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Best budget e-MTBs: great e-mountain bikes that won't break the bank

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Best budget e-MTBs
(Image credit: Focus)

The best budget e-MTBs can provide you with all sorts of fun without costing an arm and a leg.

The last few years have seen massive advances in e-bike technology and performance, but things have settled down noticeably now, making this a great time to buy a power-assisted mountain bike. If you don't want to spend a fortune, then we've rounded up the best budget e-MTBs available, to help you choose the right one for you.

Evolved motor and battery technology mean the best electric MTBs are now more reliable, more powerful and quieter as well. Designers are also understanding that going faster everywhere is a lot safer and more fun with progressive geometry and handling. There are more e-bike friendly but still affordable components available for them to work with too.

But which brands are making the best job of it and which bikes do we recommend?

Best budget e-MTBs

Canyon Neuron:ON 7

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Neuron:ON 7

A low-swinging all-round e-29er that handles like a dream

RRP: £3,699 / $N/A / AU$7,149 | Travel: 130mm | Motor and Battery: Shimano Steps EP8 Motor and Shimano STEPS 504-Wh Battery | Suspension: RockShox Judy Silver and RockShox Deluxe Select R | Groupset: Shimano Deore | Brakes: Shimano MT420

Split wheel sizes across the size range for proportionate ride feel
Good-natured and easy handling
130mm travel isn't much

Canyon's Neuron:ON 7 is a relatively short-travel trail e-MTB that, similarly to its non-motorized counterpart, is pitched as an adventure-ready full-sus bike that can take you anywhere from a day at the local bike park to a week of off-road exploration.

With its tame geometry and stable handling, the Neuron:ON 7 is surefooted feels planted in the trail. It positions the rider to sit 'in' the bike rather than on top, providing a confidence-inspiring and good-natured ride that prompts you to continue pedaling and push your limits.

It's equipped with a Shimano EP8 motor, which offers 85Nm of torque and puts it on par with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor. Compared to its predecessor (the Shimano E8000), the EP8 motor is more compact and lightweight, weighing approximately 2.6kg, and is compatible for use with 160mm cranks, which is great news for shorter riders. The Neuron:ON 7 also comes armed with a 150mm dropper post (125mm for size XS and S).

Canyon has long concerned itself with creating a consistent ride feel across its range of sizes, varying its builds slightly for its small and extra-small frames. Shorter riders will benefit from smaller 27.5in wheels and 165mm cranks, though fork travel is reduced to 120mm as a result.

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Cannondale Moterra Neo 5

High-performance specs without costing an arm and a leg

RRP: $4,500.00 / £3,599.00 | Travel: 150mm | Motor and Battery: Shimano STEPS E7000 drive unit / 504Wh battery | Suspension: SR Suntour XCR LO Boost fork / X-Fusion 02 Pro RL | Groupset: Shimano Deore | Brakes: Shimano Deore

Long range battery life
Stable cornering
Comfortable endurance geometry
Long charging time
130mm (maximum) dropper post may not be enough for some

Cannondale's Moterra Neo 5 is an aluminum e-MTB designed for all-mountain use and capable of going the distance. It makes use of the brand's SmartForm C3 Alloy construction and is a trail-rider at heart that thrives in the mountains. Featuring a Shimano STEPS E7000 drive unit with 504Wh battery, it has a range of up to 100km (60 miles), making it a great option for those wishing to roam and explore.

In terms of handling, the Moterra Neo 5 is precise and agile, with a low center of gravity combined with short chainstays, which put the rider in a central upright position. This is ideal if you plan to make use of that full 100km range, as it's a position that you can comfortably hold for a full day in the saddle.

Liv Embolden E+ 2

(Image credit: Liv)

Liv Embolden E+ 2

Women's specific full-suspension e-MTB

RRP: $4,000 / £3,299 / AU$5,499 | Travel: 130/120mm | Motor and Battery: Yamaha SyncDrive Sport motor, EnergyPak Smart 500Wh battery | Suspension: SR Suntour XCR34 Air LO-R, RockShox Monarch R | Groupset: Shimano Deore | Brakes: Tektro M745 Orion

Women's specific geometry
Intuitive Yamaha motor
RockShox rear shock
App motor tuning
34mm legged fork
No dropper post
Tires will need upgrading for wet weather riding
QR rear wheel
Suntour fork

As its name suggests, the Liv Embolden E+ is designed to encourage new riders into the sport, and it's built to build confidence as it takes on the trails. Powered by the Yamaha SyncDrive Sport motor, the Embolden E+ provides 70Nm of torque, which is estimated to supply 350 percent of the rider's effort through its Pedal Plus technology. In a nutshell, the motor uses sensors to assess pedal input from the rider, and responds with the appropriate assistance level to the mode that it's in use.

