The best electric bikes can make commuting more accessible and effortless than riding an old road bike to work. However, contrary to popular belief, they do still require you to pedal, and they will therefore give you a workout as you travel. Here, we collected the folding bikes, the best affordable ebikes and the best bikes overall, all reviewed and ranked by T3's cycling experts.
Electric two-wheelers are arguably the best options for newcomers to cycling, those returning to it after an absence, and more veteran cyclists starting to lose their zip. Leave the best road bikes to the Lycra-clad clan. Contrary to popular belief, you do get a workout on an electric bike. The battery doesn't do all the work for you by any means; it just assists your pedalling rather than replacing it.
If you have flirted with the idea of e-cycling and want to give it a go, now is the time. Especially in the UK, recent changes to the Cycle to Work scheme make these bikes much more affordable. Complete your bike kit and be safe and seen on the roads with the best bike lights and best cycling helmets: you can never be too safe, even in broad daylight.
The best electric bikes to buy right now
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The Gogoro Eeyo 1 has got dazzling looks and performs admirably. The type of ride you get isn’t going to be for everyone, but it’s really worth investigating if you fancy an e-bike that makes a statement. Some of the technical innovation on show here is also admirable while delivering an assisted experience that has to currently be one of the best on the market.
While we initially weren't too sure about having to wake up the bike using the app and then control everything using the same method, it all worked as it should. Besides, spend some time dabbling with the inner workings of the app, and you can tweak it to suit your own preferences. You can have assistance set at nothing or adjust right up to the Sport setting, which obviously gives you a real boost on the hills and any smooth flat sections you’re lucky enough to find.
Charging takes around two and a half hours and is a doddle too. Ride sparingly, and you might eke out 30 miles on full power and up to 45 on Eco assist from this beauty, though in reality, it’ll be less because you’ll be enjoying yourself so much. Yup, the Gogoro Eeyo 1 is hot stuff.
Read our full Gogoro Eeyo 1 review.
The Honbike Uni4 is a perfect daily rider, offering comfort and more than enough power to help you on your way. The quality of the design and build is excellent, which is even more impressive when you look at the cost of buying this bike, putting some rivals to shame. The quirky frame design might prove a little offputting to some people, but you get used to it, and the super smooth belt drive is fab.
Granted, the realistic range isn’t quite as good as the official Honbike figure, but if you take it easy, you’ll get something close to 62 miles/100km. Better still, those thicker tyres make this an e-bike you can take anywhere. Add in the fact that it comes with full mudguards, lights and a brilliant kickstand, and you’ve got an out-of-the-box e-bike solution that is up there with the best of ‘em. This is why we think the Honbike Uni4 is a resounding success and the best electric bike at the moment.
Read our full Honbike Uni4 review.
The Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 is a cracking (not so) little electric cargo bike that'll do the legwork for you. With the right accessories and thanks to its 158-kilo payload, it can handle anything from school runs to weekly shopping excursions; the sky is the limit!
We liked the updated design that now features smaller and fatter tyres – makes more sense for a cargo bike. It’s also one of the comfiest two-wheelers you can ride, and with plenty of power, it’ll get you where you want to go, whether you’ve got a sizeable payload on board or not.
Read our full Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 review.
BMC have packed lots of lovely stuff into their AMP AL TWO e-bike, starting with a pleasingly tough and sturdy frame and powerful BOSCH battery and with an eye for detail all the way down to the integrated lights and back rack. We were impressed with this e-bike’s comfort, ease of use and long battery life. BMC’s offering does come with a hefty price tag, but if you want an e-bike you can effortlessly jet to work on during the week and then go exploring with on the weekends, this could be your perfect match.
Read our full BMC 257 AMP AL TWO review.
The Canyon Grail:ON is the perfect all-rounder e-bike. It would make an ideal commuting machine, with its super comfortable wider-than-normal tyres, flexing seat post and handlebar top. It makes light work of uneven road surfaces and has plenty of power. If, on the way back from the office or on a weekend ride, you spot an interesting-looking gravel path leading off your route, you’re free to explore with the knowledge that the Grail:ON will be able to carry you no matter the road surface.
It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but you’re getting a seriously well-specced bike for your money. You’re also buying something that improves your physical and mental health and that you’ll be able to enjoy for years. Sure, there are cheaper electric gravel bikes on the market, but if you opted for a cheaper model to save a couple of grand, you’d be forever casting envious glances at the Grail:ON.
Read our full Canyon Grail:ON review.
The Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 is one of the best electric bikes we've taken onto London's mean streets. It goes like lightning; it feels agile but dependable. It even attracts a few admiring glances, which is rare on an electric. If you are a regular cyclist looking to transition to e-bikes, or a newcomer who doesn't want the bike's motor always to be doing the hard graft, this premium 2-wheeler should be right near the top of your shopping list of potential purchases.
Read our full Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review.
This Canyon e-bike is an excellent example of how electric bicycles have evolved in recent years. Mainly because it feels, handles, and largely looks like a normal bike, but – of course – it has electrical assistance to keep you moving effortlessly along and over hills.
At around 16 kg, this could almost be described as lightweight, and thanks to the upright riding position and 11-speed Shimano gearing, the Roadlite:On feels extremely nimble. You have the choice of riding it like a pure e-bike, of course – it will push you to the standard issue, 15.5 mph, with almost zero effort. However, make more use of the higher gears available, along with a lower assistance level, and you can really zip along. It's also worth noting that on the lowest assistance level, the maximum range is an impressive 120 km. Even on the highest setting, you should get 50 km.
