While electric hybrids and electric mountain bikes dominated ebike models when they first came out, alongside electric gravel bikes electric road bikes are increasingly popular and, in some cases, now often look very similar to non-motorised machines.
A road ebike will have drop handlebars and a more sporty riding position than a hybrid, just like a conventional, non-assisted road or gravel bike. You’ll get the gear range to ride faster and to tackle hills, plus narrower tyres for more rapid progress on the road.
As with any other road bike, weight-saving will come to the fore, although not usually at the expense of battery capacity and range. Electric road bikes will always be heavier than their conventional counterparts.
However, some road ebikes will have carbon-fibre frames and lightweight wheelsets, bringing their weight down to under 12kg – not a lot more than some unpowered bikes.
An electric road bike’s handling will also be tuned for a sporty ride, so you can enjoy fast descents, while still getting a helping hand on the uphills.
Pedal-powered gravel bikes are all the rage and although electric gravel bikes aren’t yet as popular, we are continuing to see more and more of these ebikes launched. They make sense too, with riders able to head further and scale ground faster than with a regular gravel grinder.
As with any electric bike, an e-road bike’s electric assistance will be limited to speeds below 15mph/25kph in the UK, EU and Australia, and 20mph in the US. That’s more than enough for climbing – you’ll be able to climb much quicker than on a regular road bike – but could limit an e-road bike’s appeal on flat roads if riding in a fast group, for example.
For more advice on what to look for in an electric road bike, our full buyer’s guide is at the bottom of this article, while we’ve also got a separate guide to electric bike types to help you choose the right motorised machine for you.
The best electric road bikes reviewed by BikeRadar
Electric road bikes are second only to eMTBs in the number we’ve reviewed here at BikeRadar. We’ve got more reviews in the works all the time, so look out for our latest electric bike reviews. Here’s our pick of the current crop.
- Scott Addict eRide Premium: £8,349 / $9,299
- Bianchi Aria E-Road: £4,500 / $6,500
- Bianchi Impulso E-Road: £4,400
- Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo 2: £5,000 / $6,500
- Cannondale Synapse Neo SE: £3,299 / €3,799 / $4,400
- Carrera Crossroad Electric: £999
- Focus Paralane² 9.7: £4,999
- Orbea Gain Carbon M20 MyO: £4,718 (custom spec)
- Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL: £10,999 / €12,499 / $13,500 / AU$19,000
- Trek Domane+ LT 7: £7,800 / $9,200 / €7,999
Scott Addict eRide Premium
- £8,349 / $9,299 as tested, now £8,999
- 1,040g claimed frame weight
- The looks of a normal road bike
- Rides like a non-assisted bike too
One of the new kids on the block having been launched in September 2020, Scott’s Addict eRide borrows heavily from the Addict RC aero lightweight bike, with similar geometry and Scott’s top-spec HMX carbon.
It’s powered by the Mahle ebikemotion rear hub motor, with its fully enclosed battery in the down tube, for a really clean look.
Power assistance is smooth, both in delivery and when it cuts out, so that you’re supported as you ride, rather than the motor taking over.
The ebikemotion app offers plenty of information, such as accurate battery level, distance travelled, altitude, average speed, cadence, gradient and current speed. You can also pair the bike with a heart rate monitor and base the assistance level on your heart rate.
The eRide is available in a range of builds. The top-level Premium spec has a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, a fully-integrated Syncros Creston SL bar/stem and Syncros Capital carbon wheelset, for a sub-11kg weight – about as light as electric bikes come.
Bianchi Aria E-Road
- £4,500 / $6,500 as tested
- Stealthy assistance
- Great handling
- Sleek looks
The motor-equipped Bianchi Aria e-Road aero bike is blessed with the great handling offered by its unassisted sister bike, the Bianchi Aria.
The Aria E-Road also uses an ebikemotion motor unit at its rear hub, while the 250W/h battery that powers it is concealed within the frame’s down tube. This makes for a road bike that appears unassisted, at least to the untrained eye.
Despite its appetite for speed, the Aria isn’t a boneshaker on rougher surfaces thanks to 28mm tyres.
