Best electric bikes 2023on January 4, 2023 at 15:17 Tech Advisor

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Electric bikes are fast becoming a common sight on roads, as well as off-road. They’re the obvious choice for replacing short car journeys, because they’re better for the environment, help you get fit – or stay in shape – and can save money in the long run.

On an electric bike, cycling up hills becomes almost effortless, and you won’t be slowed down by strong headwinds. All the worst things about regular cycling are solved by an electric bike. Except getting wet in the rain, of course.

You can ride an electric bike in the rain: they’re designed for both dry and wet weather.

And there are lots of different types of electric bikes, just as there are with normal bikes. So whether you want to cycle exclusively on the road, or to tear up the trails and tackle some proper mountain biking, there’s an electric bike to suit.

Not only are electric bikes good for the environment (especially if you replace cycling with car journeys) they also help you to get fit

While electric bikes cost more than regular bikes, there are ways to bring down that cost. In the UK you could ask your employer if you can buy an e-bike on the Bike2Work or Cyclescheme . This can knock off a big chunk of the cost.

Are electric bikes worth it?

Absolutely. Electric bikes make it easy to cover longer distances than you can on an ordinary bike, and you can easily cycle up hills even if you’re unfit.

Electric bikes are for everyone, no matter your age or fitness level.

Every electric bike offers a variety of levels of assistance – including pedal power only – so you can choose how much effort to put in. Feeling lazy? Use maximum motor power and barely pedal at all.

Electric bikes are legal in most countries, but the laws aren’t the same in all. In Europe and the UK, motors are limited to 250W and assistance speeds to 15.5mph / 25km/h. But in the US, bikes can assist to 20mph and have motors up to 1000W in certain states. Do check the laws in your state before buying.

Best electric bikes: reviewed & ranked

1. VanMoof S3

Pros

Automatic gears

Built-in lock & alarm

GPS tracking

Cons

Too big for short riders

No suspension

Price keeps rising

RRP:



£1798

Best Prices Today:



£1798 at VanMoof

So long as you don’t need a bike with suspension or one that can fold up for easy storage, the VanMoof S3 is hard to beat.

The automatic gears, powerful motor and good range make it a joy to ride. There are lots of useful extras including a built-in lock, alarm and tracking system, and you get LED lights and mudguards as standard – plus a generous three-year warranty.

Do note that if you’re under 170cm (5ft7), buy the X3 instead as the S3 has a large frame.

One of the biggest attractions of the S3 when we first reviewed it was the low price compared to the S2, but VanMoof has had to increase the price several times, so it’s no longer the bargain it once was.

Read our full
Review VanMoof S3

2. Specialized Turbo Vado SL (2021)

Pros

Lightweight

Excellent ride quality

Choice of frame size

Cons

Expensive

RRP:



From £2600

Best Prices Today:



£2600 at Specialized

Although expensive – especially if you opt for the 5.0 rather than 4.0 – the Turbo Vado SL is every inch the premium ebike. It looks great, is much lighter than a lot of cheaper rivals and can be ridden like a normal bike without motor assistance.

It isn’t the most powerful, but as long as you don’t live in the mountains, it shouldn’t be an issue, and the ride quality is excellent.

Range is great considering the relatively small-capacity battery: the only real issue is price, with the entry level SL 4.0 starting at £2600/$3350. Plus, this is the 2021 model, which is now relatively difficult to track down, having been replaced by the 2022 model, which is more expensive still.

Read our full
Review Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

3. Eskute Polluno Pro

Pros

Mid-drive motor with torque sensor

Good display

Cons

Heavy

Only one frame size

RRP:



£1899

The Eskute Polluno Pro is an e-bike that’s well suited to commuting. But with its mid-mounted motor, torque sensor and comfortable, noiseless ride, plus nine gears and a step-through design it’s great for all kinds of on-road cycling.

It is heavy, though, and shorter riders may find it too big: there’s only one frame size available. Eskute also sells a non-Pro model which is cheaper and has a motor in the rear wheel hub instead.

Read our full
Review Eskute Polluno Pro

4. Raleigh Array

Pros

Appealing design

Good range

Cons

Big & heavy

No built-in security measures

RRP:



£1,595

Best Prices Today:



£1595 at Raleigh

The Array is Raleigh’s entry-level electric bike. You can pick between three different frame styles, including a ‘shopper’-style step-through model. The one shown above is the ‘open frame’ design. Each comes in three frame sizes to suit wide variety of riders.

The classic looks are certainly a highlight, and there are seven gears to help when you’re pulling away from a standstill, as well as on hills. But the powerful motor makes light work of those and the removable battery has a range of up to 60 miles. That, as with all e-bikes, varies a lot depending on many factors.

The price includes lights, a kick-stand and mudguards, but there’s nothing in the way of security: no lock and no tracking tech. Amazingly, the price has dropped since we reviewed it, bucking the trend here, and making the Array more attractive.

