Best Electric Bikes Under £1000

Best Electric bike under £1000 for sale

As we speed through the 2020s the world is changing on a number of fronts, but arguably none more so than the field of battery-operated vehicles. From cars to trucks to bikes to scooters it seems to be a case of “if it moves then whack a battery in it!”.

And with good reason too. If we concentrate on e-bikes then the advantages over standard bicycles are obvious:

  • Additional power to supplement either tired or (*shock horror*) ageing legs. The latter applies to me I hasten to add.
  • Far more motivation to get out on the bike knowing that you have power in reserve. The power can be dialed up or down in assistance, so you can start out on a journey using very little and then ramp it up as your enthusiasm and leg power wanes.
  • An increased range (for a fixed expenditure of energy) makes ebikes perfect if you’re camping and want to explore the surrounding countryside. Strap a couple of e-bikes on the back of your campervan or motorhome and you’re laughing.

The downside of electric bikes at the moment is cost and for the life of me I cannot explain why they are so expensive. The motors are fairly similar to those used in electric scooters, having an average power of 250W to meet EU regulations.

However a typical e-scooter is £250 whereas most e-bikes start at £2000! That’s almost a 10x differential which cannot purely be explained by higher development costs or slightly more torque. Of course, a standard bike is more expensive than a standard scooter, but not 10x more expensive.

In order to counteract this, we’ve selected what we consider to be the best electric bikes under £1000. Whilst £1000 is still a considerable sum of money for most people, these great-value electric bikes accomplish everything their more expensive brethren do with only minor disadvantages .

The main disadvantage of cheaper electric bikes is in the weight of the components used and the amount of suspension on offer. You may get a front suspension fork included, but none of the ebikes we review below have rear suspension. However, for town and trail riding a rear shock just isn’t needed.

The drivetrain and other components on these sub-£1000 e-bikes (e.g. disk brakes, gears etc.) may not be the ultimate ‘top of the range’ lightweight versions found on the £2000-£5000 e-bikes, but they all still performed admirably in our tests. And let’s face it, you have an electric motor on board to counteract any extra grams!

Battery capacity should also be checked carefully on the cheaper electric bikes. Batteries are expensive, and so most ebikes under £1000 carry less capacity on board which translates into reduced range. That being said, all our choices below are capable of >25 miles range. 

Of course, if the battery runs out then you can still pedal these bikes under pure leg power, although it’s not a particularly fun exercise. The additional weight of the components and friction of the motor makes it a tough challenge, but you won’t be stranded. Put some effort in!

E-Trends Trekker E-Bike

E-Trends Trekker Ebike front

When we first saw the E-Trends Trekker we were gobsmacked for two reasons – firstly, it looks absolutely amazing due to its futuristic and exceptionally stylish design. 

Secondly, the price of the Trekker is extremely competitive for what you are actually getting in return for your money. Yes, it just slightly slips over our £1000 budget, but we would say that it is is still an excellent value money when you consider that you are getting a lightweight (22kg including battery – ignore the 26.6kg on Amazon), pedal-assisted electric bike with a front suspension fork, Shimano gearing and superb off-road tyres. As I say, this is great value for money and can compete with £2000+ bikes.

So let’s get into the detail – why do we like the E-Trends Trekker so much?

Frame and Wheels

Part of the reason E-Trends can offer such a great price on the Trekker is that they only offer it in one frame size, and in one colour. Luckily that colour is a sumptious matt black which really helps accentuate the sexy lines of the frame – if the US military made a bike based on the stealth bomber then this would be it!

The single frame size has therefore been aimed roughly at the medium-sized male but has an adjustable seat post and handlebar stem to cater for both shorter and taller people. I’m 6ft3 tall (1.95m) and so had to have the seat raised considerably – however I could still pedal with ease and in some comfort.

For reference, the seat can be lowered down to 55.5cm and raised to 73.5cm above the ground. This means that ladies can ride it with ease, especially as the crossbar is not completely horizontal. The saddle is surprisingly comfortable too which was a pleasant surprise.

E-Trends Trekker gearsThe wheels are 27.5” and the front uses a quick-release skewer to attach the hub to the frame. The rear wheel contains a hub motor and rear 7-speed cassette and Shimano  derailleur for the gear shifting.

We really liked the Shimano R:7S Rove shifter on the right side of the handlebars which made it very simple to change gear without moving your hand position – felt like a motorbike!

Disk brakes front and back and thick knobbly tyres complete the wheelset and all work well and are of decent quality. There is even a neat kick-stand to keep the bike upright when you get off and there’s no handy tree to rest the bike against!

One thing to note is that the bike does not come with mudguards or lights, but it’s easy to pick up a pair of both when required for not much expense.

E-Trends Trekker real life

The front fork uses coil suspension which works well over gravel, but there is not much travel to cope with large jumps for example. As a result, you couldn’t use the Trekker on anything more than a canal tow path or a ‘blue run’ at your local bike park (Cannock Chase in our case).

This bike is perfect to take camping with you or to use for an urban commute when a bit of off-road action might be required.

Battery and Motor

E Trends Trekker displaySo far so good, but how does the electric side of the bike work? Well the Trekker uses a 270Wh battery and a rear hub motor. There is an excellent display on the handlebars to turn on the motor assistance, but no power is driven to the rear wheel until you have been peddling for a second or so. 

There are three levels of power assistance, and in the top mode acceleration is brisk. E-Trends claim a range of 30 miles on the highest power setting, but we got significantly more than this – around 40 miles. 

It is grin-inducing when that surge of torque hits you – it’s like being pushed in the back and is highly addictive. You can waltz up the hills like a Tour de France champion (but without the performance enhancing drugs!).

E-Trends Trekker at homeThe battery is locked onto the downtube of the bike with a key and is removable if you wish to charge it somewhere other than where the rest of the bike is. I like this feature because if you live in a flat or similar, you don’t need to carry the bike up the stairs to charge up – just take the battery. Charge time is around 3 hours which is very reasonable indeed.

