With the growing number of cars on the road, you will need a more reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly means of transport. While still helping you keep fit, you will be able to beat the morning traffic using an electric bike. Its convenience is that apart from getting you there on time, you will not get all sweaty from the trip. Electric bikes may seem to be space-age, but they have a very simple concept. It can be quite difficult to find the best electric bikes under 500 since most e-bikes are quite expensive. These modern bikes resemble your traditional favorite mountain bike and are made up of battery powered electric motors that help propel you.
Why Choose an Electric Bike over a Regular Bike?
An electric bike is more or less like a regular bike, only with added features and improved convenience. Here are a few top reasons why we think you should choose an e-bike over a regular bike.
- With an electric bike, you will get where you would like to reach quickly and easily. Most electric bikes have an average speed of 18mph and you can ride with this speed without putting in too much effort.
- You will not sweat while riding an electric bike. This way, you will not be obliged to immediately shower after reaching your destination.
- Electric bikes are much safer than regular bikes because of their high speeds which give you an even playing field with motor vehicles. Also, most e-bikes are designed in such a way that you can quickly stop even while riding at extremely high speeds.
Different classes of E-bikes
E-bikes are categorized into 3 main classes. These classes are distinguished by the type and speed of the motor engine.
Class 1: Pedal Assist/Pedelec
Class 1 e-bikes have a motor of about 750w, which can assist you while you are pedaling for up to 20 mph. The rider pedals like you would normally do so on a regular bike, only that there is a motor that provides assistance to the pedaling hence increasing the power which is transmitted to the rear wheel.
Class 2: Throttle Assist
Class 2 e-bikes have throttles which will not require you to pedal in order to get a boost. The throttle helps the bike propel forward, even without putting in much effort just like in the case of scooters and motorcycles. You can comfortably ride class 2 bikes, but they are less popular than class 1 and class 3 electric bikes. Much of this is attributed to the extra government policies which regulate such e-bikes around the world.
Class 3: Speed Pedelec
A class 3 speed pedelec is more or less the same as a regular pedelec, only allowing faster speeds. These electric bikes are sometimes referred to as motor vehicles in some countries which requires those who operate them to be licensed. The 750w powered motors can rake up to 28 mph, making them quite fast.
Types of E-bikes
There are different types of e-bikes. For a better understanding, we will look at each one of them.
1. Electric Mountain Bikes
Electric mountain bikes are not great for street cycling, but they may be excellent for riding trails and heading off-road. The price of most electric mountain bikes is below $500. Moreover, these bikes are typically hardtails; because they have front suspension forks only.
These bikes are usually strongly built, and they can survive in harsh conditions. For instance, you can use your electric mountain bike to drop off from a 10ft table.
2. Electric Cruiser Bikes
Cruiser bikes are the most comfortable type of e-bikes in the market today. These bikes have large, plush seats and extremely high handlebars. The pedals of a cruiser bike are usually mounted further forward so that you can rest both of your feet on the ground when you stop riding.
Cruisers are mostly used for leisurely riding. However, they are known to be the heaviest and largest type of e-bike. Due to their large and heavy size, you cannot easily maneuver them at high speeds.
3. Electric Commuter/Road Bikes
Commuter bikes typically have narrow tires and saddles. They are perfect for street riding. Moreover, they are light and they can be ridden quite easily without the help of any electronic assist. All these road bikes can effectively deal with tough city commutes and even trail riding.
4. Electric Cargo Bikes
Electric cargo bikes are typically designed for carrying as much luggage as possible. These e-bikes usually carry luggage using different methods such as using rear frames.
5. Electric Fat Bikes
Typically, electric fat bikes have large tires; and they are excellent for off-road conditions such as loose soil and snow. Most fat bikes don’t have suspension forks since they can quickly be ridden over potholes and bumps.
Without many options for electric fat bikes to choose from, they are quite affordable and have very good performance. Furthermore, you can always build your own fat e-bike should you get a feeling of adventure!
