Step-through frames are timeless. They take inspiration from Dutch-style city bikes, and provide a more upright riding position than other types of frames. This is ideal for riders who don’t perhaps want to be hunched over drop bars and racing through the city streets. For a more leisurely, comfortable ride, a step-through electric bike is ideal. If, of course, faster paced commuting is more on the cards, then have a read of our guide to the best electric commuter bikes for inspiration.
The benefit of a step-through frame is that the top tube is either lower slung or non-existent. Thus, you don’t need to raise your leg as high to get onto the bike. This makes such bikes far more accessible to a wider range of people who might otherwise be put off by crossbars and tall frames.
Nowadays, you can spend anything you like on a step-through electric bike, although the best ones tend to cost at least a couple of grand. Just as with any other type of frame, you have a choice between mid-drive and hub-drive motors, with the former generally being more expensive, but more powerful at low speeds and the latter cheaper and more efficient in flatter areas. Many also come with accessories like kickstands, mudguards and lights to make them even more useful. Also look out for racks to carry your luggage so you don’t need to wear a rucksack.
Best electric step-through bikes 2023
- Gazelle Grenoble C7+ HMB - best overall | Buy for £2,299 from JE James Cycles
- Yamaha Booster Easy - most distinctive | Buy for £2,900 from Yamaha
- Specialized Turbo Como 3.0 - best mid-drive | Buy for £2,400 from Specialized
- Estarli e28.8 Trapez - best 2023 step-through e-bike | Buy for £1,625 from Estarli
- Ado Air 28 - best single-speed | Buy for £1,299 from Ado Ebike
- Tern NBD - best for carrying cargo | Buy from £3,600 from Tern
- Neomouv Adonis 2 - best for hill climbing | Buy for £2,360 from Neomouv
- Tenways CGO800S - best under £2,000 | Buy for £1,899 from Tenways
- Dallingride Harlow - best under £1,500 | Buy for £1,349 from Evolving Sports
Described by our reviewer as “like a luxury sedan”, the Gazelle Grenoble is a firm favourite on ebiketips. It’s had a few upgrades since we reviewed it in 2019, like an increase in battery capacity to 500Wh – but the price hasn’t gone up substantially since then, which only makes us like it even more.
Beyond looking comfortable and stylish, the Gazelle Grenoble offers a casual riding position and plenty of smooth assistance to keep you gliding around. The Bosch Active Line Plus mid-drive offers up to 50Nm of torque, and is almost silent even when under load.
For more detail, read our review of the Gazelle Grenoble C7+ HMB.
If looks are important then the Yamaha Booster Easy has very distinctive ones. Inspired by a classic moped design - specifically, the brand’s petrol powered MBK Booster 50cc scooter - it’s electrified goodness with a powerful mid-motor and offers a comfortable ride.
It is quite heavy at 35kg, but the 75Nm mid-motor mean this is negligible once you’ve started moving. You also get an Enviolo gear hub, which offers a wide gear range at the twist of your wrist. Our reviewer managed to get 40 miles out of one charge, which makes it reasonably practical for longer rides or shorter rides over a few days.
For more detail, read our review of the Yamaha Booster Easy.
At the time of writing, this beast of a step-through e-bike is on offer at £2,400, which makes it even more tempting. It’s powered by a Specialized 2.0 mid-drive motor, which eases up hills, even those above 10%.
Our reviewer manage 33 miles with 2,600 feet of elevation gain (including steep hills) on his test bike, so for those looking for something to cope with flatter city life, it’ll do for at least a couple of days of steady rides.
For more detail, read our review of the Specialized Turbo Como 3.0.
Estarli are a relatively new brand by industry standards, but that hasn’t stopped them churning out some really rather decent e-bikes, one of which, is the e28.8 Trapez. It’s a step-through city model, with a rather cool cockpit integrated dashboard, and a rear hub motor.