The E-Trends Trekker Ebike In Use

You could easily be forgiven that a hardtail electric mountain bike is going to be awful to ride at this price. The fact that the Trekker isn’t and is actually a competent steed is a marvel to behold. I’ve ridden bikes costing 4x as much as the Trekker which are not as much fun and much heavier in weight. 

The motor is a peach and is activated by a long-press of the power button on the display unit. It provides a really substantial shove in the back on the highest power setting once you’re moving along and peddling. Shifting between the seven gears is simple and definitely needed on the steeper hills. I recommend stopping peddling before shifting otherwise there is a slim chance of snapping your chain with the torque from the motor.

There are some weak areas of the Swifty, but none are catastrophic.

  • The small delay before the power surges in is slightly non-optimal, especially if you’re starting on a hill. It’s always a good idea to shift down in gears before stopping.
  • No drinks bottle cage points – unbelievable oversight, but you can always get a bottle which clips onto the back of the seat post.

That’s about it really. There’s a cool ‘walk mode’ I forgot to mention. If you get fed up of riding or come across a particularly steep hill then you can walk alongside the bike and flip into this mode – the bike will then ‘walk’ alongside you which means you don’t have to push 22kg uphill – useful!

Conclusions

From the moment I unpacked the E-Trends Trekker E-Bike it was pretty much love at first sight for me. When I rode the ebike the grin just grew and grew. Make no mistake, this is an excellent example of what electric bikes have got to offer the world and we highly recommend seeking one out.

9.5Expert Score

Loses a mere half-point for the lack of bottle cage mounting and the delay in power. A Camping Secrets classic!

BTwin Rockrider E-ST100 Electric Mountain Bike

BTwin rockrider e-st100 mens

BTwin are the well-regarded cycling arm of the massive French outdoor superstore giant Decathlon. Decathlon have absolutely huge buying power and as a result you can get an awful lot of decent components on a bike which would put some of the more ‘recognized’ brands to shame. This state of affairs translates directly to e-bikes too – none more so than the Rockrider E-ST100 which comes in at a remarkable £999 at time of writing.

Firstly – the name. The Rockrider – I simply love it, and that made me want to love this electric bike as soon as I clapped eyes on it. I used to own a Specalized Rockhopper many moons ago, and while BTwin have obviously ‘purloined’ the spirit of that old classic, there’s no doubt it’s a classy name. Can the bike live up to it? Well yes actually it can!

The Rockrider is a proper hardtail mountain bike with a decent (for this price) Suntour XCT30 suspension fork at the front which gives 100mm of travel – this is fine for gentle off-roading on canal towpaths and forest trails and stops the vibrations translating through into your wrists. The handlebars are wide which gives a great degree of control for the 27.5” wheels and tyres.

There are four frame sizes available, ranging from small to Extra Large (the option I plumped for at 6ft3 tall). There is also a rather nice ladies version available which really looks swish and has very similar dimensions, but with a slightly raised riding position. The frames are 6061 aluminium which helps keep the weight down and enables ergonomic shaping to keep the battery smoothly streamlined with it. 

Battery and Motor

rockrider mens realThe battery is externally attached and clipped securely to the downtube. It is locked in place with a key to make it difficult to steal.

Samsung battery cells are used inside the Rockrider to give 380Wh of capacity. It’s well known that Samsung make some of the most reliable battery packs in the business – another example of that strong Decathlon buying power. The Rockrider battery pack will give you over two hours of riding in the middle 175W mode (see below).

The battery pack includes an LED indicator on the exterior to let you know how much power is left – this is effectively a range indicator. If your final bar goes out then you may have to resort to leg power only! You should be able to get well over 30 miles before this becomes an issue though.

The motor offers a decent 42Nm of torque for a considerable shove in the back, and is located in the hub of the rear wheel. The controller circuit offers three power modes which enable you to change between 20-100W (gentle assist), 80-175W (mid range) and 150-250W (max power). The middle range is probably the best to use most of the time, and gives plenty of zip with extended range. The max power mode felt like a rocket!

Gears and Shifters

BTwin rockrider e-st100 chainringWe love the fact that the Rockrider just uses a single chainring at the front. When you’ve got 42Nm of torque available, you really don’t need 27 or more gears to get good speed in all conditions.

The Rockrider is and 8-speed system which uses a 32 cog chainring at the front and an 11-34 cassette at the back using Microshift trigger shifters. This will get up some steep hills, but also provide a decent top speed. Motorized power cuts out at 15.5mph as is the EU standard – perhaps with Brexit this limit might get raised by the UK government?

High speed needs decent brakes and tyres. The Rockrider uses Tektro mechanical disk brakes which perform very adequately, stopping the 22.5kg bike without any fuss. It’s worth pointing out that 22.5kg is an excellent weight for a bike like this, and pretty comparable to some of the more expensive bikes on the market.

In Use

The Rockrider is pedal-assist only which means that you need to turn the cranks in order for the hub motor to start gently assisting. It’s clear pretty quickly that this is a quality bike and it puts a smile on your face from the very start.

BTwin rockrider e-st100 outdoors

The only slight niggle is the saddle supplied with the bike. It’s overly harsh, and without rear suspension you really need a decent seat or even a suspension seat post.

It’s worth mentioning that the Rockrider allows wider tyres to be fitted if required – the 27.5+ standard (note the important ‘+’ sign there). We found the standard tyres to be perfectly fine though, but we would probably convert them to tubeless operation to get rid of the puncture risk. All hubs and bearings are waterproof, and indeed the whole bike is perfectly fine to be used in torrential rain. Many owners have reported that this has presented no problems.

Cockpit Area

rockrider mens displayThe handlebars on the Rockrider are nice and wide at 720mm and give a great feeling of control to your manoeuvres. It’s like riding a Harley Davidson, but with more deftness!

