Electric assistance lets any cyclist cruise up hills or ride alongside fitter companions. Here are five decent e-bikes that won’t break the bank.
An electric bike amplifies your pedalling effort. So while you can ride steeper hills or longer distances without working up a sweat, you still get some aerobic exercise. You choose how much help you receive using a switch on the handlebar. Maximum assisted speed in the UK is limited to 15.5mph. The more power you draw, the shorter the range. Most will manage 20-40 miles on a full battery, and all cost pennies to recharge. The electric components do ramp up the initial cost; at this price, expect a basic but serviceable bike with motor in one of the wheel hubs.
This entry-level model from sports superstore Decathlon ticks all the commuting boxes, with mudguards, chainguard, rear rack, kickstand, and LED lighting. Some budget e-bikes have dodgy electric cabling; the B’twin’s is routed through the sturdy steel frame, which prevents problems from snagging. The battery capacity is fairly low, resulting in a range of 19-28 miles per charge, and the motor’s modest torque is more at home on flat or rolling terrain than steep hills.
Cyclescheme Price £524.99*
The Breeze is a step-though shopper, complete with front basket, powered by a rear wheel hub motor and a battery that’s good for ‘up to 25 miles’ of assistance. The battery is low down, which helps stability on what is inevitably a heavy bike. The steel frame and fork will be durable, however, and at this price the trade off between essential commuting equipment (mudguards, rack, kickstand) and basic but functional components (6-speed Shimano Tourney gearing) is worth having.
Cyclescheme Price £674.99*
Gtech make two e-bikes: a step-through called the eBike City; and this, the top-tube-equipped eBike Sport. Both are available in one size only, with just one gear, in any colour you like as long as it’s white. The controls are simple: the power display is on the battery, as is the button for switching between the two assistance modes (Eco and Max). Range is 20-30 miles in Eco, half that in Max. Instead of a chain, the Gtech uses a belt drive that’s quiet, clean, and won’t rust.
Cyclescheme Price £746.25*
The Crosscity is 20-inch wheel folding bike with a rear wheel hub motor and a battery hidden in the frame. Like other folders it can be stashed in a car boot or train luggage rack, although the battery and motor make it heavier (around 18kg) so you’ll want to avoid walking with it. While the assisted range is only ‘up to 30 miles’, that should be plenty for multi-modal journeys. There’s a USB slot next to the charging port so you can use the e-bike’s battery to power your phone as you ride.
Cyclescheme Price £749.25*
Ebco’s £1k urban e-bike has front hub motor rather than a rear one. The only real downside is that there’s less weight on the front wheel, so steep climbs on wet roads can be challenging. However, a decent sized battery provides a range of 30-50 miles, which is better than mosts e-bikes at this price. It’s commuter ready, with mudguards, rear rack, chainguard, kickstand, and integral lights. Ebco’s Urban Leisure UCL-20 is the same except for a step-through frame.
Cyclescheme Price £749.25*