Which e-bike is suitable for a 20 mile commute? and is the manufacturer’s stated range accurate?
It’s a fact that more people are turning to electric bikes for their commute to work due to the cost savings that can be achieved alongside the environmental impact and health benefits, but choosing the right model can sometime be a challenge.
Battery Anxiety is a well-known phrase among ebike owners which makes range or distance traveled on a single charge top of the list when choosing an Ebike, especially for commuters.
Here we explain what to look out for and our top 5 models we believe would be a solid choice for a worry free and enjoyable commute.
Which E-Bike Is Suitable for a 20 Mile Commute?
In Terms of which E-bike is suitable for a 20 mile commute, my recommendation would be to consider Hybrid models which are superb over both urban and light off-road terrains and most come ‘Commuter ready’ with a minimum Battery capacity of 300WH.
Hybrid/ Urban models will make small work of pot-holes and provide a more stable ride in windy weather conditions, but these may not always be suitable depending on rider size and there are of course other frame styles to choose from which will suffice.
For commutes of over 15 miles, Disc Brakes, Mud Guards, Lights, and ideally a Pannier Rack are a must in my opinion and thankfully most Manufacturer’s have these included.
On Longer commutes, a more comfortable saddle can be money well spent! Some saddles that come as standard can make the ride less enjoyable after the first 10 mile but they are relatively cheap to replace so I would not let this be a deciding factor over the rest of the bike.
What type of e bike battery do I need for a 20 Mile Commute?
Watt Hours are what determine the range of your ebike and most manufacturers have already calculated the expected ‘Range’ for you, however this can sometimes be misleading for the following reasons.
There is a ‘Real Life’ Range and an advertised range from Manufacturers.
Advertised ranges from manufacturers are sometimes based on low/ medium levels of assistance and high input of rider effort and does not always compensate for rider weight & adverse weather conditions ( Extreme cold or hot temperatures will deplete battery life quicker)
It would be wise if you need to cover 20 miles in a single charge, that you go for a bike that has an advertised range of 30 -40 miles or the Battery WH highlighted in the table below to compensate for all the variables ( weather, weight etc) and prevent any battery anxiety kicking in.
See Table below for a ( Very) rough guide on what battery (WH) you may need Vs Distance on a single charge for a 20 mile commute ( highlighted in Yellow) using various levels of assistance from the motor.
If you want to calculate the WH of a battery for yourself then this is quite simple using the below formula ( details of Voltage and AH should be on most ebike specifications)
Watt Hours can be calculated by simply multiplying the battery Voltage by the Amp Hours ( AH) like in the example below
A 25 Volt /10 AH Battery pack will be 25V x 10(AH) = 250 Watt Hours (WH)
Top Tier manufacturers tend to use the highest quality Lithiom Iron batteries that are closest to their claimed ranges against some cheaper non-branded bikes out there, so sometimes it may be more cost effective to pay a little more.
Alternatively some models offer range extenders which can be fitted to the bike and double the WH / Range or if you have the ability to charge the battery at your place of work then you could get away with a smaller battery in this case.
Reliability & Cost – Which E-Bike Is Suitable for a 20 Mile Commute?
Reliability and cost go hand in hand when buying an electric bike and there are several things you can look out for to get the best bang for your buck.
Go for well respected brands where possible as they will more likely have a better network of partners who can source parts and carry out repairs if needed.
Look out for the components. Understand we all have a budget, but its not worth just going for the cheapest option.
Make sure the ‘Gearset’ components are solid ie shimano and motor is from a decent brand like Brose, Bosch, Yamaha or similar and disc brakes are a must on an ebike due to the extra weight.
Our Top Rated E Bikes for a 20 Mile E bike Commute
£ Budget Option :£1,099 Buy from Pure Electric
Make/Model: Pure Free City Unisex Electric Hybrid Bike
Range: 20-25 miles on a single charge
Verdict: The Pure Free City Unisex Electric Hybrid Bike is a solid entry level machine for the city rider which comes with a rack, guards and lights included with a low-step frame for ease.
££ Mid Range Option: £2249 ( on Sale) Buy from Pure Electric
Make/Model: Orbea Vibe Mid H30 EQ Electric Hybrid Bike
Battery: 248WH + Range extenders can be purchased
Range: 20-25 miles on a single charge/ Double with Range Extender
Verdict: A Light, fun urban commuter with slimline battery hidden in frame and cabling has been neatly integrated into frame. Very clean looking machine great for city riding.
High End Option: £2900+
Make/Model: Giant Explore E+1, E+2 or E+3 Electric Hybrid Bike (Read Full Review Here)
Battery: 400 -500WH + Range extenders can be purchased
Range: 35 – 80 miles on a single charge/ Double with Range Extender
Verdict: The urban ‘Power house’ Giant Explore range has a 400WH and 500WH versions available, the E+1 being the top spec model capable of the longest range however if budget permits, you get a lot of bike here with some best components on the market.
What else do I need for a 20 mile ebike commute?
From personal Experience, rider comfort and having the right gear for your commute just makes life so much easier so here is a list of our favorite tried and tested items you may want to consider.
- Pannier BackPack Convertible – quite possibly one of the most useful bags on the planet designed for commuters
- Top Tube Frame Bag – Easy access to snacks and sunglasses while on your ride – see our review here
- Saddle Pack – a handy extra 1.5ltrs of storage, Great for Tools and a spare inner tube – see our review here
Drinks holder – great to hold a coffee on those cold mornings. due to batteries on the frame not always possible to have a bottle holder.
- Phone Holder – one of the most useful accessories you can attach to your bike
- Decent Lock– its a no brainer but having a good lock that you can fix to the bike is a must
- Comfortable Saddle – trust me , if you have long commutes this will be money well spent
Conclusion – Which E Bike Is Suitable for a 20 Mile Commute?
As a London E-bike commuter who cycles over 70miles per week, reliability will always be top of my list, followed by rider comfort and experience, but above all not having to worry about whether I have enough charge to get me home has been key to a more enjoyable ride – especially on those days when you need some extra levels of assistance for longer.
See also our guide on What is the best ebike for a 30 mile commute? if you are looking for something with bigger range
I hope this guidance on which E Bike Is Suitable for a 20 Mile Commute? has provided you with some helpful advice on choosing your next ebike and I would be interested to hear what others are using for their 20 mile commutes into work so drop me a line below.