an electric bike for mountain biking

Electric bikes. They’re popping up all around town these days and for good reason. If you’re reading this, you’re looking to save money and looking for a great deal on the best electric bike under 1000. Smart. Electric bikes are a great way to save money on gas, car insurance, and vehicle bills and fees. In cities they’re a fantastic way to avoid sitting in miserable traffic jams. And finally, they’re a great way to get in exercise while on your way to and from work.

So let’s run through a few of OutdoorUltralight’s picks for the best electric bike under 1000 and also answer some common questions about electric bikes.

Our Overall Pick for Best Electric Bike under 1000: 2019 Ancheer Pro

Long story short, we think the best electric bike under 1000 is the Ancheer 2019 Pro Electric Bike. If you don’t want to bother diving into the nitty gritty of electric bikes, trust us and get the 2019 Ancheer Pro Electric Bike.

The 2019 Ancheer Pro – Our choice for best electric bike under 1000

It is reliable, simple to put together, and the manufacturer has a decent track record. Ultimately, it is a highly affordable electric bike under 1000 that can be used for commuting, leisure riding, and light mountain biking. For more information on the Ancheer, see our in depth analysis below. Is it the best electric bike out there? No way. But as the best electric bike under 1000, you’re going to get a very dependable bike for relatively cheap. With bigger brands, you’ll easily spend upwards of 2,000, so the Ancheer makes getting into electric bikes much more affordable.

Our Pick for Best Electric Bike under 500: SwagCycle EB-5 Pro Folding Bike

It might come as a surprise to you that electric bikes under 500 even exist. Well, they do. At this price point, you really need to start being careful what you buy though. Let’s be honest, there is no shortage of cheap, crappy products out there. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” is absolutely true when you get to these affordable electric bike. With that said, the SwagCycle EB-5 does a good job of balancing decent reliability with price. If you really want the best electric bike under 500, go with the SwagCycle EB-5.

The SwagCycle EB-5 Pro easily makes the top of our list and is our choice for best electric bike under 500.

It also shouldn’t surprise you that this is a folding bike. You simply aren’t going to find a full size electric bike if you’re looking for the best electric bike under 500. That said, the folding feature of this SwagCycle is actually very convenient, even if you didn’t want it. We think it actually looks pretty good too.

Our Pick for Best Electric Folding Bike: FIIDO 6 Speed Electric Folding Bike

If you’re looking for something more compact, something that you can easily tuck away once you get to the office, the FIIDO 6 Speed Electric Folding Bike is probably what you want. This is easily the best electric folding bike from a value standpoint.

The FIIDO was an easy pick for best electric folding bike.

Let’s be clear that this bike won’t have as many features as one of the full size bikes. The wheels are smaller, it doesn’t not have suspension, and you can’t go full on mountain biking with it. However, as an affordable and compact way to get around within 10 or so miles of your house, the FIIDO is a great choice and makes it our top choice for best electric folding bike.

Criteria for Choosing the Best Electric Bike under 1000

We wanted to give a proper comparison of affordable electric bikes that you can typically find at big box stores like Amazon. To do that, our editors came up with a few criteria that we thought were important when choosing an electric bike.

At first glance you might wonder how different electric bikes can really be. After all, aren’t they just normal bikes with a motor strapped to them? Well, yes. But you also might know that some cyclists have no problem spending up to $5,000 or more on their prized bicycles. To us, that is a bit crazy, but to each their own.

As you can imagine, electric bikes are no different. The more specialized you become in electric bikes, the more expensive they become. Don’t believe us? How about this Riese & Müller mountain bike worth 10 grand?

Rider bikepacking on an electric bike through the countryside
There are plenty of options out there for bikepacking on an electric bike.

So even though there are plenty of electric bikes that are much higher quality out there, we are looking for the best electric bikes under 1000, which means we’ll make some compromises. However, we are confident that these three bikes we’ve chosen using the criteria below will not make you regret converting to the electric bike world.

That said, here are the criteria used for choosing the best electric bike under 1000:

Price

Well this is an easy one. To be considered the best electric bike under 1000, well, the bike needs to be under 1000 dollars. When you dive into the price breakdown of electric bike components, you’ll see that some of the best electric bike batteries and electric bike conversion kits can easily top 1000 dollars by themselves.  The incredibly popular Bafang BBS02 Ebike kit is a great example. That said, our top pick for a full size best electric bike under 1000 is actually well below that price. We think that as long as you’re not giving up significant quality, saving even more money on an affordable electric bike is that much better. 

