Best Class 1 eBikes – Which One to Choose?
Electric bicycles (eBikes) come in three classes: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. In this article, we’ll discuss the best Class 1 eBikes, which are pedal-assist bikes that always require some form of pedaling in order to move. The power output is restricted to 20mph (32km/h), after which you can only accelerate by pedaling.
Class 1 eBike = Pedelec = Pedal Electric Cycle
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What is a Class 1 eBike?
Class 1 eBikes are limited to 750-watt motors, 20mph max speed, with pedal-assistance only (Without a throttle)
A Class 1 eBike is much like a standard push bicycle but includes a small battery and a lightweight motor, usually between 250W and 500W.
The motor only provides mild assistance with pedaling, helping to reduce the effort required to propel the bicycle. In order to cycle, the rider must still pedal using the crank and drivetrain just as one would a normal bike.
The motors on Class 1 eBikes are limited to 20mph (32km/h) due to regulations. Once you reach this speed, the motor will no longer provide assistance.
Class 1 vs Class 2 eBikes
Class 1 and Class 2 electric bikes are very similar in design and are both limited to a maximum speed of 20mph (32km/h). However, Class 2 is an electric bike with a throttle, meaning you can accelerate from the handlebars without having to pedal. Class 2 still benefits from pedal-assistance, particularly if you want to save battery, but it isn’t a necessity in order to move forward.
Class 1 vs Class 3 eBikes
The main difference in a Class 3 eBike is the maximum speed, which is increased to 28mph (45km/h). Like a Class 1 eBike, the Class 3 has no throttle* and must be operated via pedal assistance. This means it’s actually more similar to a Class 1 eBike than a Class 2 eBike but it can just go a bit faster.
*In addition to 28mph pedal-assistance, some class 3 eBikes also have 20mph throttle assistance.
Best Class 1 Electric City Bikes
1. Co-op Cycles – CTY e2.2 – $2,400
2. Gazelle – Ultimate T10 HMB- $3,800
3. Tern – HSD P9 – $3,499
4. Trek – Verve+ 2 – $2,750
5. Electra – Townie GO! 7D – $1,500
1. Co-op Cycles – CTY e2.2
Probably the best value class 1 electric bike for everyday commuting
Weight: 52 lbs
The CTY e2.2 is an electric pedal bike from REI’s Co-op line of bicycles and one of the best value eBike’s on the market. Despite falling in a relatively average price range, the CTY e2.2 is packed full of high-quality components and weighs a moderate 52lbs (23.5kg).
For the motor, Co-op went all out on a Shimano E6100, one of the more powerful 250W motors with 60Nm of torque. It’s fuelled by an equally impressive 36V Shimano E8010 battery which locks into the frame and can be removed for easy overnight charging. A fully charged battery will take you about 50 miles (80km) with pedal assistance, so you’ll easily have a full day of cycling.
To support the motor, riders get a 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, providing strong braking at high speed and more than enough gear ratio for steep hills. All these quality components are built around a 6061 aluminum frame with a 75mm Suntour MOBIE-A32 fork, delivering just enough travel to smooth out any bumps and vibrations.
- Frame – Aluminum
- Fork – 75mm, Suntour MOBIE-A32
- Derailleur – 1×9 speed Shimano Alivio
- Brakes – Shimano Altus hydraulic disc
2. Gazelle – Ultimate T10 HMB
One of the most powerful Class 1 eBikes with Monoshock spring fork
Weight: 51 lbs
The Gazelle Ultimate T10 is one of the most powerful Class 1 eBikes available, with a 500W motor that kicks out a full 65Nm of torque. This is quite impressive for a Class 1 pedal-assist electric bike as most have 40Nm or less torque.
The Bosch Performance motor, mounted where the bottom bracket usually sits, is one of the best mid-drive electric bike motors on the market. The aluminum frame features a 30mm Monoshock spring fork which isn’t exactly a suspension fork but it certainly helps to smooth out the road vibrations.
To keep the motor turning, Gazelle has included a removable 500W battery neatly integrated into the downtube for a sleek appearance. The 10-speed Shimano Deore XT drivetrain is one usually reserved for performance MTBs, so you’re guaranteed to have no trouble with gearing in tough conditions.
To ensure safety at all times, Gazelle has fitted the Ultimate T10 with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and eBike-specific Schwalbe Energizer tires. This excellent combination of top-quality brakes and puncture-resistant tires won’t let you down, no matter the weather conditions.
