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If the best electric bike isn’t within your budget, don’t fret! Going on an off-roading adventure is still possible — you just have to find the best ebike conversion kit for your bike. As long as your bike is in good working condition and you have a few hours to spare, you’ll have a converted e-bike that can function as efficiently as a factory-built e-bike in no time.
The best ebike conversion kit should come with everything you need to convert your bike into an electric model. It will include pedal sensors (cadence or torque type), a hub or mid-drive system motor, an LCD display, a wiring loom, and a controller. Not to mention, these kits also include batteries that tend to have a longer range the higher you go up the price ladder.
Does this sound like an information overload? Don’t worry, we have collected everything you need to know about e-bike conversion kits in this buying guide. Keep reading to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This option features a liquid crystal display so that you can see your battery power, speed, mileage, and more. It’s a complete set for converting your bike with a dual-mode controller to extend its battery life.
The LCD display makes it super easy to track multiple metrics while you ride. It features time, speed, mileage, gears, and even battery power. This will keep you from wondering how much life your bike has left. Unfortunately, it has been reported that the instructions can be hard to read. This means you might have to put in a little extra effort to make sure things get put together correctly.
There is also a PAS or Pedal Assistance System. This system ensures that the electric bike works with you on every stroke, sending power right when needed. The dual-mode controller makes it so you can switch between the Hall and non-Hall effects on your bike. This extends the lifespan of the battery and keeps you cycling for more extended periods. It includes a 26 x 1.75-inch wheel and can help you reach a top speed of 45 kilometers per hour.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The powerful brushless motor allows you to get up to speeds of 28 miles per hour. That’s high enough to be a thrill but still low enough to make it street-legal. This high-speed option also has a Pedal Assistance System.
The Pedal Assistance System helps you enjoy the ride while you’re cycling by making peddling so much easier. The twist throttle even has a battery life display on it. You’ll love the brushless, gearless motor that packs in a whopping 1,000 watts of power. However, it’s a highly powerful kit that might cause problems for your tire if run at high speeds for too long. If you’re worried about the longevity of your tires, this might not be a great option.
This system allows you to reach speeds of up to 26 miles per hour. It does come restricted to pulling 750 watts of power from the motor and will reach speeds of 24 miles per hour. This keeps your electric bike street legal until you decide you want to upgrade for a faster ride. It has a max load capacity between 330 and 440 pounds, so it fits almost every body shape.
Award: BEST FOR WET WEATHER
WHY WE LIKE IT: This powerful collection of parts is made with aluminum, a lightweight but highly durable material. The motorized power unit is already attached for better convenience and features double-walled rims.
If you need a design that you can still count on in the rain or snow, this is the perfect conversion kit for you. It’s created to be more resistant to wet weather. The wheels are made of double-walled aluminum to ensure they’re both lightweight and durable. Some consumers have reported that some parts are prone to wear out quickly. This could be a deal-breaker for some people who need something with more longevity.
There’s an LCD display that ensures you can see all essential information about your ride at a glance. This includes speed, single trip distance, total trip distance, wattage, error codes, PAS levels, and battery percentage. All of these are crucial for getting the most out of your ride. The Pedal Assistance System keeps you going for longer and creates a more comfortable ride by easing your pedal strokes with motor power.
Award: BEST FOR UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This complete collection of accessories offers an extremely easy installation process. There are both manual instructions as well as a video included. You’ll also be able to choose between 3 different riding styles.
You’ll receive a complete kit of accessories with this conversion kit. That includes a BBSHD motor, brake level, hydraulic brake sensor, chainring wheel, thumb throttle, crank, 1T4 wire, taillight, and more. Everything you need comes with this kit, making it an excellent all-in-one choice with an easy installation process. Unfortunately, it has been shown that sometimes the battery has some trouble. Sometimes it can drain too early in these models.
The motor has 1,000 watts of power. It’s compatible with both 48 volt and 52-volt batteries, as well. You can count on this kit to be compatible with a fat bike, mountain bike, road bike, and more. It fits all models with a bottom bracket measurement of 68-73 millimeters. An instructional manual and video are included to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing while installing it on your bike.
Award: BEST FOR CUSTOMIZED COMPONENTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll enjoy the selection of customized sprockets and other components. This ensures that everything fits together perfectly. You’ll also receive both a twist collection as well as a thumb collection.
This fantastic model has a lot to offer whether you’re commuting, going to school, or just riding for enjoyment. There are 450 watts of power that come in the motor, making it an excellent choice for somebody looking for a street-legal option. Some consumers did report that their conversion kit showed up without any instructions. This can make it difficult to put the bike together and might ruin the experience for some.
