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Updated: 23 May 2022

Best electric bikes for 2022

Our rigorous lab tests reveal the UK's best e-bike motor systems, found on top electric bike brands such as Giant, Halfords and Trek. Find the ones that can truly support you, letting you go further with less effort
Sam Morris
Up-hill-ebiking

Electric bikes (also known as e-bikes) are a fantastic way to rediscover a love for cycling, let you go further and extend your enjoyment into your later years. 

They don't come cheap, though, and we've found that some will take you much further than others. Make the wrong choice and you could end up with an electric bike that will take you only 30 miles on flat ground, and won’t get you up even the shallowest of hills.

However, the best we've tested will have you climbing hills with ease and power you along a flat road for nearly twice as many miles.

Read on to find our why we test electric bike motors, the best motor/display combinations and some of the top brand models that have them.

The secret to choosing the best electric bike

The most important part of an e-bike is its motor and display combination. If this performs poorly, there isn't much point in spending the extra money that an e-bike costs over a traditional bike.  

While there are many brands, there are only a few manufacturers (such as Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha) that produce e-bike motors. Consequently, many models use the same motor and display combinations.

Therefore, our independent lab tests focus on electric bike motors and displays. Armed with this information, you can narrow your search to just those that have the motor/display combo that you want.

Most retailer sites let you filter your search by the type of motor, but we've also listed a selection of e-bikes with each motor review, chosen from the most popular brands among owners.1

Be aware that some retailers will sell the same e-bike, but with a different motor. If you find one we've listed at a different retailer, we recommend you double check the specifications to ensure it has the motor you're after.

Best electric bike motors

Below is a summary table of all the motors we've tested, so you can compare their scores and pick the one that's right for you.

Click a particular motor click to read our full review, or simply scroll down to browse all our reviews of e-bike motors. 

Only logged-in members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up to Which? today for instant access to this and all our reviews.

Bosch Active Line with Purion display (400Wh battery)

Bosch claims its Active Line e-bike motor is quiet, with smooth power delivery and perfect for an urban commute. It's also the recipient of the Red Dot Design Award 2017. Coupled with the minimalist Purion display, a bike with this combo looks brilliant on paper.

But is this true in practice? We put the motor through our rigorous lab tests and in-field test rides. To find out how the Bosch Active performs, and to see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Bosch Active Line Plus with Intuvia display (400Wh battery)

The Active Line Plus offers a higher torque than the Active Line form Bosch. In theory this means the motor should have greater acceleration and be able to support better on more demanding terrain. Bosch claims the Intuvia display can be read under all lighting conditions, and it comes with a separate control unit so you can keep your hands firmly on the handlebars while riding. 

But does the motor really deliver? To find out how the Bosch Active Plus performs, and view a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join which? today.

Bosch Performance Line with Intuvia display (500Wh battery)

Bosch says the Performance Line motor is its most versatile system, perfect for commuting, a fast countryside ride or traversing hilly terrain. Paired with an Intuvia display, which Bosch says can be read under all lighting conditions, this motor and display combination looks amazing on paper.

But did it deliver when we put it through our rigorous testing? Find out how the Bosch Performance Line motor performed, and see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, by logging in or join Which? today. 

Bosch Performance Line with Purion display (500Wh battery)

Bosch performance line e-bike motor and purion display

Bosch says the Performance Line motor is its most versatile system, perfect for commuting, a fast countryside ride or traversing hilly terrain. Coupled with the minimalist Purion display, a bike with this motor and display should be easy to use, with great hill support.

But did it deliver when we put it through our rigorous testing? Find out how the Bosch Performance Line motor performed, and to see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, by logging in or join Which? today. 

Bosch Performance Line CX with Intuvia display (400Wh battery)

The Bosch Performance Line CX motor is designed for electric mountain bikes, with high torque (pulling power) to allow for powerful acceleration even while on a steep hill. Bosch claims the Intuvia display can be read under all lighting conditions, and it comes with a separate control unit so you can keep your hands firmly on the handlebars while riding. 

A bike with this motor and display should be easy to use, with great hill support.

But is this true? We put the motor through our rigorous lab tests and in-field test rides. To find out how the Bosch Performance Line CX faired, and to view a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today. 

Bosch Performance Line CX with Purion display (600Wh battery)

The Bosch Performance Line CX motor is designed for electric mountain bikes, with high torque (pulling power) to allow for powerful acceleration even while on a steep hill. Coupled with the minimalist Purion display, a bike with this motor and display should be easy to use, with great hill support.

But is this true? We put the motor through our rigorous lab tests and in-field test rides. To find out how the Bosch Performance Line CX faired, as well as see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Elops KM790 with Decathlon Elops KM790 display (300Wh battery)

The Elops KM790 rear motor is found on the city bike Elops 120E at Decathlon. It offers three levels of assistance and the display lets you control the bikes lights.

Being attached to a sub-£1,000 electric bike makes this motor a tempting offer, but will it give you the assistance you’d expect form an electric bike?

To find out how the Elops KM790 motor performs, and see some e-bikes equipped with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Fazua Evation with Smartphone app Display (300Wh battery)

The Fazua Evation motor system is designed to blend into the bike's frame, unlike on others where the motor look somewhat tacked on. 

The motor claims to provide up to 60 Nm (Neuton metres) of torque (pulling power), which is the maximum force an e-bike motor can deliver. In theory, a high torque such as this will make it easier to get the bike going, even up steep hills. 

