With summer getting closer, many of us are enjoying the thought of warmer temperatures and more hours of daylight. Any chance to spend more time outside is very welcome to many of us.
Biking is one activity that lets you enjoy some wind in your face while also getting exercise. Then again, it’s not always going to be a convenient or comfortable way to get around on a hot day.
If you want to commute while having some fun, or you’re just looking to try out something new, an electric bike might be just the answer you’re looking for.
We’ve assembled a list of highly-rated electric bikes that fall under $500. You can use these to have a bit more fun with your commute in the city.
If you want an upgraded bike with advanced features, then we also have a list the best electric bikes available for less than $2,000.
What Do You Want From Your Electric Bike?
Finding an electric bike that costs under $500 is great, but you also want to find the right one for you. For instance, are you looking for something really simple? Or would you rather have something that has a longer range than the rest?
Does the size matter to you? A compact bike is easier to deal with physically. You need to consider many different factors in picking the best possible electric bike for your lifestyle.
The electric drive is undoubtedly one factor that you need to consider. Many modern electric bikes have versions of either:
- Mid-position hub motors
- Front-position hub motors
Your neighborhood bike shop probably has both available, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, there are also plenty of retailers you can order from online.
One of the reasons e-bikes are getting more and more popular is the constant advances being made in terms of battery technology. It doesn’t seem like a single month can go by without us hearing about a brand-new electric bike, usually in the affordable category, no less, that is now superior to its predecessors. Having said that, it’s crucial to know just how advanced your ideal electric bike is compared to everyone else.
Specific Factors You Should Consider
Before you buy an electric bike, you need to put in some time with research. Before you make any particular decisions, you need to figure out at least what specific features will be important to you personally.
Since we’re here to help, we’ve provided a few you can use to get going…
Don’t let this one surprise you because brakes are what you need to stop when you’re riding!
Disc brakes are usually going to be the intelligent choice. SRAM and Shimano are both cost-effective choices for commuters since they function well in wet and rainy conditions.
I made the switch to disc brakes some time back and immediately noticed a substantial difference. I mean that I was considerably more confident about descending inclines with more speed than before, so obviously, I approve of them.
Then again, if you only intend to use your e-bike in dry weather conditions, then you can get by just fine using rim brakes.
Look into e-bikes long enough, and you’ll notice that not all of them have lights. This might not prove to be a deciding factor when it’s time to spend your budget on an e-bike. However, from my personal experience, adding lights to an e-bike can be pretty pricey.
As for myself, I only ride if my lights are on. Even if the sun is shining bright, I have my lights on.
Why do I do this?
The next time you’re out driving or riding and see a cyclist with lights, think about how much faster you noticed them just due to their lights. I’m always that cyclist who likes getting noticed instead of ignored or hit.
Whether your new e-bike has lights with it or not, be kind to yourself and make sure you get some. You have no shortage of options.
When you shop for cars, you know that MPG means how many miles per gallon you get. That means you can calculate how much driving you’ll get on one tank, per the manufacturer’s information.
These figures are estimates that make assumptions about riding conditions and weight in the vehicle, but they give you some idea of how far you might get riding in ideal conditions on flat terrain.
E-bike range is very similar. You can’t count on a battery lasting as long as the maker says it will, but more is better for most riders who care about how far they can get.
Just bear in mind that the estimated range might factor in a rider using the pedal-assist system. You might choose not to actually do that!
PAS stands for pedal-assist system.
Quite a few e-bikes have this feature. Being able to use a full-electric mode is a convenient feature to have. You can get a lot more from your e-bike when you can influence the actual power delivery.
You should consider that specific bikes will either have a throttle or a pedal-assist system but not both. In cases of e-bikes like these, you need to decide which particular situation is a better fit for you.
Keep in mind that this will impact things like your mileage, battery, and overall range.
It’s common for modern electric mountain bikes to have a suspension. The suspension might be a full suspension or just front fork/shocks.
This proves very useful if you intend to go mountain biking since it amps things up a level when you ride.
You might not find this particular feature necessary if you aren’t going to ride much in fields or on trails. If you’re just looking for something for urban or suburban commuting, then a suspension can be cool to have, but it’s just not something that you have to have. Yes, it can make any ride more comfortable, so if you can get your hands on a bike in your budget that has this, then by all means, do it!
