The best budget electric bikes offer an affordable route into the world of assisted cycling.
There are plenty of cheap ebikes out there and BikeRadar has tested many of them over recent years.
£2,000 is still a serious outlay for most of us, but it’s the point at which electric bikes become really good, with reliable components and few compromises in design.
However, it is still, of course, possible to get an ebike for less than £2,000 and enjoy the many benefits of riding an electric bike. We’ve included the best budget electric bikes we’ve reviewed within this in-depth buyer’s guide.
Most cheap ebikes tend to be geared towards urban riders, so electric hybrid bikes are the norm here, with electric gravel bikes increasing in popularity too. That means there are some great options available if you want a bit of a boost on your cycle to work.
Folding electric bikes and some cargo bikes are also available in the sub-£2,000 category. Electric mountain bikes around this price point are rare and are unlikely to be up to the rigours of hardcore trail riding.
Here is our pick of the best budget electric bikes we’ve reviewed, while you can skip down for our buyer’s guide covering what to look for in a cheap electric bike.
Best budget electric bikes in 2023
Van Moof X3
- £1,998 as tested
- Pros: Clever, integrated features; agile and comfortable around town
- Cons: Slippery pedals when wet
Dutch brand Van Moof specialises in highly integrated electric bikes with their batteries fully enclosed within the frame. The protruding ends of the top tube each include a bike light, while an LED array in the top tube gives you status information and navigation. It even includes geolocation, tracking, immobilisation and an alarm.
The X3’s lowered top tube makes for a more compact design than the Van Moof S3, which we’ve also reviewed. It comes in one size to fit riders from 5ft to 6ft5in. The ride position is upright and the steering feels light and fast, making for easy manoeuvrability. We rated it a fine urban machine.
- £1,899 as tested
- Pros: Bosch motor and battery; tyres and suspension fork enable you to take on rougher surfaces
- Cons: Occasional gear shift problems
Sold through Halfords in the UK, the Carrera Crossfuse uses a Bosch Active Line Plus electric bike motor and features a removable 400Wh battery – something that’s usually the preserve of more expensive bikes.
It uses the simple Purion display unit, with four levels of assistance along with a walk mode.
The ride position is upright, leading to easy navigation around town and the Selle Royal saddle is comfortable even without padded shorts. The Schwalbe Tyrago tyres’ aggressive tread and 63mm-travel fork make the Crossfuse a good option for mixed surfaces, not just tarmac.
Carrera Impel IM-2
- £1,299 as tested
- Pros: Well-made frame with removable, concealed battery; good ride position
- Cons: Lacks mudguards; mild brakes
Another Halfords electric bike, the Carrera Impel has smart looks with a nicely finished frame and a lockable removable battery in its down tube that belies the bike’s budget price.
Power comes from a 45Nm rear-hub motor and 367Wh battery, which we reckon gives less than the claimed 50-mile range.
We really liked the ride on the short wheelbase and 650b wheels, with their 47mm tyres. The 9-speed gearing is well set up for commuting.
We were less enamoured with the modulation of the brakes, although they were effective enough. We’d also really like to see mudguards on a bike designed for commuting.
GT Power Performer
- £1,800/$2,625 as tested
- Pros: Decent range from 418Wh battery; fun and flickable
- Cons: Mudguard don’t work fully
The GT Power Performer mixes retro BMX styling with a motor for a surprisingly effective around-town commuter bike.
The saddle is comfortable for shorter rides and the budget Microshift drivetrain works well. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power.
It’s still got that BMX trickery too, despite the 29er wheels and the extra weight of the Bafang rear-hub motor and its associated battery. We got around 40 miles of range despite the smallish 418Wh battery capacity.
You can get up hills easily, although this does mean out-of-the-saddle efforts due to the small frame. The short mudguards don’t keep you fully protected from rear-wheel spray though.
- £1,799 as tested
- Pros: Easy to handle; powerful feeling motor
- Cons: Squishy saddle; better with more accessories
The Ridgeback Errand is a compact electric utility bike with a low-slung frame, large front rack and 20in wheels.
The Errand rides well, proving nimble and lighter than many other e-cargo bikes. It has a 250W motor which generates 54Nm torque and feels equal to nominally more powerful systems.
The bike can easily fit riders of different heights, so if you’re looking for a bike to replace a car that’s used by different people, for example, the Errand is a sure-fire winner.
