The Best Electric Bike Available Now

Bike Ride

Updated:  27th April 2022

 

I bought an electric bike in August last year.  The retailer didn't have it in stock, so the bike was special ordered from the manufacturer in the Netherlands.  Global supply chain issues (a shortage of batteries in my case) and now enhanced UK border controls delayed my ebike.  It took over 6 months to arrive.


Spring has arrived.  If you are thinking about getting you own ebike, maybe you don't want to wait 6 months for the "best".  Instead, you might want to consider the best electric bike available now.

This page considers the options specifically if you are an older person.  I start with a reminder of what I think an older person should look for in an ebike.  A more detailed discussion can be found here.  Then I have provided specific Recommendations with links, and then suggest the best way to actually purchase an ebike.

Note:  You can click on any underlined text to jump directly to that section or to more information.

What's the Best Electric Bike look like?


In a separate article, I described in considerable detail the characteristics of the best electric bike overall.  Briefly, I think it should have:

  • A mid-drive motor ... ideally

    • ... more than 40Nm of torque

    • ... a Bosch Active Line or Performance Line

  • A good gear ratio range ... ideally

    • ... a range of 280% or more

    • ... in the form of an internal gear hub (rather than an external cassette) ... ideally either

      • an Eviolo continuously variable hub (310% or 380%) or

      • a Rohloff 14-speed (526%)

  • A carbon fibre belt connecting the pedals to the rear wheel

  • A decent-sized battery, at least 500 Wh

What's the Best Ebike for Seniors look like?


In a second article, I expanded on what I think is the best ebike for older people:

 

  • A step-through frame

  • The mid-drive motor is a must

  • The gear ratio range is optional

    • If you are content to cycle no faster than 15.5 mph, then don’t worry about this

    • If you may want to get decent speed on the flat, then this is very important

  • carbon fibre belt reduces maintenance but can be hard to find

 
 

Recommendations


Given the above, I have searched the internet for high spec ebikes from good suppliers.  The following ebikes were available as of 27th April 2022.

 

Click the above to jump to my views on this bike and retailer.  Once you have decided, please read my discussion on the best way to go about buying an ebike.

 

Note:  For some of the links below here, if you follow them and then buy an ebike, I may receive a commission.  Importantly, you will not pay a penny more than if you found the bike yourself.  Rather, any commission is from the retailer to thank me for reviewing their stock to see if they have any ebikes I might recommend.

 

My first recommendation is the 2022 model of the Cube Kathmandu Hybrid Pro 625.  Cube is a German bicycle manufacturer, founded in 1993.  The Kathmandu is the higher end of their on-road city & touring ebike range.


Cube bikes have won many awards.  The Cube Kathmandu Hybrid was selected as the best electric bike by MYBIKE magazine (in April 2021), saying:

"The Kathmandu Hybrid is not only incredibly comfortable to ride, it's also packed with well-chosen, high-end equipment. ... The Kathmandu Hybrid is close to being the perfect touring bike."

The Pro 625 is not their highest spec version of the Kathmandu, as they do have models with a 750 Wh battery; however, I believe a 750 Wh battery is overkill for most older cyclists and thus unnecessary extra weight and expense.  There is a low spec version of the Kathmandu, the One 625 but it has an even more limited gear ratio range than the Pro 625 and thus I would not recommend it either.

This Cube ebike is cheaper than my own Gazelle ebike (by £500) and has a higher spec motor and battery, but perhaps has slightly inferior gearing.  Being the 2022 model, I could not find any reviews; however, below I have attached a video review of a previous year's model by Electric Bike Review.com.  They summarised this Cube bike (at 34:30) saying:

"I have had a blast looking at this [bike] ... [T]here are a few trade-offs with this bike but overall I think they did a really great job. I like CUBE.  I feel like they offer great value."

Cube Kathmandu Pro 625 Step-thru.jpg

The retailer, Pure Electric, started as an online-only retailer but quickly realised the value of having bricks & mortar showrooms.  They now have 17 shops throughout the UK.  Below I discuss the advantages of ordering online but picking your ebike up from a physical shop.

Against the Requirements

Looking at my above requirements, here is how the bike stacks up.

 

Price£500 less than my own Gazelle ebike.  It has a better motor and battery but possibly inferior gears.  Overall, I think this is very good value for money.

 

Frame shapeStep-through frame.  This is ideal for older cyclists.

 

Motor:  Bosch Performance CX (85 Nm).  This is an exceptionally good mid-drive motor, which is a step up from the motor on my own ebike; however, depending on where you ride, you may not take advantage of the extra power.  In addition to extra power, the CX can provide more assistance (340% instead of 300%).  On particularly steep hills or brutal headwinds, this extra assistance might come in handy.

Gears:  Shimano Deore CS-M5100 with an impressive 463% gear ratio range.  My Gazelle ebike only has a 380% range.  For me, I think Cube has biased the gears too much towards hill-climbing, thus wasting this range.

