The Best Affordable E-Bikes by Type of Rider

Bicycles 29 photos
Photo: Fahrbike
Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4Lectric XpeditionLectric XpeditionLectric XpeditionLectric XpeditionLectric XpeditionRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaRide1Up PortolaAventon Level.2Aventon Level.2Aventon Level.2Aventon Level.2Aventon Level.2iGo Electric Aspire CamillieniGo Electric Aspire CamillieniGo Electric Aspire CamillieniGo Electric Aspire CamillieniGo Electric Aspire Camillien
When it comes to e-bikes, getting the best bang for your buck involves quite a bit of research. Luckily, here's where I step in – today, I've prepared a list of excellent budget-friendly e-bikes. And since there are so many types of riders out there, I will present one option for each e-bike category.
Whether you're looking to buy your first e-bike or simply don't want to spend a fortune on a two-wheeler, I've got you covered. With e-bikes getting more and more popular, manufacturers are fighting for a piece of the pie, so we're bound to have plenty of affordable e-bike options.

There are so many models out there, and the ones that got a spot on this list earned it for good reasons. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other great options – these are just the ones that I liked best, and I believe you will, too. Let's get started.

e-MTB: Trek Powerfly 4 Gen.4

Trek Powerfly 4 Gen\.4
Photo: Trek Bikes
Electric mountain bikes are growing in popularity as people realize that the extra edge they offer can be extremely useful, especially on hardcore trails. e-MTBs are nowadays more reliable, more powerful, and quieter than ever.

Of course, the best model depends on your exact needs and wants. If you're looking for an e-bike that can cover a wide range of riding and that won't break the bank, the best option would be a hardtail e-MTB. This type of e-bike can take you out into the wilderness, handle light and intermediate trails, and can even serve as a city e-bike part-time, even though it wasn't built for that.

When the trails get challenging, you'll definitely need a rear suspension. I believe that a hardtail e-MTB will do the job for most of you. Moreover, since this article is all about budget-friendliness (and full-suspension e-MTBs are quite pricey, even the entry-level ones), a hardtail e-MTB will fit better in this list.

My choice here is a Trek Powerfly 4 Gen 4 e-bike, which Trek describes as its most affordable electric mountain bike. The company doesn't need an introduction – you've more than likely heard of the brand, as it's been active in the industry since 1976 and has become a go-to brand for bikes.

The newest generation of the Powerfly 4 is normally priced at $3,650, but Trek is running a discount on the two-wheeler, bringing its price to $3,000. Let's see what you get for that.

Trek Powerfly 4 Gen\.4
Photo: Trek Bikes
The Powerfly 4 is built around a tough aluminum frame made to support the added weight of e-components and the stresses typically involved with off-road riding. Trek has opted for the qualitative Bosch electronic components, encasing a 500 Wh battery into the down tube. Like on most e-bikes, it can be removed for easier charging.

Battery juice is turned into power with the help of a mid-mounted Bosch Performance CX motor integrated into a magnesium motor body. It's capable of speeds of up to 20 mph (32 kph) and cranks out 85 Nm (63 lb-ft.) of torque.

Regarding the drivetrain, which is another critical component when it comes to off-road riding, you get a 10-speed Shimano Deore setup, while stopping power is provided by Tektro brakes with 6-bolt, 203mm rotors.

Trek has equipped the Powerfly 4 with an SR Suntour XCM 34, which is a pretty beefy fork. It's a relatively low-budget component, but since this is a wallet-friendly e-MTB, it's a fitting choice.

The Powerfly 4 comes in five sizes, and you can choose between 27.5" tires for the XS and S versions, whle the M, L, and XL variants are offered with 29" wheels. Specifically, you get Bontrager XR3 Comp tires.

Cargo/Utility E-Bike: Lectric Xpedition

Lectric Xpedition
Photo: Lectric E-Bikes
If you're tired of using your car to carry stuff around, be it groceries, kids, or anything else, you should consider a cargo e-bike. They're sturdy, can hold more weight than you probably expect, and you don't need to push too much since you have electric assistance.

