The Best New Utility Bikes

City: Giant Twist Express; $1,625.

Giant Twist Express

Giant Twist Express    Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson

How We Tested Them

Five testers put anywhere from 50 to 500 miles on dozens of bikes to find the coolest, smartest rides out there for going beyond recreational trail and tarmac cycling. Offerings were judged based on such criteria as quality, versatility, value, and, most important, fun factor.

"Finally!" remarked one tester. "It's like Apple designed an e-bike." Whereas most electric (or "pedal-assist") bikes we've seen have been cluttered, clunky, or both, the seven-speed, aluminum Express is sleek, a gas to ride, and, at 50 pounds, considerably lighter than the competition. The interface is idiot-proof, and the quiet electric motor churns out a steady and smooth amount of power. A single lithium-ion battery takes roughly four hours to charge, lasts about 40 miles (depending on the hills and load), and locks to the rear rack. The best part? Bikes like this get folks who can't or wouldn't otherwise ride back into cycling. Never seen an electric bike? That's about to change. According to Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports, there are now more than 100 million (!) e-bikes in China. And they're starting to catch on here, too. Big names like Giant, Trek, and Schwinn all have numerous e-bikes out now.

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