Electric bike conversion kits 2023 – Give any bike a boost. Budget mid drive ebike

Electric bike conversion kits 2023Give any bike a boost

Why pay for a brand new e-bike when electric bike conversion kits can easily give a boost to the bike you already have?

E-bikes have enabled people who need or want some pedal assistance to broaden the range and scope of their riding while making it easier than ever to choose sustainable and greener transport methods.

Whatever your reason for wanting pedal assistance — whether it makes cycling more accessible to you and your family, or you think you’ll have more fun with that boost. the e-bike market is vast and often requires a large upfront cost. So if you’re struggling to find an e-bike that suits you, and already have a bike at home, then you might consider an electric bike conversion kit instead.

Whichever option you go for, there’s no denying that the best electric bikes make it easier for riders to explore and experience different terrains and riding environments. Plus they offer a cheaper and greener form of transport to get you from A to B at a higher pace for less effort than a conventional bike, which is especially beneficial for those who are commuting or using them for work. The best electric bikes for commuting can make for a speedier and altogether less sweaty cycle to work, not to mention the money saved when compared to soaring fuel or rail fare prices.

But what if you’re not sure about which option to go for? If you’re weighing up an e-bike vs an e-bike conversion kit, consider whether you already have a bike that you love riding. Converting it means you can continue enjoying the same ride quality while introducing you to a new world of electrically-assisted fun.

To make all these decisions easier for you, we’ve outlined the key things to consider when fitting an electric conversion kit to your own bike, including the various motor and battery options available. We’ve tested as many as possible in real-world riding conditions, assessing how easy they are to fit, and what kind of electric assistance they provide.

So here are our findings, and our roundup of the best electric bike conversion kits you can buy right now.

Best electric bike conversion kits available now

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Reasons to avoid

A thorough purchase process ensures the product is easy to install, but it’s complicated so can take time

The first on our list is one we reviewed very recently and which really impressed us. The Cytronex electric bike conversion kit is extremely well thought-out, with great specs and top-notch engineering. You only need Allen keys to install it, it comes with an accompanying app to offer up basic diagnostics, and once it’s set up it’s a breeze to operate.

When purchasing, you’ll go through a thorough process, which can feel a bit over-complicated, but in doing so it means the actual conversion is a straightforward one. We tested out the Cytronex on a Brompton T-Line and found it delivered smooth and intuitive power. Plus, our hands-on time with it leads us to believe it’s strong and durable enough to use for commuting.

While it’s pricier than some of the options listed below, one thing to consider is that it comes from a UK-based company that offers comprehensive customer support. You can pay less for a Bafang kit on Amazon, but buying direct from a company that can support you if anything goes wrong, makes it a smarter choice in our view.

For an in-depth look, check out our Cytronex review.

Reasons to avoid

One of the easiest ways to convert a bike to electric is to swap out the front wheel for one with a front hub motor. This is the approach that Swytch takes, but there’s more to a good system than just a motor and battery. From our time testing and reviewing it, it’s clear to us that the team behind Swytch have considered the whole system in its design.

The battery mounts to the handlebars and we found that a really useful detail. It is easy to disconnect and take it away for storage, so it doesn’t get stolen when you are out and about, or to lighten the bike when, for example, it needs to be carried up a flight of stairs.

The 2022 Swytch system, which we tested, makes use of a neat handlebar-mounted LCD display instead of the buttons on the battery it had before. There’s also a cadence sensor that attaches to your bike. It’s a well-thought-out system that looks and feels great.

To read all about how it works, and find out why we gave it four stars, take a look at our Swytch review.

Reasons to avoid

If you’re on a tighter budget than the Cytronex or Swytch allow for, then as we mentioned above, getting a kit from Chinese manufacturer Bafang may be a better option. Plus, if you like the idea of an electric bike conversion kit but just don’t want to have to deal with the added complexity of a mid-drive setup, then the Bafang Front Hub kit makes things much easier.

Like the mid-drive system listed below, the Bafang Front Hub Motor kit covers everything required and gives tons of spec choices. We started by choosing our wheel size and display preference, then added the battery size and shape we wanted.

We did find it more of a time investment, given the installation process was more complex than the Cytronex, Swytch and Rubbee, but this did allow us to achieve a powerful, high-quality set-up.

To find out more about how we got on, read our Bafang Front Hub Motor review.

Reasons to avoid

There are a number of simple install options on the list but the Rubbee X takes it a step further. We were really impressed with how easy it was to attach the mount to the bike’s seat post and then click the unit into the mount. There’s no need to change the wheel like the Swytch system. Here the motor sits on top of the rear tyre and a roller pushes it around from above. There’s also a wireless cadence sensor, as this is a cadence-based system that adjusts based on pedalling cadence, rather than torque.

There is a slick-looking 250-watt motor with a single battery in the base kit. If the 10-mile range of the base unit feels a little constricting, another battery can be added to double the range. Rubbee also has a handy phone app that can be used to change assistance modes.

We’ve spent some time testing it out, so why not check out our Rubbee X e-bike conversion kit review for more details.

Reasons to avoid

Bafang is one of the largest and most well-known electric bike motor companies in the world. It’s been around since 2003, and in 2014 Bafang established a US arm to better support the US market. There are many well-known electric bike companies sourcing its components, so if you want to get in the game and source your own electric bike components, you won’t go far wrong with Bafang.

This particular option covers everything you need for a mid-drive motor conversion kit. As long as the bike you are starting with has a bottom bracket sized between 68 and 73mm, this kit will work. From there you can choose the front chainring size, the battery size, and what display works for you.

If you’re not sure whether or not a mid-drive motor conversion is what you need (or what other drive options there are), head down to our FAQs at the bottom of this article for an explanation of all the possibilities you can choose from.

Reasons to avoid

The most natural-feeling electric bike conversion kits are going to be those with a mid-mounted motor. If that works for you and you also like the idea of doing some pedalling, then the very best is a mid-mounted motor paired with a torque sensor.

Instead of the system knowing you are pedalling and adding power, such as the Rubbee X cadence-based system above, a torque-based system adds a percentage of power. The Max torque available on this TongSheng system is 80Nm but depending on your chosen assist level, that 80Nm will add between 36 and 300 per cent to your pedalling power.

To keep it simple, think about it as an amplifier. If you pedal harder you go faster, just like a normal bike, but now your muscles have extra support, so you can go further with less effort.

Reasons to avoid

If you like the idea of a mid-drive system and you want it to have torque-sensing pedal assist then you’ve got a few choices. The challenge with a system like that is complexity. For some people, it’s no big deal to take apart a bottom bracket, but for others, it’s a slightly more intimidating prospect.

The Pendix system does the same thing as other kits but there is a dealer network that handles sales, support, and installation. This comes with an extra cost attached, but the benefit is that you can feel comfortable that the system is correctly installed and ready to ride.

Types of e-bike conversion kits

Friction drive conversion

A friction drive e-bike conversion means there is a roller that pushes against the wheels tyre. So when the roller turns, the wheel turns. It’s not the most efficient strategy, but it’s simple and it works. There is very little involved with regard to making it work but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t work as well as other systems out there. The Rubbee X is an example of a friction drive conversion kit system.

Mid-drive conversion

The best electric bikes tend to be mid-drive because this delivers the most natural ride feel, and the same is true of conversion kits. The weight sits low in the frame and the power gets applied to the crank for a more natural power delivery sensation. The only downside is pricing and packaging, plus it can be complex to set up yourself. Different standards make it challenging to figure out exactly what you need, as well. The Bafang Mid Drive Motor Kit is an example of this.

