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E-Bike Report 2023

a couple bicycling fast on a rural road
Photo by Team EVELO on Pexels.com


This document provides e-bike information and resources. Some commentary is provided, and current news is below in chronological order with the most recent at the top.

Needs Assessment

Your answers to the following questions will help guide you to an e-bike configuration that best fits your needs.

  1. Bike Weight — A light weight e-bike is easier to manage on and off a bike rack or up stairs if carrying indoors. Bike weight is also a factor when considering how much pedaling you plan to do. If the battery wears out while you’re out riding and you need to move entirely on pedal power, having a light weight e-bike is essential. If you plan to travel shorter distances, you can always head out with a full charge and consider carrying an extra battery.
  2. Effort — With traditional bicycles, each rider chooses how much effort they want to expend while riding. A leisurely ride, going 10 MPH on flat and 5 MPH up hills will probably be fairly easy and not result in too much sweat or strain. For those wanting a good workout while riding, who push themselves, speeds of 15 to 20 MPH are common on a traditional bike. Special hand rests, seat, and precise ergonomic adjustments may be needed to reduce fatigue or injury. With e-bikes, the effort expended is also a consideration. The electric motor can help the casual rider enjoy a faster ride and offer the ability to climb steep hills without strain. The intense rider who pushes themself will get the maximum range and speed from their e-bike. If you’re relying on plenty of extra help from the e-bike motor, then getting a bike with a higher power and distance rating may help.
  3. Distance — If planning to use an e-bike for quick errands and short outings, then you need not pay a premium for a long-range e-bike. If you’re planning on longer rides, with little pedaling effort, mostly on battery power, then you’ll want an e-bike with the ability to go longer distances. Distance is greatly impacted by the amount of effort you put in.
  4. Power — If you plan on carrying groceries up steep hills and are a big bodied heavier person, you’ll want an e-bike with plenty of power that won’t struggle going up hills. If you’re planning on riding mostly on flat trails with minimal gear, the power is less of an issue.
  5. Rider Weight — Your body weight is part of the overall load the e-bike will need to propel forward. If you are a heavier person, you’ll need to consider an e-bike with more power and distance, since the expected range will diminish based on these factors.
  6. Seasonal — An inexpensive e-bike with less impressive specs and components will probably work fine as a fair weather bike for short rides. If you are planning to ride in the rain and snow, then choose a model that is more resilient to inclement weather. The cold may reduce range outcomes, so consider purchasing more range and more power than you need. This will help in colder weather when the battery is at lower performance.
  7. Speed — Some riders will be content with having a much easier riding experience while maintaining familiar safe speeds of 10 to 15 MPH on trails. Other riders may want more speed for off-road riding.
  8. Throttle — The throttle is an important feature if you experience a muscle strain or fatigue while riding. The throttle lets you continue moving ahead without any pedaling. It’s also helpful to take a break and rest from exertion without stopping.
  9. Trail Surface — The e-bike designs are available in a wide range of styles including street bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes, and fat tire bikes. If you’re planning to ride on hard paved surfaces all of the time then a street or touring style should work fine and result in more efficiency. If you’re planning some trail riding on gravel or dirt surfaces, then having a mountain bike design will be better since they have wider tires and some offer suspension. Fat tire designs are more rugged and work well over dirt, mud, grass, and uneven surfaces.

Buying Guide

Based on the considerations above, make an effort to get your first e-bike with as many features and capabilities as possible to meet your needs.

Don’t let the shopping decision process and limitless options keep you from getting started with an e-bike.

To help with this, think of your first e-bike as offering you an experience that will help you buy your next e-bike. It may turn out to have all the capability and features you want. However, if there’s some aspect of it that you’d like improved, keep a journal of what you’d like to change next time.

Perhaps you’ll decide that more range would be a benefit. Or, you’ll realize that a 20 MPH top speed isn’t enough. Maybe your riding needs will change. Take the pressure off and get started, knowing that it’s part of a longer process.

You may be 100% pleased with your e-bike. If not, having an extra bike around for family and friends could be a benefit. Or, if you end up selling your first e-bike to get a different model, you can sell it. You won’t get what you paid originally, but think of it as a long-term rental.

Below are some bike shops in the Iowa City area where it’s possible to test ride various brands and models.

Local Area Bike Shops

Rather than ordering online, it’s nice to support your local bike shops. Consider taking out a few different models and designs for a test drive and explore which style best suits your needs. A local bike shop can help with setup, adjustments, and ongoing seasonal maintenance of your e-bike.

