Best Bikes of 2020: E-Bike, Commuter, Road and Gravel

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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Best Bikes of 2020: E-Bike, Commuter, Road and Gravel

There’s been some seriously good bikes released in 2020. Lucky for you, as 2021 models start to be released, some of the best bikes of the year go on sale at year’s end. Whether you’re in the market for an e-bike, commuter, road or gravel bike, these bikes are some of the best of the year and offer serious value for your hard-earned money.

BEST E-BIKES

AVENTON PACE 350
$1,099

When it comes to e-bikes you usually get what you pay for. The Pace is one bike that flips the script on this idea. While most entry-level e-bikes at this price range can be problematic, the Pace has a solid battery with five levels of e-assist in addition to a throttle. A Shimano Tourney drivetrain and an upright pedaling position make this a solid option for anyone looking for a budget-level commuter with enough assist to get you further or faster than you might be able to go on a regular bike.

GAZELLE ULTIMATE T10 HMB
$3,999

This sturdy e-bike tops out at a speedy 28mph and comes with plenty of top-end features for commuters. A built-in wheel lock, racks to carry gear, front and rear taillights, and fenders all come standard, making the price tag a little less worrisome without all the extras you’d normally have to buy. The 500Wh battery that lasts around 55 miles on a single charge and Shimano XT componentry round out this package, one of the best of the bunch.

SPECIALIZED TURBO CREO SL COMP E5
$5,000

E-bikes aren’t just for running errands or taking a leisurely ride through town. Today’s e-road models are barely distinguishable from more traditional road bikes, and come in at a similar price point to boot. Whether you want a little pedal-assist to tackle those difficult climbs you can never seem to get to the top of without stopping, want to keep up on that quick weekend group ride, or need to get to work without feeling so wasted, the Turbo Creo SL is lighter weight than almost all other e-road bikes and provides up to 240-watts of additional power for about 80 miles without so much as making a sound.

BEST COMMUTER BIKES

MARIN PRESIDIO 1
$679

When you’re looking for a commuter, sometimes you just need a bike that’s able to get beat up day after day. The Presidio is not only moderately priced, the puncture-resistant tires and hydraulic disc brakes offer some pretty serious performance on city streets in various weather conditions. And though the drivetrain is only a three-speed, it’s surprisingly fast and easy to maintain without much effort on your end. For anyone looking for a budget bike that’s built to last and won’t require a lot of fuss, this is our top pick.

DAHON MARINER
$749

Whether you’re looking for a bike that can be folded on the train or something you can store indoors without taking up much space, this folding bike from Dahon should do the trick. Though compact, the Mariner doesn’t skimp on performance. Twenty-inch wheels, a wide-range of gear options, and a reliable Shimano drivetrain ensure you get wherever you need to go without too much fuss.

PRIORITY CONTINUUM ONYX
$1,099

For all-around performance on city streets, the Onyx is hard to beat. The Gates Carbon Belt drive is one of our favorite features. It replaces the standard chain with a belt that won’t get grease on your pants, doesn’t need to be oiled, and shifts perfectly for miles on end. Quality hydraulic brakes and dynamo front and rear lights that come on when you pedal and don’t need to be charged are other features you’ll appreciate on this high-quality and versatile urban machine.

BEST ROAD BIKES

JAMIS VENTURA COMP
$1,079

While you should know mechanical disc brakes aren’t as good as hydraulic disc brakes, this entry-level road bike still packs a punch. The bike rides smooth, handles well, and is comfortable over long miles. The aluminum frame is an excellent value, and the Shimano Sora components perform well enough to not hold you back in your next Gran Fondo. Bikes in this price range have certainly come on a long way in the past 10 years, and this one is a leader of the pack.

CANYON AEROAD CF SL 7.0
$2,749

If we were going to choose one bike on this list that excites us the most, it’s the Aeroad from Canyon. It is without a doubt one of the most affordable race-worthy bikes currently on the market, with an aero carbon frame, 58mm carbon wheels, and ultra-reliable Shimano 105 componentry. And if the rim brakes are a deal-breaker for you, the 2021 model includes disc brakes for a slightly heftier price tag. Without a doubt, it’s a bike that’s a race-ready performer for anyone who doesn’t want racing-bike prices.

SPECIALLIZED TARMAC DISC PRO
$6,700

While this price is getting into the higher-end category, what we like about the Specialized Tarmac is you won’t need any upgrades. The tubeless-ready carbon wheels are a top-end feature, especially when you consider a wheelset of this quality can cost $2K on its own. The rest of this bike performs as well as other bikes in the $11K superbike category, featuring lightweight SRAM Force e-tap components, a smooth-riding carbon frame, and the stiffness to lay down the power when needed.

BEST GRAVEL BIKES

LIV DEVOTE 2
$1,200

The first gravel bike from LIV, this women’s-specific option is affordable, great looking, and extremely comfortable over long distances. The ability to handle 45mm tires and the inclusion of a shock-absorbing seatpost are two of the features that make this model a standout. A mix of Shimano Sora and FSA components and a solid aluminum frame make this an excellent entry-level option for rider’s looking for versatility and performance on multiple surfaces.

GT GRADE CARBON PRO
$3,900

One of the first all-road gravel bikes to be released, this newly updated version remains at the top of the game. The geometry has been lowered and lengthened from previous models to improve handling over rougher terrain, while narrower seatstays and a free-floating seat tube offer better compliance and comfort. The most unique feature is the flip chip on the front fork that allows you to dial in the handling depending on which wheel size you choose. The carbon frame is compatible with Di2 and dropper seatposts should you want to upgrade.

SALSA CUTTHROAT GRX 810 1X
$4,200

If you like to push the limits of where a gravel bike can go, the Cutthroat is the bike for you. With 2.5-inch tires and a ton of storage options, you can go as far off the beaten trail as you like without missing your mountain bike. With that said, the carbon frame and fork along with a fairly aggressive geometry make the bike surprisingly speedy when you need it to be, and it won’t feel as heavy or sluggish as other trail options might.

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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