Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise going, especially if you can get out and about on an actual bike, pushing your actual bodyweight through actual space (though spin bikes and upright static cycle alternatives are a viable option). It can build ferocious lower body musculature whilst burning through plenty of calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
It’s also a handy way to get about town, whether you’re off to meet friends or commuting into the office.
The problem is, electric bikes come with a hefty price tag – at least they used to. However, nowadays you can get quite a bit for your money in the sub-£1000 price bracket as so we made it our mission to find the best electric bikes under £1000.
Luckily, electric bikes are now on the rise. They offer many of the benefits granted by regular, fully manual bikes, whilst giving you a little motoring oomph when you need it. Though rarefied and fairly specialist a few years ago, electric bikes are becoming increasingly ubiquitous: you can get most styles of bike with electric motor options nowadays.
But what exactly are they?
Well, in short, electric bikes come equipped with electric motors, powered by rechargeable batteries mounted to the bike’s frame. These motors can be set to kick in when you’re pedalling. You can regulate how much assistance you get, so that you will always be putting in the effort you want no matter how difficult the terrain or tired your legs become.
Top 3 Quick Picks
|Pure Flux One||Check Latest Price|
Best for city riding
|EMU Roam Crossbar||Check Latest Price|
Great for off-roading
|Rockrider Electric Mountain Bike||Check Latest Price|
Why Go Electric?
You get a great many benefits from cycling in general, as above. Electric bikes simply give you more options, access to a greater range of terrain, and far more control over what you need to put into any given cycle (making them perfect for oscillating through different intensities, and for still managing to get a good ride in when you’re fatigued).
There is more to cycling than exercise. It’s a handy, low cost, environmentally friendly way to commute and get around. Electric options open up this mode of transport to more people, giving them the freedom and mobility they want without requiring a hard slog every time they want to go anywhere.
However, there is, of course, a fitness side to it. Add a motor, and many people wonder if you can indeed work on your fitness on an electric bike.
Well, for starters, it’s not like a motorbike or electric scooter. You don’t push a button, rev an engine, and go. You still have to pedal. Though the motor may reduce the amount of work you’re putting into your ride, it doesn’t get rid of it.
In fact, it can even boost it, as more and varied routes are opened up to you, and you find yourself enjoying going for longer rides than you might on a purely manual push bike.
I’ve used electric bikes, both in the writing of this article and previously. I’ve been able to elicit DOMS (delayed onset of muscular soreness) through my thighs whilst keeping my heart rate in the 85%+ zone that delivers a decent afterburn effect. I’ve also been able to keep myself in the 70% zone over prolonged cycles.
This is decent cardio, from decent cycling, by any definition.
In fact, recent research has tracked experienced mountain bikers as they use both traditional and electric bikes. They managed to get to around 94% of their usual riding heart rate on the electric bikes. That shows a mere 6% drop – which counts for very little – whilst allowing for far longer rides – which counts for an awful lot.
If you want options, go electric – it’s a low cost, low carbon footprint way to travel with added help when you need it, whilst representing a surprisingly beneficial cardiovascular training style.
Our Top Sub £1000 Electric Bikes
All the bikes below come in at under a thousand pounds (even if it’s ‘only just’ in some cases!) This really isn’t much for a high end bike, motor or not. And they are all high end – they are superb quality and any of them will serve you well.
Pure Flux One Electric Hybrid Bike
The Pure Flux One by Pure Electric is a lovely bike, and one which does everything an electric bike should – namely, allowing anybody to enjoy freedom of cycling, with the many benefits it offers, whilst offering a little assistance. It’s incredibly lightweight – at just 17kg, it’s the lightest electric bike in its class – and very comfortable to use, with carefully designed rider position and contact points.
Everything is designed and built around the innovative Gates Carbon Drive™, a powerful, smooth rear hub motor, and an easy-to-charge bottle-style battery system. This motor gives you three assistance settings (15, 20 and 25 kph cut-offs), and can last for around 25 miles / 40 km. The battery has a five hour charge time, gets to 80% charge in just three hours, and is easily removable.
The frame itself suits riders ranging from 5’7” / 1.7m to 6’2” / 1.88m in height, which translates to both medium and large frame sizes on a typical bike size chart. You can visit one of their showrooms for a proper sizing if you’re not sure. However, I come in at the lower end of this sizing and found it to be absolutely perfect. I’ve heard from taller athletes, at the upper end of this, that they found it equally comfortable.
