Electric bicycles have skyrocketed in popularity over the past years — and the trend shows no signs of slowing, with the global e-bike market estimated to reach $80.6 billion by 2027.
If you’re curious about e-bikes but aren’t yet ready to commit to buying one, an e-bike conversion kit is the answer. E-bike conversion kits let you convert a regular bike into an electric bicycle. It’s a cost-efficient way to give an e-bike a try.
There’s a variety of e-bike conversion kits on the market. Before you create your DIY e-bike, though, do your research: You want to spend your money wisely.
The good news? We’ve done the research for you. Read on to learn what to look for in an e-bike kit and some of the best e-bike conversion kits.
What To Consider When Choosing an Electric Bike Kit
If you’re considering getting an electric bike conversion kit, be aware: All conversion kits aren’t created equal. Educating yourself about the key characteristics of e-bike kits can help you avoid wasted cash. Keep these points in mind.
Compatibility With Your Bike
Not all e-bike conversion kits fit all kinds of bikes. Most conversion kit manufacturers include specifications to help you determine if their product is a match for your ride.
These specs might address your bike’s:
- Wheel size and rim size
- Brake type (for example, disc brakes versus rim brakes)
- Cassette and freewheel type (parts of your gearing system)
- Rear frame stay width (the part of the frame that secures the rear wheel)
- Front fork/shocks width (the part of the frame that secures the front wheel)
Also, note there are different e-bike conversion kits: friction drive conversion, mid-drive conversion, and e-bike wheel conversion.
Most cyclists prefer mid-drive, because the conversion kit is secured low to the frame, enhancing balance. Also, the motor applies power to the crank arms (the part of the bike that connects the pedals to the chainrings). This creates a smoother ride.
Power and Performance
E-bike conversion kits differ in motor power and battery capacity, impacting your riding experience — notably top speeds and how far you can go.
Manufacturers measure motor power in watts. Standard choices for wattage for e-bike conversion kits include 250, 500, 750, and 1,000 watts. The higher the number, the more powerful the motor.
Be aware that a higher motor power will drain the e-bike battery faster. This reduces the bike’s range, or how long you can ride before the battery pack drains and you must recharge. Manufacturers measure battery capacity in watt-hours.
Budget and Value
Let’s be realistic: Price is a factor when investing in an e-bike conversion kit! Although conversion kits are cheaper than fully electric bicycles, they’re still an investment.
The good news? There are e-bike conversion kits for all kinds of budgets. You can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars ($300) to $1,500 or more — the below list offers a sampling of price points.
When buying an e-bike conversion kit, look for manufacturer rebates to cut costs. Also, some states offer tax rebates and credits for e-bike purchases — a good tip to keep in mind if you enjoy the conversion kit and want to buy an electric bicycle later.
Top 6 Electric Bike Kits for 2023
Now that you know what characteristics to consider in an e-bike conversion kit, it’s time for the fun part: shopping around! The below roundup covers some of the best electric bike conversion kits.
The Bafang BBSHD motor kit is fast, quiet, and lightweight. As a mid-drive system, it gives you a low center of gravity, making for a smooth, balanced ride. Enjoy the power of a 1,000-watt electric motor with a throttle and pedal assist system (PAS).
The Bafang mid-drive kit ranks well on Amazon, with a 4.4- out of 5-star rating. Reviews praise the e-bike motor’s overall quality, handy LCD display speedometer, and powerful hill-climbing abilities. One drawback seems to be tricky installation.
- Powerful motor
- Reaches speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (mph)
- Installation hardware included
- Drains battery fast
- Tough to install
Price: Starting at $725 on the manufacturer’s website
Best for: Climbing hills
The Tongsheng TSDZ2 is a versatile e-bike conversion kit. Pick from a 500, 350, or 250-watt motor. The mid-drive motor kit helps cyclists maintain consistent speeds, making it great for commuting.
This electric bicycle conversion kit has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where users praise the torque sensor pedal assist and great value for money. However, some users report a wobbly chainring due to the torque sensor, making for a less smooth ride.
