(Pocket-lint) - Welcome to our guide to the best ebikes or electric bikes, as they're more commonly known.
It might be that you love cycling, and can't imagine a world where you don't put in the full effort to get around, pedalling hard and making your sweat count.
Or, whether for reasons of fitness or inclination, you might not fancy turning up to meetings and gatherings hot and tired, or needing to pack a change of clothes with you for when you get to work. Perhaps a slightly more relaxed mode of transport could be perfect for you — an electric bike.
Reaping all the benefits of manoeuvrability and access, with the added bonus of an electric motor to assist you as you pedal (or take charge entirely), once you try an electric bike it can be pretty difficult to return to the dark ages of moving yourself around. We've taken a detailed look at the many, many models available, and narrowed them down to a small selection for you to peruse, here.
Our guide to the best electric bikes to buy today
When it comes to bike design, VanMoof knows what it's doing. It's been building lights-inclusive bikes with sleek, beautiful looks for years now, and is increasingly pushing into electric models. Its latest iteration, the S3, is a superb bike with premium features, but you wouldn't even really know it was electric without looking closely.
To combat theft, it has a built-in alarm and GPS tracking, but the real star is how incredibly relaxing it is to ride. A top speed of 25km/h will make you feel like you're flying around. If you want to feel like you're living your best cycling life, the VanMoof is as good as it gets, especially since the S3 has seen its price drop down impressively.
Prefaced with the fact that it's not yet available in the US, for our UK and EU readers Cowboy is one of the very best electric bikes on the market. It's a swish package that's activated through a companion app and features pedal-assist power that can take you up to speeds of 25 kilometres per hour - no gears, no fussing. We've cycled all over town on it, and had a superb time doing so, with little effort expended to take us on long journeys.
Its battery detaches for easy charging, and can last for journeys of more than 65 kilometres, while lights are built into its sleek matte frame. This is absolutely one of the classiest electric models out there, with most people we ran it past agreeing that you wouldn't even know it was electric unless you were told.
There's no escaping the fact that it's an expensive option, but if you're a commuter who wants to cut down on effort, or simply fancy taking weekend bike rides that can have expansive scope, the Cowboy is a superb option that we had a blast riding.
We're not necessarily natural fans of the compact bike format — while the usefulness is hard to deny, there's something about most designs that just looks a little flimsy and even silly. It's much to our surprise, then, just how impressively Gocycle has managed to make the format work.
The GS is a compact in size, and can be folded down to a much smaller size, for compact living spaces and storage. Its battery is within the frame of the bike itself, unlike many models, which helps with its lovely looks. Lights are built-in, too, but the real key is its assistance cycling. You get up to 65km of travel from a 7-hour charge, depending on how much you use the motor. Of course, as with almost all the models on this list, the downside is that it doesn't come cheap by any means.
Gtech eBike City
In fact, the next bike on our list is arguably the only one that doesn't have a premium price tag attached. The eBike City edition from Gtech is about as close to a normal bike as you can get while retaining electrification — it's just got a bottle-shaped battery on its frame, and a motor on the rear wheel to betray its power.
This is a pedal-assist bike with no independent thrust, but it will absolutely help you make your commute or any journey with markedly less effort than you're used to. A three-hour charge for the battery will nab you a speed boost for up to 30 miles on its most economical mode, the sort of uplift that you'll notice. No electric bike comes cheap, but if you don't want to break into quadruple figures, the Gtech eBike City is one of your best options.
Slicing your price expectations by a good margin is the Volt Pulse, a far more straightforward-looking bike, which actually won't mark you out from the normal cyclists on your commute. With a creditable 129km range and suspension to make sure that bumps in the road don't upend you, there's a lot going for the Volt.
As the only hybrid on our list, if you're planning to do any cycling that might vary between road and light trails, it will make a great companion, helping to ease the load on you. A quick four-hour charge will have it full and ready to go again, too.