 

By law ebike motors stop providing assistance at 15.5 mph.  To go faster, you must do so entirely under your own power.  Pedaling at a leisurely pace (60 rpm), the highest gear will only let you go 17.9 mph.  At a more aggressive pace (80 rpm) you will only be going 23.8 mph.

 

With that said, if this matters to you, you can get Pure Electric (or another bike shop) to swap the front chainring for something larger.  For example, a 48 tooth chainring would let you go 30.1 mph when pedaling at 80 rpm.

Battery:  625 Wh.  This is a removable, high-capacity battery.  Range varies considerably person-to-person, but I figured a 500 Wh battery has a range of 51 miles and so this battery will let you go 66 miles.  Note:  The retailer (Pure Electic) says the maximum range is 51 miles.  The difference is the assumptions we have made.


Importantly, the battery is removable, which is positive and negative.  The positive is that recharging is significantly easier as you don’t need to plug in the whole bike.  The negative is that the battery is expensive and an attractive target for thieves.  So, if you will leave your bike unattended in public, you will either have to take the battery with you (and it is heavy) or use an additional lock to secure the battery as discussed here.

If you are interested in this ebike:  Read my thoughts on how to purchase this bike.

Rayleigh Motus Grand Tour (£2,799) direct from Rayleigh

 

Rayleigh is a UK-based manufacturer and thus you are less likely to suffer"global supply chain issues" when ordering or getting service.  The Motus Grand Tour is their top-of-the-line ebike, when disregarding cargo bikes.

 

The 2022 model is just out and has not yet been comprehensively reviewed.  However, when reviewing the 2020 version, eBikeChoices says "I was impressed ... at this price it’s one of the best Bosch-powered e-bikes available", rating it 7.8 out of 10.

The New Motus is a significant improvement on that earlier bike.

Motus-Lowstep-black-Image-1_2048x2048 - tinified.jpg

Rayleigh has an extensive list of retail partners.  Even when you purchase your ebike online directly from Rayleigh, you are still able to collect your bike from one of these local retailers.  As discussed below, I strongly recommend that you do do this so as to ensure that your ebike is configured properly before you leave the shop.

 

Against the Requirements

Looking at my above requirements, here is how the bike stacks up.

 

Price£800 less than my own Gazelle ebike, and £300 less than the Cube Kathmandu.  However, this ebike has a weaker motor.  One nice feature is the inclusion of an internal gear hub, which reduces maintenance.

 

Frame shapeStep-through frame.  This is ideal for older cyclists.

 

Motor:  Bosch Active Line Plus (50 Nm).  This motor is inferior to the one on my Gazelle ebike, but I think it should be more than enough for decent hills and thus exceeds the minimum requirement.

The eBikeChoices review referenced above mentions that the reviewer's friend, who is in her late 70's and lives in SE Cornwall, with frequent steep hills, felt her 40 Nm bike (the Active Line not the Active Line Plus) was underpowered.  The reviewer himself did not share this view.  Either way, however, the Rayleigh Motus has the more powerful Active Line Plus motor (50 Nm)

Gears:  Shimano Nexus C6000 is an 8-speed internal gear hub with a decent 307% gear ratio range.  As with most ebikes, Rayleigh has biased the gears towards hill-climbing.

 

By law ebike motors stop providing assistance at 15.5 mph.  To go faster, you must do so entirely under your own power.  Pedaling at a leisurely pace (60 rpm), the highest gear will only let you go 16.8 mph.  At a more aggressive pace (80 rpm) you still will only be going 22.4 mph.  In other words, if you want to cycle at speed, this ebike is not for you.

As an aside, the Rayleigh Motus comes with a chain instead of a carbon fibre belt.  This is disappointing but not a show stopper.

Battery:  500 Wh.  This is a removable, high-capacity battery.  Range varies considerably person-to-person, but given the weaker motor, Rayleigh estimates that the range on this bike is 100 miles.  Frankly, even if the battery only had half that range, it would be more than sufficient for most riders.


Importantly, the battery is removable, which is positive and negative.  The positive is that recharging is significantly easier as you don’t need to plug in the whole bike.  The negative is that the battery is expensive and an attractive target for thieves.  So, if you will leave your bike unattended in public, you will either have to take the battery with you (and it is heavy) or use an additional lock to secure the battery as discussed here.

If you are interested in this ebike:  Read my thoughts on how to purchase this bike.

Here is a good video by eBike Sussex that walks through the features of the Rayleigh New Motus Grand Tour, and discusses various optional extras.

Trek Allant+ 8 Stagger (£3,750) from Pearson in West London


If you are in London, Surrey, or Berkshire you might want to consider this ebike.  Note:  I mention these areas because I think you should go into the shop to pick up the bike, as explained below.

AllantPlus8Stagger_20_30232_A_Primary_2048x - B tinified.jpg
 

Trek is a popular American bicycle manufacturer, founded in 1976.  They manufacture a huge range of bikes, some of which are used at the very top levels of professional cycling.

