Electric single-speed bikes have become more popular in recent years. They’re ideal for those who want to embrace simplicity, and with the added electric power, you don't necessarily need to live in a totally flat area to benefit as the motor often negates the need for gears.
The advantages of a single-speed drivetrain centre on the fact that there are fewer components, which in turn means there’s generally less to worry about failing, or cleaning. You’ll also find that this means single-speed e-bikes can often be lighter than their multi-geared counterparts.
The downsides to a single geared bike is that some hills will be more diffcult to conquer (depending on the power of the motor), and that it is possible to spin out more easily. This is where your cadence goes higher than is comfortable - a bit like being stuck in the little ring on a descent.
At the moment, there seem to be more folding e-bikes and urban e-bikes that have adopted the single-speed philosophy and so that’s what you’ll see on our list. If you want to see a more rounded overview of the different types of e-bikes on offer, then read our overall guide to the best electric bikes.
The good news for prospective single-speed e-bike owners is that they are generally on the cheaper end of the spectrum – you won’t see any £10,000 e-bikes in this guide.
Best electric single-speed bikes 2023
- FLIT-16 - best lightweight single-speed folder | Pre-order for £1,999 from FLIT
- Honbike Uni4 - best belt-drive single-speed e-bike | Buy for £1,599 from Barton Bicycles
- Ado Air 28 - best step-through single-speed e-bike | Buy for £1,362 from Ado
- Tenways CGO600 - best commuter single-speed e-bike | Buy for £1,299 from Tenways
- Cowboy Cruiser ST - best looking single-speed e-bike | Buy from £2,190 from Cowboy
- Volt London - best of British | Buy for £2,299 from Volt
- Decathlon Speed 900E - best for the future |
- Eskuta SX250 - best moped style single-speed e-bike | Buy for £1,795 from Eskuta
The FLIT M2 has been released since we reviewed the FLIT-16, but we loved the ride quality of this innovative folding bike. Not only is it lightweight, at just over 15kg, it’s seriously compact and a genuine multi-modal commute option.
The M2 meanwhile has a claimed weight of 14kg, but it’s still in the pre-order phase so customers will have to wait until spring 2024 to get hold of one. It’s still powered by a rear hub motor (although this has been upgraded), and has early bird pricing of £1,999 if you’re quick.
If you’re after a bike that looks utterly unique, and is low maintenance, then look no further than the Honbike Uni4. Nothing if not distinctive, the single tubed mid-frame and single sided chainstay also provides an “excellent ride”, according to our reviewer, Ian.
It weighs just over 20kg so it's not as lightweight as some others on this list, but for those wanting something that won’t require a lot of cleaning, the belt drive is surely an attractive proposition. Paired with a 250W rear hub motor, there’s lots to like about this unique looking e-bike.
For more detail, read our review of the Honbike Uni4.
A budget conscious e-bike at under £1,500, the Ado Air 28 impressed our reviewer, Stu, for its decent spec list, including the fact it’s belt driven. He also picked up on the lightness of the bike, which at 21kg is not too bad for a bike of its type. This also means it’s easier to control at lower speeds, which can only be of benefit when riding in traffic and urban areas.
The power for this bike comes from a rear hub motor, and unlike others at this price point, it offers a smooth delivery of the assistance without any overrun of power once you’ve stopped pedalling. It provides up to 37.5Nm of torque so it's not the punchiest of motors, but it’ll do for most terrain.
For more detail, read our review of the Ado Air 28.
Another under £1,500, the Tenways CGO600 is a stylish, high performance urban e-bike with the added benefit of only one speed to worry about. The brand’s first bikes were crowdfunded, but since then have grown in popularity and generally garnered positive reviews.
The 250Wh battery isn’t easily removable, but it does offer a range of around 30 miles in optimum conditions. Tester Richard felt it offered a sophisticated ride, thanks to the responsiveness of the hub motor, something you don’t often get at this price point. The belt-drive also offers less maintenance than a chain, making it an excellent choice for commuting where you want to spend more time riding and less time worrying about how clean your bike is.
