The best e-bikes under £1,000 that really go the distance

Discover how the best electric bikes will change your riding experience forever.

Young man changing battery pack on electric bicycle

by Lily Anderson |

We've put the breaks on electric scooters to try out the best e-bikes. Electric bikes aren't a new mode of transport by any means, but technology has developed, and the demand for more energy-efficient transport has skyrocketed.

Whether you're a petrol head or cycling enthusiast, the first thing you need to know about bikes with battery-powered motors is how they tick. So how do e-bikes work? Glad you asked. They're just like a regular pushbike that you'll find in your garage, but with a few modifications - an electric motor, battery, sensor and electric display, to be exact.

If an upgrade to your ride is exactly what you're looking for, then here are our best electric bike recommendations, plus some handy FAQs to get you started.

Best Early Black Friday electric bike deals

The best e-bike shortlist:

Ancheer Electric Bike

Carrera Crosscity E

Swifty Liberte

Pendleton Somerby E

How to choose the best electric bike:

Before we start listing off e-bikes, you need to understand why you're purchasing an electric bike in the first place. Are you cycling for leisure? Commuting? Touring? Or something else entirely?

Whatever your reason, we're here to help you select the right e-bike for your circumstance. Here are four key features we looked for when choosing the best electric bikes (and what you should look for too):

1. Frame

A bike frame isn't just about aesthetics, it can impact the functionality, too. If you're cruising around the city on an e-bike, you'll want to pick a low step-through frame for comfort, but they can often be heavy. By contrast, something that is foldable or sporty sacrifices comfort in pursuit of lightness.

How does the bike look to you? Do you want something with a hidden or integrated battery? Do you want a pannier rack? Decide what's important to you.

2. Brakes

Any bikes with disc brakes will give better, more reliable stopping power than those with linear-pull brakes, often called 'V brakes'. On a mountain bike or commuter bike, disc brakes are more important than they are on a casual weekend cruiser.

3. Motor

The motor is all about power. If you’re on a budget, watch out for the placement of the motor. Why? Because cheaper e-bikes often put the motor either at the front or rear. For best performance, we’d recommend choosing a bike with one in the middle as it will provide better weight distribution.

That said, all of the e-bikes in this list have motors on the rear hub (that's because options with middle motors are more expensive). The benefit of this is that it’s discreet and doesn’t cause wheel traction issues, which is a problem for any e-bikes that have them at the front.

Top tip: be aware that motors on the rear hub can have a wheelie effect, where rear-driven electric power combined with weight distribution piled on to the back results in wheelies. Admittedly it can be fun if done intentionally, but also rather alarming to those who weren't expecting it.

4. Range

Want more range? You'll need a bigger battery - and a bigger battery means more weight. With current battery technology, that is the way things work. For a long-range leisure e-bike, the extra weight may not be a problem, but for a foldable e-bike, it certainly is. Therefore, it depends entirely on what kind of e-bike you are looking for.

Don't forget that a maximum quoted range is just that - a maximum. Battery range varies greatly depending on a number of factors, from rider weight to terrain and temperature. If ridden on hills, for example, it's not unusual for an e-bike's range to be halved.

Now that you understand what you're looking for when it comes to selecting an e-bike, it's time we ran through which ones you should buy and why.

The best electric bikes for under £1,000

ANCHEER Electric Bike

Best value
ANCHEER Electric Bike
Amazon

View offer

Quick summary: The Ancheer e-bike includes all the important features you want for a fantastic price: decent range, disc brakes, front suspension; a removable battery.

Specifications
Charge time: Four to six hours Motor: 250W
Disc brakes: Yes Gears: 21-speed shifter
Range: 22 to 25km Max weight capacity: 140kgs
Wheels: 26 inch Features: long battery life, three assist levels and easy to assemble

Carrera Crosscity E

Best folding electric bike under £1,000
Carrera Crosscity Folding Electric Bike 2020

View offer

halfords

Quick summary: A comfortable and very user-friendly electric bike that suits a range of body sizes. At about 18kg, it is also very lightweight compared to the others on our list.

