Electric bike kits offer a great way to electrify your bicycle, but choosing the best eBike conversion kit can be overwhelming. With new brands popping up all the time, the wide variety of options can make it hard to find the right one, which is why we have put together this buying guide. From reviewing the best eBike conversion kits to discussing their types to some useful buying advice at the end, this guide will cover it all.
Here’s what we will discuss:
- Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits in 2022
- Types of Electric Bike Conversion Kits
- How to Choose the Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
- Electric Bike Kit vs New eBike: What’s Better?
Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits in 2022
|eBike Kit||Type||Motor||Award||Link to Buy|
|Swytch||Front Hub||36V 350W||Best Lightweight eBike Kit With Battery||Amazon|
|AW Cycles||Front/ Rear Hub||48V 1000W||Best Value Electric Bike Conversion Kit||Amazon|
|Bafang Mid||Mid Drive||48V 750W||Most Powerful eBike Conversion Kit||Amazon|
|Voilamart||Front Hub||48V 1000W||Best Front Wheel Electric Bike Motor Kit||Amazon|
|Jaxpety||Front/ Rear Hub||48V 1000W||Best Premium Bicycle Conversion Kit||Amazon|
|Bafang Hub||Front Hub||48V 500W||Best Budget eBike Conversion Kit||Amazon|
|Ebikeling||Front/ Rear Hub||Various Sizes||Best Versatile Bicycle Conversion Kit||Amazon|
Let us now discuss each of these bicycle conversion kits in detail. From their specifications to compatibility requirements to pros & cons, we’ll explain everything that you might need to know for making an informed decision.
Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit
Award: Best Lightweight eBike Conversion Kit With Battery
- Brand: Swytch
- Motor: 36V 350W
- Type: Front hub motor kit
- Lightest eBike kit
- Easy installation
- Reliable, durable
- Removal battery pack
- Great support team
- Bit expensive
- More weight on front
- Not suitable for hills
Swytch kit is the smallest and lightest eBike conversion kit you can buy today. It weighs just under 7.7lbs/ 3.5kg (1.5kg motor wheel + 2kg battery pack) and is one of the simplest bicycle conversion kits to install.
You just have to replace your front wheel with the Swytch wheel (which already has a hub motor attached to its center), fit the battery pack at the front of your handlebars, connect the cadence-based pedal sensor, and you’re good to go. The Swytch kit is compatible with all bicycles that have disc/ rim brakes, a front dropout width of 3 15/16” (10cm), and a wheel size of either 26” or 28”.
The Swytch eBike kit uses a high-torque brushless geared hub motor rated at 40Nm that can enable a maximum top speed of 20mph (32km/h). Though the brand claims that the 250W motor can propel an average adult up a 30% gradient, we’d recommend you not to use this kit on hills or steep ascents due to its front wheel configuration.
Besides the feathery weight, what we like the most about the Swytch eBike kit is its compact and super-efficient Lithium battery pack, which also contains the controller in it. While the 180Wh ECO version can enable a 22 miles (35km) range, the 250Wh PRO power pack can let you cruise up to 31 miles (50km) on a single charge – that takes just 2 hours.
The battery pack has lights on the top to show the remaining battery capacity as well as your pedal assist mode. But the best thing is that you can easily remove it from the handlebar for storage or safety with a quick-release system.
Another great reason to like the Swytch kit is its incredibly awesome support team who’d go to any length to help you with purchasing, installation, or anything else. As for the downsides, the Swytch kit – being a premium hub motor kit with battery – is on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Buy Swytch Universal eBike Kit at Amazon
AW Cycles eBike Hub Motor Conversion Kit
Award: Best Value Electric Bike Conversion Kit
- Brand: AW Cycles
- Motor: 48V 1000W
- Type: Front/ rear hub motor kit
- Best value for money
- Stellar 60Nm torque
- 28mph top speed
- Durable aluminum wheel
- Battery not included
- Not suitable for use in rain
- Little instructions in manual
The AW 48V 1000W eBike hub motor kit is light on the pocket, easy to install, and incredible to use. At the heart of this eBike kit is a double-walled 26×1.75-inch aluminum wheel with a motor attached to its center. All you have to do to install this eBike kit is just fit a tire into the rim and assemble the wheel back into your bicycle.
