10 Fastest Production Electric Bikes of 2012

October 22, 2012

A few months back we did a list of the 10 fastest home built electric bikes. Now here is a list of the top-10 fastest commercially available ebikes for those who want to go out and spend the big money, and buy a speed machine. It is very hard to build and sell a fast electric bike to the public (read our article on the high cost of speed). Warranty support and reliability issues on a bike that goes over 40-MPH can be a nightmare, and technically none of these bikes are legal on USA or European roads.This was a very hard and laborious list to compile. You cannot do it like the car industry does, and just get these ten electric bikes to show up at a runway in the desert, and do some shoot-out speed tests. Only 3 of these bikes for sure exist, and are for sale in the United States…the Optibike, the Stealth Bomber, and the FFR Trike.After those 3, it starts to get foggy…especially when it comes to speed claims.

The electric bike industry is full of inflated numbers and vaporware, especially this high end part of the market, and this list attempts to sift through the BS and get to the straight beef. Many of the bikes on this list exist in a “we will build when you give us your money” status, meaning the company could go under and you never get your bike. So therefore we base this list on a bunch of criteria, not just pure speed, and rate the bikes accordingly.

This list is very speculative because of the mysterious nature of many of the bikes on this list. We have done our best to identify the critical factors which make these bikes viable speed machines. We reward these machines for being more like an e-bike than a motorcycle. Undoubtedly our estimates will create some controversy but we have done our best to honestly rate these machines.

You can see how we came up with our estimated rankings in each category at the end of this story.

There are 10 bikes in this list. Bikes are ranked 1-10 according to top speed, reliability, no vaporware,  sexiness, weight and price. The lower the ranking number  the better. Performance rankings are added together and the lowest numbers = our top rated fast bikes. (total rank score)

* = estimated performance number.


#1 Optibike 1100R (read review)

Optibike made it to the top of our list not because it is the fastest electric bike, but because it is a well rounded and balanced machine  that still looks and feels like a bike. This is a mid-drive electric bike that you can actually squeeze-in an extra 5-MPH by pedaling hard, where as most of the other bikes on this list are so big and heavy that pedaling will make little difference. The Optibike has a quality full-suspension frame, and can ride on rugged rough road.

It earned its #1 reliability ranking  by having over 20 bikes make it to the top of the Pikes Peak race (a 20 mile long, 8000 foot elevation climb), as well as selling 100′s of bikes to the public, with many satisfied customers.

Claimed speed : 40MPH (with pedaling)
EB estimated top speed: #9 *35-MPH
Reliability: #1 (dominated Pikes Peak bicycle race for 2 years)
No Vaporware: #1 (we know this bike is for real and has been in production for over 10 years)
Sexiness: #4
Weight: #4 60lbs (impressively light-weight, given its long battery range and full suspension)
Stealth: #2  (looks like a 90′s y frame mountain bike…..feels like a bike)
Price/affordability: #5 $14,500
EB Total Rank Score: 26


#2  Stromer St1 Platinum (read review)

Although this ebike is the slowest on our list and definitely not our favorie, surprisingly it finished #2. The bike only goes 28-MPH with pedal assist, but it is designed to be pedaled, and with pedaling added, it can supposedly achieve 30-MPH.  The special thing about this bike is it does it all and still looks like a bike, and only weights 64 pounds. It is by far the most affordable bike on this list at $4000.

Given the criteria we chose to rank these ebikes, the Stromer St1  ended up coming near the top. It turns out when you look at all the numbers, this is a nice all around electric bike… the lightest, by far the most affordable, and one of the most reliable.

Claimed speed : 30-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #10 *28-MPH
Reliability: #2
No Vaporware: #4
Sexiness: #8
Weight: #1
Stealth: #1
Price/affordability: #1 ($4000)
EB Total Rank Score 27


#3 Stealth Bomber (read review)

This is one of the more popular and best selling bikes on this list. The only thing it has going against it is is heavy at 120 pounds, which is most often what you have to tolerate if you want a fast electric bike. This bike goes 50-MPH which is a lot faster than the first 2 bikes on this list, and has a full suspension for rugged trail riding (like the Optibike). If you want a very fast turn key electric bike, this Stealth Bomber is one of your best options. The Stealth is completely quiet unlike the mid drives on this list.