There is an LCD display which shows your speed, distance, battery power and power mode nice and clearly. It’s not too big and feels fairly ergonomically integrated into the overall design.

Conclusions

There is no doubt that the BTwin Rockrider E-ST100 is a great bike for the money you’re paying. Is it a proper hardtail electric mountain bike? I would argue that the front shock is not suited to anything more challenging than ‘blue route’ forest trails, but most of the time that’s all you need. For town riding and footpaths it is great and proves you don’t need to spend thousands to get that electric help. 42Nm is a decent amount of torque, especially for an ebike weighing only 22.5kg. and you can certainly feel it pushing you along. You feel like a Tour de France champion! Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a great value ebike.

9.5Expert Score

22.5kg, 42Nm and over 30 mile range - what more could you possibly need for under £1000. The BTwin Rockrider E-ST100 is a great ebike with a very smooth ride and those awesome wide handlebars. Let down only by a painful saddle which can be replaced for £30, we love it!

Swifty Electric Mountain Bike

Swifty electric bike 2

When we first saw the Swifty Electric Mountain Bike we were gobsmacked for two reasons – firstly, it looks absolutely amazing in an eye-catching electric blue colour. The paintwork is of a quality we haven’t seen on any electric bike under £2000 before.

Secondly, the price of the Swifty is jaw dropping. It costs slightly under £800 which is exceptional value for a relatively lightweight (24kg including battery) pedal-assisted electric bike with a front suspension fork and Shimano gearing. Simply. Incredible.

And it’s actually even more impressive than that because Swifty are a UK-based company supplying to Amazon. This means that even though many of the components on the bike are from ‘the East’, there is a friendly staff-member on the end of a UK phoneline to talk to if you experience any difficulties. Not to mention a dependable two-year warranty on battery, motor and componentry (excluding tyres and tubes). 

So let’s get into the detail – what do you get for your (not many) pounds sterling?

Frame and Wheels

Part of the reason Swifty can offer such a great price on their ebike is that they only offer it in one frame size, with a choice of two colours. Our preference is the electric blue which we have reviewed, but there is also a sleek black version available which has some nice red detailing.

The single frame size has therefore been aimed roughly at the medium-sized male but has an adjustable seat post and handlebar stem to cater for shorter and taller people. I’m 6ft3 tall (1.95m) and so had to have the seat raised considerably – however I could still pedal with ease and in some comfort. Well I say comfort, but I found that the saddle on the Swifty was a little firmer than I would have liked, and if the bike was mine I would be changing that for a more forgiving one.

The wheels are 27.5” and the front uses a quick-release skewer to attach the hub to the frame. The rear wheel contains a hub motor and rear 7-speed cassette and Shimano TY-21 derailleur for the gear shifting. There is also a neat kick-stand to keep the bike upright when you get off and there’s no handy tree to rest it against!

One thing to note is that the bike does not come with mudguards, and so we bought a pair for our testing.

Swifty electric bike arty

The front fork uses a Masera coil suspension which works well over gravel, but there is not much travel to cope with large shocks. As a result, you couldn’t use the Swifty on anything more than a canal tow path or a ‘blue run’ at your local bike park (Cannock Chase in our case), but for the price it is extremely good! This bike is perfect to take camping with you or to use for an urban commute when a bit of off-road action might be required.

Battery and Motor

So far so good, but how does the electric side of the bike work? Well the Swifty uses a 345 Wh battery and as mentioned above, a rear hub motor. There is a smallish display on the handlebars to turn on the motor assistance, but no power is driven to the rear wheel until you have been peddling for a second or so. This is a pedal-assist electric bike, and not a motorcycle. The battery cells are made by Panasonic and again this is an excellent brand who make some of the best battery cells in the business – I really don’t know how Swifty have pulled this out of the bag, but they have!

Swifty electric bike mudguards

There are three levels of power assistance, and in the top mode acceleration is brisk. Swifty claim a range of 35 miles on the lowest power setting, and we agree with that finding. We got around 25 miles but used quite a bit of the top ‘fun mode’. It is grin-inducing when that surge of torque hits you – it’s like being pushed in the back and is highly addictive. You can waltz up the hills like a Tour de France champion (but without the performance enhancing drugs!).

The battery is locked onto the downtube of the bike with a key and is removeable if you wish to charge it somewhere other than where the rest of the bike is. I like this feature because if you live in a flat or similar, you don’t need to carry the bike up the stairs to charge up – just take the battery. Charge time is around 3 hours which is very reasonable indeed.

The Swifty Ebike In Use

You could easily be forgiven that a £800 electric bike is going to be awful to ride. The fact that the Swifty isn’t and is actually a competent steed is a marvel to behold. I’ve ridden bikes costing 4x as much as the Swifty which are not as much fun and actually heavier in weight. 

Swifty electric bike unpackingThe bike arrives in a large box with the handlebars, wheels, seat and pedals off – it’s a fairly simple job to attach these and there are videos on Swifty’s website to help you if you’re not use to wielding an allen key. Once you have the ride height set up and the battery charged you’re good to go.

The motor is a peach and is activated by a long-press of the power button on the display unit. It provides a really substantial shove in the back on the highest power setting once you’re moving along and peddling. Shifting between the seven gears is simple and definitely needed on the steeper hills. I recommend stopping peddling before shifting otherwise there is a slim chance of snapping your chain with the torque from the motor.

Swifty electric bike display 2There are some weak areas of the Swifty, but none are catastrophic.

  • The saddle is very hard and could be described as uncomfortable. We would recommend swapping it out for a softer gel model, such as the MsDada
  • The tyres are not entirely suited to the roughest terrain. Although they’re ‘knobbly’, they seem quite thin and it may be worth either filling them with puncture-proof slime or swapping them out for more substantial alternatives.
  • The display is merely adequate – it shows the battery power remaining and the mode you’re in but that’s about it. No distance travelled etc., but you can use your phone for that (e.g. Strava). Not a deal breaker for sure at this price!