Available in both front and rear configurations, this 26” electric bike wheel kit is compatible with any kind of bicycle as long as it has a front drop-out spacing of 3 15/16” (10 cm) for the front hub motor kit, or 5 5/16” (13.5 cm) in case of the rear hub kit.
This 1000W unit is the second most powerful electric bike conversion kit from the brand. The reason we like it more than AW’s top 1500W hub kit is that it has adequate power for all your needs and when it comes to value for money, it’s one of the best eBike conversion kits on the market.
The brushless direct drive (gearless) hub motor used in the kit has a torque output of 60Nm and a max top speed of 28mph (45km/h). A dual-mode controller lets you regulate your motor power or tune it down to comply with local regulations.
You can either use the included twist throttle to ride the bike without pedaling or use the cadence-based pedal assist system to ride for a longer distance. However, keep in mind that this electric bike hub motor kit doesn’t include a battery and you have to buy it separately. A 48V battery with a capacity ranging from 17Ah to 20Ah is what the manufacturer recommends.
The wheel included in this hub motor kit is made from aluminum alloy and can support a load of up to 220lbs (100kg). The included brake levers have a cut-off function to stop the power flowing into the motor for safe and efficient braking. This eBike hub motor kit also has an LCD panel to display the ride information in real-time, though some users have complained about the LCD malfunctioning.
Another downside is that this eBike hub kit comes with very little documentation and specifications, which can make the installation process harder for some users. The manufacturer also warns against using this electric bike wheel kit in rain.
Other kits from the brand include a 36V 750W front hub electric bicycle conversion kit for 20”/24” tire, a 48V 1000W front hub bicycle conversion kit for 20”/26” fat tire, a 48V 1500W rear hub motor kit for 26” tire, and a 48V 1500W rear hub bicycle kit for 26” fat tire.
Buy AW eBike Hub Motor Kit at Amazon
Bafang Mid Drive eBike Conversion Kit
Award: Most Powerful Electric Bike Conversion Kit
- Brand: Bafang
- Motor: 48V 750W
- Type: Mid drive eBike kit
- Incredible 120Nm torque
- Battery included
- Reliable components
- Perfect for off-roading & hill climbing
- Helpful customer support
- No torque sensor
- Incompatible with carbon fiber frame
- Difficult installation
Bafang has made quite a name for itself in the eBike industry ever since its inception in 2003, thanks to the unquestionable reliability of its products. The e-mobility manufacturer offers several different kits to satisfy the needs of all kinds of users. But their BBS02B 48V 750W kit is what we like the most. It’s the best mid drive eBike conversion kit you can buy today.
The 750W motor weighs 9.5lbs (4.2kg) and works quite silently, at less than 55 decibels. With an astonishing torque output of 120Nm, you have more torque at your disposal than you’ll probably ever need, making this Bafang kit one of the most powerful electric bike conversion kits on the market.
As for the battery, there are two options to choose from, depending on the frame style of your bicycle. You can either get a triangular battery to mount on your downtube or a rear rack battery in case you have a cargo rack. The rear rack battery comes with a taillight as well, which adds to night-time safety.
The battery size ranges from 12Ah to 20Ah, but the 48V 17.5Ah is what we’ll recommend. It perfectly syncs with the motor and would give a range of over 30 miles, even for heavier riders. Be it value for money or insane power stats, this Bafang kit ticks all boxes you might want it to tick and takes the lead as the best mountain bike electric conversion kit out there.
Besides the motor and battery, this all-inclusive mid drive eBike kit includes a headlight, thumb throttle, speed sensor, set of cranks, EB-BUS water-resistant cable, brake handles/ sensors with power cut-off feature, and an LCD display in various options. You also get a warranty of one year.
