Best Budget Electric Bikes You Should Buy In 2023
Interested in making your first electrified steps? Go ahead, but I must warn you that there’s no coming back. E-bikes are just so stunning! And this is where you can actually find the budget electric bikes out there!
Over are the days when electric bicycles were described as heavy, low-range, and uncomfortable. Today, e-bikes stand for reliability and speed, which comes at a good price.
By that, we mean to say that you can certainly get a high-quality bike for a high price, but on the other hand, you can easily find budget electric bikes that will last just as long.
In this article, we wish to show you 12 (1 bonus) inexpensive electric bikes you can get and enjoy for thousands of miles.
Why Trust Us on This Topic?
When writing this review, we contacted the manufacturers for additional information, whenever it was necessary. We put these e-bikes side-by-side and, using our experience, put ourselves in the shoes of the buyers.
These are the bikes which we would trust to buy and are happy to suggest to others. If you have any questions, let us know and we’ll answer them as soon as we’re back from our ride!
Best Budget Electric Bikes
Maintenance-free drive belt!
MSRP: 450,399 Specs: Step-over and step-through frame, 350W motor, single-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes
Vvolt Alpha is one of the best budget electric bikes around. It provides unmatched value for the money reflected in the electronics, range, and components. Great looks are a big plus as well.
First of all, this e-bike is built around a lightweight aluminum frame available in step-over and step-through versions. The design is modern and attractive, with integrated cables and battery.
The rear hub Acer 350W motor will help you reach 20 MPH with five PAS levels, whereas the 375 Wh battery secures a 60-mile range. There’s also a Walk Mode to help you push the bike up ramps more easily.
If you love cycling but hate cleaning and lubricating the drivetrain, you’ll quickly fall in love with the belt drive that replaces the traditional chain. It powers a single-speed drivetrain and requires zero maintenance.
Other notable features include powerful hydraulic disc brakes and clearance for up to 2.4″ wide tires, so you can feel free to take this bike on light trails and gravel roads. Though it’s just as fast on paved roads and when used for daily commutes.
Consider Also: Vvolt Sirius
Considering the 450,399 price tag, there are few other budget electric bikes out there that provide the same amount of value compared to Vvolt Alpha.
Engwe Engine Pro
MSRP: 450,800 Specs: Foldable frame, 750W motor, full suspension, mechanical disc brakes
The Engwe Engine Pro electric folding bike has a lot to boast about, apart from the budget price.
As a basis for this model, the company used a folding alloy frame that’s easy to collapse and store or carry around. over, it has a powerful electric motor that puts out 750W of raw power. Thanks to the upright riding position and the low-positioned 615Wh li-ion battery, this electric folding bike is exceptionally stable on any terrain. You can expect a 50 mile range with 5 pedal-assist levels.
Engwe Engine Pro is an excellent choice for any rider out there who wants a versatile foldable e-bike for city commutes and off-road weekend adventures.
You can use it to tackle any hill that you thought was unconquerable before. Other components that will help you do that include a 7-speed drivetrain, and 20″ x 4″ tires. When you head back down an adrenaline-inducing descent, you can control your speed with a pair of mechanical discs.
This bike also boasts front and rear suspension, which is a rarity on folding bicycles. You’ll get all the comfort you can ask for, even if you take a bumpy shortcut to get home earlier.
Engwe Engine Pro looks good and will help you ride longer without any pains and aches. It’s time to break the stereotype that e-bikes are expensive and not fun!
Best Off-Road E-Bike
MSRP: 450,999 Specs: 750W motor, 28 mph top speed, 45 miles range Full Review of Aventon Bikes
Aventon Aventure is possibly one of the most amazing-looking e-bikes we have seen so far. It’s a mountain bike with 27.5″ tires equipped with a powerful 750W motor. Just imagine what it can do in the right setting. When the assist from the motor kicks in, there’s almost no need to watch where you’re going, just maintain the direction!
