The Best Electric Bikes of 2022, Tried and Tested

Esquire

Have you caught the e-bike bug yet? It’s making the rounds. More and more of us are enjoying the benefits of power-assisted pedalling on the way to work, especially as fuel prices soar.

Electric bikes are perfect for riding to the office – that battery boost takes the effort out of your commute, meaning you can arrive at your workplace cool and collected. You’ll also be able to zip down cycle lanes and nip through high traffic neighbourhoods while your car-bound colleagues crawl through the jams.

Falling production costs and the growth in cycling infrastructure mean you can look forward to seeing these machines becoming an increasingly familiar sight on our roads in the years ahead.

Modern electric bikes have motors built into either the frame or wheels, with the assistance kicking in on a signal from sophisticated sensors that detect how much effort a rider is putting in. Their lithium-ion batteries recharge in just a few hours, with some taking you up to around 100 miles before they need topping up.

With so many options out there, though, it can be hard to know which one to go for. To help make your choice easier, we’ve rounded up the best electric bikes on the market below.

UK law on electric bikes

UK laws say the motor can only kick in while you’re pedalling and must turn off at 15.5mph. You don’t have to wear a helmet, but riders must be over 14. Lights and reflectors are a must if riding in the dark, as with an “ordinary” bike.

Despite the protestations from some drivers, third-party insurance isn’t a legal requirement but it can be a good idea to join an organisation such as Cycling UK to take advantage of their cover in case you ever have an accident.

How we test electric bikes

We tested the below electric bikes over several surfaces – not just smooth tarmac. We also rode on potholed ground, dirt and gravel paths, and up and down steep hills. Our testers looked at battery range and charge time, how well the gears changed, manoeuvrability, braking performance and even the comfort offered by the saddle and handlebar grips.

Only five made the cut, meaning these are the ones you should invest in for a hassle-free ride:

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Best electric bike for practicality

Cube Supreme RT Hybrid Pro 500

pureelectric.com

£2,899.00

The Cube’s step-through frame design makes it easy to get on or off while wearing ordinary clothes rather than stretchy cycling kit. The covered chain and hub gears also mean you won’t have to worry about getting oil on your trousers. It offers a plush ride thanks to suspension forks, hydraulic brakes and fatter tyres.

We found the Cube surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, although the built-in display did seem to over-estimate the battery life. The model we tried came with a European-type plug and mainly German instructions but it didn’t take too long to figure out how things worked.

Key specifications
Type of motor:
Bosch mid-mounted
Number of speed options:
1
Number of gears:
8
Weight:
27.8kg
Range on full charge:
32 miles
Frame size:
XS, S, M, L
Suspension:
Front
Brakes:
Hydraulic disc

Best electric bike for having fun

Townie Go! 7D EQ

If you want a bike to put some fun back into your pedalling, take a look at this beach cruiser-style machine. You’ll earn admiring glances on the way to work and it’s also ideal for holiday fun.

Those big “balloon” tyres offer amazing comfort but come with a little more drag than with other bikes in our selection. That’s not a big problem thanks to the powerful Bosch hub-mounted motor. We loved the LED display showing the battery charge level but the twist-grip gear changer took a bit of getting used to.

Key specifications
Type of motor:
250w, rear hub
Number of speed options
: 3
Number of gears:
7
Weight:
21kg
Range on full charge:
65 miles
Frame size:
Medium Suspension: None
Brakes:
Mechanical discs

Best electric bike for all-round commuting

Volt Pulse LS

Having walk-assist is a welcome feature on a fairly weighty machine like this – move a lever as you’re wheeling it around and the motor gives a wee bit of assistance, making it so much easier to move when you’re not riding.

We sometimes found the Volt a little unwieldy in slow traffic, but it felt sturdy and well-built with amazing brakes. You can remove the battery for charging, so you won’t need to haul the machine inside your home.

There’s a security fob to activate the electronics plus a Dutch-style lock on the rear wheel. The addition of a luggage rack, mudguards and lights make it great value.

Key specifications
Type of motor:
250w, rear hub
Number of speed options:
4
Number of gears:
8
Weight:
21.5kg
Range on full charge:
60 miles
Frame size:
Medium
Suspension:
Front
Brakes:
Hydraulic discs

Best electric folding bike

Brompton C-line Electric

The Brompton is a top choice if you’re short on storage space or want to take a bike on the train or in a car, but the extra weight from the battery and motor mean it will never be quite as practical as its iconic fully human-powered siblings. With a little practice, you could have it folded in around 20 seconds.

The motor is built into the front wheel, while the battery nestles in a holder at the front from where it can be removed for charging. The upright riding position and smaller wheels make it super-nimble and safer in traffic. Although expensive, the Brompton comes with lights and mudguards, and you can tailor the motor assistance to suit your needs.

Type of motor: 250w, front hub
Number of speed options: 2
Number of gears: 6 (3 internal hub, 2 external) Weight: From 15.5kg
Range on full charge: 45 miles
Frame size: One size
Suspension: Polyurethane block built into frame
Brakes: Brompton caliper brakes

Most stylish electric bike

Angell-S

If your ride to work is mainly on flatter roads and lanes, this sleek machine is well worth considering. Loaded with technology, it boasts GPS navigation, anti-theft tracking and coded unlocking.

The Angell-S is very light for an e-bike – about the same as a standard mountain bike – so it’s easy to manoeuvre, but that single gear means it’s not ideal on very hilly routes. Unusually, the battery sits behind the saddle. It can be removed for charging, but our tester found slotting it back into position a bit of a fiddle.

Key specifications
Type of motor:
250w, rear hub
Number of speed options:
4
Number of gears:
1
Weight:
15.9kg
Range on full charge:
44 miles
Frame size:
S, M
Suspension:
None
Brakes:
Hydraulic discs

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