The Bafang electric bike conversion kit offers four chainwheel options – 44T, 46T, 48T & 52T – to best suit your needs. As far as the conversion is concerned, you can install this mid drive eBike kit on any kind of bicycle, provided that it has an alloy frame and a bottom bracket with a length of 68-73mm and an internal diameter of 34-36mm.
For the downsides, this Bafang motor kit doesn’t include a torque sensor, which means your motor power will be calculated based on the RPM of your pedals. Also being a mid drive motor kit, the absence of a torque sensor means you won’t be able to fully enjoy the natural ride-feel associated with mid drive eBikes. Moreover, being a mid drive eBike kit, the installation is difficult when compared to hub motor kits.
Bafang also offers a 52V 1000W mid drive kit for thrill-seeking hardened cyclists. With stunning power stats and an insane 160 newton-meters of torque, it’s the most powerful electric bike conversion kit offered by the brand.
Buy Bafang Mid Drive eBike Kit at Amazon
Voilamart Front Hub Electric Motor Kit
Award: Best Front Wheel Electric Bike Motor Kit
- Brand: Voilamart
- Motor: 48V 1000W
- Type: Front hub wheel kit
- Stunning 440lbs load capacity
- Max speed of 28mph
- Adequate torque output
- Easy installation
- No LCD display
- Battery not included
- Controller bag too short
Voilamart electric bike wheel kit has a 48V 1000W front hub motor pre-installed in a 26” aluminum wheel with a nylon tire. It is Voilamart’s second most powerful electric bike conversion kit after their top-most offering – the 1500W hub wheel kit.
The reason we like this 1000W electric bike kit more than its elder sibling is that it’s quite budget-friendly, despite having comparable power specs. The torque output of 45Nm and the max top speed of 28mph (45km/h), enabled by the brushless and gearless (direct drive) hub motor, is enough for your everyday commuting needs.
You can either use the pedal assist system or use the throttle to power your ride without pedaling. The aluminum alloy wheel with stainless steel spokes has an extremely sturdy build and can haul a maximum load of 440lbs (200kg). This stunning payload capacity makes this hub motor kit one of the best eBike conversion kits on the market.
Besides the motor and wheel, the electric bicycle kit comes with all the components needed to electrify your ride, including a pedal assist crank sensor, a motor controller, a controller bag, a twist throttle with battery level display, and a pair of brake handles with power cut-off feature.
Unfortunately, the Voilamart electric bike wheel kit doesn’t come with a battery. Though the throttle has a battery display, the lack of an LCD display is another downside. Another major user complaint is that the controller bag that comes with the kit is too little to house the control mechanism.
Other hub motor kits from the brand include a 36V 500W front wheel electric bicycle conversion kit, a 48V 1500W rear wheel electric bicycle conversion kit, and a 48V 1000W rear wheel bicycle conversion kit for 26” fat wheels.
Buy Voilamart Front Hub Motor Kit at Amazon
Jaxpety Hub Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
Award: Best Premium Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
- Brand: Jaxpety
- Motor: 48V 1000W
- Type: Front/ rear hub wheel kit
- High power output
- Tire included
- Reliable components
- Easy to install
- Battery not included
- No speed display
- Pedal assist could be better
Jaxpety 48V 1000W electric bike conversion kit is available both as a front and rear hub unit. It has a 26×1.75-inch aluminum wheel with stainless steel spokes, a nylon tire, and a pre-attached hub motor.
The Jaxpety electric bike kit comes complete with all components except for a battery. Besides the wheel and motor, the package includes a twist throttle with battery display, a controller with bag, a harness, two brake levers, and two hand grips.
One of the most powerful electric bike conversion kits on the market, the Jaxpety hub kit is powered by a 48V 1000W brushless direct drive (gearless) hub motor, with a maximum top speed of 28mph (45km/h).
While you can use the controller to tune down the motor power to comply with state regulations, the twist throttle can let you ride without pedaling. Since you have to buy the battery separately, we’d recommend you buy a 48V unit with a nominal capacity greater than 26A.
