Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among the urban and commuter bike crowd. Once a highly limited adaptation, the increase in their battery strength and improvements to frame design have combined to make electric bikes more useful and versatile in all situations.
Of course, the combination of high-end bike frames, disc brakes, components, and electric equipment means that electric bikes can hit sky-high prices relatively quickly, and while the high-end options certainly offer impressive performance, we understand that not everyone can afford to or wants to spend that kind of money on a high-end bike.
So, we’ve put together a list of the best bikes under $1,000. We’ve evaluated these electric bikes in terms of price, parts, and performance so that you know you’re getting good value for money with each one.
We also know that no single bike is perfect for all users, so we’ve also selected from a range of different styles, and we’ll evaluate the pros and cons of each model. We’ve also provided a short but detailed review of each model. In addition, there’s a buying guide at the end, so you will know what kind of features and functions are most important on a new affordable electric bike.
Let’s get started!
|Best Overall||eAhora XC100 26 Inch 48V Mountain Electric Bike||
|Best on a Budget||SWAGCYCLE EB5 Plus Folding Electric Bike||
|Nakto 20″/26″ 250W Foldaway/City Electric Bike||
|Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle Electric Bicycle with LCD Display||
|NAKTO 26″ 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle Sporting Shimano 6 Speed Gear||
Review of the Best Electric Bikes Under $1,000 In 2021
eAhora XC100 26 Inch 48V Mountain Electric Bike – Best OveralleAhora XC100 26 Inch 48V Mountain Electric Bike
If you’re looking for an affordable bike that still offers a durable frame, premium bike components, and a reliable battery system, this is a good choice. As our top pick bike, this model offers the best balance between price and performance.
While most e-bikes under $1,000 are considered to be bargain or budget bikes, this one belongs more in the mid-to-high performance tier.
The quality but cheap electric bike comes with a 26-inch eAhora frame, made from smooth welded aluminum alloy. It has a maximum load capacity of 330 lbs. However, eAhora doesn’t rate the performance of the bike above 220lbs. This means that if you are planning to load the mountain bike with more weight than that, the performance may vary.
You also get a high-quality Shimano shifter. It’s only a 7-speed bike, but the 7 speeds combine with the battery assist for an impressively flexible bike. You’ll be able to go farther, easier, and won’t need to worry about hills. Alongside that, the disc brakes on this bike also makes it a safe ride.
The battery system works in three ways with this mountain bike. You can make it operate as a class 1, class 2, or class 3 electric (if you’re not sure what the different classes of an electric bike are, we’ll cover it in the buying guide below). Useful information, and the ability to tab between different class options, are included in the LCD.
It also has a front suspension fork, which is a little less common on an e-bike than on other bikes. The suspension system will help absorb most of the impact as you ride, but it won’t be able to absorb impact from the rear wheel.
The suspension system also makes it a lot more comfortable to ride at higher speeds.
The mountain bike can handle speeds of around 22 mph as a general cruising speed and can be maintained higher or lower, depending on which setting you prefer and the terrain you’re riding on. The thumb throttle means that you can get a little bit of an extra boost, even if you’re going faster than class 1 or class 3 electric bikes generally allow.
The LCD which allows you to access the bike and displays your speed, mode, and battery level, is also password protected. This way, no one can access your e-bike without your permission.
The mountain bike has a range of approximately 50 miles per charge, depending on how you use it and the battery. The battery takes 4-5 hours to charge and can be charged while on or off the bike.
While many electric bikes resemble scooters or head towards road bike and commuter bike frame types, this one is more similar to mountain bikes or some
SWAGCYCLE EB5 Plus Folding Electric Bike – Best on a BudgetSWAGCYCLE EB5 Plus Folding Electric Bike
While our top pick is an impressive blend of price and performance, we also understand that not everyone is looking for the main advantages which are found in that bike. This offering is better suited for those who are looking for a commuter bike or a pleasure bike and don’t want to pay the higher price of a performance model.
This is also a folding bike and is based a little more on Chinese scooter e-bike hybrids or electric hybrid bike models, rather than being a straight-up e-bike. It looks a little like a larger version of a scooter, with a saddle for more comfortable use.
