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 petrolhead 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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
manufacturer of the motor
It must also show either:
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).
The best electric bikes for under £1,000
We've split these up in to sections to help you pick the best bike for your journey. We have Mountain bikes, Folding Bikes and Road/commuter bikes - all of them electrically powered.
The Hyper MTB comes in well below the £1,000 mark with a rear hub motor which delivers up to 250 watts the Integrated 36V 7.8Ah Battery (280.8Wh) is good for up to 20 miles at a maximum speed of 15.5MPH. The lightweight high-strength aluminium frame and front suspension fork for shock absorption make this a mountain bike honed for bumpy and slightly hilly terrain but not flat out downhill riding.
This electric mountain bike has been designed and developed by us to best suit mountain bike rides on hilly and rolling terrain. The Samsung battery (380Wh) is capable of 250 watts with 42 Nm of torque. Decathlon do not give you a distance for which the battery will last but instead claim that it's capable of 2hr 15 minutes of use. This could be hampered by weight, use and outside temperature.
To the untrained eye, the Hunter seems to be an ordinary adult MTB. Look a little closer and you'll see a chunky lower frame tube discreetly packing a 7.8Ah 36v LG battery, this sends the power to it's 250w 36v rear hub brushless motor providing that surge of torque to the rear wheel as you pedal to make the trickiest of inclines and terrains an absolute breeze. Enjoy up to 25 miles of assistance from a single charge of the battery, with the motor capable of speeds up to 15.5MPH.
4. Fiido D11
A very smart folding bike with plenty of tech and a super low price. Hidden in the 20" rear wheel
The stylish Mycle Compact electric bike is built with a powerful 250W motor and 6.4Ah 36v battery
Road / commuting bikes
A hybrid bike is there to fill the void between road bike and mountain bike - while not a
Formed around a lightweight Alloy 17" frame, it's hardtail rigidity at the rear provides a solid base for pace, while the Suntour suspension up front provides comfort, control when it comes to stubborn terrain, and general versatility. Combining 700c deep-V wheels with chunky CST hybrid tyres offers every benefit of a fast-paced commuter, while also leaning toward a very capable trekking bike.
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.