“Adventure Gear Insider is reader supported. We may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase through links from this site. Learn more

7 Best Electric Bikes Under $500 Guide [Test and Reviews]

Updated April 9th, 2024

best electric bikes under $500

Electric Bikes are a great way to get around these days. They can be fast and exciting to ride. You can take them on public transportation too. Electric bikes are much less expensive than driving a car for your commute and errands. There are many great e-bikes out there for very reasonable prices these days. $500 is about as low as you can go and still get a full featured e-bike.

See below for our top picks for best electric bikes under $500. Keep reading for the rest of our recommendations and an electric bike guide.

The 9 Best Electric Bikes Under $500

1. Best Overall – GoTrax ALPHA XL

Gotrax Alpha XL Product Image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 20 mph
  • Range – 26 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 265 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 50.9 lbs
  • Motor Power – 350 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – 7 speed Shimano Tourney
  • Brakes – Disc
  • Wheel Size – 29 inch

What we liked:

  • Battery is hidden in the frame for a cleaner look
  • Battery can be removed for charging and storage
  • Simple easy to use power system with pedal assist and throttle
  • 29 inch wheels make for a smoother ride

What we didn’t like:

  • The seat is on the stiffer side
  • It can struggle going up steep hills with heavier riders

The GoTrax Alpha XL is a fun low cost electric mountain bike good for commuting or exploring parks and dirt roads. It has 29 inch wheels with mountain bike tires, a front suspension fork and 3 power modes. It can operate as a pedal assist bike or full electric with a throttle control.

The Alpha XL has an aluminum frame and cable actuated disc brakes. It will be good for light duty off road riding such as dirt and gravel roads or smoother trails. 29 inch wheels roll smoother and are more efficient than smaller wheels. It is a smooth comfortable bike to ride around on pavement. The front shock will help smooth out gaps in the pavement and potholes.

The bike has a typical Shimano Tourney setup with a 7 speed freewheel which is normal at this price point. It is a simple and reliable drive train that will get you where you want to go.

The bike has a 350 watt motor that has enough power to get you to its top speed of 20mph. It works well in both pedal assist and throttle modes on flat and slight inclines. You will have to do some pedaling to get up steeper hills with it your close to its 265 lb weight capacity. This is normal until you get into more powerful 500 watt powered bikes.

The pedal assist uses a cadence sensor. Like most cadence sensors it can take a turn or 2 of the pedals before the motor kicks in. The power comes on smoothly without too much kick.

The bike has a published range of 26 miles. Most people can get 15 to 18 miles out of it by riding on flat land or slight hills. The more hills you climb and the less pedaling you do, the shorter the range will be.

The battery is integrated into the frame giving the bike a clean look. You can remove the battery by unlocking it with a key. It can be charged in 4-5 hours with the included charger. The bike looks much better than a bike with a battery strapped to the frame.

Overall the Alpha XL is a fun simple e-bike to ride. It has a clean look and decent power. It is versatile enough for commuting, dirt roads, or light offroad usage.

See Best Deals!

Get an extra 5% Off at GoTrax.com with Coupon Code ERO5


2. Top Pick – Heybike RaceMax 27.5″ Electric Bike

Heybike Racemax product image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 21.5 mph
  • Range – 31-40 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 264 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 52.9 lbs
  • Motor Power – 500 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – 7 speed
  • Brakes – disc
  • Wheel Size – 27.5 inch

What we liked:

  • Good performance for the price
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Great for pavement or light offroad such as dirt roads or paths
  • Good range with 12.5 ah 48 volt battery
  • Comes with front and rear lights
  • Disc brakes for stopping power

What we didn’t like:

  • Suspension fork is soft for max weight riders
  • Could use higher gearing for pedal assist at max speed

The Heybike Race Max 27.5″ Electric Bike is a great entry level mountain bike with a 500 watt hub motor. It starts with a basic hard tail 27.5 inch mountain bike with a front suspension fork and disc brakes. They add a 500 watt hub motor along with a 48 volt 12.5 ah battery. This gives it much better power and range than most other $500 electric bikes.

