Buying a brand new electric bike can turn out to be an expensive idea, even the small electric folding bikes are a few hundred dollars. And as if that is not enough challenge, you might find it difficult to part ways with your old, durable bicycle. So if you’re one of those people torn between purchasing an electric bike (e-bike)and keeping your old, dependable bike, there’s a solution for you – finding the best electric bike conversion kit. In fact, the market is currently filled with plenty of these bike conversion kits that even making the right choice can prove to be difficult.
To help you out, this no-nonsense guide, is going to take you through all that you need to know about electric bike kits. Let’s get started!
What is an electric bike conversion kit?
An electric bike conversion kit is a small engine that can be attached to your bicycle to make your biking smoother and faster. The kit comes with a drive unit that is to be attached to either the front or rear wheel, but some can be attached at your bike’s bottom bracket. That aside, the motor is powered using a battery (usually lithium), and the kit also comes with an LCD display panel, speed controller, throttle/brakes, wire harness, and a pedal assist.
In fact, electric bike kits are not hard to install, so you have nothing to worry about. All in all, you’ll get to keep your original, old bike while at the same time saving a significant budget that you would’ve used to purchase a new e-bike.
Types of electric bike conversion kits
Generally, electric bike conversion kits are of different types depending on your bike and how you’ll be riding. Most motors are built to be placed on one of your bike’s hubs or the frame’s center. Here’re the two main types drive units:
If you intend to do simple commutes, road riding, or mountain biking, then hub motors are tailor made for you. Below are the main types of hub motors you should know about:
• Front hub conversion kit: This is the most common and the cheapest of them all. In addition, it’s quite easy to install and it doesn’t require any special tools to install. You simply have to replace your bike’s front wheel with the one in the kit, and then proceed to run the wire to the controller. However, it’s best suited for simple commutes and road riding.
• Rear hub conversion kit: Just as the name suggests, this kit is normally placed on your bike’s back tire. Although it’s quite similar to the front hub kit, the rear hub conversion kit is better because of the less distance between the rear rack and the hub, meaning you’ll use less wire. Another advantage of using rear hub motors is that they’re quite powerful, making them ideal for mountain biking and off-roading.
• Friction drive conversion kit: All that such a kit has to do is to push the wheels along. In fact, the installation process of this kit is super-easy, but they are not that helpful during wet seasons. This is because when your tires’ rubber gets wet, they become slippery. Therefore, without any friction, there’s no electricity to move your electric bike.
In the mid-drive electric bike system, the motor is placed at the center of the bike’s frame and integrates with the cranks and bottom racket. In addition, the motor is normally activated by pedaling, so a mid-drive system is generally pedelec. That aside, the mid-drive system comes with lots of advantages compared to the hub motor.
To begin with, you’ll get more torque/power with a mid-drive system, and because it’s centrally located, weight is distributed more evenly giving you more balance. On the flipside, you’ll definitely require specialist tools to install this system, and you’ll also have to pay more.
What type of battery do electric bike kits use?
Most electric bike kits don’t come with a battery. Surprised, right? Well, before you start complaining about this minor inconvenience, think about the advantages that come with choosing an e-bike battery by yourself. With that in mind, here are some of the things you should consider when choosing quality e-bike battery:
The amp simply means the capacity of the battery, which can determine how far you can enjoy your ride with one charge. The recommended measure for your e-bike conversion kit should be at least 20Ah or less. However, be careful not to go for a much higher capacity because a higher capacity means a heavier battery. I’m sure you don’t want this, do you?
Normally, your e-bike will be fine with 12V, but you might find some using 72V. Of course a higher voltage translates to a higher speed and power, but you’ll still be fine with something less than 24V. However, if you will be covering long distances or tough terrains, you can go for something between 38-48V, but in this case you’ll have to pay a little bit more.
You’ll probably come across motors with 250W, 500W, 750W, with some of them even going as high as 1500W. In simple terms, this refers to the motor’s power output. So the more the wattage means more power produced, hence the need for a bigger battery.
Now that you already know the basics of an e-bike kit, it’s time to take you through some of the best kits currently available in the market.
