You can bag a full-suspension eMTB for under £3k nowadays... but are they up to the job?

With more and more decent cheap electric mountain bikes hitting shopfloors and online portals, what’s the lowest price point you should consider?

>>> Best electric mountain bikes: all you need to know

Our round-up of cheap electric mountain bikes

  • Stilus SX Eagle, £2699
  • Voodoo Zobop E, £2999
  • Vitus E-Escarpe, £3199
  • Giant Stance E+ 1, £3299
  • Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0, £3449
  • Cannondale Moterra Neo 5, £3599
  • Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625, £3799
  • YT Decoy Base 29, £3999

‘Buy Now’ links’

You will notice that beneath each bike summary is a ‘Buy Now’ 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.

Voodoo Zobop e-Shimano

Mid-drive motors are a must-have

Should you buy a cheap electric mountain bike?

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.

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 full suspension.

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

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 eMTBing is covering loads of miles with minimum discomfort. Hardtails just don’t quite cut it.

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.

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.

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.

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 quick look what cheap electric mountain bikes are out there at the moment.

cheap electric mountain bikes

Stilus SX Eagle 27.5+, £2699

Highlights

  • Bosch Performance Line CX motor
  • 35mm stanchion RockShox fork
  • 12-speed drivetrain

Question marks

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

cheap electric mountain bikes

Voodoo Zobop E, £2999

Highlights

  • Good suspension fork and shock
  • Shimano STEPS E8000 motor
  • Still a great handling fun bike

Question marks

  • Looks a bit dated
  • Slightly old school geometry
  • Underpowered brakes

Read our review.

cheap electric mountain bikes

Vitus E-Escarpe, £3199

Highlights

  • 29er sibling to excellent 27.5 Vitus E-Sommet
  • Capable angles and reach
  • Excellent suspension and Maxxis tyres

Question marks

  • Bottom bracket height a shade lofty
  • External battery ain’t ever pretty
  • Only 10-speed drivetrain

cheap electric mountain bikes

Giant Stance E+ 1, £3,299

Highlights

  • Integrated battery in down tube (yay bottle bosses!)
  • Available in loads of real-world bike shops
  • 12-speed drivetrain

Question marks

  • Undergunned with only 120mm travel
  • Geometry is slightly old fashioned
  • Long chainstays won’t suit shorter riders

Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0, £3449

Highlights

  • 29in wheels works well to overcome modest 130mm of travel
  • Shimano STEPS E8000 motor
  • Looks killer

Question marks

  • RockShox Recon forks aren’t the stiffest
  • Conservative geometry
  • Some overly XC finishing kit

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5 29er, £3599

Highlights

  • It’s a looker
  • Fun and capable geometry
  • 29in wheels + 140/150mm of travel = fast

Question marks

  • Looks a bit overpriced
  • Shimano MT200 brakes lack power
  • Tyres lack bite

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC race 625, £3799

Highlights

  • Bosch Performance Line CX motor
  • 12-speed drivetrain
  • Good suspension feel

Question marks

  • Relatively long chainstays
  • Well-thought and sensible spec
  • Own-brand finishing kit won’t appeal to brand snobs

YT Decoy Base 29, £3999

Highlights

  • Sorted geometry
  • Great suspension
  • Amazing spec – even for a direct sales brand

Question marks

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

Should you 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.