- Frame – Aluminum
- Fork – 30mm, Monoshock spring suspension
- Derailleur – 1×10 speed Shimano Deore XT
- Brakes – Shimano BR-MT hydraulic disc
3. Tern – HSD P9
Class 1 electric folding cargo bike
Weight: 56 lbs
Electric bikes are very convenient while cycling but more often than not, they’re heavy and awkward to transport or store. Introducing the Tern HSD P9 – a battery-powered bike that folds up for easy indoor storage or loading on public transport. The low-profile frame uses a folding handlebar while the telescoping seat post slips away, resulting in a small, compact package.
Despite its miniature size, the HSD P9 packs a punch with a 250W Bosch Active Line Plus motor, kicking out 50Nm of torque and fuelled by a 400Wh removable battery. When fully charged, you should be able to get up to 69 miles (111km) of pedal-assisted cycling out of the battery, or 26 miles (41km) with minimal pedaling.
The folding frame is built from tough and lightweight 6061 aluminum and even comes with a compact 70mm Suntour fork and a rear luggage rack. Not only is it easy to transport and store but it’s practical and comfortable to ride too! Using an extended chain system, the Tern HSD P9 enjoys a 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain with a slap-free, noise-reducing Shadow derailleur.
With 20″ Schwalbe Big Apple tires and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll be able to stop quickly and easily every time. At 56lbs (25kg), the Tern HSD P9 is a little bit on the heavy side for a bike that’s meant to be portable but it’s manageable. It’s also not the cheapest eBike on the market but if you really need a folding Class 1 electric bike, you’ll struggle to find one better.
- Frame – 6061 aluminum
- Fork – 70mm, Suntour
- Derailleur – 1×9 speed Shimano Alivio Shadow
- Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
4. Trek – Verve+ 2 Lowstep
Class 1 e-bike with maximum functionality
Trek Bikes – Available in-store only
Weight: 52 lbs
The Verve+ 2 by Trek electric bicycles is built for maximum convenience and functionality. The extra low step-thru frame makes for easy mounting and dismounting, particularly for women and shorter riders. The massive 400Wh battery on the drop bar might look a bit clunky but considering that it delivers up to 88 miles (141km) on a single charge, it’s worth the extra weight.
The frame is built from Trek’s proprietary Alpha Gold aluminum and features a suspension seatpost and solid steel fork, providing both strength and comfort. Built into the crank is a 250W Bosch Active mid-drive motor that delivers a decent 40Nm of torque and includes an attractive Purion handlebar display. For pedal assistance and a bit of extra speed, you get a 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain complemented by its popular MT200 hydraulic disc brake set.
For excellent sub-tread puncture protection, Trek has included its Bontrager line of Hard-Case Ultimate 700x45c tires that combine a strong grip with acceleration and smooth-rolling. Fenders are also included and can fit tires up to 50mm in width without needing to be removed. Additional components include front and rear lights, a rear rack, and a kickstand, so the Verve+ 2 is ready to go straight off the showroom floor.
- Frame – Alpha Gold aluminum
- Fork – Verve solid steel
- Derailleur – 1×9 speed Shimano HG200
- Brakes – Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc
5. Electra – Townie Go! 7D Step-Through
One of the most affordable class 1 electric cruiser bike
Weight: 48 lbs
The Townie Go! 7D Step-Through is a highly affordable beach cruiser women’s electric bike with a relaxed feel and laid-back style. It features fat 2.35″ tires that absorb any bumps or vibrations in the road and Patented Flat Foot Technology that ensures a comfortable ride.
The 309Wh battery will take you up to 50 miles (80km) on a single charge if you pedal a lot, and at least 20 miles (32km) if you take it easy. It slots conveniently into a rear rack that’s ideal for carrying a bag or some groceries. With a lightweight step-through frame and steel fork, the Townie Go! 7D weighs a moderate 48 lbs (21.7kg), making it easy to maneuver and mount.
The 250W Hydrive rear hub motor has 3 power modes that increase as you pedal, with support from a basic 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and Tektro mechanical disc brakes. This setup is simple and not particularly powerful but perfect for lazy days cruising along the seaside. It’s a great, budget-friendly bike for those who just want to take it easy and enjoy sunny days riding in the park or along the coastline.