In the Iowa City area, here are some e-bike vendors. Some are traditional bike shops, others are mostly focused on e-bikes and scooters for example.

  • Creekside E Bikes – Kalona [Website]
  • Geoff’s Bike & Ski – Iowa City [Website]
  • Pedego – Coralville [Website]
  • Scheels – Coralville [Website]
  • Sugar Bottom Bikes – North Liberty [Website]
  • World of Bikes – Iowa City [Website]

E-Bike Report

Below is a longer report examining current e-bike trends as of 2023.

Factors Driving Popularity

The popularity of electric motor assisted bicycles has been increasing in recent years for a variety of reasons.

  • CLEAN ENERGY — Greater availability of solar and wind power has consumers looking for ways to better utilize their own energy sources.
  • ECO NEWS — Concerns about the environment have motivated people to look for alternatives to traditional gasoline powered vehicles.
  • EV NEWS — More models of automobiles with 100% electric power (EVs) are becoming available from mainstream established companies. This has raised awareness of electric scooters, electric bikes, and other electric/battery powered transportation options.
  • QUALITY — Improved designs are resulting in greater comfort, better components, and more compact designs.
  • RANGE — Better quality batteries provide longer range and more power.
  • TRAILS — Municipalities have invested in bike lanes and bike trails, expanding the options for daily commuters. E-Bikes are permitted on trails which provides a quiet ride without the noise, pollution, and traffic of main roads.
  • TRANSIT — Electric bicycles provide an inexpensive, clean, enjoyable means of transportation.
  • VARIETY — More manufacturers and models become available. This includes lower priced e-bikes as well as those that are better made with higher quality components and longer range.

For all of these reasons, there has been an increased interest in e-bikes.

E-Bike Concerns

For just about every positive point mentioned above, there are equally substantive concerns.

  • CLEAN ENERGY — Electric bicycles, cars, lawn mowers, and similar items promise power from clean energy. Most countries and regions are reliant on coal and nuclear power as sources of electricity. So, our electric-powered cars, bikes, and other devices are only as clean as the electricity that runs them.
  • ECO NEWS — Concerns about the environment are regularly reported in the news. Unfortunately, low-cost poorly made bikes have short lifespans and result in more consumer e-waste. Reports about the environmental impact of mineral mining required to produce e-bike batteries is a concern. Unsavory labor practices are part of the mining practice. Small-scale battery manufacturing, with plastic enclosures, results in low rates or recapturing and recycling.
  • QUALITY — As is typical with consumer products, there is a race to the bottom when manufacturers look for ways to reduce costs, cut corners, and maximize profits. Some of the low-cost e-bikes are poorly made, making them unsafe and more likely to be thrown away after a short use-life.
  • SAFETY — Batteries in cell phones, laptop computers, EVs, and bicycles are a safety concern. There are many stories in the news about batteries spontaneously bursting into flames. The poorer quality batteries and shoddy electrical systems in low-cost e-bikes results in higher than expected rates of fires. There will inevitably be more accidents and injuries from e-bike use. The addition of an electric motor does not magically make people more curious and cautious. The higher speeds and lack of regulations will result in people riding up to almost 30 MPH without any protection for their body other than a helmet.
  • TRAILS — The rise of e-bike use results in more people on bike trails moving at speeds of 20 to 28 MPH. This makes trails and sidewalks more dangerous for pedestrians and regular cyclists.

Benefits of Non-Electric Bikes

While considering electric bikes, it is helpful to keep in mind the many benefits of non-electric bikes.

  • COST — Lower purchase cost. Less costly to maintain with simpler standard components and no need for specialty bike shop service. Repairs can be done at any bike shop since they do not involve electrical components.
  • EASY USE — Easy to pedal when equipped with a moderate-weight frame and high pressure tires.
  • SECURITY — Somewhat less likely to be stolen when parked near more expensive bicycles.
  • WEIGHT — Easier to carry up stairs due to generally lighter weight design.

E-Bike Manufacturers

Here’s a list of some current popular e-bike manufacturers.