As you know, mountain bikes are not made to go fast, they are made to go anywhere. That’s why Aventon Aventure has a top assisted speed of 28 mph, which is going to seem much faster with such wide tires.
The motor has five riding modes, which makes it versatile and suitable for different riders and situations. You can use it in manual mode, pedal-assist mode, and fully electric mode. It’s up to you how much power you want at a given moment.
For the affordable price you pay for it, you’ll get hydraulic disc brakes, double-walled rims, an 8-speed groupset, and an 80mm suspension fork.
Best Electric Bikes (City / Cruiser / Urban)
Charge Comfort 2 Step-Thru
Best for Short People
Specs: Comfortable cruiser frame, step-through, aluminum, 7-speed drivetrain, 20 MPH max speed
Charge Comfort 2 is one of the best-selling electric bikes out there. It’s available with a step-through cruiser-style frame, so it’s suitable for men and for women.
The 6061 aluminum frame is light and good-looking, whereas the high-tensile aluminum fork is incredibly strong and comfortable.
The heart of Comfort 2 is its Bafang 250W hub motor. It can support you up to 20 mph, which is more than enough for fast and efficient city riding.
The 418Wh Li-Ion battery provides a range of 50 miles, depending on how you ride. When you run out of juice, you can charge it fully in around 6.5 hours. That’s pretty fast for a budget electric bike. It also comes with lighting and a strong rear rack to carry anything you might need on your travels.
Other than electric parts, Charge Comfort 2 is also equipped with a 7-speed drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes. Therefore, you can get a good ride even without electronics.
Charge Comfort 2 is also a phenomenal choice because of a one-size-fits-all frame and Flat Foot Technology that improves stability and control! It’s a no-brainer budget electric bike for short people.
Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1
Excellent Accessories On-Board
MSRP: 450,499 Specs: 20 mph max speed, hydraulic disc brakes, 7-speed drivetrain, 417Wh lithium-ion battery
Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1 is one of the cheapest value-packed electric bicycles on this list. However, it is one of the best you can get if your goal is to commute on a regular.
This e-commuter comes already equipped with handy accessories for everyday riding, such as a rear rack and lights. All you need is some bike bags to carry the necessities and ride to work every day.
Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1 is made with aluminum frame and suspension fork to make the ride as comfortable as possible while riding your bike.
It’s powered by a Bafang 350W motor and a 418Wh Li-ion battery, which are high-quality electric parts. The max range is around 40 miles, whereas the maximum depends on how much assistance you use.
If you run out of power, just keep pedaling with a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain that can get you over most hills.
Another feature that’s useful for regular commuting is Schwalbe Super-Moto-X tires with puncture protection. Urban roads are notorious for sharp debris that can ruin your day.
All in all, if you want a quality electric bike and you can afford to spend a few extra bucks, Co-op Cycles’ Generation e1.1 is a long-lasting choice.
A clean-looking e-bike that shifts silky smooth!
MSRP: 5000,799 Specs: Lightweight aluminum frame, Enviolo rear hub, large battery, hydraulic discs…
Vvolt loves making affordable e-bikes, and we love reviewing them and riding them. Vvolt Sirius is one of our favorite models by this company, and it will soon be clear to you why. This is a well-balanced all-around commuter that strives to make e-bikes affordable, approachable, and likable.
First of all, the design is fantastic, it has a very clean and simple look to it and unlike many other e-bikes isn’t too out there. The gearing is hidden in the rear hub and shifts super smoothly.
Vvolt Sirius comes with a lightweight frame (aluminum), a internal gear hub system, and 2.4″ tires
The Sirius is also equipped with 160mm hydraulic disc brakes, so you’ll be able to stop on a dime easily. All of this makes it one of the best value electric bikes.
Vvolt Sirius can go 20-40 miles on a single charge that only take 5.5 hours. That’s more than enough to complete your daily commute or finish errands without cutting corners or getting out of breath.
That’s why this is one of Vvolt’s best budget electric bikes!