A week ago, I wrote an article about the seven best utility or cargo e-bikes you can buy right now. They're all good options, but one takes the cake when it comes to affordability: the Lectric Xpedition.

Lectric has found a fantastic way of balancing price and quality when it comes to its two-wheelers. It described the Xpedition as the company's most extensive project to date. There are two versions available: a single battery for $1,475 or a dual battery for $1,699. Both are currently discounted from $1,880 and $2,104, respectively.

Lectric Xpedition
Photo: Lectric E-Bikes
A 750 W (1,310 W peak) rear hub motor powers the Xpedition, outputting 85 Nm of torque. The range is great, too, as you're able to ride for up to 75 miles (121 km) due to the e-bike's 48V battery. If that's not enough, the dual battery version boasts double the range.

But how much can you actually carry with this e-bike? Total payload stands at an impressive 450 lb. (204 kg), 300 lb. (136 kg) of which can be carried on the rear rack and 35 lb. (16 kg) on the front basket. Worry not; if you're willing to dish out some extra cash, you can fit other accessories to this two-wheeler, including a child's seat, pannier bags, a rear chair, and more.

Other notable features of the Lectric Xpedition are 20" x 3" puncture-resistant tires, hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors, an LCD display, lights, and a stable folding dual-leg kickstand.

Folding E-bike: Ride1Up Portola

Ride1Up Portola
Photo: Ride1Up
If convenience and portability are what you're looking for in an e-bike, you should definitely consider folding e-bikes. There are two main advantages to them. First, they take up much less space – this is especially important if you live in an urban environment where you need every single inch of real estate. Second, these e-bikes allow you to toss them in the back of the car without too much of a hassle, allowing you to go riding in locations you couldn't reach without a vehicle.

At first, I wanted to fill this spot in this article with the Lectric XP 3.0. But I realized that most of you probably know about this electric two-wheeler since it's one of the most popular and best-selling e-bikes of all time. I also wanted to showcase different e-bike manufacturers, so I decided to discuss the Ride1Up Portola.

This foldable e-bike provides an impressive balance between price and quality - it's currently offered for a mere $995. It packs a surprising number of features considering its budget-friendly price point.

At the core of the e-bike is a 750 W hub motor producing 56 Nm (41 lb-ft.), which is more than we typically see on folding e-bikes. It enables you to ride to a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph) pedal-assisted or 20 mph (32 kph) via throttle.

Ride1Up Portola
Photo: Ride1Up
You can choose between two batteries: one with a 500 Wh capacity or a more powerful 643 Wh. Ride1Up makes this upgrade very attractive by asking for just $100 extra. The former offers between 20 and 40 miles (32 to 64 km) of range, while the latter allows you to go for 35 to 45 miles (56 to 72 km).

The Portola tips the scales at 59 lb. (27 kg) and boasts a total weight capacity of 300 lb. (136 kg), while the rear rack is rated for 130 lb. (59 kg). Furthermore, it can be folded into a compact package, with hinge points at the stem and the downtube. A secure locking strap also helps keep everything together when folded. It measures 19 inches (48 centimeters) in width, 29.5 inches (75 centimeters), and 33 inches (84 centimeters) in length.

Despite the low price point, Ride1Up kept the rider's safety in mind by equipping the Portola with dual-piston hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors. Moreover, the e-bike rides on 20" x 2" cross-country tires.

Other notable features are a fork with 80mm travel, an 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, a kickstand, and front and rear lights.

Commuter E-bike: Aventon Level.2

Aventon Level\.2
Photo: Aventon
Why should you get an e-bike for commuting? One of the most significant benefits is the time-saving factor. You're faster than on a conventional e-bike, and you can even be faster than a car if your daily route is filled with traffic. In the long run, it's also cheaper than using public transportation or a car. Moreover, it's an environmentally friendly way of traveling, and it also helps improve your overall health and fitness.