While the ride will be more comfortable, keep in mind that an additional front fork means the bike eats up more space. Storing it won’t be as compact or straightforward as with other models.
Top E-Bikes For Less Than $500
1. Ancheer Folding Bike
Ancheer is a name you will always see when you look through the e-bike market. Then again, that’s a good thing!
This particular Ancheer is rated waterproof at IPX5. It’s also a folding electric bike.
You can have all this for less than $500. Sounds pretty sweet, yes? There’s actually more…
The folding bike frame for this Ancheer is made using aluminum alloy. Combine that with the foldable structure, and you can compact this down to something neat and tidy.
Download the companion Ancheer app to track the battery life, speeds, and various other useful stats. You can even lock your bike by using the app.
The motor has 350w of power, fueled by a 36v 8ah battery using lithium-ion technology. Hit speeds as fast as 15.5 mph, and your city buildings will breeze right by you.
I personally find the charge duration to be pretty impressive. Being able to charge the whole thing in just 3 hours is convenient to a busy schedule where flexibility is a must. Being able to do it on such a tight budget is even more impressive.
The designers put some consideration into the wheels. You might consider that to be a given, but many e-bikes are designed with the wheels being an afterthought or just a way to minimize costs. This isn’t the case here.
Ride quality is high-caliber with this bike. The wheels do plenty of shock absorption, so your body won’t feel all those bumps in your local roads that you know are are there.
Enjoy excellent traction from the tires, too, although keep in mind that Ancheer suggests avoiding serious hills with this bike. Still, inclines of up to 10 percent are possible.
- Enjoy a full year of warranty.
- The top speed is listed at 15.5 mph.
- The bike has a 350w motor.
- A single charge has a potential range of 15 miles.
- Attach your smartphone to one of the handlebars.
- The mileage can vary drastically because of quite a few different factors.
2. Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5
This brand is famous for making high-caliber e-bikes for both kids and grown-ups. Their Swagcycle EB-5 model is just another instance of great e-bikes for less than $500.
Want to know the best part? It arrives pre-assembled. You also get a choice of what battery you want.
When you look over consumer reviews, you’ll see that this bike is highly thought of for many reasons. I’m inclined to agree with many of the reviews that I have read.
For starters, its frame is aluminum alloy, meaning it’s light in weight. That’s great for when you need to carry it around by hand.
This Swagcycle is not just a folding electric bike but one you can fold down three different times. That is a seriously compact package when you need that!
Flip this particular bike into one of two different settings if you get it. The first of them is a power assist mode that helps you when pedaling so you do not have to use quite as much effort when climbing a hill as you would have to without a motor. That’s great news for many of us.
The second is a kind of power you can utilize through its throttle. It works up to speeds as high as 15mph. To be perfectly honest, you don’t want to ride much faster than that through most cities anyway.
Granted, you always have an option of using this e-bike as a conventional bike free of assistance. That’s helpful, considering how the range of this bike might be one of its downsides.
Swagtron claims you can get over 15 miles out of this battery, but my own experiences haven’t matched that.
While inclines and terrain do matter, I’ve personally seen that a single charge on this bike is more likely to get you only 7 to 10 miles. Most riders will be okay with that.
If you only ride flat routes without inclines, then you might get the 15.5 miles Swagtron claims. It’s just not something that happened to me.
The 250w motor is paired with lithium-ion battery technology that you can fully charge in just 5 hours. A complete shift in your office or day job will be more than enough time to juice this thing back up so you can ride home.
One thing that I like about his Swagtron e-bike is something they call ‘auto-guard technology’.
What is that?
In essence, it automatically applies the stoppers anytime it senses you are having trouble. For instance, if you suddenly encounter any hurdles you weren’t anticipating, this bike will react in your place and keep the balance and upright position.
To top it all off, you can choose between a removable battery and a standard battery.
These are design features that very few bikes have under $500, making this e-bike a genuinely superior product at this price point.
- Enjoy more control with various power modes.
- Fold it up three times for compact size.
- Auto-guard technology means safer riding.
- Lithium-ion batteries store the power.
- Ride up to 15.5mph.
- It comes with V-brakes.
- The battery life is much shorter than you’d think.
- You have to buy the rack separately.
3. Shaofu Folding E-Bike
This entry comes at a wonderful price point while being chock full of features you can love and enjoy.
It’s totally electric, has no emissions, and comes with lithium batteries.