6. Electric Folding Bikes
Folding bikes are the most popular category of e-bikes due to their extreme portability nature. Most e-folders usually possess a folding point on the handlebars and at the center of the bike. You can fold these electric bikes into a package which may be the same size as that of your suitcase.
If you plan to move around with your e-bike, then you should purchase a folding bike. However, most folders are usually heavier than other e-bike types; and they may have lower quality accessories and parts. Despite these cons, there are still some great electric folding bikes out there!
Factors to Consider when Picking the Right Electric Bike
While out shopping for your next e-bike, it is important to take a number of factors into consideration. Apart from the make and design of the vehicle, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before starting your search;
- What is more important to you? Comfort? Efficacy during hill riding? Cycling for long distances? Speed? Always think about first about what you need and want to achieve from your electric bike.
- How easy will the e-bike you wish to purchase be when you want to ride? Apart from looking at what you want to achieve from an electric bike, it is paramount to look at your abilities to ‘handle’ it.
- How much are you willing to part with? Just like in the case of everything else, you need to know how much the electric bikes you wish to buy cost and compare that with your budget allocations. It should, however, be noted that not all bikes which come with a very high price tag are actually the best. The best affordable electric bikes are actually available in the market and they are still packed with some cool features.
Other factors to consider when buying an electric bike are;
- The Battery
The battery is a very important factor to put into consideration when purchasing an e-bike. You should always look at how fast it is to charge the battery, how long can the charge last, and how long it can last before the battery power starts degrading.
- Battery range
Most of these bikes are pretty powerful but checking on the battery range is very important. Before purchasing a bike, consider one which has a battery that offers a boost for as far as you plan on riding. You do not want to tire yourself due to the juice getting finished up on your way up a hill. Battery range depends on a number of things such as;
- Battery capacity
- The speed
- Your weight
- Profile of the commuting tour
- The assistance level you chose
- Percentage of given pedaling power
- Motor mount
There are two main types of motor mounts, either the hub motor assists or crank motor assist. The hub motor assist is mounted on one of the wheels while the crank motor assist is mounted on the pedal area or on the crank. Depending on where it is located greatly matters when it comes to fulfilling your needs. Crank motor assists are very efficient when going up or down steep hills but tend to be a bit noisy. Hub motor assist motors are not very convenient when used to go up and down hills but are way quieter on the other hand. This makes them very ideal for city cruising.
Regardless of the amount you spent on buying your e-bike, a warranty on top of it is very crucial. This is because it is a very big investment you have made. Purchasing from a company that is ready to take the liability of its products especially covering the batteries and motors is great because it gives you the confidence that you are buying a genuine product.
Top 10 Best Electric Bikes Under 500 to 2000 In 2020 Reviews
How we tested
Our reviewers spent a considerable amount of time sampling the best electric bikes under 500 in the market today. They rode with these e-bike folders in several streets in lanes, roads with many potholes, and on hilly, rough terrains.
After this testing process, we outlined the specific features of each e-bike while paying due regard to its efficiency and maneuverability. We have all these e-bikes unbiased ratings and formulated a list of the 10 best e-bikes based on our ratings.
Why Trust our Review?
Our review team is well versed with electric bikes’ features. The members of our team have years of experience in cycling and handling different electric bikes. Needless to say, we are the experts on all matters concerning electric bikes. Before lining out the list of e-bikes to be tested we also incorporated the ones with the best customer reviews. Our main aim is to help you purchase the best affordable electric bike.
1. Shaofu Folding Electric Bicycle
This folding electric bicycle from Shaofu tops our list due to the many features that are too good to be true for a bike of that price range. Weighing a mere 26.5 lbs. this is probably one of the lightest e-bikes on our list. Furthermore, the innovative design features a double layer of aluminum alloy wheel and an aluminum alloy frame. The folding electric bicycle can be stored in a standard car trunk and is very convenient when storing.
