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E-Bike Comparison: Commuter vs.Mountain vs. Explorer vs. Road

April 19, 2018
E-Bike Comparison: Commuter vs.Mountain vs. Explorer vs. Road

Guide to E-Bike Options

Hop on your bike and feel the sun on your face as it streams through the fresh morning air and fills you with a refreshing burst of energy. This effortless and stress-free riding experiences is made possible due to the pedal-assist technology of your electric bike. However, the type of bike you choose for each adventure can vary significantly. An e-bike that is useful for commuting to and from work in an urban environment could be the best fit. Maybe you need an e-bike that is made for long, meandering rides over gravel roads, or a full-on mountain bike machine that is made specifically for hunting down the best trails. Whatever your riding needs, there is an e-bike ready to be the siren calling you closer to your ideal riding experience.

Just like standard bike models, there is a wide-variety of e-bikes, each suited to a specific need. This guide will offer a rundown of different types of e-bikes and what use best suits each model. For a general overview of e-bikes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Electric Bikes.

Commuter E-Bikes


Imagine cruising past the morning gridlock in the bike lane, getting to work on time with little-to-no-stress. An e-bike built specifically for commuting is a great addition to your life if you want to mix up your commute by getting outside and feeling the wind in your hair during your daily grind. Ride through town for days on a single charge. If you are in a hurry to meet friends, concerned that your daily commute is too long, strenuous, and takes too long, a commuter e-bike is ready to alleviate these potential issues. Models specifically made for commuting can range from bikes set up with racks and panniers to allow for hauling cargo, to sportier models that are constructed with speed and handling in mind.

Utility, pure cargo hauling e-bike are made to simplify and streamline your life. They commonly feature a large area on the back that allow for child seats or cargo storage. You’ll be able to leave the house confident that you’ll be able to make all the stops necessary along the way. Want to take the kids to the park? Put them on the back and go. Have to stop off at the grocery store on the way home from work? Swing by and don’t hold back, buy everything you need for the week, knowing you have room to haul it all back home. You’ll be able to carry anything and everything with these handy utility bikes.

Some commuter models are classically shaped and designed bikes look and handle similarly to a traditional city bike. They come with pannier mounts and rear racks that allow you to get around with more speed and agility than a utility bike, but still allow for significant storage capability. You’ll be able to get where you need to go with ease, feeling nimble and fast, while also carrying the cargo you pick up along the way.

If you carry everything you need for the day in your backpack or racks and panniers aren’t for you, multiple brands offer commuting e-bikes that feature comfortable upright riding positions, confident handling and are robust enough to handle your daily route. Despite attributes that facilitate an easy and reliable commute, these bikes are sporty enough to make them a great choice for a weekend workout and are downright fun to ride. You’ll be as comfortable cruising the bike lane en route to a meeting during the week as you will be hammering down the promenade on the weekend.

Mountain E-Bikes


Lose yourself in a perfectly flowy section of singletrack, or explore remote fire roads with a trail-specific mountain e-bike. These e-bikes take the electric assist revolution a step further, and let you experience pedal assist technology atop a high-performance machine. A mountain e-bike will let you ride further, faster and longer on your favorite routes, while still pushing your fitness and honing your handling skills. These bikes are for the rippers out there that want to experience more on a fixed schedule. Fly down forested paths, along picturesque mountain ridges and breath in the freedom these bikes allow. They make climbing the steepest pitches manageable, and let you explore trails you possibly wouldn’t have ventured to before. They handle surprisingly like standard trail bikes, in addition to having the ability to level the playing field for riders of all skills levels.

The beauty of riding a trail e-bike equipped with a pedal-assist system like Shimano STEPs, is that they allow multiple levels of assist and let you choose how much power to put into each pedal stroke. Out on the trail, the pedal-assist system will deliver a truly new riding experience and will let you handle corners quickly and get the front-end up and over obstacles. You’ll have support for easy riding up big climbs, so you can get up and explore areas that may not have been accessible to you before. Trail e-bikes range from short-travel cross country bikes to full-suspension machines with massive suspension travel that offer sufficient squish on even the most extreme downhill or freeride sections.

Hardtail e-bikes featuring cross-country specific travel are great for getting out and riding flowy singletrack, as well as never-ending fire roads. These are perfect for all-rounders who want to dip their toes in all types of off-road riding, while searching for an efficient, refreshing workout.


Full-suspension e-bikes with long-travel are just as comfortable on big-mountain trails as class-leading enduro bikes. These bikes feature swishy front and rear suspension, and allow the rider to use the pedal-assist to ride up the steep stuff, while handling like a standard enduro bike on the way back down. The technology combined with a high-quality enduro frame will satiate the dirt appetite of even the most hardcore adventurers. They also let a regular rider yield maximum enjoyment at whatever level they desire. You’ll be able to extend your riding potential and explore new areas.

Please remember that when operating an e-bike on open trails to follow the posted rules and yield appropriately. The International Mountain Bike Association website provides an informative cursory overview of these rules, and it is highly advised that you become familiar with them before riding on open mountain bike trails.

Explorer E-Bikes

If you want the benefit of a pedal-assist motor system to make your daily commute easier, want to get in a solid workout on the pavement on the weekends, but also want to hit up your local gravel roads, an explorer e-bike could be the perfect fit. Some models even sport features such as short-travel forks to soak up mild bumps and trails, while possessing full-sized wheels wrapped in comfortable, wide tires. They are propelled by a wide-range of gears, suitable for anything from a city bike lane to a meandering gravel road. With a full battery charge and conservative pedal-assist setting, these bikes can cover a large radius and let you explore new areas right from your back door. A correctly selected explorer e-bike lets you cruise through morning traffic to the office, down the street to nab an espresso, along with pushing yourself up and over those far off gravel hills you’ve been too meaning to explore for years.

Road E-Bikes

Flying along a bike path, down a picturesque tree-lined lane, and pushing over flat sections with ease are what road-centric e-bikes were made to do. These pavement-specific e-bikes get you where you need to go while making sure the quality of the ride is just as important as the destination. They are the perfect bike for urban riders who want to leave the car behind and kiss the carpool lane goodbye on their morning commute, but also want to get out and push themselves out on the road over the weekends.

Whatever your riding wants and needs, there is an e-bike to fill that void. And with more and more models being released, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect e-bike. Check out the BikeExchange e-bike listings to start shopping for your new e-bike today. If you have any questions about where to get started, test rides or responsible usage of an e-bike, don’t hesitate to stop into your local e-bike dealer for more information. Transform the way you get where you need to go and explore new trails, roads and everything in between with your dream e-bike.

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