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It used to be that you had to pay a premium to purchase a top-quality electric bike. This has changed in recent years, as certain components have become cheaper to manufacture. The end result? There are plenty of budget-friendly ebikes out there to choose from. Even some of the best rear-drive motor electric bikes are affordable.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This long-range motorized bike packs fantastic speed and a durable frame for when you want to take the road less traveled. In addition to multiple modes and easy assembly, this model supports enough weight for most adults to enjoy a comfortable ride.
The ANCHEER SUNSHINE AT1 electric bike is a great option for commuters looking for a long, comfortable ride. The 36V 10.4h Lithium-Ion battery will get you up to 40 miles on a single charge, whether you’re riding to work or exploring new trails. Thanks to a 350W brushless engine with a top speed of 20 mph, the strong structure can support up to 300 lbs. While not designed for use on uneven routes, the lightweight frame makes it simple to pick up if you only need to take a few steps.
The SUNSHINE AT1’s LED Smart Meter allows riders to convert between unaided, assisted, and ebike modes. In assisted mode, riders can choose from four different ebike speeds. This model also comes with 21 gears and mechanical disc brakes on both the front and back of the bike to keep you safe while climbing hills. Finally, this ebike comes mostly constructed, so getting on the road is a breeze.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This electric bike offers portability and power in a durable frame that is easily stored away in the car or a hall closet. For those looking for a unit fit for the whole family, the adjustable handlebars and seat will suit riders both big and small.
The Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 is a stellar choice for beginner e-cyclists looking to get fit or freely travel around town. The powerful 250W motor takes users up to 15 miles on a full charge, and the swappable batteries mean you can keep an extra on hand for longer trips. With a recommended user height between 4’10” and 5’10, users can adjust the unit to suit almost the entire family. While the pedal-assist feature isn’t as customizable as other options, it is still powerful enough for steep inclines at the end of a hard ride.
If you’re looking to bike on a road trip, the Swagtron EB-5 folds into a portable and easy-to-carry form in three quick steps. In addition, this electric bike comes equipped with 14” air-filled tires and solid suspension for a smooth ride on paved roads and sidewalks. So, if you’re looking to make quick trips around town or explore during a weekend away, this electric bike has what it takes to keep you going.
Award: BEST FOR CHILDREN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact electric bike is an excellent choice for small riders looking to expand their horizons. It delivers a great max range, and the motor offers good speed without making too much noise.
The Jetson Bolt provides an excellent riding experience on flat roads with enough power to help propel you up a decent incline. The durable frame folds into a portable form factor with a built-in handle that lets you lift and store the bike after a hard ride. In addition, the front and rear LEDs can keep you visible in the evening or during an overcast day. While the advertised mobile app connectivity needs a bit of work, the Jetson Bolt encourages you to put down the phone and hit the roads.
With a maximum range of 17 miles and a top speed of 15 mph, the Bolt delivers excitement and adventure, even if you’re just running errands. While this unit is great for children, the adjustable seat accommodates riders up to 6’ for when mom and dad want to take a spin. Lastly, the twist throttle is smooth and responsive for riders looking to push themselves over hills or pull away from stop lights.
Award: BEST FOR QUICK TRIPS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The classic look and multiple storage options make this electric bike a stellar option for users looking for an energy-efficient ride for small shopping trips. Additionally, this model offers a great max range that can be bolstered by assisted pedaling.
The NAKATO 26″ electric bike is a stylish and practical option for getting around town. This ebike keeps you comfortable on long rides thanks to its steel suspension fork and wide road tires. This bike’s front basket and rear brackets make it ideal for a short trip to the store or a relaxing ride to a park picnic. The result is a strong ride with twin brakes and a multi-speed transmission system, even though assembly might be difficult for beginners.
The detachable battery has a range of up to 30 miles per charge and a top speed of 20-25 mph. In addition, the pedal-assist mode is a great addition for a light workout or to help you push through hills. Finally, this model will not leave you in the dark. You can ride safely during dusk or early evening with an LED headlight and lighted battery gauge.
Award: BEST FOR CITY COMMUTING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This mid-size electric bike is an excellent choice for zipping around campus or cutting through inner-city traffic. With multiple power modes and a decent solid maximum speed, this is a beginner-friendly choice for getting to work or taking the day off at the park.
The Sailnovo 14” electric bike is a superb pick for users looking to travel through the city or on paved paths at the local park. The long-lasting 36V10.4Ah removable battery provides a maximum pedal-assisted range of 45 miles. The 350W motor packs a punch and will whisk you to your destination at a top speed of 18mph. While this unit isn’t the best for steep inclines, the excellent brake system will keep you stable and safe while flying downhill.
