5 Of The Best Electric Bikes Under $1,500

Recreational cyclists can surely relate to this scenario: you’ve been pedaling on a flat route for about 20 minutes and there’s a bit of incline coming up. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to coast up that hill and give your legs a little breather? Electric bike (or e-bike for short) anyone? Yes please!

Before purchasing your first e-bike, have an idea of which product will match your lifestyle. Consider what type of riding you’re planning to do, the terrain being covered, average distances and of course, budget.

In this round up, we take a look at 5 of the best electric bikes under $1,500 on the market today.

First up, let’s break take a look at e-bikes in a bit more detail so you have a better understanding of what to look for.

Electric Bikes 101

Types of E-bikes

  • Cruiser e-bike – these best for recreational riders who like a more comfortable ride. Designed mostly for flat terrains (bike paths and paved roads), cruisers have wide tires and usually feature a suspension system to reduce shock in the seat. Handlebars are placed higher to provide a more upright ride and easier on the back.
  • Commuter e-bike – these are good for getting to work or running errands. Commuter bikes typically sport large, narrow tires built for efficiency and an upright design for comfort. Think of a hybrid bike. They also feature comfortable seats, but the seats usually aren’t as wide as cruiser seats.
  • Mountain e-bike – as the name suggests, these are built for adventure seekers who prefer off-roading trails. They feature wide tires and flat handlebars for tackling rugged trails.
  • Road e-bike – similar to a cruiser bike, designed for recreational riding on paved surfaces. The difference is these lightweight bikes have narrow tires and lower handlebars for faster riding.
Electric Bike Rider with Scenic View

A Matter of Class

Classes were created to determine how e-bikes should be used according to local e-bike laws. The three different classes of e-bikes are:

  • Class 1 – The Class 1 e-bike is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when you pedal. Once you reach 20mph, the motor stops providing you help. This type of bike is appropriate for bike lanes, bike paths or wherever you ride a traditional bike.
  • Class 2 – The Class 2 e-bike is equipped with a throttle which provides a boost without pedaling.  Again, assistance caps out at 20mph.
  • Class 3 – The Class 3 e-bike is equipped with a speedometer and assists with pedalling until the bike reaches 28 mph. An excellent choice for commuters.

You can find additional information on state electric bicycle laws here.

 Motoring

There are three types of motors and they can be placed in the wheel hub or mounted to the bike. Here’s what you can expect to find when it comes to e-bike motor placement:

  • Hub motors are located inside the hub of the front or rear wheel of the bike.
  • Mid-drive motors are located in the center of the bike’s frame between the bike’s cranks.
  • Friction motors mount directly to the seat post and are more often than not available in kits to transform a traditional bike into an e-bike.

The Battery

Where the battery is located depends mostly on the shape of the bike’s frame. E-bikes that are designed for navigating city streets often place the battery on the cargo rack. Conversely, mountain bikes usually mount the battery on the down tube. A battery mounted on the down tube provides a sleek look and a more balanced ride, especially with a rear hub motor.

Woman Riding Electric Bike

5 Electric Bikes Under $1,500 To Consider

Now that we have some e-bike essentials in our basket, here’s a look at 5 top contenders at or below $1,500:

SWAGTRON SWAGCYCLE EB-7 ELITE

The Swagtron is a foldable e-bike that’s great for cycling uphill. It has a 350-watt rear hub motor and a cruise control feature that can be activated by maintaining a steady speed for seven seconds. The “pedal-assist” mode has three speeds (11 mph, 14 mph, and 18.6 mph).

The EB-7’s frame is made from aluminum and its three-fold design allows for easy storage and carry beside you on a bus or train. On flat terrain using the “throttle-only” mode you can travel 7-8 miles roundtrip if you don’t ride it aggressively.

The bike’s LCD display panel is located on the left handlebar. It shows all the essential metrics like the current battery level, speed, and work mode of the bike.

Other specs/features include:

  • Black-red or White-blue choice of color
  • Backlit handlebars
  • Battery lock with 2 keys, charger, adjustable seat, headlight, horn and tail light
  • “Autoguard” brake technology, which stops the motor when you apply the brakes
  • Weighs 42 pounds (19.2 kg)
Pros
  • Value for money
  • Good performance on hilly terrain
Cons
  • Very heavy bike
  • Stock saddle is uncomfortable and may need changing

RAD POWER BIKES RADCITY 4

Rad Power Bikes RadCity 4

The Rad City 4 distinguishes itself from the competition with its efficient 750-watt direct drive motor and step-through frame. This Class 2 commuter e-bike has a larger direct drive hub motor and is better suited to handle heavier loads and long-term usage. A direct drive motor has an array of copper wire and magnets instead of internal gears and it’s designed to easily last a decade or more. 

The other main feature that sets the RadCity4 apart is the frame. It has a larger commuter bike frame and sensible 2.3-inch wide tires. The tires offer a safe, more efficient commuter performance. Equally efficient is how the frame incorporates a rear rack directly into the frame itself.  The bike comes with a Shimano drivetrain and plastic fenders.

