- Electric bike conversion kits allow you to convert your standard bicycle into an e-bike, providing the benefits of electric power without buying a new bike.
- These kits typically include components like an electric motor, battery, control unit, and a display for battery level and speed.
- Some popular electric bike conversion kits include the Swytch Universal kit, Bafang 500W Front Hub Kit, and Rubbee X friction drive motor, each offering various features and price points to suit different needs and preferences.
E-bikes, the eco-friendly darlings of urban mobility, are revolutionizing the way we commute. They’re kinder to the planet than cars and can be less strenuous to ride than traditional bikes, but they can also offer a workout that still manages to rival your classic two-wheeler. As the world pivots toward sustainable transit, the e-bike surge is unstoppable, and it’s getting within reach for more folks. But what if you are absolutely in love with your trusty old ride? Enter electric bike conversion kits.
These kits are like a shot of espresso for your bike, injecting it with electric zest to conquer steep hills or haul heavy loads, all while keeping your carbon footprint in check. The best part? They’re budget-friendly compared to buying a brand-new e-bike.
We’re diving headfirst into this electrifying world, explaining what e-bike conversion kits are and sharing the top five electric bike conversion kits to help you make an informed choice.
What Is an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
An electric bike conversion kit lets you convert your standard bicycle into an e-bike so you can get all the benefits of electric power without having to buy a whole new bike. These kits are all designed to fit onto a normal bike. While they may differ in power and placement, they all have the same basic components:
- Electric motor
- Control unit
- A display to show your battery level and speed
E-bike conversion kits come in a variety of different power levels, including:
- 250 watts: For people who just need a bit of extra assistance
- 500 watts: For those who want a bit more power and distance out of their ride
- 750 watts: Great for hills but doesn’t give you as much range
- 1000 watts: Awesome for steep hills but requires a more robust battery
Different kits will also have different placements for the motor:
- Front hub motor: To help distribute the total weight across both wheels
- Rear hub motor: For better traction thanks to more weight on the rear wheel
- Mid-drive motor: More complex to install and specially integrated with the bike’s crank and gears
- Friction drive motor: A motorized wheel inside a unit that attaches to the seat post, which engages the bike tire and gives a slight power boost
Why Should You Convert Your Bike to an E-Bike?
For one, full-on, actual e-bikes can get expensive. While there are more affordable options like the Propella Mini e-bike or the Jackrabbit, many e-bikes are going to cost you a couple thousand bucks (or more). Putting a conversion kit on a bike you already own means that you can save some dough while electrifying your ride.
Plus, getting the right size and then adjusting a new bike to your body is a chore. Why not save a step and just use the one you’ve already tweaked to fit you perfectly?
There’s also the environmental factor. You can go farther and faster with an electrified bike, hopefully cutting out your need to rely on an internal combustion car for your grocery runs and commute.
And speaking of going farther and faster: It’s a freaking e-bike! Which means you get more power to tackle hills or get you through that last mile when you’re absolutely winded.
The 5 Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits
So which are the best conversion kits to transform your old ride into an e-bike? We have our five favorites here, all offering a variety of styles and installation options.
Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit
Straight out of the box, the Swytch Universal kit from the U.K. is tailored to fit your bike like a glove, thanks to its 13 different wheel sizes that can convert almost any bike. Key features include a zippy 250 W geared hub motor, a 36 V lithium-ion battery with ample power, and a sine-wave control system that ensures a whisper-quiet, smooth ride.
Choose between two range options: the pocket-sized AIR Power Pack for short 9-mile treks or the larger MAX for an 18-mile range. You can reach a top speed of 20 mph on both power packs.
This lightweight electric bike conversion kit suits a variety of bike types, from mountain to road, hybrid to step-through, and accommodates disc brakes. Installation is as breezy as swapping out your front tire, with the power pack mounted on your handlebars, making it both theft-resistant and easy to monitor with its handy indicator lights.
As of this writing, the Swytch Universal conversion kit is sold out, but you can join the waitlist on the brand’s website here.