However, unlike other electric hybrid bike models, this bike still has a functional pedal system which gives you more control over your ride. If you’re looking for an intro e-bike for commuting and want to burn a few extra calories but don’t mind letting the battery do a lot of the work, this model is a good combination.
Both the seat and the handlebars are height-adjustable. This means that you can fit this bike to your proportions and your height and can choose which configuration is most comfortable for you.
We also appreciate that this folding bike arrives fully assembled. No tools are required, and no prior experience in assembling it’s component, like the disc brakes, is necessary.
There are two versions of this electric hybrid bike, one with a standard (non-removable) battery, and one with a removable battery. We recommend the battery as you can purchase additional batteries if you need them, and it’s easier to replace the battery on this model when it begins to fail.
The batteries are relatively compact, meaning that it’s easy to take a battery with you when the bike is parked. However, the standard battery is a little safer from theft than a battery that can be removed left on your electric bike.
The main drawback of this design is that each battery only has a maximum range of 15.5 miles on a full charge. If your commute is longer than that, you’ll need to purchase an additional battery or batteries.
The maximum speed is 15.5 miles per hour, which is slower than most quality and best electric bikes, although it is still faster than a regular bike.
Each battery takes 4-5 hours to charge with the included charging kit.
Nakto 20″/26″ 250W Foldaway/City Electric Bike – Best FoldingNakto 20/26 250W Foldaway/City Electric Bike
Another folding bike model, this Nakto bike is designed as the half-way point between a scooter and a bike, but is slightly bike-like. It has a slightly longer range than our best budget pick, while still folding down for more compact storage.
It’s clear that this bike was designed for city use and light, local commuting. The battery gives you a range of around 20 miles, but the range does vary depending on how much pedal assistance you provide. Pedaling more or harder will increase your range while pedaling very little will reduce it.
It also has several operational modes. It not only changes between different e-bike classes, but you can choose whether you receive no electric motor assistance, some mild assistance, or have the electric motor do most of the work.
The saddle is fully adjustable. As an added bonus, the folding mechanism uses a quick release which makes the bike easy to fold and unfold. This is a good and cheap electric bike for urban areas and for users with limited storage space or who live in small apartments. The disc brakes on this bikes are also commandable.
This is the best electric bike as it also comes with a small bike rear rack, which makes it a better option for running errands.
The battery sits behind the saddle on this bike and it is locked on using a key which comes with the bike. This adds a level of security if you need to leave your bike locked on a bike rack, and it also makes it relatively easy to replace the battery when required. This is definitely the best electric bike for people who want less spacious bikes.
Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle Electric Bicycle with LCD Display – Best Urban Electric BikeJetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle Electric Bicycle with LCD Display
If you’re looking for an folding electric bike which doesn’t require pedaling, this might be the model for you. Its design is very similar to the type of electric bike which has been popularized in the urban areas of China, where they are looking to reduce emissions without significantly increasing commute times. Some
This small electric bike or electric bicycle is essentially a large scooter with a saddle. It is designed to be sat on but doesn’t have a functional pedal system. When you’re riding this electric bicycle, the motor does all the work.
The design of this electric folding bike works, but it means that this is the most limited e-bike we’ve review so far in terms of speed and range. You can only travel approximately 15 miles on a single charge. However, the bike does have a slightly higher than average capacity, up to 250 lbs, and it will still perform similarly at full capacity as it does at half.
The convenient travel handle also gives you an easy transport point so that you can carry it up and down stairs, into offices, and into your apartment with ease.
The 250-watt motor can handle hills, both up and down, relatively well. These foldable electric bikes model will slow down a little when traveling uphill, but you usually won’t lose any control or speed. A twist throttle and cruise control design gives you control over your speed, and greater flexibility on your new e-bike.
The frame of this folding electric bike is made from an aluminum alloy similar to that which is commonly used for most mid-tier electric bikes.
We also appreciate that the manufacturer includes an LED headlight on the front of the electric bike and the disc brakes, this is perfect for nighttime commutes and leisure rides.
NAKTO 26″ 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle Sporting Shimano 6 Speed Gear – Best All-Purpose E-BikeNAKTO 26 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle Sporting Shimano 6 Speed Gear
Another Nakto model, this bicycle is one of the better options if you’re looking for a replacement for an all-purpose bike or a standard bike. The addition of a motor and battery make it easier to run errands, take a leisurely ride up a steep neighborhood hill, or even for riding to and from work.
