Electric bikes can be a great investment for those of you looking to switch up your daily commute, or those just wanting to get outside and ride. But with so many E-bikes on the market, finding the right one for you and under $1500 can be extremely daunting.
Even though electric bikes tend to be more expensive than ordinary bikes, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start your E-bike journey. To help point you in the right direction, this article highlights some of the most durable, dependable, and elegant electric bikes on the market for under $1500.
Finding a Reliable E-bike for Under $1500
Just because you are shopping for a less expensive E-bike, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on quality. A reliable E-bike under $1500 should still have great range, speed, and design.
An E-bike range, or distance the bike can travel on a single charge, depends entirely on the bike's battery capacity. Range is one of the most important features on any electric transportation device, so be sure to look for E-bikes with a high range and a battery that can store enough power for your needs.
Speed is another crucial feature to consider when buying an E-bike. Again, the speed your bike should travel depends entirely on your own needs. That said, most E-bikes can reach speeds of up to 20 mph.
Finally, the design of your E-bike is another aspect to consider when shopping. I don't just mean how stylish the E-bike looks, I am also referring to the parts used to build the E-bike. A reliable E-bike will have good suspension and durable tires to help you navigate rough terrain and absorb shock.
Even take a look at the brake design on the E-bike. All of these design components can help you rule out unsafe bikes that may break after hitting one bump in the road.
Types of E-bikes You Can Get for Under $1500
There are a few main classes of E-bikes available in today's market: The Pedal Assist, The Pedal Assist - 28MPH, and the Throttle Only. For under $1500, you can opt for either Pedal Assist, or Throttle Only models.
The Pedal Assist
This type of E-bike requires that the rider pedals in order to power up the motor. Some Pedal Assist E-bikes come with a throttle and others do not. Although pedaling is required for the motor to kick in, this type of E-bike can still reach maximum speeds of up to 20mph.
It is designed to give riders that extra boost, while taking some of the strain off their legs. The Pedal Assist - 28 MPH operates in the exact same fashion, but can instead reach speeds of up to 28MPH. This is certainly the fastest "legal" E-bike, but be prepared to pay more than $1500.
This type of E-bike operates with a motor controlled by a throttle. Unlike the Pedal Assist model, pedaling is not required to engage the E-bike's motor. When you want to accelerate, all you have to do is twist the throttle. One important thing to note is that by not pedaling, this style E-bike will use up its battery power much faster.
How to Find the Best Under $1500 E-bike for Your Lifestyle
When shopping for an E-bike, ask yourself these two important questions: How often will I ride my E-bike? Where will I be riding my E-bike? Depending on your answers, you may fall into one of the three categories below.
1. Comfort / Cruiser
If you are only riding your E-bike occasionally, taking it for a pleasure or leisure spin, you would fall in this category. Cruisers always have a comfortable saddle, and upright seating. If you are just looking to exercise, or take a quick trip to a friend nearby, the cruiser is a perfect choice.
2. Hybrid / Commuter
This category is built specifically for riders that need to travel long distances, say to work or school, in a timely fashion. Hybrid/Commuter E-bikes tend to have the highest speeds and longest battery range.
They also tend to have a few more bells and whistles than the cruiser models, sometimes coming with built-in headlights, or racks to carry your backpacks or groceries.
3. Mountain / Off-road
These E-bikes are designed for riding trails or off-road. They usually have thicker tires, and more stability than the other types mentioned above. The biggest advantage to mountain / off-road bikes is their ability to easily climb steep hills and generate more acceleration.
Three E-bikes we love and Under $1500
To give you some examples of reliable, high-quality E-bikes available, we handpicked three different models for you to consider.
1. RadMini Step-Thru 2: Electric Folding Fat Bike
This E-Bike, made by Rad Power Bikes, combines power with convenience and accessibility. This ergonomic ride lasts up to 45 miles per charge, has an adjustable handlebar system, and even folds to fit in smaller spaces. At a relatively lightweight of 69 lbs, this foldable bike is much easier to store and transport.
It also has a 7-speed shifter that can provide you with 20mph from a 750W geared motor hub and a 48W, 14Ah lithium-ion battery. This speed and power are balanced by the 180mm front and rear brake rotors to provide powerful braking force even at top speed.
For those who plan to ride their e-bike's through rough terrains, the full front and rear durable PVC fenders will protect you from splashing dirt and mud all over yourself while riding. This e-bike also has a front suspension fork—a feature lacking in several higher-tier e-bike's. This fork has 80mm travel with preload adjustment and lockout functionalities. This suspension system will eat up all the bumps on the trail and provide you with a smooth riding experience.
If you're riding at night or in low visibility conditions, this e-bike also has headlights and tail lights to aid visibility and safety. On its comprehensive LCD, you can monitor your odometer, wattmeter, speedometer, pedal assist level, etc. There's also a 5V, 1 Amp USB charging port in the display for charging your devices on the go.