That’s about it really. There’s a cool ‘walk mode’ I forgot to mention. If you get fed up of riding or come across a particularly steep hill then you can walk alongside the bike and flip into this mode – the bike will then ‘walk’ alongside you which means you don’t have to push 24kg uphill – useful!

Conclusions

From the moment I unpacked the Swifty Electric Bike it was pretty much love at first sight for me. I could overlook the uncomfy saddle and just bask in the beauty of the design and the paintwork. When I rode the ebike the grin just grew and grew. Make no mistake, this is an excellent example of what electric bikes have got to offer the world and we highly recommend seeking one out.

9.5Expert Score

Loses a mere half-point for the saddle soreness I got and the slightly cheap tyres on the bike. At under £800 I would recommend snapping one up as soon as you can because they may not stay at this price for long. A Camping Secrets classic!

Emu Roam Crossbar Electric Bike

Emu Roam Crossbar studio greenEmu are a British company who build their own e-bikes. Electric bikes are all they do! This really  helps when choosing because you know the company is dedicated to giving you great service in the specific field of electric bikes.

There are a wide range of dealers selling Emu bikes around the UK – we recommend Electric Rider if you’re buying online and want an effortless purchasing experience.

The Emu Roam Crossbar is a fantastic entry level ebike which is available with two levels of battery – a 374Wh version for around 27-45 miles range, and a larger 522Wh beast for longer rides of around 35-55 miles. There’s about £200 difference in price between the two with the large battery just edging above £1000. If your budget can stretch to it then we don’t think you will regret spending the extra for additional range and fun times in the saddle. The battery cells are Samsung too which are just about the best in the business for decent power and longevity.

Emu recently updated the design and structure of the Roam – the old version had a hub motor in the rear wheel and the battery was stored on the rack at the back of the bike. It worked well, but the new model is much sleeker and incorporates the battery seamlessly into the downtube. To our eyes it looks fantastic and a real credit to the designers, especially in British Racing Green. We also sense that the handling has been improved because the centre of gravity of the bike is now significantly lower than before.

The Emu Roam weighs ~24kg including the battery which is about average for modern ebikes. This is a manageable weight for transporting the bike if you need to lift it on to a bike rack for example, but it will take a bit of effort. 

Design details

The Roam is a great looking hybrid-style bike which uses 6061 aluminium for the frame, has curved (towards the rider) handlebars and fairly compact ‘old school’ 26” wheels with puncture resistant tyres. There is a crossbar, but it is sloped and should be easily rideable by men and women alike – however it’s not a “step-through” bike like the Vitesse Pulse we review below – you need to get your leg over to mount it! Anyway, moving swiftly on….

Emu Roam Crossbar outside2

The first thing that struck us when looking at the Emu is the excellent saddle it comes supplied with. This has decent padding, a nice wide seat and excellent support for a long day’s riding.

Emu Roam Crossbar rear lightThe Emu comes fitted with useful features everywhere – from the sturdy mudguards on both the front and rear wheels to the rack at the back for touring duties. It should be noted that there is no suspension on the front fork, and so this is more of an urban bike – put some thicker tyres on though and canal tow paths are not out of the question.

The rack over the back wheel enables pannier bags to be used if you want to carry extra gear – this is emminently sensible on an ebike – you have the power, so why not use it!

The bike comes with a bell and front and rear Spanninga LED lights – it really is the complete package.

Gears and Motor

Emu have somehow managed to keep the price down on the Roam whilst also incorporating Shimano gears, which is a great achievement as they are the torch-bearers for reliability and repeatable shifting. Admittedly there only 7 gears in total, but there is enough torque from the 250W front-wheel hub motor to make cycling a breeze. You don’t need to shift all the time on an e-bike because you’ve got super-human zip in your legs!

Speaking about the motor, it wasn’t clear on our review bike what brand it is. To be honest, these 250W average power brushless motors are pretty ubiquitous these days and are being churned out in the thousands by manufacturers in the Far East – they all do the job well and seem to be pretty reliable. There’s not much to go wrong.

Starting and Stopping

Emu Roam Crossbar handlebars kingmeterAs mentioned, the Emu can be bought with two battery capacities. Charge time is capacity dependent, but around the 5 hour mark for the biggest battery. There’s a useful LED on the supplied charger which turned green when charging was complete. No guesswork involved.

The computer on the handlebars (King Meter LCD) is used to switch on the power and adjust the level of pedal assistance. There’s three levels of assist which are displayed on the dash and also a speedometer which is useful. Power cuts out at the EU max of 15.5mph. 

In the highest power mode, power is brisk and comes in after about half a turn of the pedals. It’s a lovely surge of torque which soon gets you up to the top speed, and it’s easy to maintain your speed. If you wish to put in even more leg power then you can exceed the 15.5mph but it’s rarely worth it in our experience. There is always a little bit of extra drag from the motor and so you get tired very quickly if you start trying to hit 20mph on the flat.

The Emu Roam uses cable-operated (non-hydraulic) Tektro disc brakes which work well and can easily scrub off your speed. We generally feel that discs are the best option on ebikes, especially in the wet. The additional weight of the battery and motor makes powerful, reliable braking an essential safety feature, and disc brakes are the best way of achieving that.

9.5Expert Score

In summary, the Emu Roam is an excellent ebike from a booming British specialist company. We love the design and were blown away by the equipment level on offer. Ebikes are getting better and better value, and the Roam is certainly a case in point. Recommended.

Emu Roam Step-Through Electric Bike

Emu Roam step through studioEmu are a British company who build their own e-bikes. Electric bikes are all they do! This really  helps when choosing because you know the company is dedicated to giving you great service in the specific field of electric bikes.

The Emu Roam Step-Through is a fantastic entry level ebike which is available with a 360Wh battery for around 27-45 miles range, depending on the level of assist you’ve dialled in. The battery cells are Samsung which are just about the best in the business for decent power and longevity.