MSRP: 450,600 Specs: 20 mph top speed, 35-mile range, 7 speeds, LCD power display…
Cheap electric bike kits | eBike Choices
Electric bikes are the delight of lovers of cycling. It makes commuting easy and is very safe for the environment. However, getting an ebike may be expensive, especially if you want a robust and durable ebike. With the help of conversion kits, you can convert your regular bicycle to an ebike.
In recent times, there has been a rise in the demand for conversion kits. As a result, several manufacturers are fast saturating the conversion kits market. Thus, choosing what conversion kit fits you best is difficult, especially when working with a budget.
Choosing an excellent conversion kit on a budget could be tedious. However, we have compiled a list of the cheapest electric bike kit you could find out there. That way, it would be easier to know the pros and cons of each of these conversion kits. Before diving into that, let us consider the types of ebike conversion kits.
Essential Factors To Consider When Fitting Your Kit
Many conversion kits available might make it confusing to know what option to choose. This might be worse if you are a newbie because the specifications look the same. When selecting a conversion kit, you need to consider some essential factors. These factors are:
The Motor Type The Conversion Kit Uses
Ebikes commonly use three motor types. They are the mid-hub motors, the rear hub motor and the front hub motor.
You cannot outrightly tag them as good or bad because they have varied advantages and disadvantages. The motor type that suits you best depends on the terrain you are riding on and the frequency of use of your ebike.
The front and rear hub motors are easier to fit and maintain than the Mid-drive motors. They do not strain the system of your ebike and would make it easier for you to get around faster. Front and rear hub motors function excellently for regular commutes and daily trips.
Due to the positioning of these motors, they don’t give your bike much balance like the mid-drive motors. Also, choosing either of these systems would restrict the type of tires, rims and cassettes you can use for your bike.
Best Street Legal E-MTB Build // No License Electric Mountain Bike DIY
On the other hand, Mid-drive motors are best used for off-road commuting. While they work well for regular terrains, the advantage of this motor type is best experienced in rugged landscapes. They are positioned in the midsection of your bike. Hence, giving your bike stability and balance. Additionally, using the mid-drive motor means using a wider range of tires, rims and ebike parts.
The Power Rating Of The Ebike Motor
How much ebike power you would need is dependent on the average length of trips you tend to make with your electric bike. You could liken the power rating of an ebike motor to the horsepower of a car. The power rating of the ebike is usually measured in watts and Newton meters of torque.
The higher the wattage of the ebike, the longer the motor can sustain the ebike without overheating. If you only commute short distances at low speeds, an average or minimal power rating will be perfect for your needs. However, heavy riders interested in speed should look out for ebike motors with high power ratings.
As a regular rider who is not so bothered about speed, a 250-watt ebike with 4o Nm is fine. If you are a heavy rider, you should aim for a higher power rating of about 750 watts. If you tend to ride quickly, coupling the 750 watts with a minimum of 80 Nm will cater well for your needs.
The battery of the electric bike kit is an essential factor you need to look out for. The effectiveness of your bike, speed and largest coverable distance depend significantly on the battery of your conversion kit.
Some cheap conversion ebike kits do not come with a battery. However, several options come with a battery. You need to take out time to choose a battery that would suit your commuting needs and the type of ebike motor your conversion kit uses.
powerful ebike motors tend to drain the ebike battery faster. Given this, opting for a powerful conversion kit motor also implies the need to invest in a heavy capacity battery. While making this choice, you need to factor in the strength of your bicycle frame. Fitting a battery heavier than the ebike frame’s strength could destroy the bike.
Even if you are not a technician, you could easily project your ebike battery’s maximum duration. To estimate the maximum hours the bike will serve, multiply the amp hours of your battery by its voltage.
For example, if the battery has a voltage of 60 V and a 10 A controller, the multiplication of both figures gives you 600 Watt-hours. This implies that your battery can give you 600 watts continuously for one hour. If you move at 1200 Watts, your battery will last only 30 minutes.
