GCN tries the cheapest e-bike on Amazon
E-bikes can be pricey, but what are the really budget options actually like? Si Richardson found out
Racing News Editor
E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, as a way to ride further or replace your car, but it's no secret that these battery-assisted bicycles can be expensive. Like any good normal bike, you're looking at several thousand pounds, Euros or Dollars for most e-bikes.
That said, there are some budget options out there. They're made by brands you've never heard of, and are far from the sleek, more expensive models, but a quick trawl of some online stores and you will find e-bikes that come in at shockingly low prices - we're talking under £600 for some of the models we found.
Read more: Red flags to avoid when buying a budget bike
What we wanted to find out, though, is do you really get what you pay for when it comes to e-bikes? Are the big-brand options so pricey because they are so much better, or are you partly paying for the name, design and marketing? Of course, quality is perhaps extra important with a battery-powered bike, where the capability of the motor and construction is going to have a pretty big effect on your riding.
So, to find out how good - or bad - these ultra-cheap options can really be, naturally we got ahold of one for Simon Richardson to test out. Behold, the Myatu Ebike, found on Amazon UK for the comparatively tiny price of £549. It's not strictly the cheapest (as Si explains, some of the bike available don't actually adhere to UK laws on e-bikes) but as e-bikes go, it's a very budget choice. How did it perform?
A bit about the bike itself. Once Si had got over the less-than-pleasing aesthetics of the Myatu, he went through the specifications of his new steed. The battery, mounted externally on the downtube, has an advertised capability of 250 watts and just under two hours of riding time. The motor has options for low, medium and high - and off, but coming in at a hefty 27kg, you probably don’t want to try and pedal this bike without any assistance at all.
It’s fitted with ‘all terrain’ tyres that are pretty fat and nobbly, and a range of 21 Shimano gears. It has cabled disc brakes, front suspension, and all the kind of componentry you’d expect on a pretty basic budget bike.
How did the Myatu actually fare? After getting used to the bike, the feel of the motor and its accelerations, Si took it out for a test ride, taking in some steep hills around Bristol, some descents, plus more challenging terrain, to try and test out all of the bikes claimed capabilities, from the motor to the braking to the tyres. Plus, he rode the bike down some stairs. Don’t ask us which part of the scientific testing process that falls under.
Si also had a good look at the battery, its performance and safety, which is a huge consideration when it comes to e-bikes, and perhaps the number one reason why budget options can be a risk, especially with recent reports of e-bike fires and poorly fitted batteries. Safety is key and if you’re carrying around a motor and a large battery on your bike, you want to be sure that it’s not going to overheat or malfunction in any way.
To find out how Si got on with his budget bike, and take a closer look at what battery quality you get for such a low price, have a watch of the full video above to join Si on his test ride. And whilst it might not be the best e-bike out there, Si shares his thoughts on how having e-bikes at more accessible prices can be a good thing.
Head over here to see all our e-bike content in one place.