This e-bike gives you a horn and LED headlight already installed, so you can skip getting all this on your own. I’ve personally paid quite a bit for lights, so I think this is very advantageous.
If you’re like many others, then you’re worried about e-bike theft. You aren’t the only person who has considered this since Shaofu created a smartphone app that lets you lock your folding e-bike.
The alloy frame is aluminum, and the rims are too. This keeps the weight low at just 12kg. In fact, when you consider the battery size, this might just be one of the best e-bike weights I’ve ever experienced.
The bike also has a noticeable visual aesthetic to it. Many people look at it and think of dolphins. That’s certainly on-trend in the current market.
An adjustable seat means comfort while riding. This bike is also easily folded, even though it’s designed for adults. That makes it easier for adults to commute with it.
Now, you might be curious, how effective is its battery?
Pretty good. Depending on your terrain and riding, you can get anywhere from 25 up to 50 kilometers out of this bike.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy speeds up to 15 mph powered by the 350w motor.
Charging time is only 3 hours, so you won’t be off the road for very long. I almost have trouble believing that this bike comes into the under $500 price range given how many features it packs.
Don’t let the rain prevent you from riding this folding e-bike, given its IPX5 waterproof rating.
- It’s compatible with apps and Bluetooth technology.
- The head and rear lights are in-built when it arrives.
- The e-bike has disc brakes.
- A full-year warranty covers it.
- Enjoy a cruise control setting.
- The frame is made using lightweight aluminum alloy.
- Ride at speeds up to 15 mph.
- It is not meant for mountain biking at all.
4. Ancheer Electric Mountain Bike
This particular model is intended to serve anyone with a mountainous spirit who also wants suitable gears and brakes. This is easily one of the top rated e-bikes you’ll find for less than $500.
Durability is the name of the game here. The bike features a fork made using carbon steel, while the handles use aluminum alloy. This cycle body is light in weight, yet the double layers of aluminum also give it strength. All the while, the e-bike is easily carried when folded into a compact form.
Three modes of biking are possible when you choose between manual, assisted, or electric riding. For exercising or longer rides, you can even pair up two of the modes together. Simply select the mode you want using the handlebar-located monitoring meter operator.
The smart-charging system revolves around the 36V 8ah battery with lithium technology. Get ranges of 15 up to 30 miles. The motor has high-speed brushless gear that helps you sustain speeds of 15mph.
The brake and gear shifting system has adjustable speeds thanks to a 21-speed transmission. Enjoy two disc brakes places on the front and rear wheels. Night-time riding is even possible thanks to a horn and the LED headlamp.
The one-year warranty covers service for the charger, battery, and electric motor. When you buy the bike, you can even ask for an assembly service at no charge to you. You only have to pick up your bike at the store, and it’s available in three different designs.
- The e-bike is light in weight yet also sturdy.
- Enjoy a transmission system with 21 different speeds.
- The biking system has three different modes.
- Thee-bike is hard to put together.
This is a definite contender for the very best e-bike for $500!
The first significant benefit to this e-bike is how minimal the assembly is.
Next, you’ll quickly notice how lightweight the bike is, particularly when you remember it has a high-performance motor included. Still, it holds a person as much as 120kg and only weighs 16.5kg itself.
The benefits don’t stop there…
You can make sure other vehicles on the road are easy, thanks to the bright LED headlamp attached to the bike’s front. If need be, alert people where you are on the road, thanks to the included horn. It’s an excellent safety feature to have when you’re riding through areas with foot traffic or other bikers.
When riding, use the LCD display to keep track of your battery and range. Also, adjust your mode if you need to.
One preference that I like having on e-bikes that this one lacks is a gear system. It’s nice to change down if I want to pedal harder or I’ve got a hill in front of me.
Still, other aspects about this e-bike make up for that. For instance, the disc braking system proves to be reliable and durable for any busy commuting area.
Once you fold up this e-bike, you can put it in your car to take other places.
This e-bike has several working modes, and you can change them all in just seconds from your handlebar.
- Charge your phone with its USB connection.
- The lithium battery is removable.
- Its wheels are decent.
- It has many practical safety features.
- The e-bike has app connectivity and works with Bluetooth technology.
- Get speeds up to 15.5 mph.
- Use three different working modes.
- It only has a single-speed.