For more detail, read our review of the Tenways CGO600.
The Cowboy Cruiser ST is one of the more minimalist looking e-bikes out there on the market. With sleek lines and a thoughtful silhouette, you’ll be pleased to know it’s not just a bike that looks good, it performs well too, with big upgrades to the motor over predecessors which our tester found “super smooth as well as unobtrusively quiet.”
Simplicity works its way into the electronics, with only one assist level to choose from as well as a single-speed setup. So if you want to glide through a flat city, then this is certainly worth considering.
For more detail, read our review of the Cowboy Cruiser ST.
The Volt London is a pretty slick looking urban e-bike, complete with front pizza rack for all your ‘za carrying needs. It’s powered by a Spintech branded Bafang rear hub motor, which has a decent torque sensor to help get you going.
In the words of Richard, our reviewer, “it really does feel like you have bionic legs”. For anyone looking for a responsive and easy to maintain ride, the Volt London is worthy of consideration.
For more detail, read our first ride review of the Volt London.
While this e-bike isn’t strictly available in the UK just yet, we reported on it last month and we’re rather excited to see it come to market for us British riders. The Speed 900E will be powered by a Mahle rear hub motor, which we’re already big fans of in other urban e-bikes.
It weighs 15kg which is very respectable for an urban electric bike, and you even get some hardwired LED lights, mudguards and frame-routed cabling to polish off an already pretty nice looking bike. The bike is slated for release in the UK between January and March 2024, so you’ll have to wait until then to get hold of one, but it does look rather tempting for the price and spec.
For more details, read our article on the Decathlon Speed 900E.
And for something completely different…
Is it a moped? No, it’s definitely still an electric bike – and yes, it does have pedals and is road legal in the UK. The SX-250 from Eskuta is one of the most distinctive e-bikes we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing at ebiketips, and the fact it’s single-speed just adds to the curiosity of it all.
Designed with delivery riders and those with less mobility in mind, this beast of an e-bike comes with a range of 40-50 miles (according to Eskuta) and a ‘super-torque’ rear hub motor to boot. But beyond the specs, it’s a very interesting ride and certainly the closest you’ll get to riding a moped without needing to have the necessary license or insurance.
For more detail, read our review of the Eskuta SX250.
How to choose from the best electric single-speed bikes
Are single-speed e-bikes any good?
They are indeed. The beauty of single-speed electric bikes is that they are simpler than their geared counterparts. There are fewer components on there for a start, so you’ve got much less to worry about in terms of maintenance and repairs.
Secondly, they are also generally lighter because of this. The lack of gears frees up a lot of weight, often by kilograms, so they make great options for commuting or for those who need to carry their bikes up stairs etc.
What should I look for in a single-speed e-bike?
Single-speed electric bikes are just like their geared counterparts in terms of electronic technology, so what you look for in a bike like that will apply to these. Look for something that fits your riding needs, first and foremost.
Then, make sure you have a budget – luckily single-speed bikes tend to be cheaper than geared versions because there are fewer components. Then consider whether you want a belt-driven or chain-driven drivetrain. Belt drives don’t require lubrication like a chain does, and they keep your legs free from any oil-stains.
What are the benefits of a single-speed e-bike?
Single-speed electric bikes offer several benefits over geared bikes. Firstly, they are easier to maintain due to the reduction in moving parts. There is still the chain or belt drive, of course, but this requires less maintenance than a more complex drivetrain.
Secondly, they are often lighter because of the lack of components – even urban e-bikes are more easily carried because of the lack of weight.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many single-speed e-bikes are cheaper to buy than geared options.
What are the downsides to a single-speed e-bike?
Single-speed e-bikes work well because the motor often negates the need for gears, as it's providing you with extra power. Having a choice of gears certainly makes things easier uphill, but it doesn't necessarily matter if you have a powerful enough motor.
The downside to single-speed e-bikes comes when you do reach a hill it can't conquer. This will depend on the motor, the actual gear that's on the bike, and your general fitness/tolerance of grinding up hills. However, for the most part, they can tackle steeper inclines than you might think.