Up until a few years ago, the idea of using an electric bike for touring was not seen as practical due to limited battery range and weight. Thankfully e-bike technology has evolved , and now long-distance touring using an e-bike is a reality and most of the major manufacturers have bikes that are perfectly suited to long days in the saddle.
In this article I have selected 9 of the best electric bikes for touring. I will also be looking at what makes a good long-distance e-bike.
Can you really tour on an electric bike?
The answer to this question is yes! In fact, modern e-bikes are so good, that some models are perfect for touring on. Imagine having all the benefits of long-distance cycling, but without having to worry about struggling with the extra weight of luggage you may be carrying. Especially climbing a mountain pass in the Alps or Scotland.
What makes a good touring e-bike?
There are several things to consider when buying an electric bike specifically for touring. I have listed all of the important features below, including battery range, comfort, versatility and luggage capacity.
Depending on the kind of terrain you anticipate riding on, then you’re spoilt for choice. The most versatile type of e-bike would be a hybrid – something that has reasonably fast-rolling tyres on multiple surfaces, and some front suspension to soak up the bumps.
Electric Hybrid Bike
Most of the e-bikes featured in this article are hybrid bikes. These are probably the best suited to touring due to their versatility.View and compare all Electric Hybrid Bikes
Electric Mountain Bike
Not an obvious choice for a touring ebike, but a lot of electric mountain bikes can be easily fitted with pannier racks, mudguards, lights and faster rolling tyres. Their strength is in the robust nature of their design – if you were travelling through vast forest and taking off-road routes, then a mountain bike would make a lot of sense.View and compare all Electric Mountain Bikes
Electric Adventure / Gravel Bike
Electric adventure bikes or gravel bikes are drop-handlebar bikes that have wider all-terrain tyres, big gear ratios, hydraulic brakes and different frame geometry that is better suited to riding on rougher surfaces. So gravel bikes are incredibly capable off-road machines and can hold their own against mountain and hybrid bikes.
They have the benefit of being considerably lighter than hybrid and mountain bikes, and will be much quicker on the open road.View and compare all Electric Adventure / Gravel Bikes
Having an e-bike with the right equipment is an important consideration when buying a bike with touring in mind. The usual accessories like mudguards and pannier racks are useful, but what about lights, and gearing?
It is important that your e-bike has a wind range of gears as the motor will be much more efficient on a long steep climb. Ideally you want a 1:1 ration – e.g. 36t front with an 11-36t at the rear. The lower gearing on the front isn’t especially important, considering a realistic average speed of between 12-15mph.
All of the e-bikes in this selection use mid-drive motors. The latest mid-drives from Bosch, Yamaha and Fazua are incredibly efficient and most importantly they produce a lot of torque, which is very important if your climbing steep hills load with luggage.
This is probably on of the most important considerations. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat battery and a 20-25kg e-bike to pedal (plus luggage). Thankfully, a lot of the latest Bosch-powered bikes have batteries up to 625Wh which will give you a potential range of over 100 miles on a single charge.
The Fazua Evation powered ebikes only have 252Wh batteries, and these will usually only give an assisted range of 50 miles maximum, the main difference with these bikes is the motor / battery combination is very light, so if you do run out of battery it is not much heavier than the equivalent regular touring bike.
As mentioned above, gearing is important – particularly if you’re planning on cycling somewhere mountainous like the Pyrenees or Alps. The Cube Kathmandu for example has a 38t front chainring combined with a massive 12-speed 10-51t rear cassette, meaning you can pedal up practically anything without having to get off and push.
I love bicycle touring and I have always used Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, and I’ve not had a puncture in 10,000 miles. Most of the ebikes on this list have decent tyres with a certain degree of puncture resistance.
Having front suspension does add to the weight somewhat, but if you are riding on tough, rock terrain or forest trails strewn with tree roots, then suspension makes a lot of sense. It will also help any potential wrist-jarring. If you planned travelling is going to be on mellow back lanes, cycle ways and canal towpaths then suspension is particularly necessary, although a good carbon fork will take the sting out of lumps and bumps.
Regardless of whether you are planning on a full-on bike packing tour or you are travelling light, a good pannier rack is essential, as is a set of mudguards to keep the muck off. A set of lights is also a good idea, particularly if you are riding in the spring or autumn.
Most of the ebikes featured below will have comfort saddles, but most people will change the saddle for something that suits their behind better. I personally use a Brooks B17 – it’s not a cheap saddle, but for me the comfort it unparalleled on a long ride.