Though the performance of the Jaxpety electric bicycle kit is not equivalent to that of mid drive units, you can still expect the rear hub kit to perform well on hills and gradients, thanks to the powerful motor. The front hub kit, however, is only suitable for road use.
As for the downsides, the Jaxpety eBike conversion kit lacks a speed display, which can be a deal breaker for some people. Some users also faced problems with the pedal assist system.
Buy Jaxpety Hub Bicycle Conversion Kit at Amazon
Bafang Front Hub Electric Bike Conversion Kit
Award: Best Budget eBike Conversion Kit
- Brand: Bafang
- Motor: 48V 500W
- Type: Front hub motor kit
- Easy installation
- High power output
- Reliable and durable
- Best budget eBike kit
- Low traction on gradients
- Battery not included
- Tire not included
- Confusing user manual
Bafang 48V 500W front hub motor kit is the best budget eBike conversion kit on the market.
In addition to the front wheel and motor, this hub kit comes with all necessary accessories including a thumb throttle, controller, controller case, brake levers/ hydraulic sensors, pedal-assist system, LED headlamp, and an optional LCD display. Unfortunately, the kit doesn’t contain a tire and battery, so you have to separately purchase them.
The brake handles cut motor power when you press the levers to ensure a quick and efficient stoppage, and the LCD screen lets you monitor your ride in real-time. In case you want to use your own brakes, you can get hydraulic brake sensors instead of handles to fit in your bicycle. The presence of throttle means you can stop pedaling whenever you want.
The Bafang front hub motor kit is compatible with any kind of bicycle as long as it has disc brakes and its front dropout size is 9-11cm. If your bicycle has older V brakes, you can have your electric bike wheel kit modified for it as well. The available wheel sizes are 20”, 26”, 27.5”, and 700C (~29”).
The 48V 500W brushless motor powering this front hub electric bike conversion kit can deliver a top speed of 25mph (40km/h) and a maximum torque output of 40Nm.
While the manufacturer claims this hub motor kit is able to climb 30 degrees of gradients, we’d highly recommend you not to use it on hills. The front hub eBike kits can only work well on flat roads and have serious traction issues on hills.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only downside of this Bafang hub motor kit. The top speed of this kit can be less than 25mph for heavy adults. Another frequent complaint is that the user manual has “tiny directions, photos, and diagrams” which make the installation very confusing.
Buy Bafang Front Hub eBike Kit at Amazon
Ebikeling Electric Bike Wheel Conversion Kit
Award: Best Versatile Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
- Brand: Ebikeling
- Motor: Various sizes
- Type: Front/ rear hub motor kit
- Easy installation
- Lightweight wheel
- Variety of motor options
- Low power output
- Battery not included
- Tire not included
Being a hub motor electric bike conversion kit, the Ebikeling kit is easy to install. It comes with a double-walled aluminum wheel with a hub motor already attached to the rim, which means you can install the kit just by fitting a tire into it and then assembling the wheel back into your bicycle. Thanks to the aluminum build, the wheel is fairly lightweight yet durable.
This eBike hub motor kit comes with a standard wheel size of 26” and is available in both front and rear configurations. It’s also available in a 26” fat wheel configuration. Unfortunately, the tire and battery are not included and you have to buy them separately.
As far as the motor is concerned, Ebikeling offers four options – you can either get a geared hub motor in 500W/ 750W or a direct drive (gearless) hub motor in 1200W/ 1500W. However, keep in mind that the direct drive motors offered by the brand are grossly underpowered.
For instance, the 1200W gearless motor can manage just over 30Nm of torque and, therefore, can only be used on flat roads. The geared hub motors, on the other hand, have better torque output, with the 500W and 750W motors making 40Nm and 50Nm of torque respectively.
In addition to the motor, this electric bike wheel kit comes with a throttle, torque arm set, pedal-assist system, an LCD screen, and brake levers. While all components have a 3-month warranty, the motor has a warranty of 1 year.
