Electric bikes, famously known as e-bikes, are fun to ride and energy-saving, making them the best for seniors and those who abhor doing the heavy pedaling. However, the biggest challenge is their high costs, and that’s where the most powerful electric bike conversion kit comes in.
With a good e-bike conversion kit, you can turn your regular pedal bike into an e-bike and keep its original look or customize it the way you want. That means you don’t have to spend so much on a factory-built e-bike if you already have a pedal bike that you adore a lot.
But since this technology is pretty new, very few people can make up their minds about it. Some can’t decide between getting an e-bike conversion kit and buying an already assembled electric bike.
Others don’t know what electric bike kit to go for and how to fit it. That’s why I’ve pulled up this guide. I’ll address several questions such as:
- What is an electric bike conversion kit?
- Is an electric bike conversion kit worth it?
- Who should get an electric bike kit?
- How much does an electric bike kit cost?
- Should I build an e-bike or buy one?
- Can I turn a regular bike into an e-bike?
What Is an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
An electric bike conversion kit, as the name suggests, is a complete kit that allows you to convert a regular pedal bicycle into an e-bike.
Some of these kits only require you to swap your regular wheels with the powered options. Others come with a battery, a motor, and an LCD, among other accessories that you ordinarily find on standard e-bikes.
Once fitted, you can speed off at a top speed of up to 15mph if the motor and battery are pretty powerful.
Are E-Bike Conversion Kits Worth It?
Seeing that you may spend up to $1,000 on some electric bike kits, it’s normal to wonder if they are worth the price. The answer is yes, and here’s why:
- You get to keep your old bike – The conversion lets you keep your old bike but now with a motor that makes it faster. That is important for those who are sentimentally attached to their bikes.
- You can customize your bike – While you get to keep your bike, you can change a few things during the conversion to make it as desirable and unique as you want.
- You save money – While some e-bikes cost up to $1,000 or more, there are cheaper options for under $350. Now compare that with getting a quality e-bike which is likely to go for double or triple that.
- The kit is transferable – If you ever want to use it on a different bike, you can do it as long as it’s compatible with the new bike. That means you can upgrade your bicycle and retain the kit.
- Easy installation and removal – You don’t have to be a handyman to install an electric bike kit. You also don’t have to be handy to remove it. In that case, you can restore your bike to its original pedal if you get tired of the motorized version.
But is it all perfect?
The answer is no! Electric bike kits come with a few drawbacks, which include the following:
- Extra weight – Since you’ll be adding a motor, battery, additional cabling, and probably an LCD, your bike will become heavier and even slower.
- Messy wiring – Most e-bike conversion kit installations require you to run a few wires, which may look messy. Your bike may no longer be neat anymore.
- Safety concerns – Given that you’ll be having a powered battery, motor, and cables running across your bike frame serves as a safety risk. You may have to be cautious to avoid all explosions or fires, especially with a 5000w electric bike kit with battery or anything close to its range.
- Need for upgrades – Once you fit the conversion kit, you may realize that you need to upgrade the brakes, tires, and other specs, which may mean extra cost.
Who Should Get the Most Powerful Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
Anyone who would want to ride an e-bike but cannot afford a factory-built one can get an e-bike conversion kit.
But still, anyone who is too attached to their pedal bike and can’t let go but would want some pedaling assistance can get this conversion kit. After all, you don’t have to change the look or design of your old bike unless you choose to.
Overall, an e-bike conversion kit gives you the feel of riding an electric bike. As a result, e-bike conversion kits are recommendable for the following groups of people who cannot afford a new e-bike:
- Trail riders
- Urban commuters
- Mountain bikers
- Recreational cyclists
How Much Is An Electric Bike Conversion Kit?
Most electric bike conversion kits cost $500 – $1,100 depending on design, components, and the make.
You can, however, get a cheap electric bike conversion kit with battery for under $400 and without a battery for under $300, as is the case of the AW Electric Bicycle Motor Kit.
Should You Build an E-bike (Using A Conversion Kit) or Buy a Factory-Built?
Choosing between buying an e-bike conversion kit and investing in a factory-built e-bike generally depends on these factors:
While the initial cost of getting an e-bike kit is lower than buying a factory e-bike, the latter proves cost saving in the long term. You can expect a 3000w electric bike kit with battery, for example, to cost over $1000 initially without counting the later upgrades.
A factory e-bike may cost more initially but will likely come with better quality specs, including the battery, which you won’t have to replace soon.
