Best Electric Bikes: e-Bikes For On & Off Road


Electric bikes are more efficient and more popular than ever, and are an ideal way to keep active outdoors – this is our pick of the best e-bikes available right now. 

A few years ago, e-bikes tended to fall into one of two categories. The best electric bikes were either hugely expensive all-mountain machines bought by middle-aged men who wanted the latest tech and weren’t big fans of pedalling. Or they were adapted cargo bikes made by niche manufacturers for climate-conscious parents to ferry their offspring to school or for sandwich bar staff to make office lunch deliveries.

Fast-forward to 2023 and electric bikes have seriously entered the mainstream. Helped by a gradual reduction in price and a 60% increase in sales over lockdown, they now account for nearly a quarter of all bike purchases.

What to look out for when buying electric bikes

The key features to consider when buying electric bikes will depend on what you intend to use it for. Are you looking to ride long distances on the road, take your bike on the train and commute to work, or rip up your local off-road trails?

For road riding, you should look for lightweight components, smooth-rolling tyres and vibration-dampening carbon forks. If you’re commuting, low-maintenance, robust components are a must, together with rack mounting options and a comfortable, upright riding position. For mountain biking, a wide gear range, big-volume tyres and suspension are key.

However, the best electric bikes will all have certain things in common. Whichever bike you choose, it should have a powerful motor, power control options, an easy-to-use control unit, a long-lasting battery (ideally that can be disconnected from the frame to charge elsewhere) and relatively low weight.

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Best electric bikes for 2023

Volt London

Best for long days out

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Frame: 6061 aluminium
Motor: 250W
Suspension: 1.6in (40mm) seatpost
Range: up to 60 miles (90km)
Size: 19in (49.5cm)
Weight: 43lb (19.5kg)
Colour: Raw aluminium

Weight: 4/5
Power: 5/5
Range: 5/5

The Volt London might look like simple (albeit beautifully designed) commuter bike but it has a few tricks up its sleeve. The first is an inbuilt torque sensor which detects when you start to put more power through the pedals and triggers the motor to assist. It also has a key fob disabler and built-in ABUS bike lock for extra security.

Its three power settings give you a variety of assistance and allow you to eke up to 60 miles out of a single charge. It has a front porteur-style rack and mounts for a rear pannier too, as well as a top spec sheet that includes Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, an Exa suspension seatpost and Schwalbe puncture-resistant tyres.

Read our full Volt London review

Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0

Best for carrying cargo

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Frame: E5 aluminium
Motor: 250W
Suspension: Rockshox 130mm front, 120mm rear air suspension
Range: from 44 miles (70km)
Sizes: Small – XL
Weight: 58.9lb (26.7kg)
Colour: Silver dust, gun metal

Weight: 4/5
Power: 4.5/5
Range: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Specialized’s new Turbo Tero range is supposed to be more SUV than MTB. Bit with its ‘mullet’ setup of a 29in front wheel and 27.5in rear and Rockshox air suspension front and back, it’s a highly capable beast on or off road. The Turbo Operating System gives you plenty of power from its three modes you can expect at least 44 miles from each battery charge.

Its rear fender has rack mounts which can carry up to 20kg of cargo, the front fork can accept a rack for another 10kg and the rear thru-axle will take a trailer too, up to a further 70kg. That’s up to 100kg cargo weight – more than enough for weekend camping adventures in the back of beyond.

Read our full Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0 review

Honbike Uni4

Best for low-mileage rides

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Frame: 7000 series aluminium
Motor: 250W
Suspension: None
Range: 62 miles (100km)
Sizes: One size only
Weight: 44lb (20kg)
Colour: Black, white

Weight: 5/5
Power: 4/5
Range: 4/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Honbike’s futuristic Uni4 commuting bike has a sleek but unusual design that’s bound to divide opinion. It’s three-tube aluminium frame is off-centre but surprisingly rigid, and integrated cables and display add to its minimalist design.

There are three power modes – eco, city and sport – as well as a built-in gyroscope to provide uphill assistance when you need it. With mechanical disc brakes, rear hub motor and a maintenance-free belt-drive system, it’s a simple but effective commuter that excels at low-mileage rides.

Read our full Honbike Uni4 review

Raleigh Trace 

Best for city rides

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Frame: 6061 aluminium
Motor: 40Nm
Suspension: None – rigid tapered carbon fork
Range: up to 50 miles (80km)
Sizes: Small – XL
Weight: 36.4lb (16.5kg)
Colours: Blue, copper

Weight: 4.5/5
Power: 4/5
Range: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Historic British brand Raleigh has produced a thoroughly modern hybrid that looks just as slick as it performs. The aluminium frame and tapered carbon fork help make this a lightweight and nimble electric bike that zips down city streets or country lanes with ease.

Its built-in battery and hub motor will give you more than four hours of assisted riding, all controlled from a single illuminated top-tube button. Powerful automatic lights, rigid fenders, rear pannier racks and a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain round out this high-quality package.

Read our full Raleigh Trace review

Haibike Trekking 4 High

Best for off-road excursions

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Frame: 6061 aluminium
Motor: 250W
Suspension: SR Suntour fork 2.5in (63mm)
Range: up to 50 miles (80km)
Sizes: Small – XL
Weight: 55lb (25kg)
Colours: Blue, desert

Weight: 3/5
Power: 4/5
Range: 4/5

Haibike’s Trekking 4 is a good choice for those who like to mix up their riding. Wide tyres and a SR Suntour suspension fork help it cope with rolling off-road terrain and its 250W motor and 9-speed drivetrain give it respectable climbing capabilities.

Its five power modes include an automatic option and give you plenty of control over the amount of motor assistance you can dial in. This helps you get up to 50 miles out of a single battery charge, making it suitable for long weekend treks. And with a rear pannier it’s a useful commuter too.

With three frame designs, five sizes and two colour options, you’re bound to find a Haibike Trekking 4 to suit you.

Read our full Haibike Trekking 4 High review

Pure Flux One

Best for regular commutes

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Frame: 6061 aluminium
Motor: 250W
Suspension: None
Range: up to 25 miles (40km)
Sizes: One size (M-L equivalent)
Weight: 38.5lb (17.5kg)
Colour: Black

Weight: 5/5
Power: 2.5/5
Range: 3.5/5

The Pure Flux One is good value option for regular city commuting. Its lightweight, no-nonsense single-speed design will get you from A to B with no fuss, and you can easily detach the battery to top it up before you head home again.

Its carbon fiber-reinforced belt drive system will last 35 times longer than a regular chain and needs next to no maintenance. Likewise cable disc brakes are easy to adjust and offer plenty of power and control for city riding. Its 250W motor offers three power settings and reflective decals offer extra night-time visibility.

Read our full Pure Flux One review

Canyon Roadlite:ON CF 9 Ltd

Best for climbing

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Frame: Carbon
Motor: 450W
Suspension: None
Range: up to 50 miles (80km)
Sizes: S – XL
Weight: 31.9lb (14.5kg)
Colour: Storm grey

Weight: 5/5
Power: 5/5
Range: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

With a whopping 450W motor, this carbon speedster is more Ferrari that Ford. Its eye-watering price includes $2,500 / £2,000-worth of SRAM electronic shifters for seamless gear changing. With flat bars it’s not really meant for racing, but that won’t stop you wanting to.

Where the Roadlite:ON really excels is on hills, with the most powerful of its settings – aptly called ‘rocket’ – ironing out the steepest of inclines. A removable 450Wh battery will deliver distances of up to 50 miles / 80km. You can also ride sans battery and the bike performs like any high-end carbon road bike.

Read our full Canyon Roadlite:ON CF 9 Ltd review

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Can you get fit on an electric bike?

Whereas the early misconception was that you didn’t have to work on an electric bike, now people appreciate they allow you to travel further and more efficiently. (Of course they are extremely useful for older riders who might struggle on normal bikes but with e-bikes they can remain active and healthy.)

It’s worth noting that an hour of cycling on an e-bike still burns around 390 calories compared to 500 calories on a normal bike. So you can still get a good workout despite the electric assistance. And you’re likely to ride further and for longer than you would on a normal bike.

A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity also shows that the average journey on an e-bike is 21% faster than on a traditional bike. So it’s easy to see why more and more people are converting to electric bikes.

There is an ever growing selection of dedicated road, mountain and hybrid e-bikes these days, all taking advantage of advances in motor and battery performance, as well as general technical improvements such as more powerful disc brakes, hydraulic dropper posts, more rigid through-axles and wider gear ratios.

Electric bike ownership

It’s reported that one in 20 people now owns an e-bike and estimates are that by 2030 half of the 30 million predicted bike sales in Europe that year will be electric powered. The US e-bike market is expected to double in size by 2028 to $1.6bn (from $850m in 2022).

Batteries and motors are smaller and more powerful now than when e-bikes were in their infancy. As a consequence, frame design can be kept closer to regular bikes than the hulking great machines of ten years ago. People who are keen on improving their fitness are more likely to consider investing in the best electric bikes now too.

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