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 2024 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.

We’ve tried and tested the best electric bikes on the market to help you find the right one for you.

How we test the best electric bikes

Our e-bike testers put each bike through its paces for at least a month. They tested them on rides of varying lengths and in a range of conditions. Each bike was primarily tested on the terrain it was designed for: so town and city streets for urban bikes, tarmac roads for road cycles and off-road trails and gravel paths for mountain bikes. Each bike was judged on its handling and performance, as well as the power and ease of control of its motor, assisted speeds, battery life and charging times. Quality of components and overall cost was also taken into consideration.

What’s the best electric bike for 2024?

In our tests we found it hard to fault the Volt London electric bike. Although it has no suspension, its big-volume tyres give you access to rougher gravel roads and a 250W motor can give you a range up to 60 miles / 90km. We particularly like the inbuilt torque sensor, which detects when you start to more more power through the pedals and duly gives you assistance. A sturdy rack and mudguards give extra versatility.

Other electric bike recommendations

Best for carrying cargo:A rear rack and fork mounts for a front one allow the Specialized Tero X 4 to carry up to 30kg / 66lb of cargo. With a neat 27.5in rear/29in front wheel setup, it’s a sturdy, well balanced bike that’s begging for off-road adventure.
Best for city rides:The Raleigh Trace is a good-looking city slicker that’ll get you around town in style. Nine-speed gearing is given three power boost levels from a single top-tube button and the inbuild battery can take you up to 50 miles / 80km.
Best for off-road excursions:If you prefer to ride the path less travelled, the Haibike Trekking 4 High is an ideal companion. Its Suntour fork and wide tyres will eat up bumps in the trail and a 9-speed drivetrain and powerful motor will get you up steep inclines.
The Volt London e-bike

1. Volt London

Best on test

Men’s Fitness verdict

It may look like a regular commuter but the Volt is much more versatile. Its clever torque assist gives you power when you need it most and a 90km range will expand your horizons.
Pros
  • Sturdy design
  • Useful torque sensor
Cons
  • No colour options
  • Only one size
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

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.

The SpecializedTurbo Tero X 4.0 e-bike

2. Specialized Turbo Tero X 4.0

Best for carrying cargo

Men’s Fitness verdict

With its serious haulage power, the Turbo Tero X could be a legitimate replacement for a car. Good off-road handling gives this SUV multi-day adventure appeal too.
Pros
  • Good handling for a heavy bike
  • Long range even on full power
  • Can carry 30kg plus a 70kg trailer
Cons
  • Expensive for a utility bike
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

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.

Honbike Uni4 e-bike review

3. Honbike Uni4

Men’s Fitness verdict

Something of a Marmite bike, its unique design might put some off. But splash the cash and you’ll get a no-nonsense ride that has the longest range of any bike on test.
Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Comfortable seat
  • Low to zero maintenance
Cons
  • Can’t remove the battery
  • A design you’ll either love or hate
Frame:7000 series aluminium
Motor:250W
Suspension:None
Range:62 miles (100km)
Sizes:One size only
Weight:44lb (20kg)
Colour:Black, white

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, the Honbike Uni4 is a simple but effective commuter that excels at low-mileage rides.

Product shot of raleigh trace e-bike

4. Raleigh Trace 

Best for city rides

Men’s Fitness verdict

An ideal investment for urbanites who don’t like public transport, the Trace is a great ride for longer day trips out of town too. We like the automatic lights and no-rattle rigid fenders.
Pros
  • Easy to operate
  • Impressive battery life
  • Quality components
Cons
  • Power mode difficult to see in bright daylight
  • Little information on frame measurements
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

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 the Trace 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.

The tain version of the Haibike Trekking 4 High

5. Haibike Trekking 4 High

Best for off-road excursions

Men’s Fitness verdict

Five power modes give the Haibike the oomph it needs for traversing tricky trails. An 80km range makes this a great option for overnight camping excursions too.
Pros
  • Good range of frame sizes
  • Stable on uneven terrain
Cons
  • Gears change slowly
  • No walk assist
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

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.

Product shot of the Pure Flux One

6. Pure Flux One

Men’s Fitness verdict

What the Pure Flux One lacks in bells and whistles it more than makes up for in longevity and reliability. Will keep you commuting for years.
Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Feels underpowered
  • Only one frame size
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

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.

Product shot of a Canyon Roadlite ON CF9 electric bike

7. Canyon Roadlite:ON CF 9 Ltd

Men’s Fitness verdict

For the price of a small car you can buy this ultralight carbon whippet, with a whopping 450W motor to give you speed on the hills as well as the flat. SRAM electronic shifting is a nice touch too.
Pros
  • Ultralight carbon frame
  • A great ride even with assistance off
  • Good range
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited off-road
Frame:Carbon
Motor:450W
Suspension:None
Range:up to 50 miles (80km)
Sizes:S – XL
Weight:31.9lb (14.5kg)
Colour:Storm grey

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.

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.

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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