One of the key selling points for the Liv Embolden E+ is that it is designed by, with and for women. Unlike other women's mountain bikes that are effectively a 'pink and shrink' version of the unisex model, Liv is a brand that specializes in building women's bikes from the ground up, using only female body dimensions data to fine-tune the fit for most women. 

The Embolden E+ is specced with 120mm of Flex Point suspension, provided by a linkage-driven single pivot system and RockShox Monarch RT shock at the rear. Upfront the SR Suntour XCR 34 fork delivers 130mm of travel and has room enough for Maxxis Rekon 2.4in tubeless tires.

Orbea Wild FS H30 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Orbea)

Orbea Wild FS H30

Capable do-everything e-mtb with some excellent finishing details

RRP: $5,399.00 / £4,399.00 | Travel: 160mm | Motor and Battery: Bosch Performance CX G4, Bosch 500Wh | Suspension: RockShox 35 Gold fork and Fox Float DPS Performance Trunnion rear shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore/XT | Brakes: Shimano M420

Top Bosch motor
Top Bosch battery
Customizable spec when bought direct
Excellent frame details
Modular battery upgrade
Steep seat angle for controlled climbing
Planted cornering
Short reach
Would welcome tires with tougher casings
The low bottom bracket can cause pedal strikes on technical terrain

Orbea pitches its Wild FS series as a do-everything bike that's as fun on flow trails as it is capable on technical terrain. Orbea has gone for 29er wheels front and back for improved rolling ability although the low bottom bracket and 160mm cranks brings rider weight lower for a planted feeling in the corners. The steep seat angle will help keep the front wheel under control and the rear wheel gripping as gradient steepens, especially with Bosch's excellent Performance CX motor providing full assistance. A 500Wh battery is mounted in the downtube although for big days Orbea's 2Pac system allows an additional battery to be mounted inside the triangle for a whopping 1125Wh of power.

The suspension is a joint responsibility between RockShox and Fox, there's a RockShox 35 Gold up front and a Fox Float DPS Performance Trunnion shock with a three-Position Evol LV custom tune-in the rear. The drivetrain is from Shimano and is a dependable mix of Shimano Deore and XT although Sunrace provides the 12sp cassette which is an 11-52T. The finishing kit is all from Orbea including the wheels which have Maxxis Minion tires fitted.

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Cube )

Cube Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC Race 625

An all-round e-mtb with great components

RRP: $4,890.00 | Travel: 140mm | Motor and Battery: Bosch Performance CX G4, Bosch 500Wh | Suspension: RockShox 35 Silver fork and Deluxe Select rear shock | Groupset: SRAM NX/SX Eagle | Brakes: Magura 30

Amazing spec for a proper shop bike
Top Bosch motor
Top Bosch battery
Carbon frame
Modern geometry
RockShox suspension
Powerful brakes
Full-size range
3 color options
Short stroke dropper 
Might want tougher tires

Cube does have 120- and 160mm e-bikes in its Stereo Hybrid range, but for all-round usability and agility the 140mm bikes sit bang in the middle.

Incredibly, the entry-level Race 625 still gets the HPC High Performance Composite carbon front end to keep weight under 25kg, even with a full-size 625Wh Powertube battery. You also get a full spec Bosch Gen 4 motor with 85Nm of torque and all the latest power surge features for technical climbs.

The suspension comes from RockShox with the stout, steel-legged 35 Silver up front, while a SRAM NX/SX Eagle gear mix and powerful Magura MT30 four-cylinder brakes with 200mm rotors keep everything running. There’s a full-size range from XS to XL with 27.5-inch wheels on the XS to keep things proportionate and 29er on everything else. You get tubeless-ready Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.6in tires to match the all-rounder vibe, but you might want something tougher on the back. The dropper seat post-stroke is also a bit short.

Crucially Cube has updated its geometry, so the Stereo Hybrid handles in a really well-balanced way whether you’re climbing, hustling singletrack or loving the descents. There are three color options, too.

Vitus E-Sommet VR budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Vitus )

Vitus E-Sommet VR

A bargain e-MTB ready for enduro riding

RRP: $4,759.00 / £3,599.99 | Travel: 170/167mm | Motor and Battery: Shimano STEPS E7000, Shimano 504Wh internal | Suspension: X-Fusion Trace 36 RC fork, X-Fusion Pro 02 shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore 11 speed | Brakes: Shimano M520

Full enduro geometry
170mm suspension
Excellent aggro spec
Ideal e-bike tires
Big brake rotors
Shimano reliability
Mullet agility
X-Fusion suspension
E7000 not EP8

The Vitus E-Sommet has been a go-to bargain full-suspension e-bike for several seasons, but this new version takes performance and aesthetics up a whole extra level.

