The 5 Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits in 2018 (Front and Rear Wheel)
Are you tired of pedalling with your regular bicycle? Want to get all the benefits of an e-bike by installing an electric bike kit? Yes!
Now you might be questioning yourself what is the best electric bike kit? No worries, this article will answer your question.
A few years ago, if you had wanted an electric bike, the only option you had was to visit a manufacturer’s shop and cough out hundreds to thousands of dollars. With a limited budget, you would only be left to try other non-electric varieties. Today, it’s much easier. With the best electric bike conversion kit, you can upgrade any ordinary bike into an electric one.
If you’ve been looking for the best kit to convert your regular bike into an ebike, then you must have come across hordes of them. This is where things get complicated; conversion kits come in various types and only the right pick will give you the best performance. As a rule of thumb, you should always buy a kit that is compatible with many bikes and has all the essential tools for the job.
To save you the trouble of spending hours on countless websites looking for a reliable, all-inclusive electric bike conversion kit, we have reviewed several options for you. While all the choices in this review deliver the best service, AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel seems to outshine most of them.
Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit 2018
AW Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion
Voilamart Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
Li-ion 5.2 Ah Included 24V 250W
theebikemotor Hub Motor
AW Electric Bicycle Motor Kit
1. AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel
If you are a lover of rear wheel conversion kits, you should try AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Kit. The kit is 80% efficient thanks to its 48V/1000W powerful motor. You can easily climb hills and ride at a top speed of over 35mph without the battery failing you.
With the Pedal Assistance System, you should be able to conserve power and get back home from your trip without breaking much sweat. And whether you are cycling in broad daylight or at night, the LCD display helps you easily read your speed, time, gears, mileage, and battery level.
The AW kit has no chains and gears; this means no time is spent on moving parts. Additionally, the absence of such parts provides for a smooth, friction-free motion. The dual mode motor controller is also efficient.
The core features of the AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel ebike conversion kit include:
Some of the pros of buying this kit include:
Here are a few drawbacks of the AW Rear Wheel Conversion Kit:
The difference between this kit and its closest brother (AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit, reviewed in this article as well) is very small. They all have the same top speed, same motor quality, and even the tire size is similar. Since the AW Rear Wheel Conversion Kit costs a few more dollars and yet they both deliver the same performance, it makes sense to pick the other AW conversion kit.
2. Voilamart 26" Rear Wheel
For avid bicycle riders, nothing could be sweeter than having a ride with a lot of customizable options. The Voilamart 26” Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit provides you with a cheaper way to transform your bike into a powerful electric speedster with a 48V/1000W brushless gearless motor. The maximum speed you can obtain from it is roughly 28 mph (or 45km/h).
The Pedal Assistance System lets you pedal along (with little effort) for exercise or power saving. The kit arrives with all the components you need including the rear wheel, controller bag, motor controller, LCD meter, cable ties, twist throttle, brake handles (one pair), and manual. However, it doesn’t come with a battery.
While this kit comes with a manual, try to look for the “SW900” manual online. Most people find videos on YouTube useful when fine-tuning various settings. Its display provides a clear reading of the battery level, riding speed, and pedal assistance settings. You can use any good quality battery on this ebike kit but the recommended type is 48 Volt electrokinetic cell battery (11.6Ah).
The Voilamart 26” is characterized by the following features:
Some of the things that make it worth the purchase include the following:
Shortcomings of this conversion kit do exist as well. The core ones are:
The Voilamart 26” Conversion Kit is worth considering if you are looking for a faster motor and better rear wheel performance. It is a little challenging to install though and the manual is not very helpful.
3. Li-ion 5.2 Ah Included 24V 250W Front Wheel
One of the easiest and quickest way to get an ebike is through the best electric bike kit. This Leed 250 Series 10k Electric Bike Kit is one such product and is powered by a reliable, long-lasting lithium ion Samsung battery. It comes with all the necessary components that make up a complete ebike.
With other bikes, installation is as simple as removing the previous tire and popping in the new one. However, this kit needs more than that. You’ll need to clip the battery bag on the frame and arrange the cable properly.
Thanks to the 8FUN planetary hub, this kit makes the bike run quietly whether it’s engaged or disengaged. The motor comes with a 2-year warranty.
