The term “Urban mountain bike” is a bit of an oxymoron, but it makes a lot of sense for electric bikes. These are usually hardtail, hybrid-style e-bikes that incorporate mountain bike-style suspension forks, drivetrains or brakes, yet are designed to tackle the urban jungle.
These e-bikes are often more rugged than standard commuter e-bikes and even allow riders to add in some trail riding on the same bike they ride to work every day. Now, I’m compiling my top five favorite hybrid-style urban e-bikes that I’ve tested for the summer!
This is part of a Top 5 E-Bikes for Summer 2020 series that we’re currently running to help introduce our readers to some great e-bikes for hitting the road or trail this summer.
We’ve already covered a few categories, but be sure to stick around over the next few days to see our choices for the following categories of electric bikes:
- Top 5 electric mopeds
- Top 5 full-suspension electric bikes
- Top 5 fat tire e-bikes
- Top 5 cruiser e-bikes
- Top 5 folding e-bikes (coming later this week)
And be sure to check out our video below that showcases all of the hardtail urban electric mountain bikes in this list in action.
Ride1Up 500 Series e-bike
The Ride1Up 500 Series is honestly one of my favorite hybrid-style electric bikes that works equally well for street-riding and trail-riding.
It is more than fairly priced at $1,195, and when you check out these specs, I think you’ll see that the price is a steal for what you get.
Like all bikes on this list, it’s a hardtail with a suspension fork up front. In the rear, we’ve got a 750W Bafang hub motor that can get the 500 Series up to an advertised top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h), though I find that I get a hair under that speed.
Still, this is a fast e-bike that will definitely get you where you’re going quickly.
For battery, we’re rocking a 500 Wh 48V pack with true LG battery cells. It’s not a huge pack, but 500 Wh is enough for most people, especially if you’re going to help pedal.
On throttle only, range is around 20-25 miles (32-40 km/h). But if you want to add some pedal-assist power you can nearly double that range. There’s also the option to order a larger battery pack that gives you around 70% more battery and more range.
The Ride1up 500 Series doesn’t include racks or fenders in the price, but they sell add-ons so you can add them if you need fenders for rainy areas or racks for carrying cargo. You do get a few nice accouterments though, including leather grips, a built-in LED headlight that runs off the pack and some really nice cable management, if you’re into that sort of thing.
At under $1,200, this is a basic e-bike that offers plenty of speed and range for the average urban warrior.
To learn more about the Ride1Up 500 Series, see my full-length detailed review, or check out my video review below.
pXcycle E-XC+ urban electric mountain bike
Straight out of Portland, the pXcycle E-XC+ is marketed as the ultimate in urban electric mountain bikes.
This e-bike comes standard with a loadout designed for utility. That includes not just a rear rack but also a front rack, allowing you to carry tons of cargo. And the front rack even mounts to the head tube so it remains super stable even in turns.
A hydraulic suspension fork up front smooths out the ride for you, and speaking of smooth, there’s nothing smoother than the pedal assist on this mid-drive motor.
The E-XC+ sports a 500W Shenyi mid-drive motor that uses a torque sensor to give you the smoothest pedal assist. There’s no throttle on this bike, so the pedal-assist better be good… and it IS good!
In top gear, it will rocket you up to 27 mph (43 km/h) without breaking a sweat. Seriously, this thing has significant pull when you put it in the higher pedal assist modes.
Being a mid-drive, you can drop it down into the lower bike gears to get extra torque when you’re climbing hills, not that it doesn’t have plenty of torque anyways. The E-XC+ can climb like a champ and hit high speeds all in the same commute.
The battery isn’t necessarily huge, with a similar 500 Wh pack just like the Ride1up 500 series above, but you get more range out of it due to the pedal-assist only operation of the bike.
They tell you 20-40 miles (32-64 km) of range, but I don’t know how you’d ever see the low end of that. In my experience, you’ll be looking at the higher end of that range most of the time and sometimes exceeding it if you keep the pedal assist level low enough.
Another nice addition it has over the 500 Series is a set of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. They aren’t very high up on Shimano’s hierarchy of juice brakes, but they sure beat adjusting cable brakes any day of the week.
These features add up a bit, meaning you’ll be paying more for a bike like this. When you factor in the two racks, a mid-drive motor, and hydraulic brakes, the price gets bumped up to the tune of $1,895 bucks. For a mid-drive e-bike that can hit class 3 speeds though, that’s a reasonable price. I’ve seen plenty of hub motor e-bikes with similar level specs at this price.
I don’t have my full, in-depth review of the pXcycle E-XC+ bike up yet, but it is coming very soon! So far testing has shown it to be an awesome e-bike and one that I can wholeheartedly recommend as a dual urban/trail bike.
The Aventon Level is a beautiful e-bike that offers a masterclass in how to design a slick-looking bike that still offers plenty of get up and go.
Like all of Aventon’s bikes, the frame is just beautifully constructed. Look at the welds here, or more like, what welds? You can’t even see them. It’s like they pulled the frame out of the earth like this, already forged by the e-bike gods themselves.