The best compliment we can pay to the Aria is that it works well as a regular bike, it just happens to have a 250-watt boost on tap.
Bianchi Impulso E-road
- £4,400 as tested
- Ideal for those who aren’t as fit or flexible
- Punchy motor with impressive range
- Mudguard and rack mounts open further options
Unlike the racier Bianchi Aria E-Road, the Impulso electric road bike isn’t as much of a looker, but we were still very impressed with the ride.
More relaxed geometry and a higher front end make it a good choice if you’re a rider who is less flexible, recovering from injury or looking to keep up with fitter riders.
The Polini bottom bracket-mounted motor system of the Impulso was another pleasant surprise, with plenty of power and an impressive real-world range.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo 2
- £5,000 / $6,500 as tested, now £7,000 (Neo 2 no longer available in United States)
- Ultegra equipped, with Dura-Ace Di2 and 105 options available
- Great ride feel and impressive range
Another ebike that uses the Mahle Ebikemotion rear hub motor, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo is based on our 2020 (non-assisted) Bike of the Year, the SuperSix EVO.
It’s inherited both that bike’s looks and its race-bike ride quality and responsiveness. There’s a long reach and low stack, as well as short chainstays for a performance ride feel.
Quality finishing kit includes Cannondale’s aero bar and stem, a Prologo saddle on a carbon seatpost, and Cannondale RDe alloy wheels, for a bike weight of 12.1kg in size large.
We managed 122km with 1,124m of climbing elevation on a single charge, comfortably beating the 75km claimed range. Above all, we were impressed with how well the motor worked with us, rather than dominating the ride.
Cannondale Synapse Neo SE
- £3,299 / €3,799 / $4,400 as tested, now £3,800 / $4,500 / €3,799
- SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain
- Bosch Active Line Plus 250W motor
- 500W/h down tube-mounted battery
- SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, 650b wheels with 47c tyres
If you’re spending your time predominantly off-road but want drop bars and the flexibility of a motor then the Cannondale Synapse Neo SE is hard to beat.
The Synapse may be best known as Cannondale’s endurance bike but, with 650b wheels and massive 47mm WTB Byway tyres, the Neo SE is more gravel bike than road bike.
That’s not to say this machine isn’t sufficient on the road but its ability to monster truck off-road terrain is seriously addictive. Bosch’s excellent drive unit provides generous assistance, even in its minimal-assistance Eco mode.
We managed to get in excess of 60 miles of power from the battery despite a test route that was almost entirely off-road. Cannondale now also offers the new Topstone Neo as a dedicated electric gravel bike.
Focus Paralane² 9.7
- £4,999 as tested
- Modular Fazua motor can be removed
- Clearances for large tyres
- Resistance-free riding above motor assistance limit
The Focus Paralane² was born out of the prototype Project Y electric bike, and makes use of a removable Fazua motor. This minimal motor/battery system only weighs 3.5kg.
Remove the Fazua system and attach the included cover and the Paralane² effectively becomes a standard road bike, with minimal resistance from the gearbox buried in the bottom bracket. Without the motor, it weighs around 11kg.
The USP for the Paralane² is that the motor is designed to work in tandem with you. The result is unobtrusive power delivery with a feel that puts you in control rather than letting the bike take over.
We’d rather see tyres larger than the 28mm specced as standard, particularly seeing as this frame can accept 35mm tyres without issue, making it a great option for year-round riding or dabbling in light gravel.
Orbea Gain Carbon M20 MyO
- £4,718 as tested, now £4,699 / $5,599 / AU$9,699 /
- Electric bike packaged with road bike looks
- ebikemotion hub-based motor
- New 2021 models offer significant updates
When it was announced, the Orbea Gain was one of a host of refined electric road bikes that eschewed the bulky ebike looks in favour of something more streamlined.
Built for a group test we conducted last year, our luxuriously kitted out Orbea Gain Carbon M20 was configured using Orbea’s MyO custom builder programme. The result was a bike that was a joy to ride, even with the motor switched off.