The new frame has a fully internal 504Wh battery with an underside trapdoor if you need to remove it for charging. Geometry is fully up to date with a 64-degree head angle, 77-degree seat angle and a 478mm reach on a large frame. A 45mm stem and wide Nukeproof bars mean responsive steering, while Maxxis Assegai and High Roller II tires in grippy 3C MaxxGrip DD format are an awesome bit of spec at this price.

A 27.5-inch rear wheel keeps the back end really tight for agility while still allowing a massive 167mm of travel. The extra e-bike weight means the X-Fusion Pro 02 rear trunnion shock feels okay, and upfront you get a 170mm travel version of X-Fusion’s stiff Trace 36 fork. 

This entry model is powered by Shimano’s E7000 motor (while VRX and VRS get the new EP8 motor with a larger 630 Wh battery) which means slightly less grunt than some bikes but well-proven reliability. The lower-powered motor also means more range from the mid-sized battery. A Shimano 1x11 Deore drivetrain gives crisp shifting and longevity while the MT520 brakes are given much-needed 203mm rotors to boost stopping power.

Unlike some brands that only offer limited sizing, Vitus produces the E-Sommet in S, M, L and XL so most riders should be able to get onboard their fully e-enduro ready monster.

Focus Thron2 6 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Focus)

Focus Thron2 6.7

An affordable lower-travel trail bike

RRP: $4,757.00 / £3,699.00 | Travel: 130mm | Motor and Battery: Bosch Performance CX G4, Bosch Powertube 625Wh | Suspension: RockShox Recon RL fork and SR Suntour Edge LOR rear shock | Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle | Brakes: Shimano MT420

Full Bosch power
FOLD suspension
Integrated battery
Shop support
Fast rolling wheels
No dropper post
Short geometry
Suntour shock

Thron2 is the shortest travel and most affordable range from Focus, but you’re still getting really neatly designed, quick 29er trail bikes based around a full 85Nm power Bosch Performance CX Gen 4 motor. A 500Wh battery keeps cost and weight down, but the fast-rolling Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 29 x 2.6in tires will boost range and efficiency. The overall weight is low for the price at 23.5kg.

The RockShox Recon RL forks aren’t over-stressed at 130mm of travel, and the Focus FOLD rocker suspension is a great way to get the best out of the Suntour shock. It creates a really neat-looking and tight tracking frame, too. Angles are okay for a shorter travel trail bike, but reach is on the short side at 450mm on the large so it’s more of a cruiser than a carver in character. That means it’s more agile on the flats and climbs, and the 760mm bars and 60mm stem is sized to suit that, too. A SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain and the extra 1/2 kick surge from the motor make short work on technical climbs, and the four-piston Shimano brakes pretty much flawless. It doesn’t have a dropper post, though, so if you can stretch your budget to the JAM2, it’s worth the cost. On the pricier model, you'll get more up-to-date geometry, 150mm of travel, a full-size battery, RockShox rear damper, Shimano SLX and a dropper post. 

Haibike ALLMtn 1 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Haibike )

Haibike ALLMtn 1

A mullet bike that loves the descents

RRP: £3,599.00 | Travel: 160mm | Motor and Battery: Yamaha PW-ST, Intube 630Wh | Suspension: RockShox 35 Silver fork and SR Suntour Edge rear shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore | Brakes: Tektro Orion

Big range
Mullet agility
OK geometry
RockShox fork
Big brake rotors
Shop back-up
Suntour rear shock
High gearing
Brakes lack feel
Might need tougher tires
Looks awful

While there are some cheaper options in Haibike's e-mtb lineup, we think it’s worth digging a bit deeper into your wallet to get the 160mm travel ALLMtn 1.

That gets you a distinctive angular alloy frame built around a Yamaha motor. Max torque is behind top-end Shimano, Bosch and Brose at only 70Nm, but that’s competitive with Shimano E7000. It also means tons of range and run time from the full-size internal battery. The steel-legged RockShox 35 Silver is certainly working hard at 160mm, but it’s tough enough to cope, and the Suntour shock is supple but not the best option. 