The frame is oil and rust free. This is a big deal for me. I have lasting memories from childhood of coming home with greasy legs from falling off – and getting tangled up in an oily bike frame, and more recent memories of arriving places covered in grease from impromptu chain re-fittings. Going without these things is a small yet potent blessing.
The bike features disc brakes for all-weather performance and control, and comes with premium grippy, robust Maxxis Overdrive Excel tyres with low rolling resistance. The handlebars are fully ergonomic, the saddle is a very comfortable KNUS model, and the textured brake levers work very well.
You really can ride for hours on this thing without getting overly tired or in any way uncomfortable. For anyone looking for a really high quality all-rounder that comes in at under a grand – then the Pure Flux One is a top choice!
Pure Free City Unisex Electric Hybrid Bike
The Pure Free City Unisex Electric Hybrid is our second offering from Pure Electric. It comes in at the same price point as the Pure Flex One and offers very similar things, just aimed at women and smaller athletes (though it should be noted that the Pure Flex One is entirely suitable for taller women – I’ve never understood why modern women, sans petticoats, should need to have an altered crossbeam forced upon them!)
The Free City Unisex is powered by a 250W rear hub motor that delivers powerful torque for strong pedal assistance. As with the Flex One, it features a rack battery, and as such the Free City Unisex gives you a slightly longer range, enabling you to ride up to 28 miles / 45 km assisted on one charge. It has the same speed settings, with three assistance settings at 15, 20 and 25 kph cut-offs. The charge time is slightly longer, with 6 hours to full, hitting 80% charge in 4.5 hours, but this is still pretty quick and will serve most people easily enough on a twice weekly or so night time charge.
The Free City Unisex also has a more generous height range than the Flex One, catering for a riders between 5’2” and 6’1”.
It is pretty secure, too, coming with mudguards, chain guard, pannier rack, kickstand and integrated lights all cleverly and unobtrusively built into a step-through unisex frame. This should all offer you more than adequate protection from road spray and oil marks This is an incredibly functional, well-designed piece of kit that anybody would do well to look into owning. The bike comes with CST 38mm tyres for all-weather grip as standard, and the impressive Selle Royal saddle, built-in kickstand, and ergonomic handlebar grips make life a lot easier and a lot more comfortable.
You also get 7-speed Shimano Tourney™️ gearing for easy hill climbing, so that those living amongst more challenging terrain will still be able to get into the office without their quads burning out!
Everything is controlled from a very intuitive handlebar-mounted unit which is pretty intuitive to use and friendly enough for even the most tech-adverse users.
The Free City Unisex is slightly heavier than the Flux One, at 21 kg. However, this is still within the bounds of a normal bike weight, and the fantastic 250W motor will more than negate this.
A top choice for smaller riders, this sub £1000 electric bike is not just reserved for female riders and is a truly great unisex option.
Emu Roam Crossbar Electric Road Bike 2021
Let’s move on from Pure Electric, now, coming to the EMU Roam. It’s an incredibly well designed machine, near enough the equal of EMU’s far fancier, eponymous Emu, and showcasing the same quality and attention to detail, whilst only coming in at just shy of a grand.
The Roam’s main talking point is its 7-speed Shimano derailleur gears, which should make light work of any inclines, and which separates it neatly from many of EMU’s other builds. It really will take you wherever you need to go with minimal fuss or complication.
The Roam comes with front and rear mudguards, grippy, 26” CTS puncture resistant tyres for performance and peace of mind, front and rear integrated lights, and a rear carrier, all as standard. You can pick between navy or racing green for the basic, crossbar model (although there are more options with the step through version).
You get a decent LED display with the Roam, alongside a rear mounted 10.4Ah battery as standard. You can upgrade this for a couple of hundred quid to a Samsung 14Ah battery, for a bit more oomph and range (though, sadly, that would take the Roam out of this list, breaking the thousand pound threshold!)
That all powers a 250W 36V front hub motor, with a range of either 27 – 45 miles, or 35 – 55 miles, depending on which battery you go for. Either way, the Roam has a 6-8 hour charge time from flat – slightly longer than some of the other models on this list, but still none too ruinous if you plan accordingly.
This really is a truly exceptional bike for the money and you are getting incredible value for money. If you need the extra range and can afford the upgrade then this bike moves in to another league and would pretty comfortably top our list.