Electric bike wheel conversion

Swapping either a front or rear wheel for one with a hub-mounted motor is a good balance. The conversion process is very simple and, depending on how the battery mounts, the weight distribution can be quite good. Powering the wheel does change the way the power delivery feels, and making the front wheel heavy can affect the handling of the bike. If mid-drive seems overwhelming, this is an excellent option. Cytronex and Swytch are examples of this.

How to choose the best electric bike conversion kit for you

If you’re interested in fitting an electric bike conversion kit to one of your own bikes, you should consider your own personal requirements first and do plenty of research. You’re in the right place, as this guide will help you with a lot of that.

Before anything, familiarise yourself with the laws regarding e-bikes in your region. Then you may want to choose a conversion kit based on your range and journey needs. If you live in a hilly city, for example, you may want something with a little more top-end power. Lastly, check whether or not the system is compatible with the bike you plan to fit it onto. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, think about getting a quote for installation from a reputable bike shop.

Do all electric bike conversion kits come with a battery?

The short answer is ‘not always’. You need a battery, of course, so when browsing online, make sure the kit you select has one included. Since not all kits include a battery, you might find yourself browsing through options and landing on something at an unbelievable price. If that’s the case, double check it’s got the battery included. If not, then it is possible to source the battery yourself, but be sure about what you are getting.

How fast do electric bikes go?

This is hard to answer specifically as electric bikes are, on the whole, designed to assist pedalling rather than replace it, and it is the same with electric bike conversion kits. The measurement of the power of the motors is in wattage and, in effect, the higher the wattage of the motor, the faster speeds it will be capable of achieving.

However, the speed is often limited as a result of country-specific regulations. In the UK, the assistance an e-bike can legally provide is up to 25kmph (15.5mph) and, after that point, the bike can go faster but without any assistance from the motor. Anything faster would not meet the UK’s electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPC) criteria, would be classed as a moped or motorcycle, and need to be licensed and taxed appropriately. The laws are different depending on the country, with the United States, for example, allowing more powerful motors – although individual states have their own legal frameworks.

Which bike is best for electric conversion?

You should consider the condition and componentry of your old bike. With an electric motor dramatically increasing the torque, using a low-quality or worn drivetrain will result in poor performance, with shifting being affected and the chain skipping or even snapping. Another important consideration is the brakes, adding the extra weight of an electric bike conversion kit and increasing potential speeds will put more stress on the brakes as they try to curtail momentum. We recommend choosing to convert a bike that has disc brakes as they will provide far better braking performance.

I haven’t heard of a lot of these brands, are they safe to use?

In the world of electric bikes, there are a lot of brands you may not have ever heard of. There’s been a boom going on for a while, so new brands are popping up all the time. Not only that but Europe, and especially the US, are playing catch up to the trend of electric bikes. You will probably stumble across a lot of unfamiliar brand names.

Consumers have a tendency to look away when they encounter a new brand. It’s not a bad strategy most of the time but in the electric bike world, including conversion kits, you’ve got to be more open than that. If you aren’t open to names you’ve never heard of you will find the options limited. A lot of the names you may come across are unfamiliar to you but have a solid history behind them.

That doesn’t mean you should go forward blindly. Do your research and be careful with your money, like always. The only thing that might be different is the need for being open to new companies. At the very least be willing to look a little deeper, read reviews, and do some research. The brand you’ve never heard of might actually be a well-established brand from a different part of the world.

Is converting my bike to an electric bike worth it?

There are plenty of reasons to install an electric bike conversion kit to your current bike, but the question of whether it’s worth doing is going to depend on your circumstances.

For many kits, once the installation has been completed, it will be an arduous task to remove it again, so one of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to retain the ability to use the bike as a ‘normal’ bike. If you expect to be flitting between the two (powered and non-powered) then a kit that can simply be folded out of the way – like the Rubbee X – might be perfect, but you might instead prefer to simply buy a second bike for the convenience.

The second question is to assess the state of your current bike. If you don’t yet have one, then the cost of buying a bike, buying an electric bike conversion kit and then fitting it, is probably not going to be worth the time, effort, or money involved. However, if you have a bike that is in reasonable repair, then the value for money – and effort – will be greater.

Beyond the financial and practical element, the question of ‘is it worth it’ will also depend on the amount of use you get out of it. E-bikes can be incredibly motivating and enjoyable and if converting your standard bike to electric helps you to ditch the car on a regular basis, then the answer becomes clear.

If you want a monetary answer to this question, then there are ways to work out whether the investment is worth it. Take a moment to think about your current car usage and work out the cost per day/mile, including fuel, parking and running costs. Try to work out how many journeys, days or miles you will use the bike for after it is converted. Once you know this, you should be able to work out the reduction in car running costs per mile/day and, with that, you should be able to work out how many miles/days it will take for the electric bike conversion kit to pay for itself.

Should I just buy an electric bike instead?

Remember to consider all your options. You have a bike in the shed you haven’t touched for many years and it seems like a perfect candidate for conversion to an electric bike. It might be, but it’s also just as possible that it’s a better candidate for a sale. Sometimes it’s better to take the money from that sale and put it towards an electric bike someone else built.

As with anything, consideration for the end-use during design and build can have advantages. A quality electric bike conversion kit might end up being very close to the price of a complete electric bike. If a company starts with a clean slate and designs an electric bike, it’s easier to keep costs low and integration high. Really consider why you are thinking about converting your bike and whether it makes sense compared to what’s on the market. In some cases, it will but in others, it won’t.

Are electric bike conversion kits legal?

The kits themselves are entirely legal, and fitting them to your bike is equally so. However, the question of legality arises in relation to where you then plan to use your newly powered electric bike. The answer will vary hugely, depending on where in the world you’re based, and which kit you choose.

For example, in the US, there are different classes of e-bikes that vary by their power, speed limitations and whether or not they have a throttle, and each class is subject to different rules. Things are a little more simple elsewhere, with the UK stating that anything with a speed limiter of over 25km/h is classified as a moped, while anything up to 25km/h (15.5mph) is classed as a bicycle.

Before you complete any purchase, make sure you have an understanding of the local laws that govern electric bikes, which is where our guide to e-bike classes comes in handy.

How do you install an e-bike conversion kit?

Sadly, there is no single and simple answer to this question. Each electric bike conversion kit works in a different way and therefore fits onto your bike in a different way too.

The most simple options are the friction-drive kits, such as the Rubbee X, which place a roller onto your rear tyre. In the example of the Rubbee, you simply need to mount the device onto your seat post, with the roller placed against the tyre. However, more complex systems require the removal of drivetrain components and wheels, and the installation of wiring. These are far from impossible, but they may require some tools and a bit of patience.

How much does an electric bike conversion kit cost?

will depend very much on the conversion kit in question. Some are available for as little as £250 (350), while the more high-spec and integrated kits can fetch as much as £750 (900).

Will a bike shop fit my electric bike conversion kit?

It’s understandable that you might not want to take on the arduous task of fitting your electric bike conversion kit yourself. You might not have the tools, the know-how, the confidence, or simply the time to invest. Luckily, almost all bike shops will be happy to fit it for you.

Some systems, such as the Pendix kit listed above, are only sold via physical stores and the fitting is sold as part of the overall package. However, with kits bought online such as the Bafang kit, the shop will charge you for the time it takes, which will add to the cost of the overall conversion. In our opinion, knowing that it’s been done correctly and safely is worth spending extra.

Some bike shops or workshops also may refuse to install a conversion kit to a bike they consider unfit for purpose or potentially unsafe. If you plan to have your local shop fit a kit it may be worth consulting with them on the job first to make sure they are happy to do it for you.