Read our full Canyon Roadlite:On review.
As electric bikes become mainstream, brands are increasingly focused on delivering competitively priced e-bikes rather than technically very accomplished ones – see the entries above and below this one. This Mi Smart folding e-bike is a great example – it's not the most fun on two wheels by any means, but it packs in the features.
First and foremost, this bike folds up to a size bigger and with little more hassle than the Brompton Electric, which is twice its price. It drives along smoothly enough at the legally mandated 15.5mph top speed, and it also has three gears, a little display on the handlebars to tell you key info, and built-in lights.
Sure, the gears range from slow to very slow, the lights are mounted very low on the frame, and the ride experience can't be compared to the more expensive options here. For this price, I don't think any of that matters. The Mi Smart is convenient, well made and excellent value for money.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Smart Folding Electric Bike review.
The Volt Infinity is a brilliant e-bike, one of several from the Volt range that we think makes perfect sense if you’re an average type of rider. There are cheaper alternatives out there, but what sets the Volt Infinity apart is the solid choice of components. Shimano’s Steps system is the best it’s ever been, while everything else feels nicely made and like it’ll last. If you’re going to be clocking up any type of miles with this bike, then that makes it a good value.
We appreciate the versatility of the Volt Infinity – it's great for all sorts of riders and rides. It’s happy enough heading into town on a shopping trip, but equally, works brilliantly as a day bike if you’re heading out for a longer jaunt into the countryside. The power assistance and those slightly wider tyres mean it's more than able to take on tracks and country lanes, too, meaning you’re not just limited to super smooth cycle paths.
Read our full Volt Infinity review.
Both the commuter and the tourer versions of the WAU X Plus are full of charisma, and this is a very affordable machine compared to virtually every other e-bike on the market – certainly those with anywhere near the range that this steed offers.
Many riders will enjoy booting around city roads and suburban streets on the WAU X Plus, where its many funky features come into their own. If this is your preferred cycling environment, we’d suggest saving yourself a few quid and a whole lot of weight and going for the commuter model.
With a massive power-assisted riding range of up to 100 miles (in the more expensive touring model), a very reasonable price tag, and a whole collection of innovative features combined with good-quality componentry, the WAU X Plus is an exciting and eccentric e-bike that will suit riders looking for a city slicker that’s capable of facilitating adventures much further afield at the weekend.
Read our full WAU X Plus review.
How to choose the best electric bike for you
In-depth: Should you buy an electric bike?
Whether you're new to cycling, or an old hand wh fancies something new, there are all sorts of reasons to go electric. Cycling is a great pastime. It's free (after the initial bicycle purchase), it's good for your health and in many cases, it can be faster than cars and public transport.
Cycling with an electric bike is all these things, but with less sweat – what's not to love?
Different electric bike brands take different approaches to electric bike manufacture. Some choose to place an electric motor in the rear wheel hub, with a torque sensor in the cranks that tells the on-board batteries to send power to the wheels.
Others – notably Bosch and Yamaha – opt for a more high-powered approach, with the entire motor and sensor unit situated around the bike's cranks, meaning more visually appealing and aerodynamically advanced frame styles can be fashioned.
An increasing number of new, premium e-bikes place the motor in the front wheel hub, which seems to give a much more natural riding experience, if you're used to non-powered bikes.
Speaking of which, if you're used to non-electric cycles, be aware that e-bikes are heavy and capped at 25kph or 15.5mph. In many cases, that means the bike starts to feel like its actively fighting against you, if you try to push the speed higher than that by pedalling. That's especially true with heavier bikes, for obvious reasons, and can take a while to get used to.
However, if you're being realistic, 15mph is a very decent average speed when commuting in town or taking on hills. This is despite what all cyclists will tell you is their average speed – you're not fooling anyone, guys!
Again, some of the newer, more expensive e-bikes are starting to solve the 'fighting back' problem by applying power in a smoother curve, using algorithms that respond more accurately to the speed at which you pedal, and also by weighing less than a cow.
Even with cheaper or heavier bikes, once you accept that you are really meant to pedal gently and let the motor do the work, non-speed freaks will get into it. Hint: If you want to make it noticeable easier on the legs, you can improve rolling resistance – and therefore average speed – by keeping the tyres pumped up hard. Fully inflated tyres are also less likely to puncture because they ping away most road debris.
E-bikes are great for commuting and for places that aren't pancake flat. They'll pull you away from the lights quickly, iron out hills and stop you getting sweaty, so you can bin the Lycra and ride in jeans, a suit, or a winter coat.
However, don't think that riding an electric bike means you won't get any workout at all. Particularly if you want to push on past the legally mandated 15.5mph (20mph in the USA), they're much better for you than taking the bus.
What is the best electric bike?
This depends on what you are after, of course, but we have some very highly recommended bikes in each category.
The best electric bike overall is the Canyon Roadlite: On – this feels like a normal bike that happens to have electric assistance. It is tremendous fun to ride, and the 2022 model looks better than ever.
The best urban electric bike is the Xiaomi Mi Smart folding electric bike. This is a great value bike: it folds, it has built-in lights, albeit in a slightly odd place, it's lightweight for an e-bike, and it's very reasonably priced.
The best cheap e-bike is the Pure Electric Pure Flux One – what a name! – is easily the best in this category as it both looks great and rides well.
The best folding electric bike for Brompton lovers is Brompton Electric. This feels uncannily like a normal Brompton, looks identical and folds in exactly the same brilliant way.