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Best Electric Touring Bikes for Your Next Adventure

By Mark David Hartley   /  Last updated - May 27, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Electric Bikes, Hybrid Bikes, Reviews, Touring

cycling with tents

Bicycle touring has been around for hundreds of years, with some of the earliest records dating back to the 1800s.

Long before cars and motorbikes were invented, people would use bicycles to tour long distances, sometimes across entire continents. Typically, this was done on slow, old steel-framed bikes and required a high degree of patience and fitness.

Nowadays, with recent improvements in electric bicycle (eBike) technology, a new wave of touring eBikes has emerged.

What Are Electric Touring Bicycles?

E-Touring bikes can take you to desired locations with way smaller effort. Like any other electric bike, a touring/trekking eBike features a rechargeable battery and an electric motor connected to the rear hub or crankset.

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While many touring bike purists might balk at the idea of having electrical assistance, for some people it’s a necessity due to injury, old age, or poor fitness.

In most cases, the electric motor doesn’t fully propel the bicycle like on a motorbike but rather provides pedal assistance, making it easier to pedal and taking pressure off the knees.

In the case of touring, where heavy loads are usually involved, or long century rides, this little bit of assistance can make a huge difference.


Best Electric Touring Bikes in 2022


#1 Diamondback – Union 1 e-Bike

A nice class 3 e-bike for touring and commuting

Black class 3 e-bike by Diamondback

27.5 x 2.4″

Price: $3,750

The Diamondback Union 1 is a mid-drive electric bike that saddles the gap between the touring bike and eMTB. This is due to the combination of thick, treaded tires and common touring features like a rear rack and mudguards. With speeds of up to 28 mph (45km/h), it’s the perfect touring eBike for the more adventurous riders out there.

If you are looking for the best electric bike for camping and long-distance touring, the rigid frame Union 1 might be the answer to your needs.

Schwalbe Super Moto 27.5″ x 2.4″ tires

With 2.4″ tires, the Union 1 is notably more off-road focused than most eBikes and considerably more comfortable on rough surfaces. Schwalbe tires are almost mythically famous in the touring bike scene for their durable, puncture-resistant qualities – so no worries about roadside repairs! 

Aluminum frame

The Union 1 features a 6061 T6 aluminum frame with internal cable routing for a clean appearance and better protection. The fork is built from the same durable material, with an integrated crown and thru-axle. The integrated Bosch PowerTube 400Wh battery conceals neatly into the downtube and can be removed for easy recharging overnight.

Shimano 10-speed cassette

The wide-range Shimano Deore 10-speed cassette is geared towards long-distance and heavily-loaded touring, providing easy pedaling in any conditions. As an MTB-focused gearset, it provides smooth, reliable shifting without locking up or dropping out. 

Tektro hydraulic brakes

A popular choice amongst eBike manufacturers, the ever-reliable Tektro M735 won’t let you down, come rain or shine. With 4-pistons upfront and 2-pistons on the rear, it stops with excellent efficiency without locking out.

Buy on JensonUSA.com


#2 Cannondale – Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte

Best electric bike for long-distance touring

Black unisex electrical touring bike

29 x 2.25″

Price: $3,425

The Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte is a women’s electric bike with an MTB-style step-through frame. With thick-treaded 29 x 2.25″ tires and a front suspension fork, this bike is clearly intended for both on-road and off-road riding.

250W Bosch mid-drive motor

The 250W Bosch Performance Line Sport motor is situated at the crankset, providing 50Nm of torque into the drivetrain while you pedal. As a Class 3 high-speed pedal-assist motor, it can take you up to 28 mph (45km/h), making it ideal as a long-distance touring bike.

500Wh removable lithium-ion battery

The massive 500Wh battery will outlast even the most ambitious of cycle tourists, providing up to 104 miles (167km) of pedal-assist power on a single charge. Pop the removable battery out overnight and it charges in an incredibly fast 3.5 hours. This large battery makes the Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte the perfect long-range electric touring bike because the last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without power.

Aluminum frame

Unlike most standard bicycle frames, touring bikes and electric bikes require a more robust design built from stronger materials. The Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte is formed from SmartForm C2 Alloy with a tapered head tube and internal cable routing. This is complemented by an SR Suntour XCM ATB suspension fork with 100mm of travel, perfect for swallowing vibrations on rocky roads.

Hydraulic disc brakes

Any experienced cycle tourist will tell you that decent brakes are a necessity not to be overlooked. When hurtling down a steep descent packed with all your life’s possessions, the last thing you need is your brakes failing you. Shimano’s MT200 hydraulic disc brakes are a tried and tested staple in the eBike industry, trusted by thousands of manufacturers for their consistent reliability. 

