To the snobbier amongst us, the notion of an urban e-bike has long felt like an exercise in compromise. Sure, you can get something that powers up your pedaling, allowing you to speed to a destination several miles away without becoming a sweat-soaked mess in the process. But the tradeoff was that the actual steed you arrived on didn't look so... cool.
Even really well designed ones had one glaring aesthetic flaw: that unmistakable battery bulge. For practical people, that's probably not a big hangup. But for those of us used to a streamlined commuter, it's a borderline dealbreaker.
Breaking news, however: this perception is no longer reality. A number of brands have figured out clever ways to sneak the battery into the top or down tube so that it's barely perceptible at all. The result is some seriously sexy bikes that have us reconsidering our silly preconceptions. Here are five that'll turn heads — in a good way — wherever you roll.
Cannondale Quick Neo SL2
This sleek 9-speed boasts a 250-watt rear motor, plus subtle shock absorption in the form of upsized tires and SAVE micro-suspension (Cannondale's method of manipulating geometry and materials to optimize comfort). Three levels of pedal assistance top out at 20 miles per hour, while a 250 watt-hour battery in the down tube provides a punchy 47 miles of range.
Gogoro Eeyo 1s
Last year we called this Taiwanese release "one of the least e-bikey e-bikes ever." That's what happens when a bunch of carbon components drops your weight under 27 pounds and a grease-free Gates Carbon Belt Drive keeps your pedals turning smoothly. Oh, there's also up to 55 miles of range in eco mode, plus assistance topping out at 19 mph.
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond knows a little something about performance. No wonder this 26-pound carbon-fiber stallion comes complete with arresting good looks, an 11-speed drivetrain, 20 mph of pedal assist and 45 miles of range. Feeling fancy? You can upgrade to seamless Shimano Di2 electronic shifting too.
Schindelhauer Arthur VI/IX
Straight out of Berlin comes perhaps the most classically gorgeous bike of the bunch. Yet it's packed with modern features, most notably a Pinion C-line transmission unit designed by former Porsche engineers for effortless shifting. A belt drive, nearly 16 mph of pedal assistance and jaw-dropping integrated lighting round out this wunderbar package.
This Dutch bicycle snagged a vaunted Red Dot design award last summer. An unconventional approach places a 504 watt-hour battery in the top tube; it powers not only the 250-watt motor but also lights, electronic shifting and an anti-theft system. While the top pedal assistance level is the lowest — 15 mph — the maximum range is by far the highest, an impressive 93 miles.