Our tester did find the saddle to be on the squishy side, and a rear rack would complete this bike.
- £1,300 as tested
- Pros: Good spec for commuting with plenty of extras; easy central frame folding mechanism
- Cons: Single gear could be limiting for some riders; soft brakes
The MiRider One has a rear-hub motor and a battery enclosed in the front half of the folding magnesium alloy frame. Although you only get a single speed, the motor assist still enables you to zip along, with a Boost button to add extra power when needed.
Claimed range is up to 35 miles, but it’s easy to carry the diminutive charger along with you if you do need a top-up. With rear suspension, disc brakes and mudguards included, the MiRider One is well-specced and folds really easily too.
- £1,899 as tested
- Pros: Good-value budget cargo bike; impressive range and carrying capacity
- Cons: Some lag in power delivery
Electric cargo bikes are normally a lot more expensive, so the Mycle Cargo is a bargain for a bike that’s designed to lug plenty of kit around with a carrying capacity of over 200kg.
Despite the low price, the Mycle Cargo still includes a 700Wh battery and a motor with 65Nm torque for plenty of pulling power.
Road manners are good too, with light steering, although the motor pick-up has a little lag when starting. The seven-speed Shimano drivetrain gives you plenty of gear range and the bike even comes with lights.
- £999 as tested
- Pros: Nicely integrated battery in seatpost; well set up for urban riding
- Cons: One size only
Another budget electric bike option from Mycle, the Classic has smart looks with a step-through frame making it easy to mount and dismount. The battery is enclosed in the seatpost and it’s set off by a smart-looking vegan leather saddle and grips.
The Classic comes in one size and is well set up for urban riding, with an upright position and swept-back bars, with wide tyres that ride easily over bumps.
There’s enough power in the rear-hub motor to get you up hills, seven speeds and around a 50km range.
- £1,499 as tested
- Pros: Decent range despite the small battery; comes with mudguards and hydraulic disc brakes
- Cons: Sporty feel not for everyone; not great off tarmac
Revolutionworks’ Whippet marries a classic steel-framed commuter bike with a rear-hub motor and compact 200Wh battery.
It’s got a lower ride position than most hybrids and skinny 32mm tyres, and so feels more like riding an electric road bike than an upright hybrid electric bike.
The Whippet works best when you’re riding it like a non-powered bike and saving the motor for the hills, where we eked out a 35-mile range despite the small battery.
Full-length mudguards and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes finish a spec that’s great for faster commutes.
Budget electric bikes: what to look for
Budget electric bike motors explained
At the lower end of the electric bike price range, motors may be unbranded. When there is a brand name associated with the system, it’s often a less well-known OEM brand.
You’ll also find units from Bafang, which is well-respected for its lower-priced motors. Electric bike motors from brands such as Shimano, Bosch and Fazua are in the main reserved for many of the more expensive best electric bikes.
Many cheap electric bikes will have rear-hub motors, although you can find models with mid-mounted motors as well. These make for more even weight distribution, but because the power is delivered through the drivetrain, there may be more wear on components.
You’ll occasionally see a front-hub motor, but these are more common in the best electric bike conversion kits.
Budget eclectic bike range and battery life explained
One of the most expensive components of an electric bike motor system is the battery.
This means cheaper electric bikes will often hit a lower price point by speccing a smaller-capacity battery. This may limit range, although you should still have plenty to get you around town. Longer excursions over hillier terrain may be out of the question, however.
Also look at recharge time, which can be prolonged for some cheaper systems.
Many cheap ebikes will have a battery mounted on the down tube or under a rear rack, rather than integrated into the frame. It may not be pretty, but it means it’s easy to remove the battery for charging indoors. Make sure it’s lockable to the bike though.
Budget eclectic bike components explained
A cheap electric bike may have lower-spec components too. That’s particularly evident in the drivetrain, where cheaper components are usually specced.
They’ll work perfectly well, but may not give you the gear range to tackle steeper climbs, although the motor will certainly help out here.
Some budget electric bikes will have a single-speed drivetrain, which can limit hill-climbing ability and also top speed at the other end of the range.
If you are going to be using your electric bike for commuting or other duties in all weathers, you will probably want to fit mudguards. Many budget electric bikes will have mounting points for mudguards and a rear rack, and some will come with these, but do check.
You should also read our guide on electric bike maintenance for tips on how best to look after your new ebike.