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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best electric bikes 2022 — from e-road bikes to commuters, e-cargo bikes and beyond

Want or need some electrical assistance with your ride? Check out our guide to the best electric bikes, whatever genre you're after

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Finding one of the best electric bikes, or e-bikes, for you depends on your cycling ambitions. E-bikes have boomed in recent years, and like non-assisted 'acoustic' bikes, there are now plenty of e-bike sub-genres to consider if you're looking to bite the bullet. 


Are you looking to replace your traditional road bike for longer days in the saddle? Then it’s an e-road bike for you. Looking to commute via a healthier and eco-friendlier option than the car? Then it’s time for an electric folding bike. Transporting children to nursery or moving heavy loads like shopping? Then go for an e-cargo bike. In short, there are many options when it comes to choosing the best e-bike for you and your specific needs.

There was an archaic view that even the best electric bikes were cheating, that if you didn’t arrive at work drenched in sweat what was the point? That opinion’s been confined to the history books. Electric bikes are the fastest-growing sector of the UK market, which is following a trend elsewhere. Take the Netherlands, where half of all bikes sold are now e-bikes compared to around 11% 10 years ago.

> E-Bike myths debunked: 6 common misconceptions about electric assistance

E-bikes appeal to everyone, from long-standing road cyclists to those new to cycling who are after a little assistance. They’re also much more environmentally friendly than cars, much cheaper to run and much more fun. And, like all bikes, they can be accessorised to suit your needs, whether that’s the best front bike lights, best saddle bags or even the best commuter bike mudguards.

Without further ado, here's a selection of the best e-bikes ridden and rated by the road.cc team…

The best electric bikes: our top picks

Specialized Turbo Como 3.0

Specialized Turbo Como 3.0

10
Best low-step electric city bike
Buy now for £3500 from Tredz
Solid and stable ride
Low maintenance
Great carrying capacity
There are cheaper options
Weight

The Specialized Como was given a revamp this year, placing more emphasis on comfort and convenience with a new frame design that has a lower stepover height to make it even easier to get on and off. And it really is low, with the stepover height down to 355mm on a large frame compared to 526mm on the previous model

The Como now comes with smaller 27.5” wheels and large volume 2.3” wide Pathfinder tyres to further enhance comfort, plus a Suntour Mobie A32 steel-sprung suspension fork with 80mm travel and a sturdy looking thru-axle. It uses a Brose-based mid-drive but with Specialized’s own software, and this full power 3.0 version is rated at 50Nm of torque – relatively modest for a mid-drive – with the 4.0 and 5.0 full power versions offering 70Nm and 90Nm respectively. This version comes with 9-speed Shimano Alivio gearing, and the MasterMind display allows you to find out plenty of info about your ride on the move such as real-time tuning of support levels and the enabling of over-the-air updates. 

The frame is very strong, which means the bike weighs well over 20kg, so it's probably not suitable for a rider who needs to haul their bike up and down stairs. If you're after a very practical and easy to ride yet high-tech city e-bike and have somewhere safe to store it, the new Como should certainly be on your radar.

Dallingridge Malvern

Dallingridge Malvern

10
Best budget electric bike for the commute
Buy now for £1349 from Decathlon
Decent integrated battery
Good motor power for the price
You'll need to add lights

The Malvern is technically a 'trekking' e-bike, but if you're after something a little sportier than a step-through for the commute and weekend adventures on road or light trails, this should do a great job for a very reasonable price. 

You'll get a geared rear hub motor with impressive power and torque, and we found it could breeze over 20% climbs with ease. There are some typical cost-cutting measures at this price point such as cable operated disc brakes and a lower number of gears than pricier bikes with Shimano 6-speed derailleur gearing, but both of these are perfectly functional.

For sportier riders, the Malvern comes highly recommended for value and performance.

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

8
Best electric road bike for all-day comfort
Buy now for £2399 from Ribble
Well-balanced geometry
Versatile road bike
Easy-to-use motor system
25mm tyre limit with mudguards
Can feel weighty when just above the motor limit

The Endurance AL e Enthusiast enjoys the immaculate handling and ride quality of the acoustic version but has an impressive power boost to boot for very long days in the saddle.

Firstly, it’s more relaxed than a full-on race machine, meaning it’s nimble through bends and traffic if you’re looking to use it as a commuter.

The Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ motor system offers decent range with the iWoc One control button that’s integrated into the top tube giving you three power modes. The LED ring that surrounds the button tells you about battery life and we easily completed 100 miles of lumpy riding with still battery left in the tank. Delivery is smooth as silk. Yes, it’s not as punchy as some crank-based motors, but that’s not really needed on the road where the X35+’s easy assistance comes into its own.

The frame’s 6061 aluminium that’s durable though clearly not as light as carbon. Still, even with the battery and motor, an overall weight of 13.35kg isn’t bad. When that weight might become an issue – hills – you’ll enjoy that smooth assistance.

Ribble’s BikeBuilder means that you can, within reason, build your AL e up to however you see fit. However, we tested the off-the-shelf Enthusiast that’s based around Shimano’s tried-and-trusted 105 groupset including hydraulic brakes with 160mm rotors.

All in all, this is one fun, versatile and easy-to-live with bike.

Read our review:
Scott Addict eRide 10

Scott Addict eRide 10

10
Lightest electric road bike
Buy now for £6799 from e-bikeshop.co.uk
Smooth assistance from the motor
Decent range
Excellent handling
Top end components
Rear wheel can be a faff to remove

Since we reviewed the Scott Addict eRide Premium last year, the electric version of Scott's flagship race bike has shed even more weight thanks mostly to the addition of Mahle’s latest hub motor setup, the X20. In this build with 12-speed Shimano Ultegra components it weighs around 11.5kg, and is as low as 10.6kg in the most premium build. 

While the X20 isn't the most powerful motor out there, it is very slimline and extremely discrete, only adding 3.5kg. The battery lives inside the down tube and is recharged via the port on the seat tube. 

There are three power levels, which you can toggle through via the iWoc One controller on the top tube. A single press will see the control light up white to show it’s on. Press again for Eco (green), again for Mid Power (orange) and once more for Full Power (red). The same LED shows battery life passing through the same colours as it drains.

Like many performance frames, the eRide focuses on larger tube sections for the lower half of the frame – such as the down tube and chainstays – for increased power transfer, while going slender for the seat tube and seatstays for a bit of flex and comfort.

Syncros’ Capital 1.0 40e Disc Wheelset is fast and proficient; and the Syncros Belcarra Regular 2.0 saddle is a great place to spend many a mile.

This is a high-performance e-bike at a high cost, but if you have the money and are looking for premium assistance, this could be the one for you.

VanMoof S3

VanMoof S3

10
Best electric bike for security
Buy now for £2248 from VanMoof
Secure
Easy to use
Excellent handling
Top end components
Loud motor

The VanMoof S3 is as close to a fully integrated e-bike as we’ve come across. One of the key standouts is security, enhanced by what VanMoof call a ‘kick lock’, which prevents the bike being moved and also arms the alarm. When the bike is moved, a skull appears on the top tube’s LED screen and the bike emits a loud siren. Nifty.

Unlike most e-bikes, the majority of the bike’s features are accessed via the VanMoof app. This is both a blessing and a curse as you don’t have the same instant access to change elements of your ride, but you do have a much more expanded and user-friendly experience when you do.

From the app screen, you can choose from settings 0 to 4 for assist and also for gear shifting. When it comes to gear ratios, you have three choices: flat, hilly or custom. Away from the app, there are three points of interaction while riding: that LED, which generally shows speed and battery level; a right-grip ‘boost’ button; and, on the left, a bell button.

The 21kg S3 boasts a 504Wh battery that powers a 250W front motor hub. At the top setting, this gives you a claimed 39 miles on a single charge. The battery’s entirely integrated into the frame, meaning that charging must be done in situ, rather than removing the battery and charging it by itself. This is a little frustrating but, again, something done with integration and security in mind.

It's comfortable to ride and, with the great security features, is perfect for urban riding.

Raleigh Stride 2 Family Cargo Bike

Raleigh Stride 2 Family Cargo Bike

10
Best electric bike for the school run and carrying large loads
Buy now for £4395 from Raleigh
Assistance kicks in quickly
Decent range
Fun, practical and safe for the family
Large size makes storage tricky
Difficult to fit through gaps

The Raleigh Stride 2 Family Cargo Bike is a highly practical, spacious and powerful e-cargo bike. But it isn’t for those of you who lack storage space as, at 2.6m, this is one long bike! 

The Bosch Purion display pane is connected to Bosch’s top-of-the-line Performance Line CX motor, which offers five levels of assistance from none through to turbo. This is a powerful mid-motor that provides assistance almost instantly, which is appreciated as it weighs 60kg without anything stored in the large, reinforced polystyrene ‘bucket’ at the front. This bucket is protected by large metal bars. Inside the bucket are harnesses, so you can transport your small child, and it has a cargo capacity of 80kg.

