With the best cheap electric mountain bikes starting at around £3k, you don't need to spend the earth to discover the joy of assisted trail riding.

The best budget electric mountain bikes are more popular than ever before; they take the effort out of big climbs, and allow you to ride further, faster, or just pack more into your lunch break. And while you can spend an absolute fortune on an electric mountain bike, there are some good quality lower priced options out there. We’ve tried and tested most of the following, so you know you’re getting a great bike that’s up to the job.


Decathlon Stilus E-Big Mountain

Decathlon’s Stilus E-Big Mountain looks like a serious weapon and a big step-up for the sports superstore chain.

1. Decathlon Stilus E-Big Mountain

Bosch-equipped bike park-slugger from the sports superstore chain

Wheel size: 29in f/27.5in r | Frame: Alloy, 170mm travel | Frame sizes: M, L, XL | Motor: Bosch Performance CX | Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy:

  • Aggressive geometry and burly build built for big hits
  • Superb Bosch Performance CX motor packs a powerful punch and is backed up by a huge battery
  • Coil-sprung suspension should offer supple ground-tracing capability and gobble up big jumps

Reasons to avoid:

  • Only three sizes
  • Kickstand mount and locking battery are not necessary on a high performance e-mtb
  • Very heavy at a claimed 27.4kg

Decathlon’s previous Stilus e-bikes have always ticked the value box, but in terms of geometry, sizing, spec, and suspension they have lagged behind options from specialist brands. With this new Stilus E-Big Mountain, Decathlon looks to have substantially upped its game, with on-paper geometry that mirrors the excellent Vitus E-Mythique LT, the benchmark Bosch Performance CX motor and high-capacity battery, and a well considered spec that’s designed for extreme trails. At a price that undercuts the Vitus, we may have a clash of the budget e-bike titans on our hands.


Decathlon Rockrider E-E-EXPL 520 S

The Decathlon Rockrider E-E-EXPL 520 comes with all mod-cons for an unbeatable price.

2. Decathlon Rockrider E-Expl 520 S

Best budget e-bike under £3,000

Wheel size: 29in | Frame: Alloy, 140mm travel | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Motor: Brose T 70Nm/460W | Battery: Brose 500Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy:

  • Sleek alloy frame with modern geometry
  • Brose motor is smooth and silent and gets Bluetooth connectivity
  • Air-sprung suspension is easy to adjust
  • Dropper post fitted as standard

Reasons to avoid:

  • Small 500Wh battery
  • Tyres aren’t tubeless-ready

Decathlon’s Rockrider E-Expl 520 S is an amazing deal at under £3k, coming with everything you need from a modern electric mountain bike. There’s a quality aluminium frame with up-to-date sizing and geometry, sorted suspension with air fork and shock, so you can easily set-up to your body weight. A dropper post lets you get the saddle out of the way for descending, and the Brose motor is smooth and silent, offering plenty of assistance to take the hurt out of steep climbs. We’ve got one on test right now, so look out for a full review very soon. There’s also a cheaper version with a detuned motor, less travel, and no dropper post for under £2.5k.


Giant Stance E+ 1

Giant’s entry-level Stance E+ 1 is good big-name option for exploring off-road tracks and trails.

3. Giant Stance E+ 1

A great value full-suspension e-bike from a brand with a huge dealer network

Wheel size: 29in | Frame: Alloy, 125mm travel | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Motor: Giant SyncDrive Sport 75Nm  | Battery: EnergyPak Smart 625Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy:

  • Plush rear suspension response and seamless power delivery.
  • Clear, compact, easy to use display/controller.
  • Generous frame sizing and good standover.
  • Smooth shifting with Shimano LinkGlide 10-speed drivetrain

Reasons to avoid:

  • Thin casing Maxxis tyres
  • Long chainstays give the bike a more forward weight bias.
  • Cables routed through the headset are a pain to work with

Giant has always been a brand that delivers great value along with the back-up of a physical store. So if you’re looking to get your first e-bike, and want a bit of hand-holding through the process, the Stance E+ 1 is a good place to start. It’s relatively short travel, so doesn’t feel overwhelming and inert on forest tracks and trails, but has enough cush to provide comfort, confidence, and traction in the rough.

