Best hybrid e-bikes UK 2023: Is it worth buying an electric bike?
Gaining popularity among commuters, those new to fitness, and elder riders, electric bikes offer more than simply an easy way to cycle
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Electric hybrid bikes are, essentially, normal hybrid bikes, souped-up with an electric motor that activates when you need extra grunt as you pedal. Rather than a sloths’ approach to exercise, this allows someone of any fitness level to get onto a bike, safe in the knowledge their piece of kit will assist them if faced with a daunting hill or a commute a little too long to handle on their own.
They’re good for commuting, recreational riding, and serve as excellent run-arounds for town-based errands.
Are electric bikes heavy and cumbersome?
The first generation of e-bikes had an earned reputation for being heavy, with limited range, and difficult to manoeuvre. Thankfully the latest iterations have been refined, and the frames for top range e-bikes are impressively light. The standard batteries can last for up to 80 miles on one charge (cheaper models, naturally, for less).
Why an e-bike and not a standard bicycle?
They’re ideal for commuting, as they can allow you to travel a distance without getting worryingly sweaty ahead of meeting someone, or for people with knee or muscular pains. A good e-bike will be quick, efficient, light, and able to carry a load.
If you’re older or less active than other family members, an e-bike is an excellent way of keeping speed with them when you’re out for a ride, without straining past your capabilities. Grandparents can keep pace with children.
Electric bikes also help if you have paneers or kit to take with you as you travel - they allow you to carry a heavier load than a conventional bike, without having to put extra physical effort in.
And, of course, they’re better for the environment than relying on a car. To pay for a year’s worth of the electricity required to power an electric bike is estimated to cost less than £5, regardless of model. You’re not going to see similar costs for operating a motorbike or small car.
What to look for in an electric bike
As with a conventional hybrid bike, electric bikes can be kitted out to contend with various equipment to assist with wet, muddy weather.
If you’re likely to be out in the inclements, ensure you have hydraulic disc brakes, which will help you brake handily even on a heavier machine, and mudguards and chain guards to keep you clean.
Modern electric bikes are, in the main, powered by lithium-ion batteries - light little beauties that charge within a few hours.
How far they last on a ride depends on the terrain you traverse and how often you rely on them, as you can choose when the electric assistance kicks in or turn it off if you want to get some peddling in.
These batteries are last best if looked after, and regularly charged inside overnight. Treat them well and they have great staying power.
What should you pay for an e-bike
Naturally, they’re pricier than a standard hybrid bike, but you can still find a reasonable electric bike for around £1000. The best bikes in terms of longevity and performance will set you back several grand, but it’s an investment that will last for years.
Best e-bikes at a glance
- Best for an introductory bike for new cyclists: Trek Verve +1 Lowstep
- Best for a whole lot of bike for a low price: Carrera Crossfuse
- Best for an e-bike that encourages fitness: Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0
- Best for giddy fun for a reasonable cost: Ribble Hybrid Al-E
- Best for performance: Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert
- Best for nice and cheap with loads of accessories: Decathlon B’TWIN Elops 900 E Step Over
- Best for the best of both worlds: Boardman Hyb 8.9e