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Best Electric Bikes Under 500 for Cruisers & Commuters Reviewed

Electric bikes or e-bikes are gaining more popularity among the city crowd every day. They offer you the pure feeling of cycling with an extra bit of boost. These bikes aren’t just normal bicycles with a motor attached to them. Manufacturers now include a plethora of features and functionalities that come in handy for the city folks on a daily basis.

However, choosing the perfect e-bike out of the uncountable options out there can be very hard, especially if you’re on at a budget. There are lots of e-bikes that don’t live up to the promises they make in the ads.

Here, we’ll review the five best electric bikes under 500 dollars that you can go for any day of the week. We’ll also include a buying guide to help you understand what things to look for in an e-bike before making the purchase.

Our Best Electric Bike Under 500 Reviews

01 ANCHEER an-EB5 Plus Folding Electric Commuter Bike-350W/500W  (Editor’s Choice)

ANCHEER an-EB5 Plus Folding Electric Commuter Bike

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Ancheer an-EB5 Plus is simply one of the best e-bikes you can get in its budget range. With an eye-catching design and a world-class build quality, this bike offers top-notch visuals. Apart from the looks, it’s also a performance beast.

Even if you decide not to pedal, it will cover 18-19 miles easily with the full electric mode. You can achieve 19mph of top speed, which should be more than enough if you’re commuting or just moving casually throughout the city. Being extremely lightweight and foldable, you can store it in a small space. Considering all the features and the price tag, the an-EB5 Plus is an absolute no-brainer.

Our Experience With the Ancheer an-EB5

  • We absolutely loved the design and the build quality of the bike. The materials seemed very premium and sturdy enough to withstand the test of time.
  • Assembling the e-bike was very easy and we could set it up in 10 minutes. However, we’d still recommend you to ask for a professional’s help if you’re not used to assembling such things.
  • Though the an-EB5 Plus was slightly heavier than what the manufacturers claimed, we still found it extremely lightweight compared to the other electric bikes we reviewed. We could easily lift the bike anytime and place it almost anywhere.
  • We were impressed with the foldability of the an-EB5 Plus. It can be stored anywhere and anywhere, including the trunk or any narrow spaces.
  • For testing the load capacity, we put an excessive amount of load on this 39-pound e-bike. Surprisingly, it took 250lbs of weight like a champ.
  • The strong 500W motor produced an incredible amount of power and we got a maximum speed of 19mph, which is a lot for an e-bike of its size.
  • In terms of battery performance and mileage, there was nothing to complain about. We got at least 18 miles of range with a full battery every time.
  • The cruise control feature was spot on. We didn’t have to hold the throttle to maintain a certain speed. We could do it just by pressing a button.
  • Other components like the disk brakes, the bell, and the display worked perfectly as well. The inclusion of these quality components made this an even better product overall.

What We Didn’t Like

  • There was no suspension in the whole system.
  • Recharging the Ancheer an-EB5 Plus took more time than other e-bikes.

What Could Be Improved

  • Charging could be faster.
  • The manufacturers could have included a suspension seat to the bike.

Our Recommendations

  • Don’t recharge the bike immediately after a ride. Give it 10-20 minutes to cool down before you plug it into an outlet.
  • For optimum battery life and performance, make sure you don’t charge it to 100%. Keep the battery between 20-80%.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 41.34x 29.53x 9.06 inches
  • Weight: 39.7lbs
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Color: Black/White
  • Wheel size: 12”/14”
  • Brake Style: Disk
  • Motor Wattage: 350W/500W

Pros

  • Sleek construction
  • Premium materials
  • Incredible mileage
  • Amazing foldability
  • Lightweight
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • No suspension

02 ANCHEER Folding Waterproof Electric Bicycle-Powerful Motor (Top Folding Choice)

ANCHEER Folding Waterproof Electric Bicycle-Powerful Motor

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Ancheer Folding Electric Bicycle features one of the most compact designs you’ll see in an e-bike. The aluminum construction keeps it lightweight and sturdy at the same time. This tiny bike can take up to 265 pounds of weight without any hiccups. One of the most fantastic features of this e-bike is its foldability. You can fold it easily and store it just anywhere.