The SyncDrive motor, built by Yamaha and tuned by Giant, it fairly quiet and delivers its power smoothly, so you can concentrate on hitting the right lines and reaching the summits of impossible climbs. And it will deliver its power without having to spin your legs at dizzying speeds. As we said when we tested it: “It’s a remarkably capable bike, and the only number that’s off in terms of geometry is the chainstay length. With a shorter back end, tougher tyres and a wider spread of gear ratios Giant could really expand this bike’s horizon”.

Read our full review of the Giant Stance E+ 1


Decathlon Stilus E-AM

Decathlon’s Stilus E-AM isn’t quite as cutting-edge as the likes of the Vitus E-Mythique LT, but it’s very good value.

4. Decathlon Stilus E-AM

Supermarket enduro e-bike

Wheel size: 29in | Frame: Alloy, 130mm travel | Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL | Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX 85Nm | Battery: Bosch Powertube 625Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy: 

  • Proper Bosch Performance Line CX motor and generous 625Wh battery
  • Great value for money
  • 150mm travel and 29in wheels should cope with most proper mountain biking

Reasons to avoid: 

  • Narrow 760mm handlebar
  • Short dropper post
  • No geometry info online

Decathlon’s trail-orientated e-bike, the Stilus E-AM looks more contemporary and capable than previous e-bikes from the French sports superstore. There’s a superb, proven Bosch motor and battery, but the handling and performance of the frame is a bit of an unknown until we can get our hands on one.


Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano studio pic

Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano

5. Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano

Best electric mountain bike for £2,500

Wheel Size: 29in | Frame: Alloy, 140mm travel | Frame sizes: 18in, 20in, 22in | Motor: Shimano STEPS E7000 | Battery: Shimano STEPS BT-8010 504Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy:

  • Good suspension fork and shock, works well with easy-to-setup suspension design
  • Shimano STEPS E7000 motor is a nice little runner with discreet bar control and display
  • Still a great handling fun bike with wide-range gearing to take you anywhere

Reason to avoid: 

  • Looks a bit dated and the 2.8in Plus tyres don’t work so well on UK trails
  • Slightly old school geometry, main issue being mediocre standover and dropper post insertion
  • Underpowered brakes pretty much need upgrading straight away

Voodoo’s Zobop is getting a bit long in the tooth compared to the other bikes here, with a small capacity, externally mounted battery that looks pretty ungainly next to the latest e-bikes with internal batteries. The geometry and sizing hasn’t changed in about five years, so it’s not as stable as newer bikes, and the saddle and top tube can get in the way a bit when descending. But it’s very good value, available from your local Halfords store, and it’s got a decent mid-mounted Shimano motor and quality RockShox suspension. Despite ageing noticeably, it’s still a blast to ride, so if you can pick one up at the right price, it’s worth a look.

Read our full review of the Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano


Canyon Neuron:ON 6 2024 e-bike

Canyon’s latest Neuron:ON 6 looks sleek and modern and comes in three different colours, from mild to wild.

6. Canyon Neuron:ON 6

Best for singletrack cruising

Wheel size: 29in | Frame: Alloy, 130mm travel | Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL | Motor: Shimano STEPS EP6 | Battery: Shimano STEPS 630Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy: 

  • 29in wheels works well to overcome modest 130mm of travel
  • Rolls fast and good range
  • Shimano STEPS EP6 motor has a natural ride feel
  • Looks as killer as all the much more expensive Canyon models!

