I love e-bikes for a variety of reasons. Obviously, they take the hard work out of hills, and that’s great, but when I started reviewing them a few years ago they rekindled my love of cycling.
Like many people do, I more or less abandoned a life on two wheels when I passed my driving test. But I’m in my 40s now and, especially now I can get a motor to help me out, I’ve rediscovered that there’s a joy to cycling.
E-bikes won’t do all the hard work for you, you still need to put some effort in, and how much effort you put in is up to you and your bike’s power controls, but even just having a motor as a safety net for when you finally run out of puff is worth its weight in gold.
And, on the subject of weight, it’s worth remembering that e-bikes tend to be cumbersome things, so they’re not the perfect solution – but they can be a great way to get you back on a path to fitness, and they’re perfect for the commute.
Winter might not seem like the ideal time to be getting back on a bike but, looking at the deals out there at the moment, it could certainly be a good time to buy one. And Christmas is around the corner.
The bikes I’ve found on Amazon are from smaller-volume manufacturers, often Chinese. While the quality of these bikes may surprise you as much as the prices, I’ve not included any bikes from the “big-name” brands. They’re certainly still worth considering, although you’ll often pay a premium.
Here’s a list of e-bikes I think might be a great introduction to this marvellous new way of getting back into the saddle.
1. DYU Folding Electric Bike – was £499, now £399
Yes, that’s right, you can buy an e-bike for less than the price of a good-quality standard bike. This pint-sized pedal-assisted bike has a 36v motor, a fairly beefy 10Ah battery and Dyu reckons the range is good for up to 40km.
The best bit though is its aluminium-magnesium alloy body folds up, albeit only to an extent, so it would be handy for camping or commuting.
It’s worth noting that those 14″ wheels are very small for an e-bike, and that will make it feel less stable. They’ll also hamper progress on rough surfaces. But for city-based riding, it should be fine.
2. Swifty AT656 Electric Bike – was £756.86, now £626.50
You wouldn’t know, straight away, that this was an electric bike, with its 36v, 9.65Ah battery neatly integrated into the frame. But Swifty reckons it will give you up to 30 miles of assistance.
It’s also impressive to see a suspension fork and Shimano gears, if only seven. I also like the fact it has a rear-mounted motor, and CST tyres are top quality too.
At this price don’t expect the overall build quality to be too impressive, but for basic recreational riding, this e-bike will tick a lot of boxes.
3. Eleglide T1 Step-Thru Electric Bike – was £799, now £599 (including a £100 voucher)
I’ve tested a few Eleglide bikes, and they’re really nicely made, with some lovely design touches. This one is one of my favourites, because it’s stylish, comfortable to ride and that step-thru frame makes it easy to get on and off.
Its 13Ah battery is one of the best on offer in this round-up, and that should help you cover up to 60 miles, if you’re careful with your modes.
The price is really tempting. It’s already been discounted to £699, but if you tick the voucher box, you’ll get another £100 off. That’s a bargain for quite a premium e-bike.
Bear in mind the tyres fitted to this bike are aimed more at road use, but they’ll cope fine on a firm cycle trail, and this one’s quite heavy at 26kg, but it comes with all the kit you’ll need, including a suspension fork and a rear rack.
4. Hitway Fat Tire E-Bike – £699 including a £100-off voucher
The fat tyres on this folding e-bike wrap around 20″ wheels, and fatter tyres make for better stability, especially off-road.
It makes this e-bike very versatile, and its 11.2Ah Battery is impressive too, giving it enough range to cover up to 90km, in theory.
It comes with some accessories, and that front light is a useful addition. With £100 off, it’s a very good price for such a good all-rounder.
Fat tyres might be great off-road, but they add a bit of rolling resistance on Tarmac, so this might not be the best one for long-distance rides on roads. But it’ll serve you well as a general workhorse, especially if you need to fold it away when you get home.
5. Hitway 3.0″ Tyre Electric Bike – £749.99 including a £150 voucher
Another fairly fat-tyred bike from Hitway, and this one has some impressive specs for the price. Least of all the fact it folds up.
A 12Ah battery is said to be good for 35km, and the 36v brushless motor is rear-mounted. I also like the fact it comes with accessories and a fitted front light.
Bikes like this are more for shorter recreational rides, and they’re better suited to off-road, but if you want a folding e-bike with full-sized wheels, this would be a good option.
6. Engwe Electric Folding E-Bike – was £1,349.99, now £1,149.99
Fat tyres are perfect for the winter months, and a bit of summer mud-plugging, and this folding e-bike has huge 4″ tyres, so it’ll carve up all sorts of terrain.
This one might look small, with its 20″ wheels, but it’s got some proper grunt. The motor is a 48v unit, and the battery is a whopping 16Ah. Engwe reckons that’ll be good for up to 120km. I doubt that a bit, but you’ll certainly be going longer between charges.
Eight Shimano gears is an impressive addition, and I love the fact it has dual shock absorbers. But the disc brakes appear to be cable-operated, which isn’t ideal on a 31kg machine.
It’s still an impressive package, though.
7. DYU Fat Tyre Electric Bike – was £1,799, now £1,299
This one is a fat bike in every sense of the word. Its 4″ tyres are impressive enough, but the large frame conceals a monstrous 20Ah battery. DYU reckons this gives it enough grunt for up to 120km. You’ll certainly get plenty of miles of full assistance out of this monstrous machine.
Its menacing looks don’t come at a frightening price, either. £1,299 is a great price for such a big e-bike, and it’ll be tough enough to take you on some big adventures on all terrains.
Just keep in mind, it weighs 44kg, which is as much as some small motorbikes. That, and the fact it appears to have cable-operated disc brakes, which is really disappointing. If you’re a keen DIY-er, it’s a fairly easy job to fit hydraulic brakes, and I’d strongly recommend this. A set should cost less than £100.
Overall though, what a machine.