When the Sailnovo reaches your destination, the unit folds into a convenient and easy-to-carry unit that can be stored away in your car or under your desk. In addition, the 14” air-filled tires are great on flat roads, and the adjustable seat will keep you comfortable during a long ride. Lastly, this unit has a clear LED dashboard that shows the battery life and current speed, so you can feel informed and in control while you ride around town.
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Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL
WHY WE LIKE IT: This uniquely-designed foldable ebike is a fantastic option for those looking for a quick ride during camping trips or a weekend out of town. With multiple LED status lights and water resistance, users can stay on the road, even during overcast days with light rain.
The Gyroor C3 ebike has a strong engine that can deliver up to 38 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 18 mph. Furthermore, the 14″ stress-absorbing pneumatic tires, paired with the shock reduction system, provide a comfortable ride around town for a fast shopping run. While the tiny folding form isn’t ideal for riders over 6′ tall, it’s ideal for travel or saving space while charging the removable battery.
The Gyroor C3 offers three different riding modes, similar to other electric cycles. This model offers pedal-assisted, pedal-assisted, and full ebike modes for a pedal-free cruise when pleasure is more important than exercise. If you get trapped in the rain, this ebike will still ride smoothly thanks to its IP54 water resistance, double disc brake system, and front and back lamps. The Gyroor C3 is a great pick for errands or fun because of its unique design and easy-to-store folding capability.
There are plenty of electric bikes available that are relatively easy on the wallet that don’t cost a fortune. These budget-conscious electric bicycles can include some high-grade features in line with their higher-priced cousins. But, you’ll definitely find great ebikes for women, fine all-terrain electric bikes, and the fastest electric bikes available.
If you are planning on purchasing a budget-friendly e-bike, it is important to know the different types of eBikes that are available for purchase. While there are many types of electric bikes, make sure that’s the type of bike you want versus either a standard bike or hybrid bike. Not all hybrid bikes have an electric motor and they’re designed for both off-roading and commuting while electric bikes are more for errands and the daily commuter. For a daily commuting bike, read our Orbea Gain review.
Keep in mind what kind of ride position you want out of the bike (upright tends to be the more comfortable option versus the sportier bent position). Each of the below categories offers plenty of cheaper-than-average options. If budget e-bikes are still out of your budget, a standard bicycle can still be a lightweight mode of transportation and form of exercise. You won’t have the electric assist, but you also don’t have to worry about your bike’s battery capacity. And make sure to also invest in the best battery for electric bikes that can recharge in a reasonable amount of time so that you don’t get caught flat-footed.
The standard electric bike, like the Luna Cycle brand, is typically intended for road use. These electric bikes shine during daily commutes, riding around the neighborhood, and just exploring the various nooks and crannies of a city. Budget-friendly road bikes are typically a fine choice for most daily recreational activities. If you want additional miles of range out of a single charge for a longer commute time or a much higher max speed, you’ll start venturing into expensive bikes within a higher price range. Assess your lifestyle though and determine whether you need those features or whether a cheap e-bike will suffice. Keep in mind that affordable bikes can still have reliable components. You’ll commonly find hub motors on road bikes that are ridden by daily commuters who want a low-maintenance, reliable motor on their simple electric bike for adults. Additionally, many ebikes are also equipped with electric bike charging capabilities, so you’ll never be left stranded while riding.
Though typically more expensive than electric road bikes, you can still find a decent electric mountain bike with good trail performance without spending an arm and a leg. For example, check out our Blix Aveny review. Electric mountain bikes (AKA off-road electric bikes) typically boast powerful motors to handle steep inclines and high-grade suspension and braking systems, so as to absorb shock and allow for smooth travels over difficult terrain.
You’ll find mid-drive motors on these types of e-bikes since they’re lighter than alternative motors and offer more gear control. Keep in mind that mid-driver motors on electric bikes cost more than lower-priced options like hub-drive motors. Please note, these bikes may not be purpose-built to handle traditional pavement and roads. In our Trek Verve review, you’ll find a great model which is known for providing a smooth ride thanks to the mid-drive motor.
Folding bikes, like the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro, have become popular in recent years, particularly in large cities. These lightest ebikes are built to be able to fold down to drastically reduce their overall size. This makes them easy to stuff into the trunk of a car or into a closet when not in use. They are also much easier to carry than regular electric bikes. These folding bikes tend to be more expensive than traditional road bikes, but plenty of budget-friendly models are out there. In fact, you’d do well buying a used electric bike.
One of the most budget-friendly options out there is to purchase an electric bike kit. These kits essentially transform a traditional bicycle into an electric bike. An electric bike kit typically includes a motor and a lithium-ion battery pack to power the aforementioned motor, among other accessories and add-ons. For a look at a kit we recommend, check out our Hilltopper Horizon conversion kit review.
The installation process with these kits has become relatively simple. Be aware, not all kits work with all pre-existing bikes, so do your research before making a purchase.