Individuals carrying out the instructions in this guide do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement. There is a risk to safety if the operation described in the instructions is not carried out with the appropriate equipment, skill and diligence and therefore you may wish to consult a bike mechanic. Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future Publishing Limited, its suppliers or any of their employees, agents or subcontractors shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information, provided that nothing shall exclude or limit the liability of any party for personal injury or death caused by negligence or for anything else which cannot be excluded or limited by law.

Electric Bikes for Kids and Teens – A Buying Guide and Top Picks

Electric bikes for kids are quickly gaining in popularity, and the technology powering them continues to get better and better. From electric balance bikes for motocross kids to electric commuter bikes and e-mountain bikes, kids ebikes are an incredible tool for enabling kids to go faster and farther than their little legs can carry them on their own.

Whether you have a future bmx star, a young child tackling longer distances, a teenager commuting to work, or you’re a parent looking to replace short car trips, there’s an ebike for that! Ebikes for kids vary widely in purpose, so understanding what to look for as well as what is available is essential to finding the right bike for your child and your family.

In order to help you find the best electric bike for your needs, we’ve broken this article into four sections. The first section is a buying guide that covers everything you need to know about buying an ebike for your child, and the remaining three sections provide tips and specific bike suggestions based on the age of the rider.

While we highly recommend reading our full electric bikes for kids buying guide, here’s are some quick tips and specific bike recommendations for those TL;DR folks :-).

Quick Tips for Buying a Kids ebike

(1) Be aware of your local laws and regulations: Many areas prohibit kids from operating Class II (ebikes with throttles) as well as Class III ebikes (ebikes with a 28mph max w/wo a throttle).

(2) Look for a bike with a torque sensor: Torque sensors allow the rider to control the speed of the bike with the pedals. Without one, pedaling slower will NOT slow down the speed of the bike, which can be very confusing and dangerous for kids.

(3) Say no to the throttle: Throttles allow kids to reach high speeds quickly without pedaling and should be avoided. Throttles on essentially all ebikes, however, can be turned off or removed after purchase.

(4) Pay attention to weight: ebikes can weigh up to 60 lb. (or more!) and can be a lot for an adult, let alone a child, to handle.

(5) eBikes vs. electric balance bikes: Small electric balance bikes without pedals (such as STACYC) typically are not covered under ebike laws, but should still be used with caution.

The Best Electric Bikes for Kids

This list was compiled after extensive research as well as leaning heavily on our own experience with electric bikes. Unlike our other “best” lists throughout this site, we fully admit that we have not tested or personally seen all of these bikes.

details about these specific bikes are included in the age-based sections below. Like always, any additional feedback and suggestions are welcome in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

Electric Balance Bikes STACYC 12 eDrive STACYC 16eDrive GoTrax Kids STACYC 18e Drive STACYC 20E Drive Electric Bikes for Kids woom UP Commencal Meta Power 24 eBikes for Carrying Kids RadRunner Plus Aventon Abound Ferla Family Bike
3 to 5 9 mph 799
5 to 7 13 mph 1,049
5 to 8 15.5 mph 449
8 to 10 18 mph 1,999
10 to 12 20 mph 2,599
8 to 12 Best all around eMTB 3,799
8 to 12 Ultimate eMTB for advanced riders 3,800
Adult Comes with light, fenders, and rear seat 1,899
Adult Peppy longtail ebike, holds two kids 2,199
Adult Holds up to 4 kids! 3,999

Electric Bikes for Kids – Table of Contents

Jump Down Menu – Click to Jump to your Desired Section

  • Electric Bikes for Kids Buying Guide
  • eBikes for Kids (Bikes with pedals – age 6)
  • Electric Bikes for Toddlers and Preschoolers(Balance bikes – no pedals)
  • Electric Cargo Bikes for Carrying Kids(Cargo-esque bikes that allow for a child seat)

eBikes for Kids Buying Guide

If you are new to ebikes, there is certainly a lot to learn! In this guide, we will be focusing on the features of ebikes that are particularly important for kids. While the specifics of battery life, battery volts, motor torque, and countless other ebike components are very important to the overall performance of the bike, they don’t necessarily affect kids more than adults, so we won’t be discussing them here.

For a more general reference about electric bikes, REI’s How to Choose an Electric Bike is a great place to start. For a deep dive into the electric systems of ebikes, ebikes.ca is a top-notch resource, while Juiced Bikes does a great job going into the specifics of batteries. Lastly, for reviews on adult ebikes (including some small enough for tweens and teens), electricbikereview.com is a great resource.

Why an ebike for kids?

Two words – distance and elevation. Electric bikes allow kids to ride their bikes for longer distances as well as tackle greater elevations gains. Based on our experiences with our own kids, ebikes can magically transform rides that were previously too hard, too long, or too boring… into exciting adventures that kids truly enjoy.

Electric bikes are very different than electric scooters. Many people balk at the idea of a child riding an electric bike as they envision kids zipping down the street without taking a single pedal stroke. While this is certainly possible, it’s not probable nor is it the purpose or design of ebikes for kids.

When given the right bike (kids don’t need a throttle!) and in the right conditions (longer rides or in hilly areas), kids can still get plenty of exercise on an ebike.

Kid-specific ebikes don’t have a throttle (more about this below) and require kids to pedal for the motor to even kick on. If they stop pedaling, the motor also stops. While many tweens and teens can technically fit on adult ebikes with throttles (Class II or III), many areas have regulations to prevent kids from riding an ebike with a throttle.

Class of eBikes

Prior to shopping for an ebike, it is important to understand the differences between the three classes of ebikes on the market. Many states do not allow kids under the age of 16 to ride a Class III ebike, while many states don’t allow anyone (even adults!) to ride Class II ebikes on bike paths and trails. Check out Bikes for People’s Electric Bike Laws to learn more about your state’s regulations.

The two main differences between the classes of ebikes are:

What is a bike throttle? A throttle is a lever or button that activates the motor of the bike without having to pedal. If a bike does not have a throttle, the motor can only be activated by pedaling the bike.

Max mph assist Throttle
Class I 20 No
Class II 20 Yes
Class III 20/28 Optional

Class I

The motor on Class I ebikes cannot assist the rider above 20 mph max. While the rider can pedal to accelerate the bike faster than 20mph, the motor will stop providing additional assistance once 20mph is reached.

Class I ebikes also cannot have a throttle. The motor can only be activated via pedaling and the rider must continue pedaling in order for the motor to operate. Most ebikes sold in big-box stores are Class I ebikes.

All kid-specific ebikes are Class I, but for added safety, they typically have a lower speed at which the motor will stop assisting. For example, the kid-specific woom UP line maxes out at 12 mph and the Kent Torpedo at 17 mph.

Class II

Like Class I bikes, the motor on Class II can only assist up to 20 mph. The main difference is that Class II bikes have a throttle that allows the rider to turn on the motor and propel the bike forward without pedaling the bike. The rider can also choose not to use the throttle and to activate the motor via the pedals as well.

Class III

Stepping it up a notch, Class III ebikes can assist the rider up to 28 mph when pedaling, but only up to 20mph when using the optional throttle. Due to their higher speeds, Class III ebikes are the most regulated and in many areas are limited to street use only.

Ebike Sizing vs. Traditional Bike Sizing

Like regular kids bikes, ebikes for kids are sized according to wheel size. So if your child is riding a 24″ bike, they will likely fit on a 24″ kids electric bike.

Like all bikes, it is also important to take minimum and maximum seat heights into account as they can vary widely within a wheel size, depending on brand. If you aren’t sure what wheel size your child needs, be sure to check out our Kids Bikes Sizing Guide.