Specifications
Charge time: Six hours Motor: 250W, rear hub
Gears: Eight-speed Range: Up to 30 miles
Max weight capacity: 120kgs Wheels: 20 inch
Features: Two-year/500 charge battery warranty; three assistance levels; mud guards; Shimano Acera gears.

Swifty Liberte

Fun colours
Swifty Liberte
Amazon

View offer

Quick summary: A similar shape and size to the folding Carrera, this e-bike combines value and practicality for urban cycling and commuting.

Specifications
Charge time: Three hours Motor: Front hub
Disc brakes: Yes Gears: Seven-speed
Range: 30 to 35 miles Max weight capacity: Not given
Wheels: 20 inch Features: Two colour combos; three assist levels; Panasonic battery

Pendleton Somerby E

Classic look
Pendleton Somerby

View offer

halfords

Quick summary: A stylish yet very functional e-bike. It has excellent range, discreet placement of the battery and a heavily padded saddle.

Specifications
Charge time: Five hours Motor: 250W, rear hub
Disc brakes: No Gears: Eight-speed
Range: Up to 50 miles Max weight capacity: 120kg
Wheels: 27.5 inch Features: Three-function power assistance; two-year/500 charge battery warranty; 17 or 19-inch step-through aluminium frame ; mud guards; Shimano Acera gears

If you are able to stretch your budget to just over £1,000, there are some brilliant e-bikes available:

Raleigh Array E Motion Lowstep

Best for extended urban use
Raleigh Array E Motion Lowstep

View offer

Quick summary: A sleek e-bike with a large range, capable of tackling commutes and weekend trails. It features excellent components.

Specifications
Charge time: 4.5 hours Motor: Suntour e25, rear hub
Disc brakes: Yes Gears: Shimano seven-speed
Range: Up to 100 miles Max weight capacity: Not stated
Wheels: 700c Features: Mud guards; front suspension; proven and reliable components; rear pannier

Carrera Vengeance E Mountain Bike 2.0

Best mountain bike
Carrera Vengeance E

View offer

halfords

Quick summary: A superb electric mountain bike with 100mm of suspension travel, a lightweight aluminium frame, and a decent range. Pictured is the men's version - there is a model for women, too.

Specifications
Charge time: Six hours Motor: Suntour Eco, rear hub
Disc brakes: Yes Gears: Eight-speed
Range: Up to 40 miles Max weight capacity: 120kgs
Wheels: 27.5 inch Features: Quality components; two-year/500 charge battery warranty; OLED display; four power assistance modes

What electric bikes are legal UK?

According to gov.uk, "You can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements.

"These electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You don't need a licence to ride one and it doesn't need to be registered, taxed or insured."

What counts as an EAPC

An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it.

It must show either:

• power output

• manufacturer of the motor

It must also show either:

• battery’s voltage

• the maximum speed of the bike

Its electric motor:

• must have a maximum power output of 250 watts

• shouldn't be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

• EAPC can have more than two wheels (for example, a tricycle).

Find out more about electric bikes: licensing, tax and insurance here

E-bike conversion kits:

If you have a perfectly serviceable bike already, the idea of an e-bike may appeal, but the prospect of buying a whole new bike may not. Conversion kits can be a cost-saving option and certainly appeal to those who already have perfectly serviceable bikes.

Cyclotricity have a range of electric bike conversion kits at very reasonable prices relative a new e-bike, offering front, rear, and mid-drive conversion kits.

Meanwhile, Cytronex has an excellent, albeit more expensive conversion kit. Its C1 kit adds three to 3.5 kilograms to your bike and gives you about 25 miles of electric range. Though, when you don't want it, you simply operate your bike as normal. It's a quality kit with an electric motor that fits to the front wheel of your bike, and is compatible with both V-brakes and disc brakes. Cytronex claims a fairly universal fit, though naturally, it pays to check.

Swytch is another excellent option. Its electric bike conversion kits add about the same amount of weight to your bike as the Cytronex kit. Swytch offers a range of kits for various bike types - whether you have a road bike, mountain bike, trike, or foldable bike, for example, Swytch offers kits to suit. The only drawback here is the apparent varying availability of stock.

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