- Collapsible frame made from a lightweight aluminum alloy comes in handy during transportation and storage.
- With a removable 36V 8AH lithium battery can make your ride between 25 km to 50 km depending on the level of assistance you set. The easy charge port system makes it easy to charge the battery on or off the frame.
- Made from premium quality materials, the e-bike is bound to offer maximum safety to you. The premium comfort shock absorbers also ensure your ride is a very comfortable one regardless of the terrain you pass.
- The battery takes quite a short while to fully charge – only 3 to 4 hours
- IPX5 waterproof range
- Front and back tail lights included
- Unique and innovative dolphin design
- Bluetooth enabled
- Has only one rear disk brake
- Has a low torque
- The maximum ride range for adults is 11 miles
2. Swagtron SwagCycle EB-5 Pro
This e-bike is probably one of the most portable brands you will run to in the market today. The bike comes when it is pre-assembled saving you the worries and troubles you may go through when trying to assemble it. Although it is re-assembled, the height can easily be adjusted to suit both adults and young people. The lightweight aluminum frame weighs only 37 lbs. makes it very easy light when carrying, a factor which is boosted by its triple fold capabilities.
- Comes pre-assembled
- Adjustable height for adults and teens
- 14-inch wheels for better traction control
- 5-mile range on full throttle
- Comfortable to ride on a long distance
- Speeds of up to 15+ mph
- The battery lasts up to 15 miles for every charge
- Folds up to a convenient storage size
- Highly adjustable and versatile
- The weight limit of 264 is low
- The bike is not recommended for big jumps
- The battery is in-built instead of being easily swappable
- The kickstand spring is a bit flimsy
3. Swagtron SwagCycle Pro
The SwagCycle Pro is yet another flagship of very portable and efficient e-bikes from Swagtron. The e-bike has a robust make which allows it to carry weights of up to 264 pounds. The fully automated electric bike is perfect for city cruising and is bound to get you to your destination on time and in style.
- Highly portable due to the collapsible stem and handlebars
- Improved torque with speeds of up to 18 mph which can be reached via app optimization
- The long-lasting charge lets you traverse up to 15.5 miles
- With a seamless app control, you can easily track your trip, speeds, GPS location, etc.
- There is a USB port available to help you keep your devices charged when on long rides
- Improved battery life
- Powerful motor
- Compact design
- Quite affordable
- No mount for a mobile phone
- The seat is not adjustable
- The small wheels are only suitable for paved roads
4. Aceshin 26” Electric Mountain Bike
This electric mountain bike made from high-quality materials making it one of the most durable e-bikes on our list. With an aluminum alloy frame, high-strength carbon steel front fork, and double layer aluminum alloy wheels. These materials are generally rust-resistant making it quite ideal even on rainy days. This bike weighs about 44 lbs. and is strong enough to support a weight of 331 lbs. The lithium battery which weighs 4.9 lbs. is quite light considering the power it puts out.
- The bike has high-quality lithium tires which are anti-slip and wear-resistant
- Improved 3-speed smart button
- High capacity 36V Lithium Battery
- Comes with an innovative 21-speed transmission system
- 100% aluminum alloy frame, handlebars, and saddle tubes making it durable
- Comes with an adjustable seat
- Has horn and LED lights for safer rides
- Made from high-quality materials
- Has an affordable price
- Requires minimal assembly
- 44 lbs. is quite heavy and not practical to carry the bike around
- The battery is not waterproof
- The battery takes a long time to charge
5. Swagtron Swagcycle EB-7
The average speeds of up to 18.6 mph and an engine of 350 watts might give an impression of an under-performing electric bike. The efficiency and cost of this affordable electric bike are some of the main factors which make it get considered as one of the most selling e-bikes from Swagtron. This hybrid and foldable electric bike allows you to ride for a distance of up to 15.5 miles per charge. The removable battery increases convenience making the e-bike live up its reputation.
- The hybrid feature makes it possible to act as a traditional and electric power bike.
