If you’re reading this page, we’ll assume you’re already sold on cycling’s benefits – whether your motivation is fitness, eco-friendliness or a desire to avoid dystopian public transport costs (and rush-hour germs). It’s no surprise that last year 7.5 million of us donned our helmets, and the renaissance is rolling on throughout 2022.
Sales of electric bikes are gathering pace, too. By 2023, the Bicycle Association expects UK sales to triple. For the uninitiated, e-bikes look like your regular manual two-wheelers, but an electric motor and battery enable power-assisted pedalling. This takes some of the graft out of your ride, allowing you to travel farther and faster, while varying assistance levels mean you can ride at an easier effort on days you’re not feeling your fittest.
Whether you’re after a lightweight folding commuter model or something more robust for charging over rough terrain, there’s a model that will take your cycling up a gear. The MH Lab tasked a panel of experienced cyclists to find the best bikes for both leisure and commuting.
Volt Pulse LS Step Through E-Bike £1,949
TERRAIN HERO: With a sturdy build, plus built-in racks and lights, this e-bike is a solid all-rounder. It’s safe and reliable thanks to the puncture-resistant tyres
and hydraulic brakes.
EXPERT OPINION: Though chunky, the Volt performs well on all terrains. It skips through its eight gears smoothly and offers a welcome boost on hills. Its weight makes controlling stop-starts tricky in traffic, but it’s a great leisure choice.
Beginner Friendly 95/100
Raleigh Motus Grand Tour-Hub Gear Low Step, £2,500
GRAFT OR GLIDE: This e-bike suits both new and experienced riders. It has versatile power assistance - coast and chill if you want; go hard if you feel strong - and it's battery claims to get you from London to Nottingham.
EXPERT OPINION: It's a joy to ride and while the saddle may be slightly uncomfortable, manoeuvring the bike is easy. The instructions are simple, too
Fitness First 94/100
Halfords Carrera Impel Im-2 Electric Hybrid Bike, £1,299
GREAT VALUE: You get a lot of tech for this relatively wallet-friendly price. You can track your ride stats through the app and view them on the LCD display which also offers USB charging.
EXPERT OPINION: The saddle is comfy, the tyres are grippy on all surfaces and it's easy to tweak the assistant to your preference. The only thing it lacks is a water bottle holder - but you can buy that.
Commuter's Pick 82/100
Brompton Electric C-Line Urban, £2,995
SHAPE SHIFTER: The world’s most compact folding e-bike, according to Brompton, taking just 20 seconds to fold down. The high riding position will stop you arriving at the office dripping in sweat.
EXPERT OPINION: This stylish model is a breeze to use. It only has two gears, so hills can be a bit of an effort, but for the average commute, this bike’s our champ.
Tech Whizz 82/100
Angell /S Rapide, £2,690
IN SAFE HANDS: This bike doesn’t scrimp on features. Enjoy an integrated indicator and brake lights, anti-theft tracking, GPS and a touchscreen that helps you navigate to your destination. It’s also extremely light if you ever need to carry it.
EXPERT OPINION: It’s just like a regular bike, only with assistance. Testers felt (to use the technical term) ‘very cool’ while riding it, and with all those flair specs, who wouldn’t? Just note that the lack of gears limits speed.
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