The powertrain and battery on this bike are batting well above their price point. We usually see 350 watt motors and 36 volt batteries under $500. Heybike gives a bit more.

The bike has a top speed of 21.5 mph with pedal assist and throttle making it a bit faster than a true Class 1 or 2 e-bike. It has a twist throttle for controlling the motor and a 7 speed pedal driveline.

The bike has a basic coil spring front suspension fork that has some adjustability. If you are near the 264 lb max rider weight, it won’t be stiff enough to stop from bottoming out on bigger bumps and potholes.

The bike handles well on pavement and dirt roads. It’s fun to cruise around on backroads and go exploring. It’s got enough range for a decent length ride.

See Best Deals!


3. Best Folding e-Bike – GoTrax F1

Gotrax F1 Product Image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 20 mph
  • Range – 15-25 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 265 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 58.3 lbs
  • Motor Power – 350 watt rear hub
  • Battery – 48 volt 7.8 ah
  • Speeds – 1 Speed
  • Brakes – Mechanical disc
  • Wheel Size – 20 inch x 2.6inch tires

Gotrax F1 on river bike path

What we liked:

  • Powerful and punchy feeling for a 350 watt motor
  • Small compact size when folded
  • Quick acceleration when riding with just throttle
  • Easy to adjust for different rider sizes
  • No assembly required
  • Has headlight and tailight
  • Easy to read and use LCD display and controls

What we didn’t like:

  • The key is difficult to turn to unlock the battery for removal
  • One crank required tightening after the second ride
  • The brakes needed a little adjustment
  • The front wheel has a slight wobble and could use truing

The Gotrax F1 is a cheap folding electric bike that is big on performance. It only has a 350 watt motor but you will swear it’s got more when you ride it.

The F1 is a simple lightweight folding bike with a single speed driveline and 350 watt motor to keep the weight down. This makes it very easy to store it almost anywhere. It’s easy to throw into the back of an SUV to take on trips. You could also easily fit it into the storage area of a boat or carry it with you and hide it under your desk at work.

The bike is surpringly fun to ride. It has strong acceleration on throttle only. It can go up to 20mph on throttle alone or with pedal assist. The gearing is about right for riding the bike between 10-15mph so it works for most flat ground riding.

During our test rides we were able to get more than the 25 mile published range with the F1 even with a heavier rider. We were impressed by the range of this bike for the battery size.

The handlebar and seat height can be adjusted to make it work for most riders. We found it comfortable to ride for as long as it took to empty the battery.

If you want a cheap and fun electric folding bike, then the GoTrax F1 could be the bike for you.

See our full review of the Gotrax F1 to learn more.

Gotrax F1 Folded inside car

See Best Deals!

Get an extra 5% Off at GoTrax.com with Coupon Code ERO5


4. Best Upgrade Pick – Ride1Up Turris

Ride1up turris product image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 28 mph
  • Range – 25-45 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 300 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 55 lbs
  • Motor Power – 750 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – 7 speed Shimano Altus
  • Brakes – Hydraulic Disc
  • Wheel Size – 27.5 inch

What we liked:

  • Lots of power and speed
  • Smooth ride with front suspension fork
  • Long range
  • Comfortable to ride with upright seating position
  • Good cornering performance without being twitchy
  • Clean looking frame with integrated battery
  • Includes lights and fenders

What we didn’t like:

  • Noisy motor
  • Range is short with heavier riders

The Ride1Up Turris is a great fast and fun e-bike. If I was going to spend $1000 on an e-bike this would be it. It is a fast bike with longer range. It can go up to 28mph and has a range of 25-45 miles. The bike comes nicely equipped with front and rear fenders and lights. Ride1Up chose a nice balance of performance and accessories.

The bike has all cables and wires mounted inside the frame. The battery is integrated into the downtube for a clean look. The frame is available in a regular and step thru version. There are 3 colors available as well.