Despite being so compact, it offers a max speed of 15mph. With a full charge, you can go for 15 miles without having to stop. These stats make it very efficient considering it’s made for city riding. If you’re looking for a stylish and compact electric bike with amazing foldability, try out the Ancheer Folding Electric Bicycle.

Our Experience With The Ancheer Folding Electric Bicycle

  • The bike came fully assembled and with quality packaging. We loved the compact design and the quality of the materials. It seemed very sturdy compared to the other similar e-bikes we reviewed.
  • We were impressed by how lightweight it was. Lifting it with just one hand was a piece of cake. Even a kid wouldn’t face issues lifting it.
  • The foldability was totally spot on. We could fold the bike effortlessly and when it folded, it came down to a size that easily fits into any trunk. It was very easy to store it when we weren’t using it.
  • Despite being lightweight and compact, the bike could take heavy loads. We put 250 pounds of weight on it and it still didn’t show any sign of weakness.
  • The top speed of 15mph claimed by the manufacturers seemed to be accurate as we got just about 15 miles of maximum speed with this tiny e-bike. The 350W motor provided great strength on flat surfaces.
  • We got just about 14 miles with a full charge, which wasn’t too far behind what Anchees claimed. We were satisfied with the range considering the size and weight of the bike.
  • The lack of pedals helped keep the weight very low. Components like pedals, chains, chain covers, cranks, and cassettes add enormous weight to a bike, which wasn’t the case for the Ancheer Folding Electric bike.
  • The app supporting system seemed to be very well put. We could manage several functions like setting the max speed, motor locking, time & mileage recording, and so much more with the app.
  • The handlebars were full of handy gear including the cruise control switch, a display, power switch, horn, throttle, and the brake. All of these functioned accurately during our time with the bike.

What We Didn’t like

  • This e-bike doesn’t come with pedals. This can put you in great trouble if your battery runs out.
  • The maximum speed and range weren’t out of this world.

What Could Be Improved

  • A suspension seat would make it a better product overall
  • It would be more useful if pedals were added.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 41.5x 28x 9.2 inches
  • Weight: 36.06lbs
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Color: White/Black
  • Motor Wattage: 350W
  • Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Eye-catching design55
  • Great build  quality
  • Great foldability
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • Lacks pedals
  • No suspension

03 METAKOO Folding Electric Bike M1, 12″  (Best for Commuting)

METAKOO Folding Electric Bike M1, 12"

Why It Stands Out to Us

Coming with a unique look, the Metakoo Electric Bike M1 offers all the features you can expect from a top-quality e-bike. Despite being so compact and lightweight, this bike can take huge loads. With a 350W motor, it produces up to 15mph of maximum speed. You can choose from three different riding modes.

The 280 Wh battery can give you 18-37 miles of range depending on the mode you’re rocking. A fully charged battery will give you 4-5 days of runtime without a doubt. Besides, it features an amazing foldability that makes it very portable. If you’re looking to buy an e-bike for commuting, you won’t find a better option than the Metakoo M1.

Our Experience With the Metakoo Electric Bike M1

  • The bike came with a simplistic design and great overall build quality. We loved how they hid the battery. Besides, cable management was spot on as well. Despite being so tiny, the materials used in this looked sturdy enough to take quite a few hits.
  • Assembling it was child’s play and we could set it up in just 10 minutes. While assembling the bike, we noticed that it was extremely lightweight. We could easily pick it up with one hand.
  • We were impressed by the M1’s foldability. Though it didn’t fold in half, it came down to a size that fits in our trunk so perfectly.
  • For how compact and lightweight it is, the M1 could take a huge load of weight without any issue. We put loads up to 180lbs on this 38lbs e-bike and it took it like a champ.
  • There were three different modes- normal bike, assisted e-bike, and pure e-bike. We tested all three of the modes and found all of them to be distinctive in functionalities.
  • The 280Wh battery provided enough juice to keep the bike charged for 34 miles in the electric-assisted mode.  On the pure e-bike mode, we got 17 miles on average with a full charge, which in itself is huge. If you’re going to use the M1 just for commuting, you probably won’t have to recharge before 3-5 days of use.
  • Pedaling was effortless and the maximum speed seemed almost unbelievable for a bike of its size. We loved the fact that Metakoo didn’t exclude the pedals like some other brands.
  • We loved how the disk brake operated so accurately. Both the front and the rear brakes stopped the bike in any kind of situation. They seemed to be very handy in the city traffic.
  • Both the front and tail lights worked perfectly. The front light produced a good amount of light and the rear light visible from a distance. Whenever the brakes were used, the light automatically flashed.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The M1 isn’t suitable for riders who are taller than 5’9” because of the extremely low base.
  • Elderly people won’t find it easy to ride because of the placement of the handlebars.
  • Recharging the battery takes up to 6 hours.