The RadMini Step-Thru 2 bike is a Pedal Assist bike with five different levels and a magnet cadence sensor. In addition to being water-resistant, this Rad Power bike comes with CST Big Boat 20" × 3" puncture-resistant fat tires, optional racks, and a half twist throttle.
If accessibility is important to you, you should consider the RadMini Step-Thru 2 bike because of its low-step frame. With a 16" standover height—the lowest in any Rad Power E-Bike model—you can simply step through the bike to get on and ride instead of having to swing your leg over a tall frame.
Factor this together with the adjustable handlebars and adjustable seat post with quick-release functionality, and you've got yourself a pretty decent e-bike for riders of significantly different heights—from 4'10" to 5'10"—a steal at this price point.
The RadMini Step-Thru 2 is not the best in the game regarding payload capacity, but it can still haul an impressive 275 lb of weight, which means you can still carry one or two kids or your luggage on your adventures.
Tested against similar models within the same category
2. Pace 350 Step-Through Bike by Aventon
The Pace 350 Step-Through Bike is another E-bike that prioritizes comfort and accessibility. This e-bike delivers an average range of 35 miles with its 5-level pedal-assist feature. Typically, this works out to a range as high as 47 miles on the first level of pedal-assist and 26 miles on the fifth level. You can achieve a range of 25 miles without pedaling and 20mph on throttle and pedal assist.
Additionally, the battery on the Pace 350 is a 36V, 11.6Ah lithium-ion battery. This battery reaches a full charge after just 4 hours of charging. It combines with the 350W, 36V brushless rear hub motor, and the 7-speed derailleur to provide decent torque for an effective ride experience. Also, its mechanical disk brakes with 180mm rotors provide much-needed stopping power even at top speed.
The Pace 350 has bigger tires than the RadMini Step-Thru 2—27.5"—which broadens the types of terrain it can be comfortable riding in. The e-bike also has a stepover height of roughly 17 inches (430mm). The e-bike also comes in two frame options.
The small frame option has a minimum and maximum saddle height of 765mm (30.1 inches) to 995mm (38 inches), while the medium frame option has a saddle height of 805mm (31.7 inches) to 995mm (39.2 inches). These frames also have a reach of 349mm (13.7 inches) and 361.7mm (14.2 inches), respectively.
What these measurements mean is that between both frame options, there's a Pace 350 for riders from 4'11" to 6'1" in height.
This e-bike comes with a rigid fork made from the same material as the rest of the bike frame—6061 aluminum alloy. At 46 lbs, Aventonsl's Pace 350 Step-Through is also considerably lighter than the RadMini Step-Thru 2. The fact that such a lightweight e-bike can handle loads of up to 300 lbs is another massive advantage.The Pace 350 ships as a Class II E-bike, and like all other Aventon e-bikes, is water-resistant. In this case, the e-bike has an IPX4 water resistance standard. This means you can ride and park it in the rain without damage. Similar to the RadMini E-bike, the Pace 350 comes with the option of adding racks. Wheel fenders and Boost headlights are available for purchase as well.
Tested against similar models within the same category
3. RadMission 1 Electric Metro Bike
This last E-bike is another great one by Rad Power Bikes. The RadMission 1 Electric Metro Bike is built for city riders looking to up their game. This e-bike has up to 45+ miles of battery range and is available at a lower price point compared to other Rad Power Bikes models but don't be fooled by the price tag; this e-bike possesses a massive 500W geared motor hub that brings 50Nm of torque to the table. The battery is a 48V, 10.5Ah beast that weighs just 7 lbs, lighter than most battery packs from Rad.
One of the biggest appeals of the RadMission 1, besides the low price, is how closely its build resembles a traditional commuter bike. This is in large part because of its narrow tires—at 27.5"×1.95"; it has the narrowest tires of Rad's lineup.
These Kenda Kontact tires are puncture resistant and feature reflective sidewalls too. Combined with the single-speed drivetrain, this model is ideal for zooming across your town or campus. And for stopping, you can rely on its Tektro 180mm front and rear brake rotors.
For safety and visibility, RadMission 1 has powerful headlights that can provide visibility of up to 70m (230 ft) in low light conditions. The taillight also functions as a brake light. This e-bike is ideal for riders of 5'2" to 6'2" in height for its mid-step option and 5'7" to 6.4" for its high-step option. These options have a handlebar reach of 14.5" and 15"; a seat height of 27"–37" and 30"–39"; and a standover height of 28" and 31", respectively.
At under 50 lbs, the RadMission 1 is also incredibly light. If you have to carry your E-bike up any stairs, consider this model as it is at least 30% lighter than any other E-bike in the Rad Power Bikes’ lineup. The RadMission 1 is also a water-resistant, pedal-assist option and can haul a 275-lb payload.
Tested against similar models within the same category