Claimed speed : 50-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #2 *50-MPH
Reliability: #3
No Vaporware: #2
Sexiness: #5
Weight: #7 120lbs
Stealth Rank: #7
Price/affordability: #3 $11,000
EB Total Rank Score: 29



#4 Audi Ebike (read report)

Audi injected the ebike world with excitement when it released videos and pictures of its new prototype carbon fiber machine that in our opinion is the most elegant and beautiful electric bike every built. It utilizes a 2500 watt Clean Mobile drive system running through the bicycle gears. If this electric bike ever hits the market, it could change the face of what an electric bike means to the public…but for now it is just vaporware. Audi did not publish any performance data for this bike, but judging from the Youtube videos of the prototype in action, and the 2500 watt Clean Mobile drive (same as the Blacktrail), we are estimating about 40-MPH.

Claimed speed : none
EB estimated top speed: #7 *40-MPH =
Reliability: #5
No Vaporware: #8
Sexiness: #1
Weight: #2 *50-lbs
Stealth: #3
Price/affordability: #7 *$20,000
EB Total Rank Score = 33



#5 FFR Trikes 422 Alpha

FFR Trikes has been selling 3 wheel muscle machines for a while, but really put themselves on the map when they dominated Pikes Peak bicycle race in 2012 (read story here). The FFR trike uses a powerful RC motor called the Astro (read Terrifying Speed story), which puts out about 6 horsepower in a tiny package.  The FFR trike is capable of speeds over 50-MPH if it is geared up, and when geared down to 40-MPH for added torque, it is a drag racer and a hill climber.

Claimed speed : 40-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #4 *40-MPH
Reliability: #4
No Vaporware: #3
Sexiness: #6
Weight: #8*130-lbs
Stealth: #9
Price/affordability: #4 $12,000
EB Total Rank Score = 38


#6 M55 (read report)

The M55 is an ebike bordering on CNC art. Crafted metal pieces add up to a 2500 watts through a Rohloff drive train (read our story on Rohloff). When you go to the M55 Hungarian website its hard to get any real performance numbers on this ebike. The company seems to be purposely vague, for whatever reason. Maybe they are afraid of industrial espionage. Although an impressive prototype of this bike does exist there is still a chance the M55 might be just vaporware. There are not any owner reports or reviews of this bike anywhere.

Claimed speed : 40-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #6 *40-MPH
Reliability: #7
No Vaporware: #7
Sexiness: #2
Weight: #5 *65lbs
Stealth: #4
Price/affordability: #8 $32,000
EB Total Rank Score = 39



#7 Blacktrail BT-01 (read report)

The Blacktrail BT-01 is #1 of our most expensive bike list at $88,000. The price of course is ludicrous as well as the companies performance claims. But it is still an ingenious piece of engineering, consisting of a mid-drive motor set up and a mostly carbon fiber frame. The Company claims the entire bike weighs 40 pounds, half of that is battery. But as all the other Black Trail performance  numbers, we are guessing that this weight claim is exaggerated.

Claimed speed : 60-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #5 *40-MPH
Reliability: #10
No Vaporware: #6 (if you throw down big cash you might get one)
Sexiness: #3
Weight: #3 *50-lbs
Stealth: #6
Price/affordability: #10 $88,000
EB Total Rank Score = 43


#8 Hanebrink Hustler (read report)

Capable of speeds of over 60-MPH (and maybe 80-MPH) the Hanebrink is most likely  the fastest bike on this list. Hanebrink is known for creating an innovative and fun fat bike (read review) with a hub motor working as a mid-drive. The Hanebrink Hustler is a new product which really is an electric motorcycle with pedals. You can opt to ride this machine with pedals exposed, or pedals covered with full fairings on. This ebike uses the same motor as the Stealth Bomber, but mounted in a mid-drive set up that runs 8200 watts of power through the gears. This is an exciting bike made in Southern California with exciting prospects.