It comes with a 500Wh battery that attaches to a dock at the back of the bucket, which you can remove for charging purposes. This takes around 4.5hrs and gives a range of around 30 to 35 miles.

All in all, if you have the storage space, this is a top-notch cargo bike that will hold great appeal.

Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500

Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500

10
Best electric bike for the trails
Buy now for £2499 from The Electric Bike Shop
Few rivals with this spec and price point
Powerful, efficient mid-drive motor
mode a bonus for steeper trails
A bit heavy
Fork not the best

We’d class the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 500 as a leisure e-mountain bike. Yes, the geometry sends you into a fairly aggressive riding position, but that’s balanced by a modest 100mm-travel coil-sprung fork and nine-speed derailleur gearing.

Bosch’s Performance Line motor is impressive, delivering power through four modes. The EMTB mode is particularly useful, varying power assistance to match the conditions. It achieves this AI trickery via a series of sensors within the motor that feeds back information such as wheel speed and pedal speed. As for range, in you’re looking at between 40 and 100 miles depending on what mode you’re in.

Other specs are bang in line with the solid price: sharp and effective hydraulic disc brakes, nine-speed Shimano Alivio gearing and general-purpose all-rounder Schwalbe Smart Sam knobblies on decent-quality Alex rims.                

If you’re looking for a high-quality, off-road capable e-bike for trails and general use, with a powerfully effective and efficient mid-drive that won’t break the bank, this model is one of a select few to fit the bill. 

Eovolt Afternoon

Eovolt Afternoon

10
Best electric folding bike
Buy now for £1999 from Merlin Cycles
Smooth and comfortable ride
Equipped for riding in all conditions
High-quality manufacture
Heavy

The Afternoon from French brand Eovolt features 20-inch wheels – there are 16in and 24in versions available, too – and a 504Wh seatpost battery that delivers around 40 miles on flattish terrain and around 30 miles on hillier. That’s pretty good. It also comes with metal mudguards, a 25kg pannier rack, high-volume CST 2.4in-wide semi-slick tyres, a chainguard and kickstand. A neat cadence-sensing system is nifty, kicking in soon after pedalling, while the geared rear hub was respectable, too. That geared hub comprises Shimano’s seven-speed Tourney.

The Afternoon uses a conventional ‘fold-in-half’ frame with drop-down handlebars very similar to the likes of Tern, resulting in a folded package of 87cm (l) x 72.5cm (h) x 44cm (w), which is par for the course for a 20in wheeler. A powerful magnet clamps the two sides together. Okay, it’s not in the Brompton league of folded compactness but it’s still pretty good. Mind you, it’s pretty heavy at 23.66kg, though you lose 3.75kg if you remove the battery.

If you want a practical and thoughtfully designed electric folder and don’t have the deep pockets to go for a much lighter offering, then the Eovolt Afternoon should be near the top of your shortlist.

MiRider One GB3

MiRider One GB3

10
Best electric folding bike for climing
Buy now for £2495 from Merlin Cycles
Great hill climber
Nippy throttle
low-maintenance belt drive
Not the easiest to fold

One of the standouts of British brand MiRider’s One GB3 is the three-speed Efneo GTRO gear unit that’s housed within the chainwheel body and manages to fit a planetary gear set-up into a space of around 15mmm deep, and with a diameter the same as a medium-sized chainring – in short, a miraculous piece of engineering. A twist grip activates the gears, while dispensing with the derailleur means MiRider can use a Kevlar belt drive that avoids oily grime.

You’re given three power levels of assist from the 225Wh battery. Range is, of course, dictated by terrain and power level, but as a snapshot, it returned in excess of 35 miles over moderately hilly terrain, albeit without using the throttle on the steeper sections. When full throttle was used, this reduced range slightly but it really helped tame the gradients.

The LCD display is crisp, clear and legible even in sunlight, and features the usual metrics like average speed, distance ridden… Plus the power the motor produces at the different levels. This is a nifty feature to gauge how the different topography and speeds affects wattage.

Folding’s not quite as smooth as the Brompton but it’s pretty good, though its 19.1kg weight’s quite high. Still, that’s a minor grumble in what’s an impressive electric folder.