Currently, there are only a handful of child-specific ebikes on the market (in the US). The smallest bike we are aware of is the Kent Torpedo 20″, which has a minimum seat height of 27″ and can fit kids as young as 7. The Swagtron EB-6 20″ bike is a popular bike marketed as a kid’s bike, but it is too tall for most kids and with only 1 PAS mode, it is too fast for kids to ride safely.

Larger kids electric bikes are available from woom and Commencal, but they are designed for more aggressive trail riders, versus everyday neighborhood riders. With suspension and top-of-the-line components, these bikes are powerhouses on the trail but also come with a steep price tag that puts them out of reach for many families.

As a result, many older kids (tween and teens at least 5′ not riding on a mountain trail), will likely ride an ebike designed for an adult. Our page on Electric Bicycles for Women has many bikes small enough for a 4’11 – 5’0 kid rider.

The wheel sizes on adult electric bikes vary widely from 20″ fat tires to 700c street tires. As a result, the wheel size on adult ebikes cannot be used as an indication of the overall size of the bike.

Weight of eBikes

Ebikes are heavy! While the motor does help to compensate for the additional weight to get the bike moving, ebikes can still be significantly harder to maneuver than traditional bikes. This is especially true for tweens and teens riding adult ebikes, which can weigh up to 70 pounds.

Kid-specific ebikes tend to be a bit lighter than adult bikes, but they are in turn much more expensive. As a point of reference, the 3,750 woom 6 UP with 26″ wheels weighs 37.3 lb. while the 650 26″ Hyper MTN weighs 48 lb.

Like traditional bikes, lightweight ebikes tend to be very expensive. Don’t be surprised if entry-level ebikes don’t have their total weights listed. When researching for this article, reviews of specific bikes on YouTube and electricbikereview.com were helpful in providing information about the weight and overall size of the bike.

For adults carrying kids as passengers on an ebike, the total weight of the bike can be a lot to negotiate. Over the years, we’ve found Class II ebikes with throttles to be a gamechanger when riding with a heavy load.

Using the throttle to propel that heavy load forward from a standstill is significantly easier than attempting to do so by pedaling, even with pedal assist. Once the bike is moving, it is easy to maintain balance and momentum on the bike by pedaling and the throttle is no longer necessary.

Pedal Assist Modes (PAS)

A bike’s pedal-assist mode or PAS, determines how much “help” the motor provides while pedaling. Most ebikes have 3 to 5 pedal assist modes. The higher the pedal-assist mode, the more the motor will assist in propelling the bike forward.

The PAS modes are easily adjusted by pushing a button on the bike’s display on the handlebars, or on some bikes, the downtube. PAS modes can be changed at any time during a ride.

Pedal-assist modes work by altering the total output of the motor (watts). The higher the pedal-assist mode, the greater the percentage of output the motor will produce, and the less effort the rider has to exert on the pedals to propel the bike forward.

As a point of clarification, be aware that these percentages are the MAX percentages the motor or the rider can have on the total output (basically speed) of the bike. The bike does not need to reach “100% output” in order to move.

The % of the output from the rider, as well as the motor, can vary within the set PAS range. For example, on a bike with 3 PAS modes, in PAS 2 the motor can apply up to 80% of the output, while the rider can apply up to 20%. As a result, the higher the PAS mode, the less effect the rider’s pedaling has on the speed of the bike. In all PAS modes, however, the motor will stop providing additional assistance once the bike reaches its max MPH allowed for motor assistance.

Riding with PAS

The rider must continue to pedal at all times in all PAS modes. If the rider stops pedaling (even in PAS 5), the motor will stop providing output. The bike, however, will not stop as it will continue to coast like a traditional bike. (Note: If you are engaging the throttle on a Class II or Class III ebike, the throttle overrides the PAS and you don’t need to pedal.)

To stop the bike, the rider can stop pedaling and coast to a stop or simply apply the brakes, which automatically turns off the motor.

The “feel” of riding with PAS can vary greatly from bike to bike. Compared to higher-end ebikes, lower-end ebikes tend to be jerkier and can also limit the rider’s ability to control the speed of the bike with the pedals. These differences are the result of the bike’s ability (or inability) to regulate the rate at which the motor output is applied.

Some ebikes will automatically apply the max motor output for every PAS (for example, ramping quickly up to 80% output at the first pedal stroke), while others will slowly ramp up the output based on the pedaling of the rider (slowly increase from 0% to 80% based how hard or fast the rider is pedaling).

A bike’s ability to quickly or slowly apply power to the bike is determined by the bike’s PAS sensor. There are two main types of sensors – a cadence sensor, and a torque sensor.

Cadence Sensors vs. Torque Sensors

While the PAS modes control the max % of output the motor will produce, the sensors on the bike determine the rate at which that max % of output is applied. There are two main types of sensors – cadence sensors, and torque sensors. While seemingly minor, these sensors can make a huge difference in how the bike reacts to the rider.

A cadence sensor detects if you are pedaling (not how fast, but whether the pedals are moving or not) while a torque sensor measures how hard you are pedaling (~how much tension is on the chain). Lower-end bikes typically have cadence sensors, but higher-end bikes have torque sensors.

While riding both bikes is the best way to “feel” the difference between the two, we’ll do our best to explain the difference and why we highly recommend bikes with torque sensors for kids.

Cadence Sensors

Cadence sensors act as on and off switches for the motor. Upon sensing a forward movement on the crank arms and pedals, the cadence sensor turns the motor on. Once the motor is on, it then applies output according to the PAS mode selected. The higher the PAS mode, the more output is available from the motor.

The cadence sensor, however, does not have the ability to determine how fast or how hard you are pedaling, it just looks to see IF you are pedaling in a forward motion. On a bike with a cadence sensor, you can be pedaling in a very low gear with NO tension on the chain at all and the bike will still be propelled forward by the motor.

As a result, the benefit of cadence sensors is that very little effort from the rider is needed for the bike to function, especially at high PAS levels. But on the flip side, since the sensor cannot monitor how fast or slow the rider is pedaling, it can be very challenging, or in some cases not possible at all, for the rider to control the speed of the bike with the pedals.

Regardless of how fast or how slow the rider is pedaling on an ebike with a cadence sensor, the motor will apply the max % of input based on the selected PAS mode. For example, if your bike has 5 PAS modes and you are riding in PAS 3 (60% motor input, 40% human) the bike will automatically ramp up to 60% of its motor output once the pedals start rotating. Slowing down or speeding up your pedal strokes will not affect the amount of output the motor is providing to the bike.

You can increase the speed of the bike by pedaling hard and adding to the 60% output the motor is already providing (the 40% rider output), but you cannot decrease the output of the motor by pedaling slowly. If you are already pedaling at a slower pace (so as to not add to the motor’s output) the only way to slow the speed of the bike is to decrease the PAS mode, brake (which stops the motor), or stop pedaling (which also stops the motor).

It can therefore be very difficult to ride at a slow speed on a bike with a cadence sensor, especially at high PAS levels. Whether you are spinning in granny gear or huffing and puffing in high gear, the output of the motor will remain the same.

For young riders, the lack of ability to control the speed of the bike with their feet can be VERY confusing and potentially dangerous. As a result, we highly recommend ebikes for kids with torque sensors (explained below).

Torque Sensors

While cadence sensors act as an “ignition” switch to the motor (turning it on or off), bikes with torque sensors take it one step further and essentially turn the pedals into a “gas pedal”.