Range

What is the range of an electric bike anyway? Well, that totally depends on a number of factors. Obviously the battery matters. But the components matter as well, since heavier components (like a frame of wheels) will use up more energy than lighter components, reducing your effective range.

For our purposes, we were looking for bikes that have at least a 15 mile range. Our thinking was that 15 miles is a respectable distance that most people will want to ride before wanting to stop. Job commutes of 15 miles, for example, are probably the maximum that someone will want to commute on a bike anyway. As long as your work place has somewhere that you can charge your bike, you should be set to go for the commute home as well.

Power

Electric bike power refers to the amount of energy output that the bike’s motor is able to produce in order to overcome resistance. The main “resistance” you’ll encounter on an electric bike comes in the form of hills. What good is your electric bike if it can’t make it up hills.

Power is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the more power the bike has and the easier it can make it up hills. For our purposes, we were looking for bikes with at least 250 Watt power rating. It should be said that having a powerful motor doesn’t mean that you have a motorcycle. All these electric bikes are “assisted”, meaning that the motor kicks in as you turn the pedals. Just think of an electric bike as something that makes hills feel less steep than they would be on a normal, human-powered bike.

Battery Capacity

Battery capacity is measured in Watt-hours (Wh). You can think of this as the equivalent of the size of a gas tank in a car. It has nothing to do with power output, how fast the electric bike goes. It effectively determines the range of your bike (though that also depends on a number of things as we described above). Many times, electric bike manafacturers will give the voltage (V) and the amp-hours (Ah) of the battery. To determine Watt-hours, multiply the voltage by the amp-hours. So a 36V 8Ah battery is 288 Wh.

One general rule of thumb in the electric bike community is to assume you’ll get about 1 mile out of every 15-20 Wh. So for a 288 Wh battery, you can realistically get about 14-19 miles before needing a charge. This makes it easier to get decipher between all the marketing mumbo jumbo that companies put out.

Remember that the larger the capacity of your battery, the larger and heavier it will be in size as well.

electric bike under 1000 with custom frame and battery
Some of the custom frames out there allow for a larger electric bike battery.

Frame Material

The build materials chosen make or break an electric bike, literally. They have the potential to break the bike if they’re cheap or break your wallet if they’re too expensive. For our purposes, forget carbon fiber, titanium, chromoly steels. Those are all fantastic, durable materials (if manufactured correctly), but they cost a lot of money.

If you’re looking for the best electric bike under 1000, you’re going to be dealing with aluminum. And that is perfectly fine. Aluminum is affordable, is more than strong enough for this application, and it is light. Aluminum is also naturally corrosion-resistant, so it’s the perfect affordable material for an electric bike for commuting in the rain. For these reasons, we chose only bikes with aluminum frames.

Weatherproofing

The most common question asked about electric bikes is “Are electric bikes waterproof”. The quick answer is, technically, no. Technically, nothing is entirely waterproof. As we discussed in our Best Waterproof Cycling Jackets post, water will eventually get through anything with time.

So with that said, we should say that “Yes, electric bikes can be used in the rain and in wet weather.” In fact, they are designed that way. The critical electrical components are sealed in weather resistant enclosures. This does not mean that you should be riding non-stop through puddles or leave your electric bike in the rain overnight. Water will eventually ruin the electronics if you do that. But for normal use on the road while it is raining, your electric bike will be fine. In our search for the best electric bike under 1000, we looked for brands that have a proven track record of being used in the rain without any problems.

An electric bike on the banks of a river
Can an electric bike get wet? Yes. Should you ride it through a river? Not unless you’d like to convert it to a normal human-powered bike.

Component quality

By ‘components’, we mean things like the chain rings, cranks, pedals, shifters, brakes, and gear hubs. These all need to be good enough quality to function correctly and not let you down on your commute. Luckily, the bikes we chose have a track record of component reliability. It should be noted that many of these components need to be replaced from time to time, which is totally normal. Chains wear out, chain ring and gear teeth wear down, tires lose their tread or get flats. No different than a non-electric bike. But we still want the bikes we choose to have sufficient component service life such that we’re not replacing them too often.  

Reliability

This was wne of the most important factors we looked for in our search for the best electric bike under 1000. To us, if you can’t count on the bike to get you from A to B without problems, then we won’t consider it. An unreliable electric bike is worthless. All three electric bikes in our list of best electric bikes under 1000 offer a build quality that you can rely on. Remember though, replacing components like chains and brake cables is normal, so we didn’t consider those as reliability issues in our assessment.

