11 Best Electric Bikes 2021 | The Sun UK01/27/2022
THE BEST electric bikes are a serious investment, and for good reason. Packed with the latest technology and powered by high-performance rechargeable batteries, they’re one of the most enjoyable ways of getting around today.
There are plenty of factors to consider though, and chances are you’ll want to find the perfect bike to suit your needs. This is why we’ve scoured the internet to source the best e-bikes on sale, so you don’t have to.
The motor found in electric bikes features pedalling assistance, and is generally found either in one of the wheels’ hubs or on the frame by the pedals themselves.
The addition of this technology often leads to electric bikes not only being heavier than a standard bike, but more expensive too.
How much do electric bikes cost?
Although the price is always dropping as the technology evolves and becomes cheaper to produce, most electric bikes are still a serious investment.
It is possible to pick up a cheap electric bike and be left with change from £1,000, but the range can go as high as ten times that.
Before you think about having to remortgage the house though, the majority sit around the £2-3,000 mark.
Although that might still sound like a lot of money compared to a cheap hybrid or road bike, the great thing about electric bikes is that they make cycling a lot more appealing to those who previously wouldn’t have considered buying a bike.
They take most of the hard work out of riding, leaving the user to enjoy taking in the sights as you whiz around on two wheels.
This makes them perfect for a wide array of people – from commuters who don’t want to get sweaty on their way to work, to pensioners looking for a good excuse to get out of the house.
So whether you’re after a cheap e-bike to get to and from the office, or want an electric mountain bike to get you to the top of the trails faster, our list should have the best electric bike for you.
Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike
- Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike, £2,199 from Ribble – buy here
It's possible to pick up a good value machine for just over £2,000, as the Hybrid AL e from British brand Ribble proves.
The hybrid's aluminium frame and carbon fork design combines the best of road and mountain bike technology, leaving you with a bike that's comfortable on the roads and able to handle the slightly rougher stuff like canal paths and woodland trails.
A button on the crossbar controls the three levels of power assistance, and the rear hub-based motor provides up to 250w of a boost – more than enough to get you around without needing to break into a sweat.
The company claims that the battery life is 100km on the lowest assistance level, and an accompanying app can show you how much juice is left in the tank before you need to recharge.
The bike is finished off with some high spec components for its price (1x 11-speed SRAM NX drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Mavic Aksium Elite Evo wheels), and can come fully loaded with mudguards, pannier rack and lights for an extra £100.
Whyte Coniston Electric Hybrid
- Whyte Coniston Electric Hybrid, £2,349.99 from Rutland Cycling – buy here
Electrifying your hybrid bike will make your morning commute that bit easier or give you some power assistance when pootling along canal paths.
The Coniston does just that, supercharging your ride for up to 93 miles when used in Eco mode (or 46 miles if you select High).
The motor sits within the crank system, while the battery is located on the frame of the bike – offering great weight distribution.
A kickstand and weatherproof features such as optional custom-designed mudguards are nice finishing touches, while the inclusion of front suspension is a bonus if tackling rougher terrain.
Vitus E-Sommet VR E-bike
- Vitus E-Sommet VR E-bike, £3,599.99 from Chain Reaction Cycles – buy here
While the E-Sommet's price might not sound 'cheap' on the surface, anything under £5,000 can be considered entry-level when it comes to electric mountain bikes.
The French manufacturer's eMTB takes its all-mountain Sommet enduro platform and incorporates a three-level (eco, trail or boost) Shimano STEPS E7000 motor into the design.
The result is a bike that can fly down technical descents and help you ride to the top again without having to push your bike back to the top or rely on an uplift service.
Unlike more expensive machines, the battery is located externally rather than being integrated into the frame, but the bike packs some great features that leave it rivalling those twice its price.
Highlights include Fox Float suspension front and back, a 12-Speed SRAM NX/SX Eagle drivetrain and tubeless-ready Maxxis 3C tyres laced to a set of 27.5" DT Swiss wheels.
Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Evo
- Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Evo, £5,749.99 from Rutland Cycling – buy here
Like with disc brakes, road bike manufacturers have been a bit slow to adopt technology that has been embraced by the mountain bike world – but it’s fair to say that there’s nothing slow about the e-road bikes coming out of the Specialized stable.
