Once you get this far into four figures, you have a huge range of choice, from sophisticated town bikes to high-spec mountain bikes and from clever folders to road bikes that won’t look out of place on a club ride.
To stand out from the crowd, bikes at this level have to be something special, and it’s where you find the widest variety of designs and the most purpose-specific bike, as well as very well-specced urban and trekking bikes.
Most bikes over £2,000 have mid-drive motors, though there are a few exceptions when the designer wants to do something that’s hard with a motor around the bottom bracket. If a very wide gear range is on the requirements list, or the aim is a folding bike, then the bike might be better driven from one of the wheels. As long as the motor is decent quality and the control electronics smartly-designed, it doesn’t much matter.
Across the category you’ll find lots of manufacturers using Bosch mid-drives, Shimano’s Steps system and others.
Shifting systems vary with the bike’s purpose. Some manufacturers choose to keep things as simple as possible with hub gears that enclose everything in the rear wheel, while others provide as wide a range as possible with triple-ring set-ups derived from mountain bikes. Ironically, mountain bikes increasingly have double- or even single-chainring gearing for simplicity, and e-mountain bikes have followed suit.
An intriguing development is the Nuvinci Harmony system. A continuously variable transmission in the rear hub is electronically controlled to keep you pedalling at the same rate whatever your speed. This matches well with e-bike systems that provide assist depending on your effort level to make for bikes that seem to almost telepathically match your needs. It’s spooky.
Hydraulic discs rule the roost when it comes to stopping. Most bikes at this price have disc brakes, though there are a few manufacturers using the excellent hydraulic rim brakes from Magura.
Unlike unpowered bikes, e-bikes intended for everyday riding usually come with everything you need to hop on and head into town or the shops once the battery is charged. That’s a nice spin-off of the popularity of e-bikes in Europe, where riders don’t expect to have to add a rack, lights and mudguards to a new bike. On many models you’ll get a lock and kickstand as well so parking your new bike is as convenient as riding it.
Let’s take a look at examples of the e-bike genres you’ll find in this price range. This isn’t intended as a guide to the best in the category because there are far too many models for that. Instead, these are all bikes from well-regarded manufacturers that demonstrate the diversity of styles and specifications at this level.
BH does a really tidy job of integrating the 460Wh battery into the frame of this rear-wheel-motor round-town bike; at first glance you could easily think it’s a conventional bike.
It’s unusual to find a hub motor in a bike at this price, but it allows BH to offer a bike with a massive gear range from the mountain bike style transmission with a triple chainset and wide-ratio sprockets. Even with a flat battery or in the lowest of its four assist modes, you’ll still be able to get up almost any hill.
The motor is capable of 350W, according to BH, but it’s limited to 250W continuous power to comply with UK e-bike rules.
The Evo Cross Pro rolls on Schwalbe’s e-bike ready 50mm wide Big Ben tyres, which offer a combination of fast rolling and comfort thanks to their fat cross-section.
Extras include a rear rack for your luggage, and mudguards to keep you dry when it rains.
Fatbikes — mountain bikes with four-inch-wide tyres for maximum traction on just about any surface — are heaps of fun, but the weight of the tyres slows them down. The extra oomph of a motor is the perfect answer.
Haibike’s very-fat-tyre bike uses a Bosch Performance CX 75Nm mid-drive motor with the German appliance giant’s 500Wh battery. This is unashamedly a bike for playing in the woods so there are no practical extras, though it’d be a hoot round town with a set of smooth tread-pattern tyres.
If four grand is a bit rich for your blood, there’s a lower-spec version, with 10-speed gearing instead of the Fat Six RX’s wide-range 11-speed and a cheaper fork, for £3,300.
Giant incorporates an 80Nm Yamaha X94 mid-drive motor into this sleek road bike and hides a 500Wh power pack in the oversized down tube.
The conventional bike parts are top-quality: Shimano brakes and gears that include Shimano’s highly-regarded disc brakes.
Unlike the bike with a concealed motor that caused a big scandal when it was uncovered at a cyclocross race in early 2016, the E+1 isn’t stealthy; you couldn’t sneak it past a road race start marshal. But if your riding prowess is fading, we can see this bike keeping you in the Sunday club run for a few more years.
Another Bosch-powered bike, the snappily-named BK21219 uses the Bosch Active motor and 400Wh battery. It has hydraulic disc brakes, a rack and mudguards and built-in lighting.
So far, so what you’d expect from a two grand bike. The BK21219’s fascinating feature is the Nuvinci gearbox rear hub, which automatically shifts gear for you as you pedal.
Nuvinci’s gear systems work on the continuously variable transmission principle, like the gearbox of a scooter, providing a 380% gear range. So there are no steps in the gear range, and the system automatically matches its gear to your speed, allowing you to always use your preferred pedalling speed.
There’s also a diamond frame version, the BK21218, for the same price.
The latest incarnation of Karbon Kinetics’ stunning-looking GoCycle, the G3, boasts daytime running lights and increased range from a larger battery than its G2 predecessor.
The GoCycle’s key feature is that its moulded magnesium frame folds small enough that you can sneak it on a train or park it in a corner of your office. There’s even a wheeled bag to transport it in, and when folded it can sit in its charging cradle so it’s ready to go.
A luxury city bike, this urban speedster has Bosch’s Performance motor with a 400Wh battery and Shimano’s Alfine eight-speed rear hub gear.
As befits an urban bike it has a full suite of practical trimmings: Busch & Müller lighting; rack; mudguards; chainguard and kickstand. In other words, you can hop on and go in regular clothes and not have to think about the weather or the dark. The only thing that’s missing is a Dutch-style frame lock, but there are mounts for one on the seatstays, so that’s easy to add.
Here’s an up-to-the-minute incarnation of the classic upright Dutch bike, with an ION rear hub motor powered by a battery pack on the rack.
The E-Deluxe comes with all the trimmings: lights, guards, chainguard, kickstand, frame lock, and suspension post and fork. It even has leather handlebar grips.
Magura hydraulics take care of the braking and there’s a huge gear range thanks to the Shimano triple chainset and 10-speed rear gears.
Koga offers a range of batteries from 317Wh to 612Wh, so you can tailor the bike you get to the range you need.
Bulls and Rotwild e-mountain bikes use Brose’s 90Nm mid-drive motor and a whopping 650 Wh battery to deliver the power and range you need to venture deep into the hills.
Good quality e-mountain bikes don’t come cheap, but for your almost four-grand you’re getting 150mm-travel RockShox suspension front and rear here, as well as the state-of-the-art power system.
Shimano Deore XT brakes and gears make it stop and go and it rolls on Schwalbe’s highly-regarded 2.8in Rocket Ron tyres.
Without the battery and motor this would be a top-end suspension mountain bike; the power assist takes it to another level.