Ebikeling claims their electric wheel kit to be waterproof but that’s not the case. Just like other eBike conversion kits on the market, this hub motor kit can resist a few splashes of water but that’s pretty much it. So, in case you buy this or any other eBike kit, make sure not to use your bicycle in rain.
Lack of reliability, especially when compared to rivals like Bafang, is the major downside of this electric bike wheel kit, with some users reporting issues with the controller. Many users complained about the installation manual being very confusing. Lack of torque, especially in the front wheel hub motor kit with direct drive units, is also another downside.
Ebikeling hub motor kit might not be as impressive as other options on this list, but the geared motor rear hub kit undoubtedly offers a good value for money and is one of the best budget eBike conversion kits on the market.
Buy Ebikeling Bicycle Conversion Kit at Amazon
- L-Faster 36V 450W electric bike kit
- Schuck 48V 1000W eBike hub motor kit
- Tongsheng 48V 750W mid drive motor kit
Types of Electric Bike Conversion Kits
In order to buy the right electric bike kit for yourself, you need to know what types of eBike conversion kits are there. Each kind of kit is meant for a specific type of use, so in order to make the most of your bicycle conversion and to be safe on the road, you need to buy the type that’s meant for your use case.
Before we discuss the types of electric bike conversion kits, here’s a brief overview of how they compare to each other as well as our best pick in each category.
|Comparison of eBike Conversion Kit Types|
|Hub Drive Kits||Mid Drive Kits||Friction Drive Kits|
|Motor Position||Front/ Rear Wheel||Crank||Usually Rear Wheel|
|Suitable Use||Front hub for on-road. Rear hub for off-road||All kinds of uses. Perfect for mountains and hills||Dry city roads|
|Best Pick||Swytch Universal eBike Kit||Bafang Mid Drive eBike Kit||Rubbee X Friction Drive Kit|
Let’s now discuss each type in detail, along with its pros and cons.
Hub/ Wheel eBike Conversion Kits
Hub motor kits, also known as eBike wheels, are the most common type of bicycle conversion kits on the market.
Featuring a wheel with a motor attached to its hub, these eBike motor kits are cheap to buy and easy to install. They are also extremely versatile and can fulfill the needs of almost all kinds of riders. If you’re a beginner or need an electric bicycle kit for your everyday commute, these kits are perfect for you.
The hub motor kits are available as either front or rear wheel conversion kits. Let’s see how they differ and what pros and cons they have.
Front Hub eBike Conversion Kits
Front hub eBike conversion kits are the simplest of all.
They’re perfect for bicycle conversion in case you plan to mount your battery on the rear rack as this would lead to a balanced weight distribution across your bicycle. If that’s not the case, the uneven weight can make your steering too heavy.
However before you install the front hub conversion kit on your bicycle, you need to make sure your fork has adequate strength to cope with the torque that will be produced by the electric motor.
The front wheel electric bike conversion kits have serious traction issues. Therefore, the bicycles converted with these kits should only be used on flat roads.
- Cheaper than rear and mid drive kits
- Easy and quick to install
- Easy to repair or replace
- Require less maintenance
- Can work with any drivetrain
- No traction on hills and gradients
- Inefficient; consume more battery power
- More wear on the front brake pads
- Unnatural pulling sensation
- Usually low torque output
Rear Hub eBike Conversion Kits
A bicycle converted with a rear hub motor has better performance than the ones that use a front electric bike wheel kit.
Rear hub kits are particularly suitable for off-roading, thanks to their considerably better traction. But keep in mind that it’s not safe to install a rear electric bike wheel kit when you plan to mount your battery on the rear rack. It would shift all your weight to the back wheel, causing unsafe wheelies during acceleration.
Installation of rear hub kits is simpler than the mid drive ones. However, if your bicycle has a hub gear, you’ll need to replace it with a derailleur and cassette.
