AL e electric gravel bike as it’s quite light (about 13kg) and it can be ridden on and off road. The Boardman HYB is also a good bike. The Lapierre E-Sensium 200 is a great bike and comes in on budget at £1999.

      All the bikes above have fairly small batteries and will give you a range of between 40-80 miles depending on how much you use the assist. If you ride with the power on constantly you will likely get less range. The Specialized Vado Sl 4.0 offers the best overall performance with a more powerful battery, but it’s nearly £2.5k.

      You’ll still need to put a bit of effort in on the steeper climbs but the motor will take the sting out and make you feel like you’ve got the legs of Bradley Wiggins!

      I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • July 20, 2020 at 6:19 pm
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    Hi Tony
    This has been a very helpful article and feedback. My question is I have bought the Specialized Vado SL 5.0 and love it for just going out in the roads around my house. So much I want to buy another one for my partner. The model is sold out everywhere and I saw a Boardman HYB today which is available to purchase. Would I notice much difference in the 2 bikes as I don’t want to settle for a bike of less performance. The Specialized seems to have more “torque” which would be something maybe worth waiting for? What would you do?
    Many thanks
    Hugh

    Reply
    • July 20, 2020 at 7:16 pm
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      Hi Hugh,

      As much as I like the Boardman HYB, If it was me I would wait until the Specialized is back in stock. Although the Fazua motor is excellent, I personally felt the Vado SL motor had the edge in terms of performance and efficiency. The Vado SL also has a higher energy capacity battery. The other feature I really liked with the Specialized was the Future Shock which I found really took the sting out of small potholes.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 27, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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    Just to say thank you, Tony, for such a balanced and well written set of reviews.

    John

    Reply
    • June 28, 2020 at 8:56 am
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      Hi John,

      Thank you for your feedback, glad you’ve found my articles useful.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 24, 2020 at 11:00 am
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    Hello Tony,

    Your article is very interesting and easy to read, thank you!
    I am short (145cm) and I’m looking for a ebike for short rides, mainly to work and shopping. I’m from Portugal and I’m struggling a bit because of the size issue here.
    What would you recommend?
    Many thanks,

    Reply
    • June 24, 2020 at 8:34 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Clara,

      There are a couple of e-bikes that may be suitable. The Cube compact hybrid. Can be adaptable to riders of all sizes. My daughter who is 152cm could ride it comfortably.

      Another option would be to look at different compact folding e-bikes, most of these will suit different riders. The NCM Paris has also been ridden by my daughter and even though the manufacturer specifies 160cm minimum, she had no problems riding it.

      There is also a range of e-bikes now available to suit younger adults, these generally have smaller wheels and frames. Here is an example of one on Amazon.es it has a very small 34cm frame with 24″ wheels.

      I hope this information helps, if you have any further questions, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 5, 2020 at 10:58 am
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    Hi, Great article, looking to buy one of these and had the Specialized, Cannondale and Boardman on my wish list so good to hear your views on them.

    One other I’ve been looking at is the Ampler Curt which seems to fit the bill as lightweight and very stealthy in terms of not looking like and electric bike – Have you had the opportunity to try one of these as yet and if so do you have any thoughts ?

    Thanks

    Paul

    Reply
    • June 5, 2020 at 12:16 pm
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      Hi Paul,

      I haven’t had a chance to ride an Ampler Curt yet, but looking at the specification it looks like a decent enough e-bike. I think the only thing that lets it down is it looks a bit pricey at £2585, especially when you consider the Boardman is currently £1999 and the Specialized Vado 4.0 is £2495. The Specialized has a higher capacity battery and the SL 1.1 mid-drive motor is excellent. I’ll have to get on to Ampler to see if they can send me one to try out!

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 5, 2020 at 9:04 am
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    Hi guys,
    I am after an EBike mainly for work and the odd weekend ride, I’m looking at the Boardman HYB 8.9 or the Orbea gain F40. I want to have a maximum price of 2k, which bike would you recommend please?

    Reply
    • June 5, 2020 at 12:02 pm
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      Hi Peter,
      At its current price the Boardman HYB is hard to beat. The Shimano Deore M6000 groupset with 11-42 10-speed cassette give a really good spread of gears, and the fact you can remove the motor and battery is a really useful feature (if you fancy riding without the motor from time to time).

      The Gain F40 is also a great bike and it feels a bit lighter and more nimble than the Boardman, but if it was my money, I would go for the Boardman for sure.

      If you need any more advice, let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
      • June 5, 2020 at 3:59 pm
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        Thanks very much for your feedback Tony, could you recommend anything else in that price range? If not I’m going for the Boardman HYB.

        Cheers Pete.

        Reply
        • June 5, 2020 at 4:57 pm
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          Hi Pete,

          The one other bike that stands out in that price range is the Ribble AL e hybrid – it uses the X35 ebikemtion system (like the Orbea and Cannondale) It’s £1899 and weighs in at just 13.1kg (medium frame). I’ve ridden the Gravel bike version and it rides and feels like a normal bike – the pedal assist isn’t quite as refined as the torque sensor used on the Boardman, but it produces a nice turn of power for getting up steep hills. If it was a toss-up between the two, I’d still be inclined towards the Boardman. Both bikes are pretty good at handling unpaved surfaces like canal towpaths and compacted gravel.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
          • June 6, 2020 at 12:37 pm
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            Thanks again for your feedback Tony.

  • June 3, 2020 at 2:50 am
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    I am debating between a Civia, Specialized and Scott sub Active eRide. I am in my early 60’s and plan on leisure riding eg parks, trails and some city riding. Weight in a concern but I plan on a Thule ramp for my car to help with transporting. I am concern with the weight of the Scott with the Bosch motor being heavy but it looks like a well made bike. Your thoughts?

    Reply
    • June 4, 2020 at 12:08 am
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      Hi Mary Jo,

      The Scott Sub Active eRide is incredibly reliable and well-made. I have just recommended that particular bike to a friend of the family who is in her late 70’s. It is, unfortunately a bit on the heavy side at approximately 23kg. You can easily remove the battery prior to loading / unloading – this will reduce the weight by around 3kg.

      If weight is an issue, I would consider something like the Orbea Optima E50 – this bike uses the X35 ebikemotion hub motor with internal 250 watt hour battery. It won’t have quite the same performance and battery range as the Bosch, but the X35 is a very lightweight system (3.6kg including battery). The whole bike is about 7kg lighter than the Scott.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Reards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 1, 2020 at 11:57 am
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    Hello, what a great article. I’m looking at buying either the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 which has the upgrade of handbar suppression or the Giant FastRoad E+ 1 Pro 2020.
    I really like the Specialized as it has the forgiving handbar set up for British roads and i’m age 55 so want something more forgiving.
    But what is you opinion on the Giant ? would that be a better choice?
    Many thanks,
    John.

    Reply
    • June 1, 2020 at 12:25 pm
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      Hi John,

      It really depends on how much of a factor weight is. The SyncDrive Pro motor fitted to the Giant produces more torque than the Specialized motor, and also has a better battery range, but the FastRoad E+1 is about 4kg heavier than the Specialized.

      The headshock system on the Specialized works really well and definitely takes the sting out of British roads. If it was my money I would be inclined to go for the Specialized, but if you live in a hilly area and are going to be relying on the e-assist more often than not, I would say the Giant is a better bet.

      I hope this helps, if you need any more advice, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply

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