E-Bike Buying Made E-Z

E-bike technology is advanced, but the motor assist makes pedaling a breeze. Ride for longer, get to your destination quickly or match pace with others—all while controlling how much boost you need. More fun and more time outside: Two things we love!

Ready to experience e-phoria for yourself? REI Co-op’s bike experts are here to answer your questions. On this page, we share their tips on key bike features and their top e-bike picks for different riding styles. Or read more about in our electric bike basic series.

Illustration of fox riding an ebike along a urban path
Illustration Credit: Emily Irelan

Pedal Assist

An e-bike’s motor kicks in as soon as you turn the pedals. And assistance stops when you coast or when you reach a given speed, typically 20mph or 28mph. Set the level of assistance you want—higher levels help you climb hills or keep up with traffic more easily.


A more powerful motor offers better acceleration, climbing and hauling performance. Motor power is measured in watts (W) and can range from 250W to 750W or more.


Greater battery capacity gives you more riding time between charges. Capacity is measured in watt hours (Wh): a higher Wh number indicates greater battery capacity (but that number doesn’t tell you how many riding hours a charge will last). A removable battery makes indoor charging easier, while an integrated battery gives the e-bike a cleaner look.

Riding Range

Riding range is the distance a bike can travel on a single battery charge. Use it as a point of comparison, not for trip planning. How and where you ride also affect how long you can go on a charge. Using the low assist mode preserves battery charge, while headwinds and heavy loads drain it faster.


The overall build of an e-bike is slightly more robust than a nonelectric one to support the added weight of the motor. Because they are heavier and faster, most e-bikes are equipped with disc brakes, which offer superior stopping power to rim brakes.

Lighting, Racks, Locks and Suspension

Some e-bikes come with sweet extras, like built-in lighting (that can run off the e-bike battery), an integrated cargo rack or batteries equipped with a lock. And, even if you never plan to ride on a dirt trail, having an e-bike with a suspension fork helps smooth out bumps and potholes for better handling.

Shop All E-Bikes

Find Your Ride 

Three of our favorite e-bikes 

Electra Townie Go! 7D Step-Through 

The Laid-Back One

The integrated battery sits low for balance, and Electra’s classic styling puts you in a relaxed upright pedaling position. It’s easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground at stops. Even better, mechanical disc brakes handle stopping duties reliably and smoothly. 

  • Motor: Hyena 250 W 
  • Battery (fixed): 250 Wh 
  • E-bike Class: Class 1
  • Wheel size: 26 inches
  • Bike suspension: No
  • Price: $1,750 

Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1 

The Free Spirit

Smaller 20″ wheels and a step-thru frame lets anyone hop on and off with ease. Zippy motor/battery combo boasts ample climbing and hauling power. And the rear rack holds cargo and wider tires, and the front suspension cushions the rough patches. Front and rear lights extend your errand-running hours. 

  • Motor: Bafang 350 W 
  • Battery (removable/lockable): 417 Wh 
  • E-bike Class: Class 1
  • Wheel size: 20 inches
  • Bike suspension: Yes
  • Price: $1,499 

Co-op Cycles CTY e1.1 

The Bike About Town 

REI Co-op Cycles CTY e1.1

Guaranteed to get you from here to there with a smile on your face. Commuter touches include a generous battery, 5 pedal-assist levels (plus a walk mode), front and rear lights and flat-resistant tires. So, when it’s time to park, flip down the stable center kickstand. 


  • Motor: Bafang 250 W 
  • Battery (removable/lockable): 450 Wh 
  • E-bike Class: Class 1
  • Wheel size: 27.5 inches
  • Bike suspension: No
  • Price: $1,599 

Help Pass the E-BIKE Act

Help Pass the E-Bike Act

E-bikes are an increasingly popular option for those looking to avoid or offset gas-powered vehicle use. The E-BIKE (Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment) Act would create a 30 percent federal tax credit (of up to $1,500) on the purchase of new e-bikes. Join the REI Cooperative Action Network in supporting this bill to help make this low-carbon transportation option more affordable for everyone.

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