The Turris has a 750 watt rear hub motor giving it plenty of hill climbing power. It can go up to 28mph. It has good acceleration and can easily reach its top speed. The bike has a 7 speed Shimano Altus driveline which has enough range for hill climbing and going fast on flats. Altus is a small upgrade over the Shimano Tourney found on all the other bikes on this list.

The bike has a more relaxed geometry with an upright seating position making it comfortable to ride. The geometry has enough sportiness to it that the bike feels stable going fast and corners well. The Kenda 27.5 inch tires provide lots of grip and plenty of cushion. The front suspension fork provides enough cushion for absorbing cracks, potholes on paved roads and smoothing out dirt roads.

See our guide to the best $1000 electric bikes for more good choices in this price range.

See Best Deals!

Get up to $300 Off Ebikes during the Ride1UP Gear Up For Spring Sale


5 – Jasion EB5 Electric Bike

Jasion EB5 electric bike product image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 20 mph
  • Range – 40 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 264 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 49.6 lbs
  • Motor Power – 350 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – 7 speed
  • Brakes – disc
  • Wheel Size – 26 inch

What we liked:

  • Good performance for the price

What we didn’t like:

  • Suspension fork is soft for max weight riders

The Jasion EB5 is a budget starter electric commuter mountain bike that will get you around town and back. It has a 350 watt rear hub motor and top speed of 20mph.

The 36 volt 10 ah battery will give you enough range to go up to 40 miles on flat terrain. The 350 watt motor will give you some help on hills but it won’t power up hills like a 750 watt bike would. If you ride on mostly flat streets and paths than 350 watt is enough to get you around.

The 7 speed pedal driveline has low enough gearing for pedalling up hills that aren’t too steep. The bike is light enough it can be pedalled without motor on flat terrain.

This bike has 26 inch wheels with knobby tires that will work well on pavement and dirt roads. It has a coil spring front suspension fork that will help take the edge off of cracks in the pavement and potholes. It is on the soft side like the forks that come on most e-bikes under $1000.

See Best Deals!


6 – Swagtron EB5 Folding Electric Bike

Swagtron EB5 product image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 15 mph
  • Range – 15.5-30 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 264 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 42.3 lbs
  • Motor Power – 250 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – Single speed
  • Brakes – U-Brakes
  • Wheel Size – 16 inch

What we liked:

  • Compact folding design
  • Simple reliable design
  • Folding pedals for more compact size

What we didn’t like:

  • Single speed driveline makes hills difficult to climb without electric assist
  • Smaller wheel size makes the ride not so smooth

The Swagtron SWAGCYCLE EB5 is a great portable folding electric bike. It folds down to a very compact size. At 42.3 lbs it is easy to carry around with the built in carrying handle. It has both pedal assist and throttle operated motor.

The battery is replaceable by pulling the battery out of the frame. Extra batteries are available if you want more range. The bike will go 30 miles with pedal assist or 15 miles on battery power alone. It goes a top speed of 15mph. The motor is a hub motor located in the rear wheel.

The pedal assist on this bike is always on and only has one power level which is full power. For larger riders this is good. It will get you going right away with just a little pedal effort. For smaller riders, you should use caution as it is a lot of power. There is enough power to make climbing hills easy with pedal assist. The single speed driveline makes the bike a struggle on hills with power turned off.

This bike has U-brakes that do an adequate job of stopping it.

The bike’s frame, handlebars, and pedals can all fold. The seat has enough adjustment to fit small and large riders. You can easily make this bike fit both short and tall riders. The bike is small enough to fit in the trunk of many compact cars without folding. It will fit almost anywhere folded.

The Swagtron EB5 is a great little folding electric bike that you can ride and take almost anywhere. This makes it among my favorite bikes in the $500 price range.

See Best Deals!


7 – Jetson Bolt Folding Electric Bike

Jetson Bolt product image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 18 mph
  • Range – 17 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 250 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 34 lbs
  • Motor Power – 250 watt hub motor
  • Speeds – No pedal driveline
  • Brakes – Rear disc brake
  • Wheel Size – 14 inch

What we liked:

  • Very fun bike to ride
  • Small compact size
  • Simple clean design

What we didn’t like:

  • Struggles going up hills
  • No pedal driveline

The Jetson Bolt Folding Electric Bike is a very fun compact little electric bike for a great price. This bike is extremely fun to ride whether commuting or just for fun.

