Not so long ago the thought of getting an e-bike for less than £500 would have seemed an impossible deal, but advances in battery technology and motor production now make the £500 e-bike a viable proposition for people looking to start cycling on an e-bike in the UK.
We’ve carried out comprehensive research and testing and uncovered quite a few electric bikes available at this price point, but its worth being clear about the type of e-bikes that are allowed to be ridden on the road in the UK so that you don’t get caught out by buying using an e-bike on UK roads that isn’t legal.
So with the formalities out of the way, is it possible to get a good e-bike for less than £500 in the UK today?
In short, yes!
January 2024 Update: Due to supply shortages and changing prices, some of these bikes are currently priced just over their original sub £500 price. Even with inflationary pressures the bikes selected here still represent incredible value for money.
When it comes to finding a high-quality yet affordable e-bike, the Hitway BK35 checks all the boxes and more. Often available at the £500 mark, the BK35 delivers impressive performance thanks to its 250W motor and 36V 6Ah lithium battery. This powertrain allows it to reach up to UK legal 25km/h top speeds and can take you as far as 25-60km of range on a single charge, depending on the terrain and the nature of the ride – enough for most urban commutes and weekend adventures.
Top Speed: 15.5mph
Range: Up to 60km
Despite the low cost, Hitway have excelled on the components here. The BK35 features a rear wheel driven 250w electric motor, dual disc brakes for reliable stopping power, a 16-inch sturdy wheelset wrapped in grippy Kenda tires, a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, and a handy LCD display mounted on the handlebars giving you all the important data at your fingertips. The foldable design with a removable battery also makes storage and transport a breeze, and charging the battery at work very simple.
It’s worth noting that this is a 1 gear bike, with no suspension. That might seem strange but it’s a clever strategy by Hitway – suspension complicates things and pushes the prices up, keeping it rigid keeps things affordable. And gear wise, you’ve got a motor to help you up the hills, adding in derailleurs and 7 speed cassettes just makes things heavier and more complicated to use and maintain. The only downside we can see is if you’re very tall, say over 6’1, then this may feel a bit cramped for you on longer journeys.
When riding, you can let the BK35’s pedal assist mode give your pedaling a boost or switch the motor off and treat it like a classic cycle. – making it a versatile option for different riders. And at just 17.4kg, it strikes a nice balance between power and portable size. Hitway have listened to rider feedback around uk legislation and helpfully removed the no-pedal mode from the newer model.
For riders seeking an e-bike on a £500 budget, the Hitway BK35 checks off all the must-have features while outshining many pricier models. The combination of battery range, motor power, build quality, and reliability makes this a standout as one of the top-rated electric bikes under £500 today.
Amazing High Street Deals
Assist Hybrid Electric Bike
Top Speed: 15.5mph
Range: Up to 20miles
The Assist Hybrid Electric Bike is an outstanding e-bike at this price point. It’s official retail price is £599 but we often see it on offer at £499 so this becomes our runner-up for the best electric bike for under £500. Even if it’s not on offer with a discount, it’s still absolutely worth getting at £599 to use as your daily commuter or leisure e-bike.
This Assist Hybrid has a maximum Range that will take you up to 20 miles and a recharge time of just 2-3 Hours, plus with its removable battery you can easily charge it up when you get to your destination and have a full range for the return journey. The front wheel drive motor will propel you at 15.5mph, and will go faster if you choose to pedal it quicker. It comes in one size which is suitable for riders ranging from 5′ 3″ – 6′ 1”. While its 20 mile range may not be as far as other more expensive e-bikes on the market, in practice most people’s journeys to work are generally much less than 20 miles so the bike can be charged up during the day for the return trip home again afterwards. If you’re surprised that the Assist e-bike only comes with one gear, it makes sense at this price point to keep things simple and functional. The motor will do the hard work when the bike rides up hill, and less gears mean less technical components to maintain. Simple works best. Spec wise its very similar to the Hitway, except this frame doesn’t fold, it has rim brakes rather than disc, and the motor is in the front wheel rather than the rear, so on slippery days, it may not provide as much traction as a rear wheel drive. Conversely, because its from a high street store,
Muddy Fox Electric Avenue Hybrid Bike
Top Speed: 15.5mph
Range: Up to 20miles
The first thing you’ll notice about the Muddy Fox Electric Avenue is that it doesn’t look like an e-bike. The 230Wh Panasonic battery, which will give you enough power to easily handle any inclines, is discretely hidden inside its sturdy alloy frame. No clunky looking external batteries, just sleek lines matched with hi-tensile steel forks and disc brakes to safely come to a halt. The handlebar’s convenient LED display puts the power at your fingertips with different modes depending on how much assistance you’re after.