The American brand’s Turbo Creo SL Comp Evo is arguably the best of the bunch, resembling a bike that wouldn’t look out of place in the professional peloton, but with some added oomph for a whopping 80 miles (or 120 miles if using the optional bottle cage-mounted battery extender).
The battery and motor are concealed within the bike’s super light carbon fibre frame, and provide up to 320 watts of support to seamlessly assist you up tough hills or to ride for longer.
The company’s Futureshock 2.0 fork will dampen chatter from some of the UK’s rougher country lanes, while disc brakes and Shimano’s well-respected componentry complete what is probably one of the fastest bikes on the road.
Brompton M6L Electric 2020
- Brompton M6L Electric 2020, £3,020 from Pure Electric – buy here
It is even possible to get an electric folding bike, with a number of manufacturers looking to combine the practicality of a fold-up with the added power of an e-bike.
British brand Brompton is a pioneer in the field, and has managed to electrify its popular M6L model.
The bike’s motor is encased in the front wheel’s hub, while the battery is strategically stored in a normal-looking bag (which even has space for your laptop and lunch box) above the front wheel.
The bike can be used in four different modes (from no assistance to a high level), and can be folded up ready for public transport just as quickly as its non-electric sibling.
Cannondale Synapse NEO SE
- Cannondale Synapse NEO SE electric bike, £3,419.99 from Sigma Sports – buy here
Adventure, allroad, gravel – whatever you want to call it, it's one of the fastest-growing areas of the cycling market. And it's easy to see why.
In its simplest form, a gravel bike is essentially a road bike that can handle riding rougher stuff thanks to big, chunky tyres. They are great on the tarmac because they can glide over the UK's pothole-strewn country lanes, but come into their own when exploring gravel paths, bridleways and some easier mountain bike trails too.
While Cannondale has a number of off-road-leaning bike ranges (such as its Topstone, CAADX and SuperX lines), its the Synapse NEO SE where things get really interesting.
The design uses the brand's Synapse endurance platform as a base and turns it into a true gravel grinder through the installation of slightly smaller 650B wheels and 47mm-wide WTB Byway tyres that are ideal whatever the terrain. And that's before we get to the battery.
Located in the frame's downtube sits a 500Wh Bosch Active Line Plus drive system that can provide you with drag-free support for up to 150km. Throw in a wide-range, 11-speed SRAM Apex drivetrain and you've got yourself a bike that will be able to keep going, even when you can't.
Cowboy 3 Electric Bike
- Cowboy 3 Electric Bike, £1,690 from Cowboy – buy here
The Cowboy 3 is a very good looking bike and would definitely stand out in a crowd – we'd recommend getting a decent bike lock because of this.
It's got some exciting features such as crash detection, theft detection and an auto-unlock feature that is supported via Bluetooth – the bike detects when your phone is nearby and automatically unlocks.
It has a range of 40 miles, can reach a max. speed of 15.5 mph, has a low-maintenance carbon belt, puncture-resistant tyres and no gears or throttle. The Cowboy also has a pedal-assist feature, which detects how much pressure you're applying and adapts the power accordingly.
It has a very smooth ride and feels very similar to a normal road bike. It might also struggle a bit going up steep hills, and won't be perfect off-road. However, if you're planning on riding it around the city, mostly on paved roads with not too many hills, it's ideal.
We spoke to the guys over at Cowboy and it was immediately clear that their electric bikes are a passion project.
They've poured their heart and soul into these bikes, and this is evident in both the design of the bike and the customer service provided.
If you have an issue, the brand offers its Cowboy Mobile Service (CMS) – it will send someone free of charge to fix your bike if you experience any issues.
Cowboy also offers free firmware updates for all Cowboy riders, regardless of the age of the bike, providing it can support the latest updates.
- Ampler Curt, £2790 from Ampler – buy here
The Ampler Curt is the perfect electric bike for whizzing around the city.
We tested it out over a couple of months in London and loved its sleek profile; even up close you can barely tell it's an e-bike.
All of the electronics are cleverly built into the frame, so while it's certainly heavier than your average city bike, it difficult to tell it apart from its less expensive cousins on the streets.
On the 10 speed model that we tested with a 14.3kg frame, you get disc brakes, an integrated mud guard and app connectivity that's easy to use.
