Best hybrid e-bikes UK 2022: Is it worth buying an electric bike? Best E-bikes from Halfords, Ribble, Carrera
Gaining popularity among commuters, those new to fitness, and elder riders, electric bikes offer more than simply an easy way to cycle
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.
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.
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
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 for: an introductory bike for new cyclists
The riding position on this Trek Verve +1, a step-through bike, struck us as particularly comfortable - great if you’re new to life in a saddle. The frame is built with lightweight yet tough components - an aluminium frame, which is great for helping cyclists pick-up speed quickly, as well as absorbing shocks on the road for a more plush ride. As you’ll likely know, aluminium is also durable and long-lasting, so this is an e-bike that will stand the test of time.
The powerful Bosch electric motor is ideal for helping cycling neophytes up challenging hills, while Tektro alloy hydraulic brakes keep you safe when you’re tearing downhill.
We particularly love the walk mode, which is ideal for those aforementioned tough hills, or if you’re needing to wheel your bike around at all.
This is a light-weight number - just 13.1 kilos. If you’re new to the world of cycling and want some motorised assistance, this would be our firm recommendation.
Best for: a whole lot of bike for a low price
Pretty, cheap, and practical, we love the Carrera as a commuting choice. It’s battery offers 80miles/130kilometres of use off one charge - so if you’re heading in and about town you can get a week’s worth of riding in before needing to recharge.
It’s torque sensor is brilliant at ensuring a smooth ride - no juddering stops and starts here - just the smooth cadence of a regular bike, even when you’re pedalling into action after stopping at intersections. On hills, we found turning on Turbo mode helped us ease up them with little extra effort.
It does sit at a rather chunky 24kgs, though, so if you’re in a top-floor flat or struggle with upper body strength you’ll likely find it a chore to carry.
Another serious downside for the Carrera is a lack of accessories - there’s no mudguards, kickstand, or lights to run off the battery, all of which we desire. The battery estimate display is irritatingly vague, as well, offering a bar display, rather than a number of miles/kilometres left. If you’re new to e-biking, you might get caught short without the motor.
That said, for an inexpensive option, you get a steady, supportive ride and impressive mileage. A good city bike.
Best for: an e-bike that encourages fitness
At a featherweight 15kg, and a promised range of 80 miles, the Turbo Vado is a brilliant general-purpose bike that will allow you to enjoy both recreational jaunts and taking it around cities.