Top 10 Electric Bikes

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Electric bicycles or e-bikes aren't just the future of cycling, they are also a key part of the answer to current health and environmental concerns.

There are some incredibly specialist e-bikes out there, especially when it comes to competitive mountain biking or road racing, but here we have focused on those worth considering for a daily commute at a variety of price points.

As it's 2020 we have ruled out old school bicycles with a motor and battery quickly gaffer taped to them. Check out the e-bike frequently ask questions.

The Best Electric Bikes:

1st

Specialized Levo Comp

Specialized Levo Comp

Price: £5,500

What Is It?

The Specialized Levo Comp is a beast of an e-bike from the US firm who specialise in premium bikes. With the ability to amplify your pedalling power by 410% it's almost certainly overkill for the average commute but rather surprisingly it's only half way up the Specialized range. Mountain? What mountain?

Check out this fun video from Specialized and this video review from Rob Rides EMTB.

We Like

  • Advanced motor with plenty of power and torque
  • Plenty of fine tuning via the app
  • Premium RockShox suspension
  • Huge 29" wheels
  • Powerful brakes
  • 3 assist levels
  • Huge battery

Specs

  • Range: 40 miles (65 km)
  • Battery: 19.4 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 4 hours via 4 Amp charger
  • Motor: 250 W Brose Mag S 2.1 crank mounted (565 W peak)
  • Gearing: SRAM 11 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: RockShox with 150 mm travel
  • Wheels: 74 cm (29")
  • Tyres: Butcher (front) + Eliminator (Rear)
  • Max Rider Weight: 110 kg (243 lbs)
  • Weight: 22 kg (46 lbs)
  • Colours: Black, red, blue, olive 
2nd

Gocycle GX

Gocycle GX

Price: £2,900

What Is It?

The Gocycle GX is a premium e-bike from a company who have been specialising in them since 2009. Unlike many e-bikes, which are simply augmented standard bikes, the Gocycle GX was designed from scratch to be modern, folding, lightweight and visually stunning.

The GX was specifically designed to fold in around 10 seconds, much like the retro Brompton bikes, so it's ideal for commutes that involve public transport and for easy storage when you get to work.

To avoid oily marks on you or in the office, keep maintenance easy and the looks sleek both the chain drive and the Lithium-ion battery are housed inside the frame. You can also order it with the front brake on the right or left to suit. Check out this quick video review.

Via the app, which can also be used as an advanced dashboard, you can tweak the custom riding mode for how much energy has to be provided by the rider and how soon the top speed should kick in. Gocycle provide two rubber bands to mount your mobile but there are plenty of more advanced aftermarket options.

Gocycle also offer a premium version called the GXi for £3,700 which gets you an upgraded dashboard, front LED running light, 17 Ah battery, 50 mile range, reduced 4 hour charge time, electric gear shifting, Velo D2 comfort seat, comfort grips, MKS EZY detachable pedals, height adjustable handlebar and it barely weighs any more.

Accessories include cool integrated lights, mudguards, a smaller seat post, rear rack and front pannier.

We Like

  • Light Aluminium / Magnesium frame and Magnesium wheels
  • Easy to wheel around when folded with the seat up
  • Super quick and easy folding mechanism
  • Filtering friendly narrow handlebar
  • Ride modes: City, Eco, Custom
  • Reflective strips on the tyres
  • Low step through mounting
  • Bluetooth app connectivity
  • Elegant kickstand design
  • Super adjustable seat
  • Quick swap battery
  • Easy tyre changes
  • Disc brakes

Specs

  • Range: 40 miles (65 km)
  • Battery: 13.7 Ah, 22 V
  • Charge Time: 7 hours via 2 Amp charger (3.5 hours with fast charger)
  • Motor: 250 W front hub
  • Gearing: Shimano Nexus 3 speed
  • Drive Speed: 20 mph (32 km/h)
  • Suspension: Fixed single sided up front, 25 mm (1") at the rear
  • Wheels: 51 cm (20")
  • Tyres: Gocycle All Weather (406-54)
  • Max Rider Weight: 100 kg (220 lbs)
  • Weight: 17.4 kg (38.4 lbs)
  • Colours: Black, white, blue
3rd

VanMoof S3

VanMoof S3

Price: £1,800

What Is It?