Best Electric Bike Under 1000: 2019 Ancheer Pro Electric Bike Review

The Ancheer makes the top of the list as our best electric bike under 1000. Its simplicity, reliability, and great performance make it an excellent choice at a surprisingly low price tag. Let’s take a look at some of the features that make it our top pick for best electric bike under 1000.

A number of features make the Ancheer our top choice for best electric bike under 1000
  • Price: See Price. We’re surprised to have found this electric bike under 1000… well under it.
  • Battery Capacity: 288 Wh (36V, 8Ah). Using our rule of thumb of about 15Wh per mile, we expect you can realistically get about 15-19 miles per charge on this battery. This just about matches the manufacturer’s claim of 15 miles.  
  • Power: 250W brushless motor. The fact that this uses a brushless motor (as opposed to a brush motor) makes it another reason we think the Ancheer is the best electric bike under 1000. Brushless motors inherently wear out much slower than their brushed counterparts because there is no physical contact between components. The less wear, the longer the life.
  • Range: 15-30 miles.
  • Max speed: 18 mph. The description shows 15 mph, but we know for a fact that riders have hit up to 18 mph using only the bike to move forward. You could obviously start going quite a bit faster going down a hill without using your brakes. We don’t recommend doing that.
  • Weight: 23 kg. The bike itself has a weight of 50 lbs. The maximum rider weight on this bike is 330 lbs. That said, remember that the more weight you add to the bike, the harder the motor has to work and the faster the battery will deplete. Among all the best electric bikes under 1000 though, the Ancheer has one of the better weight ratings.
  • Frame: Aluminum.
  • Speeds: 21 speed.
  • Pedal modes: This bike can go full electric, meaning that you don’t have to pedal if you don’t want to. This is great when you’re tired and running out of energy. However, remember that the more you ask the motor to do, the less total range you can get. In no pedal mode you should be able to get about 15 miles, depending on the hills on your route.
  • Brakes: Disc. We’re happy to see that the Ancheer has disc brakes. Rim brakes are normally just fine on normal road bikes, but when you add a motor to the mix, folks have a tendency to get going a little faster than they intend to. Because of that, it’s nice to have the extra stopping power that disc brakes offer.
  • Wheel size: 26”. This is a standard wheel size that makes finding replacement tires absolutely simple.
  • Warranty: 1 year for motor, battery, and charger

Ancheer Electric Bike FAQs:

Can I ride it without pedaling? Yes, there is a full electric assist mode where you only twist the throttle.

Can I mount a rack? Yes, a rack (sold separately here) can be mounted to the rear.

The Ancheer can mount a rear bike rack, as seen here.

Will this bike fit me? Most likely. The seat is adjustable so that someone up to 6’ 5”, 255 lbs can ride it comfortably. The bike is actually rated to 330 lbs, so plenty of wiggle room.

Is the battery removable? Yes, it uses a small key so that it cannot be stolen, but it is simple to remove. Removing the battery is a great idea if the electric bike will be stored outside for any length of time or in the rain.

Are replacement batteries available for the Ancheer? Yes. Look for a 36V 8Ah battery with the same connector and that will work fine. Luna Cycles makes a good battery, or you can go with a direct Ancheer replacement found here.

Extra Ancheer batteries makes it easy to carry extra capacity.

Best Electric Bike under 500: SwagCycle EB-5 Pro Review

Alright, so we have a good choice for a full size electric bike already. But what if you can’t afford to go above $500 for an electric bike. What is the best electric bike under 500? The answer is simple: the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro. This is a folding bike that has stood the test of time, has proven reliable and fun, and most importantly is very affordable. We know many folks happy with this electric bike.

