Whether you’re looking for an easier, less sweaty bike commute, want to reduce your carbon footprint or simply want more support for longer rides, an electric bike is a great option. What’s even greater? You don’t need to go broke to get one.
We’ve rounded up the five best cheap electric bikes and organized a list of what you should ask yourself before dipping into your budget. Let’s get started, so you can get out on the road.
Merax 26” Aluminum Electric Mountain Bike
With a 350-watt motor, the Merax 26” Aluminum Electric Mountain Bike has the extra power to get you where you need to be. We recommend this bike for city commutes with more hills, or mountain trail climbing where you’ll need extra support.
This bike features five assisted modes, so you can gauge just how much extra power you need. You can anticipate an average distance of about 28 miles (45 km) per charge on this bike.
If you simply want to take your bike out on a trail and get a human-powered workout, you’ll enjoy the fully removable battery. This will make your bike lighter and faster.
Some awesome non-electric features on this bike are the double walled alloy rims and the Shimano 7-speed shifter. These will make your breaking power unstoppable while you’re out on those trails.
- Shimano 7-speed shifter
- Double wall alloy rim
- Removable battery
- 5 levels of assist
Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1
While most electric bike riders will want to take their wheels out on a sunny day the Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 allows you to bike in just about any weather. If you tend to bike in mud, snow or rain, this bike is for you. The battery on this model is completed encased, so you can easily bike in the rain if you need.
This model also features front suspension, so you’ll have additional support riding downhill. And with 21-speed Shimano gears, you’ll have great stopping power. At a top speed of 15mph (24 km), you’ll be able to get an average range of about 28 miles (45 km) per battery charge.
If you live in the United States, you’ll be happy to know that this bike is a class 1 E-bike. That means you’ll be able to legally ride it in city streets, bike trails and most other places that bikes are permitted. Of course, you’ll want to double check the electric bike laws in your state.
- Removable waterproof battery
- 21-speed Shimano gears
- Class 1 E-bike
Nakto 26” City Electric Bicycle
If you’re looking for more of an assisted ride while you run errands or enjoy some time outside, the Nakto 26” City Electric Bicycle is for you.
With a classic cruiser-like frame and a front basket, not only is this one of the best cheap electric bikes it’s also just plain good looking. You’ll have plenty of space to carry groceries between the front wicker basket and the rear rack for optional panniers. Feel free to also convert the back into another seat for children or a furry friend.
This model comes complete with a 6-speed Shimano shifter and a carbon steel fork. So you can expect more downhill support and reliable stopping power. The 250-watt motor and 36-volt lithium ion battery have enough power to get you to a top speed of about 22 miles per hour (35 km) and as far as 28 miles (45 km) on a single charge. That’s why we recommend this e-bike for anyone who wants more support on their commutes or on weekend trails where extra gear is needed.
- Front basket and rear rack
- Shimano 6-speed gears
- 250W motor
- carbon steel fork
SwagCycle E-B 5 Pro
This electric bike model is meant for those who expect more out of their e-bikes but don’t want to break the bank to get what they want. We recommend the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro if you’re looking for a foldable bike design with enough support for shorter hilly commutes.
The 250-watt hub motor, the motor most likely to be found on e-bikes within this price range, is powerful enough to carry you 15.5 miles (24.5 km) at speed up to 15mph (24 km). If you live in a smaller space or want to easily transport your bike, the foldable design will be perfect for your needs. This lighter design also makes it possible for you to easily climbing inclines of up to 20 degrees.
Another cool feature about the SwagCycle model is the autoguard brake system. This essentially means that when you brake, your motor disengages, even if you’ve got your hand on the throttle. If you’d like to add more cool elements to this cheap foldable electric bike, check out the cargo rack and Bluetooth locking system that are sold separately.
- Foldable design
- Autoguard braking
Cargo rack and Bluetooth bike lock sold separately
ANCHEER 2019 Pro Electric Mountain Bike- upgraded
If you’re looking for more power from your electric bike without spending a fortune, you’ll want to know more about the ANCHEER 2019 Pro Electric Mountain Bike – upgraded.
The 500-watt motor featured on the upgraded version will allow you to go 35 miles (56 km) on a single battery charge and achieve speeds up to 20 miles per hour (32 km). This model also comes with a 21-speed Shimano shifter for an exceeded level of versatility.
If you’d like to have a human-powered bike ride, no worries, you can fully remove the battery. This will reduce the weight of the bike and help you to improve your human-powered speed. You can also fully adjust your handlebars to fit your biking style. Whether that’s aerodynamic for a speedy commute or more relaxed for a ride around town.