Suitable for male or female riders owing to the step-through design, the Emu Roam looks great to our eyes. The bike weighs ~24kg including the battery (situated on the rear rack) which is about average for modern ebikes. This is a reasonably manageable weight for transporting the bike if you need to lift it on to a bike rack for example, but it will take a bit of strength. 

Design details

The Roam is a great looking hybrid-style bike which uses 6061 aluminium for the frame, has curved (towards the rider) handlebars and fairly compact ‘old school’ 26” wheels with excellent puncture resistant tyres. 

The first thing that struck us when looking at the Emu is the excellent saddle it comes supplied with. This has decent padding, a nice wide seat and excellent support for a long day’s riding.

The Emu comes fitted with useful features everywhere – from the sturdy mudguards on both the front and rear wheels to the rack at the back for touring duties. It should be noted that there is no suspension on the front fork, and so this is more of an urban bike – put some thicker tyres on though and canal tow paths are not out of the question.

The rack over the back wheel enables pannier bags to be used if you want to carry extra gear – this is eminently sensible on an ebike – you have the power, so why not use it! Front and rear mudguards also come as standard which we like. The bike also comes with a bell and front and rear LED lights – it really is the complete package.

Emu Roam step through 2

Gears and Motor

Emu have somehow managed to keep the price down on the Roam whilst also incorporating Shimano gears, which is a great achievement as they are the torch-bearers for reliability and repeatable shifting. Admittedly there only 7 gears in total, but there is enough torque from the 250W front-wheel hub motor to make cycling a breeze. You don’t need to shift all the time on an e-bike because you’ve got super-human zip in your legs!

Speaking about the motor, it wasn’t clear on our review bike what brand it is. To be honest, these 250W average power brushless motors are pretty ubiquitous these days and are being churned out in the thousands by manufacturers in the Far East – they all do the job well and seem to be pretty reliable. There’s not much to go wrong.

Starting and Stopping

Emu Roam step through computerBattery charge time is capacity dependent, but around the 5 hour mark for the biggest battery. There’s a useful LED on the supplied charger which turned green when charging was complete. No guesswork involved.

The computer on the handlebars (King Meter LCD) is used to switch on the power and adjust the level of pedal assistance. There’s three levels of assist which are displayed on the dash and also a speedometer which is useful. Power cuts out at the EU max of 15.5mph. 

In the highest power mode, power is brisk and comes in after about half a turn of the pedals. It’s a lovely surge of torque which soon gets you up to the top speed, and it’s easy to maintain your speed. If you wish to put in even more leg power then you can exceed the 15.5mph but it’s rarely worth it in our experience. There is always a little bit of extra drag from the motor and so you get tired very quickly if you start trying to hit 20mph on the flat.

The Emu Roam uses cable-operated standard rim brakes which work well and can easily scrub off your speed. We generally feel that discs are the best option on ebikes, especially in the wet, but these were adequate under most scenarios. The additional weight of the battery and motor makes powerful, reliable braking an essential safety feature – we recommend taking care whatever the braking system!

9.5Expert Score

In summary, the Emu Roam is an excellent ebike from a booming British specialist company. We love the design and were blown away by the equipment level on offer. Ebikes are getting better and better value, and the Roam is certainly a case in point. Recommended.

Eskute Wayfarer Ebike

Eskute Wayfarer Ebike

The Eskute Wayfarer Electric Bike is one of the best electric bikes for under £1000, and actually it is significantly under our threshold at £799 (at time of writing). It is frankly unbelievable that Eskute can provide the standard of equipment on offer for such a good price when you compare it to equivalent bikes such as the Fischer Viator 5.0i which is closer to £3000 but ostensibly the same. 

The Wayfarer is what’s loosely known as a ‘hybrid-style’ ebike which means it’s halfway between a mountain bike and a townbike. It has front forks and decent Tektro mechanical disk brakes front and back to provide a smooth ride and good stopping power. 

Macwheel Cruiser 550 gub motor in useThe style is designed as ‘unisex’ which may upset some of the macho male riders who wouldn’t be seen dead on a bike without a horizontal crossbar. However this is absolutely no impediment to it being equally at home on canal towpaths as it is whizzing around campsites or into the town centre for a café latte. In fact we think it looks quite stylish.

The wheels are 700C (i.e. 622mm bead set diameter) and come fitted with 28” Kenda DX3000 anti-puncture tyres. These seem of great quality with some decent tread/grip and Kenda are a reputable make.

The Wayfarer measures 186 (l) x 177 (h) x 66 (w) cm and weighs 28kg in total. This might seem quite heavy but it also includes a rear rack which can be used to attach panniers or other gear you wish to transport – a picnic set perhaps! There are also proper mudguards fore and aft which are superb for avoiding getting sprayed with mud and water off the road. The bike is suitable for male or female riders between about 5ft4 – 6ft5 (1.6m – 1.96m) in height.

You really do not notice the weight of the Wayfarer when riding around, but it does make it more difficult to load onto a bike rack on your car/campervan. 28kg is a fair heft and can benefit from someone giving you a hand to load it. If you’re looking for a good e-bike cycle rack for your car or campervan, then we recommend the Thule Velospace XT 3.

Battery and Motor

The battery is nicely hidden away behind a panel in the aluminum frame downtube, and the integrated sleek design resulting from this cool design is certainly pleasing to the eye. The hatch is lockable and the bike comes with two keys to access it. You would not know this is an electric bike without being an expert in the field!

The battery offers 360Wh in capacity which is not as large as some of the more expensive e-bikes costing over £2000, but is ample for 20-50 miles of riding depending on the level of motor assistance required. Charge time for our battery was around 4-5 hours.

Macwheel Cruiser 550 hub motor

Drive assistance comes from a 250W (average power) hub motor which is located in the centre of the rear wheel. Most of the expensive >£2000 e-bikes from the big brands use mid-drive motors (i.e. between the pedals), and it is true that these can give a slightly better balanced bike. However for gentle road and path cycles, a rear hub motor is perfectly fine and gives a pleasant push forward when activated.

