Is riding an electric bike the best way to get to and from work? We think it might be. Whether you do the full commute on your e-bike, or use it as part of a multi-modal journey, the extra boost an e-bike provides can mean you arrive at your destination a little faster, and a little less sweaty.
There are plenty of options to consider when choosing an electric commuter bike. Yes, there is sort of a category dedicated to these types of bikes, but everyone’s commute is different, so the best electric commuter bike for you might be different to someone else.
From folders to gravel or hybrid bikes, there’s a lot of variety on the market these days, and not all have to break the bank. And if you’re eligible, you could save money by using a Cycle to Work Scheme through your employer to make the switch to an electric bike even more attractive.
Best electric commuter bikes 2023
- Ribble Hybrid AL e - best electric hybrid commuter | Buy now for £2,499 from Ribble Cycles
- Cube Reacton Hybrid Performance 500 - best for mixed terrain commutes | Buy now for £1,999 from E-Bike Shop
- Tern Vektron Q9 - best folding commuter | Buy now for £3,000 from Surge Bikes
- Carrera Subway E - best commuter under £1,500 | Buy now for £989.10 from Halfords
- Gazelle Grenoble C7_ HMB - best city e-commuter | Buy now for £2,500 from Velorution
- MiRider One GB3 - best folding commuter under £2,500 | Buy now for £2,495 from MiRider
- Specialized Turbo Como 3.0 - best step-through e-commuter | Buy now for £2,800 from Specialized
- Vello Bike+ - best for multi-modal commutes | Buy now for £2,990 from About the Bike
- Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ - most sporty e-commuter | Buy now for £2,900 from Specialized
- Cytronex C1 system - best e-bike conversion kit | Buy now from £1,045 from Cytronex
A masterclass of suave styling paired with a discreet motor, the Ribble Hybrid AL e takes the popular Hybrid frame and integrates a MAHLE Smartbike System X35+ electronic system. This rear hub motor system provides smooth assistance, ideal for most terrain (hilly or flat) and with hybrid tyres you can even take the towpath to work.
The Fully Loaded edition also includes a paint-matched rear rack, ideal for carrying pannier bags so you don’t need to lug a rucksack on your back, and full length mudguards for splash protection year round.
For more detail, read our review of the Ribble Hybrid AL e.
Though it may look more like a trail oriented hardtail, we’ve classed the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 as a more leisure oriented e-bike thanks to its modest 100mm coil-sprung fork and nine-speed drivetrain. Best suited to commuters who prefer to take the road less travelled, it’s ideal for those wanting to cut out some traffic and take advantage of bridleways or off-road sections on their commutes.
It’s compatible with some of Cube’s own brand accessories, including mudguards, kickstand and a rear rack – turning it into the ultimate off-road commuter. At just under £2.5k you also get a Bosch Performance Line G3 motor and a 500Wh battery for plenty of commuting miles.
For more detail, read our review of the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 (2021).
If you want the practicality of an electric folding bike but want something a bit more substantial and with extra carrying capacity, then the Tern Vektron may be a worthy investment. At £3,500 it’s not cheap, but for that money you get a Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive motor, a 400Wh battery, and an extended rear rack with a 27kg carrying capacity.
It’s compatible with child seats, so you can even drop your child off at school on the way to work. The Vektron Q9 also comes with hydraulic disc brakes and a frame that can be adapted to suit most rider heights.
For more detail, read our review of the Tern Vektron Q9.
When we reviewed this bike initially in 2019 it was below £1,000 (and still is if you catch it on sale), but even with a modest price increase it’s still one of the best value e-commuters out there. The Subway E comes with Suntour’s HESC rear hub motor and a 374Wh battery.
Our reviewer reckoned you can easily exceed Carrera’s 40km suggested range, after easily riding three loops of their 9km commuter (with 160m of climbing) on the highest assist mode. There are compromises, but for the price, it’s hard to beat as a starter commuter.
For more detail, read our review of the Carrera Subway E.
The Gazelle Grenoble C7+ HMB presents an elegant option for city commutes, as reviewer Dave attests:
“It’s comfort, elegance and poise from top to bottom, and if swans looks serene on top while they’re paddling like crazy below the waterline, and enthusiast cyclists in luminous Lycra look just crazy, then if you buy the Grenoble C7+ HMB you’ll feel as serene as you look.”
With a Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive motor and the relaxed riding position, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself even in a congested city. It also comes with a rear rack, perfect for panniers to fill with your work belongings.