The 9 best electric touring bikes in 2020 are…
So, here we are – my list of the 9 best electric bikes for touring on. I have tried to cover a broad range of prices with the cheapest at £1599. There are cheaper e-bikes available if you are on a budget, but you will be limited to a rear hub motor, which I don’t think is personally suited long-distance riding – hub motors can struggle on long steep hills, and with the added weight of luggage can be more susceptible to failure. They are also nowhere near as efficient as mid-drives so your battery range will be greatly diminished.
Cube Touring Hybrid One 400 Electric Bike
The Cube Touring Hybrid One 400 is an entry-level Bosch-powered electric bike that punches well above its weight in terms of accessories, performance and battery range. If you don’t want to spend too much money, the Cube Touring has everything you’ll ever need for long days in the saddle.
The 400Wh battery, paired with the Bosch Active Line Plus motor are an efficient combination. If used sensibly, it is possible to squeeze about 80 miles from a single charge. If you are riding more challenging terrain, and use the e-assist more often, then a realistic range would be about 50 miles.
The Touring one is very well catered for in the accessory department and includes front and rear mudguards, a pannier rack, kick stand and even lights.
- Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive motor
- Bosch Powerpack 400Wh battery
- Shimano BR-MT200 hydraulic disc brakes
- Suntour NEX front forks
- Shimano Altus 1 x 9 gearing
- Shwalbe Range Cruiser tyres
- Best value electric touring bike
- Bosch Active Line Plus motor
- Lots of accessories
- Slightly shorter range battery
Cube Kathmandu 625 SL Electric Touring Bike
If you were to ask me to describe the ideal electric bike for touring on – a long-range battery would be high on the list. The new Cube Kathmandu 625 SL has Bosch’s latest Powertube 625Wh integrated battery, which means that a range of over 120 miles is quite feasible on a single charge.
But it’s not just the battery capacity that makes the Kathmandu so great – how about Rockshox forks, and Shimano XT 1 x 12 groupset with a massive 10-51 rear cassette, coupled with a 38t front chainring? With that kind of gear range and a Bosch CX Performance Line motor between the pedals, I can’t imagine there is very much the Cube couldn’t climb.
The Kathmandu is fully equipped for Touring and uses the latest Bosch Kiox colour display, which has extended functionality through a Android or Apple smartphone app.
- Bosch Performance Line CX Motor
- Bosch Powertube 625Wh integrated battery (removable)
- Bosch Kiox colour display with Bluetooth connectivity
- Shimano XT 1 x 12 gear with 11-51 rear cassette
- Rockshox Judy suspension fork with 120mm travel
- Front and rear mudguards
- Pannier rack (with 25kg carrying capacity)
- Comfort saddle with suspension seat post
- Shwalbe Marathon E-Plus puncture resistant tyres
- Tubeless-ready rims
- Excellent Bosch CX motor
- Massive battery range
- Every conceivable extra fitted
- Very comfortable
- Very heavy at 26kg
Haibike Sduro Trekking 2.5 Electric Hybrid Bike
Haibike have been in the ebike business for years now and are an established name in the industry. They are better known for their excellent range of electric mountain bikes, but they also have a great range of hybrids. The Haibike Sduro Trekking 2.5 is one such bike.
The Haibike is at the cheaper end of the scale in this selection, but don’t be fooled by the price – this is one very capable machine!
Powered by a Yamaha PW-SE mid-drive motor and a 500Wh battery, the Sduro Trekking 2.5 has more than enough power to tackle all kinds of terrain. This is one rugged bike!
- Yamah PW-SE motor with 70Nm of torque
- 500Wh battery
- Shimano Alivio 9-speed gearing with 11-36 cassette
- Suntour NEX-25 suspension forks
- Mudguards, rack and lights
- Schwalbe Road Cruiser Tyres
- Durable Yamaha PW-SE motor
- Good range from the 500Wh battery
- Rugged, well-built construction
- Comfortable and versatile
Giant Explore E +4 GTS Hybrid Electric Bike
The Giant Explore E +4 GTS electric hybrid bike is their entry-level touring machine, and what a great bike it is! The centre piece of this bike is the excellent Sync Drive Sport motor, which is the result of a collaboration between Giant and Yamaha. This excellent motor is also found on Giant’s range of e-MTB’s.
This is another excellent option for a touring e-bike in the £2000-£2500 price range and benefits from Giant’s excellent build quality and an impressive specification.