The SwagCycle EB-5 Pro – our pick for the best electric bike under 500.
  • Price: See price. The low price is really what makes the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro not only the best electric bike under 500, but one of the best affordable electric bikes period. We mentioned this earlier in this post, full size electric bikes are basically impossible to find below $500. If you do find one below that price, be very wary of the quality. Those are likely make with no sort of quality assurance, little to no engineering, and will offer little or no customer support or warranty. For that reason, the smaller folding bike like the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro dominate the best electric bike under 500 category. So let’s see what truly makes this the best electric bike under 500.
  • Battery Capacity: 280 Wh (36V, 7.8Ah). Using our 15-20 Wh per mile rule of thumb, you can realistically expect to get 14-18 miles per charge out of this battery. This depends on hills, weight, and riding conditions of course. Battery charging time on this bike is 4-5 hours.
  • Power: 250W brushless hub motor. Again a great advantage to have this be a brushless motor as opposed to a brush motor. This means the motor will last longer. It’s worth noting that this motor is mounted on the wheel hub itself. This is different than some other electric bikes where the motor is mounted to the bottom bracket area (where the pedal cranks attach). This means the power is directly applied to where it is needed (the wheel).
  • Range: 15.5 miles according to the manufacturer. Our quick estimations match that, although it might be more reasonable to expect 14 miles per charge when using the full electric assist mode.
  • Max speed: 15 mph. To give you some comparison, 15 mph is a very respectable cruising speed for many recreational road cyclists that you see cruising around in their tight lycra gear. Plenty fast enough to get to work on time.
  • Weight: 37 lbs. This bike is much more portable than a full size bike not only because it weighs less, but it folds down considerably. Taking it in the subway, stashing it in the back seat or trunk of your car, or storing it under a desk are no problem. Additionally, the bike itself is rated to take riders up to 264 lbs.
  • Frame: Aluminum. The main selling point making this the best electric bike under 500 is the fact that it is so portable. Aluminum is light and strong, so it is the ideal material for this frame.
  • Pedal modes: Two modes: Full electric assist (no pedaling) or pedal-assist.
  • Brakes: Rim brakes (cantilever). These don’t have the stopping power that disc brakes offer, but on this bike disc brakes aren’t needed. Disc brakes are mainly advantageous when wheels are larger.
  • Wheel size: 14”. These are smaller tires, so it may be slightly more difficult to find tires of that size.
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty.

SwagCycle EB-5 Pro Electric Bike FAQs:

Is the bike easy to fold? Yes, it folds in three sections: handlebar, main tube (in the middle), and seat post. Even kids could fold the bike.

Can I ride it without pedaling? Yes, that is the fully electric assist mode.

Can I mount a rack? No, the bike is too small for a rack to be mounted. Though we’re sure if you’re crafty enough you can design something yourself.

You can’t mount a rear rack on the SwagCycle EB-5 Pro, but you can mount a front basket like the Airltb Lift Off on the handlebars.

Will this bike fit me? This bike is recommended for people up to 6 feet tall. Taller than that and this bike might feel a little cramped.

Can I ride the EB-5 in the rain? The EB-5 was not designed to be ridden in the rain and the warranty does not cover water damage. We would avoid doing so. This is one of the compromises you make at this price, but we still think it’s the best electric bike under 500.

Can I replace the battery on the EB-5? The EB-5 does not have a removable battery, since it is internal.

Best Electric Folding Bike: FIIDO 6 Speed Electric Folding Bike

If you’re specifically looking for the best electric folding bike, it means you value the portability of the bike. The FIIDO electric folding bike has you covered. The ability to fold down to about 30” x 26” x 14” means you can store it easily in your car or at the office out of the way. We like the FIIDO and have chosen it as the best electric folding bike because of its ease of use, its great performance, the company’s good customer service, and the fact that you can use this bike in the rain. We also really like the fact that it has a rear shock absorber, making riding much more comfortable and ultimately pinning at the top of the list as best electric folding bike.

The FIIDO comes in slightly pricier than other electric folding bikes, but it’s worth it. The waterproof controls give it a significant advantage over other bikes that have to sit out the rainy weather. The fact that it also has disc brakes helps it tremendously in the rain as well, making it a safe electric bike to ride in the rain.

The FIIDO has the looks, the reliability, and the portability to make it the best electric folding bike in our list.
  • Price: See price. Again, the slightly higher price than other folding bikes is worth it. With all the moving and folding parts on this bike, it’s worth investing a little more so that you have the assurance that those linkages were well designed. The higher level of engineering that seemingly went into this bike makes it worthy of the ‘best electric folding bike’ title.
  • Battery Capacity: 280 Wh (36V 7.8Ah). This battery should give you between 14-18 miles of range in fully electric assist mode if you assume about 20Wh of capacity use per mile, which is a good standard to go by. Your range can go up to 35 miles if you only use the pedal assist mode on flat terrain.
  • Power: 250W brushless hub motor. This motor is also mounted on the wheel hub itself, which means you are sending power from the battery located in the frame, down to the rear wheel hub. All the internals are sealed to IP54 standards.
  • Range: 14-18 miles if you’re using the fully electric assist mode. This totally depends on how you’re using the bike and how much weight you’re carrying though.
  • Max speed: 15.5 mph. Though this can go higher if you’re going downhill obviously. We wouldn’t recommend going too much faster though. Remember this is a smaller bike than normal, so you should be more conservative than on a bigger bike.
  • Weight: 43 lbs. slightly heavier than the SwagCycle, but that’s probably because of some of the extra accessories like front headlight, 6 speed gearing, fenders etc.
  • Frame: Aluminum. Aluminum has natural corrosion resistance, which is perfect because this bike can be ridden in the rain.
  • Pedal modes: 6 speeds and 3 modes. Full electric, electric assist, or no assist.
  • Brakes: Disc. A huge plus on this, since the brakes are fantastic for use in wet conditions, where stopping power is needed.
  • Wheel size: 16”. Tires for this size should be available in many large cycling stores.
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty on the frame.

