5 Electric Bikes for the Pedaling Enthusiast

Marin Sausalito E1
Marin Sausalito E1

“Cheater!” This is not something any ebike rider wants to hear, especially since it can be so untrue. Ebikes can provide a good workout. Many studies have shown this to be true. But it is also true that some ebikes are more capable of providing a better workout than others. If you’re coming from a road bike or gravel bike background, you can find an ebike to provide a satisfying pedaling experience to rival what you may have been used to in the past.

Generally, mid-drive ebikes are the best for pedaling because they utilize the bike’s gears. Most mid-drive ebikes are also equipped with better quality components, and with much better gear ratios.

Hub-drive motors can also provide a good pedaling experience, especially if they are equipped with a torque sensor. Pretty much all mid-drive motors use a torque sensor, while most hub drives use a cadence sensor. A torque sensor is more precise because it detects the amount of pressure you are applying to the pedals, not just when you’re turning the pedals. With a torque sensor, power from the motor is commensurate with your pedaling. It’s much more natural feeling and efficient.

Another aspect of a good pedaling ebike is one that is lighter. A lighter ebike with excellent gear ratio can be ridden completely without the motor much of the time. You may only need to use the motor when going up a hill. Heavy ebikes with insufficient gears require almost constant usage of the motor.

The following is a list of some electric bikes that are good for a pedaling enthusiast.

Ride1Up Prodigy

Ride1Up Prodigy ST
Ride1Up Prodigy ST

The Ride1Up Prodigy is Ride1Up’s first mid-drive ebike, released in 2022. It is available as a step-thru frame (ST), a high-step (XR), and the more mountain-bike geared version with front suspension and knobby tires on the XC. All feature the same Brose motor with 90 Nm of torque for very good hill climbing ability. Brose motors are usually found on much more expensive ebikes, but are offered at a more affordable price on the Prodigy. The above picture is of my Prodigy out on the bike trail. It is my favorite ebike of 2022. You can read the full review of it here.

  • Price: $2295
  • Motor: TF Sprinter Mid-Drive with 90 Nm of Torque
  • Battery: 36 V 14 Ah, 504 Wh
  • Range: 30-50 Miles
  • Tires: Maxxis Refuse 27.5 x 2.0″ Tires on the ST and XR Models
  • Max Speed: 28 MPH
  • Ebike Classification: Class 3
  • PAS Levels: 4
  • Throttle: No
  • Gears: 46T x 11-34 Tooth Shimano Cassette, 8-Speed
  • Brakes: Hydraulic, 180-mm Disc
  • Lights: Front/Rear Integrated

Avadar C3 Sport

Last year, I got the chance to get to know the Avadar C3 Sport, and I’m glad I did. It’s another very good pedaling bike that can do some off-roading with its knobby tires and front suspension. Many times I ride the bike without using the motor at all, since it’s a 16-speed ebike, which is very rare for its price. Most ebikes are 7, 8, or 9-speed, at most.

With 80 Nm of torque, the C3 is capable on the hills, but not suited for super aggressive mountain biking, but it is great on dirt, pavement, and gravel. The bike weighs in at 55 lbs, which is good for an electric with front suspension. I honestly thought it weighed less, though. It sure feels like it weighs less when I’m riding it. I think that’s a testament to good torque, good frame geometry, and very good gear ratio.

Price: $1980
Motor: Mid-Drive with 80 Nm of Torque
Battery: 36 V 10 Ah, 360 Wh
Range: Up to 40 Miles
Tires: CST Jet 27.5 x 2.1″
Max Speed: 20 MPH
Ebike Classification: Class 1
PAS Levels: 4
Throttle: No
Gears: 2 x 8, 16-Speed
Brakes: Hydraulic, 180-mm Disc
Lights: Front Only

Liv Amiti E+4

Liv Amiti E+4
2020 Liv Amiti E+4

The Liv Amiti E+4 is the first mid-drive bike that I purchased. Liv is part of Giant, which is one of the largest bike companies in the world. Liv specializes in designing ebikes specifically for women. You can likely find a dealer near you. The Amiti is the most expensive ebike that I have ever purchased at $2600, way back in 2020. Yeah, I bought it just weeks before Covid shut everything down! A comparable Liv model today is the Amiti E+2.