Reasons to avoid: 

  • You can’t easily try before you buy
  • Doesn’t get the updated geometry of the latest Neuron:ON models
  • Some overly XC finishing kit

Canyon’s Neuron:On is geared towards cruising along dirt tracks and forest singletrack with the sun streaming through the trees and the breeze ruffling your jersey. It’s fast-rolling and efficient, so you can cover ground with less effort, and yet it can also be taken around black-graded trail centre loops and even more technical trails without getting out of its depth.

The aluminium frame is sleek and good-looking, expertly integrating the Shimano motor and hiding the 630Wh battery within the down tube. You get quality Fox suspension, a wide-range Shimano drivetrain capable of conquering the steepest ascents, and light-action Shimano brakes for confidence and control. A great e-bike to get you started riding off-road.

Read our full review of the Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0


Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 625

Cube’s Stereo Hybrid 140 625 and 750 come with a hi-tech carbon frame at a price that’s not to be sniffed at.

7. Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC

Best budget e-bike with a carbon frame

Wheel size: 27.5in (XS, S)/29in (M, L, XL) | Frame: Carbon, 140mm travel | Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL | Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX | Battery: Bosch PowerTube 625Wh or 750Wh | Rating: N/A

Reasons to buy:

  • Bosch Performance Line CX motor combined with 11-speed drivetrain opens up very trail
  • 140mm suspension travel and 29in wheels make this pretty much a classic trail bike that happens to be electric
  • Carbon frame is almost unheard of at this price

Reasons to avoid: 

  • Relatively long chainstays may not suit you – especially if you’re not tall
  • Well thought-out and sensible spec yes, but it does all add up to a hefty overall bike
  • Own-brand finishing kit won’t appeal to brand snobs

A carbon frame is the big lure with Cube’s Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC, and this means a smooth, sculpted finish and less weight. Sure, the weight saving is less noticeable on a bike that weighs north of 24.5kg, but everything helps, right? And it means the frame is ripe for future upgrades. Bolted to the front triangle is the potent Bosch Performance CX motor. This unit is highly regarded for experts and beginners alike, with configurable power, enough grunt for the steepest climbs, even at slow pedal speeds, and wireless connection for your phone.

Smaller frames get compact 27.5in wheels, while larger sizes roll on 29in hoops for a smoother ride. You can also choose the larger 750Wh battery for extended range, or the 625Wh version for less weight and more agile handling. For a shop-bought, carbon-framed e-bike with a Bosch motor, the Cube Stereo Hybrid is a steal.

Read our full review of the Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC TM 625


What’s the lowest price point you should consider on a budget e-bike?

Whilst you can probably buy something called an ‘electric mountain bike’ for under $1500 or £1,000, chances are it wouldn’t really be suitable or capable of doing some proper mountain biking. And it’s not worth the risk trying to go too cheap, as the extra weight, power and speed of an e-bike means that you can’t make compromises when it comes to strength of the frame and components, or the power and quality of the brakes.

Vitus E-Mythique LT VRX

E-bikes let you climb the seemingly impossible.

How much to spend on a budget e-bike for mountain biking?

You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to come out and state that any electric mountain bike worth getting must have a mid-drive motor. For proper mountain biking, we’d always recommend a full-suspension bike, but a hardtail will be fine if all you want to do is cruise around on some dirt tracks and forest paths. For a full-suspension e-bike, £3,000 / $3,500 is the real starting point for something worth spending your heard-earned on.

What to look for in the best budget electric bike

Which bike you should go for will depend on a number of factors. Yes, budget is one of them but you’ll also need to consider the type of terrain you’ll be riding on and what kind of riding you’re planning to do.

Should I buy a hardtail e-bike?

Electric hardtails are fine for general mixed riding at a casual level (gravel roads, towpaths etc), but there’s no getting over the fact that they are rather uncomfortable to ride on proper MTB trails. You get really quite battered by the back end in your feet and your back and you will probably suffer quite a few rear punctures.

One of the whole points and joys of riding the best mountain bike models with pedal assist is covering loads of miles with minimum discomfort. Hardtails just don’t quite cut it.