This bike is solidly designed, like most all-purpose bikes, although it has a wider tire profile than many alternatives, which is more like a mountain bike. Fat tire electric bike provides more comfortable rides for sure.
Built to mimic the relaxed upright seated position of a cruiser, this bike is comfortable to ride, and offers functional pedals which allow you to ride it as a normal bike if you choose.
A front basket and rear rack make this mountain bike perfect for running small errands. It’s not designed for large or particularly heavy cargo loads, but it works well enough for small grocery runs and other simple errands.
The rear-mounted battery, which sits between the saddle and the wheel, is fully removable and locks in place. This gives you a little added security, but it isn’t quite as theft-proof as a fully integrated battery. However, it’s easier to replace a battery than a fully integrated battery.
In addition to its functional benefits, this mountain bike is rather stylish, has quality disc brakes, although not as stylish as our top pick electric bicycle.
Although we’re confident in all of the e bikes we’ve chosen for this list, we also understand that you might be looking for something a little different, or just want to know more about what makes a great e-bike.
That’s why we’ve included this buying guide. This way, you can take a look and see which features matter most for your intended use of the bike.
Many people think that range is the most important feature of a new e-bike. While this isn’t necessarily true, depending on how you want to use the bike, range is certainly among the more important features.
Right now, there isn’t much range competition in e bikes towards the more affordable end of the scale. That’s why our top pick bike’s range of 50 mph is so notable. With a affordable electric bike or budget e bikes, 15-20 miles is about what you should expect from a single charge.
That range is enough to run some errands, and can even help with your work commute, depending on how far you have to travel.
However, the stated range of a bike doesn’t always match its performance. Look for details such as whether you can make a significant range difference with pedal assistance. Does the bike allow you to turn off the motor when you don’t need it? Can you control how much pedal-assist the electric bike offers?
These kinds of details can both shorten and lengthen the range of your bike, so it’s important to look for them.
Also, you should consider your terrain. Even without hills, a electric bike will have a shorter range on rough terrain, mud, or anything which makes it harder to accelerate.
If the range of your bike doesn’t quite match the range you require, you can always carry a second battery with you. We also recommend setting up a charging station for your electric bike battery (if possible) in your office if you commute to work.
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There are two measures of power which are important for your e-bike, the power of the motor, and the power stored in the battery. The battery’s power capacity is measured in watt-hours. Watt-hours refers to the length of time the battery will last with a draw rate of 1 watt per hour.
So, a 500-watt hour battery lasts for 500 hours at 1 watt. However, a motor will draw significantly more watts than one per hour. It’s common to see 500wh batteries paired with 500-watt motors. This combination will drain considerably faster than a 500wh battery paired with a 250w motor, but a 250w motor doesn’t have the same power as a 500w motor.
It’s all about where you need the power. Higher battery capacity comes with a higher price tag, and there is an upper limit to the power which you can expect from a battery. At the same time, high powered motors have an upper limit of power while still being able to be fitted on the bike frame.
A higher-powered motor doesn’t necessarily mean a longer range, but it does usually translate to higher speeds and more throttle when you need it.
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The other thing you need to know about high powered motors is that the more power a motor has, the louder it is likely to be. This is one reason why electric bikes or e bikes are often restricted in parks and on mountain trails. Not only can a loud motor interrupt other cyclists on a trail, it can also be disruptive for animals, and even some plants.
If you choose to go for a higher-powered bike, be prepared for stricter restrictions on your bike. And alos make sure that the disc brakes are of good quality as well. There are also some limits to bike speed, and your city or town may have additional e-bike regulations regarding power, all of which you should be aware of before purchasing a bike.
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We’ve already talked a little about battery capacity in the power section, but there are a few other things you should know about battery capacity of e bikes.
Firstly, a higher capacity usually means longer charging time. There are quick-charge cords and charging stations available, but quick-charging your battery increases the risk of it overheating and can reduce the life of the battery slightly by making it develop a memory a little faster.
High capacity batteries also tend to be larger, and this can make them more difficult to fit on to a bike frame, which is part of the upper limit of their capacity. However, there are some integrated batteries which cannot be removed that have a higher capacity than most removable batteries.