Ebikeling 36V 500W Geared E-Bike Conversion Kit
Ebikeling offers a range of motor options for their kits, but we wanted to focus on the 500 W version. This one offers affordability without compromising on performance.
Ebikeling offers a range of compatible batteries in various shapes (bottle, triangle, or rectangle) and amp-hours (from 12.8 Ah to 20 Ah), allowing you to tailor your setup to your bike and needs. Installation is a breeze, thanks to the double-walled rim and rear-hub motor that come ready to install right out of the box
Because there are so many different iterations of the Ebikeling conversion kit, prices do vary from $339.99 for the kit with no battery at all, to $659.99 for the 36V 12.8Ah battery, all the way to $849.99 for the 48V, 19.2Ah rear-rack battery. It just depends on what you need and what your budget is.
Bafang 500W Front Hub E-Bike Motor Kit
As long as you have an open-slotted front fork on your bike, you can use the Bafang 48V 500W Front Hub Kit. This kit comes equipped with all the essentials for a seamless conversion, including a pre-built front wheel motor. It’s compatible with various brake styles, from disc brakes to V-brakes, making installation a breeze. Plus, it includes a sturdy Maxxis Pace Tire for extra durability.
The 48V battery and 18-amp controller provides a maximum output of over 864 W. Thanks to the two levels of pedal assistance, you can get up to 24 mph easily with this kit.
With its comprehensive installation hardware, the Bafang 500W Front Hub E-bike Conversion Kit delivers a high-performing, lightweight, and fast electric bike experience, all starting at $550 as of this writing.
The Rubbee X takes the cake as the absolute easiest conversion kit to install because it’s a friction drive motor: simply attach the mount to your seat and click the unit into place. This versatile kit can adapt to wheel diameters ranging from 16 to 29 inches, attaches easily to your seatpost, and features a convenient integrated carrying handle.
Weighing in at a mere 2.8kg for the base model, it offers a zippy 10-mile range, expandable to a whopping 29.8 miles with the top-spec 4 kg version. While its 250W motor and 10-mile range may seem modest compared to other kits, it gets the job done with ease.
The Rubbee X’s standout feature is its user-friendly design. It has a special release that allows you to remove the motor without un-mounting the entire system. The wireless cadence sensor ensures effortless power control while pedaling, and the integrated tail lights help with nighttime visibility.
With customizable regenerative braking, multiple assist levels, a smartphone app for control and updates, and anti-slip control for all-weather grip, the Rubbee X offers a modern, hassle-free way to electrify your bike. Get it for €579 (about $612 USD).
AW 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit
The AW 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit is especially thrilling if you live in a state that allows 1000W motors on e-bikes. This beefy motor is on the rear hub, making installation a breeze. However, you should note that this kit doesn’t include a battery, requiring a separate purchase of the actual 48V AW battery pack.
Once you get your hands on a proper battery, the AW kit caters to speed demons with a thumb throttle for effortless acceleration. This kit accommodates 20-inch or 26-inch bikes with ease. Sturdy aluminum construction ensures durability while zipping along at a top speed of 28 mph, with integrated hand brakes enhancing safety.
The standout feature is its potent brushless and gearless hub motor, delivering impressive power for those craving an extra push during rides.
Overall, the AW 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit is an attractive choice for transforming your standard bike into an electric powerhouse. With robust construction and powerful performance, it’s a solid investment for riders seeking an electrifying upgrade to their cycling adventures. On Amazon, the current price for the 20-inch option is $219.90, and the 26-inch option goes for $229.90.
Which Electric Bike Conversion Kit Is Right For You?
Having trouble deciding which conversion kit to buy? Think about your budget, your know-how with taking apart your own bike, and what style will work best with your lifestyle. Need something that’s a bit of a no-brainer? Go with the Rubbee X. Want a dependable brand? Buy the Bafang. Do you live in a state that allows super-crazy power levels on e-bikes? Think about the AW.
No matter what, you won’t regret joining the electrified revolution while still keeping your trusty bike.
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