Electric Bikes: A Shopper's Guide

Electric bikes range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. The types that are available vary depending on the country. Some models available in the U.S. and France:

  • New York-based NYCeWheels sells a variety of bikes, including the Rayos, which retails for $1,099. The eight-speed mountain bike uses a lead-acid battery system and is a bit bulkier than some models, but it's relatively inexpensive.
  • IZIP's Mountain Trailz model sells for $369 on Amazon.com and has a 450-watt motor with a lead-acid battery. It can go up to 22 miles on a charge with a top speed of 18 mph.
  • The Xootr Swift folding electric bike starts at $1,950 with a 250-watt nickel-metal hydride battery, or $2,525 with a 350-watt lithium-ion battery. Many urban commuters prefer folding bikes because they fit easily on subways and buses.
  • EZee's Chopper, a compact electric bike that rides low to the ground, features a 350-watt motor and a lithium-ion battery system for $1,800.
  • Ultra Motor's $2,500 A2B has a 500-watt motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. It can go up to 20 miles at 20 mph without pedaling.
  • The ETRACE power-assisted bicycle retails in France for $770. It is equipped with six gears, a lead battery and claims to have a range of 22 to 25 miles.
  • Paris store To Diffusion offers its own custom-made-in-China electric bike, the Mobilec, which retails at $1,400 and will go 37 miles without recharging.
  • The Sparta ION series from Dutch bike maker Accell Group look like regular bikes. The battery is incorporated into the bike's frame and the motor is attached to the back wheel. A removable control screen prevents the bike from starting when the screen is not attached. It costs around $3,100.
  • Another option is to add a motor and battery to a regular bike. EZee offers a do-it-yourself conversion kit for $1,299 that includes a motor, charger, battery, controller, throttle, dash panel and other components necessary to equip your own bike or tricycle.