The S3 is a third generation premium e-bike from Dutch firm VanMoof and is easily the most stylish on this list. In fact from most angles you can't even tell it's an e-bike thanks to the battery, electronics and lights cleverly integrated into the frame.

One downside is that the battery can't be easily removed for charging although you could also view that as a security feature. With some effort the battery and top tube electronic brain can be removed and sent off for servicing though.

Like the Gocycle there's a dashboard app but the S3 cleverly recognises you are nearby using Bluetooth, unlocking the bike ready to ride.

A shoe friendly button on the rear disc activates the anti-theft features. It locks the rear disc brake and sounds an alarm if the bike is disturbed, even going into complete shutdown if someone walks off with it and only VanMoof can reset the bike to make it usable again. You can even locate it on a map using a built in mobile connection and it's held together with uniquely shaped security bolts.

The alarm sound is emitted through a built in speaker under the top tube which is also used to create an artificial ding-dong type sound when a small button on the left handlebar is pushed, plus you can change the bell sound via the app. A similar button on the right handlebar handles the boost function.

The electronic shifter is new with the third generation and the S3 will even keep enough battery in reserve to operate the shifter plus lights when boost power runs out.

Accessories include a front carrier rated for 10 kg, a rear carrier for 15 kg, fly screen, child seat, double leg kickstand and comfort seat.

VanMoof say it's aimed at riders 5'8" and over however they offer all the same features in the smaller X3 for those more vertically challenged. Check out this video from VanMoof and this video review.

We Like

  • Matrix dashboard integrated into top tube
  • Sophisticated anti-theft tech
  • Powerful hydraulic brakes
  • Electronic gear shifter
  • Auto chain tensioner
  • Enclosed drive train
  • Super quiet motor
  • Keyless unlocking
  • Beautiful looks
  • LED lights

Specs

  • Range: 37 miles (60 km)
  • Battery: 14 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 4 hours via 4 Amp charger (50% in 80 minutes)
  • Motor: 250 W front hub (350 W in non-EU mode)
  • Gearing: 4 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: None
  • Wheels: 74 cm (28")
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Big Ben
  • Max Rider Weight: 120 kg (265 lbs)
  • Weight: 19 kg (42 lbs)
  • Colours: Black, blue
4th

VanMoof X3

VanMoof X3

Price: £1,800

What Is It?

The X3 is basically the S3 for shorter riders in the range of 5' to 6'5". The down tube contains the huge battery so instead of changing it they have simply lowered the top tube, resulting in a slightly funky double triangle design and shrunk the wheels four inches.

Specs

  • Range: 37 miles (60 km)
  • Battery: 14 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 4 hours via 4 Amp charger (50% in 80 minutes)
  • Motor: 250 W front hub (350 W in non-EU mode)
  • Gearing: 4 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: None
  • Wheels: 61 cm (24")
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Big Ben
  • Max Rider Weight: 120 kg (265 lbs)
  • Weight: 19 kg (42 lbs)
  • Colours: Black, blue
5th

Gocycle GS

Gocycle GS

Price: £2,000 (includes docking station)

What Is It?

The Gocycle GS is the entry level model in the range and actually the fourth iteration since it originally launched in 2009.

It doesn't quickly fold in half like the GX however the wheels have a quick release system and with a bit of time the main body twists to reduce the dimensions considerably. It's more for long term storage than hopping on a train / tube as part of your commute however if you have space to store it full size it's a non-issue.

The rest of the tech and accessories are essentially the same as the more expensive GX so deciding between them comes down to whether you need the quick folding ability and have £900 more to spend. Check out this video review.

Accessories include a dedicated docking station for storage / transport, cool integrated lights, mudguards, smaller seat post, rear rack and front pannier.