The Bolt does not have any pedal driveline. It is purely an e-bike with throttle power. There is an upgraded Bolt Pro that also has a pedal driveline and some other features for more money.

The highlight of this bike is how fun it is to ride. It can go up to 18mph after you remove the speed limiter in the smartphone app. As delivered it tops out at 15mph. It has small wheels so rides more like a scooter than a traditional bike. At 18mph it will get your adrenaline going.

This e-bike is powered by a 250 watt hub motor in the rear wheel. It gives you plenty of zoom on flatlands. It will struggle going up hills especially with heavier riders. If you plan on riding your e-bike somewhere with lots of hills you might consider the Bolt Pro instead.

For brakes, there is one rear disc brake. It is enough to stop you but we would prefer a front and rear brake. Front brakes have more stopping power on any bike than the rear brake. We understand that compromises were made to keep the cost low on this bike and that is one of the omissions.

The bike has built in LED headlights and taillights for night riding. The taillight also acts as a brake light to let any cars nearby know you are stopping.

The handlebar of the bike folds down. This bike is already very compact so it doesn’t reduce the size a lot further. The feature is there for those who want to use it. The bike weighs 34 lbs making it very portable. You can carry this into your office or onto public transportation to get wherever you intend to zoom around.

Overall this is a great fun little zippy bike. It is one of the cheapest e-bikes out there as well.

See Best Deals!


Electric Bike Guide

There is a lot of things to think about when purchasing an electric bike. Where do you plan on riding it? How far do you need to go on it. Do you need to transport it on public transportation or the trunk of your car? How fast do you want to go? Let’s explore all of these electric bike questions below.

What are the benefits of an electric bike?

There are several benefits to an electric bike. Let’s look at a few of them.

  • They allow you to ride farther and faster than you could with a conventional bike.
  • People who can’t ride a regular bike due to lower body injury can ride e-bikes.
  • You can still use an e-bike to lose weight. This is especially true for people with injuries who can’t do other exercises.
  • E-bikes make great commuter vehicles. They are much cheaper to own and operate than a car.
  • They are fun to ride. Zipping around on a bike has never been boring no matter what kind of bike it is.

What should I look for when buying an electric bike?

Operating modes

There are a few different operating modes for electric bikes. They are motor powered and pedal assist. An electric bike may operate in one or both modes and also as an unpowered bike depending on the bike. Some electric bikes are able to switch modes.

  • Powered Bike – The motor can power the bike on its own with no pedaling input. The bike may or may not have pedals.
  • Pedal Assist – The motor provides power only when the rider is pedaling. A sensor on the pedal detects when the bike is being pedaled and powers the motor only when it’s being pedaled.
  • Unpowered bike – You pedal the bike with no electric assist or power.

Motor power

Most electric bikes in the under $500 price range have a motor that is between 250 and 350 watts of power. For reference 1 horsepower is equal to 745.7 watts. The more power an e-bike has, the easier it will be to go up hills, and the faster it can go.

Battery size

Most under $500 electric bikes have 36 volt lithium batteries. An electric bike with more battery capacity will have more range and can have more output power. Higher capacity lithium cells can discharge at a higher current without damaging the cells. More capacity is better. The downside to more battery capacity is that the batteries get bigger and heavier. There is only so much space on a bicycle frame to store batteries. If you need to carry your electric bike, battery weight becomes an important factor.

Bike Type

You can get electric bikes in all of the common bike types these days. The most popular types of bikes are listed below.

