We have seen an explosion in the popularity of electric bikes over the past decade. Factors like competition among manufacturers and the evolution of technology have helped drive down the price of these products. In turn, this has made them more attractive and accessible to higher numbers of people.
As the world continues to adapt to COVID-19, an electric bike as a mode of transport has or will become a potential transport method for many more people. If you’re considering buying an electric bike, you won’t need to break the bank to find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for a commuter bike or something to take off-road at the weekend, there’s an e-bike for everyone.
Let’s look at five of the best cheap electric bikes you can buy in 2020.
Rad Power RadRover 5
Rad Power Bikes is one of the market leaders in the e-bike space, and with products like their RadRover 5, it’s easy to see why.
New for 2020, the RadRover 5 is a flagship “fat bike” – named such for its fat tires – and as such scores highly in the durability stakes.
Rad Power calls the RadRover 5 a “go anywhere, do anything” e-bike, and that’s a 100% correct summing up of this product. Whether you want to go off-road or around the city, the RadRover 5 will take you there thanks to its power and range of features.
What does “fat tires” mean? On the RadRover 5, it means 4-inch wide tires built with puncture protection and reflective sidewalls. You can lower the tire pressure quickly for improved stability and rider experience on terrain you know will be soft, such as mulch trails. The RadRover 5 is a comfortable ride, too, with mid-rise handlebars adjustable to suit your preferred riding position and style.
The RadRover 5 has front suspension only. You can adjust your suspension to have more tolerance if you’re carrying cargo or taking to rough terrain. Alternatively, it can lock into place if you’re commuting on smooth and consistent road surfaces. Cargo is carried on the rear of the RadRover 5, with a rack you can buy separately. Once you have this, you can choose whichever Rad Power accessories you want to customize your e-bike exactly how you want it.
The motor on the RadRover is powerful enough to get you up even steep inclines at a decent speed. It is discreet and quiet, and as such, it doesn’t bother you while you’re riding.
With a range of up to 43 miles (70 kms) from a single charge depending on the terrain, the RadRover 5 has more than enough power for a daily commute or a long weekend ride. The 672Wh Lithium-Ion battery takes just 5 – 6 hours to fully charge. You can guarantee your bike will be ready to go every morning. You could even charge your bike during the workday!
The RadRover 5 is a heavy bike, so you need to be prepared to give it some serious pedal power if you do get caught short of battery life! At a weight of 68 lbs (31kg), it’s not an easy bike to take onto public transport, while you’ll need to make sure you have a suitable rack on your car if you need to drive to off-road tracks and locations.
Best For: Off-road adventures over rugged or consistently soft terrain. However, your RadRover 5 works equally well as a commuter bike.
Check the latest price on Rad Power Bike’s Website
FIIDO D2 Folding Moped E-bike
If you’re looking for something smaller than a full-size bike, but want to retain the speed and range to ensure you can commute and get around town, the FIIDO D2 Folding Moped E-bike could be the ideal choice for you.
Available from Gearbest, this e-bike is at the cheaper end of their range but is one of the most frequently reviewed products with hugely positive feedback from customers and riders.
FIIDO markets this e-bike with a simple tagline: “Easy Ride, Easy Day.” It’s difficult to argue against that simple assessment, so let’s look at what you get for your money with the FIIDO D2.
Built entirely in aluminum alloy, the design is simple, sleek, and tasteful. The 16-inch diameter tires are smaller than what you’d get with a regular-sized e-bike, but don’t let that put you off. If you invest your cash in the FIIDO D2, you’re going to buy it for commuting around the city and on smooth, flat roads. You don’t need it to his asphalt trails or drive off-road! However, you can easily adjust the tire pressure for different road conditions, for example, if it’s wet and you want to ensure a higher level of grip.
