Slideshow: Top Battery-Powered Bikes

M55 Royal

Electric bicycles are not yet an everyday sight on the streets of London or New York City, but that’s about to change.

 

Last year, more than 25 million electric two-wheelers were sold in China, adding to the 120 million already on the road, and there are indications that electric bikes could soon take off in the West as well.

 

A recent report by Pike Research predicted that e-bike sales in the U.S. will see annual growth rates of approximately 20 percent over the next six years, and high-end car manufacturers like BMW and Audi are already developing e-bike models to meet the growing demand.

 

Other factors, including the rise of bicycle commuting in U.S. and European cities, high gas prices and concerns about global warming, are also likely to boost the e-bike market. Plus, these bikes are just plain fun to ride.

 

Steve Roseman, founder of the San Francisco-based Electric Bike Network, recently told Outside Magazine that riding one felt like “a fairy godmother tapped you on the shoulder and made you twice as strong.”

 

Convinced yet? If you’re ready to buy, here’s a list of the top e-bikes to suit every personality.

 

  • For the Aesthete: Faraday Porteur

    Price: $3,800

    Key features: Clean, beautiful design; hidden battery; lightweight

  • For the BMW Devotee: BMW i Pedelec

    Price: Not yet available; a limited run was produced for the London Olympics.

    Key features: Folds up for easy transport; lightweight; can plug in to the trunk of BMW’s i3 Concept car to charge

  • For the Thrill-Seeker: Optibike R-Series

    Price: $13,000

    Key features: Built for off-roading; efficient battery usage; dubbed the “Ferrari of electric bikes” by the New York Times

  • For the Big Spender: M55 Terminus

    Price: $35,000

    Key features: Top speed of 40mph; can be customized with diamonds

  • For the Commuter:Kalkhoff Pro Connect Sport Dual Drive

    Price:$3,100

    Key features: Extremely versatile with 27 gears; long battery life

 

Photos courtesy of: www.faradaybikes.com, www.bmw-i.co.uk/en_gb, optibike.com, www.m55-bike.com, store.kalkhoffusa.com

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