And as long as you’re able to keep it locked up securely and don’t have to leave it, say, on your local high street or at a railway station regularly, that may not be an issue for you.

Read our full
Review Raleigh Array e-bike

5. MiRider One

Pros

Good value

Well built

Cons

No gears

No rear light

RRP:



£1395

Best Prices Today:



£1395 at MiRider

The MiRider One is a thoughtfully designed folding bike which is well built and great to ride.

It’s more affordable than some of its rivals, yet has very few compromises. It’s relatively lightweight, built with good-quality components and is covered by a two-year UK warranty.

Mudguards and a front light are included as standard, and there’s no app to complicate things: you just unfold and ride.

Like some others here, it’s no longer as cheap as it used to be. The current 2022 model costs £200 more than the 2021 version did, but has a larger-capacity battery for a better range (up to 45 miles) and a new motor with 25% more torque, so it isn’t just inflation.

It’s worth noting that there are no gears, which makes it harder to ride – especially up hills – if the battery runs out. But if you’re careful to ensure it doesn’t, it isn’t a problem.

Read our full
Review MiRider One (2021)

6. Fiido X (V2)

Pros

Great ride quality

Quiet motor

Removable battery

Cons

No suspension

Keypad system feels like a gimmick

No handlebar height adjustment

RRP:



£1600

Best Prices Today:



$1799 at Fiido

The Fiido X V2 is a superb folding e-bike which rides exceptionally well and has just about all the features you’d want. It’s well priced, too.

The battery is built into the seat post and can be removed for charging, though the keypad security system is actually less convenient than if Fiido had opted for a simple key lock.

But it’s not a deal-breaker by any means, and you get built-in lights, a torque sensor (for smooth power delivery) and hydraulic disc brakes. Thanks to seven gears, you can still ride this bike when the battery runs out, something that’s not as easy on single-speed electric bikes.

Like all Fiido models, watch out for the short warranty on many components: only the frame itself gets the full three-year cover.

Read our full
Review Fiido X

7. Carrera Vengeance E

Pros

Good value

UK warranty

Improved display

Cons

Some entry-level components

Limited range

RRP:



£1099

Best Prices Today:



£1099 at Halfords

Built to a budget, the Vengeance E offers a good overall specification, with a Suntour HESC system that uses a torque sensor rather than inferior cadence sensors.

The range of up to 40 miles is fine at this price, and unlike Chinese imports, you can take the Vengeance E to your local Halfords store to get it repaired should anything break.

The cheap-looking control panel from the 2019 model has been swapped for the much superior Suntour compact OLED and, aside from the slightly noisy motor, it’s great value compared to many electric mountain bikes.

Read our full
Review Carrera Vengeance E

8. Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 2

Pros

Large cargo rack which can house a second seat

Suitable for shorter riders

Cheaper than a cargo bike

Cons

Can be cramped for taller riders

Very basic display

Single speed

RRP:



£1349

Best Prices Today:



£1349 at Rad Power Bikes

The RadRunner 2 is a utility bike that should appeal to anyone looking for an inexpensive electric bike for carrying luggage (or a second person) to replace their car for short journeys.

Range is relatively limited compared to other bikes here and optional accessories (of which there are many) can push the price up a lot from the attractive-looking purchase price.

If you can’t tell from the photo, this is a chunky, heavy bike but strangely it’s not well suited to tall riders, who may well find the frame too small for comfort.

Read our full
Review Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 2

9. Volt Pulse

Pros

Comfortable

Powerful motor

Choice of frame size

Cons

Heavy

No GPS or theft tracking

RRP:



£1949

Best Prices Today:



£1949 at Volt

Volt’s Pulse has been around for ages, but got an update in 2021. One of the big changes is that the battery now slots into the frame, making it much neater.

The price includes the mudguards, lights, kickstand and built-in Dutch-style lock, and unlike the VanMoof S3 (which has GPS, Bluetooth and and embedded SIM for tracking it), it hasn’t got loads more expensive over the past couple of years.

If you’re not bothered by the absence of tracking features, then the Pulse is a great choice. Just bear in mind it’s a big, heavy bike: this is great for touring around, but not if you have to regularly lift it up steps or onto public transport.

Read our full
Review Volt Pulse (2021)

10. Fiido L3

Pros

Impressive range

Plenty of torque

Affordable

Cons

Heavy

RRP:



£789

Best Prices Today:



£789 at Fiido

The L3 is a fold-up city bike that’s cheaper than you’d expect, and has a much bigger battery than most rivals. Some people will dislike that this makes it heavy, while others – maybe cycle couriers – will appreciate that it will allow them to get around all day (perhaps even multiple days) without running out of juice.

It’s a budget bike, but that massive battery and the fact it’s a 48V system will be more than enough to persuade some that it’s the best choice over other foldable models here.