- Frame – 6061-T6 aluminum
- Fork – High tensile steel
- Derailleur – 1×7 speed Shimano Tourney
- Brakes – Tektro mechanical disc
Best Class 1 Electric Mountain Bikes
6. Santa Cruz – Heckler CC x01 MX Reserve – $15,000
7. Cannondale – Moterra Neo – $4,500
8. Trek – E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS – $13,000
9. Devinci – EP 29″ NX 11S – $5,500
10. BMC – Speedfox AMP AL Three – $4,500
Related: Best Electric Mountain Bikes
6. Santa Cruz – Heckler CC x01 MX Reserve
One of the best class 1 mountain eBike
Weight: 46 lbs
The Heckler CC x01 may have a motor but that doesn’t make it any less of a professional MTB. With a superlight carbon frame, top-class suspension, and a killer SRAM drivetrain, this eBike has everything that a pro MTB rider needs – plus a little extra assistance.
While most pedal-assist mountain bikes focus on entry-level riders, the Heckler CC x01 is an aggressive trailblazing beast with 140mm of front and rear travel. On the back is a top-quality Fox Float Factory shock complemented by a RockShox Pike Ultimate fork upfront.
In line with its original Heckler trail bike, Santa Cruz has placed a 27.5″ tire on the rear with a larger 29″ up front, providing a mix of obstacle-hopping speed and tight cornering abilities. While the 85Nm of torque from the 250W Shimano EP800 motor will help out on the uphills, the true pedal power comes from the 12-speed SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain. This will help you go far beyond the 20mph (32km/h) Class 1 speed restriction, with confident stopping power provided by SRAM Code RSC brakes.
Yes, the price tag is eye-watering but so are the components, from the Maxxis Minion tires to the Cane Creek headset. This is no simple work commuter eBike… unless your job is a high-speed bicycle courier in the Himalayan mountains!
- Frame – Carbon
- Fork – 140mm, RockShox Pike Ultimate
- Rear Shock – FOX Float Factory DPS
- Derailleur- 1×12 speed SRAM X01 Eagle
- Rear Tire – Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5×2.4″
- Front Tire – Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″
- Brakes – SRAM Code RSC
7. Cannondale – Moterra Neo 5
Great value for money in an eMTB
Weight: 53 lbs
The Cannondale Moterra Neo 5 is a comfortably priced Class 1 ebike that more than delivers the goods. The first thing you’ll notice is the exquisitely crafted aluminum frame that gives this bike a very professional appearance. With a neatly integrated battery and a barely noticeable mid-drive motor, this doesn’t even look like an eBike at first glance.
However, to keep costs down while still delivering a quality eMTB, Cannondale has chosen a few cheaper components. The SR Suntour XCR fork has a decent 140mm of travel but is more commonly found on cheaper, entry-level MTBs. Fortunately, it’s supported by a 4-bar linked suspension system on the rear with an X-Fusion shock and 150mm of travel.
Pedal-assist power comes from a Shimano STEPS motor that provides an impressive 60Nm of torque, helping to reduce fatigue on those steep climbs. Braking is supplied by Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, which are more than sufficient for mild trail riding, particularly when combined with the thick-treaded WTB Breakout tires.
A single charge of the 504Wh battery will give you up to 60 miles (96km) of cycling assistance and can be easily removed to charge overnight. To keep the battery lasting longer, you get a Shimano Deore drivetrain with a 1×10 setup, the perfect accompaniment for this level of MTB. Overall, this Class 1 eMTB offers good value and will provide the rider with hours of weekend fun.
- Frame – Aluminum
- Fork – 140mm, SR Suntour XCR
- Rear Shock – X-Fusion O2 Pro RL
- Derailleur – 1×10 speed Shimano Deore
- Tires – 29×2.3″ WTB Breakout
- Brakes – Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc
8. Trek – E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS
Possibly the world’s lightest eMTB
Weight: 35 lbs (M size)
If only money were no object, we would all be tearing up the mountains on this super lightweight eMTB from Trek. At only 34.8 lbs (15.7kg), the E-Caliber 9.9 is probably the world’s lightest electric bike (for mountain biking) – but it’s not cheap!
With an OCLV carbon frame, RockShox fork, and a top-of-the-range SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain, this bike delivers in all the right places. Trek has aimed this bike at XC riders who need speed over suspension, so it only features 60mm of rear travel – but can still take a decent drop with 120mm of front travel.
