With electric city bikes, cargo bikes and folding bikes in the mix, there’s plenty of choice in this price bracket
The costs associated with producing e-bikes means there are very few available for under £1,000 and quite a lot that cost over £2,000. If your budget sits somewhere between those two price points, we’ve picked out some of the best e-bikes on the market right now based on our reviews.
For the most part, e-bikes are based on either flat-bar hybrids or mountain bikes. Power assistance also has huge and obvious benefits for cargo bikes, while folding bikes are common too. We’re starting to see more and more electric road bikes as well – but not too many yet in this price bracket.
Our selections here reflect that mix. We’ve grouped similar bikes together and included links to more specific buyer’s guides if you’re getting a sense of which type of bike you’re after.
Regardless of how expensive your bike is, UK laws on e-bikes state that the maximum power you’re permitted is 250W that cuts out at 25km/h. Any bike that provides more than that needs to be registered, insured and taxed.
What this basically means is that pretty much everything in our list will offer you 250W.
That doesn’t mean that all motors are the same, however.
E-bike motors can be built into either of the wheels or the frame. Wheel placement is more common on cheaper e-bikes, while mid-motors are pricier – you’re unlikely to see one on a bike costing less than £1,500.
Mid-motors will be coupled to the cranks and this means the control electronics can include a sensor that will detect how hard you’re pedalling. The motor can then meter out assistance accordingly. This tends to feel more natural and has the added benefit of extending the bike’s range. Conversely, you may want all available assistance without having to make any extra effort yourself.
Confusingly, battery capacity is measured in both watt-hours (Wh) and amp-hours (Ah). If you’re struggling to compare two models, it’s worth knowing that most e-bikes have 36V motors so it’s simply a matter of multiplying amp-hours by 36 to get watt-hours.
Capacity is most often given in amp-hours and is typically around 7.5-10Ah – though can be a fair bit more. Many manufacturers will offer the same bike with a couple of different battery options.
If mobile phones and laptops have taught us anything, it’s that batteries degrade over time and will gradually come to hold less and less charge. It’s therefore worth noting the manufacturer as you’ll be on safer ground with a recognised name, such as Sony, Samsung or Panasonic.
Batteries should last several years, even with regular use. A two-year warranty should help reassure you in this area.
There are quite a few variables, but a full charge typically takes two to six hours. A second charger can be beneficial if it’s not always going to be convenient to charge overnight.
Quite obviously, more range is better – but then more range tends to mean a bigger and more expensive battery, so it’s not quite that simple. If you’re only pootling around doing short trips, a huge, expensive battery probably isn’t going to be doing much for you.
Range is probably the hardest thing to compare when you’re looking at different bikes because it will depend on your own effort, the level of assist you select, the terrain you ride and how fast you go. The combined weight of you and the bike will also have an impact.
All of this means that the manufacturer’s stated range is woolly and often a bit of a best-case scenario. Battery capacity – as measured in Wh – may well be a more useful number to look at.
Either way, range typically works out somewhere between 25 and 75 miles.
As mentioned above, the level of assistance you get from the motor will influence how much range you get. On most bikes you can choose between three or four different levels. There may also be a ‘walk’ mode which can help you when you’re pushing your bike.
Select a higher level of assistance and you won’t have to pedal as hard, but your battery will run out sooner. Choose a lower level and you’ll need to do more work but will be able to go further.
Electric city and hybrid bikes
City/hybrid bikes comprise the bulk of your options in this price bracket.
Take a look at our £1,000 to £2,000 city bike buyer’s guide for a bit more info and a few more options.
Carrera is Halfords’ own-brand budget range of regular and electrically-assisted e-bikes.
The Subway E has gone up a few quid since we named it the best sub-£1,000 e-bike of the year in 2019/20. However, the motor system you get, and the level of equipment it’s fitted with, mean it’s still great value for money – it’s fun to ride, too.
It’s fitted with Suntour’s HESC rear hub motor – which is excellent for the money – and a 317Wh battery. Torque sensing allows the motor to more intelligently apply power which means it feels more natural and should also prove a bit more efficient battery-wise.
Dave reckoned you could easily exceed Carrera’s 40km stated range if you only rode on the flat, although it fares a little less well on the hills. It’s got nine gears, which offer a decent range, although you’d perhaps want another one for steeper stuff.