By monitoring the amount of pressure applied to the cranks and pedals, a torque sensor allows you to slowly ramp up the output of the motor by pedaling faster and decrease the output by pedaling slower in all PAS modes.

So instead of quickly ramping up to the max % output in the selected PAS mode (like on ebikes with a cadence sensor), an ebike with a torque sensor will slowly increase the output of the motor according to how much tension the rider applies to the pedals (until it hits the max PAS %).

For example, if the selected PAS has a max output of 80%, the bike will feather the motor’s output from 0% to 80% depending on the force applied to the pedals by the rider. At a slow pedal rate, the motor may only output 20%, but as the rider pedals faster, the rate will increase until it maxes out at 80%.

So while bikes with torque sensors require more effort from the rider (the rider can’t just coast – they must apply pressure to the pedals), setting the bike to a higher PAS mode still allows the rider to get plenty of assistance from the motor by pedaling harder (like you would on a traditional bike).

As a result, like a traditional bike, an ebike with a torque sensor allows the rider to always be in control of the speed of the bike via the pedals. Want to go faster? Pedal faster. Want to slow down? Pedal slower.

The downside of torque sensors is that they are much more expensive to incorporate on a bike. As a result, ebikes with torque sensors are rarely found under 1,500 and are usually closer to 2,000.

Single-speed or Geared

PAS modes on a bike do not replace the gears. Like traditional bikes, gears on a bike allow you to alter how hard the bike is to pedal. The PAS modes on the bike adjust how much additional input the motor adds to your effort.

Gears are especially important when tackling steep elevation changes or technical terrain. If a bike does not have a “granny gear” to allow you to easily start pedaling the bike, the motor can’t kick in, regardless of the PAS mode you are in. As a result, if you stop on a steep incline you may not be able to get the heavy bike started up again. (Unless you have a throttle.)

On technical terrain, this is especially important as the PAS modes can’t help you power through a particularly rough part of a trail if the bike is in too hard of a gear to pedal. On an electric bike with a torque sensor (which most e-mountain bikes do), in order to get full input from the motor in your set PAS mode, you also need to be able to pedal at a decent speed.

If technical terrain or strong elevation gains are not in your plans, then a single-speed ebike with several PAS modes should suit you just fine. Bikes with throttles also typically don’t necessarily need multiple gears as you can always rely on the throttle to power you up a hill.

Keep in mind, however, that regardless of the class of ebike, the throttle can never accelerate the bike past 20 mph. Speeds beyond 20 mph require input from the rider via the drivetrain (you gotta pedal hard!), so gears are also essential for riders aiming for higher speeds.

Motor Placement – Hub vs. Mid-drive motor

The motor on ebikes can be located in three different places, (1) within the hub of the front wheel, (2) the rear wheel, or (3) at the bike’s bottom bracket (called mid-drive motors). Rear hub motors are the most common on low to mid-range ebikes, while mid-drive motors are standard on most high-end bikes. Front hub motors are not common.

Mid-drive Motor vs. Rear Hub Motor

For basic riding on paved surfaces, rear-hub motors do just fine. Bikes with hub motors are typically much cheaper than bikes with mid-drive motors, but they can throw off the weight distribution of the bike. As a result, for more technical riding, mid-drive motors are always recommended. In addition to being centrally located on the bike, they are also placed lower, thereby helping to lower the overall center of gravity of the bike.

Another benefit of mid-drive motors is that it is much easier to repair or replace the rear tire of the bike. With a rear hub motor, removing a rear wheel is certainly possible, it just takes a lot more time and effort.

The Best Electric Bikes for Kids (with Pedals)

From 8-year-olds taking on longer distances with their parents to teens needing a budget ebike to commute to work, we’ve done hours of research to find the best electric bikes for kids. While we have not personally seen all of these bikes, we have tested four different ebikes with seven different kids on a variety of trails.

The best ride for your child really comes down to your budget and how you plan on using it. Per our explanation provided in our buying guide above, we have not included any Class III ebikes. While we do not recommend bikes with throttles for kids, we have included several Class II on this list knowing that the throttles on essentially all ebikes can be removed.

We have also not included high-end kids eMTB bikes (with the exception of the woom UP which can be used as an eMTB and a commuter). From geometry to tires, suspension and brakes, there are a lot more variables to consider when shopping for an eMTB, but the basics outlined here still certainly apply.

If you are unaware of the importance of a torque sensor, please read our section about the differences in ebikes sensors above. Essentially, without a torque sensor, the speed of the bike cannot be controlled by the pedals.

Electric Bikes for Kids Comparison

Bikes for Ages 7 to 12. Class I. No throttle. 12 to 17 mph max woom UP 5 woom UP 6 Bikes for Ages 12, Class I. No throttle. 20 mph max Hyper eRide City Townie Go! 7D Priority Current Bikes for Ages 14, Class II w/ Throttle. 20 mph max Aventon Soltera Electra Townie Go! 7D Step-Thru If the throttle is removed, these bikes are suitable for kids 12
3,799 28″. 33.5″ 35.6 Yes 3 11 250W
3,999 30.9″. 37.4″ 37.3 Yes 3 11 250W
648 53 No 3 6 250W
1,899 4’11 – 5’11 44 Yes 3 7 250W
3,299 30.5″. 36.5″ Yes 5 5 500W
1,199 4’11”. 6’1″ 43 Yes 5 7 350W
1,599 4’11”. 5’11” 48 No 3 7 250W

The Best Electric Balance Bikes

While electric balance bikes should never be a replacement for a traditional balance bike, they are great fun for tiny riders, especially future motocross or riders or BMX racers. From doing laps at the track to simply riding around the campground or backyard, these electric balance bikes can help instill a passion for riding at a very young age.

STACYC electric balance bikes (owned by Harley Davidson) are by far the best quality and most popular. While other cheaper brands have hit the market, most are significantly heavier than the STACYC line and don’t offer as many speed settings.

Compared to the similarly-sized Yamaha PW50 kids motorcycle, electric balance bikes are quieter, lighter, and significantly cheaper! Like the PW50’s governor, most electric balance bikes have several speed settings to limit the top speed for new riders.

MSRP Seat Height Speeds Wt. Range
Bikes for ages 2 – 5
STACYC 12eDrive 735 14″ – 16″ (3) 5, 7, 9mph 17 lb. 30 – 60 min
Bikes for ages 5 – 7
GoTrax Kids 399 19.3″ – 20.9″ (1) 15.5 mph 27 lb. 15.5 miles
STACYC Brushless 16eDrive 1,049 17″ – 19″ (3) 5, 7.5, 13 mph 19 lb. 30 – 60 min

STACYC bikes are also available under several other brand names, including Harley Davidson (who purchased STACYC in 2019), KTM, GASGAS, and Husqvarna. As far as we are aware, besides aesthetics, the bikes themselves remain the same across all lines.

Electric Cargo Bikes for Hauling Kids

From quick drop-offs at a friend’s house to skipping the pick-up lane after school, electric cargo bikes are a fun and fast way to get around the neighborhood! With the flexibility to hold everything from toddlers in child bike seats to a full-grown adult, your family is sure to get many years of use from an electric family bike.

There are many different types of electric cargo bikes (or trikes!) to consider. In addition to the information covered in our buying guide above, there are a lot of variables to consider. For an in-depth dive into the specifics of cargo bikes for families, we highly recommend checking out Bike Shop Girl’s Cargo Bike buying guide.

When it comes to your budget, higher-end bikes are typically lighter, offer better speed control via a torque sensor, as well as increased durability from the drivetrain and electronics. If your planned trips are within a few miles around your neighborhood, however, don’t be afraid to go for a lower-end cargo bike, such as the RadRunner Plus shown above. Although heavy and not as fine-tuned as other bikes, it works great for quick trips and after 100s of miles, we have no complaints!