The full sized wheels offer a level of comfort and smoothness that the other bikes we looked at can’t compete with. The trade off of course is that this isn’t a foldable bike that can be hidden away under a desk or easily taken on commuter trains during rush hour. This is a bike for riding.
When you’re riding on relaxed 700c x 35c tyres, you have the flexibility to travel anywhere, explore new trails, or just use it to keep up with your regular cycling friends with ease.
f you want to see what else is out there take a look at the following bikes on both the UK high street and Amazon. There are some great offers to be had on there, but working out what is technically legal to ride in the UK can be confusing, so always double check if you’re in doubt.
If you’re confused by the different types of electric bike on offer, keep the following in mind when deciding what type of electric bike you want:
Larger wheels on the bike give a more stable ride, both in a straight line, and when it comes to uneven road surfaces.
Smaller wheeled bikes at this price generally fold away more compact than larger wheeled bikes.
If you’re on the tall side ie 6′ and above, make sure you check the size guidelines of the bikes. You may find the small wheel bikes too short.
Generally the small wheel bikes have a rider weight limit of 100kg.
A bike that folds up small is easier to take onto crowded rush hour trains if you’re doing mixed mode commutes.
The Bikes Below Fit The Criteria But Are Sadly Not Legal For UK Road Use
UK E-Bike Law
An e-bike must be of the pedal assist variety, meaning the motor only activates when you turn your pedals.
E-bikes without pedals are not legal in the UK
The top speed that the motor can propel the e-bike at can’t be more than 15.5mph (25km/h).
The e-bike must have a motor rating of no more than 250watts
The e-bike can’t have an additional throttle
If the e-bike has a button to propel the bike, it can’t be at a faster speed than walking pace (commonly known as Walk Assist)
If any of the UK e-bikes don’t conform to these rules, then they are illegal to use on the road as they are classified as motor vehicles and are treated as such, rather than as electric bicycles.
Please ensure that the bike you purchase is fully legal and compliant before taking it on the public highway or other areas covered by legislation.
Unfortunately not all of the deals available are suitable for use on UK streets. If you’re buying an e-bike for use on private land, or in a country where restrictions aren’t applicable, then there are some great deals to be had.
DYU D3F 14 Inch Mini Folding Electric Bike
Top Speed: 15.5mph
Removable Battery: No
The DYU 14inch wheel folding electric bike is an amazing bit of kit. We would rate this as the best electric bike under £500 by a long shot if it were to only be used on private areas. However, it comes unstuck if you want to use it on public roads because in addition to being pedal assist, it also has a throttle control, removing its classification as an electric bicycle.
Its worth noting that while it’s called a ‘folding’ bike, the frame itself doesn’t fold, just the handlebars fold down towards the front wheel, and the seat can drop. The bike itself stays the same length, rather than folding in half in the middle as some other folding electric bikes do.
Front and rear disc brakes, a 216 Wh battery, a rear wheel drive motor and a front integrated light. It’s got the lot, it’s just a shame the addition of the throttle takes it out the electric bicycle category.
If you’re in the market for a more expensive e-bike then you can find plenty of electric bikes here. There are lots of options at the moment with a lot of brands making value for money commuters at £800 and mountain bikes from around £1000.