What Could Be Improved

  • The height could be increased a little
  • There are e-bikes with bigger batteries that recharge faster than the M1. Metakoo could implement a faster charging system.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 45x 18x 38 inches
  • Weight: 38lbs
  • Wheel Size: 12 inches
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Color: Black
  • Brake Style: Disk
  • Motor Wattage: 350W

Pros

  • Minimal design
  • Great build materials
  • Three riding moves
  • Fantastic range
  • Exceptional foldability
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for tall & elderly riders

04 SWAGTRON Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight & Aluminum Folding Ebike with Pedals

SWAGTRON Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight & Aluminum Folding Ebike with Pedals

Why It Stands Out to Us

If you’re looking for maximum adjustability and efficiency in the same e-bike, then this is the right one for you. The Swagcycle EB-5 from Swagtron comes with an attractive design coupled with a build quality that’s sturdy enough to last for years. This lightweight electric bike can be folded in half, which lets you store it almost anywhere. With a maximum speed of 15mph, the EB5 features enough battery life to cover up to 15 miles without you having to pedal.

Besides, both the handlebar height and the saddle height can be adjusted according to your height. This makes the EB5 even more suitable for adults, who struggle to find the right bike for their height. Overall, it’s a fantastic electric bike that you can go for any day of the week.

Our Experience With the Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5

  • Regarding the looks and the material, we were fairly satisfied. The design looked awesome and the build quality seemed pretty solid.
  • The bike featured incredible foldability. It folded right in the middle, which made it extremely portable. This seemed like a very handy feature during our time with this e-bike.
  • Weighing around 37 pounds, this electric bike was very easy to lift and carry. Any adult wouldn’t face any issues carrying it with just one hand.
  • For how lightweight it was, we were stunned by the amount of weight it withstood. We put 240 pounds of weight on it and the bike took it like a champ. We can confirm that even the heaviest of riders won’t break this bike.
  • Like most modern e-bikes, the EB-5 also hides the battery inside the frame. The battery produced enough juice to keep it running for days. We could get just over 15miles with just the electric assist mode, which isn’t too bad for an e-bike of this price range.
  • The battery produced enough juice to take the maximum speed up to 15 mph completely on its own. We could get it to 20mph by pedaling the bike.
  • Swagtron did a wonderful job in making the bike completely adjustable. We could adjust the handlebar height and the saddle height anytime we wanted. This made the bike very suitable for people of different heights.
  • Components like the brake, throttle, bell, and battery indicator worked perfectly. We faced no issues with them throughout our time with the EB-5.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The e-bike featured only one level of power assistance.
  • Recharging requires a lot of time.

What Could Be Improved

  • Swagtron could add several modes for power assistance.
  • Better technology could be implemented in the charging element.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 34.9x 24.5x 14.5 inches
  • Weight: 37lbs
  • Color: Black
  • Wheel Size: 14 inches
  • Frame material: Aluminum

Pros

  • Astonishing design and build
  • Incredible foldability
  • Adjustable handlebar and saddle height
  • Great mileage
  • Excellent battery backup

Cons

  • Only one electric assist mode

05 Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle Electric Bicycle with LCD Display

Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike Full Throttle Electric Bicycle with LCD Display

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike comes with a compact and sleek design. It’s so light that even children can lift it up without an issue. As the name suggests, you can fold it and put it in a tiny space when you’re not using it. However, considering the features and functionalities it offers, we doubt that you’re ever going to put it away. With maximum speed up to 18mph and a max range of 15 miles, it’s surely more than handy.