For more detail, read our review of the Gazelle Grenoble C7+ HMB.
Upgraded and revitalised, the MiRider One GB3 takes the best bits from the previous One iterations like the frame design and durability, and pushes it to new levels. The GB3, named after the three-speed gearbox, now provides users with gears, hydraulic disc brakes, a brand new display and a gel saddle.
It’s a little bit heavy to be lugging around on trains and buses, but if you want something that’s got a bit of oomph to get you to and from work with ease, but not a lot of space for storage, this could be a winner.
For more detail, read our review of the MiRider One GB3.
The Specialized Como 3.0 is the brand’s lowest step model, aimed at getting a wider range of people on e-bikes on their commutes. Yes, it’s expensive, but comes packed with plenty of tech to try and justify the price.
The version we rode was the reimagined model for 2022, and we were very impressed with the overall package – especially as the Como 3.0 is the entry-level option in the range. Tester Richard found it coped well even in hilly Calderdale: “Given the bike is the lower powered spec of a city-specific model, I was really impressed with the way it coped with the testing conditions that are not its natural habitat.”
Specialized’s own motor really comes to life on the Turbo Como, making it a premium but high-quality option for those with deeper pockets.
For more detail, read our review of the Specialized Turbo Como 3.0.
If light weight is important to you, particularly if you’re commuting via different means of transportation, then the Vello Bike+ is a good option. It’s very compact, with even the handlebars folding into three parts for those really tight spaces.
We were also impressed by the overall performance, particularly with the Schlumpf Mountain Drive gearing option. It’s among many a single-speed e-bike, but this one with a belt drive, which is excellent for keeping oil off your work clothes.
For more detail, read our review of the Vello Bike+.
A fully equipped commuter bike that looks rather sporty? Sign us up. The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ is just that – a damn good looking commuting e-bike. Complete with lights, full mudguards and a rear rack, it’s pretty much set up for commuting glory.
The Specialized SL 1.1 motor means it gives ‘2x you’ power and provides up to 35Nm of torque. It doesn’t sound like a lot but our tester found it doesn’t limit its hill climbing ability at all.
For more detail, read our review of the Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0 EQ.
Of course, if you already have a prized commuter bike that you think would just benefit from a little extra juice, the Cytronex C1 System is one of if not the best e-bike conversion kit you can buy. This external system is designed with two battery packs inside, and offers 198Wh paired with a front hub motor.
The battery takes residence in place of one of your bottles, and there’s a handlebar mounted boost button which is where you control the five power settings. A sprocket movement sensor is also mounted on the chainstay, offering a discreet solution. It’s between 3.2-3.6kg so pretty lightweight for a retrofit option, and one that’s pretty high quality, too.
For more detail, read our review of the Cytronex C1 system.
How to choose the best electric commuter bike for your journey to work
How much faster is it to commute by an electric bike than a non-electric one?
This depends on a number of factors. We need to take into account your route (terrain and how hilly it is), fitness, the weather, and the bikes we’re comparing. For example, if you ride a five mile flat journey to work, a rider of average fitness will likely be above the 15.5mph assist limit for most of the time. In this situation, the places where an e-bike will make up time will be setting off from junctions or traffic lights.
And this is where the benefits of electric bikes as commuters comes in. You’ll likely get to your place of work faster, and with a bit less effort. So in the summer when it’s warm, you won’t sweat as much. If your route is hilly, an e-bike will help to flatten some of those hills and will provide far more benefit in terms of speed than on a flatter route.
Can you commute with an electric bike?
Yes, you can. Electric bikes, assuming they are EAPCs, are classed as pedal bicycles. This means you can ride in all the same places as an unassisted bike and you do not need any licensing or insurance to ride one.
If you want to commute by bike, an electric bike is a great option as it gives you the freedom to choose a route based not just on avoiding that one ‘big hill’. Instead, you can ride up many big hills and still arrive at work feeling reasonably fresh and ready for your day.
Do I need a specific electric bike to commute on?
In short, no. Depending on your route, you can use any type of electric bike no matter what its ‘label’. There’s nothing stopping you using a £12,000 electric road bike if that will help your morale and get you out the door on a cold, dark winter’s morning! As long as the bike you choose is fit for purpose, there are no rules about what bike you should be using. If you want to look at a broader range of electric bikes, read our overall guide to the best electric bikes.