- 500-watt motor
- 35 miles per charge
21-speed Shimano shifter
Things to Ask Yourself Before You Buy an Electric Bike:
There are a few things to consider asking yourself before you dig into your budget for a shiny new set of wheels. Street legalities of e-bikes, your e-bike class, motor, battery and more. Don’t stress! We’ve organized a short list of questions and answers to help guide you on your journey to purchasing the right electric bicycle.
What conditions will I be riding in?
It is essential to fully understand the terrain and weather conditions of where you plan to ride your bike (electric or otherwise). This will help determine the specifications you need. If you know you’ll take your e-bike on mountain trails, you’ll want to make sure it has a mountain bike design and at the very least a strong carbon fork and suspension.
Due to the added weight and electric components of an e-bike, you may not be able to ride your e-bike in all conditions. For example, you’ll be out of luck if you want to use an electric bike for long and hilly routes. Those styles of bike simply don’t exist because the added weight slows the rider down.
Even if you plan to ride on flat terrain, you want to make sure that the motor and battery life for your bike can get you where you need to go at keep you at your desired speed.
How fast do electric bikes go?
With a pedal assisted motor, most electric bikes have a capped speed of between 20-28 miles per hour (32-45 km). (Once this speed is exceeded, your electric bike would be considered a motorized vehicle.)
Electric bikes in the United States and European Union have laws regulating the speed of electric bikes. This means once you have reached the max level of pedal assist, your bikes motor will cease to push you any faster than it is allowed. However, we think that traveling over 20 miles (32 km) in an hour on just one charge is impressive.
How far do electric bikes go?
The riding ranges provided for most electric bikes tend to be broad. That’s because there are multiple factors that contribute to the range (how far you can go) on your electric bike. This is a combination or motor, battery, rider weight, riding conditions and how well your bike is maintained.
Of course, you’ll want to know your riding conditions before you buy a bike with your desired range. We recommend using the e-bike range calculator from Bosch
Is my electric bike street legal?
While you don’t need a license and registration to use an electric bike, you do need to be mindful of the laws in your state. Some states may require your bike to have certain specifications or a minimum speed, while other states don’t require any specifications.
To legally ride your bike in your area, you may find you need a helmet, horn, LED light or other bike accessories. This is often determined by the class of your e-bike.
A Class 1 electric bicycle will only feature a pedal-assisted motor. Meaning that the motor will only propel you forward while the rider is pedaling. There are no throttles on this class of bike and they are capped to assist the rider at 20mph (32 km).
This class of electric bike is similar to class 1 with the exception of a throttle mechanism. This means your motor will operate without the use of a pedaling motion. These are also capped at 20 mph (32 km).
Class 3 electric bikes tend to be made for speed, however the laws around these bikes vary greatly. While they don’t have a throttle function and feature a pedal-assisted function, they are capped at 28-32 mph (48-51 km). Luckily class 3 e-bikes come with a speedometer, so you can easily see how fast you’re going.
Your desired electric bike might be considered a motorized vehicle in your state, or it may simply be considered a bike. But the last thing you want is to get going on your new set of wheels and get pulled over by the authorities on your bike. Before you purchase your first e-bike, please make sure you’ll be able to ride it in your area!
Will my motor be powerful enough?
Electric bikes work with a combination of motor and battery power. Most cheap electric bikes will operate with a hub motor. This refers to a motor attached at the rear or front wheel, which provides a natural sensation of your bike being pushed forward by the motor.
Electric bike motors in the United States and the European Union come with a power of between 200-100 watts. The more watts your electric bike motor has, the more powerful it is and the more weight your bike will be able to pull with ease. (Think of this like horse power for your vehicle.) However, more power from your motor means your battery will drain faster and you’ll need to charge it more frequently.
Understanding your riding conditions will be essential to choosing the right motor power options for your electric bike. If you’ll be carrying more cargo, you’ll want a motor with more watts. If you’re riding long distances, you’ll want a battery that will last.
Will my battery be powerful enough?
Electric bike batteries are typically available in two forms, lead acid or lithium-ion. If you are truly looking to keep your electric bike purchasing costs low, you’ll likely find your selected model has a sealed lead acid battery.
Affordability is the best advantage with this battery type. The disadvantages of lead acid batteries are more maintenance and a shorter overall riding range. That’s why are the bikes listed in this article have our recommended battery type, lithium-ion. This allows for less maintenance, a longer riding range and lifespan.
Additionally, you’ll want to check on how your bike battery charges. Most connect to a wall outlet. But if you’re riding a long distance and need to charge before heading home, make sure you have access to an outlet or a removable battery that can be charged from anywhere.