Among its other specs/features:

  • 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed
  • 25- to 45-mile range (45-72 km) per throttle/pedal assist
  • 48V 14Ah (672 Wh) battery
  • Kenda K-Rad 26″ x 2.3” tires w/K-shield puncture liner
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 180 mm rotors
  • LCD display with a tripmeter
  • USB charging port for cell phones
  • Mounting for front and rear racks/accessories and fenders included standard
Pros
  • Good battery range paired with a strong rear hub motor
  • Comfortable ride
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Charging unit provided is a bit weak and can take up to 6 hours to do a full charge

TREK TOWNIE GO! 7D STEP-THRU

Trek Townie Go! 7D Step-Thru

The Trek Townie is another pedal-activated assist e-bike with a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. This beach cruiser is priced to compete with other online e-bikes and offers dealer assembly, fitting, tech support. It comes in two frame styles, the high-step frame which has 27.5″ tires while the step-thru is a bit lower to hop on with 26” tires.

Offered in seven color options, the Trek Townie is a Class 1 e-bike with three levels of assist on a dimmable LED display. The rack-mounted battery has a 309.6 watt hour capacity and the efficient 350 watt geared rear hub motor is quiet but not particularly powerful on steep hills.

Large 180mm mechanical disc brakes provide respectable stopping power and wider 2.35″ tires offer comfort and stability for light trail use. There’s also a USB port on the display to charge your devices.

Among its other specs/features:

  • 20- to 50-mile range (32-80 km)
  • Aluminum frame
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • 7-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur shifter
  • Shock-absorbing elastomer cruiser saddle and rear rack
Pros
  • Simple and comfortable cruiser bike
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Not great performance up hills
  • Comes with limited features

AVENTON PACE 500 E-BIKE

Aventon Pace 500 E-Bike

The Aventon Pace 500 is a Class 3 commuter e-bike that has it all: speed and style at a reasonable price. It features an electric drivetrain with a 20-mph trigger throttle and a 28-mph, cadence-based pedal assist. Each is well-served with hydraulic disc brakes.

There have been some compromises to keep the price down. For example, there’s no suspension, integrated lights or USB charging capabilities.

Ultimately, this e-bike offers an ergonomically comfortable ride; it comes in a variety of size and color options and offers nice finishing touches such as reflective sidewall stripe tires.

Among its other specs/features:

  • 500W geared rear hub motor
  • 30-mile (48 km) range
  • 48V 11.6Ah (557 Wh) battery
  • 6061 aluminum alloy frame
  • 27.5″ x 2.2″ Kenda tires
  • LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, left-side thumb throttle, Shimano Altus 8-speed shifter
Pros
  • High performance bike achieving up to 28mph
  • Good value for money – quality components given the price
Cons
  • Assembly is more complicated than others in this round up
  • Motor isn’t the smoothest and can be a bit noisy

RIDE1UP 700 SERIES E-BIKE

Ride1Up 700 Series E-Bike

Available in two sizes for riders of many sizes, the Ride1Up comes with an aluminium frame. The frame manages to conceal a 672 Wh Samsung battery inside the downtube. The battery is lockable and removable and should give a range of 30-60 miles before needing a recharge.

This commuter e-bike can keep “pace” with the Aventon 500 with its 27 mph maximum speed and comes standard with a rear rack and a stainless steel fender set.  These parts often cost extra on other e-bikes. The rack also holds the rear light, which operates via the main battery along with the matching front head light.

There’s pedal assist for riders who prefer to skip the throttle altogether as well as a full color LCD display on the handlebars, a trigger shifter for the 8-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain and a left-side thumb throttle.

Among its other specs/features:

  • 500W geared rear hub motor
  • 30-mile (48 km) range
  • 48V 14Ah (672 Wh) battery
  • 6061 aluminum alloy frame
  • 27.5″ x 2.4″ Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires
Pros
  • Comes with a great range of accessories as standard
  • Front fork includes hydraulic suspension resulting in a smooth ride
Cons
  • Minimal customisation options
  • Battery is a bit of a hassle to re-install once removed

The E-Pick

A close call, but our favorite e-bike here would be the Rad Power RadCity 4.  

Given the price tag, the RadCity4 really stands out for overall comfort, performance and range.  It also comes with all the extra bells and whistles like a cargo rack, lights and fenders so you don’t have to splash out any extra cash! Definitely a great value commuter-friendly electric bike.

I hope this roundup has given you the confidence to choose an electric bike that works best for you. Any questions or comments, please pop us a message down below! Thanks for reading!

Hi, I'm Harry, the owner of this site! A 30-something MAMIL - a middle-aged man in lycra. An avid cyclist who is looking to maintain a baseline level of fitness to be able to enjoy the great outdoors on weekend rides with his mates!

1 thought on “5 Of The Best Electric Bikes Under $1,500”

  1. Thanks for the excellent article. It seems to me that more than anything else of importance is if the battery is WATERPROOF. This should be mandatory on every bike. This major selling point is rarely spoken of. If this bike is used for commuting, a “fair weather” Ebike is completely useless. Sorry for my ranting. Lol. I appreciate your hard work for the rest of us.

    Reply

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