MSRPWeightTorque SensorRange
Bikes for 1 Child
RadRunner Plus 1,899 74.3 No 45 Mi.
Aventon Abound 2,199 81 Yes up to 50 Mi.
Bikes for 2 Kids
RadWagon 4 1,899 76.7 No 45 Mi.
Aventon Abound 2,199 81 Yes up to 50 Mi.
Xtracycle Swoop 4,999 62.9 Yes up to 60 Mi.
Tricycles for 2 Kids
Ferla Family Bike 3,999 130 No 25 Mi.
Bunch Coupe 6,999 132 No 75 Mi.

All bikes listed, except the Bunch Coupe, have a throttle

Natalie Martins

Natalie has basically been obsessed with kids’ bikes since 2010 when her oldest of three kids began riding a balance bike. After trying to convince everyone she knew about how amazing balance bikes are, she began Two Wheeling Tots. As a certified secondary science teacher, she loves digging deep into the why and how of kids biking. With her in-depth knowledge of the kids’ bike world, she has consulted with many top brands as well as contributed to articles at NY Strategist, the Today Show, and more.

How To Build a Mountain Ebike on a Budget

You want an ebike that can take you up the steepest inclines and around the tightest bends, but you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on one. Maybe you want to go deeper into a trail than ever before by bikepacking to remote wilderness. Building an electric bike from scratch can be quite a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if you do some research before hand. I ran into a few snags on my build that could have been easily avoidable had I known about them. Here are five tips to help you make your own mountain ebike on a budget while getting more smiles per mile than buying one off the shelf.

Mid-Drive vs Hub-Drive for a Mountain eBike

Which is better? The terms mid drive and hub drive are used often when discussing electric bicycles, but what do they mean? Which type of bike is better for your needs: mid-drive or hub-drive?

Mid-drive motors are better than hub-drive motors for mountain trails and hills. Hub drives have some advantages over mid drives in certain situations (they’re less expensive), but if you’re looking to ride up steep mountains or hills with frequent gear changes, then a mid drive motor will be more reliable. They generate less heat than hub-drive motors and because they operate at the crank of your bike, are able to take advantage of your bike’s gearing.

A hub motor has only one gear ratio and it cannot change gears like a human rider can. If you’re riding up steep terrain, then you’ll need lots of different gear ratios at your disposal. Mid drives have multiple gears so that you can shift as needed while climbing.

Tip #2: Buy a mid-drive kit like the Bafang 750w BBS02B if you plan on climbing hills

Parts and Tools You’ll Need for a Budget DIY eBike

Building an emtb bike requires some basic tools that you can easily get at your local hardware store or via Amazon. First step is to put together your ebike kit. Many come with tools, harnesses, and computers. Take inventory between my links below and extra tools I used, as the kit I bought came with some things like a crank removal tool.

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Parts You’ll Need

  • Used Mountain Bike with decent components (I found mine on )
  • Bafang BBS02B (750w) mid-drive kit or similar (this comes with a modern crank removal tool)
  • 48V or 52V Battery Pack (I went with a 52v 14ah pack from UPP)

Tools You’ll Need

The tools I’ve linked are things I use personally. I really like Tekton as a budget brand that sits at an entry-level price and is of decent quality. Your mileage may vary.

  • Crank Removal Tool
  • Chain Breaker Bike Tool, or Master Link
  • Screwdrivers
  • Allen Key Set
  • Wire snips
  • Wire fittings (I only needed these for the battery connectors)
  • Zip Ties

Tip #3: Figure out what you’ll need to remove your crank. My more modern bike had a crank that used the crank removal tool in my mid-drive kit.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Mountain EBike?

All the parts to make my mountain ebike are listed above. It’s pretty straight forward and simple to build if you have all the right tools. The Bafang Kit came with two specialty tools that helped me remove my crank and tighten the new lock nuts. If I had an older crankset, I would have needed to order the proper wrenches to remove my crank. Luckily, this is not a commuter bike and I could afford the downtime.

Tip #4: Budget downtime in case you are missing a specialty tool and need to order one

Being that I did have all the specialty tools and am reasonable with a wrench, this build took me about 90-minutes from start to finish.

How Much Does a Budget Mountain EBike Build Cost?

Buying an off-the-shelf ebike that is made for the mountains can range from 1600 as of this writing. Unfortunately, even with that big ticket price, the bike components are usually sub-par and the motors are usually hub-drive. As we covered, hub-drive motors aren’t great for hills, are less efficient, and build heat more quickly. You can build a replica of a 1600 hub-drive bike for around 700.

How much does this budget mid-drive mountain ebike build cost? Great question. Here’s what it took to get started. There are four main parts to any ebike: donor bike, motor/controller unit, battery pack, and throttle/display unit. The price of each part varies greatly depending on what type of components you want.

Tip #5: Buy a mid-drive kit with extras. You’ll save money compared to buying them separately.

My build all-in was about 1000, including the price of a used bike which I paid 300 for. I opted to go with the 500C controller as part of the Bafang mid-drive kit option that was a nice balance between budget and capability. I splurged on a pricier battery that cost about 350.

Final thoughts

If you’re handy with a wrench and want to build an ebike that is durable enough for the backcountry, this is the way to go. Mike and I built our bikes to go deeper into gated roads for hunting. Going 20-miles into the backcountry requires some confidence in your bike to be able to get you in and more importantly, get you back out. Because of this, we opted to build our own.

Compared to the cost of a hub-drive off-the-shelf mountain ebike, you can build yours with higher quality parts for a portion of the price. Further, if something should break on you, you’ll know how to fix it. That’s priceless.

Jon Hoan

Writer and personality exploring the natural world by means of survival, bushcraft, hunting, fishing, and general outdoor adventures.

What Is The Best Budget E-Bike?

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With e-bikes offering better value than ever and companies now fiercely competing for who can come up with the best value offering in the value stakes, it can be pretty confusing trying to narrow down just how much you should spend and what features you should expect – even if you are on a pretty tight budget.

Here we try and demystify the topic by breaking budget e-bikes down into two broad price categories, low budget and lower mid-range to see just what you might expect to see in each category, whilst picking out the best value bikes out what we consider to be the very best value e-bikes out there.

Low Budget eBikes – US1000 / £1000

Undoubtedly the hardest category to actually pick a bike in as there will be a lot of poorer quality e-bikes below these price points. EBR tends not to recommend many e-bikes below these price points and they have to stand out from the crowd. There are even e-bikes out there for just a few hundred but these may well be even more compromised in design or manufacturing quality than the slightly higher priced ones which themselves can be very poor. Amazon and Ebay are full of such cheaper e-bikes.

Typical purchaser complaints you might find include parts that last only a few months (including more expensive consumables like the lithium-ion battery), motors that feel underpowered compared to what they were expecting, having to deal directly with an company in Asia and waiting several weeks for replacement parts. Communication may be by email only and you may not be sure exactly who you are dealing with and where they are or what your warranty terms are (if any).

All this isn’t to say there aren’t satisfied buyers out there who have purchased such e-bikes; they may even get a few years use from their Ebay purchase but no doubt the majority of these e-bikes end up broken and at the back of the garage or at the refuse tip much more quickly than higher priced e-bikes. In other words it can be a haphazard affair.

The good news is that there are more reputable companies that produce some e-bike models that just creep into this category so it’s worth detailing the models that make the cut. These are models from companies that do care about the quality and specification of the e-bike, have a physical presence in the country where you live and offer clear and transparent guarantee terms.