Claimed speed : 80-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #1 *60-MPH
Reliability: #6
No Vaporware: #8
Sexiness: #7
Weight: #9 *140 pounds
Stealth: #10
Price/affordability: #6 $15,000
EB Total Rank Score = 47


#9 Hi Power Cycles Wolverine

What Hi Power Cycles are offering is basically a hot rodded hub motor conversion bike, but they have been guilty in the past of some shady marketing hype. To their credit they have been selling high speed electric bikes on ebay for 4 years now. Their latest effort, the Wolverine model, is actually an attempt for them to build their own bike rather than their usual practice of converting a KHS mountain bike. It is unclear whether the Wolverine will actually materialize and what the real performance numbers will be…thus the low ranking.

Claimed speed : 52m-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #8 *40-MPH
Reliability: #8
No Vaporware: #10
Sexiness: #9
Weight: #7 *70lbs
Stealth: #5
Price/affordability: #2 $8,500
EB Total Rank Score = 49



#10 eRockit

At 275 pounds this ebike is definitely  more motorcycle than it is bicycle.

Claimed speed : 50-MPH
EB estimated top speed: #2 *50-MPH

Reliability: #9
No Vaporware: #5
Sexiness: #10
Weight: #10 270lbs
Stealth: #8
Price/affordability: #9 $40,000
EB Total Rank Score = 52


Claimed speed:
How fast does the company claim the electric bike is on their website. This number is usually exaggerated, so we do not use it for rankings.EB estimated top speed:
We have done our best to estimate the actual top speed of these bikes based on internet owner accounts and our knowledge of the components on the bike. This is the speed we estimate with riding on flat ground, without pedaling. Because we estimated many of these bikes to be around the same speed, we rank them according to the overall validity of the bikes speed capability, and give preference to bikes that are real (have been ridden and proven to be fast). In fact many of these bikes you will not find any owners reviews or videos anywhere because they probably have never been sold to the public.

  1. Hanebrink Hustler (60-MPH) same motor as the Stealth Bomber but in a mid-drive with gears.
  2. E-Rockit (50-MPH)  At 270-lbs this thing better be fast.
  3. Stealth Bomber (50-MPH)  This speed has been proven by multiple Stealth owners.
  4. FFR Trikes (40-MPH)  These machines accelerate to 40-MPH like a bat out of hell, and won the Pikes peak race in 2012. (read article)
  5. Blacktrail BT-01 (40-MPH)
  6. M55 (40-MPH)
  7. Audi Ebike (40-MPH)
  8. HPC Wolverine (40-MPH)
  9. Optibike 1100r (35-MPH)
  10. Stromer st1 (28-MPH)


Reliability is a huge factor when considering the validity of one of these machines and especially if thinking about purchasing one. The nature of a fast electric bike is to be notoriously unreliable (read story on the high cost of speed). Here we estimate the reliability of the bike based on components, product reputation (when it has one) and the companies viability and reputation. Generally, hub motor bikes are considered most reliable than mid drives. We give precedence to bikes with a warranty, with large numbers of bikes already made, and bikes that are made in the United States (so they do not need to be sent overseas for warranty repair).

  1. Optibike 1100R (proven to be reliable)
  2. Stromer St1  (not much too go wrong on this bike)
  3. Stealth Bomber  (proven reliable)
  4. FFR Trikes 422 (made it to the top of Pikes Peak)
  5. Audi Ebike (clean mobile drive system)
  6. Hanebrink Hustler (mid mounted hub motor, limited production, very new product in beta testing phase)
  7. M55 very limited production and have to order proprietary parts from Hungary.
  8. HPC Wolverine…overclocked components, and you are the beta tester if you buy one of their higher priced machines.
  9. E-Rockit (good luck getting parts)
  10. Blacktrail BT-01 (ridiculous priced proprietary components and parts)

No Vaporware
Fast electric bikes tend to be vaporish. They never really seem to materialize on the market place. Of these bikes on this list only a few are known to be on the market and being bought and being tested. The top bikes on this list are known good bets if you want to buy one. The lower you get on the list the lower the chance the bike is for sale, or even exists.