Kinesis electric hardtail standing proud

Sorry, but e-hardtails aren’t quite there for us

What is a mid-drive electric mountain bike?

All the best electric mountain bikes come with a mid-drive. This refers to the motor being mounted in the middle of the bike and assisting the cranks, rather than being mounted in the hubs and assisting the wheels. Hub-motors don’t work well for mountain biking because they add lots of weight to the wheels, which in turn leads to sluggish handling and a harsh, uncomfortable ride.

What should I expect from a budget electric mountain bike?

Staying within this full-suspension remit, you’ll currently do well to keep the price tag below £3,000/$3,500. Well, without ending up with a ropey old off-brand eMTB  – probably with a hub motor and assorted awful components – that doesn’t really bear thinking about.

External battery on an ebike downtube

External batteries are mostly a thing of the past, with modern power packs hidden inside the down tube.

The good news is that there are now a few good mid-drive full-suspension e-bikes available around the £3,000 -£4,000/$3,500- $4,500 mark. And although the direct sales mail order brands still dominate, there are more proper bike shop bike brands making more affordable eMTBs.

Basic, skinny forks can feel flexy and vague on a 25kg e-bike.

There are however still a two things to look out for with such entry-level electric mountain bikes: cost-cutting specs and poor geometry. Examples of corners being cut to hit the price point include: no dropper post, skinny leg suspension forks and budget-end brakes. To be frank, everything will be chosen to hit a tight price point, but these items listed above are the biggest problems to look out for because they have the biggest negative impact on your ride experience, and also cost the most money to upgrade. Having said that, e-bikes show how well most modern components performs on the trail. Entry-level kit generally works fine, it’s just heavier and doesn’t look as swish. Neither of which really matters here.

Vitus E-Sommet VRX 2023

Good geometry gives you the confidence to ride hard and push your limits.

Geometry however, is not upgradeable. You’re stuck with it. No matter how tempting a deal is, don’t get an eMTB that is out of date in terms of its dimensions. Geometry numbers to look out for: head angle, chainstay length and standover. The latter two dimensions are especially important if you’re a shorter rider. E-bikes with mullet wheels (29in up front, and 27.5in at the rear) are also worth seeking out as they tend to be more agile in the turns, and give more bum clearance on steep descents. Find out what numbers to look for and why they’re important with our comprehensive guide to mountain bike geometry.

Giant Stance E+ 1

The Giant Stance E+ 1 is shorter travel than most e-bikes at 125mm.

Similarly, you may find all sorts of deals on eMTBs with relatively modest amounts of travel. We’d be very wary of getting an eMTB with less than 140mm of travel. E-bikes take a lot of (ab)use and also pass a lot of punishment to the components. With bikes this heavy, that can cover ground at such speed (uphill, downhill and along-hill!), the componentry takes a hammering. A hammering that perhaps 120mm of travel isn’t quite cut out for. And given that pedal efficiency is not as important (thanks to having up to 600W on tap) you may as well go for an e-bike with at least 140mm travel.

Ducati Powerstage RR

Buy an e-bike and you’ll fall in love with climbing as well as descending!

Should I wait to buy an electric mountain bike?

No. You could be having the best time of your whole bike riding life right now. Don’t wait. Time is precious. On a less dramatic note, although still rapid, the rate of technological advancement isn’t as crazy quick as it was a couple of years ago.

We often hear people saying that they’re going to wait to buy an e-bike until the market has matured. The thing is, this isn’t like the early days of full-suspension bikes for example. E-bikes are never going to stop advancing fast with their tech. Not having an e-bike now because of what will be available in a few years is a bit like not having an iPhone until the iPhone 6 came out. Sure, the iPhone 6 was better than the iPhone 1, but you just missed out on years of… you know, actually having an iPhone. Equally prices are only going one way – up. So if you can get hold of one now, then don’t procrastinate or you’ll likely pay the penalty later.