For this money you are not generally going to get a mid-drive (these generally outperform hub motors in terms of hills climbing and efficiency), or a higher spec with the likes of hydraulic disk brakes and higher end transmission systems like multi-hub gears – but that’s not to say you won’t get an e-bike that will give many thousands of miles of dependable service if looked after.

Swagtron US499-999

EBR hasn’t reviewed any Swagtron models and doesn’t have any personal experience of them. However, looking at other customer feedback they appear to be one of the better ultra-low price point brands out there and they do appear to have a central point of contact in the US, though they actually sell via online only.

Some reviews suggest that by cutting features they can afford to use basic but reasonably durable components, for example they produce a lot of single speed models with functional brakes – not always the case on ultra low priced models!

Many online reviews seem to fall into two camps; those who have bought Swagtrons and been delighted with them and those who seem to have run into difficulties when trying to get things put right. So, despite our tentative recommendation, the above caveats about compromises in design and service at the lower price points Swagtron offer e-bikes at still stand.

Lectric Xp / Xp Step-Thru US1000

The Lectric Xp is simply superb value for money

If you can afford to make the step up from just a few hundred dollars to nearer US1000 and you choose carefully you can get really outstanding value for money as shown by the Lectric range. They have kept costs low partly by offering just two models in two colours and even then the only real difference between the two models is the option of a step-thru frame.

In terms of most bang for your buck this e-bike has to be a contender for the best there is at US999 when you look at the spec list; 4″ wide fat tires, really powerful rear hub motor (throttle assist to 20mph and pedelec to 28mph), 500Wh frame-integrated battery, 7 derailleur gears, carry rack, lights, mudguards, kickstand……and it folds!

You can see out full review here and check out the video below:

BikTrix Swift Lite US999

The BikTrix Swift Lite offers a lot of features for less than US1000

Another e-bike that looks absolutely outstanding value, this time from Canadian company BixTrix. For US999 you get a choice of step-thru or diamond frame, 350W rear hub motor, 374Wh battery and all the commuting features for all year round e-biking including lights, rear rack, mechanical disk brakes, mudguards and even 30mm travel ‘unifork’ suspension. It’s a got a throttle and the BikeTrix website implies all their bikes are configurable to class 1,2 or 3.

Ride 1Up Roadster V2

Ride1Up’s Roadster V2 has to be the best value lightweight belt drive out there

At US995 and 14.5kg with a belt drive, RideUp1’s Roadster V2 looks exceptional value if you seek a lightweight single speed urban style runaround. What’s more it’s advertised as a class 3 e-bike with assist up to 24mph. The relatively small battery is the main downside at 252Wh and the dual pivot caliper rim brakes might mean your wheel rims might need replacing after a few thousand miles of use, depending on how much of a tough ride they have had.

Ride1Up have even managed to squeeze in a display at this price point which shows current speed, battery life, and distance.

Decathlon Riverside 500E £999 / €1200

Decathlon’s Riverside 500E has to be one of the best value hybrid / trekking style e-bikes out there

Decathlon are a French chainstore that offer all manner of outdoor goods and have expanded to cover the UK, Belgium and Germany too. They do a great range of lower priced e-bikes including several under £1000 but for us the Riverside 500E is probably the pick of the bunch as it has a couple of features you don’t normally find on sub £1000 e-bikes.a torque sensor and hydraulic disc brakes. Torque sensing ensures smoother and more efficient power delivery than more basic systems and usually makes for a smoother ride and more range form your battery whilst hydraulic disk brakes give smooth and controlled braking performance.

The Riverside 500E also features a very respectably sized 418Wh battery, front and rear lights, 8 speed derailleur gears and is compatible with a rear pannier rack too.

Calibre Kinetic

The Calibre Kinetic is a great entry level hardtail e-mtb

The Calibre Kinetic from UK outdoors retailer Go Outdoors is a no-nonsense EU spec pedelec (15.5mph assist limit) that will get you started if you want to venture off-road and don’t need the stellar performance of a decent quality mid-drive which will be capable of tackling rather more extreme off road conditions. It features a Promovec geared rear hub motor, 317 Wh battery crank motion sensor, 24 derailleur gears (3 x 8) and weighs a respectable 21.2kg.

Especially impressive for the price are the hydraulic disk brakes and decent sized battery at 317Wh

The natural competitors at this price point are the Carrera Vengeance-E from Halfords and Decathlon’s lower priced Rockrider hub motor range. Whilst the Vengeance-E, which I’ve also tried, shades it in a head-to-head in the area of much smoother, more immediate power delivery, the Kinetic wins on outright hill-climbing power, gear range (465% vs 280%), Clarks hydraulic disc brakes over Textro mechanical ones, weight (21.2kg vs 22.6kg) and in the price/value-for-money stakes. Decathlon’s women-specific hub motor e-MTB looks great value at £850, boasting a rear hub motor that is rated as moderately powerful on paper at 42Nm of torque – though I’ve not tried any Decathlon models, the spec sheet certainly looks encouraging.

Assist Hybrid from Halfords £599

Not too heavy at 18kg but with a small 115Wh battery and only a single gear, steel frame and moderately powerful motor. But at £599 with pannier rack and mudguards and with a two year battery guarantee from the reputable Halfords it could make for a good run about for shorter trips if your surroundings are without too many very steep hills.

Whoosh Rambletta £869 / £899

Whoosh Rambletta – a good value, feature packed e-folder from the UK

Whoosh are an independent long-established, knowledgeable UK firm with a good customer service reputation and their Rambletta folding model has a number of interesting features. There is a decent sized 432Wh frame-integrated battery, 8 derailleur gears, front and rear integrated lighting, pannier rack and kickstand. For an extra £30 you get front ‘mono’ suspension fork or rigid fork and suspension seat post. There is a throttle control too (though as a UK spec the pedals have to be in motion for it to provide its full power). The only downside is the rather short 1 year guarantee.

Carrera Crossroad E £999

The Crossroad E is one of the few budget e-road bikes out there

If you want an e-road bike at this price point you are going to have to make some compromises and at 19.5kg the UK’s Halfords’ own brand Carrera Crossroad E is somewhat heavy in a category where the lightest (and most expensive) models are now less than 11kg. Still, it has a nice EU 15.5mph assist rear hub motor, torque activated on pedalling and nice to pedal over the cut out limit too and it has cable operated disk brakes too.

Lower Mid-Range eBikes – US1000-US2500 / £1000-£2000

Here you are just starting to get a choice of lower end mid-drive machines whilst the hub motor machines should really be offering you something extra in this price range like larger battery capacities or e-cargo and e-fat bike features. Higher quality hydraulic brake systems and better quality gearing systems start to become more common as you head up the price scale. One main area where bikes in this price bracket might economise is with shorter guarantee periods,

There is a huge mass of e-bikes in this price bracket so here we are identifying those e-bikes we are aware of as standout value and also those genres of e-bike that are the most affordable in their class:

Rad Power Bikes US1099-US1699 / €1099-€1599

Rad Power say they are the biggest e-bike manufacturers of e-bikes in the US and they cover a variety of styles, from e-fat bikes to commuters to e-cargo bikes all majoring on value for money.

Rad Power’s RadMission offers good power for a single speed and a good-sized battery

We’ll concentrate on their two lowest priced models here.

The single speed RadMission costs US1099 and we have reviewed it here. It has a powerful rear hub motor which uses the 504Wh battery and has inbuilt lights and a kickstand.

Also available in Europe and the UK here.

