Best Electric Bikes Under $1000 (Year 2018)
Electric bikes—also known as “E-bikes”—are becoming more widely known today than ever before. They offer a host of benefits, both environmental and personal, and can reach city speeds comparable to vehicles.
These dream machines must come with a hefty price, right? Think again! Electric bikes can be as affordable as mid-range traditional bikes. What’s more, they pay for themselves in no time, if you’re using one to replace your car even a few times a week.
Our buyer’s guide will answer some common questions for anyone considering an electric bike. We’ll also look at a few of our favorite models, and provide shoppers with our verdict on each one.
What are electric bikes, exactly? How do they work?
Electric bikes, e-bikes, pedal-assist bikes, booster bikes: all the names basically mean the same thing, which is a bicycle that features an electric motor to help power the cycle and maintain speed.
Some do almost all the work, while others just help the rider out a little, but most still let (or require) the rider to pedal, as well. The motor can be turned off, if desired, and has to be charged an average of 4 to 6 hours for about 100 miles of use.
While these are fairly new, motorized bicycles—the predecessor to e-bikes—involved the same basic principles of operation, and have been around for over 100 years.
Motorized and electric bikes use a motor to increase propulsion. In other words, it helps turn the rear wheel for the rider, reducing the amount they have to pedal and how much effort they have to exert.
Does the bike do all the work for me, or does this still count as exercise?
Electric bike motors are assistants, not engines; they don’t make your bike run on their own. Instead, they help your tire move so you don’t have to pedal quite as hard to maintain speed.
It certainly does still count as exercise, and can even enable people to ride for much longer than they might otherwise, because their energy is conserved; they can better pace themselves.
Is there any special upkeep involved with electric bikes? Do I have to store it indoors?
Other than charging your bike when it runs out of power, electric bikes don’t require much daily maintenance a regular bike wouldn’t need.
That said, any “out of the ordinary” component on a bike increases the number of things that could go wrong, in time, so familiarize yourself with the manual of your bike and how to fix any issues that might crop up. Alternatively, you can visit a local bike shop that sells electric bikes, since the employees will understand how they work and what needs to be fixed.
It is best to store your bike indoors—but this is true whether you have an electric one or not. Bike lifespans decrease significantly when exposed to the elements, day after day. Paint chips and fades; steel can rust; chains can become grimy and weak. If you haven’t already, make sure there’s a dedicate spot in your home, garage, or shed for your bike before you purchase it.
Couldn’t I just get a motorcycle or motorized scooter?
If your primary need is a motorized vehicle that isn’t a car, yes—motorcycles, scooters, and similar options are all fine alternatives.
If, however, you need a way to get around that will double as exercise, a bike is the way to go. Electric options are sort of the best of both worlds: you’ll get speeds comparable to cars in moderate traffic (about 15 mph), yet without fuel and insurance costs, all while benefiting your health.
If you’re considering a motorcycle or scooter because you have a lot of stuff to carry and think a bike won’t cut it, think again: electric bikes help riders maintain speed, even when carrying multiple bags, boxes, or children’s seats.
Can I convert my current bike into an electric one?
Yes, it is possible—and relatively simple—to convert just about any bike into an electric one. While some bikes, like single-speed cruisers, won’t reach the speeds you’d desire from a motor, most models can handle the upgrade.
Installing an e-bike kit means adding four essential parts to your bike: a motor, throttle, battery, and some kind of controller. The latter two components are bolted to the frame or rear carrier rack; the throttle slips right over your existing handlebar; and the motor is installed in place of your rear tire’s hub.
Converting your existing bike to an electric one is incredibly cost effective—unless your bike is very old with extreme wear and tear. This addition could cause strain on your tires or gears that they can’t handle, which might leave you with some extra work on your plate.
Top 4 Best Electric Bikes Under $1000 Reviews
1. Ancheer Power Plus Electric Mountain Bike Review
This mountain bike from Ancheer has all the features you’d expect and need to tackle rugged trails and steep mountains—but the edition of the electric motor, powered by a removable lithium battery, will make those trips a little bit easier. Think of it this way: the less you exert yourself pedaling the bike up the mountain, the more time and energy you’ll have to tear down it later.
Mountain bikers looking for a boost will love this affordable, sleek model from Ancheer. Even without its motor, it would be a great deal: it’s outfitted with some of the best features mountain bikes can have. The removable battery makes recharging a breeze, and a top speed of 25 mph ensures you’ll get to the top of any mountain you set out to conquer.
2. Orkan Folding E-Bike Review
For commuters with long trips and not much storage space, this foldable electric bike is worth the investment—and the fact the price is very reasonable certainly doesn’t hurt.
Best of all it has three power modes: all pedaling, partial pedaling, and no pedaling—for those days you just can’t muster enough energy to finish your commute.
Whether you need a durable commuter’s bike, a mountain bike, or both, the Orkan 7-speed is a choice worth considering. While we wouldn’t expect to see this shredding through pure wilderness, we expect it could perform very well on country roads and established trails. Bonus: when your commute hits unexpected traffic, you can easily cut across grass or gravel to beat the rest of the rat race.
3. Watseka XP Cargo Electric Bicycle Review
With inspiration from beach cruisers and city bikes, the Watseka XP certainly delivers on style—but what about performance? It has six speeds—uncommon for cruisers—and, when using the attached motor, can reach speeds up to 14 mph. All it takes is a twist of the throttle, and you can toggle between basic pedal assist and several variations.
With the comfort of a cruiser, the cargo capabilities of a utility bike, and the modern addition of an electric motor, the Watseka XP is a stylish option that doesn’t skimp on function. We recommend it to riders who need a casual bike for daily transport and errands, but need a little more speed than typical cruisers can provide.
4. Vilano Electric MTB Commuter Bike Review
Another mountain-commuter combo, this electric option from Vilano will make your entire week run a little more smoothly: easily get to and from work on weekdays, then hit the trails for some well-deserved relaxation on the weekend.
This combination bike seems to have it all: speed, easy control, and durability. If you plan on hitting trails, heading to work or class, or a combination of both, consider this model from Vilano. It has the sensible design a commuter bike requires, but the durable features no off-roader can live without—and an adjustable motor to make either one easier.
Electric bikes come in all shapes and sizes, so finding one to suit your needs—and at an affordable price—has never been easier. If you love the exercise and fun of cycling, but need a little boost (or a big one!) to keep going now and then, an electric option might be the ideal choice for your next bike.