A factory e-bike doesn’t require any assembly, and if you’ve to do something, it usually is minor. In contrast, a conversion kit requires installing every component and doing some wiring that you may not find fun.
Factory-built electric bikes usually come with a 2-3-year battery warranty to prove their quality. E-bike kits, however, only come with a 1-year battery warranty at most and cheaper options with a 90-day guarantee.
It’s usually hard to upgrade a factory e-bike, so this is another area where the conversion kits score a win. Not only are kits cheap, but they also allow you to upgrade specs like brakes and wheels, which gives your bike a new look.
(c) Bike Look
If you want to keep your old bicycle’s look, go for a conversion kit. But given how messy the wiring may look, getting a new e-bike makes more sense as it’s more aesthetic.
(d) Bike Weight
The level of e-bike manufacturing technology has improved in recent years. The bikes now come with hidden batteries, motors, and cables to save weight and give your bicycle a better look.
That’s, however, not the case with installing a conversion kit, as it means a messy bike and extra weight.
While a factory e-bike doesn’t offer you many customization options, you can customize your newly converted e-bike as much as you want to suit your taste and needs.
(f) Bike Build
After installing a conversion kit, you may easily interfere with your bike’s structural integrity and weight balance.
That’s, however, not the case with a new factory e-bike. A factory e-bike is likely to maintain its structural integrity and weight balance even years after riding it so long as it’s a quality option.
So, Should You Go for an Electric Bike Conversion Kit or Factory-Built E-Bike?
Generally, go for an electric conversion kit if you cannot afford a quality factory-built electric bike, want to keep your old bike for sentimental value or as a legacy, or customize or upgrade it.
Also, go for a kit if you would like to use the kit on another bike in the future.
On that note, here are my top 5 electric bike conversion kits:
- EBIKELING Waterproof E-bike Conversion Kit: Best waterproof e-bike conversion kit
- AW Electric Bicycle Motor Kit: Best 1000w electric bike kit with battery connection cable
- Bafang BBS02B: Best 750w electric bike kit
- Bafang 48v 500w Conversion Kit: Best 500w electric bike kit
- NB POWER Programmable 3000w Conversion Kit: Best 3000w E-Bike conversion kit
On the other hand, go for a factory-made electric bike if you want a neat-looking, safe, and lighter electric bike to ride, intend to ride the bike in the long term and save money, or are not handy and don’t know anything about upgrades and customization.
On that note, consider these electric bikes on Amazon:
- Opeak E-Bike Foldable Electric Bike: Best Foldable E-bike
- Ancheer Electric Bike 350w: Best Electric Mountain Bike
- Heybike Race Electric Bike: Best Race Electric Bike
- Heybike Mars Electric Bike: Best Electric Fat Bike
- Ecotric Electric Bike 500w: Best Commuter Electric Bike
Can You Turn A Regular Bike Into An Ebike?
Since I’ve mentioned that the work of an electric bike conversion kit is to convert a regular pedal bike into an e-bike, I believe I’ve already answered this question.
So, what you should be asking is how do you do it, and here are the basic steps:
Step 1: Choose the most powerful electric bike conversion kit
Consider a kit with a powerful motor and battery, durable construction, powerful sensor, and one that promises the best speed. More importantly, it should be compatible with your current pedal bike.
Step 2: Prepare the donor bike
An electric bike kit doesn’t just work on any bike. The bike frame has to be strong enough to allow you to mount the motor and battery and possibly swap the wheels, depending on the type of conversion kit.
Step 3: Install the motor
Follow the manufacturer guidelines to install the e-bike motor onto the bike frame. Some kits may require swapping the front or rear wheel with powered options.
Step 4: Fit the switches
Once the motor is well-fitted, the next step is to install the various switches on the handlebar, essentially closer to the brakes and gears. You may need a screwdriver for this step.
Step 5: Connect the motor cables
After setting up the switches, you should connect them with the motor and battery. In this case, you’ve to connect the various wires that come with the e-bike conversion kit.
Step 6: Fit the other accessories
Lastly, go ahead and fit every other essential accessory that comes with the kit. That includes the battery, LCD, sensors, and lights. Once you complete the above six steps, you can test your newly built e-bike to see if everything is working fine.
Generally, getting the most powerful electric bike conversion kit can make a huge difference in upgrading from a regular pedal bike to a motorized option and still being able to keep the look of your old bicycle. What’s more important is that you can save money if you shop cleverly.