With e-bikes starting to enter the mainstream, more and more are becoming available at affordable prices as production ramps up... and there are even plenty that now come in at under £1,000!
With continued confusion over the new Cycle to Work scheme rules, many employers and cycle schemes will be continuing to offer bikes that are under £1,000 for the time being. Just a few years ago e-bikes would have been out of the question, but an increasingly competitive market and a rise in popularity mean there is now quite a bit of choice when it comes to sub-1k e-bikes. It means you'll be able to take advantage of a cycle scheme if your employer offers this, and can still get some e-assist to help with your journey. With all that said, you're going to have to accept that there will be some trade-offs with an e-bike if you're spending under a grand...
An e-bike under £1,000 will usually have an aluminium frame - when it comes to mass-production of affordable bikes, alloy reigns supreme nowadays. More expensive e-bikes might have carbon frames, and although steel-framed e-bikes are less common, they do exist and will usually cost more than a grand - the Dawes Falcon Serene (mentioned below) is an exception. That said, forks on budget bikes are sometimes made of chromoly steel (as on the Carrera Subway E pictured above) but alloy is still a common option.
Cheaper e-bikes (and their components) will also be heavier than lighter and more luxurious models. An electric hybrid or e-mountain bike will most likely weigh considerably more than 20kg, which is something to consider if you might have to carry your bike in and out of the house/wherever you store it regularly.
For maximum stopping power, hydraulic disc brakes are the golden ticket nowadays and are almost guaranteed to feature on any e-mountain bike or hybrid costing over £2,000... at under a grand though, you're going to have to compromise. The G Tech Sport Hybrid shown above features V-brakes - less hassle to adjust than a cantilever, and a cheaper option than all-in-one caliper rim brakes. Mechanical disc brakes feature on numerous e-mtb's and hybrids in Decathlon's B'Twin and Rockrider ranges and also on the Carrera Subway E and Crossroad E, but on super budget e-bikes you're invariably going to get rim braking. They're perfectly fine for most types of riding and have been the brake type of choice for years up until recently; they're just not as powerful as disc brakes which may come in handy if you enjoy ripping around trails.
On sub-£1,000 e-bikes, you're guaranteed to find the motor in either the rear or front hub (usually the rear) as mid-motors are often more powerful and therefore pricier, starting on e-bikes from around £1,500 up. As we're still governed by the EU laws on e-bike assistance (for now anyway) the maximum you're going to get is 250 watts of power that cuts out at 25km/h, regardless of how expensive your bike is. They motor might not feed your assistance in quite so smoothly as on more expensive variations when you pedal, but you're still technically getting the same assistance as you would get on e-bikes that cost ten times as much.
With pricier e-bikes lasting up to 100km before needing to be charged nowadays, you're looking at around half of that on e-bikes at this price point. The e-road bike shown above has a 310Wh battery, which will give you about two to three hours of riding at medium levels of assistance; although bear in mind for road and city riding you won't need the assistance so much, so you'll probably get quite a bit more out of it. On the trails you're going to be using that assistance a lot more, so bigger batteries are desirable. Decathlon's Rockrider E-ST 500 e-mtb has a 417Wh battery, which should keep you powered up on the trails for about 2.5 hours.
With some higher end e-bikes now coming equipped with built-in lights, fancy displays and storage options, if you're spending under £1k you're not going to get as many extras, if any. All Halford's Carrera bikes in our recommendations come with mounting points for mudguards, while the Falcon Serene and Halfords Assist Deluxe (just £398) come with a rear rack that has the battery housed underneath it.
Right then... without further ado, here is a selection of bikes we've found that come in at under £1,000! Where possible we've tried to list bikes we can fully recommend, backed up with a full review from an eBikeTips tester. The other bikes listed are from brands we know and trust to produce decent budget e-bikes...
