Electric Bikes vs Conversion Kits

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Updated September 16, 2022

If you are looking around for a new electric vehicle, you may be comparing electric bikes vs conversion kits. Some of the best electric bikes, after all, are simply standard bicycles outfitted with a kit. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two popular electric vehicles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You can buy a pre-manufactured electric bike or you can get an electric bike conversion kit, which transforms a standard bicycle into an e-bike.
  • The primary benefit of a conversion kit is the ability to mix and match specs to your liking.
  • E-bike conversion kits are relatively difficult to install, so take that into consideration before making a purchase.

Differences Between Electric Bikes and Conversion Kits

The obvious difference here is a standard electric bike comes pre-built and ready to go, whereas e-bike conversion kits require a process by which you transform a standard bicycle into an e-bike. This spirals out to multiple differences between a standard e-bike and a kit, though some of these differences will be subtle, such as when you compare an electric mountain bike vs a cargo bike.

Here are some more ways in which regular e-bikes and e-bike conversion kits differ.

Insider Tip

Check to make sure your bike can handle a conversion kit before making a purchase.

Custom Specifications

If you are wondering what the best ebike conversion kit is. You should know that one of the best reasons to go with a conversion kit over a pre-existing electric bike is that you can suit the various components to your specific needs. Do you want a higher-than-average maximum range before needing a recharge? Buy an electric bike kit with a large lithium-ion battery. Want to travel at blazing speeds? Purchase a kit with a powerful mid-drive electric motor instead of a hub motor, so you can make short work out of even treacherous terrain. Additionally, you can learn more about the differences between these motors with our article electric bike mid-drive vs wheel hub to see which is right for you. However, you can do your own research, such as comparing rider weight vs amp hour battery distance and decide on your kit accordingly.

Cost

If you already own a high-quality regular bike, buying and affixing a conversion kit will likely be much cheaper than purchasing a brand-new electric bike. Additionally, if you ever move on to a new bike, you can remove the components and slap them on your new bike. This process cannot be done with a standard e-bike, as most of the components are hardwired to the design. One of the ways to save money on a conversion kit is to use a chain drive system, as they are cheaper than belt systems. You can learn more about their differences with our article comparing belt vs chain drive electric bikes.

Ease-of-Use

Both will be easy to ride once you get going, but e-bike conversion kits require some mechanical know-how in order to successfully complete the installation process. Standard e-bikes, on the other hand, will already be built. You’ll just have to sit on it and let the fun begin. If you are affixing a conversion kit, have your tools ready, take a look at the rear wheel of your current bike, and set aside a few hours for the installation. You may also want to watch some Youtube tutorials ahead of time.

F.A.Q.S

What are the different types of e-bike conversion kits?

There are many ways to turn a normal bike, otherwise known as a road bike, into a fully functioning electric bike. An e-bike kit is typically available with multiple components, including different motors for extra power, different battery powers, cadence sensors, torque sensors, and more.


Are e-bike conversion kits worth it?

They are worth it, depending on your needs. Keep an eye on the extra weight added to your bike frame, consulting with a bike shop if you are worried that you may exceed the recommended weight limit.


Are e-bike conversion kits legal?

It is legal to turn a conventional bike into an e-bike via a kit, though some of the more powerful motors out there may require you to become insured. Check with local regulatory agencies.



STAT: The e-bike market is expected to generate around 20 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2023. The industry is expected to sell around 130 million electric bicycles between 2020 and 2023. (source)

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