The Amiti features a Yamaha mid-drive motor with 70 Nm of torque. With 700 C x 45 tires, it’s fairly standard for a gravel bike, and functions great as one. In fact, its tires are designed specifically for gravel. It also features tubeless ready rims.

The Amiti is the ebike that I have traveled with the most, because it’s one of the lightest bikes that I own, at 49 lbs, so I’m able to lift it onto a car rack by myself fairly easily. Removing the battery decreases the weight even more, so it’s very manageable.

Like the Avadar C3, the Amiti is also a bike that is practical to pedal without the motor.

Price: $2600 (In 2020)
Motor: Mid-Drive with 70 Nm of Torque
Battery: 36 V 11.3 Ah
Range: Up to 40 Miles
Tires: Giant Crosscut Gravel 2, 700 C x 45
Max Speed: 20 MPH
Ebike Classification: Class 1
PAS Levels: 4
Throttle: No
Gears: 11-36 T, 9-Speed
Brakes: Hydraulic, 180-mm Disc
Lights: Front Only

Marin Sausalito E1

Marin Sausalito E1
Marin Sausalito E1

The Marin Sausalito E1 is a nicely speced ebike, moderately priced, weighing only 40 lbs. It’s also available in a mid-step frame. It features the Shimano Steps E500 mid-drive motor matched up with a Shimano 418 Wh lithium-ion battery. Besides the excellent weight, a highlight of the Sausalito E1 is its transmission. It’s a 10-Speed Shimano Deore with an 11-46 tooth cassette for a wide range of gear selection. This is an ebike that can be easily ridden with the motor turned off.

Other highlights include Tektro hydraulic brakes, multipurpose tires, and mounting points for a rear rack and fenders. It’s also available in four different frame sizes, so you can get the right fit. The Sausalito E1 is a pedaling machine!

Price: $2499
Motor: Shimano STEPS E5000 Mid-Drive with 40 Nm of Torque
Battery: 36 V 11.6 Ah, 418 Wh
Range: 30+ Miles
Tires: WTB Horizon, 650 B x 47, Wire Bead
Max Speed: 20 MPH
Ebike Classification: Class 1
PAS Levels: 4
Throttle: No
Gears: 44T Chain Ring, Shimano Deore 11-46 T, 10-Speed Cassette
Brakes: Tektro Hydraulic Disc, HD-M275
Lights: None

Ride1Up Roadster

Ride1Up Roadster Gravel Edition
Ride1Up Roadster Gravel Edition

This is the second ebike from Ride1Up on this list, and that’s for good reason. Ride1Up is a company that was founded by owners who come from a love of good pedaling ebikes. The Roadster V2, and the Roadster Gravel Edition, are two bikes that don’t look like ebikes. Weighing in at only 33 lbs, the Roadster is on par with many non-electric ebikes. This is an ebike that you can carry upstairs, or lock at a bike rack, without many people realizing it is an ebike.

And of course, for the pedaling enthusiast, the Roadster will be quite satisfying. It’s a single-speed ebike but with 5 levels of pedal assist, you’ll be able to get up to speed using much of your own power, but with needed assistance for most hills.

The gravel edition features tires more suitable for gravel, disc brakes, and a Gates belt drive system for low maintenance. The standard Roadster features 700 C x 28 tires for effeciency on the road, and also with a Toptrans belt drive.

Price: $1095 V2; $1245 Gravel Edition
Motor: 350 Watt (500 Watt Peak) Shengyi Geared Hub
Battery: 36 V 7 Ah, 252 Wh
Range: 20-30 Miles
Tires: V2 Kenda Kwest 700 C x 28; Gravel Edition Continental Terra Trail 700 C x 40
Max Speed: 20 MPH
Ebike Classification: Class 1
PAS Levels: 5
Throttle: No
Gears: V2 64/20T Single Speed Toptrans Belt Drive; Gravel Edition 63/22T Single Speed Gates Belt Drive
Brakes: V2 Tektro R315 Dual Pivot Brakes; Gravel Edition Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc, 160 mm
Lights: None

 



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