- Giant / Yamaha Sync Drive Sport mid-drive motor
- EnergyPak 400Wh battery
- Shimano Deore 9-speed gearing
- Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc brakes
- Giant Crosscut gravel tyres 700 x 45c
- RST Volant front suspension fork
- Mudguards, Rack and Lights
- The Giant Sync Drive motor is excellent
- Giant’s trademark Aluxx frame is tough and well-made
- Shimano Deore 1 x 9 gearing
- Fully equipped and ready for touring
- Decent range from the 400Wh battery
- Quite hefty at 23.5kg
Cannondale Tesor0 NEO X2 Hybrid e-Bike
The Cannondale Tesoro NEO X2 is basically a 29er electric mountain bike that has been toned down a little and fitted with a rack, mudguards and lights. What this makes is an incredibly versatile package, that should literally take you anywhere!
Being fitted with the excellent Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres make the Cannondale Tesoro a true all-terrain e-bike. These tyres are commonly found on drop-bar gravel bikes, and are fast rolling on tarmac and grippy on the loose stuff.
The gearing is also well though-out, using Shimano’s excellent Deore 1 x 10 with an 11-42 cassette at the rear paired with a sensible 38t chainring upfront, making climbing a doddle! The front suspension is also more e-MTB than hybrid, using Suntour XCM 34 forks with 100mm of travel.
- Bosch 4th Generation CX Performance Line Motor
- Bosch 500Wh battery
- Shimano 1 x 10 gearing 11-42 cassette
- Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors
- Schwalbe G-One Allround 29″ x 2.25″ gravel tyres
- Mudguards, pannier rack, lights and kickstand
- Mountain bike durability
- Bosch CX motor with 75Nm of torque
- Shimano Deore 1 x 10 gearing
- Excellent Shwalbe G-One gravel tyres
- A truly versatile ‘go anywhere’ e-bike
- Heavy – but so are most of the bikes here!
Trek Allant +9.9 Carbon Electric Hybrid Bike
The Trek Allant +9.9 is the only carbon-framed electric hybrid bike on this list, and it’s also the most expensive. So what do you get for your £5199?
Firstly the Allant is incredibly light for an e-bike with this specification. At 18kg it’s a whole 8kg lighter than the Cube Kathmandu. This is thanks to its full carbon frame and fork. You also get Shimano’s top-of-the-range XT 12-speed groupset and Bosch’s excellent CX motor and a massive 625Wh battery.
I think the weight saving of a carbon fork can be justified on an ebike like the Allant, the Bontrager E6 tubeless-ready 27.5″ x 2.4″ are plenty big enough to cope with rougher terrain and the natural flex of the carbon will also give added comfort.
There’s nothing else available quite like the Trek Allant +9.9 – sure it may be pricey, but if I had this kind of money knocking around I could definitely be tempted!
- Bosch 4th Generation CX Performance Line Motor (with latest Kiox colour display)
- Bosch 625Wh battery
- Shimano XT 1 x 12 gearing 10-45 cassette
- Shimano MT520 4-piston hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors
- Full carbon frame and fork (including steerer).
- Mudguards, pannier rack, lights and kickstand
- Full carbon frame and fork makes this the lightest electric hybrid bike available
- Massive potential range from the 625Wh battery
- Bosch 4th generation CX motor with colour Kiox display and Bluetooth
- Shimano XT 1 x 12 drivetrain with massive 10-45 cassette and 40t front chainring
- Amazing stopping power from the 4-pot Shimano MT-520 hydraulic brakes
- If only it was cheaper!
Cannondale Synapse NEO EQ Electric Road Bike
The Cannondale Synapse NEO EQ Electric road bike would make the perfect touring companion. Drop handlebar bikes are generally favoured for touring because of the various hand positions available. I personally wouldn’t choose anything else for long distance riding.
Here is a bike that is ready for touring adventures, and it comes equipped with front and rear mudguards with a small integrated pannier rack and Supernova Mini front and rear lights.
Its touring credentials are further enhanced with a compact FSA 50/34 double crankset and a 10-speed 11-34 rear cassette – all operated with Shimano Tiagra Sti shifters with hydraulic disc brakes.
For electric assist, Cannondale have opted for the slightly less powerful Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive motor. This motor lacks the overall pulling power of the higher CX motor, and produces 60Nm of torque (compared with 75Nm for the CX) but what it lacks in torque it makes up for with increased efficiency. The 500Wh battery pack will give the rider a potential range of around 100 miles on a single charge, making the NEO EQ ideal for long days in the saddle.