The Allant+ is the higher end of their hybrid ebike brands.  Hybrid bike aim to be a more comfortable, leisurely ride than road bikes, but are not designed for hardcore off-roading like mountain bikes.

The Allant+ 8 is not their highest spec bike, which is the super light Allant+ 9 made of carbon fibre.  Given the extra weight of the battery and motor, there is little logic in paying extra for a carbon fibre frame and fork.

 

Against the Requirements

Looking at my above requirements, here is how the bike stacks up.

 

Price£150 more than my own Gazelle ebike; however, the motor is one step up, which is £200 in value.

 

Frame shape:  Low-step.  Not ideal.  Not as easy to mount/dismount as a step-through frame, but this may be an acceptable compromise if you still have good mobility.

 

Motor:  Bosch Performance CX (85 Nm).  This is an exceptionally good mid-drive motor, which is a step up from the motor on my own ebike; however, depending on where you ride, you may not take advantage of this upgrade.

Gears:  Shimano M4100 with a good 380% gear ratio range, equivalent to my Gazelle ebike.  Similar to my own ebike, the lowest gear ratio is 1.3 and the highest gear is 5.0.  So, you should neither struggle on hills nor have too much difficulty cycling faster than 15.5 mph on the flat.

Battery:  625 Wh.  This is a removable, high-capacity battery.  Range varies considerably person-to-person, but I figured a 500 Wh battery has a range of 51 miles and so this battery will let you go 66 miles.  Note:  The retailer (Pure Electic) says the maximum range is 51 miles.  The difference is the assumptions we have made.


Importantly, the battery is removable, which is positive and negative.  The positive is that recharging is significantly easier as you don’t need to plug in the whole bike.  The negative is that the battery is expensive and an attractive target for thieves.  So, if you will leave your bike unattended in public, you will either have to take the battery with you (and it is heavy) or use an additional lock to secure the battery as discussed here.

If you are interested in this ebike:  Read my thoughts on how to purchase this bike.

3rd Party Reviews

Third-party reviews of this ebike are almost wholly positive.  One reviewer did comment that the steering can be a little too sensitive.  In practical terms, at slower speed, you may need to consciously hold the handlebars to keep the bike going straight.  As a kid, you might remember cycling with no hands, shifting your weight from side-to-side to keep the bike going straight.  Well, if you were to do that on this bike, you might need to pay more attention than you would think.

The following video gives a good introduction to the features.

Keep in mind that this review is about the 8S version, which is not available in the UK.  The 8S provides power assistance up to 28 mph.   UK law, however, requires assistance to cease at 15.5 mph.

 

How to Purchase an eBike

I strongly recommend ordering the bike online immediately ... but order it from an physical bike shop near you.

 

Why should you order it immediately?  Well ...

  1. There are significant global supply chain issues and stocks are limited.  Ordering an ebike online reserves it for you.  Remember that you will not be 100% committed to the purchase until after you pick it up at the shop.  Indeed, your right to return a product purchased online is enshrined in UK law.  Specificially:

"The customer ... can cancel their order up to 14 days after their order is delivered.

They do not need to give a reason for cancelling."

​2.  The specific bikes listed above may be last year's model (further limiting stocks) or may be being sold at a discount.

Both of these apply to the Trek Allant+ 8 Stagger being sold by Pearson above.  This bike is the 2021 model and the 2022 bikes have already started to arrive.  So:

  • this bike is being sold 12% off, but also

  • Pearson are already out of stock on Small and X-Large models with the low-step frame, and out of everything but Medium on their crossbar model.

But why order from a physical bike shop?

Obviously you can buy your ebike from anyone.  Personally I would hesitate before ordering entirely online and having the ebike delivered to your home.  I strongly recommend picking up the bike from a shop.

  1. You may make a mistake when ordering.  I special ordered my ebike through a shop and still a mistake was made regarding the frame shape.  Because I had a face-to-face relationship, I felt more comfortable discussing the issue.

  2. You won't want to have to assemble the bike.  Most bikes are shipped disassembled so as to protect the parts and reduce the cost of shipping.  The result, however, is that "some assembly is required".

  3. You will want the bike adjusted to your height.  This can be done quickly, easily and correctly in a bike shop.

  4. You will want to test ride the bike in close proximity to the shop.  See, most shops have a 100% satisfaction policy; however, these policies have limits.  Some shops, for example, insist that the ebike has not been ridden extensively (and ebike motors have odometers like cars and so this is easily checked.)  Plus, nearly all shops expect you to pay for shipping to return an ebike that was what you actually ordered.

  5. Ebikes are a substantial investment and you will want regular maintenance. It makes sense to get to know the people in your local bike shop. 

In summary, if you are interested in Trek Allant+ 8 Stagger being sold by Pearson, I would strongly recommend that you use Click & Collect to purchase this ebike soon.  When ready, collect the bike from their shop in East Sheen ( SW14 8AG ).  Get them to adjust the bike for you there and then, and take it for a test ride at the shop.

Pearson has a 28-day return policy if you are not 100% satisfied

Comments and Questions