La Fleche Bikes City Plus Electric Road Bike
La Fleche Bikes’ City Plus is one of my favourite electric bike models. Priced at pretty much the same point as most other offerings on this list, to me, it is the most stylish by far. I wouldn’t recommend it for serious road racers, but if you want a handy way to get around town whilst looking effortlessly chic and cool, this is the one for you.
Apart from anything else, how nice does the name ‘La Fleche’ sound? The City Plus more or less lives up to this kind of understated promise. An elegant silhouette is backed up by rear mounted carrier/luggage rack and well moulded curves at every juncture never fail to catch the eye.
It isn’t form over function, however – far from it, in fact. The City Plus boasts a generous battery size, a reliably powerful motor, and tons of added bits and pieces to make your cycling life that much easier and more pleasant. Not least among these, you get a good quality kick stand, lights, three different tiers of motorised help and walk assistance, so you can begin from near enough static.
Part of the form is function, too. The City Plus has a Dutch step through design, which works incredibly well whilst making you look like you belong on a cycle path along the canals of Amsterdam.
Let’s talk specifics, however – it isn’t all artistry. As above, there are three levels of power assistance, plus a walk/start assist button. It can boost you by around a top speed of 15 mph. These are all powered by a range of available batteries, with a 10 Ah offering 360 WH, at around a thirty-mile range, a 13 Ah battery taking you to 470 WH for 45 miles, and a 16 Ah battery for 580 WH over 60 miles.
Charging times vary, but all are ably assisted by a smart charge system, so this shouldn’t ever be too much of a concern.
The frame itself is on the weightier side, at 24.5kg, but you shouldn’t feel bogged down at all.
You get a decent warranty, too: five years on frame, two years on systems and motor, and two on the battery. A real good offering for any city rider.
Lectro Adventurer Gents 36V 26” Wheel Aluminium Electric Bike
Lectro’s Adventurer Gents 36V 26” Wheel Aluminium Electric Bike is a fantastic value, simple, lightweight budget electric cycle designed to give you fantastic performance with minimal fuss.
It features a very straightforward, single speed drive train couple with a decent 36V rear hub motor, all powered by a 7AH lithium battery. This delivers a very respectable range of up to 40 km, which is more than enough for anyone about town to go where they need to go on just a couple of charges per week.
It is a very easy bike to use, too, thanks to its single speed nature. You can jump on, start pedalling, and it’s there, kicking in to give you the extra power you need. There isn’t an overload of buttons and controls, no extensive user manual, nothing too technical to get your head round – you’re good to go from standing, with no knowledge needed.
The motor is also different to many other models in that there is no throttle. Rather, it helps you along when you start to pedal. It can take you up to 15 mph (25 kph), which should be plenty for any city goer (and will give you a good jump start out on more serious roads.)
The frame itself is aluminium, so it’s light weight and handles well, and uses 26” wheels with 26 x 2.1 tyres. It’s a rear hub model, using a good, 36 V Shengyi Motor, with front mechanical disk brakes.
Lectro also have a reputation as being one of the UK’s better manufacturers, with a good eye for fantastic design and some of the best aftercare in the industry. If you order your bike before 2 pm, for example, they guarantee next day delivery (which is rare on anything costing nearly a grand!). After 2 pm, you can expect it within 48 hours.
They also offer a good warranty – 12 months of manufacturer warranty on the frame, battery and all other components for any problems relating to manufacturer workmanship or material quality. However, they don’t cover consumable components like brake blocks, brake pads, tyres, and inner tubes. Fairly standard, just well done.
All in all, I like this marriage of simplicity and design quality. It’s my favourite kind of engineering.
Rockrider 27.5” Electric Mountain Bike
I really like electric mountain bikes. They open up a lot more terrain than regular electric bikes, for obvious reasons, and give everyone the chance to push themselves to the limit whilst enjoying some of the world’s best scenery.
Rockrider’s 27.5” Electric Mountain Bike is one of the best going, developed to tackle any mountain bike rides on hilly and rolling terrain. They designed it specifically to allow people to get into mountain biking without it being a baptism of fire – the smart electric assistance, driven by a cadence sensor and a simple, intuitive control screen will give you the relief you need as you tackle your first routes and find your pace.
It features a sturdy frame that nevertheless allows for a great deal of control and manoeuvrability – which is exactly what you need in any mountain bike. It’s made from 6061 aluminium with hydroformed tubes for lightweight durability, and the battery sits snugly on the frame to make it far sturdier. It’s also compatible with the new 27.5″+ tyre format in the rear (wider and steadier than the normal 27.5″ kind), giving you greater traction and stability without detracting from mobility.