- Bosch Active Line Plus (60Nm) mid-drive motor
- Bosch Powertube 500Wh battery
- Shimano Tiagra 10-speed hydraulic brake groupset
- Mudguards, integrated rack and lights
- 50/34 FSA compact double crankset
- Schwalbe G-One Speed, 700 x 35c, V-Guard, MicroSkin, tubeless-ready gravel tyres
- Highly efficient Bosch Active Line Plus Motor
- Great battery range
- Lightweight (for an e-bike)
- A true drop handlebar bike with touring credentials
- Excellent Tiagra 20-speed gearing
- Hydraulic brakes
Cube Nuroad Hybrid C:62 SL Electric Road Bike
Although the Cube Nuroad Hybrid C:62 SL is marketed as an electric gravel bike, its touring credentials are obvious. The only thing the Nuroad is lacking is a pannier rack, but a Cube-specific one is available as an optional extra.
The Nuroad uses the excellent Fazua Evation drive system, which combined with a full carbon frame, means this bike only weighs in at a svelte 15.8kg – which makes it the lightest e-bike on this list.
I have ridden the C:62 race version which is only about a kilo lighter than this model, and I very rarely felt the need to use the assist. You could ride this bike for hours as a normal bike and only use the assist on really steep climbs.
The Fazua Evation motor de-couples from the bottom bracket gearbox when not in use, making pedalling no different than on a regular bike. The Nuroad is aimed at cyclists who want to spend most of the time riding unaided and only use the assist once in a while.
The battery only has a 252Wh capacity. It’s still feasible to ride for 100 miles on one charge, but you would need to be very frugal with the e-assist. If you rode this bike with the assist on eco mode constantly, you would deplete the battery in under 50 miles. In Breeze mode you would be down to about 35 miles.
- Fazua Evation ebike system with 252Wh battery
- Shimano GRX 1 x 11 hydraulic brake groupset with 11-42 cassette
- Full carbon frame and fork
- Front and rear mudguards
- Front and rear lights (dynamo operated)
- Schwalbe G-One Speed, Performance 700x35c gravel tyres
- Lightest ebike on this list
- Fazua Evation removeable drive system
- Shimano GRX 1 x 11 hydraulic brake groupset
- Full carbon frame and forks
- No pannier rack (as standard)
- Comparably low battery range
Bergamont E-Grandurance RD Expert Electric Adventure Bike
German manufacturer Bergamont have produced an excellent electric touring bike in the E-Grandurance RD expert. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Bergamont have been around since the early 90’s and more recently were owned by BMC and now are part of the Scott Sports group.
The E-Grandurance is an electric touring bike in every sense of the word – it has drop handlebars, all the extras you need including lights, pannier rack and mudguards. A comfortable adventure bike geometry and Shimano’s excellent GRX 1 x 11 groupset with a 42t front chainring paired with an 11-42 cassette and powerful hydraulic disc brakes.
Electric assist comes from the same Fazua Evation system as used in the Cube Nuroad – meaning a much lighter weight than regular hybrids The Bergamont weighs in at 17kg, which is heavy enough, but if you did fancy taking the bike out for a spin minus the motor and battery, this can be removed in a matter of seconds.
- Fazua Evation ebike motor with 252Wh battery
- Shimano GRX 1 x 11 hydraulic brake groupset
- Mudguards, Pannier rack and lights
- Schwalbe G-One Allround 700x35c gravel tyres
- Syncross finishing kit
- Can be used with or without the motor and battery fitted
- Lightweight Fazua Evation drive system
- Fully kitted out for long days in the saddle
- Shimano GRX groupset
- Short battery range
- Still quite heavy at 17kg
The Verdict – What is the best touring electric bike?
There’s so much choice nowadays it’s hard to choose a clear winner. If price isn’t an issue, the Trek Allant +9.9 Carbon is hard to beat – it’s lightweight at only 18kg, and yet has a powerful 625Wh battery combined with the excellent Bosch CX motor.
If you’re on a budget the Cube Touring Hybrid One 400 is a great place to start – you will not find a more suitable electric bike for touring at this price.
My personal favourite is the Cube Kathmandu 625 SL – I have ridden one of these and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I have it under good authority that if ridden sensibly, a range of over 120 miles is achievable.
If you prefer drop-handlebar bikes and don’t mind carrying a spare battery, then the Bergamont E-Grandurance RD Expert is a cracking bike with the Shimano GRX groupset, lights, rack and mudguards it is ready for the open road. The Cannondale Synapse NEO EQ is also a contender with its Bosch Active Plus motor and 500Wh battery. The Cube Nuroad is also an excellent bike.
Ultimately the decision depends on what kind of touring you have planned. If you are going to be spending long days in the saddle and need to cover big distances, then you will want a bike with the 625Wh battery.
If you’re happy plodding along and doing no more than 60 miles a day, then the Cube Touring Hybrid One 400 is an excellent choice.
Remember, if you need any advice choosing the right bike for your needs.Please leave a comment below and I will reply within 24 hrs. Thanks for reading!View and compare all Touring Electric Bikes