Electric assistance comes from a completely removable Fazua Evation motor and a 250Wh battery. This means you can shave off a further 6.4 lbs (2.9kg) on days when you just want to cycle with pure leg power. The 12-speed SRAM drivetrain is smooth as silk and an absolute beauty to use, so you’ll definitely enjoy putting it through its paces.
To keep the weight down, Trek has fitted the E-Caliber with two of its superlight Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon rims. These are wrapped in two tubeless-ready 29×2.4″ XR3 tires with inner strength sidewalls and an aramid bead for excellent protection in rough conditions. With stopping power provided by Shimano’s top-class XTR M9120 4-piston hydraulic brakes, you’ll feel confident shredding through the backcountry at high speed!
- Frame – OCLV mountain carbon
- Fork – 120mm, RockShox SID Ultimate
- Rear Shock – Fox Factory air spring
- Derailleur – 1×12 speedSRAM XX1 Eagle
- Tires – 29×2.4″ Bontrager XR3
- Brakes – Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc
9. Devinci – EP 29″ NX 11S
Class 1 eMTB with a good mix of affordability and quality
The EP 29″ NX 11S is an electric off-road bicycle from the popular Canadian brand Devinci. It offers an adequate mix of affordability and quality, using mostly mid-range components and materials. The bulky aluminum frame has 130mm of rear travel and a large downtube that houses a Shimano 504Wh battery and 250W STEPS motor.
This motor has been known to kick out up to 70Nm of torque, although Devinci hasn’t clarified the exact level of torque that the EP 29″ experiences. Still, it’s a well-trusted and popular motor that is guaranteed to deliver decent power on steep ascents. Depending on how much you pedal, you should be able to get an average of 50 miles (80km) out of a single battery charge, although this varies a lot between riders.
It’s not the lightest combination of parts but features excellent suspension, with a Fox Float DPS rear shock and a 140mm Fox Rhythm fork. Gearing is sufficient for a mid-range MTB, using an 11-speed SRAM cassette and derailleur and a Shimano crankset and chain. SRAM Guide hydraulic disc brakes provide a more than a reasonable level of stopping power for your average trail or cross country rider.
All this is held up by two 29×2.6″ Maxxis tires, with a High Roller II up front and a Minion DHR II on the rear. This gives you excellent grip and control when steering with solid road ground contact on the back for high speed. All-round, this a nice bike at an acceptable price and suits a variety of All-Mountain, trail, and XC riding styles.
- Frame – Aluminum
- Fork – 140mm, Fox Rhythm
- Rear Shock – Fox Float DPS Performance
- Derailleur – 1×11 speed SRAM NX
- Front Tires – 29×2.6″ Maxxis High Roller II
- Rear Tires – 29×2.6″ Maxxis Minion DHR II
- Brakes – SRAM Guide RE
10. BMC – Speedfox AMP AL Three
Stylish electric MTB
The Speedfox AMP is a Class 1 electric-assist bike powered by a combination 250W Shimano STEPS MTB E-7000 motor with an integrated 500Wh STEPS battery. The motor delivers an impressive 70Nm of torque, which you will certainly be grateful for when struggling up steep ascents.
The stylish aluminum frame has a striking appearance, with a skinny top tube contrasting against the extra-thick downtube. It’s crafted from extremely lightweight BMC materials with twin hollow-core technology, making it feel more like carbon than aluminum.
The rest of the components are a mix of good quality parts mixed in with some cost-saving additions. The 12-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain is an excellent gearset often seen on competitive MTBs and includes a low-profile, slap-free Shadow derailleur. However, BMC’s decision to go with a 130mm X-Fusion Eslide fork and an X-Fusion 02 RL rear shock may not appeal to everyone. Although sufficient for the needs of most eMTB cyclists, some riders may feel these parts don’t live up to competitive suspension found on other MTBs.
Luckily, the wheelset is killer, combining strong Alex Rims with two Maxxis Minion EXO tires for a solid grip, speed, and agility under any conditions. Supported by Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll certainly feel confident attacking rocky mountain paths or muddy backcountry lanes on the BMC Speedfox AMP AL Three
- Frame – Premium aluminum
- Fork – 130mm, X-Fusion Eslide RC
- Rear Shock – X-Fusion 02 RL
- Derailleur – 1×12 speed Shimano Deore Shadow
- Tires – Maxxis Minion
- Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
Best Class 1 Electric Road Bikes
11. Trek – Domane+ LT 9 – $12,500
12. Cannondale – SuperSix Neo 3 – $4,500
13. Orbea – Gain M20I – $5,999
Related: Best Electric Road Bikes
11. Trek – Domane+ LT 9
An exceptionally fast and lightweight eBike
Weight: 30 lbs
It seems odd talking about road racing in relation to a 20mph electric bike but don’t fear, you’ll hit far higher speeds on this beast. Built upon the design of Trek’s ever-popular Domane road bike, this is a serious contender for the best Class 1 road bike on the market. Crafted from 500 Series OCLV carbon with IsoSpeed internal routing, the Domane+ LT 9 features an integrated Fazua Evation drive pack with a 250Wh battery and touch remote.
