Best Electric Bikes Under $500 in 2020 Review

Because of the integrated motors of e-bikes powered by electricity, they’re typically more convenient, cost-effective, environment-friendly, powerful, and faster than ordinary bicycles. Unfortunately, the motor generally makes this hi-tech bike much costlier. Luckily for you, we’re introducing some of the best electric bikes under $500 which is the lowest price range in stores.

Just so you’ll know what to expect, electric bikes are specifically powered by rechargeable batteries. Those batteries come in different sizes, hence different max speeds and mileages. We’re going to discuss all the necessary details about the power source as we proceed.

Best Electric Bikes Under $500 Review

Take a look at these high-quality e-bikes under $500:

ANCHEER Folding Electric Bicycle E-Bike Scooter

With the strong motor of the ANCHEER Folding Electric Bicycle E-Bike Scooter that can generate 350 watts of power, this electric bike can reach a maximum speed of around 15 miles per hour. Meanwhile, its 15-mile coverage is mostly thanks to the 36-volt battery with six ampere hours.

Aside from having a lightweight frame, this e-bike can also be folded for easier storage. It only weighs approximately 26 pounds, which most people can carry even with just one hand. Despite the frame’s lightness, it can handle pressure effortlessly.

For cruising, simply press the green button. This product is so easy to control for it only needs you to turn the throttle once in a while. You don’t have to move the throttle a lot.

Pros:

  • Moves fast
  • High mileage
  • Can be folded
  • Easy to carry
  • Compatible with Bluetooth technology

Cons:

  • Battery stopping out of the blue
  • Weak tires
  • Broken battery cover
  • Doesn’t come with a manual about troubleshooting
  • Damaged brake

Shaofu Folding Electric Bike

Looking for something stylish? Then, the Shaofu Folding Electric Bike might just be your perfect e-bike! It looks super-modern with its aluminum frame and double-walled wheels. It has a youthful design, which will surely be appreciated by kids, teens, and college students.

Just like the first product, this electric bike works with Bluetooth so you can use the app. You’ll be able to digitally lock its motor, record each duration and mileage you take, and even test the system on your own.

If you like riding a bike at night, this one has a headlight so you’ll be fully aware of the terrain and a tail light that can signal motorists that you’re using the brake. It also has a loud horn.

Pros:

  • Fashionable design
  • Visibility in low light
  • Efficient stopping power
  • Waterproof
  • Fast recharging

Cons:

  • Technical issues in the brakes
  • Malfunctioning light attachments

350W Folding Electric Bicycle with 15 Mile Range Collapsible Lightweight Aluminum

Another e-bike with Bluetooth technology, the 350W Folding Electric Bicycle works with apps. Its motor can also be locked. You can check all the necessary data as well with your mobile device.

Since this electric bike has 12-inch wheels and a 350-watt motor, it needs a powerful battery. It’s a good thing it uses lithium batteries with high capacities. Swift recharging is also guaranteed because of the UL-approved charger. Expect only three hours of charging time.

Some collapsible e-bikes are too hard to fold. Fortunately, anyone can fold this bike in a snap. Its most compact form easily fits car trunks.

We should highlight the tires, too. The tires are designed to be tough enough to absorb impact to reduce vibrations. That leads to more comfortable rides.

Pros:

  • Convenient performance monitoring
  • Quick recharging
  • Smoothly folds
  • Can fit tight spaces when folded
  • Absorbs shocks

Cons:

  • May stop without warning and force you to restart in the middle of your ride

Safstar Collapsible E Bike Waterproof 12 Miles Range

Having all the necessary features in such an affordable price, the Safstar Collapsible E Bike is a must-have. Its folding frame has anti-pressure properties despite its lightweight structure. It can be transported almost anywhere since it only occupies minimal space when folded.

Don’t underestimate the adorable shape of this electric bike; it can run for 12 miles at 20 miles per hour. That’s because it has a 350-watt motor and a 36-volt battery. Once the battery runs out of energy, just wait for three hours until it’s fully charged again.

You’ll feel like riding a real bike with this model but with short bursts of power from the motor so you can reach your destination quickly.

Pros:

  • Can resist pressure
  • Hassle-free transport
  • Combines traditional and modern features
  • Low-light visibility
  • Absorbs impact

Cons:

  • Too small for taller riders
  • Can’t work with Bluetooth
  • Headlight not bright enough
  • Needs improvement on the tires
  • Inconvenient placement of the charging hub

Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle with LCD Display

Supported by a lithium-ion battery, the Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike is designed to travel for 15 miles max. That mileage is meant for recreational riding, errands, and commutes. It’s perfect for the working class and people who just want to enjoy outdoors.

Built for most people, the weight capacity of the aluminum frame is 250 pounds. The lightweight frame remains sturdy no matter what.

More about the lightness of the frame, it’s recommended for apartment dwellers. Even if you’re living on a higher floor, you wouldn’t be too tired while carrying this bike. For storage, you can simply put it under a table or desk as long as its handlebar is folded.