I’ve ridden a couple of other Aventon e-bikes before and from what I can see, whoever is welding these things deserves a Carnegie Prize in art.
But of course, it takes more than pretty welds to make this list. Back on the e-bike side of things, we’re looking at a Class 3 e-bike that can hit 28 mph (45 km/h) and comes with both a throttle and pedal assist.
Up front, you’ll find 75 mm of suspension travel, and in the rear, you’ve got yourself a 750W peak motor paired with an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain.
The battery is nicely hidden away in that slightly chunky down tube and packs in 672 Wh of battery that the company claims will give you a real-world 40 miles (64 km) of range, on average.
But they also give you actual TESTED ranges at different speeds, which I really appreciate. Almost no other company does this and it sets Aventon apart as a straight and true company. Respect!
The rest of the components are equally nice, including a large display, hydraulic disc brakes on 180mm rotors, an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain, included rack and fenders, etc. Basically a bunch of pretty nice parts.
The Aventon Level is priced at $1,599. Is that a fair price? You better believe it is!
A Class 3 e-bike with juice brakes, premium construction, and backed by a super honest company that’s up front about their bike’s performance right from the start? Heck yeah, I’d pay that. Just compare it to the competition and you’ll see that this price is more than fair. And while you’re at it, compare their welds too!
I’ll be publishing my full, in-depth review of the Aventon Level e-bike soon. For now, rest assured that I’m loving the bike and definitely give it two thumbs up!
RadCity 4 from Rad Power Bikes
Up next is a crowd favorite, the RadCity 4 from Rad Power Bikes. Rad is the largest e-bike company in the US and for good reason, they know how to make e-bikes that people love and they know how to get them out there on the road. And the RadCity is no different.
This bike is a commuter classic that received a few updates at the beginning of the year.
Up front, it sports a Suntour spring fork with 100 mm of travel, and in the rear, it rocks that massive direct drive 750W hub motor, making it the only e-bike on this list that is capable of performing regenerative braking.
Not only does that dribble a bit more charge into the battery, but it also saves your brake pads from wearing out as quickly or needing adjustment, which is good because we’re rocking mechanical brakes here. There’s nothing wrong with mechanical brakes, they just require sporadic maintenance that hydraulic brakes save you from.
Powering that big motor is a 672 Wh battery with Samsung 18650 cells. It should be good for around 30 miles or 50 km of range on throttle riding and around 50 miles or 80 km if you do some honest pedal-assist riding. Part of the reason that the range is so good is that the top speed is a bit slower at just 20 mph (32 km/h).
That seems to be enough for many people, though you didn’t hear this from me, you can actually remove the speed limit on the bike to get about 25% higher speed.
All in all, this is a solid commuter e-bike that can easily handle both smooth bike lanes and pockmarked streets. Between the included rack and fenders and the included LED lights, you’ve got everything you need to get rolling right out of the box.
At just $1,499, Rad remains one of the best modestly-priced e-bike brands in the business. Sure, there are nicer parts out there on other bikes, but it’s hard for anyone to touch Rad Power Bikes when it comes to value, service, and support. That’s just what you get when you choose a company with the staying power of Rad.
If you want to learn more details about the RadCity 4, check out my full in-depth RadCity review, or watch my review video below!
Electric Bike Company Model R
And last but certainly not least is the Electric Bike Company Model R, an e-bike that I very recently reviewed and very recently fell in love with.
It’s another hardtail like the rest of the bikes on this list, but with a different twist, it has more of a cruiser bike vibe to it. Check out the wide handlebars and the upright seating position. However, it’s much more rugged than a typical cruiser bike. In fact, that’s what the “R” in Model R stands for.
You get a nice suspension fork and plush saddle to give the most comfortable ride possible. This e-bike was absolutely built for cruising, and cruising is what it does, right up to a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h).
Its motor is rated at 750W continuous but pulls up to 1,250W peak, meaning it can climb hills like a champ and get up to speed quickly. It also has the best brakes of any bike on this list, with 4-piston Tektro Dorado hydraulic disc brakes.
Another unique selling point of the Model R is that it’s an American made e-bike. The company has a factory in Newport Beach, California, which must cost them a fortune but somehow they still do it, with Americans building American e-bikes. I visited their factory and was blown away by the quality they put into these things.
The Model R is just a really nice commuter that combines power with comfort. Priced at $2,199, it’s not cheap, but then again you’re getting the most power on this list, some of the best components, and American assembly on top of everything, so you get what you pay for.
If you want to learn more details about the EBC Model R, check out my full in-depth Model R e-bike review, or watch my review video below!
Want to see even more e-bikes?
I hope you enjoyed my list of my five favorite hardtail hybrid-style e-bikes I’ve reviewed this year. It’s a tall order to choose only five, and there are plenty of other great bikes out there too, such as the hardtail Ariel Rider D-Class mini-bike, which I included on my Top 5 electric moped list.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another list of my top five e-bikes for summer 2020 in the next category!
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