We Like

  • It's a lot of e-bike for the money
  • Clever quick release wheels

Specs

  • Range: 40 miles (65 km)
  • Battery: 13.5 Ah, 22 V
  • Charge Time: 7 hours via 2 Amp charger (3.5 hours with fast charger)
  • Motor: 250 W front hub
  • Gearing: Shimano Nexus 3 speed
  • Drive Speed: 20 mph (32 km/h)
  • Suspension: Fixed single sided up front, 25 mm (1") at the rear
  • Wheels: 51 cm (20")
  • Tyres: Gocycle Performance (406-50)
  • Max Rider Weight: 100 kg (220 lbs)
  • Weight: 16.5 kg (36.3 lbs)
  • Colours: Grey, white, red/white

Get The Gear To Go With It

6th

Cannondale Trail Neo 2

Cannondale Trail Neo 2

Price: £3,200

What Is It?

US based Cannondale know a thing or two about building high performance bikes. Unusually their naming system sees lower numbers having the highest spec so the Trail Neo 2 is more expensive than the £2,300 Trail Neo 3.

The Trail Neo 2 is a purpose built hardtail mountain bike with a pedal mounted Bosch motor, plush front suspension and the battery fully integrated into the down tube. Up front the fork is actually a Lefty Ocho single sided unit, designed specifically to save weight.

It's overkill for town commuting but if you fancy something more adventurous at the weekend in might be worth a look.

We Like

  • Centralised mass for improved handling
  • Impressive range
  • Powerful motor
  • Huge wheels
  • Suspension

Specs

  • Range: 40 miles (65 km)
  • Battery: 13.4 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 4.5 hours via 2 Amp charger (3 hours with fast charger)
  • Motor: 250 W Bosch Performance Line CX
  • Gearing: Shimano Deore 10 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: RockShox Judy Silver TK fork with 100 mm travel
  • Wheels: 70 cm - 74 cm (27.5"-29")
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Smart Sam
  • Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Colours: Grey
7th

Boardman HYB 8.9E

Boardman HYB 8.9E

Price: £2,250

What Is It?

Boardman is Halford's own road focused bike brand and the HYB 8.9E is worth a look it you want something a bit sporty and don't need to travel too far on a charge.

Thanks to a clever paint job it looks just like a standard bike and that's bound to be better from a security perspective. The motor actually sits inside the down tube and sends power to the crank via a gearbox.

It's also possible to easily remove the 3.3 kg motor and battery, fit a cover and use it just like a normal bike. The battery itself only weighs 1.4 kg so it's entirely possible to carry a spare with you.

We Like

  • Settings app available
  • Fancy Carbon fork
  • 3 assist levels
  • Very light

Specs

  • Range: 20 miles (32 km)
  • Battery: 7 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 3 hours via 2 Amp charger
  • Motor: 250 W down tube mounted Fazua Evation
  • Gearing: Shimano Deore 10 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: None
  • Wheels: 71 cm (28")
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Citizen K-Guard
  • Weight: 15.5 kg (34 lbs)
  • Colours: Grey
8th

Westhill Phantom

Westhill Phantom

Price: £1,850

What Is It?

The Westhill Phantom is a budget hardtail mountain bike from a small e-bike manufacturer in the UK. It has all the basic equipment to get you going and plenty of potential to upgrade later.

We Like

  • Removable battery (14 Ah optional)
  • LED dashboard
  • Disc brakes
  • Selle Royal gel seat

Specs

  • Range: 20 miles (32 km)
  • Battery: 10.4 Ah, 36 V, LG
  • Charge Time: 4-6 hours via 2 Amp charger
  • Motor: 250 W Bafang rear hub
  • Gearing: Shimano Deore 30 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: Front fork
  • Wheels: 70 cm (27.5")
  • Tyres: Hutchinson Taipan
  • Max Rider Weight: 120 kg (265 lbs)
  • Weight: 23 kg (51 lbs)
  • Colours: Grey
9th

Dawes Arc II

Dawes Arc II

Price: £1,100

What Is It?

The Dawes Arc II is a basic folding e-bike with the battery hidden inside the frame. Perfect for short commutes on a budget.