It comes with everything you need to get going. This includes a brush motor with a freewheel, a customized sprocket and other components, a motor controller, a mounting plate, and screws. The twist throttle features both a battery indicator and a key switch. There’s also a Wuxing thumb throttle offered. It can fit multiple bicycle models, so it’ll likely be compatible with whatever type you want to install it onto.
Award: BEST FOR TRACKING SPEED
WHY WE LIKE IT: There is a helpful Liquid Crystal Display to help you track your stats as you’re riding your bike. You’ll also enjoy the fact that this kit fits multiple different tire sizes, so it’ll likely fit any bike that you have.
This is a front-wheel conversion kit fit to get almost any bicycle up to electric standard. You have a choice to install either a torque arm or a disc brake disk as a result of the front-wheel design. This budget-friendly product won’t set you back as much as some competing models. Unfortunately, there are no batteries included in this conversion kit. You’ll have to purchase those separately.
You’ll enjoy the fact that it’s powered from lithium batteries, making it both a durable and long-lasting option. This e-bike conversion kit can fit 20, 26, 27.5, 28, and 29-inch wheels, which means you’ll likely be able to fit it onto your model of choice. It provides an LCD3 display that measures 24-inches. The overall weight for this conversion kit comes in at 11 kilograms, making it an excellent option for lightweight e-biking.
An e-bike conversion kit allows you to transform a regular road bike into an electric bike by replacing either your tires or pedals with a motorized hub without spending a few thousand dollars to purchase a factory-built e-bike. Although, compare electric bikes vs conversion kits before deciding on what to buy. And, if you find that a new ebike would suit you better, then you’ll want to check out our roundup of the highest-grade front-drive electric motor bikes.
The main component of an electric bike kit is a motor that can either be attached between the bike’s pedals (mid-drive motor) or at the front/rear (hub-drive motor). The battery is equally essential for an e-bike to function. Still, not all conversion kits include batteries and, therefore, may need to be bought separately.
If purchasing a brand new electric bike is heavy on your wallet, you can readily upgrade the road bike sitting around in your shed to an e-bike with an e-bike conversion kit. Most factory mid-drive electric bikes will cost you nothing less than $2000, while a DIY e-bike can be built for less than $500 if you already own a bike or $1200 if you buy a new road bike.
Additionally, you’re also doing the environment a favor by choosing a green alternative to carbon-emitting cars. You’ll have an affordable electric motor facilitating your pedaling efforts so that you’re not gasping for breath during your commute.
With an e-bike kit, you can build an e-bike based on your specific requirements. This way, if you prefer taking your converted electric bike on hilly trails, you can pick out a specific kit that includes a mid-drive motor, as these are better suited for inclined surfaces. Plus, you always have the option to swap out the conversion kit for a new bike. An expensive factory e-bike, on the other hand, isn’t easily upgradeable. But at the same time, nothing can replace the high-level performance that a manufactured electric bike provides.
There are a few downsides to an electric bicycle kit as well. Mechanical competence is a major requirement if you’re planning on converting your bike yourself, which is not something you’d have to worry about with a store-bought ebike.
A store-bought model is going to look sleek and stylish right from the start, and you’ll be ready to hit the pavement immediately. That’s not the case with a DIY ebike. Attaching the motor and battery may take a few hours, if not a whole day. And, too, your converted bike will never resemble a factory-built e-bike as there are a lot of wires that come with these kits. They have to be run along the outside of the frame, giving your bike a DIY look.
Fortunately, today, with a growing number of bikers opting for e-bike conversion kits, some companies have begun to specialize in bike conversions, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty.
Chances are that if you have a pedal-powered bike, you can easily convert it into an e-bike with a conversion kit that either incorporates a rear hub motor or a mid-drive system.
A mid-drive conversion kit’s motor is attached between the pedals, right in the middle of your traditional bike. This gives you a well-balanced riding experience and is most suitable for off-roading and other steep climbing tracks. Another significant advantage of these motors is that they offer more torque without expanding the battery’s capacity.
However, a mid-drive conversion kit is the more expensive option of the two kits. These bikes are quiet and run smoothly. At the same time, they can be tricky to install if you’re not mechanically adept. The bottom bracket must be deftly removed for this driving system to be installed correctly. Note that there will be only one chainring on the front of your bike after the conversion. Moreover, bikers complain of cycling resistance when the motor’s turned off because the clutch disengages, transferring the pedal power from your feet to the chain.
On the other hand, a hub-drive motor is affordable and comparatively easy to install, becoming an excellent option for your daily commute. But it’s important to note that hub-drive motors are bulkier and sit either on the front or rear wheel, making your ride slightly off-balanced.