But does the theory pan out in practice? To find out how the Fazua Evation motor performs, and some of the e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Giant SyncDrive Core with RideControl Charge display (500Wh battery)

Giant’s SyncDrive Core may be a Yamaha e-bike motor, but it's paired with Giant sensors and firmware, so in practice operates completely differently.

The motor has a smart assist mode which uses six sensors, including an accelerometer and slope detector, to deliver the power you want, so there's no need to change to a different assistance level. The RideControl Charge has a micro-USB port for charging your phone and offers five support modes. 

But will this motor/display combo give you the smooth ride you’re hoping for? To find out how the SyncDrive Core motor performs, and view a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Giant SyncDrive Pro with RideControl Ergo display (300Wh battery)

Giant’s SyncDrive Pro may be a Yamaha e-bike motor, but it's paired with Giant sensors and firmware, so in practice operates completely differently.

The motor has a smart assist mode to deliver the power you want – no need to change to a different assistance level. The RideControl Ergo also has a waterproof switch to change assistance level.

The Pro is often found on pricier e-bikes, but is it worth the money? To find out how the SyncDrive Pro motor performs, and see a range of Giant e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ with iWoc One display (300Wh battery)

The Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ is typically found on mid-range electric bikes and can be deliver 40 Nm (Neuton metres) torque Pulling power) to, in theory, give good acceleration. Mahle claims the motor works optimally between 9.3 and 15.5mph.

It's paired with the iWoc One display, which is controlled by a single button and has a sleek LED ring around the button (this lights up different colours to indicate assistance levels and battery life). 

Is this motor and display a winning combination? Find out how the X35+ performs, and view some bikes that come with this motor, by logging in or joining Which? today.

Shimano Steps E5000 with SC-E6100 display (500Wh battery)

The Shimano Steps E-5000 is a centre-motor and received a software update in 2021. It's Shimano’s lightest motor, which it claims is virtually silent when operating.

The SC-E6100 display is large and offers wireless Bluetooth communication, so you can use a third-party display or smartphone app.

But can this motor offer the support on flat and steep terrain, and provide the range you need?

To find out how the Steps E5000 performed, and to see a selection of e-bikes equipped with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Shimano Steps E6100 with SC-E6100 display (500Wh battery)

The Steps E6100 is a premium e-bike system from Shimano. It claims it's the most versatile system, saving 20% more energy compared with its E6000 motor. The SC-E6100 display is large and offers wireless Bluetooth communication, so you can use a third-party display or smartphone app. 

But did this motor system go all the way in our lab testing? To find out how the Steps E6100 performed, and see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.

Shimano Steps E8000 with SC-E8000 display (300Wh battery)

Designed for mountain biking, this motor claims to tackle steep trails, with a stable and smooth power delivery. The SC-E8000 display is compact with dynamic visuals. 

But is the display all style and no substance? Does the motor actually deliver when put to the test?

To find out how the Steps E8000 performed log in or join Which? today.

Suntour R250HP with Suntour ATS display (400Wh battery)

This rear hub motor from Suntour offers 60 Nm (Neuton metres) torque Pulling power). In theory, this means it should offer good acceleration. Plus, the ATS display offers four levels of assistance and allows you to view data such as speed, mileage and battery level while riding.  

This motor is often found on more affordable e-bikes, but does that mean the motor is up to standard? Find out how the Suntour motor performs, and to see a selection of e-bikes with this motor, log in or join Which? today.


Folding Electric Bike Reviews - find a great e-bike for commuting


How we test electric bikes


All of the e-bike motor systems we test are set up on a rolling road in a lab and put through an array of tough tests designed to simulate real-life use. We use the same setup to test all the different systems, so that you can easily see how they compare.

How we calculate electric bike range 

Manufacturers may give a mileage figure on their electric bikes, but they often won't publish the weight of the rider or the conditions they're riding in. Trying to compare range with another bike is therefore almost impossible. 

For our range tests we keep the following constant:

  • Weight of the cyclist (70kg)
  • Frontal area and air resistance
  • Rolling resistance of the tyres
  • A constant speed of 15.5mph is maintained when the bike is up to speed
  • When the bike is on a slope of 6% that speed is reduced to 11.2mph

You won't find range figures for e-bikes that are truly comparable anywhere else.

Assistance levels

We conduct our range and incline tests on three separate power-assistance settings:

  • 100% assistance Motor is putting in the same effort as the rider
  • 150% assistance Motor is putting in more effort than the rider
  • 200% assistance Motor is putting in twice as much effort as the rider

Different cycling terrain

Each e-bike system is tested on a flat road, a shallow hill (1.5% gradient) and a steeper hill (6% gradient). 

Many of the motor systems we've tested can't provide all of the levels of assistance described above on even a shallow hill, making them unsuitable for hilly areas.

Expert riding assessments

Each e-bike motor system is assessed for the following criteria:

  • The smoothness with which it delivers power to the pedals Some motors are noticeably juddery when delivering power.
  • How well it accelerates from a standing start Some systems don't deliver power until after a few pedal revolutions, making it more difficult and less safe for a rider setting off and getting up to speed.
  • Noise Some motors emit an irritating whine, which could be distracting and ruin your afternoon jaunt through the countryside.

Display unit

The display unit is rated for how easy it is to use, for example switching between assistance levels, and the visibility of the data it displays in various light conditions.


Prices last updated on 14 February 2022.

1 March 2021, Which? survey of 697 electric bike owners.