FIIDO Electric Folding Bike FAQs:

Can the FIIDO be ridden in the rain? Yes. The display is rated to IP54 water resistance. We do not recommend leaving the bike stored out in the rain however. Water has a tendency to get into anything eventually.

Is the battery removable on the FIIDO? No, it is built into the frame.

Can I fit a rack on the FIIDO? No, the frame is too small to fit a bike rack.

Is the bike easy to fold? Absolutely. A child could do it.

Will this bike fit me? We think that if you’re over 6 feet tall, this bike might be too small for you.

What is the weight limit on the FIIDO? 265 lbs.

Electric Bike Guide

Is an Electric Bike Worth it?

That’s a loaded question. It will totally depend on what you want out of getting an electric bike. If you’re looking to get cost savings from getting an electric bike over using your car, then…. Maybe. You could also get more cost savings from just getting a regular bike for cheaper. However, the big advantage of getting an electric bike is that you will be more inclined to use it over a normal bike simply because it is so much more effortless to use. You know the feeling of not wanting to get on your normal bike because you’re too tired. With an electric bike, that decision to save some gas and money will be made much easier.

And also, let’s face it. Electric-powered vehicles are absolutely the way of the future. For the future-proofness that getting an electric bike provides, that could be worth it in and of itself.

man on bicycle carrying grasses
Guys like this make you realize the advantage of electric bicycles. Kudos to him though.

Will Electric Bike Prices Come Down?

Like with all modes of transportation, yes. Eventually. You might be surprised to hear that electric bike prices already have come down considerably. Just a decade ago, there was nowhere near the quality and range to choose from amongst electric bikes. The market has now changed completely, with electric vehicles starting to take off in a big way. Bikes are right there with cars in being electrified. And with any product following basic supply and demand economics, the larger the demand, the larger the supply, the more competition, and the lower the prices. Right now we’re entering a sweet spot where decent quality electric bikes are starting to be affordable. It’s why we decided to write this post and show off the best electric bikes under 1000!

Which Electric Bike Should I Buy?

The one that suits your needs best. Decide what your needs are first. If you’re looking for an electric performance bike, you will need to increase your budget beyond $1000. That’s just how it is right now. If you are looking at an electric bike to play around with, check out the best electric folding bike, the FIIDO, above. If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable way to get to work and run a few errands, the Ancheer Pro is a good bet. If you’re looking for an electric mountain bike, you’re probably going to want to save those pennies a bit more.

rider mountain biking
If you want to do mountain biking on an electric bike, you’ll probably be spending a bit more.

How Fast Can an Electric Bike go?

Ultimately, an electric bike can go as fast as you can go down the fastest hill. But so can any normal bike. However, on flat ground, using the fully electric assist modes (no pedaling) on modern electric bikes, you’re looking at anywhere from 15-25 mph. Beyond that and regulations about speed may start coming into effect depending on where you live, so you don’t really want to go faster than that anyway.

How Far Can an Electric Bike go?

15-30 miles is about the common range at the moment amongst most electric bikes. However, a number of them can go much further due to their much larger batteries. At that point, you’re almost reaching the electric motorcycle category though.

Do I need a License for an Electric Bike?

No. Check with your local governing body, but currently in the United States, electric bikes are considered the same as a normal bicycle. They are not considered mopeds. Again, check your local laws to verify.

Electric Bike Maintenance?

Electric bikes do not have any different maintenance items than normal bikes. They still gave gears, chain rings, and chains that wear out as well as tires and brake cables that may need to be replaced every so often. The batteries, as with all batteries, have a service life, so those may eventually need to be items that need replacing. But in general, batteries should last the lifetime of the bike as long as they’re taken care of and not left out in the rain.

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