- Suitable for hills and dirt roads
- High torque and power output
- Less wear on the drive chain
- Usually cheaper than mid drive kits
- Discreet fit, giving an overall neat look
- Relatively natural pushing sensation
- Tire changing is the hardest
- More wear on the rear brake pads
- Less efficient than mid drive kits
Mid Drive eBike Conversion Kits
Mid drive eBike conversion kits – as the name suggests – have their motor sitting in the center of your bicycle, between the pedals. In almost all cases, the motor is attached to the bottom bracket of your bicycle. This configuration keeps your weight at an optimum position, making these kits the perfect choice for mountain use.
These electric bicycle conversion kits are compact and lightweight, but still offer considerably more torque than the electric wheel kits – another reason why they’re best for climbing long ascents. The only notable downside of mid drive eBike kits is that they’re more expensive than their hub counterparts.
The installation of these kits can also be a bit challenging. Before buying a mid drive eBike kit, make sure it is compatible with the cassette of your bike as well as the diameter of its bottom bracket.
- Low center of gravity
- Even weight distribution
- Ideal for ascents and mountain use
- High torque and power output
- The most natural ride feel
- Incredible efficiency; use little power
- Tire changing is the easiest
- Most expensive
- Require more maintenance
- Costly to repair
- Not suitable for beginners
Friction Drive eBike Conversion Kits
Friction drive kits are the most rudimentary type of electric bike conversion kits.
The working of friction eBike kits is very simple. They have a roller and motor assembly installed on, usually, the rear wheel. The roller, which is pressed against the wheel, is rotated by the motor, eventually rotating the wheel and propelling the bicycle forward.
As you can guess, the friction drive eBike conversion kits are grossly inefficient. In addition to that, they’re noisy and have weight distribution issues. The biggest downside of friction drive eBike kits, however, is the drastic loss of traction between the roller and wheel during rain or when riding in mud.
The friction drive eBike kits are outdated and, therefore, very difficult to find. However, if you’re interested to explore more about them, you can check out the Rubbee X electric bicycle conversion kit. While inferior to the hub and mid drive kits, it’s the best eBike conversion kit with battery in the friction drive category.
- Cheapest eBike kits
- Easiest to install
- Can’t perform in rain
- Shockingly inefficient
- Requires more maintenance
How to Choose the Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
If you’re planning to buy an electric bike conversion kit, it’s important that you buy the right one – one that’s designed for the application you’d be using it for.
Considering that there are so many types of eBike kits, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, it’s crucial that you don’t rush into this decision and do adequate research. Buying the right electric bicycle kit is also important for your safety. For instance, if you use a front wheel electric bike kit on hills or mountains, you’d be at severe risk.
Here are some of the important things that you need to consider before buying an electric bicycle conversion kit for yourself.
Type of Motor
We can’t stress it enough; the right electric motor is the best electric motor for bicycle conversion!
Since we have covered the eBike kit motors in the previous section, we’ll be brief here. As we discussed, there are four main types of electric bike conversion kit motors: front hub, rear hub, mid drive, and friction drive.
Choosing the best electric motor for bicycle conversion entirely depends on your type of riding. For beginner riders who just want to get around faster or ease things up while on their way to work, a front wheel electric bike conversion kit with battery is the way to go. Its affordable tag and limited functionality are suitable for most urban riders.
Rear hub motor kits are suitable for both on-road and off-road use. Likewise, they can make for a great bicycle conversion option for both beginners and regular cyclists. Mid drive eBike motor kits, however, are suitable only for hardened cyclists – those who need an insane torque for mountain climbing or other similar uses.
Hub motors are further classified into geared and gearless (direct drive) motors. While the geared hub motors are better for high-torque applications, the gearless hub motors are suitable for high-speed bicycles. For a better understanding of various types of eBike motors, read our guide here.
The next thing to consider while buying an electric bike conversion kit is how much power you’ll be needing. There are two important metrics that would help you here: watts and newton meters.