- The 16-inch wheels make it easier to access almost any areas
- The 3 riding modes increase the efficacy of the bike
- A powerful 350W motor capable of throttle-only speeds up to 18. 6 mph
- The removable 36V Li-ion battery can charge up quite fast within 3 to 4 hours
- The IPX4 rating of the rugged and smooth materials enable it to handle outdoor rides like a champ
- Throttle alone can take one up to 15.5 miles per charge
- Special auto guard brake technology
- The handlebars are robust
- Has an advanced rear suspension
- Comes with a backlit handlebar display
- Three-fold design collapses easily for portability
- The fixed gear only allows for a single speed
6. Yiilove Electric Bicycle 26” Electric Mountain Bike
If looking for a safety guaranteed, portable, and very convenient electric mountain bike, Yiilove lives up to its reputation. Made from high-quality materials fitted with premium comfort shock absorption, your ride is bound to be a comfortable one.
- High-quality aluminum alloy frames and a front fork made of high-strength carbon steel
- Heavy load endurance capacity of 300lbs.
- Double-layer aluminum alloy wheels for improved safety and maneuverability
- The removable 36V 8Ah lithium battery and the 250W high-speed brushless gear motors give the bike power to reach up to 22 – 30 km/h on maximum speeds
- 21-speed gear shift system
- 3 working modes
- Long-lasting battery
- The battery takes long to fully charge
7. Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 Electric Mountain Bike
With a very powerful motor, long battery range, and tons of other features, the Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 is not your average electric mountain bike.
- Comes with a 19″ strong, agile, and sturdy steel frame.
- High-quality 26“Kenda tires which have a powerful grip and traction
- Quick release front wheels for easy repair and replacement.
- Has a front suspension which comes in handy on rough terrains.
- Has an improved 36V 8.8Ah lithium battery which lasts longer and charges faster.
- Fully-sealed and protected battery
- It comes with a 250-watt brushless motor.
- The battery takes 4-5 hours to fully charge
- Easy to assemble
- Improved battery
- This bike has no throttle mode
- Not collapsible for portability
8. NAKTO Electric Bicycle
With 2 working modes, high-quality materials, and an affordable price, this is one of the most loved electric bikes in the market.
- High-strength Carbon Steel Frame and front fork which is packed with premium comfort shock absorption
- 6-Speed SHIMANO Transmission System
- Removable 36V 10AH lithium battery allows riding up to 28 – 35 miles riding on an average speed of 18 – 25 mph
- 1-year warranty
- Horn and bright LED headlamp for safe nights
- The bike is a bit too heavy
9. ANCHEER Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike
This sporty product is a mixture of both affordability and efficiency. The high-quality materials used in the manufacturing top it all to give a very durable and reliable e-bike.
- 2 Assist Modes
- 21-speed transmission system
- Removable 36V 8AH Ion lithium battery
- 250W high-speed brushless gear motors help you attain up to 18 mph
- Powerful and easy to use
- Strong Frame and Wheels
- Easy to Assemble
- A rough fit for tall and short people
- The rear disc brake rubs on the brake pads
10. ECOTRIC Fat Tire Electric Bike
ECOTRIC Fat Tire Electric Bike is a small, lightweight, yet very powerful e-bike which can handle rough terrains. A very powerful 500W motor and a 36V 12AH lithium battery can help you reach top speeds of up to 20 mph without having to put in much work. The battery is powerful enough to last you 30-54 km per charge.
- Exclusive Shimano 7 Gears Shifting System
- Comes with a smart lithium battery charger
- 26″ 4.0-inch fat tires for improved stability and accessibility
- The bike weighs 55lbs and has a weight capacity of up to 300lbs.
- Powerful driving force
- Powerful breaks
- Attains high speeds
- The battery takes too long to charge – almost 8 hours to fully charge!
Your search for the perfect electric bike does not need to go any further. With our comprehensive buyers’ guide and all-inclusive list, you are sure to find your next favorite ride!