The Carrera Crossfire E, which features a larger 417Wh battery and is currently priced at £1,399, is also worth a look.
At this price you’re starting to get Bosch mid-motor bikes – and if you’re looking for maximum range and assistance for your money then that’s probably the way to go. The Juicy Ticket, in contrast, is a light (16.5kg), nimble, stylish bike that you can ride some of the time without power and add assistance when you fancy it.
The Ticket is built around an Aikema motor which performs better than most hub motors. Given the small size of the battery at 280Wh, the range is decent too. Juicy claims 18-36 miles which is credible. You can also upgrade to a 375Wh battery for another £150.
The Giant Entour E+ 2 has plenty of power for the hills and enough range for most people’s city riding.
It uses Giant’s own SyncDrive Life mid-motor system. Assistance starts at 80% – which means that if you’re putting 100W through the pedals then the bike will add 80W of its own – and peaks at 300%.
The gearing is well-matched to the motor and while the 300Wh battery on our review bike seemed a little light, this appears to have been replaced with a 400Wh battery (which perhaps also explains the price hike since then).
Electric cargo bikes
The advent of reliable and powerful e-bike systems has been a gamechanger for cargo bikes, allowing people to travel further and carry more.
As electric cargo bikes can be used for everything from the school run to the weekly shop, many people are getting one to replace a car.
Larger loads demand better motors, however, so they don’t tend to come cheap.
Take a look at our electric cargo bike buyer’s guide if you’re willing to consider a few more expensive options as well.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into the cargo biking waters, then the Rad Power Bikes Radwagon 4 is a brilliant first bike.
It’s very usable and easy to ride, and you can get accessories to carry all kinds of things. The rear hub motor’s a little bit under-powered if you’re looking to haul big loads up big hills, but that may well not be a concern for you.
The Radwagon also comes with a surprisingly big 672Wh frame-mounted battery and while some of the components perhaps won’t withstand heavy use, all in all it’s an absolute bargain.
Smaller and less obviously for cargo than the Radwagon, the RadRunner is a massively practical utility e-bike.
Key to this is an accessory range that makes the bike incredibly versatile. You can get a padded passenger seat, cargo bags, a front rack and more.
As with the Radwagon, with a passenger on board the RadRunner does need a bit of help on steep inclines, but on normal road hills and the flat it’s almost entirely unfazed by the extra load.
Even if you’re also paying extra for a few of those accessories, the Radrunner is brilliant value for money.
Electric folding bikes
Hub motors are common on folders because they tend to be lighter than mid-drives and are less likely to get in the way of the fold. Batteries are often smaller in capacity too, to keep weight down and to help simplify the fold.
For a wider selection, take a look at our folding e-bike buyer’s guide which covers a broader price range.
The MiRider One is a funky looking single-speed ‘fold-in-half’ style folder.
It is light (17.6kg) and nippy and folding is quick.
The 2021 model offers increased efficiency and range on its predecessor, although the 187Wh battery is perhaps smaller than you’d like. It’s great value though.
While it only just sneaks into this buyer’s guide, the current price of the FLIT-16 undercuts its main rivals – the Brompton Electric and the Gocycle – by some way.
The bike features a very small, neat-looking Bafang hub motor integrated into the rear forks and a 230Wh battery.
If you want a lightweight and compact e-folder and can live with a single gear, this is a great option.
The Stow-E-Way doesn’t have the world beating practical fold of the Brompton but it is a little more bike-like on the road – and will leave less of a hole in your pocket.
The TranzX R15 rear hub motor looks neat and small and its stated weight of 2.5kg is pretty light. The bike’s weight is also kept down by the 1.55kg, 245Wh battery.
If you a looking for an e-bike that rides well, can fold if needs be and can carry a decent amount too, then the Stow-E-Way should certainly be on the list.
Electric mountain bikes
You can spend a lot of money on an electric mountain bike, and there are some really great bikes out there if you have deep pockets.
Take a look at our buyer’s guide to electric mountain bikes if you want to know the ins and outs.
Fun to ride and capable enough over fairly technical terrain, the Rockrider is a real winner.
The Brose mid-motor is exceptional given the price tag, while a wide range of assistance levels and a 500Wh battery means you should be able to get a proper long ride out of it.
If you enjoy getting out and about off-road and you’re happy enough with more traditional mountain bike geometry, you really need look no further.