Gears and Shifters

The gears and shifters are made by well-known brand Shimano and there are 7 gears to select from the cassette. The system works well and shifting is smooth. In all honesty you don’t really need more than this amount of gears on an e-bike because you have the additional assistance from the motor.

In Use

Power can be applied in one of two ways – either manually using a thumb-throttle on the handlebars (strictly illegal in the UK) or by ‘pedal-assist’ (legal). We recommend you use the latter or you may be fined or have the bike confiscated. In the latter mode, peddling engages the motor and provides additional power to your forward movement up to a software-limited top-speed of 15.5mph, which is the EU max. 

Ride quality of the electric bike was really smooth, probably aided by the weight giving stability. At max assist mode we also got up some pretty steep hills in the 10-15% range. This is a flexible bike!

Macwheel Cruiser 550 ebike displayCockpit Area

The handlebars have a cool LCD screen which details all the key parameters needed to ride the bike including battery-life, speed and distance travelled. It looks very swish and is easily the equal of the Bosch version on the latest high-end ebikes.

The Wayfarer also has an electronic horn and LED headlight which can be controlled from the handlebars. Very useful.

In summary, the Eskute Wayfarer Ebike would be an excellent electric bike at twice the price. We can highly recommend it if you’re looking for an ebike but don’t want to spend more than £1000. There is also a mountain bike version if you prefer sportier looks. Please ignore the weight of these bikes – as soon as you’re up and running you will not notice it. Pure bargains!

9.5Expert Score

An excellent e-bike which truly astounds at the current price point. The only real negatives are the 28kg weight which can be overlooked for what is included in the set-up. One of our top recommendations of all time!

Vitesse Pulse Hybrid Unisex E-Bike

Vitesse Pulse Hybrid Electric Bike side

Fancy a more relaxed riding style? Look no further than the excellent Vitesse Pulse Hybrid Electric Bike from Ultimate Outdoors (part of high street store Millets). This is more of a unisex design featuring a ‘step-over’ crossbar – if you like to ride whilst wearing a kilt, then you’re in luck with the Pulse!

The Pulse incorporates some excellent features which make it one of the best electric bikes under £1000. It is perfectly set up to avoid the rider getting wet or muddy, with chain guard, mudguards and even a rear wheel guard which captures any spray off the road.

Vitesse Pulse Hybrid Electric Bike rack 3The battery is located on a rear rack (which can still be used as a rack) and is 374Wh in power. This is a decent capacity and means the Pulse can travel up to 75 miles in Eco mode. The battery also uses Samsung cells which are some of the top-performers in battery-land.

The 250W Mxus hub motor is incorporated in the front wheel of the bike which means wires are routed for power from the rack to the front. This is all designed well and routed internally.  When power assistance is activated it provides a slightly different feel to rear-wheel hubs as you are being pulled along rather than pushed. I didn’t find this a problem, but some people find that steering with the powered wheel can be disconcerting. All I would say is give it a go – you’ll soon get the hang of it. Power delivery is smooth and really 

Shimano Nexus hub gear system

The gears are excellent – it uses a Shimano 7-speed Nexus internal hub gear, located in the rear wheel hub (hence why the motor can’t be placed there). These internal hub gears are fantastic because they are a completely sealed unit – no mud or crud can affect your gears. You can also shift while stationary – perfect for e-bikes. You really don’t need more than this amount of gears under normal city or rural riding.

Vitesse Pulse Hybrid Electric Bike in useBraking is adequate and probably the weakest part of the setup – no disc brakes on the Pulse, just standard V-brakes. These work well enough in the dry, but with the 21.5kg overall weight (which incidentally is very good for the amount of gear included) then care should be taken when stopping in the wet. 

Great Level of Kit Included

The Pulse comes with excellent lights on the front and rear and a very comfortable gel saddle. The height of the front stem is fully adjustable which means that you can get a great upright riding position if you have a bad back like me. There is also a kick-stand included – they really have thought of everything.

The Vitesse Pulse is certainly one of the best electric bikes under £1000 and definitely deserves consideration if you’re looking to buy a flexible e-bike. It’s perhaps more suited to urban riding then rural, but the 700C x 35c e-bike specific tyres give good grip on canal tow paths. We very much like the Pulse! 

8.5Expert Score

The Vitesse Pulse is a cracking bike for town or country road/path riding. The Shimano Nexus internal hub gear system is a masterpiece, and at <22kg the bike handles pretty well too. There is practicality with the rack and great lights. The only weak points are the V-brakes but as long as you take care in the wet, they are perfectly fine. A great e-bike for the money!

Whirlwind C4 Folding Electric Bike

Whirlwind C4 Folding Electric Bike

A slightly leftfield choice here, but a great little UK-assembled e-bike which is remarkable value at under £500! 

Whirlwind C4 Folding Electric Bike in use foldedThe Whirlwind C4 is an electric bike which weighs only 16kg and can fold down to a mere 71 x 40 x 63 cm in size. This means you can easily put a couple of them in a car or campervan boot for trips away and you don’t need a bike rack on the back. Admittedly, 16kg is a reasonably high weight to carry over a long distance, but for short spurts it is manageable – you can easily take the Whirlwind on a train or bus. The folding mechanism is quick and simple to configure and can be completed in a minute or so. Equivalent Brompton ebikes are around £3000!

The Whirlwind uses a hub motor in the rear wheel and a 187Wh LG battery-pack in the rectangular crossbar (which folds at a point ~75% towards the rear). This gives a range of about 30-35 miles in Eco mode and a top speed limited to 15.5mph which is plenty on a small bike like this. Charging time is about 4 hours.

Incredibly there are mechanical disc brakes front and back and a front headlight with a reflector at the back. The LED display on the handlebars is clear and allows switching between three levels of power assist. It also shows your battery remaining and current speed in a compact and well-designed screen.