The app allows you to adjust the amount of boost you get, which ranges from a mild assist to a full-blown tug that yanks you away from traffic lights faster than the surrounding traffic.
It also means you have the option of arriving at your destination pretty much sweat-free from your lack of effort.
The range is billed at 100km at a more conservative boost level, but you'd get less than that if you had things cranked 'up to 11' for all your journeys.
The downsides include a rock-hard seat that requires padded shorts and a fixed handlebar level that means you'll have to fit yourself to the bike rather than the other way around.
But all round the Ampler Curt feels premium and performs very well.
VanMoof S3 electric bike
- VanMoof S3 electric bike, £1,798 from VanMoof – buy here
The Dutch brand VanMoof is renowned for making high-tech bikes that are designed for riding in an urban environment – previous models featuring built-in locks, integrated lights and a GPS tracking device if your pride and joy did get pinched.
The S3 takes everything that was great about the brand's older 'smart' bikes and gives it an electrifying boost.
Although on the surface it looks like it has been built around a single-speed set-up, the bike actually features a four-speed electric motor that can smooth out any incline. Plus, the front hub-based motor gives you a top-speed of 25km/h (15.5mph), making it the ideal bike for getting to and from the office at speed.
Like previous iterations, it too comes with theft defence in the form of a GPS tracker, onboard alarms and a rear-wheel immobiliser. It also features automatic LED lights front and back to help keep you seen and a range of up to 150km.
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 6
- Spectral:ON CF 6, £4,699 from Canyon – buy here
The world of mountain biking has been revolutionised by the introduction of e-bikes.
Where previously you’d have to ride (or push) your bike up to the start of a downhill trail, the electric motor takes all of that effort out of it, giving you more time to ride.
German direct-to-consumer manufacturer Canyon has a couple of e-MTBs in its armoury, but it’s the Spectral:On CF 6 that will turn heads.
Not only do you get an amazing bike (including a light and nimble carbon fibre frame and top-of-the-range componentry from the likes of Fox, Shimano and Reynolds throughout), but it’s all been designed with an electric motor in mind, which really takes things up a notch.
Mycle Compact Folding Electric Bike
- Mycle Compact Folding Electric Bike, £799 from Mycle – buy here
If you can’t quite stretch to the thousands required for the electric bikes above, Mycle might just be the answer. The UK-based brand offers more accessibly prices electric bikes well under £1,000, meaning you can enjoy the wonders of battery-powered cycling for less.
Wearing in at just 17.5kg and completely foldable, the Mycle Compact might just be the ultimate, inner-city commuter bike. It can be folded I’m just 10 seconds, and comes equipped with 5 levels of power for on-the-go choice when riding.
Its 250w, 36v electric motor might not be the most powerful on this list, but it packs plenty of boost and remains incredibly lightweight too. The brand is also open to customisation, allowing buyers to mix and match the saddle, grips and tyres for a look all your own.
What is the best electric bike on the market?
Since electric bikes come in a number of different varieties, working out which one is the best is tricky.
Ultimately it comes down to what you're planning on using it for, whether you want a mountain bike such as the Spectral, or a racing bike such as the Specialized Turbo Creo SL.
The options on the list above should give you an idea of the best e-bikes in each category.
How long do electric bike batteries last?
The range of an electric bike battery can vary a great deal depending on a number of factors.
The size of the battery is important; obviously, a battery with a larger capacity can hold more charge and has a greater range than a smaller one.
But the terrain you're cycling on and the speed you're cycling at are also important, as well as the weight of the rider.
As things stand, the top e-bikes will get you up to 100 miles of assisted riding in ideal conditions.
How fast can ebikes go in the UK?
Under UK law, ebikes are restricted to 15.5mph and 250 watts of power.
Once this speed or power output is reached, assistance will cut out and an electric bike functions like a normal one, albeit with the additional weight of a battery and motor.
Do you need to pedal an ebike?
Unfortunately for some, an ebike does still require some level of input from the rider.
Unlike a moped or motorbike, where power is controlled with the twist of a throttle on the handlebars, electrically assisted bicycles will only propel themselves forward when pedalled.
The amount of pedalling you have to do is dependent on the power of the motor and the level of assistance you’ve got your ebike set up with.
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