Both the handlebars and the saddle heights are adjustable, so if you like the bike, you don’t need to worry too much about whether it’s a fit for you; you can simply set it up to make sure it is! A cushioning function acts as a suspension alternative to absorb any shocks you may feel through the saddle if you hit an unexpected bump or hole in the road. There is no front suspension on the FIIDO D2.
The 250W motor in the FIIDO D2 will hit speeds of up to 15 mph (25 kmph) and can deal comfortably with gradients of up to 25-degrees, while the front and rear disk brakes ensure you can stop quickly and safely when you need to. The 7.8Ah Lithium-Ion battery gives a range of between 18 miles (30 km) and 24 miles (40 km). With just a five hour charge time, you can charge the battery overnight or while you’re working to ensure you’ll have enough juice when you need it. If you want to preserve battery life, it’s easy to switch between electric and manual mode or a hybrid of the two where the motor will stop when you start to pedal.
If there is a potential downside to the FIIDO D2, there’s no scope for adding a carrying device. If you plan to use your e-bike for your commute, you’ll need to ensure you can ride comfortably while carrying your backpack.
While you can fold this e-bike down to a 30×25 inches (75 cm x 65 cm) square, it’s still quite heavy, but convenient if you need to store while taking the train or bus for part of your journey.
Best For: Shorter commutes, town and city riding, if you use public transport for part of your journey and want to ride the rest.
Check the latest price on Gearbest
NAKTO 26″ 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle
If the last thing on your mind is taking your new bike off-road, but you want a more traditionally shaped bicycle for commuting or getting around your local area, a NAKTO is a fantastic choice.
Our favorite NAKTO model is their 26-inch 250W Cargo Electric Bicycle. This e-bike comes with a basket on the front and has a rack over the rear wheel ready to add an accessory for whatever you need to carry.
The build quality of this e-bike is supreme for the price. The entire frame, including the front suspension fork and shock-absorbing device, is built from high strength carbon steel. You get a dual brake system, with V-brakes on the front and powerful disk brakes on the rear. When you want to use pedal-assist mode and move your NAKTO e-bike yourself, you’ll find the six-speed SHIMANO set has enough variety, whether you’re on the flat or tackling an incline.
The brushless 250W motor is powerful enough to tackle most hills you’ll encounter on your way to work and achieve a top speed of around 24 mph (40 kmph)! The 36V, 10Ah Lithium-Ion battery will typically power you for a range of up to 28 miles (45 kms) if you’re riding cargo-free. You can extend the range to around 34 miles (55 kms) if you use the pedal-assist feature alongside the motor. Adding a significant weight of cargo onto the rear will affect not just the range but your maximum speed and performance of the brakes, too. Ensure you’re mindful of this if you plan to use your bike to take shopping home or carry things to and from work.
Whatever your usage patterns, a five-hour battery charge time means you can ensure your bike is ready to ride whenever you need it.
At over 44 lbs (20 kg), this is another heavy e-bike, but its intended use should mean you never need to carry it or load and unload it from the car or other modes of transport.
Best For: Commuting and local weekend use on tarmac roads.
Check the latest price on Amazon
Rad Power RadCity 4
The next bike in our list of the best cheap electric bikes is the RadCity, which is Rad Power’s flagship commuter e-bike, with the 4 being the latest model. The RadCity is notorious for selling out quickly and requiring a backorder. Once you’ve decided you want one, buy it!
Rad Power calls the RadCity “The Commuter’s Dream,” As usual, they’ve hit the nail on the head in their description.
The 6061 aluminum frame, aluminum handlebars, and aluminum alloy brake levers mean you’ll be riding a bike that looks great and is durable and fit for purpose. The handlebars themselves have been “swept back” on the RadCity 4. This design update enables you to keep a more upright and comfortable riding position. This change could do wonders for your posture if you have a particularly long journey into work. The twist grip throttle is built into the handlebars, ensuring you can easily control the motor and your speed in line with road and traffic conditions.