For 2021, Orbea has updated both the carbon and alloy Gain, borrowing features from its OMX aero road bike, upping tyre clearance to 40mm, fully enclosing the cable runs and dropping weight to 11.8kg or less.
It also has integrated front and rear lights, its own head unit with an out-front mount for more info on the motor and battery life, and Mahle’s newest ebikemotion X35 Plus motor. Orbea says it has tuned power delivery to more closely replicate the feeling of riding an unassisted road bike.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL
- £10,999 / €12,499 / $13,500 / AU$19,000 as tested
- High spec with Dura-Ace Di2, a power meter and Roval carbon wheels
- Stable, smooth, nimble ride
You’re paying a superbike price for the Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL, one of the most expensive electric bikes available. But the high-spec frame and top drawer specification, including Roval CLX50 aero carbon wheels, Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and a built-in power meter, help justify the outlay.
Ride quality feels like the Roubaix endurance bike and the Turbo Creo SL even comes with the FutureShock 2.0 headset damper fitted to that bike. The motor weight sits low down to ensure stability and it’s nimble despite its 13.7kg weight.
Trek Domane+ LT 7
- £7,800 / $9,200 / €7,999
- Lightweight Fazua motor
- Great ride comfort and handling that can cope with gravel too
The Fazua motor system on the Trek Domane+ LT7 drops the weight down to 13.8kg and is removeable, so you can ride the bike like a normal Domane too. Like the standard bike, it incorporates Trek’s IsoSpeed front and rear decouplers and IsoCore bars for loads of road comfort that transfers over to light gravel rides.
We got over 100km range with 2,000m-plus of climbing – impressive, as are the handling and comfort on offer.
Buyer’s guide to electric road bikes: what to look out for
Electric road bike drivetrains are sleeker and more covert than ever, with low-profile batteries often fully enclosed in the bike’s down tube or disguised as a water bottle.
Motors tend to be compact and hidden away in the bottom bracket shell or the rear hub – a far cry from the bulky units of old – while controllers are often small, with a tiny button in the front of the top tube being an increasingly popular placement, although you’ll also find bar-mounted controls.
That can lead to a bike that at first glance is hard to distinguish from a conventional road bike. Look out for motor systems from Fazua and ebikemotion. They’re a popular choice seen on many e-road bikes thanks to the progressive power delivery well-suited to road riding, although Bosch units and own-brand motors from the likes of Specialized can also cut a minimalist silhouette.
Most electric road bikes have a battery enclosed in the bike’s down tube. Again, that leads to an unobtrusive look. In the case of Fazua, you can drop the battery pack out of the down tube for recharging, or remove it to take it indoors closer to an electric plug. You can even remove it completely and ride the electric bike like a normal road bike.
Other batteries such as ebikemotion’s are more firmly lodged in place, though, so you need to be able to get the bike to a socket to add some juice.
Typical battery capacities are around 250W/h – usually enough for 60km or so of range, although you should be able to get more than that on flatter ground with judicious use.
The lightest electric road bikes tip the scales at 12kg or less, which isn’t a lot more than some unpowered bikes. That’s achieved by having a frame and fork made of carbon fibre, often accompanied by carbon-rimmed wheels. That tends to be a pricey menu.
Weight is important, though. On the flat, many road riders will be managing over the 15mph/25kph legal limit (or 20mph in the US) at which the motor cuts out, making the motor and battery a dead weight above those speeds. Keeping the bike’s weight low will make riding without assistance easier, adding to performance and enjoyment.
On the other hand, a more robust, heavier build could be an advantage if you’re aiming to mix in gravel riding. Weight is also less of an issue if you plan to predominantly ride within the legal limit for motor assistance.
Wheels and tyres
With more power delivered to the road and a heavier bike weight, electric road bikes tend to have wider tyres than standard road bikes. Many pair that with beefed-up wheels with alloy rims, although higher-spec models may come with aero carbon hoops.
Tyre width on electric road bikes tends to start at 28mm. That’s not unusual on a pedal-powered road bike now though, and provides a more comfortable ride, with additional versatility for rough roads or dabbling on light off-road trails.