Electric Drop-Handlebar Road Bikes

You wouldn’t be popular if you used it to take Strava KOMs, but there’s no doubting that riding a sporty electric road bike with drop handlebars is an exhilarating experience. If you’re a fit cyclist, it’s not going to help you go faster on flat roads, because the motor usually cuts out at a modest speed to comply with the law (25 km/h in the EU and 20 mph in the US). However, riding over hills or mountains, your ride will get quicker.

Descents on an electric road bike don’t feel as sketchy as you might expect because the bike has a low center of gravity. However, you will pick up speed rapidly. The bikes use disc brakes to avoid overheating the rim and potentially causing a blow-out, which is a risk even on lighter, conventional bikes.

There’ll be a lot of keen “roadies” for whom an electric bike is sacrilege, but there’ll be others who just enjoy riding and will see the fun side of it. Cyclists often own several bikes, anyway, so it’s not like an e-bike commits anyone to one type of riding.

Still relatively rare, these are among the road racing e-bikes currently available:

  • Giant Road E+: Giant’s electric road bikes are sleekly designed with the battery integrated into the down tube, though the battery is very far from being concealed. The Giant models are well put together with proprietary aluminum ALUXX SL frames, Shimano drivetrains and a 250W motor for pedal assistance.
  • Haibike XDURO Race S RX: made with SRAM drivetrain components and an aluminium frame, these bikes are built for speed. The battery sits atop the downtube, rather than being integrated like it is in the Giant bikes. Notably, the motor in this model is a 350W Bosch, which gives pedal assistance up to 45 km/h.

It would be advisable to check the legality of riding the XDURO Race S RX in your country before considering a purchase. In Germany, where it is made, the legal requirements for riding a “speed pedelec” such as this are more straightforward than in the UK, for instance.