The 10K Electric Bike Conversion Kit has the following features:
Some of the advantages of this kit include:
Some of the drawbacks of this kit include:
If you are looking to double your pedaling power and make your bike travel for longer distances, this Electric Bike Conversion Kit is the gear to buy. It is easy to install and runs quietly but it does come at a slightly higher cost.
4. theebikemotor 3000W Hub Motor
If you are looking for the best ebike conversion kit, look no further than theebikemotor 3000W. It has an extremely powerful motor that works with batteries of varying voltage. With this unit, you can climb hills with little to no pedaling.
The kit arrives with a motorbike grade wheel, throttle, 3.2” TFT display, disc brake, and brake lever. The display shows stats for the speed, distance, time, gear, and battery level. The brake lever safely cuts motor power thus allowing you to conserve your battery. This kit delivers a maximum speed of 72-80 km/h.
This electric bike conversion kit carries a very powerful motor which means faster speeds and short arrival times. However, a 3000W motor drains the battery quickly and you may end up with shorter ranges.
The defining features of theebikemotor 3000W Hub Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit include:
Some of the advantages of purchasing this kit include:
Despite having the best quality components, this kit has the following drawbacks:
If more power and speed are at the top of your list, you should not bypass theebikemotor 3000W Hub Motor ebike kit. With a 3000W motor, it’s easy to climb hills and achieve a faster speed to reach your destination quicker. The problem is, bigger motors are power hungry and thus you are likely to get disappointing ranges.
5. AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W
There are two AW conversion kits in this review and this one is a little cheaper and offers the same service as the first one. Some of the things that warrant mentioning are the 48V/1000W brushless hub motor and the dual mode controller.
The kit comes with everything you need for a complete overhaul of your ordinary bike into an ebike. The drive system has zero moving parts and this includes gears and chains. The lack of moving parts provides for a frictionless motion. The maximum speed you can obtain from AW Rear Wheel Motor Kit is 45-48 km/h.
This kit doesn’t have an LCD display and none of its parts is secured with a warranty. Nevertheless, the kit is easy to install, works properly, and lasts fairly long.
The AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel kit boasts of the following core features:
Some of the advantages of buying this kit include:
This kit falls short in the following areas:
The AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W conversion kit doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. It’s a good product for those who do not have a lot of dollars to spend on an electric bike or a high-end conversion kit.
Since the difference between this kit and the AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle LCD Display kit is negligible, it would be better to save those additional dollars and go for AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W.
Choosing the Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit
If you are on the lookout for the best electric bike conversion kit, the first thing to do is to arm yourself with as much information as possible. You must know what to look for, what to avoid, and at times, what to compromise on several almost-similar models.
Ease of use
The best kit should be easy to install, use, and dismantle. Don’t buy something that will need you to use a manual and even ask help from professionals just to put it up.
Speed is of the essence; after all, that is one reason you went for an electric conversion kit in the first place. Therefore, the kit you pick must make your bike a little faster to replace other tedious or costly modes of transportation. Speaking of speed, ensure the ebike conversion kit comes with a throttle so you can modify your speed.
You can enjoy a good spin around the neighborhood if your bike runs quietly. If the motor that came with your kit is loud, it wouldn’t be prudent to use in residential areas.
Types of Electric Bike Conversion Kits
Driving experience changes depending on the type of conversion kit used. However, it’s all a matter of what works for you. Here are some of the common ebike conversion kits on the market today.
Mid-Drive Conversion Kits
This is the most common kit on the market and is preferred by many people perhaps due to its mid position that helps to keep weight on the low. It’s also easier to change a flat tire on this model than on the hub motor ebike.
Both the motor and the battery are attached to the frame with the motor tagging on the bottom bracket. The design is okay for those who use public roads. However, if you hit the off-roads often, the exposed nature of the motor means it can easily get damaged. Another drawback is that mid-drive kits tend to cost a lot.
Front Hub Conversion Kits
Front-mounted kits come readily installed on the front wheel and all that remains is to remove the old tire and drop in the new one. Make sure to use the same size tire. Only opt for a front hub kit if the terrain you roll on is level or undulating.
Rear Hub Conversion Kits
The rear hub kit is almost similar to the front hub kit when it comes to component composition. The only difference is that it’s been designed for the rear section of the bike.
Since most of the electrical hard work has been done, all that remains is to remove the old tire and pop in the new one. Rear-mounted drive kits are also as common as mid-drive varieties but are less complicated.
Friction Drive Conversion Kits
This is a special kind of conversion kit where a roller sits on the back wheel and when the motor powers up, it rolls, giving the wheel a little more push so the bike can go faster.