Buy on REI.com


#3 Gazelle – Ultimate C380 Plus

Women’s electric commuter bike for touring

Gazelle - Ultimate C380 Plus

 

Price: $4,749

The Ultimate C380 is an electric city bike with a difference – it uses a Gates belt drive system, which means no chains, no cogs, no grease, and extremely low maintenance. For bicycle touring, this is a great addition as it means far less hassle, fewer cleaning requirements, and less chance of breakdowns.

Bike weight: 54.6 lbs

Weighing in at a moderate 54.6lbs, the Gazelle Ultimate C380 is lighter than it looks. Despite a long-range battery and powerful motor, Gazelle manages to keep things light with an aluminum frame.

500 Wh, 13.4 Ah battery

The 500Wh battery balances a fine line between weight saving and capacity, providing power for up to 70 miles on Eco mode. If you need a bit more punch, it also has Tour, Sport, and Turbo mode.

Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus 3.0 (50Nm)

The Bosch Performance Line 3.0 mid-drive motor pushes out 65Nm of torque, slightly more than the standard found on most Class 1 eBikes. This gives the Gazelle a bit of edge over the competition, especially when climbing hills fully laden with luggage.

28″ wheels

Another unique feature of the Gazelle Ultimate C8 is the 28″ wheels, an uncommon size description in the cycle touring community. This size measures the same as 700c or 29″ wheels. They’re wrapped in Schwalbe’s eBike specific Energizer Plus puncture-resistant tires.

Buy from Backcountry


#4 GT EGrade Current

Best electric city bike for hills

GT EGrade Current

 

Price: $3,300

GT EGrade Current is no ordinary eBike – equipped with everything you need for city riding or bike touring. If you plan on touring on roads and light off-road terrain, this GT e-bike will get you there and then some.

The Ebikemotion 250Wh battery seamlessly integrates into the frame and is easy to lock and remove. On top of that, the incredible Ebikemotion X35 250W motor delivers plenty of power, catapulting you and your luggage up rocky paths and gravel tracks. Torque sensors in this mid-drive motor ensure it delivers super smooth power at all times. 

Naturally, with this amount of speed, you’re going to need some serious stopping power, which is why GT has chosen Shimano’s unbeatable hydraulic disc brakes. With 160/160mm rotors, these brakes won’t let you down come rain or shine.

GT has also included a reliable 10-speed microSHIFT drivetrain. With a max cog size of 48T on the rear cassette and a 40T chainring, you get an impressively wide range of gears for an electric bike.

Buy from JensonUSA.com


#5 Quietkat – Ranger

Off-road touring bike with an integrated rack and huge power

quietkat ranger

 

MSRP: $3,499

The Ranger e-bike by Quietkat is a highly versatile bike built for long-haul adventuring off-road and everything you need for commuting.

Each of the components has been carefully selected to ensure a high-quality ride experience on harsh terrain along with comfort and power over long distances.

Aluminum 6061 Frame

QuietKat frames are built using 6061 aluminum alloy. Due to rigorous testing, this frame perfectly balances strength and stiffness with high-end durability while keeping costs down.

750W or 1000W Geared Hub Motor

This motor delivers tons of power and torque to make hill climbing and pulling a full payload seem easy. This type of motor is the best you can get before upgrading to mid-drive motors.

614Wh Battery

The Ranger uses a medium-size battery to deliver max ranges of around 48 miles on one charge. This battery could be a little bigger to support longer days spent touring. 

7-Speed Drivetrain

This bike has a reliable SRAM drivetrain which allows you to maximize your battery and get the longest range possible by having enough gear options for uphill and downhill riding. It also has fast and accurate shifting.

Tektro Mechanical Brakes

Riders of the Ranger can have trust in the powerful 203mm rotor mechanical disc brakes by renowned manufacturer Tektro. This system provides smooth braking with a very fast response time, rapid heat dissipation, and automatic motor power-off function upon braking. This significantly reduces braking distance.

Buy from Quietkat.com


#6 Haibike – HardSeven 5

Hardtail touring bike with premium Bosch electronics

haibike hardseven 5

Price: $3,325

This affordable electric hardtail from the German brand Haibike makes a great eTouring bike for those who want to tackle diverse terrain. Not that the price should put you off – this is a quality bike throughout, from the Bosch Performance Line Cruise motor to the WTB Ranger Comp 2.25″ tires.

Bike weight: 51.6 lbs

Coming in at 52.9 lbs, the Haibike HardSeven 5 is by no means the lightest bike on the market but feels comfortable as a touring eBike.