As with the RadRover 5, the RadCity 4 has front suspension only. The tires are much smaller, at a width of 2.3-inches, to help you navigate the city easier than ever before. As is typical with Rad Power Bikes, your tires are puncture resistant. They have reflective sidewall striping while adjusting the pressure should you need to is easy, too. You’ll get a fitted rear rack with your RadCity 4. It is ready for you to add whatever compatible Rad Power accessory you need, such as a child seat. The front-wheel can also take an additional rack if you need even more carrying space on your RadCity 4!
The 750W Shengyi direct drive hub motor is seamlessly incorporated in the rear wheel on the opposite side to the Shimano seven-shift gear set. It’s also integrated with the rear disk brakes, expanding your battery life with a regenerative braking feature.
The 672Wh battery pack on this e-bike will give you a minimum of 40 kms range even when you load your RadCity 4 with cargo. If it’s just you riding and manually pedaling and managing battery life, you can easily get more than 43 miles (70 kms) out of one battery charge, which is an extraordinary level of performance. When you need to charge your RadCity 4, you’ll have a 100% battery in just 5 – 6 hours. This makes it easy to charge the battery overnight or while you’re at work and have it ready when you need to take to the road.
Best For: Commuting, especially if you have another e-bike or standard bike that you use for going off-road at the weekends.
Check the latest price on Rad Power Bike’s Website
QiCYCLE TDR01Z Folding Moped E-Bike
The QiCYCLE TDR01Z Folding Moped E-Bike is another bike available from Gearbest that’s great as a potential commuter bike. It’s also an ideal first e-bike for teenagers to either travel to school or simply hang out around the neighborhood with their friends.
While it folds, it doesn’t fold down to as small a size as the FIIDO D2, but it is around 25% lighter. Therefore, it might not be as easy to pack away if part of your journey to work involves public transport. Still, it might be easier to carry if you need to do so over a short distance.
The bike itself looks sleek and stylish, as you would expect from a model only available in black.
The 16-inch diameter tires can be pressure adjusted for different terrain. Still, such is the low level of ground clearance that we’d suggest your QiCYCLE TDR01Z stays exclusively on the road. The tires also have reflective sidewalls, which along with the front LED light and rear reflector aid visibility at night. You may want to buy an extra battery-powered LED light to fit to the adjustable saddle stem for more rear visibility.
In terms of power, this e-bike has the same battery cell as a Tesla car, the Panasonic 18650 Power. Your battery should deliver a range of around 28 miles (45km), allowing you to ride to work even on a longer commute or get extensive use from your e-bike over the weekend. The QiCYCLE TDR01Z also boasts the quickest charging time of our favorite cheap electric bikes, able to reach 100% in just three hours! The 250W, 36V high-speed motor is quiet yet powerful, able to reach a top speed of 15 mph (25 kmph), and deal with gradients of up to 15-degrees. Powerful disk brakes ensure you’re ready to stop quickly and safely when you need to.
In addition to the impressive battery pack and motor, this e-bike is loaded with various other technological features. The cycling computer display shows your speed, power consumption and control, and the remaining range based on your battery life. If you use your e-bike in fitness mode, you can even track calorie consumption and other fitness metrics. You can connect your bike to a mobile app, too, giving you an on-demand view of your historical usage data and the performance of your e-bike.
As well as the 100% manual fitness mode, you can also use economic mode, balance mode, or turbo mode. The latter is ideal for when you want to unleash the power of your QiCYCLE TDR01Z.
Best For: Commuting or for casual use around the neighborhood. Suitable as a first e-bike for teenagers.
Check the latest price on Gearbest
If you’re considering buying an e-bike as an alternative means of travel in a COVID-19 world or it’s been in your thoughts for a while, you won’t go far wrong with one of these five of the best cheap electric bikes. Could we choose one that is definitively the best? Probably not, because we all have an e-bike that suits us based on our needs and how we plan to use it.
However, with these five bikes and many more available for less than $1,500, you’ll always be able to find an e-bike that feels like it was built especially for you and your needs.
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