Alongside price and performance, portability is a key factor to consider when shopping for an electric bike.
How easy your ebike is to transport will play a decisive role in where you take it and how often you ride.
If you are constantly on the go, check out this primer to find the best lightweight and portable ebike for you.
Electric bikes offer numerous benefits compared to old-fashioned pedal bikes, including that they are faster and easier to ride. But one indisputable advantage traditional bikes have over their battery-powered brethren is portability.
It’s not hard to understand why this is the case. The various parts required to make a bike electric, including the motor and battery, add heft, and as a result, even the sleekest ebikes outweigh the average non-assisted road bike by a minimum of 5 to 10 pounds (2.2-4.5 kg).
Additionally, if you are looking for a heavy-duty ebike with extra capacity for carrying more people and groceries or full suspension for bombing hills, you may find yourself looking at options that tip the scales at nearly 100 pounds or more.
If you can feel your arms aching at just the thought of lifting that much metal and rubber, don’t panic. While most ebikes do weigh more than manual bikes, they are not all back-breakingly heavy. In fact there are many innovative, featherlight options.
What Are the Advantages of Portable Ebikes?
Lightweight ebikes have several advantages over heavier ones. For one, they are easier to maneuver and handle, which can be especially useful when riding on challenging terrain or in tight spaces. They are also easier to carry and transport, making them a good choice for commuters who need to take their ebike on public transportation or store it in a small apartment.
What are the Disadvantages of Portable Ebikes?
While portable ebikes have several advantages, they also have some disadvantages. One disadvantage is that they tend to be less sturdy and durable than heavier ebikes, which can make them less suitable for rough terrain or frequent off-road use. Portable ebikes may also have lower weight limits, which can be a problem for larger riders or those who want to carry heavy loads on their ebike. In addition, portable ebikes may not have as much power or speed as heavier ebikes, which can be a disadvantage for riders who need a more powerful ebike for their daily commute or long-distance trips
Which Electric Bikes Are the Best for Portability?
Here are some great ebikes to choose from if you are concerned about portability.(Browse more than 200 ebikes by weight here).
When Tour de France champ Greg Lemond relaunched his bike brand in 2020, his plan was to bring ebikes to the masses by using innovative carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques to build ebikes that were as easy to carry as racing bikes.
While the price of the Prolog may clash with the ethos of accessibility, there’s no denying that the company has succeeded in creating an amazingly light and shoulderable ebike.
At just 26 lb (11.8 kg), this all carbon fiber creation feels almost weightless. With its clean-lined design, you could easily confuse it for a manual bike, never guessing that there’s a 250-watt Mahle rear-hub motor with a 36-V Panasonic battery under the hood.
If the Prolog is designed to impress cycling snobs who are skeptical of ebikes, the JackRabbit is better suited for people who don’t know a cotter from a cogset, and just want an affordable, convenient way to get from Point A to Point B. This funky little device (it’s technically a scooter, not an ebike, due to the fact that it has a throttle-assist and no pedals) sits on 20-inch (30 cm) tires, weighs a mere 24 lb (11 kg), and is foldable to boot.
While the JackRabbit doesn’t have the longest range 12 miles (19 km), and its diminutive size can be awkward for taller riders, it’s undeniably fun for zipping around your neighborhood. It can reach speeds of up to 20 mph (32 kph). Plus it offers a great bang for your buck at $999.
Although the Brompton Electric C Line is a smidge heavier than some of the aforementioned ebikes, it wins points for portability with its signature fast-foldable design.
It takes fewer than 30 seconds to compress the Electric C Line down to 3 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) of rubber and steel, making it the perfect companion for bringing on the bus or train.
Its 250W motor will amplify your pedaling up to 16 mph (25.7 kph), while its 300Wh battery will provide enough juice to go 25-40 miles (40-64 kph) per charge.
If you have extra stuff or people you need to lug around town, and are willing to stretch your definition of “lightweight,” you might want to check out the Tern Quick Haul.
Yes the Quick Haul is twice as heavy as some other ebikes on this list (50 lbs, 22.6 kg), but for a cargo ebike, it’s pure gossamer.
This ebike is capable too. Rated to haul up to 330 lb (150 kg) of weight, it can easily carry a week’s worth of groceries. Its Bosch motor provides smooth power and it can travel 33-66 miles (53-106 km) on a single charge.
One drawback of lighter ebikes is that they tend to have smaller batteries and less torque. This is not so of the stealthy 33 lb (15 kg) Turbo Vado SL 4.0, which Specialized claims is 40% lighter than comparable models.
This bike’s 320wh battery and smooth, silent motor work in tandem to provide an impressive range of up to 75 miles (120 km), depending on the terrain, level of assist, and size of the rider. And as a Class 3, it can keep up with car traffic at speeds of up to 28 mph (45 kph).
Lightweight ebikes aren’t just for roadgoing. If you are looking for a reliable adventure partner, the 29-inch (74 cm) wheel, 35 lb (15.8 kg) GT Force Amp is a great choice for tackling steep trails.
Features like four-bar linkage suspension platform and burly tires smooth out bumpy terrain without adding too much weight. The powerful Shimano EP8 motor delivers 85Nm of peak torque, making it very fun to ride.
When you consider all the high-end components and features you are getting, the G4 is light as a cloud (38.8 lb or 17.6 kg). Not only is it an easy lift, it also folds up exceptionally quickly into a compact 34.6x15.3x24.2 in (88 x 39 x 61.5 cm) form, thanks to a patented folding mechanism.
The G4 provides speedy acceleration up to speeds of 20 mph (32 kph) thanks to its 500W front hub motor, which is powered by a 36V battery that is good for 40 miles (64 km) of range per charge.