Don’t be fooled, an electric bicycle is not the same as a moped. Electric bikes have a battery on board but you still need to pedal at least some of the time. They’re limited in how fast the power can make them go, too, so once you’ve hit 15mph then the motor cuts out and it’s all down to you. Most electric bikes are pedal-assist, while a few have throttles. All here are pedal-assist apart from the Woosh Krieger, GoCycle, Infineum, Volt Kensington and Volt Metro which have a throttle as well as pedal-assist. Mostly these are for commutes and road use but some have the thick, knobbly tyres familair to mountain bike riders and are suitable for off-roading. Batteries are usually though not always lithium ion and take three to four hours to recharge. Tech companies such as Bosch and Panasonic make excellent batteries for bikes.
Remember, when you’re using an electric bike, you’re carrying extra weight – often about 7kg or more compared to a regular bike. Electric bikes cost more than regular bikes, too. Bikes were tested on various terrains and any big variations from stated range noted – though the more effort you put in, the further they’ll go. If the battery does go flat, it’s not like an electric car: you can still pedal.
1. Raleigh Motus Hub Lowstep: £2,000, Raleigh
The Raleigh uses batteries from Bosch which have a range of up to 110 miles when in Eco mode, which is fine for flat terrain, but it’s quite a bit less in the more powerful Turbo mode – you flick between modes with a thumb press. It comes with mudguards, lights and a luggage rack plus a built-in lock. There’s also a Walk button which gives slower assistance (3.8mph) for when you’re pushing the bike along. Choose from bronze and cerise colour options.
2. Specialized Turbo Levo HT 29: £2,800, Evans Cycles
Californian bike company Specialized has been making mountain bikes for decades, though it’s new to the electric bike industry. An electric mountain bike is designed to make off-roading more fun (most electric bikes cope best on roads), as well as street cycling. This bike builds the battery and motor into the frame which looks pretty spiffy. This is a solid bike but still bouncy enough to feel fun. The battery is rechargeable and lasts for three hours or more, depending on terrain and how much work you do yourself.
3. Coyote Commute Folding Electric Bike: £500, Halfords
This bike has the convenience of being foldable so you’ll be able to take it on the train if your commute involves one, and store it indoors for extra safety. The battery, with cells made by Panasonic, an expert in rechargeable tech, has a range of 30 miles (and of course, if it runs flat, you can still pedal). The 20-inch wheels mean it doesn't feel as stable as a full-sized bike but it’s an enjoyable ride nonetheless.
4. Woosh Krieger: £969, Woosh
The Krieger is a crank-drive electric bike with a throttle for powered cycling without pedalling but that also works as pedal-assist. You twist the throttle to scoot along effortlessly, even on hills. It’s powerful enough for most hills and has a range of up to 70 miles, or 60 miles if you take it easy on the pedalling, and more if you stick to pedal assist. It’s not light (about 25kg fully loaded) but absolutely manageable to cycle without any assisted power.
5. Pinnacle Lithium Ion: £2,000, Evans Cycles
The battery on this bike takes you further than some – up to 60 miles on a single charge – a few only take you half that distance. Pinnacle is an Evans Cycles brand, offering decent build and good value. It’s colourful, with matching mudguards supplied and reasonably nimble. Not everyone will like the look of the hefty battery slung between the cyclist’s legs – though it means the weight is centred as you ride.
6. Volt Kensington: £1,459, Amazon
This bike from stylish, UK-based e-cycle brand Volt is a real looker and comes in pastel blue or white colours. The range is about 60 miles from a single charge of the Panasonic battery. It is easy to ride, with five different levels of power, with a throttle for travel without pedalling. It has mudguards, lights and luggage rack as standard. As with all the bikes here, recharging the battery takes three hours or more.
7. Gocycle G3: £3,299, Cycle Republic
The stunningly designed Gocycle is an advanced electric bike that’s beautifully detailed, even down to the powerful daytime light across the handlebars. It’s also very light (just over 16kg) thanks to a magnesium frame. The wheels detach to make it stowable in a small space. A throttle button lets you apply power easily. It has a range of about 50 miles. Recharge time is longer than some here at about five and a half hours. A smartphone app offers extra information about speed, battery life, calories burnt and more. The app also has a “kill” option so a Gocycle can be immobilised if stolen. If this is beyond your price range, the previous model, G2, is also on sale, for £500 less. Both offer super-smooth, enjoyable rides.
8. Infineum Extreme: £1,300, Halfords
Infineum bikes use a stackable battery system so you can add extra batteries for greater range (an extra 25-33 miles per cell, each weighing 1.8kg). Each sits above the back wheel in the luggage rack. A throttle lets you travel without pedalling. There’s a backlit display on the handlebars which shows speed and battery strength. This bike is a decent ride, though pricier models here offer greater comfort and extra features.
9. Volt Metro: £1,149, Electric Bike Store
The Metro is lighter than some electric fold-ups (18.5kg plus 3.1kg battery). It has 20-inch wheels, like the other folder here. Folding bikes can’t match full-size models for stiffness and stability but 20-inch wheels are stabler and faster than the smaller 16-inch wheels on some rivals. It has a range of 40 miles though you can opt for a bigger battery offering either 45 or 60 miles range. Like the other Volt bike, it comes with luggage rack, lights and mudguards. It has a throttle but also works as pedal-assist. Choose from white or black versions.
10. Raleigh Strada TSE: £1,550, Evans Cycles
The Strada is unmissable in its bright green livery – there are even green stripes on the battery mounted towards the front of the frame. Its chunky tyres mean it is suitable for the trail as well as the tarmac. The battery has a range of 75 miles.
The bikes here are very different from each other. First decide whether you want foldable or sporty, expensive or super-expensive. The GoCycle G3 is tremendous, and if it’s too pricey, the G2 is great, too. The most stylish looker is the Volt Kensington and the Raleigh Motus Hub Lowstep is also very strong with an exceptional range.
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