Whirlwind C4 Folding Electric Bike displayIn Use

I was a little concerned that such a small bike would be difficult to ride for me – I’m 6ft3 tall (1.9m) and the bike is only about 1m tall at it’s highest setting. That being said I was able to get a surprisingly comfortable riding position and set off with confidence.

The tyres are only 14” but have decent tread on them for going over slightly rougher paths and tracks. However there is no suspension at all, so it is probably advisable to keep to smooth paths where possible.

The Whirlwind has a surprising amount of poke when you ride at the highest level of pedal-assist. Admittedly the battery does not have a huge capacity, but for campsite jaunts to the local pub it’s a great option and so compact and user-friendly. I was quite taken with it!

In summary, the UK-built Whirlwind C4 is excellent value and a whole heap of fun. Certainly one of the best electric bikes you can buy under £1000 and DEFINITELY the best you can buy under £500!

9Expert Score

The Whirlwind C4 electric bike is a superb buy at under £500. It offers the flexibility of power-assistance but also with the added bonus of being extremely portable by virtue of its excellent folding mechanism. Perfect to whack a few in the back of your campervan for your next trip. You can get two for under £1000! Incredible.

Cyclotricity Revolver Electric Bike

Cyclotricity Revolver

Cyclotricity are a British company who build their own bikes in the UK. As their name suggests (a cunning blend of ‘cycling’ and ‘electricity’!), they only deal in the e-bike side of things. This helps when choosing because you know the company is dedicated to giving you great service in the specific field of electric bikes. There are a wide range of dealers selling Cyclotricity bikes around the UK – we recommend Electric Rider if you’re buying online and want an effortless purchasing experience.

The Cyclotricity Revolver is a fantastic entry level ebike which is available with two levels of battery – a 324Wh version for around 16-25 miles range, and a larger 576Wh beast for longer rides of around 35-50 miles. There’s about £150 difference in price between the two (both still under £1000!), and so we would definitely recommend the bigger battery for more distance and fun times in the saddle.

The Revolver is extremely lightweight, weighing only 19kg including the battery. This is excellent for transporting the bike if you want to lift it on to a bike rack for example. In truth, when riding an ebike a few kilograms of weight doesn’t really impact your enjoyment because the motor can easily compensate.

Design details

It’s a great looking hybrid-style bike which uses 6061 aluminium for the frame, has flat handlebars and fast rolling 700C wheels. There is a crossbar, but it is sloped and should be easily rideable by men and women alike – however it’s not a “step-through” bike like the Vitesse Pulse we review below – you need to get your leg over to mount it! Anyway, moving swiftly on….

Cyclotricity Revolver in useThe first thing that struck us when looking at the Revolver is the excellent saddle it comes supplied with. This has decent padding, a nice wide seat and excellent support for a long day’s riding.

The Revolver comes with useful features everywhere – from the really sturdy mudguards on the front and rear wheels to the rack at the back for touring duties. You could strap some pannier bags over this rack and set off on a camping adventure with no problems! The bike comes with a bell and front and rear LED lights – it really is the complete package.

Gears and Motor

Cyclotricity have somehow managed to keep the price down on the Revolver and use Shimano gears, which is a great achievement as they are the standard for reliability and repeatable shifting. Admittedly there only 6 gears in total, but there is enough torque from the 250W front-wheel hub motor to make cycling a breeze. You really don’t need to be shifting constantly on an e-bike because you’ve got super-human zip in your legs!

revolver_driveSpeaking about the motor, it wasn’t clear on our review bike what brand it is. To be honest, these 250W average power brushless motors are pretty ubiquitous these days and are being churned out in the thousands by manufacturers in the Far East – they all do the job well and seem to be pretty reliable. There’s not much to go wrong.

Starting and Stopping

As mentioned, the Revolver can be bought with two battery capacities. Charge time is capacity dependent, but around the 5 hour mark for the biggest battery. There’s a useful LED on the supplied charger which turned green when charging was complete. No guesswork involved.

Revolver dashThe computer on the handlebars is used to switch on the power and adjust the level of pedal assistance. There’s three levels of assist which are displayed on the dash and also a speedometer which is useful. Power cuts out at the EU max of 15.5mph. 

In the highest power mode, power is brisk and comes in after about half a turn of the pedals. It’s a lovely surge of torque which soon gets you up to the top speed, and it’s easy to maintain your speed. If you wish to put in even more leg power then you can exceed the 15.5mph but it’s rarely worth it in our experience. There is always a little bit of extra drag from the motor and so you get tired very quickly if you start trying to hit 20mph on the flat.

The Revolver uses cable-operated (non-hydraulic) disc brakes which work well and can easily scrub off your speed. We generally feel that discs are the best option on ebikes, especially in the wet. The additional weight of the battery and motor makes powerful, reliable braking an essential safety feature, and disc brakes are the best way of achieving that.

9.5Expert Score

In summary, the Cyclotricity Revolver is an excellent ebike from a booming British specialist company. We love the design and the sub-20kg weight and were blown away by the equipment level on offer. Ebikes are getting better and better value, and the Revolver is certainly a case in point. Recommended.

Apache Tocho Folding Electric Bike

Apache Tocho electric bike grey

The idea of combining electric power with extreme portability is what drove us to test out the Apache Tocho Folding Electric Bike. We were not disappointed.

The Apache Tocho uses an interesting design approach whereby the battery is slotted vertically into a cage at the back of the seat post. By arranging the frame in this way, batteries of different size can be bought and slotted in according to your range needs. If you don’t need much range then there’s no point having a heavy battery which won’t get used much. For the dark grey base model we tested, the Apache 374Wh S2 battery was fitted which offers around 25 miles range – not bad at all for a nice loop in the country (with obligatory pub stop!).

Apache battery

Power is supplied by a 32Nm hub motor in the rear 20” wheel. It’s not the most powerful motor in the world, but the bike is correspondingly not that heavy (18.2kg bike + 2.8kg battery). You never feel underpowered and indeed peddling along the flat and up gentle gradients is a breeze. Braking is adequate using standard V-brakes – you would not expect to get discs at this price point.