My choice for a commuter e-bike is the Aventon Level.2. Aventon upgraded the second iteration of the Level with a torque sensor, which helps provide a more natural riding feel. The stock capabilities of the Lelvel.2 are of a Class 2 e-bike, meaning you have a throttle, but you're limited to a speed of 20 mph (32 kph).

However, using the company's app, you can make it a Class 3 e-bike by unlocking a maximum speed of 28 mph (45 kph). If you're like me, you'll gladly take any extra mph you can get for your daily commuting needs. The top speed is one of the reasons why I chose the Level.2 as the ideal affordable commuter e-bike.

Power is offered by a 500 W rear hub motor paired with a 672 Wh removable battery. This combo allows you to ride for up to 60 miles (87 km), which is enough for most riders' commuting needs.

Aventon Level\.2
Photo: Aventon
The Level.2 comes in two sizes that can accommodate riders of varying heights: Regular (5'3" - 5'10") and Large (5'10" - 6'4"). You can also choose between a step-over or a step-through frame.

It tips the scales at 61 lb. (almost 28 kg) and can support a payload of up to 300 lb. (136 kg). Furthermore, the e-bike's rear rack can hold a maximum of 55 lb. (25 kg)

When going up a slope, you'll not only have assistance from the motor, but you can rely on an 8-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain to make things easier for you. On the other hand, if things get too speedy when going down the hill, 180mm Tektro hydraulic brakes will make sure you can safely come to a halt.

This e-bike is complete with a fork suspension with 65mm of travel, a back-lit color LCD, a kickstand, and front and rear lights. All this is offered for $1,700 - to make the offer even more attractive, Aventon is currently offering an extra battery (which normally costs $500) for free upon purchasing the Level.2.

You can also customize the e-bike with various other accessories, including child trailers, a pet basket, bags, and more.

Road/Gravel E-bike: iGo Electric Aspire Camillien

iGo Electric Aspire Camillien
Photo: iGo Electric
If you're looking to get a road bike, it means you want to go the distance. However, having some extra electric assistance doesn't hurt, as long as it doesn't compromise the joy of pedaling. A proper road e-bike allows you to customize the experience according to your needs. Moreover, it should be lightweight enough not to ruin the cycling experience.

So, I present to you the iGo Electric Aspire Camillien – it's one of the most affordable road/gravel style e-bikes with drop bars and an 18-speed drivetrain, priced at $2,500. It tips the scales at a lightweight 40.6 lb. (18.4 kg), and it's built around an all-aluminum frame. There are two sizes available.

A high-torque 250 W Bafang geared brushless mid-drive motor paired with an advanced-response torque sensor will subtly and silently help you go the distance via five pedal assistance modes. What's more, it outputs a peak torque of 45 Nm (33 lb-ft.).

iGo Electric Aspire Camillien
Photo: iGo Electric
This electric two-wheeler is powered by a 375 Wh removable battery housed in the downtube. It boasts a range of 90 km (56 miles).

Even though the Aspire Camillien is sold as a Class 1 e-bike, just as with the Aventon Level.2, you can use a free smartphone app to unlock Class 3 performance, allowing you to go as fast as 28 mph (45 kph). Furthermore, you can use it to customize the performance settings.

Unlike most mid-drive models, the Aspire Camillien comes with 18 speeds through the Shimano SOra drivetrain. However, iGo Electric had to sacrifice hydraulic brakes and instead integrated TRP mechanical brakes with 160mm rotors.

You'll be riding on alloy rims wrapped in 42" WTB Resolute gravel tires, puncture-resistant and with reflective sidewall strips. Moreover, this e-bike comes standard with a TFT color backlit display unit and with minimal accessories: water bottle bosses on the seat tube and under the top tube and a tool kit.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Mircea Mazuru
Mircea Mazuru profile photo

Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories