You can bag one of the best budget electric mountain bike models for around £3k nowadays... but are they up to the job of proper trail riding?

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Where to start with picking the best budget electric mountain bike for you? It’s a daunting task but one that is perfectly manageable – once you’ve read this guide. With more and more lower budget electric mountain bikes hitting shopfloors and online portals, what’s the lowest price point you should consider? Whilst you can probably buy something called an ‘electric mountain bike’ for under £1000, chances are it wouldn’t really be suitable or capable of doing some proper mountain biking.

How much to spend? 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 and also be a full suspension bike. Which results in £3000 being the real starting point for the best electric mountain bike options.

Best budget electric mountain bike

Shimano STEPS E-7000 motor

Mid-drive motors are a must-have

What no hardtails?

Correct. Electric hardtails are fine for general mixed riding at a casual level but there’s no getting over the fact that they are rather uncomfortable to ride. You get really quite battered by the back end in your feet and your back. 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

Staying within this full-suspension remit, you’ll currently do well to keep the price tag below £3000. 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

Vitus are putting together some impressive eMTBs

The good news is that there are now more and more mid-drive full-suspension eMTBs available around the £3000 mark. And although the direct sales mail order brands still dominate, there are more proper bike shop bike brands doing eMTBs for well under £4000.

There are however still a two things to look out for with such entry-level electric mountain bikes: cost-cutting specs and poor geometry.

Entry level Shimano disc brakes

Be wary of under-powered low-end brakes

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, there will be nothing that isn’t budget OEM stuff but these items listed 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, one great thing about eMTBs is how they reveal how excellent most bike componentry works 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.

Whyte ebike in the woods

Great geometry is a winner

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.

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 give a lot back straight back into the componentry. 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.

Let’s have a closer look what budget electric mountain bikes are out there at the moment.

‘View Deal’ links’

You will notice that beneath each best budget electric mountain bike summary is a ‘View Deal’ link. If you click on one of these links then mbr may receive a small amount of money from the retailer should you go to purchase the product from them. Don’t worry, this does not affect the amount you pay.


Stilus V2 27.5+ Electric All Mountain white background

Stilus V2 27.5+ Electric All Mountain

Stilus V2 27.5+ Electric All Mountain

eMTB from Decathlon in-house brand

Price: £3499 | Frame: 150mm travel | Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX | Battery: Bosch PowerTube 625Wh

Highlights

  • Bosch Performance Line CX motor with pokey 85Nm torque and big battery.
  • Decent 35mm stanchion RockShox fork and Deluxe rear shock.
  • 12-speed wide-range drivetrain and strong 4-pot brakes with big 200mm rotors.

Question marks

  • Slightly old-school geometry with short reach.
  • Very long chainstays reduce maneuverability.
  • Narrow handlebar and lightly treaded tyres.

View Deal at Decathlon


Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano studio pic

Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano

Voodoo Zobop E-Shimano

Fun and capable eMTB from Halfords

Price: £2999 | Frame: 140mm travel | Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000 | Battery: Shimano STEPS BT-8010 504Wh

Highlights

  • 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.
  • Voodoo Zobop E review

Question marks

  • 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.

View Deal at Halfords


Vitus E-Sommet VR studio shot

Vitus E-Sommet VR

Vitus E-Sommet VR

Affordable electric enduro rig

Price: £3599 | Frame: 170mm travel | Motor: Shimano STEPS E7000 | Battery: Shimano E8035 504Wh

Highlights

  • Mismatched mullet wheels (29in front, 27.5in rear) and plenty of suspension travel.
  • Progressive angles and top tube reach makes for an aggressive handling gravity-centric e-bike.
  • Excellent suspension performance and capable spec such as premium quality Maxxis tyres.
  • Vitus E-Sommet review

Question marks

  • Some riders may fall between sizes.
  • Internally routed cables via proprietary headset is faffy and impairs dropper actuation.
  • Possibly too much bike for milder trails and riders.

View Deal at Chain Reaction Cycles


Giant Stance E+ 2 side on

Giant Stance E+ 2

Giant Stance E+ 2

Ideal for upgrading and XC up-grading

Price: £3299 | Frame: 120mm travel | Motor: Giant SyncDrive Sport | Battery: Giant EnergyPak Smart 500

Highlights

  • Integrated battery in down tube (yay bottle bosses!)
  • Available in loads of real-world bike shops so easier to deal with any teething issues.
  • Good contact points and large rotor disc brakes.

Question marks

  • Undergunned for some rider with a modest 120mm travel (albeit with a 130mm travel fork).
  • Geometry is slightly old fashioned, as is the lack of a dropper seatpost.
  • Long chainstays won’t suit shorter riders.

Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0 portrait

Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0

Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0

Shimano EP8 motor is the star here

Price: £3699 | Frame: 130mm travel | Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8 | Battery: Shimano STEPS 504Wh

Highlights

  • 29in wheels works well to overcome modest 130mm of travel.
  • Shimano STEPS EP8 motor is a rela highlight at this price point.
  • Looks as killer as all the much more expensive Canyon models!
  • Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0 review

Question marks

  • There will always be the ‘gamble’ of buying an e-bike via direct sales in the eventuality of any issues.
  • Conservative geometry for such an otherwise modern machine.
  • Some overly XC finishing kit and the RockShox Recon forks aren’t the stiffest.

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5 cut out

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5

Loads of potential for play

Price: £3800 | Frame: 150mm travel | Motor: Shimano STEPS E7000 | Battery: Shimano STEPS 504Wh

Highlights

  • It’s a looker and – hey! It has bottle bosses.
  • Fun and capable geometry.
  • 29in wheels + 150mm of travel = fast.

Question marks

  • Looks a bit overpriced in terms of spec, more than makes up for it in terms of aesthetics.
  • Shimano MT200 brakes with 180mm rotors lack power.
  • Tyres also lack bite and the 10-speed drivetrain is a upgrade-dead-end.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625 drop shadow

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625

Great value for new Bosch motor and big battery

Price: £3799 | Frame: 140mm travel | Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX | Battery: Bosch PowerTube 625Wh

Highlights

  • Bosch Performance Line CX motor combined with 12-speed drivetrain opens upe very trail.
  • 140mm suspension travel and 29in wheels make this pretty much a classic trail bike that happens to be electric.
  • Good suspension feel and is impressively fun to ride.
  • Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC TM 625 review

Question marks

  • 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.

YT Decoy Base 29 product shot

YT Decoy Base 29

YT Decoy Base 29

Unbeatable value meets great handling

Price: £3999 | Frame: 150mm | Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000 | Battery: Shimano Custom 540Wh

Highlights

Question marks

  • It’s £4000.
  • Lacks real-world bike shop after sales.
  • Er… clutching at straws a bit here!

 


Should you just wait a bit longer?

No.

As we’ve said before, 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 ebike until they 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 ebike 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.