  • Road bike – These bikes are primarily meant for riding on smooth paved surfaces. They have a crouched down riding position with drop handlebars.
  • Mountain bike – These bikes are meant for riding off road on trails. They have flat handlebars and a more upright riding position. Most have front suspension or full suspension.
  • Hybrid bike – These are a cross between mountain bikes and road bikes. They have a more upright riding position and flat handlebars similar to a mountain bike. They are lighter weight with tires and wheels that are more pavement oriented.
  • Gravel bike – These are another cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. They have droop handlebars and crouched down seating position of a road bike with wheels and tires that are more oriented towards gravel or dirt road surfaces
  • Commuter bike – These are an offshoot of a road bike. They tend to have flat handlebars and upright seating position. They have wheels and tires meant for pavement use.
  • Folding bike – This is a bike that can fold in half to be more portable. They tend to be road bikes with pavement oriented tires and wheels and flat handlebars.

Driveline

The bike will have some combination of chainrings (front gears) and cogs (rear gears). 3 x 7 drivelines with 3 chainrings and 7 cogs are really common in bikes under $1000. Since e-bikes also have motor assist they don’t always have a need for really low gearing. Some bikes have a 1 x 7 or single chain ring and 7 cogs.

Higher end drivelines usually mean more range in gear ratios. This means you get better climbing (low gear) and better top speed (high gear).

As you go up in cost bikes transition from a 3 x 7 system to a 3 x 8 or 3 x 9 system. Then to a 2 x 10 and finally to 1 x 11 and 1 x 12 on high end bikes. 1 x 12’s are wonderful and simple to use since they have a lot of range and no front derailleur to worry about.

This may seem counter intuitive since higher end bikes lose the front derailleur and have fewer parts. Low end bikes have 3 chainring drivelines which would seem to be a more complex system.

Brake type

Bike brakes are either v-brake or u-brakes that clamp on the rim to stop the bike or disc brakes. V-Brakes are the traditional bike brake that are operated by a cable. They work by clamping brake pads against the sidewalls of your bike rims. They work well when setup right. They don’t work when the bike rims get wet. If the bike wheel becomes bent and out of true it effects their clamping effort. They have less stopping power then disc brakes.

Disc brakes work by clamping against a rotor attached to the center of your bike wheel. They can be operated by a cable or hydraulics. They have several advantages over v-brakes. They have much higher braking power. You can screech to a stop with 1 finger effort. They work on wet roads. The rotor is far from the wheels and wet pavement. They work with bent or out of true wheels because they are attached to the hub.

Disc brakes are better performing and preferred for any e-bike.

Frame Material

Most bike frames are made of aluminum. Aluminum offers good lightweight construction for a reasonable price.

Carbon fiber is the next most popular choice but it is much much more expensive. Carbon fiber bikes will weigh several pounds less than an aluminum bike. You will pay a few thousand dollars to save those few pounds.

Some bikes are still made with steel frames. Steel frames are a few pounds heavier than aluminum. Steel has good durability and the frames are more flexible than aluminum so it can provide a softer ride.

With an electric bike, you are carrying around several pounds of batteries. Some have 20 to 30 lbs of batteries which weigh as much as some bikes. It’s not worth spending thousands for a carbon frame when you are going to strap pounds of battery weight to it.

Wheel size

Bigger bicycle wheels give a smoother ride. Bigger wheels roll with less resistance and are more efficient. Common wheel sizes for full size bike wheels are 29 inch or 700C, 27.5inch or 650b, and 26inch. 26 inch is no longer common except on cheap mountain bikes or fat bikes with 4 inch wide tires.

Foldable bikes or small portable bikes have smaller wheels. These make the bike light enough to carry. They will not ride as smoothly and they will take more effort to climb hills.

Bike size

Will the bike fit you? The best way to check this is the bike size chart published by the manufacturer. See what height rider they recommend for their bike. You can learn more by reading our guide for how to measure a bike and see what size fits you.

Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes

California has developed a system of 3 classifications for electric bikes. Several other states and federal organizations have adopted it as well. The classifications are as follows:

  • Class 1 e-bike – pedal assist only with no throttle and a top powered speed of 20mph
  • Class 2 e-bike – Bike can be powered by the motor alone with a maximum powered speed of 20mph
  • Class 3 e-bike – pedal assist only with no throttle and a top powered speed of 28mph

To learn more about electric bike classifications go here.

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Doug Ryan
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

doug@adventuregearinsider.com