Both the kits will comprise a battery, pedal sensor, display, wiring loom, and controller. However, you may have to purchase a battery and/or the wheel separately for some kits.
It’s common knowledge that, in the USA, e-bikes are becoming a frequently chosen mode of transport. But, the hefty price tag that comes along with these bikes deters many people from buying them. That’s where e-bike conversion kits come into the picture. So, if you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint but don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount for a new ebike, a conversion kit is a great option.
The lifespan of your e-bike conversion kit ultimately depends on the performance of your battery life and how well you maintain the motor. Generally, a converted e-bike will last for three to five years before its battery needs to be replaced.
Certain maintenance tips can extend both the battery and motor life. First of all, keep the batteries cool and away from sunlight, and remember never to cover the batteries when they’re charging. Plus, if your battery is out of charge, don’t leave it that way. This will lead to a reduction in its efficiency. A 40% to 80% charge range is ideal.
Hub motors that sit at the rear end may exert too much force on the spokes, causing them to break. But spoke tension can be kept in check with regular servicing. Similarly, a mid-drive motor may put excess pressure on the chain. For this, you will require a chain cleaning tool and a degreaser for it to function smoothly.
Lastly, check the wiring as it’s essential to keep your e-bike running. Since the wires are on the outside of converted e-bikes, you have to be extra careful that they don’t get caught in your car’s bike rack while mounting/unmounting.
Before you choose an e-bike conversion kit, bear in mind that it may change your bike’s entire aesthetic and increase its weight. Likewise, there are many other factors to consider, from the bike’s frame material to your budget.
When picking the right wattage for your converted e-bike, you’ll want to consider your weight and the terrain you’ll traverse on. If you regularly move on inclined roads, 250W power will not suffice. You may need to upgrade to 350W or 500W for uphill rides. But, at the same time, it’s not recommended to have 1000W power either as you may hit illegal speeds. Standard laws cap motor power at 500W.
Additionally, you’ll need more power to accelerate your bike if you’re a heavy biker. While a biker weighing 110 lbs will be comfortable with a 250W bike that’s ridden on a flat surface, bikers weighing over 220 lbs may require a 750W e-bike for flat surfaces and a 1000W model for steep inclinations.
The type of bottom bracket your bike has determines whether you should select a mid-drive or hub motor conversion kit. Ideally, if you’re looking to attach a mid-drive, you must have a standard threaded bottom bracket shell that’s 68mm-73mm wide. But with a press-fit bottom bracket, it’s best to choose a hub motor. Most hub motors come equipped with a pedal sensor that can be fitted to a square-tapered cartridge bottom bracket (on the non-drive side).
E-bike conversion kits come with either a cadence or a torque sensor, and you can choose which one suits you best based on your pedaling style. With cadence sensors, the faster you pedal, the more power you derive from the motor. You can find these sensors with hub-drive motors. Unlike cadence sensors, torque sensors measure how hard you’re pedaling and are commonly used in mid-drives.
It’s important to note that the transition from a regular road bike to an e-bike means your 22-lb bike now suddenly weighs 38 lbs. This is primarily due to the additional weight of the battery and motor. Even if you purchase the lightest conversion option in the market, your bike will still be heavier than it was.
With batteries, you may have to find a balance between range and weight. Longer-range batteries of 36v 20Ah weigh close to 9 lbs and are considerably heavier than shorter-range ones.
Most road bikes weren’t specifically designed to take on the extra weight of an e-bike conversion kit. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your bike’s frame material.
There are three main types of frames — steel, alloy, and carbon frames. Of the three, the steel frames are your best bet as steel is durable to carry additional weight. But the total weight after the kit has been attached may be more because a steel frame in itself is heavy.
Alloy frames are found on cheaper bikes and work pretty decently for the first 2000 miles, but eventually, you may find the wheel pops out of the dropouts.
Lastly, if you have a few extra bucks to spend, a carbon frame is worth it. It’s much lighter compared to steel frames and resists corrosion better. One major limitation with these frames is that due to the nature of the material, it can easily hide defects after a heavy crash, proving to be a safety hazard in the long run.
You can expect a price range between $200 to $500 for an e-bike conversion kit that includes the wheel and electrical components. Make sure the wheel is compatible with your road bike. Going up the price range ($500 and up) means you’ll find top-notch conversion kits with powerful motors and durable batteries, just like the best battery for electric bike.
In your search for e-bike conversion kits, there will be plenty of unknown brands that you may stumble across. It’s important to remain open-minded to names you’ve never heard of because they might just be a well-established brand from a different corner of the world.