Pros:

  • Sufficient mileage for different activities
  • High weight capacity
  • Lightweight yet sturdy structure
  • Great for riders living in apartments
  • Can be used for cruising and hill climbing

Cons:

  • May have a totally unusable motor in just a few months of heavy use
  • Suddenly stops for no reason
  • Possibility of holes inside a tire
  • Difficulty of changing a flat tire
  • Brakes not working

How to Choose Good Electric Bikes Under 500

After considering your budget to avoid expecting too much from the bike, thinking about factors like the battery, motor, braking system, and frame material is also crucial. Pay attention as we explain the factors on choosing the right e-bike for your needs and preferences.

Budget

Is buying a $500 electric bike worth it, considering how advanced and durable the expensive options are? Let’s find out!

$500

Without a doubt, e-bikes under 500 are the cheapest type. They’re cheap mostly because their parts don’t come from reliable brands.

Still, a lot of people prefer these affordable bikes just to experience the thrill of riding with a pedal assist. They’re more likely to use e-bikes only for recreational purposes.

Some people also buy cheap e-bikes to know for sure whether or not this mode of transportation is right for them. Let’s face it; there’s a learning curve with electric bikes.
$1,000

These bikes are more durable than the $500 ones. They have a more solid structure and need less maintenance. Although, it goes without saying that there are better options in stores.

$2,500

Known for their branded parts, $2,500 e-bikes are much more durable than the cheaper options. They’re perfect for commuters because they can last for several years in spite of daily use.

$5,000

The main difference of $2,500 and $5,000 bikes is that the latter’s parts are from more popular and expensive brands. They also have more advanced features. The danger, however, is the possibility of an overpriced model.

$10,000

Composed of the best possible components, the most expensive e-bikes aren’t only for daily use; they’re also built for more extreme activities. They’re usually made for downhill riding. Even traditional downhill bikes are costlier than ordinary ones.

Descending with any bike is a big risk, which is why it requires a foolproof system. $10,000 e-bikes are expected to be wired internally and use hi-tech shifters.

Battery

We can’t just discuss electric bikes and not mention their batteries. After all, without a battery, you won’t be able to use the e-bike’s electronic features.

Composition

As much as possible, avoid lead batteries. They’re very affordable, yes, but they’re much heavier and weaker against extreme temperatures.

A decent improvement from lead batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries are lighter and longer-lasting. They can last up to 500 recharges.

However, 500 recharging times are nothing compared to 1,200, which is why lithium-ion batteries are much better than Ni-Mh. Li-Ion is the most common type of battery for e-bikes.

Not very popular yet probably the best out there, lithium polymer batteries are unbelievably lightweight and can be recharged for 1,500 times max. Sadly, they can only be found on expensive electric bikes.

Charging Time

Both Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries can be charged for at least three hours only. But, the latter’s maximum recharging duration is only for four hours most of the time. Li-Ion batteries can take seven hours as they deteriorate, what more with a lead and Ni-Mh battery?

If you’re willing to spend more money, there are e-bikes that can be recharged whenever the rider turns off the electronic mode and uses the pedals. How convenient is that?

Capacity and Voltage

Obviously, a higher capacity means a longer battery life. It’s one of the factors that determine the total energy of the battery. The other one is the voltage.

A higher voltage clearly means more power, too. Most of the e-bikes on our list use 36-volt batteries, which is only appropriate. Hill climbing can be done effortlessly with 36 volts. A lower voltage is usually meant for flat surfaces only.

Motor

Torque refers to the motor’s force. Higher torque means easier hill climbing no matter how steep the slope is. It’s also perfect for heavier riders and rough terrains like the ones with sandy and rocky surfaces.

Braking System

Mechanical and hydraulic disc systems are known for their tremendous stopping power. The former works with cables while the latter requires brake fluid. Hydraulic brakes are more efficient while mechanical brakes have more power.

The advantages of disc brakes include minimal maintenance, efficiency, and resistance to water. They can overheat, but that problem can be managed by more expensive e-bikes.

Frame

The common materials for e-bike frames are:

Carbon Fiber

Not very common for $500 electric bikes, carbon fiber frames are the most expensive because of their effective combination of lightness and durability. They’re also best for shock absorption since they’re flexible.

Steel

The heaviest one here, steel frames are the sturdiest kind. But, with the right design, they can be flexible and impact-resistant as well.

Once it’s dented, however, you’ll have no choice but to hire a professional to repair or change it. Cheap steel frames are also susceptible to corrosion.

Aluminum

The cheapest frame material is aluminum. But, that’s what makes it the most popular one for affordable bikes. It may not be the best for impact absorption, but it can be sturdy and tough without the high price tag.

Weight

In this section, we’re going to briefly discuss weight. A heavier structure is usually associated with durability. However, a lighter one is considered to be better for performance and convenience. Which one is better?

The lighter the e-bike is, the better. No wonder more expensive electric bikes are more lightweight. Don’t worry; as long as you’re sticking to a $500 e-bike with an aluminum frame, most of the weight is only from the motor and the battery.

Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s better to stick with the basics. The Safstar Collapsible E Bike isn’t one of the most advanced budget bikes because of the absence of Bluetooth compatibility, but its simplicity can go a long way. It’s durable, portable, safe to use, and comfortable.

If you’re about to check more e-bike models, remember to consider the limitations of your budget, the battery quality, motor, brakes, materials, and overall weight. Electric bikes under 500 are heavier, but they can still have a good performance with the right frame material. We highly recommend aluminum frames for cheap e-bikes.