6. Macwheel 16″ E-Bike
This particular entry finishes the list with three different riding modes and a gear shift system featuring five speeds. This all adds up to an e-bike that can cruise at top speeds around 15 mph. It’s almost as good as riding an actual motorcycle.
The five-speed gear system means that the bike’s electric-assist mode can adjust how much power is necessary based on the frequency of your pedaling. That means you can enjoy this e-bike going the distance for you.
If you want, you can ride this e-bike as a conventional bike. That’s a feature that’s always a benefit to have included. You can get some exercise, and you also can keep using it when the battery runs out.
The lithium technology in the battery means that the bike has sound capacity. Paired with the 250w brushless motor, the bike is everything you need to get through your city surroundings.
This is the part where you expect a downside or something bad. Nope. It’s good news because you can actually ride this bike right out of most cities.
The bike range is up to 37 miles on just one charge!
That charge takes only 4 to 5 hours. That’s a bit slower than other bikes, but not by much.
E-bikes need to stop fast since you can hit higher speeds than you can on traditional bikes. That makes the brakes essential features.
Macwheel electric bikes have double-braking systems.
How does this impact the rider?
The brake system is a combination of a power-off brake and a linear double-disc brake. This means that your braking distance isn’t as much, especially if you’re on a wet surface during unpleasant weather.
Even though this bike is available on a budget, such a braking system is more likely to be seen on bikes way over the $500 budget we’re talking about today. So, seeing it on this bike is a great thing.
The frame is made using aluminum alloy, keeping the weight down for carrying it.
Also, the LED display gives you crucial data straight from the bike’s lithium battery. It also shows you the mode that you’re in.
- The aluminum alloy frame is light in weight.
- A budget-level choice still comes packed with features.
- There is an option for only pedaling.
- The top speed can be as high as 15.5 mph.
- This bike arrives pre-assembled.
- Get over 30 miles of range in just one charge.
- You can’t remove the battery.
1. What’s the Best Budget E-Bike?
You should be able to tell by now that you have several great choices for e-bikes less than $500. Which option is most suitable for you? Well, that’s honestly up to you. Think about the kind of riding you would like to do. What’s your reason for getting a bike?
Do you want one that can cover up to 30 miles? I’d say look at the Machweel.
If you’re more into electric mountain biking, then I’d look at the GoPlus folding e-bike.
However, your decision ultimately comes down to what e-bike features that you want.
Specific features buyers look for include but are not limited to the following options:
- Gear system
- Overall weight
- Cruise control
- Lithium batteries
- Brushless motor
While I won’t tell you which specific e-bike is right for you, I did present a list of the best models under $500, so you don’t have to look very far.
2. How Fast Will a 500w E-Bike Go?
E-bikes featuring 500w motors give the rider assistance to speeds as much as 20 mph.
This is only in cases of going full throttle without pedaling. An e-bike that has a powerful motor and good design will help you get more power than you might need, even with less than 500 watts.
Still, if you want more speed, mainly if you are heavier, then a high-powered motor is a good option.
For example, a 250w motor might be plenty for someone who weighs 100 pounds. Then again, someone who weighs 220 pounds might be better off with a 500w motor. That’s because a 100-lb. rider using a 250w motor might hit the same top speed as a 250-lb. rider using a 500w motor.
3. Is 500w Sufficient for an Electric Bike?
Most of the time, 500w is plenty.
When choosing the level of power you need or just want, you need to consider both distance and the kind of terrain you intend to cover.
A typical commute is usually fine with a 250w motor.
If you’re facing lots of inclines, then a 500w motor might be what you need to climb those hills.
Buying the biggest motor you see within your budget is tempting, but just remember that if you don’t need the power, then you’re just putting more weight on your bike without a good reason.
My Final Verdict
I’ve said that you need to decide for yourself based on your needs and wants the best bike for you off of this list. However, if I were to give any particular bike my top award, then it would be the Ancheer.
Their e-bikes come packed with technology options and features, including Bluetooth connectivity.
The charging time is only 3 hours, which means you get back to riding that much faster. With this bike, you want to ride.
Ancheer claims that this particular e-bike would still work after it gets totally submerged into water. Don’t expect me to test that, but you have to admire their confidence in their product’s waterproofing and durability.
I could talk about the bikes features all day, but this e-bike has lots going for it already.
The top speed is 15 mph, which is excellent if you want to make time without riding mass transit.
For any commuter looking for a a great e-bike less than $500, the Ancheer is hard to top.