Unlike most electric bikes, this one doesn’t feature pedals. But this also means that it doesn’t carry the weight of chains, chainrings, cassettes, derailleurs, cranks, and so on, keeping it lighter than most e-bikes out there. If you’re looking for an electric bike for your young one, make no mistake and go for this one.

Our Experience With the Jetson Bolt Folding E-Bike

  • We were impressed by the design and build quality of the bike. The materials used also seemed very premium to the touch. The color was spot-on as well.
  • The bike was extremely lightweight. We could lift it with just one hand. Even kids will have no problem lifting it by themselves.
  • For how lightweight it was, we were surprised by its weight capacity. It could take up to 250 pounds of load without a scratch. So, carrying even the heaviest of riders won’t be a problem for it.
  • It was easily foldable. Though it didn’t fold in the middle, it was compact enough to fit into any trunk.
  • The rear motor had good torque. We got a solid 15 mph of top speed with it, which seemed like a great shout for an e-bike this small.
  • Though the manufacturers rate the range at 15 miles, we got a little over 12 miles with our model. We were fairly satisfied with this result because it’s not meant for long rides.
  • We tested its capacity to the max and took an off-road ride with it. We weren’t disappointed with the results up until we had to ride uphills and the bike slowed down a little.
  • Recharging didn’t require a lot of time. We could recharge a completely drained battery in just three and a half hours.
  • Components like the battery meter, cruise control, horn button, brakes, and twist throttle served very well. All of them were made from strong materials and didn’t look like coming off anytime soon.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The bike doesn’t have pedals, which could be problematic if you run out of battery.
  • We were expecting some sort of suspension but there weren’t any.

What Could Be Improved

  • Some kind of suspension system could be included.
  • Adding pedals would have made this e-bike a way better product overall.

Our Recommendations

  • Adding a suspension seat post will make the ride way smoother.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 40x 20x 37 inches
  • Weight: 34lbs
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Color: Black
  • Motor Wattage: 250W
  • Warranty: 1 year

Pros

  • Sleek and compact design
  • Premium build materials
  • Lightweight
  • Amazing foldability
  • Fantastic range
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • No pedals
  • Lacks suspension

Different Classes of E-Bikes

Class 1: These bikes only use pedals and don’t have any throttles in them. They have a maximum speed of 20 mph. You can add throttles into the bike but it won’t work unless you peddle.

Class 2: These bikes are just as fast as the class 1 bikes, but the difference is, they’re throttle-assisted. It’s a little more user-friendly than the class 1 electric bikes.

Class 3: They’re pedal-assist bikes like the class 1 bikes. They offer the maximum assisted speed of 28 miles per hour. These bikes don’t have throttles but for the extra bit of speed, they come with speedometers.

Types of E-Bikes

1. Cruiser

e bike under 500

These electronic bikes are best suited for recreational bikers who want ease and comfort as they roll. They’re engineered for flat surfaces like paved roads or bike paths. Aside from the wide tires, the most significant feature of a cruiser bike is that it reduces shock in the seat and the front fork using a suspension system. Also, the placement of the handlebars is usually kept higher to offer more comfort to the rider.

2. Commuter

best electric bicycles under 500

Commuter bikes are great options for those who like faster bikes. They’re suitable for situations when you have to go somewhere very quickly. Usually, they feature narrow but large tires for getting an optimum speed. Commuter bikes come with comfy seats that aren’t wide like cruiser seats.

3. Mountain

best folding ebike under 500

For thrill-seeking individuals, who love to venture deep into the off-road trails, mountain bikes are the perfect type of bike. They’re very fast and feature flat handlebars that help the riders keep their balance in the unpredictable trails.

4. Road

best electric bike under 500

These e-bikes are very much like cruiser bikes because they’re both designed for flat surfaces. Road e-bikes feature narrow tires and lower handlebars for increasing speed. They’re very lightweight and incredibly fast, which makes them popular among urban riders.

Best Electric Bike Under 500: Buying Guide

1. Frames

Most ebikes come with an aluminum frame but other options like steel or carbon fiber are also available. The frame design and material, along with the battery and motor make up for the biggest portion of the overall weight of the bike.