  • Aventon — By 2018, Aventon was well established as a bicycle manufacture, and joined the e-bike movement. “Realizing the massive potential electric bikes would hold in opening up the realms of mobility to the greater public, Aventon’s pivot wasn’t an easy decision, but a necessary one. While our third fixed gear bicycle, Kijote, was released, Aventon also launched its first electric bike: the original Pace 500. As the first ebike on the market at the time to look like a sleek, traditional bike, our movement began.” Web: Aventon.com
  • LectricBikes — “The Lectric story began in Lakeville, Minnesota with lifelong friends Levi Conlow and Robby Deziel. This dynamic duo met at a young age playing video games together virtually, and a lasting friendship followed suit… the duo quickly joined the ebike industry from a small garage in Phoenix, Arizona.” Web: LectricBikes.com
  • Tenways — “We, TENWAYS, are a group of cycle enthusiasts and experts in the bike trade who are obsessed with building a greener and more sustainable world together, through a community of e-bikers. With our headquarters in the Netherlands, and a rock-solid, vertically integrated global manufacturing and supply chain, we are right at the heart of every process in the e-bike manufacturing world.” Web: Tenways.com
  • Velotric Bike — “We are Velotric, led by hardware co-founder of Lime, Adam Zhang. Our team members are the brilliant minds from iconic brands such as Lime, Giant, Specialized and Decathlon. We believe ebikes should be elegant, stylish, high performance, reliable, safe, and affordable. We have a vision of a simpler and more expressive ebike experience for riders who want to feel the exhilaration of the open road without any stress or anxiety. Our team has worked tirelessly on our design, and listened to every piece of user feedback to bring you our flagship model, the Velotric Discover 1 – ebike with great style, comfort, and engineering reliability. Velotric is the first ebike that is simple to use, comfortable to ride, excellent in performance, reliable in quality, and superior in style and fashion.” Web: VelotricBike.com
  • Wing Bikes — “At WING we pride ourselves in producing ebikes that deliver incredible value by offering high quality ebikes at a great price point without sacrificing on features, specifications & components.” Web: WingBikes.com

Influence of EV Use

As mentioned above, electric vehicles influence decisions about electric bicycles and they are often included in the same news. Here are some articles from Nicholas Johnson on this topic. Electric bicycles address some of the concerns people have about EVs such as expense and manufacturing impact on the environment.

  • Are Electric Cars the Answer? (3 May 2023) — This report includes a section about the safety of the battery technology used in e-bikes and EVs. [Read]
  • Rethinking The Rush Toward Electric Vehicles (11 Apr 2021) — This report considers some of the challenges with EVs that are distinctly EV issues and not related to e-bikes. [Read
  • Bike to Work, Bike for Life (17 May 2013) — This article is a slightly revised version of the bike to work week writing from 2012. [Read]
  • Bicycles As Problem Solvers (14 May 2012) — This article describes the many benefits of bicycles, and includes a 1973 New York Times piece on bikes. [Read]


Below are news stories and reports related to e-bikes. Entries are in chronological order with source and date used as entry headings.

2023 News

Techs You Can’t Live Without (4 June 2023)

“TOP 5 Best Electric Bike” — Electric Bike: Hey guys, in this video, we’re going to review the pros and cons of the top 5 best Electric Bike for sale right now. [Source]

Electric Bike Report (25 Apr 2023)

“The Best Electric Bikes 2023” — [Source]

2022 News

Electric Bike Report (7 Sep 2022)

“Eunorau Defender S Review” — In this review of the Eunorau Defender S we break down the specs, handling and more of this unique off-road e-bike! Equipped with two bafang 750W hub motors, the Defender S is in a small group of e-bikes that don’t have to think too hard about which hills they can or can’t climb. It could also tow quite a bit of payload if you spring for the optional trailer. [Source]

Bike Zone (18 Jun 2022)

“Hub Drive vs Mid Drive Motor Explained – The Advantages and Disadvantages” — Hub drive vs Mid drive, it’s a common confusion seen among a lot of riders. But which one is better, and what are their differences? To clear out all that confusion and questions, here we are with a video on eBike Motors Explained: Hub drive vs Mid drive, explaining all the basics you need to know. [Source]

Ebike Escape (30 May 2022)

“Eunorau Defender S: Unreal Performance with Dual Motors And Full Suspension” — [Source]

2021 News

Blue Monkey Bicycles (4 Feb 2021)

“New Dual Everything Monster eBike: The DEFENDER S” — You need an electric bike with two motors, two batteries, and two shocks. Don’t believe me? Ask a magic 8-ball, or the Book of Changes, and boom, that proves my point. [Source]

2020 News

Area 13 Bikes (29 Oct 2020)

“Which Electric Bike Motor is Best?” — This video reviews the Warthog 750 HD and Warthog 1000 MD motors as used in Area 13 bikes. [Video Source]

2019 News

Area 13 (1 Jan 2019)

“10 things to know before purchasing an eBike” — [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com