Aluminum frame

The aluminum alloy frame uses a convenient step-thru design for easy mounting without sacrificing strength and rigidity. It’s supported by an SR Suntour XCM32 DS Boost 120mm fork with a conservative enough to provide comfort and stability on rough off-road tracks.

As with all electric touring bikes, hydraulic disc brakes are a must if you want the most reliable stopping power. These Tektro HD-M275 brakes are a proven favorite of the eBike sector, providing solid stopping power in wet or dry weather alike.

WTB Ranger Comp 2.25″ tires

The Haibike HardSeven 5 is best suited to off-road conditions, but it can also handle pavement. At 2.25″, these WTB tires provide plenty of comfort, traction, and durability on the trails. 

Max speed 20mph

As a class 1 pedal-assist bike, the 250W Performance Line Cruise motor is limited to a maximum speed of 20mph (32kp/h). This is supported by a 500Wh Bosch Lithium-Ion battery and a Shimano Alivio 9-speed drivetrain. 

Buy on JensonUSA.com


#7 Batch Bicycles Step-Thru E-Bike

Full-equipped commuter and touring bicycle

batch step-thru e-bike

PRICE: $2,499

The Batch Step-Thru isn’t officially an eTouring Bike, but it certainly provides an affordable alternative to the top-quality offerings. Supported by a solid aluminum alloy frame and powered by a Bosch motor and battery, it’s ideal for short-to-medium distance tours.

Bosch 250W/40Nm motor

The 250W Bosch Active Line motor isn’t as powerful as some larger eBike motors but packs out a decent 40Nm of torque. As a Class 1 pedal-assist bike, you get speeds up to 20mph (32kph) with four assist levels: Eco, Tour, eMTB, and Turbo.

Bosch 400Wh battery

Batch Bicycles Step-Thru is powered by a 400Wh Bosch PowerPack which will give you up to 85 miles on a single charge in Eco mode. It charges in only 3.5 hours and can be removed for convenience. Keep track of your battery power with the handlebar-mounted Bosch Purion 1.75″ backlit display.

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Aluminum frame and fork

Despite its deceptively low weight, this electric city bike has a strong aluminum alloy frame and Suntour suspension fork. To fit riders of all ages, the low-step frame conveniently comes in two sizes fitting riders 5’1″ to 6’2″.

Shimano 8-speed cassette

For easier pedaling on steep ascents or when heavily loaded, the bike features an 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain. It may not be Shimano’s top-quality gearset but is more than sufficient for a medium-distance electric touring bike.

Tektro hydraulic disc brakes

These hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro are an excellent addition to such a well-priced bike. They provide excellent stopping power in any weather conditions, which is a necessity on an electric touring bike.

Buy on JensonUSA.com


#8 Cannondale – Topstone Neo SL 2 

A classical Cannondale electric gravel bike that’s ideal for touring

Cannondale - Topstone Neo SL 2 

 

Price: $3,600

The Topstone Neo 5 is a Cannondale electric bike built for long-distance rides across varied terrain. Loaded with mounts for a rear rack, fenders, bottle cages, and other storage, it’s perfect for adventures.

 SmartForm C1 alloy frame and carbon fork

The solid frame is built from Cannondale’s proprietary SmartForm C1 Aluminum alloy, with a carbon fiber fork – the perfect combination of strength, responsiveness, and comfort. It includes multiple mount points for racks and bottle cages plus internal cable routing for a smooth appearance and better protection.

Shimano GRX 600 11-speed

Gearing consists of Shimano’s gravel GRX groupset, with an 11-speed cassette and 42t crank. This setup offers a wide range of gears but with help from the Bosch Performance Line Speed 85Nm motor, you’ll hardly need them.

Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brakes

To complete the Shimano GRX groupset, you also get a GRX hydraulic disc brake set. With 160mm rotors, these brakes will ensure you won’t have any trouble stopping even in wet weather.

Bosch 85Nm motor

The Bosch Performance Line Speed 85Nm motor is one of the most powerful in electric touring and it’s well-known for being tough and durable. With 85Nm of torque, it performs adequately on steep ascents and will power you along at up to 28mph on flats.

Buy from REI.com

FAQ


What defines an electric touring bicycle?

Long-distance electric bike = E-Touring Bike?
– Not true. Long-distance eBikes are generally bicycled with an estimated range of 60mi and over. Touring bikes on the other hand are characterized by the accessibility to add racks and panniers to the bike. Therefore, a long-range electric bicycle can also be an electric road bike.

Technically, there is no specific set of conditions required to call a bicycle a touring bike. Although some manufacturers make touring-specific bikes, any bike that somebody chooses to tour on is, by default, a touring bike. However, there are certain features that you will commonly find on most touring bikes that make them comfortable and strong enough for long-distance riding.