This classy commuter provides you with assist for up to 70km, with seven gears to help you up steep city streets. Mudguards and a chainguard will keep you and your bike from getting too dirty, and a sturdy aluminium frame with a suspension for will provide you with plenty of extra comfort. Tan tyres, saddle and bar grips give the bike a classic look, and 28mm tyres with plenty of puncture protection should soften lumps and bumps. Overall, it's a pretty impressive package for the price.
One of the very few bikes to offer a Gates Carbon belt drive at this price point (which means no oil on your trousers) the Gtech Sport has a simple build and a reasonably powerful motor for your 995 quid. It misses out on a couple of essential things for a city e-bike such as mudguards and a kickstand, but as a casual runaround bike it's got most of the things you need. A single gear and motor support up to around 22km/h according to our reviewer means it's not perhaps as sporty as the name would suggest, but if your budget is limited and you want something simple, it’s certainly one to look at.
Read our review of the Gtech Sport Electric Hybrid
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A proper hardtail e-mountain bike for under £1,000 was almost unheard of until Decathlon's Rockrider range surfaced, and the E-ST500 has everything you need to tear over the trails. A single chainring means no gearing confusion and there is plenty of range thanks to an 11-36 cassette with 9 speeds. The frame is aluminium and you get mechanical disc brakes with fat Hutchinson Cougar 27.5"/2.4" tyres, plus the assistance is torque-controlled to support smooth, natural pedalling.
Proclaimed as the cheapest e-road bike available when it was launched (we certainly haven't found a cheaper one) the Crossroad E is ideal for those on a budget whose commute is a bit further than the average. You get an alloy frame and fork, Suntour’s HESC motor system with a 310Wh battery, Shimano/Microshift 9-speed gearing and mechanical disc brakes, a decent package for the money that will last you for three hours of riding or more with assistance if you use it sparingly. At 19.5kg it's nowhere near as light as more expensive e-road bikes, but it's an acceptable trade-off for the stonkingly good value.
Read our review of the Carrera Crossroad E
The lines of the sturdy steel frame on the Falcon Serene are uninterrupted thanks to the rear-mounted battery pack, and as a bonus this is also underneath a pannier rack which is perfect for storing your stuff on for the commute. A 360Wh battery affords you plenty of range that should keep you going for up to 45km, and the step-through design makes it easy to hop on and off. An easy adjusting handlebar and saddle means it's suitable for anyone up to around 6ft, and the mudguards and chainguard will stop you from getting too muddy.
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Our reviewer described the Subway E as the best sub-£1,000 urban bike he's tried, and you only have to look at the spec to realise that it's seriously good value. Mechanical disc brakes, 27.5" wheels with big chamber Kenda moto tyres are great additions for varying terrain, and a torque-sensing motor system with a decent battery range are again excellent for the money. There's 9-speed transmission and three levels of assistance that should see you up any hill, and there's generally a lot to like. If you’re looking for a starter e-bike and you want to keep the spend below £1,000, this is a top-of-the-list candidate.
Read our review of the Carrera Subway E
Not only do they sell the best value e-road bike, but Halfords are also claiming that the Assist Deluxe is the UK's cheapest electric bike in the land! You have to expect plenty of compromises in an e-bike that costs under 400 quid, and the front hub motor with v-brakes are the first obvious trade-offs. There's just one gear, but the motor has the standard 250 watts of assistance so it should be enough for most hills you encounter in the city. There are also lights and mudguards included, and you get up to 30 miles of range from the battery.
One of the best value electric folders out there, the Tilt 500 has a sturdy aluminium frame that folds in as little as 15 seconds, six speeds and a battery range that will take you up to 35km in economy mode and 20km in sport mode. Tough tyres with puncture protection, mudguards and lights come as standard, and it weighs in at 18.6kg.
The Arc 2 not only has a 250W rear motor, it even has an additional port for charging mobile devices on the move. The sleek alloy frame sees the battery hidden inside the tubing, and you should get around 30-35km of range which should be plenty to last most commuters a week of riding to work and back. The 20" wheels make the bike compact enough to store in small spaces at home and on train luggage racks, and you also get powerful mechanical disc brakes with a Shimano 6 speed drivetrain.
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