Watts is a measure of power and can be of two types: nominal or peak. The nominal watts represent the amount of power a motor can continuously produce without overheating or damaging itself. The peak watts, on the other hand, represent the maximum power a motor can produce, usually for a short period.
If you will be using your converted bicycle on flat urban roads, a 250 watt motor kit will be suitable for you. However, if you live in a remote area or encounter hills during your commute, you should go for at least a 750 watt electric bike conversion kit with battery.
Newton meters measure torque or the rotating force of the motor. This metric of power is less subjective and, therefore, more accurate than watts. A motor with more watts but less torque will not be powerful, but one with more torque will always be.
If your commute involves hilly areas or challenging terrains, or you carry a heavy load with you, you need to buy an eBike motor kit with at least 80Nm of torque. In case you travel on flat surfaces and don’t need quick acceleration, a motor with even 30Nm of torque will be sufficient for you.
The selection of battery depends on the type and size of motor your eBike kit has. Electric bike kits with larger motors would obviously need larger batteries to sustain the power flow and deliver a reasonable range.
While some electric bike conversion kits come with a battery, most don’t. However, in that case, the manufacturers always recommend a range of battery capacities that can work with the motor.
You can then select a battery with the capacity lying in the manufacturers’ recommended range by factoring in the duration and type of your ride. In other words, you need to consider how much pedal assistance you’ll be needing, the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, and for how long you’ll be using your bicycle every day.
Besides the capacity, you’ll usually have two types of batteries to choose from – the bottle or triangular battery that mounts on your down tube or the rectangular battery that goes on your rear rack.
While the battery position doesn’t matter much in the mid drive eBike kits, it does in the hub ones. Mounting both the motor and the battery in either front or rear of the bicycle is extremely unsafe due to uneven weight distribution.
To keep your ride balanced and stable, you should always go for a rear rack battery with front hub kits or the front downtube battery for rear hub kits.
Pedal Assist Sensor
There are two types of pedal assist sensors that you might encounter while buying an electric bicycle conversion kit: cadence and torque. While a cadence or speed sensor assists you depending on how fast you pedal, a torque sensor regulates the motor power by detecting how hard you pedal.
Cadence sensors work well with hub motors and are affordable and low maintenance. Torque sensors work well with mid drive motors. They’re extremely efficient and give more ride control to users, but are costlier.
The single most important thing to consider before buying an electric bike conversion kit is to make sure it is fully compatible with your bicycle.
In case you are buying a mid drive eBike kit, you need to confirm that the motor dimensions are in accordance with the cassette of your bicycle as well as the diameter of its bottom bracket. Manufacturers usually offer different options to fit various cassette sizes, so make sure to buy one that could be installed in your bicycle.
Also, to withstand the incredible torque output produced by the mid drive motor kits, you need to have a heavy-duty bicycle with durable drivetrain components. The bikes with carbon fiber frames are a strict no-no for mid drive eBike kits.
Likewise, before buying a front or rear hub motor kit, make sure the dropouts are wide enough for the motor, the forks are sturdy enough to bear the load, and the kit is compatible with the type of brakes your bicycle has.
Last but not least, you must always consider the legal requirements in your state regarding electric bikes before buying an eBike kit.
Different countries have different motor and speed restrictions for electric bikes.
For instance, in Europe, Australia, and the UK, eBikes can deliver maximum nominal power of 250W and the top speed is capped at 25km/h (15.5mph). In the US and Canada, the max power limitation varies from state to state, and the speed limits range from 20-28mph (32-45km/h) for different eBike classes.
So, you should always check your state laws and local regulations before buying an eBike conversion kit.
Electric Bike Kit vs New eBike: What’s Better?
At this point, you might find yourself wondering if you should get a conversion kit or buy a new eBike. Well, the answer depends on whether or not you have a regular bicycle in good shape. There can be three possible scenarios in this regard.
- You don’t have a bicycle at all.
- You have a bicycle but it’s not in good shape.
- You have a bicycle and it’s in good shape.