Gearing is where it gets interesting. The base model (currently £999 at Rutland Cycling) uses the Shimano Revoshift 7-speed system, meaning you have a choice of 7 gears on the rear cassette with a standard rear derailleur. We found it shifted well, even under power but on ebikes it’s always sensible to stop peddling before shifting in order to preserve wear and tear on the chain and sprockets.

If you’re prepared to spend £100 more on your ebike (over the magical £1000 mark sadly) then an alternative drive system is available – the Shimano Nexus. We love this system because it uses a fully sealed hub gear unit with 3 speeds (all you really need for a folding ebike). This has the massive advantage that no dirt, oil or grease can get into the gear mechanism – it is extremely reliable and low maintenance and would be our recommendation for this bike. That being said, the standard setup worked well on the model we saw, but will require more cleaning and care.

Apache-LCD-Display

The dash display on the Tocho is simplicity itself and very discreet. It houses the main on-off switch for the ebike as well as a mode selector for variable power  and battery (range) indicator.

The Tocho comes with fitted front and rear LED lights which work really well. There is also a rear rack which can support a load of 25kg – not enough to give someone a lift but will certainly carry a picnic or work gear! The seat post and handle bar heights are both fully adjustable, and I had no problem getting a good riding position at 6ft3 tall (1.95m). One point to note is that the seat is exceedingly comfortable – about the best we’ve tested on any ebike – it felt like an armchair!

apache tocho electric bike foldedFolding is extremely easy once you get used to the technique. You can either do ‘the full works’ or a ‘quick and easy’ fold. Quick ‘n’ easy just involves undoing a cam clamp near the bottom bracket – once opened the bike can be folded directly in half.

For a more complete fold, you can lower the seat post and also undo a clamp at the top of the seerer tube which allows the handlebars to fold. Nice!

Overall we were very impressed with the Apache Tocho Folding Electric Bike. Apache are the first designers and manufacturers of electric bikes in the Czech Republic and they have done an excellent job on the Tocho for the price. You could even say they’re the Skoda of  ebikes! It rides very smoothly, is not too heavy, has a comfy seat and is foldable. What more could you possibly want for under £1000?

9Expert Score

We love this compact but stylish electric folding bike from Apache. At just 21kg including the battery it's no heavyweight and can therefore be folded up and taken on to public transport if needed. If your budget stretches to the model with the integrated Shimano Nexus hub gear system then we would recommend doing that. Great bikes either way!

Calibre Kinetic Electric Bike

Calibre Kinetic Electric Bike newThe Calibre Kinetic E-Bike shouldn’t strictly be in this round-up because its RRP is actually £1300 – however if you sign up for the Go Outdoors discount card, it drops to £1000 exactly – great! This bike is actually designed by the reasonably well-known Danish company Promovec (leaders in sustainable electric bikes), but sold by Go-Outdoors under their Calibre range – it’s a real beauty!

Calibre Kinetic Electric Bike hub motorI would class the Kinetic as a mountain bike. It has 27.5” wheels with Kenda Nevegal off-road 2.35” tyres on the front and 2.1” on the rear. These provide great grip for a wide-range of terrain. The rear wheel incorporates a 250W Promovec hub motor with power provided by a detachable 317Wh battery which mounts on the downtube – not earth shattering capacity, but enough to give an estimated 40 mile range. It also doesn’t detract from the looks of the ebike – it really looks purposeful and well designed.

On the Scales

Possibly the biggest selling point of the Kinetic is its weight – at only 21.2kg it is lighter than many of the latest full suspension carbon fibre e-MTB bikes costing 6x as much. This is because of the lightweight small hub motor and lack of rear suspension. However for campsite cycle routes this not a major negative and is more than offset by the nimbleness of having such a light ebike. please note that the Go Outdoors website lists the weight as 14.9kg, but this is incorrect.

Calibre Kinetic electric bike in useThe Kinetic uses a Suntour coil-spring XCM front fork and is Shimano all round for gears/drivetrain, with the Tourney/Acera set fitted. This gives a choice of 24 gears to choose from with a 32-toothed big cog at the back. Possibly a bit of overkill when you have power assistance in your back pocket! I was also impressed to see hydraulic disc brakes on the front and back – the Clarks M2 which use 160mm rotors. For this lightness of an ebike they provided great stopping power and I wasn’t hankering for bigger rotors or 4-piston calipers.

In Use

The Kinetic includes a very simple display on the left side of the handlebars which indicates which of the five possible power levels you have selected. If you want to know your speed then you will have to use a smartphone app, but I quite like the minimalism of the display. You can’t go above 15.5mph in any case!

Calibre Kinetic Electric Bike handlebars

The ride quality is good with pretty impressive acceleration. Obviously, with a hard-tail mountain bike you’re not going to have a fully-cushioned rear over the rough stuff, but you simply cannot buy a full-suspension ebike for <£2500. This is a great alternative and you can simply stand up on the pedals over tricky ground and use your leg muscles as suspension!

Overall, we were impressed with the Calibre Kinetic electric mountain bike. It looks and rides like a proper mountain bike and has a good zip from the hub motor. The brakes work well and there are mounting points for a rack and/or proper mudguards. Bravo!

9Expert Score

A very competent hardtail electric mountain bike at an excellent price for the quality of components. This bike is highly recommended and has the backup of Go Outdoors if anything goes wrong. Loses a point due to the basic display and small(ish) battery capacity.

That concludes our round-up of the best electric bikes under £1000. We will continue to monitor the market and update this article as we come across other contendors to the crown, but at the moment these are the top dogs.

If you like these then you might be interested in the best electric scooters on the market in the UK at the moment – perfect to take to the campsite with you as much more portable and lightweight than an ebike!

Happy camping Peeps!

Featured Photo by Tower Electric Bikes on Unsplash

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