We Like

  • USB charging socket
  • Removable battery
  • Value for money

Specs

  • Range: 19 miles (30 km)
  • Battery: 6.6 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 3-4 hours via 2 Amp charger
  • Motor: 250 W Promovec rear hub
  • Gearing: Shimano Revoshift SL-RS35 6 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: None
  • Wheels: 51 cm (20")
  • Tyres: City Tyres
  • Max Rider Weight: 90 kg (198 lbs)
  • Weight: 19.5 kg (43 lbs)
  • Colours: Blue
10th

Carrera Crosscity

Carrera Crosscity

Price: £900

What Is It?

The Carrera Crosscity is an entry level folding e-bike with the battery hidden inside the frame and a luggage rack as standard. Being Halford's own make of bikes you can source them locally and even have them serviced as well.

It doesn't have disc brakes but building an e-bike for £900 is pretty impressive and it's worth a look if you are considering the Dawes Arc II. The Arc II has better brakes but no luggage rack and a smaller battery.

Check out this quick video review.

We Like

  • Removable battery
  • Easy to source
  • 3 assist levels
  • USB socket

Specs

  • Range: 25 miles (40 km)
  • Battery: 8.7 Ah, 36 V
  • Charge Time: 4-5 hours via 2 Amp charger
  • Motor: 250 W Bafang rear hub
  • Gearing: Shimano Acera 8 speed
  • Drive Speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Suspension: None
  • Wheels: 51 cm (20")
  • Tyres: Kenda K924
  • Max Rider Weight: 85 kg (187 lbs)
  • Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Colours: Black

What should I look for when buying an electric bike?

Consider your needs: Does it need to fold for storage at home, at the office after a commute or to fit on a train mid-commute? Are weight or price key factors? Will you need a high torque motor to handle steep hills? How long are your rides likely to be? Will you ever need to fast charge it or quickly swap the battery for a fresh one?

Book a test ride: People and e-bikes come in all shapes and sizes, plus they are difficult to return if you have bought them online.

The warranty really matters: e-bikes have a few expensive and complex parts, plus replacement batteries can be anywhere from a few hundred pounds to over one thousand pounds.

How long does a battery last on an electric bike?

All rechargeable batteries will eventually need replacing, just like the one in your mobile phone. Battery life is measured in recharge cycles and total life can be anything from a few hundred cycles to one thousand. Towards the end of the recharge cycles the effectiveness of the battery drops and it holds less charge.

Batteries can vary in storage technology as well as price point but generally a more expensive battery will last longer and perform better.

Can Electric Bikes Go Up Steep Hills?

Indeed they can! They all assist your own pedalling power with a bit of extra oomph however motors mounted in the middle (on the crank) tend to be more beefy and better equipped for steep hills. Motors also vary widely in the power they put out and torque they generate so look for a high torque model if steep hills are expected.

Why are e-bikes limited to 15 mph?

UK law defines e-bikes as a pedal propelled bicycle / tricycle that has an electric motor assisting once you have started pedalling, up to 250 Watts power output. They are sometimes also called a Pedelec or Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC).

In the UK the law currently restricts e-bikes to 15.5 mph (25 km/h) but the laws differ around the world and some global models handle this with "modes" set via the associated app. You can go faster than that under your own power of course but the motor should cut out at 15.5 mph.

They do not need insurance, registration with the DVLA or vehicle tax paying but you do need to be over 14 years old.

If an e-bike doesn't meet these rules it's classed as a moped or motorbike and needs all the usual insurance, registration and tax.

Do electric bikes charge as you pedal?

Generally speaking, no. A few models do have re-generative braking features, usually seen on electric cars, but they are quite rare.

What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?

  • The batteries take hours to charge, are very heavy and will eventually wear out
  • Selling them used can be tricky because remaining battery life is hard to prove
  • Range is limited and varies a lot with use / assistance level
  • The weight of a motor plus flat battery is hard work
  • It can be more difficult to upgrade parts
  • Repairs and maintenance can be costly
  • They tend to be expensive to buy new

How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the e-bikes you can buy new and picked the top contenders, taking into account technology, functionality, style and value for money.