Thanks for sharing Bob! That’s a nice setup. Glad to hear that your acrylic is holding up. I have an acrylic windshield on my motorcycle, and its getting pretty cracked. I plan to replace it with polycarbonate. Polycarb is more flexible, and will bend rather than crack. Although it also would probably sag more under weight, and is harder to polish than acrylic.
I’ve done some more math as far as battery and amps. If I can run the motor at roughly 9.5A most of the time, I could get away with the occasional 20-30A and still be ok. I recently built a starter battery for my lawn mower out of the same old laptop cells, and Its held up fine this whole mowing season. The cells in that battery are giving 3-4A each and I’ve not had any issues with it. At 30A on the eBike, I’ll be drawing about 1.7A. I think that will be ok as long as I’m not doing it constantly.
Right now, I have planned to mount the batteries in panniers on the rear rack, and leave the top space open for cargo. I’d like to put the controller and an onboard charger and maybe some tools in a box in the middle triangle space. I also think a center stand is an excellent idea.
Solving the battery problem is a big piece of the overall conversion. Two issues with pannier placement might be possible vibration/shock transference (being a hardtail) and managing the power wires from battery to controller. I suggest you get a regen capable controller as the rim brakes are a weak point, given the vehicle weight involved. I do 90% of my braking with regen. Kool stop brake pads would help too. I’m currently working on a rack mounted cargo solution for my bike. I’m setting it up so the bin is easily removable yet mounted firmly and I’m making it with a locking top so I can securely store my helmet, gloves, glasses, etc. when parked at the store or coffee shop. I also carry tools, spare tubes and a tire pump as a contingency to deal with breakdowns. Couple of weeks ago, the rear tire went flat half way thru my route. I was able to pump it up well enough to get home and fix it in the garage. Just to finish off. I am very pleased with the quality of conversion parts and supplier support received from ebikes.ca. You might be able to get things cheaper from other vendors but I felt their conversion kits offered a combination of quality, inter connectivity and value that a rookie converter should be looking for.
My advice is not to use reclaimed laptop cells. You have to do loads of testing and measuring before you start and you end up with a battery that needs to be four times the size and weight to get the same power and range as a battery with modern new cells.
Nothing spoils a bike more than weight.
You need to buy equipment to test the laptop cells. That money would be better spent on decent cells.
Myself and others guys I know had a go at buiding DIY batteries from laptop cells. We all found the same that it’s just not worth the effort to end up with a sub-standard battery.
Do NOT buy this 103 electric bike conversion kit
Well, I’ve been reading and searching all day. Still closing in on choosing a motor and controller. But I did read up on the latest Cycle Analyst device. I definitely need one of those! Its got all the features I’m looking for in a programmable control/display. I won’t have to add any other gadgets to the handlebars. It even has features I didn’t know I wanted until I found out the CA has them, LOL.
So I’m able to refine my motor/controller requirements a little. Still looking at a front hub motor, 48V 500W. I guess to optimize it for hills, I’m looking for high torque, low RPM. Regen would be great, but I do need it to spin freely so I can pedal on my own. Still don’t know if I should be looking for a direct drive or geared motor. I definitely want a controller that will plug into the CA3-DP, and give me most or all the features that the CA has to offer. The controller should also be 500W, and able to handle voltage between 58.8-42V. I’ve been reading that most 48V controllers can do this.
Electric Bike Vs Conversion Kit – Pros, Cons, Major Differences
If you’ve been thinking about getting an electric bike and wondering what the differences are between a factory-built electric bike and one built with a conversion kit, then this is the post for you.
The main differences between a factory-made or an off the shelf electric bike and one made with a conversion kit are cost and customization. Electric bike conversion kits are generally cheaper, starting at around 500 and going up to 2500 or more depending on the customization. Factory-made electric bikes start at around 1500 for a decent ebike and go up from there. We’ll dig into each of these differences in detail below. We also list the key pros and cons of both store-bought electric bikes and kits of various types and capabilities.
Key Differences between Electric Bikes and Conversion Kits
These differences are very general and you’ll find exceptions to each of these, but this will give you a good outline between the two.