Rad Power’s RadRunner gives you carrying options aplenty

At US1199 the RadRunner is a great budget e-cargo bike and does a heck of a lot for the price. With its rear rack is rated to carry a mighty 54kg (including a seating area for a small passenger), powerful rear hub motor and the large 672 Wh battery it packs a huge amount into a small and well-priced e-bike, the only real downside being its 30 kg weight means maybe not as far as you might have figured – bear this in mind too if are needing to carry it at all). There’s also built in lighting including a brake light and a kickstand but you need to pay extra for mudguards or any of the intriguing sound range of carrying accessories like huge bespoke pannier bags or insulated delivery bags. Also available in Europe and the UK here.

Propella From US999-1299

Both Propella models, single and seven speed are pretty lightweight for e-bikes

Lightweight e-bikes usually mean piling on the US but the single speed model from Propella comes in at around 35lbs (sub 16kg), has an 18.5mph top speed and a 250Wh battery. Even the seven speed version is light at 37lbs (sub 17kg). Act quick though as even preorders are disappearing fast.

Blix Bikes From US1499

The Blix Packa can take two child seats on the rear rack which is rated to 150lbs / 68kg

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Earlier in 2020 Santa Cruz-based Blix shifted its business model to an entirely direct-to-consumer model to help keep low and it has to be said their whole range offers good value for money and here we highlight our star buys.

For US1599 you get one of the best value e-cargo bikes out there, the Packa, that boasts myriad carrying options and comes with the option of a dual battery system giving an asonishing max of 1171Wh (though you pay extra for the extra battery)- still, it’s generally something only really seen otherwise on much higher priced e-bikes (most notably bikes that feature the Bosch dual battery system). There’s a huge range of carrying accessories and multiple mounting points for carrying all manner of things on the Packa and it has a stated loading capacity of 400lbs / 181kg.

It’s a class 2 e-bike with a pure throttle mode which can be particularly helpful when starting off from a standstill with a heavy load. Other useful features include integrated lights, rear footrests/running boards, a tool-less adjustable stem and a well-placed and strong centre kickstand.

Blix’s cruiser style Sol even just looks comfortable

Blix’s beach cruiser style model the Sol, at US1499 combines sporty performance, style and functionality for comfortable, easy riding. A powerful, 500W geared rear hub motor and sizeable 672Wh battery combine with the ultra-easy rideability of the low step-thru frame, swept back handlebars and wide profile tyres to make this a great value ‘beginners’ e-bike. Like the Packa there is also a fully-featured LCD display with USB charging for small devices.

It can even be pressed into service to carry significant loads as extras including front and rear rack options and the latter will even take a child seat. It is also a class 2 20mph e-bike with throttle option.

Aventon US1099-1599

The Aventon Pace 500 is worth putting on your list if you are after a good value class3, 28mph e-bike

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Californian company Aventon have a good range of budget-priced e-bikes. Their class 3, 28mph model the Pace 500 at US1399 caught our eye as not all the competitors in this price bracket offer class 3 e-bikes.

UK readers, note Aventon are now available in the UK via Brick Lane Bikes with an EU spec version of this bike, though at £1499 it is less good value.


Sondors Fold X – it’s fat, it folds and it has a big battery for US1199

SONDORS sell bikes direct to consumers and their hub motor models are available at two price points, US1199 and US1699. Powerful motors, big batteries and fat tires mark out their entire range. The US1199 Fold X stands out as it has 20″ x 4″ fat tires, a 350W rear hub motor, a huge 672Wh battery and folds in two for carriage and storage.

Sondors X – huge battery, huge tires and plenty of motor power for US1199

If you don’t need the fold then the Sondors X model gives even more motor power (500W) and battery capacity (872Wh) for the same price. Both this and the Fold X are Class 2, 20mph assist models.

The Sondors LX has an incredible spec for less than US2000; 750W mid-drive, front air shocks, class 3 28mph assist – hopefully these who wait until June 2020 for shipping won’t be disappointed

The Sondors LX is an awesome looking fat tire step thru model which is still in production but we couldn’t resist releasing the pre-production spec (shipping is scheduled for June 2020). For US2000 it features an unrivalled spec; 750W mid-drive, air suspension front forks, 26″x4.9″ fat tires, a truly enormous 1008Wh battery, hydraulic disk brakes and integrated lighting.

Pedego – From US1695

Pedego have over 120 locally-owned stores throughout the US and also offer a five year prorated battery warranty so it’s not hard to see where the added value comes from that nudges them up the scale from less pricey e-bikes in this category. And crucially you can have a test ride and have the reassurance of local support if you can get to one of their retailers.

Pedego’s Element is a powerful e-fat bike

Their recently introduced and most economical model is a US1695, 20″-wheeled Class 2 (20mph with throttle) e-fat bike, the Element with a beefy looking rear hub motor and a 408Wh. battery. extras would have been nice at this price but Pedego are known for the quality of their build and the power of the motors so the money is really going into the heart of the system.

BikTrix Juggernaut Classic and Stunner Cruiser Range

The BikTrix Juggernaut Classic can lay claim to being the best value ‘power’ mid-drive there is

Canadian firm BikTrix offer one of the best priced mid-drive models around, the Juggernaut Classic. What’s more it’s packed with features often only found on higher priced mid-drives, such as integrated lighting, rack, fenders, front suspension and 8 speed derailleur transmission. The ‘basic’ spec also has a 696Wh battery with a 2amp charger but bigger battery options and faster chargers are available as upgrades. It uses the Bafang 750W BBS02 mid-drive that is pedelec and throttle operated.

Their Stunner cruiser range is also worth a look if you want a reasonably-priced mid-drive. It starts at US2199 with the Stunner X which is is described as an ‘all terrain cruiser’. It uses the same Bafang 750W BBS02 mid-drive as the Juggernaut Classic and comes as standard with a 700Wh battery.

IZIP Vibe 2.0 US2150

The IZIP Vibe 2.0 Bosch mid-drive power without breaking the bank

The IZIP Vibe 2.0 is a class 1 pedelec meaning no throttle but pedal assist up to 20mph. The big plus is that this is a ‘Bosch Bike’ so you get market leading, high performance quality with a 2 year, well defined rock solid battery guarantee and the super quiet and super efficient performance of the Bosch’s Active Line mid-drive. Other plus points include a strong integrated rack and a full chainguard.

Decathlon Rockridee EST520 £1499.99

An eMTB quality mid-drive for less than £1500 – astounding value

eMTBs are becoming incredibly popular but one complaint is the relatively high price for a quality mid-drive true e-mtb spec. Enter Decathlon’s Rockrider E-ST 520 with a Brose T mid drive with 70Nm of torque and other high end features like a rear thru-axle and hydraulic disc brakes. The battery size is reasonable too at 420Wh.


German based Cube are known for unbeatable quality for the money – they use only Bosch mid-drive motors and many own brand accessories along with extremely lean manufacture to keep as low as possible on really good quality e-bikes.

Powerful Bosch mid-drive, kickstand, mudguards, lights, hydraulic disk brakes and front suspension all for less than £2000

Our pick of the 2021 sub £2000 e-bikes is the Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 400 All Road at £1999. It is fully equipped for on and off road performance, the only downside being the smallest Bosch battery at 400Wh. Note it features the powerful Bosch Performance mid drive offering 65Nm torque which gets rave reviews – many higher priced Bosch-powered mid-drive bikes will feature the lesser power of the Active Line series.

JORVIK ELite Jet E £1999

Even many ‘budget’ e-trikes tend to come in over the US2500 / £2000 mark but this Jorvik model is an exception. It features a folding frame and 522Wh battery too.

Stay tuned for more e-bike news and reviews and thanks for reading!

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