The fastest growing category in cycling, there’s little denying the booming popularity of the [e-bike]. With all of the big cycle industry players tipping 2019 to be the biggest year in the world of assisted cycling yet, we’ve put together our picks of the best entry-level commuter e-bikes to be had for AUD$2,500 (or thereabouts)
- Related Reading: The Ultimate E-Bike Buyer’s Guide
What to Expect
Being at the lower end of what you can expect to pay for an e-bike, hub driven units drastically outnumber frame-mounted pedelec options thanks to their reduced cost and simplified design.
Moving to the top end or above the budget of AU$2,500 will see pedelec motor systems (e.g: Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha, Bose, etc) start to become more readily available. High-end hub driven motor systems can still be found in this price bracket too.
All bikes covered in this list meet Australian standards, and so a speed limited to 25km/h. All but one is pedelec, or pedal assist, where the motor automatically kicks in to support your pedaling input. The eTourer F1 is throttle driven.
Accessories such as integrated lights, pannier racks and mudguards are becoming commonplace as e-bikes continue to benefit from the trickle-down of tech. The frames will typically be manufactured from aluminum, with frames increasing in quality as the cost rises towards the ceiling of the price bracket.
Expect components to be relatively entry-level in comparison to more expensive e-bikes. In fact, the components used are similar to what you would find on a $400-$750 non-powered bicycle. Eight or nine-speed drivetrains will largely take care of shifting duties with a single chainring fitted. When it comes to stopping, disc brakes are the most popular option thanks to their dependable and powerful braking in all weather conditions.
Wheels follow a similar trend to the frame and component specification, with an emphasis placed on durability rather than weight savings. Double-walled aluminium rims are favoured here thanks for their strength and affordability and will typically be wrapped in durable, puncture resistant commuter tyres.
Wondering what stretching the budget a little further affords you? Moving to $AUD3,000 sees most major brands such as Merida, Focus, Trek, and Cannondale present their entry-level e-bike options. All of which are typically outfitted with quality pedelec drive units, superior braking systems and battery systems that offer increased range compared to hub driven units.
Kalkhoff Durban Compact G8
Robust, lightweight and paired back, the Durban Compact city commuter e-bike from German company Kalkhoff represents a fantastic option for consumers wanting a durable e-bike from a high-end European company. Designed for use in the city, the compact frame size, 20” wheels and shortened wheelbase mean the Durban has a much smaller footprint than other e-bikes on this list, making it easy to stow away when not in use or tuck away on public transport.
A hub drive assistance unit features at the rear wheel and is mated to a compact 257wH battery that is said to provide 45 km of range. A full charge from empty said to take four hours.
Moving to componentry, Shimano provides the groupset in the form of an 8-speed Sora drivetrain which is mated to a single chainring up front. Tektro provide the hydraulic brake system, while the double-walled aluminium wheelset is wrapped in robust Schwalbe Big Apple puncture resistant rubber. LED lights front and rear complete this capable package.
Reid Urban +
Australian direct-to-consumer company Reid Bicycles has a long history of providing consumers with excellent value for money on a range of different bicycles. Reid entered the e-bike game a number of years ago now, offering up quality pedelec drive unit equipped bikes at impressive prices.
The Urban+ and Urban+ WSD featured here are the only bikes on this list to offer a quality Shimano STEPS pedelec drive system paired with an efficient 418Wh battery. The E6000 drive system fitted is claimed to provide over 100km of range from a full charge, with the pedelec motor offering arguably the most refined ride feel of the bikes listed here.
Shimano also takes care of the component specification, with an E6000 crankset and chain fitted, whilst the shifters, derailleurs and hydraulic disc brakes also come courtesy of the Japanese firm. Reid takes care of the majority of the finishing kit, providing the bars, stem saddle and wheelset.
Shogun SB100 E-Bike
Once famed for their quality Japanese steel framed road bikes, recent times have seen Shogun Bikes largely relegated to department stores, offering bikes at the more affordable end of the market.