Overall, it weighs an impressive 29.9 lbs (13.6 kg) which can be reduced with the removal of the battery and motor, taking it down to 23.6 lbs (10.7 kg). Pedal power comes from an industry-leading 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain in combination with a set of hydraulic disc brakes. To keep weight down even further, Trek has fitted the Domane+ LT 9 with Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon rims wrapped in tubeless-ready 700x32c tires.
Naturally, this degree of top-quality components makes the Domane+ LT 9 one of the most expensive eBikes on the market. Unlike standard eBikes, it’s aimed at professional riders who intend to shred up the tarmac and build endurance while reducing fatigue and impact on their joints.
- Frame – Carbon
- Fork – Domane SL Carbon
- Derailleurs – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Brakes – Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic disc
12. Cannondale – SuperSix Neo 3
High-performance road riding experience with 20mph electric motor
Weight: 28 lbs
The Cannondale SuperSix Neo 3 is an affordable mid-range electric bike built for speed without breaking the bank. It features a BallisTec carbon frame and fork fitted with a beautifully integrated drive system that disappears into the downtube. Gearing is provided by a 22-speed Shimano 105 groupset with matching hydraulic disc brakes, an adequate set of components for a bike in this price range.
The 250W MAHLE ebikemotion X35 drive unit delivers 40Nm of torque into the rear hub, giving you a much-needed boost on steep ascents. It’s powered by a 250Wh battery with the option of a further 208Wh range extender to give you over 450Wh of power. The three levels of pedal assistance can be easily controlled from a single button integrated neatly into the top tube.
The wheelset is relatively stock standard, using Cannondale rims running Vittoria Rubino tires. Overall, it’s a decent electric road bike and while the components are nothing to write home about, you’ll struggle to find something better at this price.
- Frame – Carbon
- Fork – Carbon
- Derailleurs – Shimano 105
- Brakes – Shimano 105 hydraulic disc
13. Orbea – Gain M20I
One of the best motorized bicycles on the market
Weight: 27 lbs
The Orbea Gain M20I is an electric gravel bike designed for hassle-free off-road racing with a bit of extra power. At only 27 lbs (12.2kg), it’s one of the lightest eBikes for gravel riding, utilizing a neatly merged EbikeMotion X35 Plus motor and a battery that is barely noticeable in the downtube.
Orbea’s Enough Energy Concept provides assistance in a way that doesn’t overcompensate nor restrict, using a torque simulation algorithm to match power input with each pedal stroke. To track your statistics while cycling, Orbea has included an iWoc ONE display unit on the handlebars delivering all the info you need at the push of a button.
The carbon frame and fork have integrated cable routing to provide a completely smooth appearance and improve aerodynamics. However, the true gold comes with the 11-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, a very impressive addition to an eBike in this price range. You also get Shimano R8070 hydraulic disc brakes for excellent stopping power and a set of superb Schwalbe ONE Performance Line tires.
There is very little to fault about the Orbea Gain M20I, a bike that manages to provide a full range of top-quality components without the exorbitant price tag you would expect.
- Frame – Carbon
- Fork – Carbon
- Derailleurs – Shimano Ultegra
- Brakes – Shimano R8070 hydraulic disc
What are the best electric bike brands?
In this article, there are best class 1 electric bikes from brands like Co-op, Gazelle, Tern, Trek, Electra, Santa Cruz, Cannondale, Devinci, BMC, and Orbea. See this article for the overall best electric bike brands.
Can two people ride on an electric bike?
2 person electric bike is not very common but there are some. For example, Pedego has built an electric tandem bike, which is also a class 1 electric bike.
How fast can electric bikes go?
Electric bike top speed is regulated by the law and electric bike classification. Electric bike motor can assist you up to 20mph (class 1/class 2) or 28mph (class 3). If you pedal faster than that, motor assistance will stop.