Stealthy assisted speed: e-bikes that look like road bikes

Want the boost without the bulk? E-bikes are getting lighter and stealthier, with a whole new generation of drop-bar machines being launched recently that are now barely distinguishable from conventional road bikes. Here’s a round-up of some of the best…

‘e-road’ is arguably the newest bike genre, with Haibike’s now discontinued Xduro Race being one of the first commercially available e-bikes with drop bars back in 2014.

Another early example was Giant’s Road-E+ (2019 models now available), although like the Haibike this has a pretty noticeable battery integrated into the downtube. Since last year we’ve started to see e-road bikes that are difficult to distinguish from unassisted ones to the untrained eye, and the weights are coming down to. Here is our pick of the stealthiest e-road bikes out there, to give you an extra nudge up the hills but less of a drag when your motor cuts out…

Colnago E64

Launched in March 2019, the E64 is inspired by Colnago's high-end C64 road racer. It comes in two colourways - grey/black/yellow and black/white/orange - and is built around a full 11 speed Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset. The assistance is in the form of a 250 watt hub-based motor courtesy of Ebikemotion, and the full bike plus electronics is just 12kg in weight. The price for the full bike is £5,199.95. 

Look e-765 Optimum All Road

The e-765 Optimum is Look's first e-bike of any description, and has been endorsed by ambassador Bernard Hinault. Like the Pinarello Nytro and the Focus Paralane2 they've selected the Fazua Evation mid-motor system to provide the motor and battery, which gives you up to 250 watts of power on tap when you need it with three levels of assistance. The geometry of the frame is described as 'endurance-bred', with a stiff and responsive high modulus carbon frame that's made to feel comfortable for day-long rides. Look's latest 3D Wave design is used in the seatstays, which incorporates deflections that they say adds up to an extra 15% of vertical compliance compared to their pre-3D Wave frames, adding further comfort. With the battery and motor included the bike weighs in at 13.2kg. Built with a mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset it will set you back €6,499, and with Ultegra Di2 it's €7,699. 

Peugeot PowerTube eR02​

The mostly automotive manufacturer have cleaned up their top-end e-road model with the latest Bosch mid motor system. It's available in a road or more relaxed gravel version and has Shimano Ultegra shifting. The new Kiox computer features a colour display and plenty of in-depth info on screen, and the Bosch Active Line Plus motor provides up to 130km of range. A 7005 alloy frame is paired with a full carbon fork, with hydraulic disc brakes included as standard. You also get Hutchinson's Fusion 5 All Season 38mm tyres for plenty of comfort on rough roads. Full bikes start at €4,199. 

Bianchi Impulso E-Road

The Impulso is Bianchi's first e-road bike, and positioned itself as a happy median between heavier bikes with bigger batteries and sleeker e-bikes with reduced power. It has a Polini motor that has a comparable power output to a Bosch Performance Line CX unit, and there's a 490Wh internal battery in the down tube. All this and the bike weighs in at around 16kg for a large frame, not bad for such a powerful motor. Read Dave's full review on eBikeTips here.  

Bianchi Aria E-Road

If low weight and sleek looks matters to you more than huge battery power, then look no further than the new Bianchi Aria e-road. Its Inner Power Drive System weighs just 3.5kg in total, and makes use of Ebikemotion’s X35 V.2 pedal assist technology in the form of a rear hub motor. The 250W battery can take you up 1,200 metres of elevation gain on a full charge, and there are three levels of assistance working at 30%, 60% or 100% of the total power.  

Focus Paralane²

This high-end machine ranges from £5,399 up to a whopping £9,299 for the Paralane² 9.9. It uses the Fazua Evation motor system and is full carbon, and Focus say it's versatile enough to be used for road riding, gravel or bikepacking adventures. Focus claim the bike weighs under 13kg, and the whole Fazua system other than the gearbox is removable - doing so means you'd have a bike of around 9kg in weight if you want to use it as a standard road bike. 

Fantic Passo Giau

Anther bike that uses the Fazua system, so you can ride it without assistance when the situation calls for it. With all the gubbins it weighs in at 13kg, and as well as a full carbon frame you get Sram's second-tier Force groupset with FSA crankset and finishing kit, plus hydraulic disc brakes.  

Cube Agree Hybrid

Coming in various specs, the Agree Hybrid takes Cube's all-round lightweight race bike and adds some extra oomph. This comes in the form of the Fazua system (that can again be removed) and the total bike weight comes in at around 14kg. The tyre clearance is big enough for some cross tyres should you want to briefly take it off-road, and overall it's very well integrated. Check out Dave's full review on eBikeTips here.  

Pinarello Nytro

Launched with plenty of fanfare late in 2017, the Italians have blended assistance with aero pretty seamlessly in their Nytro e-road bike. Find out more in the video above and read Dave's full review over on eBikeTips here

Wilier Cento1 Hybrid

Another well known conventional road bike with a motor added, Wilier's Cento1 Hybrid claimed to be the lightest e-road bike when it was launched back in May at 12kg (although things are moving fast, as you'll read below). It has a full carbon frame and fork, and uses the ebikemotion system to provide assistance with a rear hub motor. Wilier also have their own app to control the bike's functions, and you can also, for example, link up a heart rate monitor to your smartphone and set a limit, so the bike will feed power in from the motor when you start going above it.    

Orbea Gain


The Gain was first launched with an aluminium frame last year, and now the new carbon version has a claimed weight of just 11.3kg in its top spec version. Using the Ebikemotion X35 system, the Gain's battery sits neatly inside the down tube and the assistance is controlled via one simple button unit integrated into the top tube. 

Cannondale Synapse Neo

Launched this summer and evolved from Cannondale's popular Synapse lightweight road bike, the Synapse Neo uses a powerful Bosch PowerTube 500Wh battery. The alloy frame and carbon fork were specifically developed for this e-version, and the bike also has tubeless-ready tyres and rims to bolster your puncture protection as well as your power. 

Ribble Endurance SL-E

Wilier and then Orbea's claim to the lightest e-road bike didn't last too long, as out of nowhere British bike brand Ribble popped up at the Cycle Show in September and revealed the Endurance SLE, weighing a claimed 11kg. The top spec comes with a SRAM Red eTap groupset and carbon wheels from Vision, for £5,500, and the range starts from £3,000. It's pretty much indistinguishable from a conventional road bike, and is another that uses the discreet ebikemotion system. 

Ribble CGR AL e

Another from Ribble, this time it's an all-rounder that they say is "as at home on the road as it is on the most adventurous of trails". CGR stands for 'cross gravel road', and the bike uses the same Ebikemotion system as the Hybrid AL e. It can run either 700c or 650b tyres, with the latter pushing the tyre clearance up to a massive 2". It also has mudguards and rack mounts for commuting and bikepacking duties, and build options start from £1,899.00.  

Trek Domane+

Launched in December, the Domane + is of course an electrified take on Trek's popular Domane endurance bike. It has Trek's IsoSpeed technology to absorb bumps in the road, and the integrated rear daytime running light in the seatmast running off a Bosch battery. That battery is 500 Wh and is courtesy of Bosch, which Trek say can go up to 100km on a single charge. The one-piece Removable Integrated Battery system is fully concealed within the frame, and can be removed or installed without any tools. The whole bike weighs in at a claimed 17.19kg, and it costs £5,249.99. 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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