The motor itself is impressive, too, with a great deal of torque – not needed in a road bike, but an absolute godsend in mountain bikes. It gives you 42Nm which, coupled with a wheel axle of 150x12mm to stand up to tough use, should get you up any slope with little bother. Everything is watertight, so you needn’t worry about going out in any tough weather conditions.
Everything is powered with Samsung SDI cells (responsibly and sustainably sourced) and controlled using a discreet and user friendly LCD control screen. There is a lot of information available through the monitor, including a stopwatch, speedometer showing current, average and maximum speeds, a distance tracker and remaining battery life and range.
You can switch between the bike’s three power modes without letting go of the handlebars, too, which is vital on changeable mountain bike tracks. These three modes are mode one, or economy, which gives you 20 to 100 W and gives you longer rides by preserving battery life; and mode two, where a lot of the hard work is done, giving you 80 to 175 W for mixed terrain; and mode three, giving you 150 to 250 W for a track’s tough spots.
You can also ride deactivated, which obviously switches the power off altogether.
The bike is available in several sizes. It’s an impressive model, clever and well-designed for all users. Anyone wanting a reasonably priced electric mountain bike can’t go wrong here.
City Speed 20″ Folding Electric Bike
The City Speed 20″ Folding Electric Bike by British company Byocyles is one of the best commuter tools I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly practical, very easy to live with, simple to store and transport, and is breathtakingly cheap considering everything it does (it’s one of the cheapest models on this list by a whisker).
It is, obviously, completely foldable, at which point it has a tiny profile. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to cycle to a train station then store it, at work, where they can simply slip it under a desk or in a closet, or out in the countryside after a long drive, fitting it into the boot of their car with no issues.
The whole unit is built around a lightweight, 20 kg (including battery) 17″ folding alloy frame. It has a fully detachable lithium battery fitted behind the seat post. The battery itself delivers 7.8Ah with a range of around 18-25 miles. This can be upgraded: a 10Ah battery has a range of approx 28-35 miles whilst the 13Ah battery will take you to approx 43-50 miles, which is all worth considering when buying the City Speed.
The rear mounted motor offers 36 v – 250 W, which will take you up to 15.5 mph with a single cadence of the pedals. The power is simply cut by braking or stopping pedalling, giving you full and intuitive control over the whole ride.
It all fully charges within around five hours, which is impressive and very convenient.
Everything is controlled using a smart LED display panel with three different levels of assistance along with a battery strength gauge and a light on/off function. You can therefore suit the bike’s power output to the terrain in which you’re cycling, opening it up for more rural and hilly cycles when you want it. Six speed Shimano gearing adds to this, giving you decent power through most gradients.
Its 20″ Double Walled Alloy Henli rims are fitted with Duro Urban 20 x 1.75 tyres. It uses Winzip V-Style brakes, giving you great quality whilst further adding to the control you’ll have over the City Speed.
It’s good quality, lightweight, easy to live with and store, and surprisingly inexpensive. What’s not to like?
Basis Beacon Hardtail Electric Mountain Bike
Now we come to the second mountain bike in our list, this time with the Basis Beacon Hardtail Electric Mountain Bike. It offers a very good riding range, a secure, confident frame and position, great reliability, and fantastic suspension and tyres, all for a very reasonable price.
The aluminium frame has a down-tube semi-integrated battery for a mixture of durability and manoeuvrability. The battery is a 36v Li-Ion battery, available in a choice of 8.8 or 14Ah, depending on the range you need – up to 50 miles at full charge. This powers a decent 250 W hub motor which will give you more than enough power to get you through any route or course. You get an Alloy 19” Crossbar and updated ZOOM front suspension forks – you get the impression that they are aiming at mixing aggression in riding with a well-balanced, ride that is as comfortable as it is ferocious.
They have managed admirably.
It’s also very intuitively and efficiently controlled. It has very responsive front and rear mechanical disc brakes alongside a seven speed Shimano gearing system. You will always feel like you are in charge, taking it through its paces and watching as it raises its game to meet any demand. You can choose between three different power settings using an LCD display that is pretty straightforward to work out and manage.
It’s a ferocious beast, but one with poise and control: a caged animal, perfect for taking out on a rough track or for meandering around a city with.