For extra strength, many touring cyclists choose a steel frame with lots of mount points and a comfortable upright seating position. These are usually similar to road bike frames although some bikepacking bikes use MTB style frames. For steep hill climbs and strong stopping power on descents, touring bikes usually have a wide gear range and powerful disc brakes. Handlebars can either be dropped or straight but the more hand positions the better.

Other common extras include pannier racks, mudguards, lights, dynamos, and thick puncture-resistant tires.

Are gravel eBikes the same as e-touring bikes?

Gravel bikes are closely related to touring bikes but lack the comfort factor that one would expect from a touring bike.

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Are touring bikes good for commuting?

Many people use commuting bikes for touring and vice versa since they usually have many of the same qualities. If you already own a touring bike, it would make an ideal commuter since it’s strong, comfortable, and likely has the racks, mudguards, and lights. However, it wouldn’t make sense to buy a touring bike specifically for commuting as they are usually more expensive than regular commuter bikes.

EBike Classifications – Throttle vs Pedal-Assist

Electric bikes are classified into three classes

  • Class 1 eBike – Pedal-assisted electric bikes.
    Motor limited up to 750W, speed to 20mph.
  • Class 2 eBike – Electric bikes with a throttle.
    Motor power limited up to 750W, max assisted speed of 20mph.
  • Class 3 eBike – Pedal-assisted, and optional throttle options available.
    Motor power limited to 750W, speed limited to 28mph.
  • Class 4 eBike – An electric bike with pedals.
    Either the motor power is 750W or over, or the assisted speed exceeds 28mph.

Is it worth buying an eBike?

For many people with injured or weak knees, an eBike is the only option if they wish to keep cycling. In this sense, eBikes are certainly worth it for people who may not be able to continue cycling otherwise.

In recent years, eBikes have dropped in price drastically due to improvements in technology. Additionally, they now benefit from longer-life batteries, lighter frames, and stronger motors. For this reason, modern eBikes offer excellent value for money as they are long-lasting, durable, and affordable. 

Do electric bikes charge when you pedal?

No, despite a widespread belief that they do, electric bikes don’t actually charge while you pedal. The resistance required in the pedals to create enough charge would negate any additional benefit provided by the motor.

However, some electric bikes do have regenerative braking which uses continuous forward motion when braking to feed charge back into the battery. With this system, you could feed quite a lot of energy back into the battery if you were going down a long descent.

How long does the battery last on an electric bike?

The batteries on electric bikes vary greatly between models and the length they last depend on how hard and how frequently you pedal. Most batteries will take you between 40-60 miles (64-96 km) on a single charge – enough to last a whole day riding.

Batteries will need to be replaced after a few thousand cycles (recharges) depending on the type of battery. Lithium batteries are the best, with up to 1000 cycles, with nickel and lead batteries giving only half that or less.

 

One thought on “Best Electric Touring Bikes for Your Next Adventure

  1. Brian Bassett says:

    Trust me when I say that if you want to do extended rides on an ebike… touring, bike camping, weekenders, carrying enough gear to be comfortable, consecutive century rides, etc., you want more than 2, 3, or even 400W motors. The second thing you want is a Rohloff Speedhub so you can actually use all the gears with that additional power and not shred the gears and chain. Mid-drives love a nice clean straight chain line. For anyone that is going to carry panniers the racks (plural – a front rack is more important than the rear) need to be able to easily handle 40+ lbs. and be durable over years of riding. It’s not difficult to ride a eTouring setup with 80 to 150 lbs. of gear on the frame and another 80 to 100 lbs. in a trailer… at least when you have a “proper” motor (750 to 1000W). All the things that go into making a superior eTouring bike combine to make the best possible all-around daily commuter, grocery-getter, ride to get your Covid shot, take the pet to the vet ebike.

    When you own an ebike you will find that you not only ride further but more often, even daily after you see how much you enjoy it. With that increased usage comes necessary maintainance, by a quality mech and by you. There is also a learning curve on getting the most out of the batteries and why a single large (2000+Wh) battery is better than 2 or even 3 smaller packs. You can buy a POS ebike on Amazon for $1K dollars but if you want to ride an ebike and not just own an ebike it’s best to remember that you get what you pay for.

    The caveat here is “Best… to order online”, if you want to actually bike tour on an ebike not one of these bikes comes close.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ADgC6oyPM2gyrCq27

    25 Jul 20 – Mowich Lake
    https://www.relive.cc/view/v8qkd2LGdKv
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    26 Jul 20 – Rain Forest trail
    https://www.relive.cc/view/vQvyDGe2W4q
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwwdaVg4Y5M
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    Everyone stay safe.

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