  1. Optibike 1100R
  2. Stealth Bomber
  3. FFR Trikes 422
  4. Stromer St1 (is currently on market)
  5. E-Rockit
  6. Blacktrail BT-01 (maybe will materialize if you throw down big money)
  7. M55 (although their are definitely a few of these that have existed for a few years  in prototype stage, it is not clear if they are actually in production)
  8. Hanebrink Hustler (early stages of product development, but a prototype is made and being ridden)
  9. Audi Ebike (prototype is made, Audi may still opt out)
  10. Hi Power Cycles Wolverine (this company is notorious for using fast vaporware to sell lower-end and slower products)

There are a lot of great looking bikes on this list…in fact not one dooser. But sexiness is not only how they look, but how light they are, how well built they are, and wow innovative the technology. Mid drives are of course considered sexier to us than hub motors which are ordinary and plain. We especially like mid drives that go through the bicycle gears. Although this list seems highly subjective, these rankings were among the easiest for us. Ironically some of  the most vaporish bikes came in as #1, 2, and 3….a testament on how hard it is to actually build and sell a sexy ebike (they are expensive).

  1. Audi Ebike
  2. M55
  3. Blactrail BT-01
  4. Optibike 1100R
  5. Stealth Bomber
  6. FFR Trikes 422
  7. Hanebrink Hustler
  8. Stromer St1
  9. HPC Wolverine
  10. E-Rockit

Its hard to build a fast bike that is light weight (read our story on the high cost of speed). Here we rate the bikes by weight. In many case we have to estimate especially considering how large and what chemistry the lithium battery.

  1. Stromer St1  45-lbs
  2. Audi Ebike  *50-lbs
  3. Blactrail Bt-01  *50-lbs
  4. Optibike 60-lbs
  5. m55  65-lbs
  6. HPC Wolverine  *70-lbs
  7. Stealth Bomber 120-lbs
  8. FFR Trikes 422  *130-lbs
  9. Hanebrink Hustler *140-lbs
  10. E-Rockit (At 270-lbs this is a motorcycle with pedals.)

Stealth Factor:
Here we consider if this ebike still looks and feels like a bicycle. To be fast many of these machines have to be big and heavy. This rank rewards the bikes that manage to still look and ride like bicycles. Also the higher the stealth ranking, the more likely the bike to get you in trouble with your local police. Remember all of these bikes are law breakers…but only a few manage to pose as law abiding bicycles.

  1. Stromer st1
  2. Optibike 1100R
  3. Audi Ebike (very cool looking bike)
  4. M55
  5. HPC Wolverine
  6. Blacktrail BT-01
  7. Stealth Bomber
  8. E-Rockit (looks like motorcycle with pedals)
  9. FFR Trikes 422 (3 wheels plus it is loud)
  10. Hanebrink Hustler (really looks like motorcycle! has pedals but they don’t function!)

Price is one number we are easily able to nail down for all these electric bikes. We then rank the bikes by affordability. Some of the bikes on this list are so expensive they realistically will not sell more than a handful of ebikes. We then rank the bikes according to affordability.

  1. Stromer st1 Platinum $4000
  2. HPC Wolverine $8500
  3. Stealth Bomber $11,000
  4. FFR 422 $12,000
  5. Optibike 1100r $14,500
  6. Hanebrink Hustler $15,000
  7. Audi Ebike *$20,000
  8. M55 $32,000
  9. E-Rockit $40,000
  10. Blacktrail BT-01 $88,000


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