A 38T front chainring means gearing is relatively high even with an 11-51T cassette at the back, but the Shimano Deore shift kit is super durable, and the Tektro Orion 4 piston brakes get 203mm rotors for extra power. Heavy-duty Rodi 35mm wide rims are wrapped in Continental Trail King tires for decent grip on the mullet set up. Haibike’s own wide bar, short stem and dropper post take control of a decent 65-degree head angle and 460mm reach on a large frame.

Trek Powerfly FS4 500 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Trek )

Trek Powerfly FS4 500

A budget option for rolling cross-country trails

RRP: $4,699.99 / £4,050.00 | Travel: 100mm | Motor and Battery: Bosch Performance CX G4, RIB Powertube 500Wh | Suspension: SR Suntour XCR 34 fork and SR Suntour Edge R rear shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore 10 speed | Brakes: Tektro M275

Super neat design
Trek dealer back up
Full Bosch power
Appropriate XC geometry
Proportional wheel sizing
Accurate fork
Basic dampers
Limp brakes
Limited gear range
Only 100mm travel

While most of the bikes here are in the Trail/Enduro category, Trek is doing something deliberately different with its brand new Powerfly FS 4 XC e-MTBs.

By keeping rear travel to just 100mm and squeezing the rear shock behind the seat post it creates a really sleek-looking back end. It also leaves bottle cage room inside the mainframe, even with the big side loading RIB internal battery down tube. A super sloped top tube and extended seat tube with a dropper post give the front end a slightly ‘seahorse’ aesthetic. Geometry is a balanced XC mix of 66.5-degree head angle, 76-degree effective seat angle and 460mm reach on the large. 29er wheels on M-XL sizes are fast and easy rolling, while the XS and S sizes get 27.5-inch wheels for proportional agility. On either end, the Bontrager XR3 tires are fast but smooth over intermediate trails. 

Getting up to speed and blasting the climbs is definitely no problem thanks to the full power Bosch Performance CX Gen 4 motor, and if you want more range than the 500Wh battery there’s a 625Wh battery FS 4 model.

Both get the same stiff but numb Suntour fork, slightly limited 10-speed Shimano Deore gear range and limp Tektro brakes, which means the Powerfly is best suited to less technical, rolling trails. On the other hand, the Trek Rail 5 is an absolute e-enduro beast with 160mm RockShox 35 forks, 150mm of RockShox Deluxe damper rear travel, 12-speed SRAM Eagle, four-piston brakes and a slack head angle for $5,499.99. 

Giant Stance E+ 2 29 budget e-mtb

(Image credit: Giant )

Giant Stance E+ 2 29

An entry-level trail bike at an affordable price

RRP: $3,964.00 | Travel: 130/120mm | Motor and Battery: Bosch Giant SyncDrive Sport, Giant EnergyPak 500Wh internal | Suspension: SR Suntour XCR 34 fork and RockShox Monarch R rear shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore 10 speed | Brakes: Tektro Orion

Giant dealer support
RockShox rear shock
App motor tuning
Intuitive Yamaha motor
Four-piston brakes
34mm legged fork
No dropper post
QR rear wheel
Suntour fork
Short reach
120mm flex stay suspension
Tires will need upgrading for wet weather riding

Giant has pulled out all the stops for its entry-level full-suspension budget e-MTB, and it’s a really good-looking bike with some neat features. There are some compromises to work around, though.

Getting a frame with an internal battery is definitely a major plus at this price, but the 500Wh Giant EnergyPak cell can still be removed for recharging if necessary. Giant also uses its own SyncDrive Sport motor with 70Nm of torque. That’s less than Bosch and Brose but is on par with other budget brands. The RideControl Plus display and phone app give tuneable support options, and Giant has an impeccable reputation for super reliable components.

The alloy frame uses a rocker-driven RockShox Monarch shock with a flex stay system, giving a ride-smoothing, if not boulder-eating 120mm of travel. The Suntour fork delivers a 130mm stroke through stiff 34mm legs, and you get a 15mm front axle.

29er wheels help with rough play, and you get decent, although not reinforced, Maxxis Rekon tires for easy speed. Shimano Deore is an older 10-speed drivetrain so there are no super low winch gears, but you do get an MRP chain guide. Tektro Orion brakes with 200mm rotors give reasonable power, although the feel is a bit wooden. 

Despite this being a relatively recent frame the angles are conservatively steep, and it’s very short in reach at 444mm for a large. You get a less secure QR rear wheel ($4,200 Pro version gets a 148mm bolt thru-axle), and you’ll need to add a dropper post for any sort of descending confidence. 