What’s even more enticing is the price. Even at under £2,000, it’s still equipped with disc brakes, front suspension, lights and a rear rack. (The price above is for our review bike spec. The base Trapez model starts at £1,625). Our reviewer found the ride to be comfortable and was satisfied with the power level from the motor. The only thing lacking a little was the range - although it's a lightweight bike and rides well even without motor assitance.
For more detail, read our review of the Estarli e28.8 Trapez.
The Ado Air 28 is a decent budget step-through bike, but it certainly doesn’t ride like one. The spec list is pretty good for something under £1,500, including the fact it uses a belt drive rather than a chain, which is excellent for avoiding an oily leg.
It weighs in at 21kg, and comes with a rear hub motor to power you along. Our reviewer found the motor to be quite smooth and it kicks in almost instantly after you start pedalling. A further bonus is the hydraulic disc brakes – there are bikes that cost hundreds more that don’t use these. Overall it’s a comfortable and useful bike at a very handy price.
For more detail, read our review of the Ado Air 28.
It’s almost criminal to label the Tern NBD as merely a step-through e-bike when really it’s so much more. It’s essentially a compact cargo e-bike, with up to 27kg of carrying capacity on the rear rack and the option of adding a front rack as well.
The 20” wheels keep things nimble and the size also means it’s easier to store than a full-sized cargo e-bike, making it ideal for people short on space. The power comes from a Bosch mid-drive system, which is complemented with a 500Wh battery for plenty of range.
For more detail, read our review of the Tern NBD.
Unlike some of the others on this list, there is a top tube on this frame – but it’s angled so steeply down that it’s more of a step-through than a step-over. The Neomouv Adonis 2 uses Neomouv’s proprietary mid-drive motor which impressed our reviewer with its efficiency and power.
In fact, it scored a record time up our reviewer’s test hill – and a lot of e-bikes have been through the same test. It also offered a range of around 40 miles in hilly terrain, which bodes well for more casual riders who want a bit of oomph on their rides.
For more detail, read our review of the Neomouv Adonis 2.
The Tenways CGO800S is another single-speed option, and comes with a removable 374Wh battery. There are also nifty features like brake lights and rear indicator lights which don’t feature on many other e-bikes. The bike is built around a near-silent Mivice rear hub motor, which our reviewer found worked best on the flat but can propel you up a steady hill when you need it to.
The torque sensing is a big bonus for this bike, but so is its ability to be ridden off-road on easy trails. This opens up a world of towpaths and bridleway networks to riders who don’t want to ride on the tarmac all the time.
For more detail, read our review of the Tenways CGO800S.
At the budget end of the scale, the Dallingridge Harlow offers great value for city riding and all-round performance. It comes with a range of accessories to make it a functional city or commuting bike, including mudguards, a kickstand, a chainguard and a pannier rack. However, if you want lights, unfortunately you’ll have to provide your own.
There’s also just the one frame size - 16”. There are however some adjustments to be made to ensure it fits a range of riders, including handlebar and seat height. The 475Wh battery is removable, ideal if you want to keep it from thieves when the bike's parked up, or just simply charge the battery separately.
For more detail, read our review of the Dallingridge Harlow.
How to choose the best electric step-through bike
What is the difference between step-through and step-over e-bikes?
Simply put, a step-through e-bike has a low slung top tube which makes it easier to get on and off the bike. A step-over bike traditionally has a higher top tube, often referred to as a crossbar. The beauty of step-through frames is that they're accessible to more people as you don’t need to raise your leg really high to get on the bike.
What motors are on step-through electric bikes?
As you’ll see from the list above, you can get both mid and hub driven motor systems on step-through e-bikes now. Hub motors are probably still more prevalent, but mid-drives are more affordable than they were. You might at this point want to take a look at our article What's the difference between a hub motor and a mid-motor on an e-bike?
What kind of riding are electric step-through bikes suited to?
The majority of step-through e-bikes are best suited to city and urban riding. This is largely due to the upright riding position you’ll likely adopt on these bikes. However, there are a few sportier frames in this style too, which goes to show you can find step-through e-bikes that are capable of riding some light off-road.