Read our full
Review Fiido L3

11. Eskute Netuno

Pros

Bafang motor

Great value

Cons

Heavy

Jerky power delivery

RRP:



£1,299

Best Prices Today:



£1299 at Eskute

If you’re not convinced by the Carrera Vengeance E, or you don’t live in the UK and therefore can’t buy one, the Eskute Netuno is another hard-tail mountain bike to consider. It’s the follow-up to the Voyager and – at a glance – it’s impossible to tell them apart.

There are some upgrades here, though, including a neat display built into the handlebar stem. The battery is removable for easy charging, which will be a critical tick-box for some people.

The fork and chainset are entry-level components, but this leaves room in the budget for a decent Bafang motor.

It costs $400 / £300 more than the Voyager, which isn’t ideal, but it’s still at the more affordable end of the scale for anyone wanting an electric bike for some off-road fun.

Read our full
Review Eskute Netuno

12. Fiido M1

Pros

Great fun to ride off road

Folds up for storage

Cons

Heavy

Limited warranty support

RRP:



£935.99

Best Prices Today:



£935.99 at Fiido

Most folding bikes are designed for commuting, but not the Fiido M1. If the tyres and suspension don’t give the game away, it’s for off-road riding.

Unlike cheap Chinese folding bikes we’ve tested, the M1 is sturdily built and feels sure-footed at speed, both on and off road.

Battery life is pretty good, but the 25kg weight and those wide tyres mean you’re not going to enjoy riding it under pure pedal power – especially if you have to cycle up any hills.

However, our main concern is that there’s limited warranty support should any components fail: Fiido doesn’t have a repair centre in Europe yet.

Read our full
Review Fiido M1

Where to buy an electric bike

You can buy electric bikes from many bike shops these days, including Halfords in the UK. Often you’ll be able to test ride one – some companies will even loan you a bike for a day or two so you can really try them out.

Quite a few manufacturers sell direct to the public. This can mean they’re a bit more affordable, or better value, but do consider how you’d return the bike if there is a problem. It’s extremely costly to return a bike to China, which is why most Chinese bike manufacturers will offer to send replacement parts you can fit yourself, or take to a local bike repair shop.

Don’t be put off buying Chinese bikes: quite a few brands now have warehouses in Europe, UK and the US, so delivery is quick and won’t cost a lot. Local bike shops are better equipped now to service and repair electric bikes, too.

What’s important to understand is that you get what you pay for with e-bikes. So, if you can afford more than around $1000 / £800, it’s wise to spend more than that. Even at this price, it’s almost impossible to find one which doesn’t have some compromises in component quality.

You might consider that a lot of money, but that’s an entry-level electric bike. Top-end electric bikes can cost several thousand pounds.

Here are the electric bikes we recommend.

Electric bike buying guide

When choosing a bike you should first decide what type you want. All types are available including road, hybrid (touring / commuting), mountain, folding, shopper / step-through.

Here are the key things to look for:

Frame sizeWeightSensor type – torque or cadenceGearsClaimed rangeWarranty terms

Some of those are fairly self-explanatory, but it’s worth briefly covering them all.

Don’t expect there will always be a choice of frame size. Some of the bikes reviewed here come in one size, and it may be too big – or small – for you.

For weight, bear in mind that that e-bikes can be heavy, and therefore harder to ride with no assistance from the motor than a normal bike. Weight can also be an issue if you have to carry your bike up flights of stairs. But there are lightweight options at around 15-16kg – the heaviest e-bikes can weigh upwards of 25kg.

You should also consider warranty and longevity. An e-bike may be cheap, but if a component fails you don’t want to have to pay to send the whole thing overseas for repair. Worse still, if you can’t get replacement parts at all, your bike may cease to work at all.

Some come with a thumb throttle so you can increase the assistance instantly, but under UK law this is not allowed. Bike which meet current regulations come with no throttle at all and the motor just senses when you’re pedalling.

Special brake levers are installed on some e-bikes. These detect when you apply the brakes and cut power to the motor.

There are laws in the UK covering electric bikes, and you can read more about
which electric bikes are legal to use on the road.

Bikes that conform must have a motor outputting 250 watts or less (peak power can be higher) and must not operate the motor over 15.5mph. Also, you have to be 14 or older to ride one.

Similarly, it’s worth getting a branded battery (Panasonic, Samsung, Sony etc) or at least checking if you can buy replacement batteries. Lithium-ion packs can be recharged between 800 and 1000 times, which could mean a three-year lifespan if you commute to and from work. And batteries will lose their capacity over time, meaning the bike’s assisted range will decrease as the battery ages.

A removable battery means you can take it indoors to charge: handy if you don’t have a mains socket in your shed or wherever you keep your bike.

If you do buy a bike, you might be interested in our recommendations for the
best bike locks and
bike helmets.

Electric Bikes and Scooters

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