GT Force GT-E Current budget e-mtb

(Image credit: GT)

GT Force GT-E Current

A good frame, worth a few upgrades

RRP: £3,699.99 | Travel: 150mm | Motor and Battery: Shimano STEPS E7000, Shimano STEPS 504Wh external | Suspension: SR Suntour Zeron 35 coil fork and X-Fusion 02 Pro RL rear shock | Groupset: Shimano Deore 10 speed | Brakes: Shimano MT200

Sorted geometry
Internal battery
Reliable Shimano motor
Reasonable range
Direct shop back-up
Stiff forks
Sturdy wheels
10-speed Deore
Underpowered brakes
Might need tougher tires
Basic suspension dampers

The Shimano motorized version of GT’s Force play bike delivers plenty of travel and proper aggro geometry, but the stop and go componentry is gagging for upgrading. 

You’re getting a STEPS E7000 motor rather than the latest EP8 so power is mid-level, but that means proven durability and plenty of run time from the internal 504Wh battery. The Force-based chassis really scores with a stiff, strong construction and the 150mm of X-Fusion controlled four-bar suspension to keep pace with usefully progressive geometry.

In terms of numbers, there's a 65-degree head angle, 75-degree seat angle and a decent 475mm reach on the large frame. A short 45mm stem and 780mm bar offer an appropriate cockpit, and you get a TranzX dropper. WTB 32-spoke, 30mm, 29er rims with Addix compound Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance 2.6in tires are decent rolling stock for covering ground with reasonable grip. You might want to upgrade to tougher rubber at the rear, and the gears and brakes are definitely below par. It’s not that Shimano Deore isn’t smooth and massively durable, but you’re only getting the 10-speed version here. Plus the Shimano MT200 brakes aren’t up to the task of taming a bike that gains speed and encourages limit-pushing as much at the Force GT-E Current. 

How to choose the best budget e-MTB

1. Hardtail or full suspension

If you want an e-bike for tackling properly technical trails with serious rocks, drops and other challenges, then you definitely want full suspension. Otherwise, all that extra battery and motor weight is going to be smashing into stuff with nothing to absorb the impact, which will affect your ride quality. That makes even the best hardtail E-bikes quite a battering experience.

In contrast, that extra weight actually makes even basic rear suspension feel much better thanks to the greater contrast in sprung-to-unsprung weight ratio. Or to put it another way, all that bike mass (the sprung bit) is harder to move so the unsprung bit (the wheels, rear swingarm etc.) move more, making even basic dampers feel more supple and sensitive. 

2. Motor 

We always recommend sticking with big brand motors, such as Bosch, Shimano and Brose, to get the best level of support and to make it easier to find help if you have an issue. Each brand has a range of motors available so you might find that some budget e-MTBs use less powerful versions that are designed for town bikes. That doesn’t have to a deal-breaker. Just be prepared to pedal a little harder than riders on full-power bikes.

3. Battery

Batteries are really expensive, too, so some designs use less cells in their batteries to save cost. A smaller battery will also be lighter so you could actually see that as a bonus. How the battery is mounted doesn’t make a huge difference in performance, although it may affect the practicality of removing the battery for charging or mounting a water bottle. Some internal battery frames are stiffer than external mount frames but most aren’t. External battery designs are simpler and therefore cheaper to design and make, and they are almost always easier to remove for charging off the bike. They don’t look nearly as slick though, and external batteries are more prone to loosen and rattle.

4. Suspension

If you’ve added about 10kg of motor and battery weight to your bike, then you may as well have enough travel to enjoy those extra descents it’s gifting you. We think there should be at least 130mm of rear travel and 140mm or more in the front. Make sure you still pay attention to quality, not just quantity, as a bike that blows through its travel or has really mushy pedaling will never feel as good as a properly controlled machine that you can push your limits on.

5. Handling

You’ll generally be going a lot faster if you’ve got a motor helping you and a lot more gravity on your side when descending. You’ll have to wrestle a lot more bike mass through corners and tech sections, too, so you need all the help you can get. That means a head angle of 66 degrees or less and a generous reach for stability at high speeds. You don’t want it to feel like a total barge, though, so you want a wide bar for leverage and a short stem for quick reactions.  

6. Components

With more weight and speed to control, brakes are the obvious thing that needs to be more powerful and reliable than normal on an e-MTB. Look for 200mm+ rotors on either end to be sure of stopping. Tires, particularly at the back, take a pounding even with full suspension, so if you don’t get reinforced casing set up tubeless then definitely upgrade ASAP. Wheels are important too. Not just strong rims and build quality, but also rear hubs that can take all the extra torque being delivered by the motor. You might not get all of this when looking at budget bikes, but if it comes down to a choice between otherwise similar machines, make sure you check the details.

Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.

Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg