Best Budget Electric Bikes
The best lower-priced models from CR's testing
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Electric bike popularity has grown rapidly over the past few years, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars into the thousands. In general, e-bikes cost more than their pedal-powered counterparts because they add an electric motor, a battery, and—hopefully—stronger brakes and other parts to handle the extra weight.
Even though some prices may be intimidating, there are still plenty of good models CR has tested that cost around $1,500 or less to buy. Among our findings: Don't skimp on quality to save a few dollars, especially since no one wants to spend their riding time dealing with maintenance issues. Most lower-priced models have hub-mounted electric motors, which turn the rear wheel directly, and can be less responsive than a motor mounted at the pedal crank, which can also send power through the bike's gearing for more usable power. That said, hub-mounted motors are still effective.
To find the best e-bike for you, consult CR's e-bike buying guide and our e-bike ratings page, where CR members will find ratings and reviews that include solid budget models in several categories organized by Class 1 (pedal assist), Class 2 (pedal assist and throttle up to 20 mph), folding, and mountain types.
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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.