- Speeds of up to 25 mph
- Simple installation
- Chainring looseness
- Cyclists are able to insert the plugs for the throttle and brakes upside down, which causes display mistakes
- Customer service might be a problem
Price: Starting at $328 on e-bike retailer websites
Best for: Commuting
eBikeling Waterproof Direct-Drive
The eBikeling Waterproof Direct-Drive conversion kit is great for the budget-minded. You get a good-quality kit that includes a battery (not always the case). Plus, there are detailed installation instructions.
This kit ranks 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Users like the kit for its versatility (choose from different motor powers, 500 to 1,400 watts) and power, even up hills. The drawbacks seem to be the lack of manufacturer installation videos. However, everyday users have uploaded content on YouTube that you can consult.
- Great price
- Battery included
- Good customer service
- No manufacturer installation videos
- Cadence sensor installation is a challenge
- Tools not included
Price: Starting at $379.99 on the manufacturer’s website
Best for: The budget-minded
Grin Technologies All-Axle Hub Motor Kit
The Grin Technologies All-Axle hub motor kit is a direct-drive front hub model. It’s versatile and works with various bike models, from thru-axle front forks to quick-release types.
Although there aren’t Amazon reviews for this product, Grin’s goods generally perform well on the e-commerce site. For example, an e-bike torque arm from Grin has 4.6 out of 5 stars. Product users on other online forums praise the high-quality components, but some report a jerky ride.
- Reliable product
- Lightweight motor to accommodate top speeds
- Suitable for flat surfaces and inclines alike
- Limited customer reviews online
- Front hub motors are generally less preferable than mid-drive
- On the pricey side
Price: Starting at $865 on e-bike retailer websites
Best for: Speedy cycling
Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit
The Swytch Universal E-Bike Conversion Kit is small and won’t slow you down. It offers multiple range options (up to 30 kilometers — about 18 miles) and accommodates wheel sizes of all kinds. It also works for all kinds of bikes.
According to reviews, the bike kit delivers a good bang for its buck, offering a smooth, seamless ride. The lightweight solution is perfect for newbies to e-cycling. The one issue? Ordering is a convoluted process.
- Fits almost all kinds of bikes
- Compact battery sizes, from pocket-sized to tablet-sized
- Available for any wheel size
- Short range
- Affordable if you preorder, but otherwise can get pricey
- Complicated ordering process
Price: Not listed (there’s a waitlist)
Best for: First-time e-cyclists
The Rubbee X conversion kit is a completely wireless system with a simple modular battery known for its easy installation. Special features include an interactive rear light, regenerative braking, and anti-slip control.
Unfortunately, the Amazon reviews aren’t glowing, with 3.2 out of 5 stars. Users suggest the product’s concept is great but not robust enough. Durability is an issue. That said, users praise the easy installation.
- Easy installation
- Completely wireless
- Comes with a complementary smartphone app
- Prone to breakage
- Not robust
- Battery sold separately
Price: Starting at €579 (approximately $613) on the manufacturer’s website, plus €99 for the battery
Best for: Short-term use
E-Bike Conversion Kit FAQ
We want you to be able to buy an e-bike conversion kit with confidence, which is why we answer some common FAQ about them.
Can I Convert Any Bike to an E-Bike?
Practically speaking, any kind of bike, from a mountain bike to a road bike, can be converted into an e-bike. However, you have to get an e-bike conversion kit compatible with the bike model.
Are E-Bike Conversion Kits Worth It?
Yes, an e-bike conversion kit is a worthwhile investment for people wanting to upgrade an old bike to an e-bike. A conversion kit is more affordable than buying an entirely new e-bike.
What Is the Average Price of an E-Bike Conversion Kit?
E-bike conversion kits vary significantly in price, ranging from as little as $300 to upward of $1,500. Factors that impact price include the motor power and battery capacity.
Shop for E-Bikes With Confidence
Whether you’re a newbie getting your first bike or a seasoned e-bike rider, it’s important to do your research when making a purchase. At eBikes.org, we give you reviews, buying guides, and informational articles — everything you need to buy with confidence. Check it out.