Tenways CGO600

Tenways CGO600

10
Best singlespeed electric bike
Buy now for £1499 from EcoMove
Impressive motor
Belt drive means low maintenance
Lightweight
Small battery that isn't removeable from the frame

Tenways are a Dutch brand who assemble their bikes in Lithuania. They’re a direct-to-consumer brand, albeit there’s talk they might look to establish a dealer network in due course. And let’s hope they do as there’s a lot to like with the CGO600.

This is undoubtedly a slick-looking bike that stems from its smooth, lightweight alloy frame and single-speed composition. The rear hub motor’s so streamlined that it looks no different than an eight-speed hub gear. The 250Wh battery lives in the down tube and stays there, which is arguably the only downside of this bike as you can’t remove to recharge.

The Mivice MO70 motor performs superbly with three power levels married to a torque sensor for an extremely sophisticated ride The harder you push, the more power you get, just like sans battery and motor. It’s nice to ride without the power on, too, and the belt drive (great for easy maintenance) feels as proficient as a regular chain drive.

Nifty additions are the hardwired LED front light that delivers good visibility and there’s plenty of scope to add extras like pannier racks, clip-on rear lights and mudguards. Which you clearly might as this is perfect for commutes.

When it comes to an exquisite e-fuelled riding experience, you really can’t go wrong.

How to choose from the best electric bikes

faq-icon
Do you need a licence to ride an e-bike?

In short, no. The longer answer, via the UK government, is that you can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over as long as the electric bike meets certain requirements. The more formal moniker for electric bikes is ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You don’t need a licence to ride one. Also, it doesn’t need to be registered, taxed or insured.

For a bike to be categorised an EAPC, it must have pedals that can be used to propel it; it must show either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor; the battery’s voltage or maximum speed of the bike; and its electric motor must have a maximum power output of 250 watts and shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph. If it doesn’t meet the EAPC rules, it’s classed as a motorcycle or moped and needs to be registered and taxed.

faq-icon
What’s the difference between a hub motor and mid-drive motor?

A hub motor’s nestled within the hub of the front or rear wheel, while a mid-drive motor sits within the bottom-bracket area. Broadly speaking, mid-drive motors give a more similar feel to a traditional bike, while the hub motors are more for those not seeking peak performance, like city cyclists.

faq-icon
Can you just pedal an electric bike?

Yes, you can. Electric bikes have different modes of assistance of which includes ‘zero’ assistance for when you wish to stretch your legs.

faq-icon
What’s the difference between pedal- and throttle-assisted electric bikes?

E-bikes tend to offer two types of motor engagement: pedal assist and throttle assist. When it comes to pedal assist, the motor engages when the pedals are rotated. 

Pedal-assisted e-bikes are good for everyone and are broken down into torque-sensor pedal assisted and cadence-sensor pedal assisted. Torque sensors are arguably the most popular choice as they create power instantaneously as you begin pedalling. These are more advanced than cadence sensors that use a magnet on the crank arm to kickstart the motor when the crank arm moves. Most basic e-bikes use a cadence sensor and require adjusting the assist mode manually.

Throttles are good for those who might head out for a ride, are exhausted and need the insurance policy of getting home with minimum effort. It's also worth mentioning that currently in the UK and EU, 'full-speed' twist-and-go throttles are no longer road-legal, and only work without pedalling at speeds of 6km/h or under to offer assistance when walking with your bike. On the bike, the throttle only works beyond this speed if you're pedalling. 

faq-icon
Do electric bikes charge when you pedal?

Sadly not! Not in a conventional way anyway, although some e-bikes such as the Vello Bike+ do have settings that claim to self-charge in small amounts. To take advantage of this feature, you'll need to pedal against even more resistance than if you were riding unassisted, though.

Some e-bikes batteries can also charge through regenerative braking, but again the amount of charge that you'll gain back will be negligible compared to plugging it in. For now, it's always best to plan your journey and make sure your battery has been charged adequately for the distance you are riding. 

faq-icon
What are the disadvantages of electric bikes?

E-bikes are ingenious but there a few cons over a traditional bike. Despite the slimline evolution of motors and batteries, they’re still heavier than unassisted versions. Again, while riding range is improving, it remains relatively low, so remember to recharge regularly. Inevitably, that power assistance comes at a cost and, in general, they’re a little fiddlier to maintain.  

faq-icon
What happens when an electric bike runs out of battery?

You can still pedal, but it’ll clearly be harder as you’ll lack assistance in pedalling your now slightly heavier bike...