The Inertia Gear Editor
connor olson best e bikes for surfing

Nothing like an effortless surf check on an e-bike. Photo: Connor Olson//Unsplash

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Editor’s Note: (Updated 8/11/2022). Is this your first time here on The Inertia? Welcome! Learn a bit more about us here. Looking for a rack to go with your shiny new e-bike? Look no further, and for more reviews, check out our library of gear guides here.

Know this: in the U.S., transportation accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, and roughly 87 percent of transportation in the U.S. is done in personal vehicles. Buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle can help mitigate the issue, but as surfers, we often have other priorities when buying a car such as: “Does my surfboard fit in the back?” or “Can I sleep in it for strike missions up the coast?” Priorities that often cut directly against the “fuel efficient” category.

You can cut down on the long road trips or the flights to Indonesia, but you’ll still be hauling that surf van down to the water once a day, maybe twice if the waves are good. And driving to the beach can rack up the miles pretty fast. You could bike, but unless you live less than a mile from the beach, I doubt you’ll be pedaling your board to the waves instead of driving. But what if your bike had an electric motor on it?

Electric bikes used to be thought of as an expensive toy for affluent surfers, but as this new mode of transportation grows in popularity, affordable, reliable options are making their way into the lineup. And as more and more of us turn to these nifty gadgets to make our way to the waves or around town, you won’t have to worry about being “that kook on the e-bike.”

If you’ve been thinking about hopping on the e-bike wagon, but need some advice on which e-bikes are best for a beach lifestyle, the best e-bikes for surfing are below. And if you need a surfboard rack to go with that new e-bike, look no further.

What are the Best E-Bikes for Surfing?

Rad Power Bikes Rad Runner 1 ($1,299)
Aventon Sinch ST ($1,799)
Super73-S2 ($2,995)
Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 1 ($4,600)
Murf Electric Bikes Alpha Murf ($2,799)

What Matters when Choosing an E-Bike?

Do you want to hide the fact that you’re riding an e-bike or shout it from the rooftops? Some traditional-styled e-bikes hardly look like an e-bike at all, until you start gliding uphill that is. Scrambler style e-bikes harken back to the 1960s era of motorcycles, and despite the electric motor (and pedals) they’re often more motorcycle than they are bike. Heavy, but with a powerful motor, these are sure to turn heads.

Throttle vs Pedal Assist
Some e-bikes come with a throttle, some are pedal assist only. Pedal assist is great for those looking to go longer distances as it uses far less electric power, and those looking for more of a traditional bike experience. Throttle capabilities are super fun, and great for those who would have gone with a Vespa over an e-bike if it weren’t for the special license required to drive motor scooters here in the States.

There are three classifications for e-bikes. As with any fun new invention, regulation varies state by state, so be sure to check local laws to make sure your electric bike is compliant where you live.

Class 1 e-bikes go up to 20 mph on pedal assist only, meaning they don’t have a throttle, and can be taken anywhere you can ride a regular, non-electric bicycle.

Class 2 also tops out at 20 mph, but with a throttle. You can take a Class 2 e-bike almost anywhere you can take a Class 1, but are often restricted from single-track mountain bike trails due to the damage the instant torque of a throttle can produce.

Class 3 is a bit confusing, considered to top out at 28 mph, but on pedal assist only. These are often only allowed on roads and are restricted from bike trails and multi-use pathways.

Some e-bikes can reach speeds even higher than 28 mph, often accessed by a specific mode on the bike, which is only supposed to be used on private land, as a sort of honor-system, although I’m sure the temptation to whiz around town at high speed is hard to ignore for most.

rad runner 1 best e bikes for surfing

Rad Power Bikes Rad Runner 1 ($1,299)

Speed: 20 mph
Range: 25-45 miles
Class: 2

Take a seat by the water, and take note of the e-bikes that roll up for a surf check – chances are, you’ll see one of these bad boys. Rad Power Bikes have proven themselves to be at the forefront of reliable, affordable, e-bike transportation. With options starting at just $999, there’s sure to be an option to fit everyone’s budget. Their most popular option is the Rad Runner 1, which is infinitely customizable to fit board racks, wetsuit storage, an extra passenger, and more.

Check price on Rad Power Bikes.

aventon sinch st surf rig

The Aventon Sinch ST makes a great surf rig. Fully loaded with a board rack from Ho Stevie!, the Aventon Rear Rack, and a basket from my local ACE Hardware. Photo: WS

Aventon Sinch ST ($1,799)

Speed: 20 mph
Range: 40
Class: 2

The Aventon Sinch ST is the e-bike for the city surfer. With extreme foldability for ease of storage and a price that won’t break the bank, this bike will get you to the break and back, without breaking a sweat. A throttle gives on-demand power with plenty of oomph up to 20 mph, rugged tires let you take on pavement, gravel, and sand with ease. Cheaper than the Tern option, below, it is a bit heavier and doesn’t fold quite as nicely, so choose wisely based on what matters most to you.

Check price for the Sinch ST on Aventon.

The Super73 S2

Super73-S2 ($2,995)

Speed: up to 28 mph
Range: 40+ miles
Class: 1, 2, or 3

The Super73-S2 takes the “electric bike” concept and stretches it as far along the spectrum towards “electric motorcycle” as possible. With a headlight, big tires and moto-style looks, this e-bike was made for stylin’ not pedalin’. One cool feature is the ability to toggle between Class 1, 2, and 3, so you can take it on restricted trails as a Class 1 or really let ‘er rip on the road at Class 3 (which, by the way, reaches up to 28mph). There’s plenty of other options as well from Super73 that make great e-bikes for surfing, both bikes that take the moto concept even further, and those that tone it down a bit. Check them out below.

Check price for the S2 on Super73.

canondale tesoro

Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 1 ($4,600)

Speed: 28 mph
Range: 105 miles
Class: 3

Remember when I mentioned that some e-bikes are pretty darn good at pretending to be regular, non-electric bikes? The Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 1 is one of those. A gravel bike ready for anything but the gnarliest of single-tracks, with classic Cannondale style and a massive 105-mile range, this bike is ready to be your daily driver to the waves, but capable of a whole lot more. With a battery that’s integrated into the bike frame and a sleek mid-drive motor, the only thing that will out you as an e-biker will be your speed and lack of effort as you glide along to your next destination.

Check price on REI.

murf alpha best e bikes for surfing

Murf Electric Bikes Alpha Murf ($2,799)

Speed: 28 mph-plus
Range: 20-40 miles
Class: 3

Murf e-bikes have been making a name for themselves in the surf world. Specifically geared towards life by the ocean, the brand’s beach cruiser-inspired designs have become a common sighting on the trail down to Lower Trestles as well as other breaks up and down the California coast. While a bit pricier than other options on this list, with premium components and two years of full servicing and warranty, you can’t go wrong with a Murf.

Check price on Murf Electric Bikes.

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