The most affordable bike on this list, the SB100, makes use of an iMAX 250 watt hub drive motor fitted to the rear hub, with the rack-mounted battery system claimed to provide up to three hours or around 75 km of use per charge.
A seven-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain handles shifting duties whilst simpler V rim brakes handle stopping duties. A double-walled aluminium wheelset is shod with sturdy 40c width rubber. All up, it’s a cheap and cheerful package, but there are real compromises made to hit such a price.
XDS E Cruz
With over 20 years of manufacturing experience at its disposal, Chinese company XDS is one of the industry's largest bicycle manufacturers. Launching into the Australian market in 2012, XDS provides a wide range of bikes to consumers including high-value e-bikes.
Available in both step-thru and traditional frame styles, the E Cruz is powered by a mid-mounted Bafang pedelec drive unit and is claimed to provide up to 75 km worth of riding per charge. A rear mounted rack rated to 25 kg features out back, whilst mudguards front and rear will shield riders from damp city streets.
Shimano provides the eight-speed Acera groupset save for the 36T Bafang crankset. Full hydraulic Tektro brakes paired with large 160mm rotors should provide ample stopping power.
Comfortable, durable and efficient, the Jordaan sits atop the hierarchy in the Lekker product line up. Available in both step-thru and standard frame shapes, Lekker bikes offer classic Dutch styling and quality frame construction whilst maintaining an affordable price.
Now in its second iteration, the Jordaan is powered by a Samsung brushless front hub drive motor and is said to provide between 50-100 km of assisted riding (depending on the assistance level used). Shifting duties are handled by a smart NuVinci internal rear hub, which can be shifted both automatically and manually depending on rider preference. Hydraulic disc brakes, integrated LED lighting (front and rear) and front and rear racks round out this classy looking steed.
Progear E-Mojo 2
The second bike in this list to be outfitted with the recently released Bafang MAX pedelec drive unit, the Progear E-Mojo commuter is outfitted with a considered build kit, sure to provide consumers with a versatile and durable assisted riding package.
The Bafang MAX pedelec drive unit provides 250 watts of additional power whilst a rack mounted battery system is said to provide up to 100 km worth of assisted riding. A rear mounted rack and mudguards at both wheels also feature. Shimano provides its eight-speed Altus groupset, whilst mechanical disc brakes provide the stopping power.
Representing yet another of the more affordable options on this list, the F1 courtesy of e-bike startup eTourer and features a considered build-kit and a compact frame. The only bike on this list to feature a folding frame, the F1 can be folded down to a third of its fully assembled size, making it perfect for those wanting an e-bike that’s easily tucked away when traveling and not in use.
A 200-watt front hub driven motor features out front and is operated via an easily accessible throttle at the handlebars. The frame-integrated battery is said to provide around 35km of range meaning this bike is best suited to shorter city commutes.
A Shimano Nexus 3-speed internal gear system provides the gearing whilst mechanical disc brakes feature front and rear. Puncture resistance 20” tyres complete the build of this compact bike.
Giant LaFree E+2
Giant’s LaFree E+2 is a great example of how spending just a little past $2,500 opens you up to the big players. The most affordable model in the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers e-bike line-up, the LaFree may be small on price, but it’s not short on specification.
Powered by a mid-mounted pedelec drive unit developed in collaboration with Yamaha, the LaFree provides riders with 250 watts of additional assistance and is fuelled by an efficient 400wH battery.
An eight-speed Shimano Acera groupset handles shifting duties, with Tektro providing the hydraulic disc brakes. Mudguards front and rear, a sturdy rear rack and robust 2.35” wide CST Zeppelin rubber round out this stylish package. We’ve got one inbound for an in-depth review, so stay tuned to hear how it stacks up.
In the market for your first e-bike? Our ultimate e-bike buyers guide is the perfect place to start your assisted riding journey