If you’re in the first category then buying an eBike conversion kit is not the right decision for you. The cost of buying a regular bicycle, buying an eBike conversion kit, and then the installation would add up to that of a budget eBike.
So, buying an eBike kit when you don’t already have a bicycle is not worth the money, the time, and the effort involved. Pre-built electric bikes are manufactured with higher quality standards with little room for mistakes and are, therefore, a better option in this scenario.
In case you have a bicycle and it’s not in good shape, then again, buying an eBike conversion kit is not the way to go. Since a traditional bicycle is not built for motorized use, adding an electric motor kit adds weight and strain on its chain, gears, brakes, and frame – none of which were designed for the speed and performance of an electric bike.
If the components of your old bike are not able to handle the conversion, you’ll either have to bear the cost of repairs or compromise your safety on the road – which is why buying a bicycle conversion kit is not a good decision in this case as well.
Lastly, if you have a bicycle and it’s in good shape, then buying an eBike kit is definitely the right choice. Electric bike kits are cheaper than new eBikes with comparable power specs and quality standards so you’ll be better off with a kit in this scenario.
However, before buying an eBike kit, we’d suggest you consult a mechanic to make sure your drivetrain can bear the torque output of the kit you have chosen.
How much does an eBike conversion kit cost?
The cost of an electric bike conversion kit depends on its brand, power output, included accessories, and overall product quality. While most eBike kits are available for as little as $300, the more integrated and well-built units with good torque output can cost as much as $1,200.
How do electric bike conversion kits work?
Electric bike conversion kits work by a compact electric motor affixed to the regular bicycles at different positions (depending on the type) to convert them into motor-propelled electric bikes. They come with a throttle, pedal-assist system, motor controller, and other related accessories.
Do all electric bike conversion kits come with a battery?
Most electric bike conversion kits don’t come with a battery and you have to purchase it separately. In such cases, the manufacturers recommend a range of battery capacities that work best with the motor.
Are eBike conversion kits waterproof?
Electric bike conversion kits might be water-resistant but they cannot be termed ‘waterproof.’ The degree to which a specific eBike kit can resist exposure to water varies from product to product. While these kits can withstand a few splashes here and there, they generally cannot be used in rain. The best way to find the water resistance of an eBike kit is by reading user reviews as manufacturers can be deceptive in advertising.
Can you install an eBike kit on any bicycle?
Yes, you can install an eBike kit on any bicycle, provided that it can handle the speed and performance of an electric bike. When you install an electric motor kit on a bicycle, it adds a lot of weight and strain to your chain, gears, brakes, and frame. So an old bicycle with a weak frame and worn-out drivetrain isn’t the right choice for conversion.
Should I buy an electric bike conversion kit or a new bike?
If you have a bicycle lying around and it’s in good shape, then buying an electric bike conversion kit will be more economical than buying a new electric bike. However, if you don’t already have a bicycle, buying a new eBike is the right decision.
How to install an electric bike conversion kit?
Each eBike conversion kit is unique and, therefore, installs in a different way, as described in its installation manual. The friction drive eBike kits, that place a roller onto your rear tire, are the easiest to install as you don’t have to remove the drivetrain components or wheels. The hub motor kits need you to remove either the front or rear wheel to install the eBike wheel, which can be simple or complex depending on the kit. The mid drive eBike kits, however, are the most complex to install and if you don’t happen to be a DIY eBike enthusiast, you might need the help of a mechanic to install them.
Are electric bicycle conversion kits legal?
Electric bicycle conversion kits are legal as long as you comply with the local regulations regarding the motor power and top speed restriction for eBikes. Since the electric bike rules vary from state to state, you would have to research the local laws that regulate them in your country. These guides on eBike laws in the US and Europe might be of help.
Is it safe to buy a bicycle conversion kit from an unknown brand?
The eBike industry is rapidly booming and new brands are showing up all the time. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research and blindly trust anyone. Reading user reviews is the best way to find out if the bicycle conversion kit offered by an unknown brand is worth your hard-earned money.