Cost Difference Between Ebike and Conversion Kits
Generally, an electric bike conversion kit will be cheaper than a factory-made electric bike, partly due to the fact that you’re only buying the electric bike components and not the whole bike. There is some overlap in cost, especially if you’re comparing a super cheap factory-made ebike under 1000 (like an Ancheer ebike), with a higher quality ebike kit over 1000.
The cost of a factory-made electric bike generally starts at around 450,500 and goes up from there. In contrast, many conversion kits can be bought from between 600 and 1500, with most quality kits starting around 1000 with a battery included.
Some conversion kits don’t include a battery, so you’ll need to account for the price of an electric bike battery in your overall costs – you’ll definitely need one of those to get going on an ebike!
I’ve compiled a few suppliers of electric bike kits with a range of and range in overall quality below. You’ll find the range in quality of conversion kits in the motors (quality, precision, and durability of components) and with batteries (size/capacity, quality, and performance of cells). Similar to a factory ebike, you’ll generally get what you pay for in these kits, so the higher price is usually an indication of higher quality.
Building your own electric bike with a conversion kit will allow you to customize your build to suit your needs more than a factory-made electric bike might be able to. This is especially true in the battery selection where you’ll be able to size the battery to your needs. Replacement batteries will also be cheaper than replacing a factory-built ebike battery – where these batteries are often packed in a custom housing.
What Comes With an Electric Bike Conversion Kit
Conversion kits include three major components in order to convert a regular bike into an electric bike. These three components are: an electric motor, a battery, and a controller. Some conversion kits contain all three of these components, while others only include the motor and the controller, leaving the battery as a separate purchase.
Conversion kits generally come in three flavors for electric motor placement: front hub motor, rear hub motor, and mid-drive motor. Of these, the front hub would be the easiest to make the conversion, followed by the rear hub conversion, and lastly the mid-drive conversion.
The mid-drive conversion is most complicated due to potential bike fame compatibility and the additional effort to install a mid-drive motor to the bike frame. You’ll also need some additional tools for a conversion of this type.
Front and rear hub motors come in two types, Geared Hub and Direct Drive.
Geared Hub – This type of motor has gears within the housing to reduce the high-speed efficient motor into the lower speed wheel. Most geared hub motors have a freewheel inside, which means very little friction when not using the motor, but it also means that you cannot use regenerative braking. One known exception to this is a relatively new clutches geared hub motor from Grin, which allows for regenerative braking.
Direct Drive – This type of motor has no gears and relies on magnets and alternating current to drive the motor forward. These motors will have at least some drag when not in use and do allow for regenerative braking, depending on the type and sophistication of the controller. With no moving parts these motos are generally durable than geared hubs.
What’s in an Electric Bike Kit
This diagram shows the major components that may be in an electric bike kit. Some of these components are optional, like the e-brakes, cadence sensor and torque sensor – which when integrated into a compatible controller can provide a smoother and more enjoyable ride. Other accessories like lights and higher-end types of battery chargers are usually not part of kits but can be added later in your build.
Electric Bike Conversion Kit – Typical Components and Options
What do testing and a CE mark cost?
So what do you need to do to be able to operate a pedelec legally on public roads? We asked Marco Brust, Managing Director of velotech.de, a renowned testing institute in the cycling industry. According to him, the following must be met:
- (German) Product Safety Act
- Machinery Directive
- EMC Directive
- Low-voltage Directive
To test a complete bike (the complete vehicle and individual parts) the cost is around € 20,000 to € 25,000. EMC testing alone costs around € 3,000, meaning the idea of saving any money is immediately invalidated. So, if you’re searching for a cheap bike, you’d be better off looking at our budget group test than building an ebike yourself. Adding in the costs for a CE mark and testing the bike, affordable and legal eMTBs aren’t a realistic prospect.
Will personal liability insurance pay out in the event of damage or loss with a self-built ebike?