- LCD Display: to show battery power, time, speed, mileage and gears
- Pedal Assistance System (PAS): let you enjoy cycling while driving electric bike
- Dual Mode Controller: Motor works under Hall effect and non-Hall effect, extend life for electric bike
- Wheel Size: 26 Inch x 1.75 Inch; Top Speed: Approx. 45 KPH
- Complete wheel set: Reinforced 32mm rim and 40mm tire
If you’re thinking about buying a rear motor kit for your bike, then AW Rear Wheel 48V 1000W should be your first pick. This’s undeniably the best kit for you, considering that it can fit on any type of bicycle. The kit also comes with a 26” x 1.75” aluminum wheel along with a 44mm tire. As for the controller, this kit has a dual mode controller capable of extending your motor’s lifespan by switching between both Hall effect and non-Hall effect.
It doesn’t stop there, you’ll also get an LCD display panel for displaying information about speed, mileage, time, gears, and of course, the battery power. It goes without saying that the kit is equipped with the latest AW Pedal Assistance System (PAS) technology to let you enjoy your cycling no matter the distance you’re covering. All in all, don’t let the size fool you because this small e-bike conversion kit is pretty much powerful than most kits out there.
NOTE: It’s recommended that you use an electro kinetic cell battery such as lead-acid, Li, or NiMH battery. The battery’s nominal capacity shouldn’t be less than 17Ah and the nominal voltage should be 48V. It’s also worth noting that the kit comes with a lead-acid battery charger, but not with the battery itself.
- 48V 1000W Powerful brushless gearless motor with 28mph (45km/h) speed; Restricted to 750W and 24mph (38km/h) speed by default as a road-legal pedal bike conversion kit.
- Pedal Assistance System (PAS): enjoy cycling while driving electric bike with 330-440LB / 150-200KG Max Load Capacity.
- LCD display shows battery level and pedal assistance settings; Brake Levers cut off the power supply to the motor safely; Twist throttle has battery level display
- Comes with all the components you need to a full conversion, including Rear Wheel(of 7 speed sprocket), Motor Controller, Controller Bag, Pedal Assist Crank Sensor, Cable Ties & Plastic Coil, Twist Throttle, One Pair of Brake Handles, Manual, LCD Meter. (Note: Battery not included)
- CE approved; 48 Volt electrokinetic cell battery with a nominal capacity not less than 11.6Ah is required.
Every e-bike lover should be rushing to get one of these electric bike conversion kits. This is because the kit comes with all the necessary components required to convert your traditional bike into an e-bike. That said, what sets Voilamart conversion kit apart is its super-powerful, brushless and gearless motor that can enable you reach speeds up to 28mph.
However, the kit is restricted to only 750W and 24mph (38km/h) in compliance with the legal road pedal bike requirement. The kit also comes with an intelligent PAS system, a controller, manual, twist throttle, and a pair of brake handles.
Moving forward, the LCD display panel clearly indicates the pedal assistance settings as well as the battery level. The available Pedal Assistance System also allows you enjoy your cycling while at the same time driving your e-bike with a maximum load capacity of 330-440LB 9150-200KG).
The only downside with this conversion kit is that you’ll have to buy a battery and a charger. But apart from that, this is easily one of the best kits that you can currently get in the market because of its value for money and build quality.
NOTE: It’s recommended to use and Electro kinetic cell battery with this motor. It also requires a nominal voltage and capacity of 48V and 11.6Ah respectively.
This conversion kit comes with all you’ll need to turn your traditional bicycle into a powerful electric bike including a battery and a charger. It’s equipped with a super-powerful 48V 1000W motor to give you high-powered riding. This feature makes it ideal for heavier riders, mountain bikers, or those looking to tow or carry additional weight.
To make it a lot better, you’ll get a Li 48V 11.6Ah battery that weighs 6.5 lbs. This is a lot lighter compared to most lead-acid batteries out there. Still on the battery, it can reach a full recharge in only 5 hours, and is estimated to have a lifespan of over 800 recharges. It’s this combination of a powerful motor and quality battery that enables riders reach speeds up to 28 MPH.
The kit also comes with a thumb throttle for ease of acceleration, which is connected to a controller that has a back-lit display. The display will enable you monitor your speed, remaining battery power, and distance traveled. Although the kit comes at a steep price of $809.95, it definitely represents a good value for money.
The Summing Up
All said and done, the ball is now in your court to pick the perfect conversion kit for your bicycle. You’ll have to make the right choice putting into consideration where and how you’ll be riding. If you’ll mostly be biking paved roads and flat surfaces, you should go for a front hub motor as you won’t need a lot of power. On the other hand, you can settle for either a rear hub motor or a mid-drive unit if you’ll be climbing lots of steep hills. In fact, if you have a mountain bike, the type of kit you need is pretty much straight forward. Also, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get the best e-bike conversion kit.