With the additional components, e-bikes are usually heavier than the traditional ones. A lighter electric bike will always feel more comfortable to pedal. So, if you’re choosing between two bikes of similar features and functionalities, make sure to pick the lighter one.

2. Motor

Most electric bikes of today feature a motor system that’s designed to offer you assistance while pedaling. A motor consists of a drive unit, wiring, a control panel, and battery packs. Usually, all of these components come from a singular source/brand like Yamaha, Bosch, Shimano, and so on. Typically, three types of motors are used in electric bikes; front hub, mid-drive, and rear hub.

3. Battery

Batteries are the only electrical power source of an e-bike. Most modern electric bikes feature Lithium-ion batteries that have capacities between 300-500Wh. The range of an e-bike largely depends on the capacity of the battery. So, if more mileage is your priority, a bike with a bigger battery will always be the better choice.

There’s a plethora of battery sizes and shapes used in e-bikes. Different manufacturers also position the batteries in different spots. Some hide the batteries in the down tube or the seat tube for a more elegant look. As batteries need charging, it’s always the smartest move to carry an extra set.  E-bike batteries can be charged from standard wall plugs like all electrical devices. Some  manufacturers include features that allow you to charge your battery on the go.

4. Assistance Levels

You can find several levels of assistance in all modern electric bikes. Some models come with an eco-mode that almost feels like traditional cycling. Optimized for maximum range, the eco mode can provide 25%-80% of assistance. The eco mode, being the lowest level of assistance is most suitable for long biking sessions.

A step up from the eco mode is the normal mode in most e-bikes. This mode allows you to get 100-150% of additional power with each pedal. It offers more torque and ease than the eco mode but struggles in the range department.

To experience what these bikes are really capable of, you have to go one step further and try the high mode. This mode can provide up to 200% of additional power, making the pedaling almost effortless. Though it doesn’t cover the range of the other two modes, it gives you maximum assistance you can get in an electric bike.

5. Brakes

Brakes are one of the most crucial components of an e-bike because of the additional speed compared to traditional bikes. Riding an electric bike at its maximum power is almost like driving a motorcycle and you have to be extra careful with the safety issues. Electric bikes usually feature two types of brakes – disk brakes and rim brakes.

Disk brakes are known for their efficient braking capacities with little maintenance. However, they could be hard to change if the pads get worn down.

Rim brakes are considered to be a step up from the disk brakes. They’re used in racing bikes all over the world and provide more accurate braking than their disk counterparts.

6. Console

The console of an e-bike is mostly placed on the handlebars. Usually, it’s an LCD/LED display that shows some basic information like the battery percentage and speed.  Some manufacturers include other information like traveled distance, temperature, and so on.

If you’re a casual rider, a console with just the info on the battery life and speed should be good enough. On the flip side, if you’re more of an off-road rider, it’s better if you go for the one that offers more functions.

7. Warranty

Generally, the frame comes with 4-5 years of warranty, where other components like the battery and motor have warranties of 2-3 years. Off-road e-bikes offer more restricted and shorter warranties than the others. Keep in mind that removing the battery case or the motor can void the warranty for the components.

FAQs

Q. 1: How long does it take to charge an e-bike battery?

Ans: Depending on the Wh rating, and the type of power outlet, lithium-ion batteries can take 3.5-6 hours to be fully charged.

Q. 2: Do you pedal an electric bike?

Ans: Even though powered by strong motors, most e-bikes still need pedaling. The idea is to ease the pedaling rather than completely avoiding it. However, the market is changing everyday and some modern e-bikes come without pedals.

Q. 3: Can I charge the battery by pedaling?

Ans: Usually, the charging mechanism of an e-bike doesn’t work like that. However, some manufacturers offer similar features that recharge the battery when you go downhill or brake.

Q. 4: Are e-bikes street-legal?

Ans: There isn’t any federal law that restrains the use of e-bikes on public streets. But, the regulation of these bikes falls under the jurisdiction of local authorities and states. Before hopping on an electric bike, check the vehicle code of your state to ensure that they’re legal in your area.

Q. 5: Are electric bikes eco-friendly?

Ans: Yes, e-bikes are certainly eco-friendly as they don’t require any fossil fuel and don’t create any pollution. If you use solar energy to charge your electric bike, it will become 100% eco-friendly.

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