Frankly, this solution for speed could be a little crude as the tire gets worn at a faster pace. Besides being uncommon, the system somehow is not as efficient as other types of kits.
The motor available on your newly converted ride will determine how fast and how far you can go. For instance, a 48V motor is more efficient than a 24V motor.
There are two types of hub motors: geared and gearless (direct drive). It is the gears that provide leverage and enable smaller motors to achieve more. However, geared motors also produce more noise due to friction.
Brushless or Brushed
When choosing a motor for your electric bike, you can get either a brushless or brushed motor. Brushed motors are simple. They don't have a DC supply or battery; instead, they have an armature (or rotor), a commutator, brushes, an axle, and a field magnet.
Brushless motors, on the other hand, has its permanent magnets around the perimeter of the rotor. It requires no power and instead employs control circuitry.
In general, brushed motors are more inexpensive and reliable. They also have a simple two-wire control and can deal with rough terrain reliably. However, the brushes do require regular maintenance.
Brushless motors are quieter and more efficient. It can also last longer but it would cost more than the brushed motor.
The traditional electric bike chain drive motor provides a lot of power for uphill climbing. It is also the preferred motor for riders who want the pedal bike feel of the ebike. It basically improves the efficiency of the ebike and extends its range both on and off-road.
Friction drives on ebikes are much less popular than hub motors. They power the bike through a friction connection on the rear wheel of the bike. While it used to be popular, its efficiency problem is just too much for some riders. It wears out tires much faster and a lot of energy is lost through heat and scraped-off rubber from the tires.
Friction drive electric bicycles also cannot be used when it's rainy or snowing as a little bit of water will reduce the friction between the roller and the tire.
Ordinary braking provides friction that impedes motion resulting in a stoppage. Regenerative braking, on the other hand, provides stopping energy which also happens to extend the battery life. These types of brakes are expensive, though.
The most efficient motors convert 80% of power coming from the battery into mechanical energy that goes to the wheels. But how do you tell if the motor is efficient? You check the maximum speed. Motors that run at a speed of 25mph and above tend to be more efficient than those that run at 24mph and below.
E-Bike Batteries and Power
Battery versatility is something you need to pay attention to and a great kit should allow you to try other alternatives in case the one you wanted is out of stock. Always pick lithium-ion batteries over the cheap, old-fashioned lead-acid varieties.
Power depends on three things; watts, voltage, and amp hours. Most motors come in 250W, 500W, 750W, and 1000W. The higher the wattage, the more power a kit generates. With more power, the battery has to be larger for ample storage room.
Ampere per hour (ampere-hour) or simply Ah refers to the duration the battery lasts while on use. The larger this number is, the longer the cycling time. Charging also takes a considerably shorter time. The same concept applies to the voltage; for instance, a unit with 48 volts provides more power and range than that of 36v.
There are other minor but essential components to look out for in the best electric conversion kit. A few of them includes the following.
How would you feel when your bike’s juice suddenly runs out on you when you expected it to cruise for a few more miles? Well, with a controller (wrist wear), you can monitor your riding metrics such as speed, power output, and even the battery level status. This should help you plan your cycling and get to your destination before the motor powers down.
Pedelec or Throttle
Pedelec, also known as pedal assist, is a driving mode where the pedals rotate depending on the power delivered. Although pedaling is mandatory, less effort is applied.
In the throttle-control model, the motor doesn’t operate the pedal and hence the bike merely freewheels on the motor’s electric power. Pedaling is not necessary but you can do it if you want to save on power especially when climbing hills.
When you buy a conversion kit, you’ll realize that very few come with replacement brakes. However, it’s important to replace the brakes with an alternative that provides more stopping power, something like disc brakes.
The best version of these brakes sport brake levers that look similar to conventional bike brakes although the levers are designed to stop the motor and not the wheels. They do so by safely disconnecting power flow.
Electric is the future and with countless conversion kits available, anyone can now turn their ordinary bikes into electric bikes for a little assist. Buying a kit and upgrading your bike saves you a lot of bucks that you would have otherwise thrown into a high-end electric bike.
Make a point to read as many ebike conversion kit reviews as possible before making a choice. Remember, the best electric bike conversion kit must be compatible with most bikes and simple to install. Make a choice from any of the kits mentioned here and you will end up with an electric bike you will end up using for years.