Not convinced by any of our electric bikes under the £1000 price tag? Read on for more information in our buyers guide designed to help you find the perfect electric bike.
What To look for in an electric bike
There are a few things to look out for when looking to invest in an electric bike.
Obviously, function will be a priority. Nowadays, as above, you can get electric motor powered versions of pretty much any bike style. If you need a mountain bike, buy a mountain bike. If you’re looking to cycle roads on the commute to work, go for a road bike. And so on and so forth.
So far, so obvious.
After this, the main concern will be motor placement. Generally, you will find two different styles: hub driven and mid-drive. They are pretty much self-explanatory, making things easier as you look into different models.
Hub drive bikes have the motor sitting in the rear hub. The battery will be in the down tube. Many different models have put this style to good use, including big names like Ribble and Wilier, and cheaper city e-bikes often use hub driven styling. They tend to be lighter and more conventional looking.
Mid-drive motors, on the other hand, are generally far bulkier. However, they benefit from placing the weight of the unit lower down around the bottom bracket. This is very common in commercial electric bikes and can also usually be found on performance bikes. This is because positioning the motor and battery unit low down improves stability and makes for far better, more intuitive handling. The motors can also work far more synergistically with your gears. I prefer this style – the increased overall efficiency and nicer handling makes it a no brainer for me (though, of course, it’s not a deal breaker, and many people will prefer hub driven mounts).
A system’s torque number is also really important. It can have an incredible impact on the ride feel of any given bike, making or breaking your cycling experience. Many brands will use lower torque on purpose, in a bid to give you more of a naturalistic ride feel. Rather than scooting along, powered by a motor, you feel like a cyclist whose every pedal counts, yet whose every pedal is overly powerful. It’s a nice feeling.
However, if you really do want something that can hack minimal effort whilst speeding you along, a higher torque might be what you’re after. It is perhaps missing the point of an electric bike, but there is a definite need for this kind of machine. If it suits you, go for it: seek out a decent model with high torque, especially if you live or cycle somewhere particularly hilly (I’m looking at you, Lake District!)
You should also take note of what cadence the system delivers power within. This will basically show you if it’s in line with your pedalling or not. The greater the inline power delivery, the more naturalistic the riding experience – again, making it feel like an efficient bike ride, not like you’re on a moped. Systems on many electric road bikes now deliver support across a broad range of cadence, so consider trying a few out to see what suits you best. There will be something for everyone nowadays.
I would also look at battery capacity in your electric bike’s motor. Make sure that whatever model you get can keep the pace you want it to at the distance you will generally require of it. I know someone who once got trapped in hilly terrain on their bike with a flat battery. As electric bikes carry hefty motors and weigh more than an average bike, it wasn’t fun for her – she was exhausted by it, lugging 25 kg of aluminium along for miles up and down hills!
It really is important you get this bit right.
Electric mountain bikes will generally have larger capacities than road bikes. This is because of the intensity of cycling up and down through rougher terrain, coupled with the fact that you will be cycling slower than on road bikes. You will generally be within the 25 kph limit that most motors boast, so the motor will almost always be in use. They are also heavier, which doesn’t help.
Again, make sure you know what you’re using your bike for, and make sure that you know it will be able to keep up with you.
Finally, look into how you plan to store and charge your electric bike. If you need it to, make sure that the battery can be taken off the bike and brought indoors. This is the easiest way to go about it.
I’m a sucker for beauty, especially where it overlaps with quality, fantastic design and functionality, and reasonable affordability. What is there to dislike when these facets all work well and meet like this?
Because of this, I favour La Fleche’s City Plus Bike. It is a stunning piece of equipment that is a joy to ride around town. It’s not a performance piece, however, so if you’re looking for something to race about on, something else from this list might be more up your street – Emu’s bikes are good, for example, as is the Pure Flux One. Or, if you want something simple and elegant, Lectro’s Adventurer Gents is a good bet.
Either way, electric bikes with high-end motors are here to stay. As the world moves away from fossil fuels and petrol-powered transport, and as electric motors become cheaper, better, and, as a result, more ubiquitous, we are going to see them more and more. They open up the world of cycling to everyone, don’t depend on you always having energy to burn in order to get about, and can give you basically as good a workout when you want it as a conventional bike.
If you’re into cycling, there will come a time in the next few years when you will try out an electric bike, fall completely in love with it, and never look back. Odds on, for sure. It’s happening.