What legal consequences could there be in the event of damage or loss with a self-built ebike? We got in touch with the Director of Communication for Property Insurance for ALLIANZ Deutschland, Christian Weishuber, to clear up this question.
E-MOUNTAINBIKE: An individual builds their own ebike from available components (frame, motor, battery, wheels etc.) with motor assistance up to 25 km/h. According to the EU Machinery Directive, the individual is the manufacturer of the ebike and is responsible for the testing needed to obtain a CE mark. However, this CE mark is not present and this ebike causes damage or loss. Will this be covered by personal liability insurance? Christian Weishuber: A missing CE mark doesn’t automatically mean a loss in coverage for personal liability insurance. For the situation described it depends on the underlying policy, the circumstance of the damage (who is at fault), the claim and the condition of the eMTB. Our old policies don’t provide cover for the use of motor-powered vehicles (which also encompasses pedelecs up to 25 km/h). With new personal liability contracts, the use of powered vehicles that are not subject to compulsory insurance is covered. Here the damages caused by the use of a pedelec (up to 25 km/h) are insured too.
For fines or costs related to retrospective approval, insurance cover is not provided.
According to our correspondence with ALLIANZ, personal liability insurance will cover third-party liability for a self-built ebike even if it doesn’t conform to norms and standards like the conformity declaration, CE mark etc. In a followup call, they confirmed that personal liability insurance will cover third-party liability even due to gross negligence. Important: it’s crucial to check what cover insurance providers offer on an individual basis! A general enquiry isn’t usually enough. It’s best to have your current policy inspected as the terms can vary depending on when it was created/how old it is.
In contrast to dealers, end-customers are still in a grey area when it comes to liability. However, that doesn’t give you carte blanche. The circumstances of the damage (who is at fault), the claim and the condition of the ebike all play a role. That’s why insurance providers will investigate individual claims – so there is still a risk. Apart from that, with a self-built ebike, there are no guarantees regarding product liability in case something does happen.
Personal imports of ebike motors or conversion kits from Asia
We only want to touch on the topic of customs and duty briefly. Fundamentally, postal or courier deliveries from a non-EU state have to pay customs duty. We talked with Jürgen Wamser, Deputy Press Officer for the Department of Taxation in Bonn, about imports from China.
E-MOUNTAINBIKE: Do parts ordered from China (frame, battery and motor) have to have a CE mark when they are imported and does this also apply to personal imports? Jürgen Wamser: If a company from a third country (non-EU) sends a product to a private person in the EU as part of its business, this person is responsible for sticking to the European product safety regulations. During import, customs controls these shipments and if it believes that any regulations are being broken, will inform the relevant market regulators. Customs is not able to draw any conclusions about the legally stipulated product requirements. That’s what market regulators are responsible for.
E-MOUNTAINBIKE: What happens if the CE mark is missing or fake? Jürgen Wamser: If the market regulator decides that a product can’t be allowed to enter the market, generally the only consequence for personal imports is that the item is returned or destroyed.
E-MOUNTAINBIKE: Are you aware of any cases where bike parts imported from China were seized by customs due to a missing CE mark or other infractions? Jürgen Wamser: There are no statutory provisions for customs to seize products that don’t conform to product safety regulations. The item will either be returned or destroyed. Statistics on this are not collected.
If you want to get more detailed information about ordering products online from non-EU states, you can find out more on the customs website.
Is it worth building your own ebike? If you ride your self-built ebike without a CE mark you’re not conforming to current rules and regulation. In contrast to dealers, the consequences for private individuals sit in a legal grey area and private liability insurance will often cover you – depending on your individual policy. In terms of the ebike, you won’t have access to the big brands when it comes to selecting a motor and building a perfectly tuned, trail-worthy ebike would require a lot of technical know-how. So, if you don’t want to tinker but want to ride, leave building eMTBs to the pros. If you dare to build an ebike yourself nonetheless, be warned: the supposed cost savings might quickly become a buzzkill!
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Words: Manne Schmitt, Susanne Feddersen Photos: Rob Hancill, E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine, diverse