However, an integrated battery is harder to replace, and higher capacity batteries are also generally harder to replace, but your battery capacity must be higher if you want a longer range or longer time of motor operation.
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There are three different classes of e bikes, based on how they use their motor. A class 1 bike uses the motor for automatic pedal assist, which makes every pedal go farther. It works up to 20 mph and will stop assisting if you’re traveling any faster than that.
Class 2 e bikes are throttle only, so they don’t offer pedal assistance but provide added power when you need it and trigger the motor.
Class 3 e bikes are just like class 1 bikes, but they tend to have a longer range, higher power, and higher battery capacity and top out at 25 mph.
However, there are plenty of models of bike with other options, especially as battery and motor configurations change and improve over time. Some e bikes offer an eco-mode, which is usually the lowest power rating the motor can draw while still providing some pedal assistance.
Other models like the fat tire electric bike models are becoming available with higher throttle settings, but places which allow these settings and motors to be used are relatively few and far between.
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Currently, the most common material for e bikes is aluminum alloy. There aren’t many made from steel, as the added weight limits the bike’s range and maximum speed, but carbon fiber increases the price of an already expensive bike when used for premium electric bike frames.
Carbon fiber is the best choice in terms of sheer weight and durability, as it’s very strong and incredibly lightweight, but it is uncommon in affordable and budget bikes.
You should look for smooth, high-quality welds on an aluminum frame. Additions such as a steel or carbon fiber fork are also common and can add durability to the rest of the aluminum frame.
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When it comes to a electric bike one of the first things which will take a hit in quality are the bike components. The electrical components must all be of a certain quality to be safe, so you can expect similar electronics from the very cheapest e bikes to more expensive mid-tier models.
Only at the highest level will electronics start to become more complex, higher quality, and therefore more expensive.
However, it’s easy to get cheap electric bike parts to put on a decent frame and wire together with decent electrical components and still get a bad electric bike.
Unfortunately, unless you really know a lot about electric bike parts, and are willing to look for big-name brands such as Shimano and Tektro, which are commonly used on the highest quality and the best electric bikes, there often isn’t a good way to evaluate bike parts based on their quality.
If you don’t have the experience to monitor component quality, there are several things you can do. Firstly, look at the brand’s reputation, not just reviews of the bike you want to buy. Many brands are able to take down negative reviews after a certain amount of time, but their brand reputation is much harder to manipulate.
Next, look at user reviews. See if there are many people saying things such as the disc brakes or derailleur aren’t very good, or the shifter is stiff.
Finally, you can look up the manufacturer of the parts which are most important to you. Affordable e bikes will often have one or two parts which would be better if they were upgraded, but you can usually find a bike which has compromised on a part that doesn’t matter as much to you while more attention has been paid to the parts which matter.
Alternatively, you can become familiar with Shimano, Tektro, and other big names, and look for bikes with these parts. There are relatively few lesser-known parts brands which produce parts that can compete with these brands, and these brands offer better warranties than many others.
Reliability is a sum total of all the parts on your bike. The most reliable and the best electric bikes require minimal maintenance, have high-quality parts, like quality disc brakes, and rarely get stuck. However, regular tune-ups are part of the process, so you shouldn’t hold that against the reliability of a bike.
One big difference with e-bikes when compared to other bikes, is that you need a reliable battery and a reliable motor.
The good news is that almost all e-bike motors are more durable than the batteries.
A bike battery, on the other hand, is like most batteries. After about 5-7 years, the battery’s capacity will reduce until it’s about 80% of what it was when new. You’ll need to replace a battery at this time, as it will become less reliable, and may even struggle to charge properly.
The reliability of other parts relies on three factors, the quality of manufacture, how often you must take your bike in for a tune-up or other maintenance, and how much or how hard you use the bike. Fortunately, if you take our advice from the component quality section, you should end up with a bike which offers good, all-round reliability.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you not only now see the appeal of owning an electric bike, but also feel more comfortable choosing the right model for you. We’ve chosen from a range of different types of bikes, as well as from a range of prices, but every bike on this list costs less than $1,000.
Even if you decide to go with a different bike, like
Now there’s just one thing left to say: happy riding!