The best e-bike conversion kits in 2024


We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Let’s face it—electric bikes are expensive, but electric bike conversion kits allow you to affordably add e-bike oomph to any acoustic (aka normal) bike. Sometimes, you want the classic cycling experience and the e-bike experience, but you don’t necessarily want to own two bikes. But while it’s rather straightforward to convert your bike to an e-bike, doing so with subpar electric bike kits can actually be more frustrating than electrifying, never quite working as well as you want them to. To avoid such a possibility, we’re looking at the best e-bike conversion kits for 2024.

How we chose the best e-bike conversion kits

As a lifelong cyclist—both road and trail—I draw on 30 years of experience when evaluating options. In recent years, I’ve relentlessly tested the best electric bikes, best full-suspension e-bikes, and top bike gear in general. I’ve reviewed numerous rides for publications like Popular Science, Bicycling, Popular Mechanics, the Manual, and more. For this list, I dove into e-bike conversion kits to suit a variety of needs and budgets. My firsthand tests have been bolstered by input from Popular Science contributors and other expert reviewers. 

The best e-bike conversion kits: Reviews & Recommendations

Electric bike conversion kits should be relatively easy to install and provide reliable performance. However, a low-quality kit will disappoint you, and you’ll likely end up shopping for budget electric bikes instead. But with one of the conversion kits from this list, power-assisted pedaling is easy to obtain.

Best overall: BAFANG BBSHD BBSO3

BAFANG BBSHD BBSO3 on a plain white background.

Specs

  • Motor: 750W
  • Battery: 48V 20A
  • Throttle: Yes

Pros

  • Plenty of wattage
  • Big battery

Cons

With e-bike conversion kits, you oftentimes end up feeling like you’ve ended up with a toy motor. Not with this beast from BAFANG. This kit feels like a sturdy piece of equipment and delivers performance accordingly. 750W output—from a mid-drive motor, no less—is outstanding for a conversion and will charge up just about any hill with ease. Its just shy of 1,000-watt-hour battery is enormous and will provide more than enough power for a full day of riding. The thumb-activated throttle provides smooth acceleration, and the display screen is easy to read. There’s even a headlight thrown in for good measure. 

While it’s certainly pricey, it’s still significantly less than an e-bike with the same performance stats. When it comes to conversion kits, this is as solid as they get.

Best value: AW Electric Bike Conversion Kit

AW Electric Bike Conversion Kit on a plain white background.

Specs

  • Motor: 1,000W
  • Battery: Not included
  • Throttle: Yes

Pros

  • Rear hub performance
  • Thumb and twist throttle

Cons

There are two reasons this conversion kit offers superior value. First, it’s a rear hub motor, which is hard to find at this price. That rear hub motor translates into improved performance, better balance, and a more “natural” feel than a front hub. Second, it’s extremely easy to install, especially for a rear hub motor. The fact that it offers both thumb and twist throttles is a nice touch. 

The lack of an LCD is its one downside, but you don’t really need a display for this kind of motor. For all intents and purposes, this is a great motor for most riders. 

Best design: Rubee X 

Rubee X on a plain white background.

Specs

  • Motor: 250W
  • Battery: 93Wh
  • Throttle: No

Pros

  • Extremely easy use
  • Modular batteries

Cons

This conversion kit from Rubee gets our “best design” pick because of its innovative and extremely easy installation. Essentially, you snap it onto the back of the bike and go—barely any tools necessary. It’s also got a modular battery system, which means you can add or subtract power based on your desired range, speed, and bike weight. 

While its 250W motor isn’t the most powerful out there, this is less intended to provide a full e-bike experience than one geared toward providing a bit of pedal assistance. For a daily commuter who could use some extra oomph, however, it’s a fantastic option.

Best rated: EBIKELING Ebike Conversion Kit

EBIKELING Ebike Conversion Kit on a plain white background.

Specs

  • Motor: 1,200W
  • Battery: Not included
  • Throttle: Yes

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Easy installation

Cons

“Best rated” can be hard to determine on an internet full of conflicting sources, but I’m going with this kit from EBIKELING because aside from a handful of extreme outliers, the vast majority of buyers report full satisfaction. Just about everybody is satisfied with its performance and reports that it’s very easy to install. It’s got an easy-to-read LCD, and the throttle is perfectly adequate. It’s hard to imagine someone not being satisfied with it.

A few buyers report the motor can become noisy, and others say the lower-power models are low on acceleration, but that’s why I recommend getting the 1,200W version. The 1,500W version provides more speed than most riders want or need, but with 1,200W, you’ll get a solid amount of pedal assist. 

Best splurge: Skarper 

Skarper e-bike conversion kit on a plain white background.

Specs

  • Motor: 250W 
  • Battery: 240Wh
  • Throttle: No

Pros

  • Snap-on easy to use
  • Interchangeable from bike to bike

Cons

If you’re looking to throw some money at a new, cool bike toy (and here I mean toy in the good sense—as in you’re going to enjoy it), check out Skarper. It’s still on preorder, but advanced testing has shown it to be a very slick tool. The Skarper snaps onto any bike quickly and more or less effortlessly, making it an easy addition to your ride. I think it’s particularly well-suited for commuters who worry about parking an e-bike outdoors. With this, you can essentially take the “E” part of your e-bike along with you. 

The eye-popping price makes it a splurge by pretty much any measure, but if you like the latest and greatest in bike tech, you’ll definitely want to check this out.

Best budget: Pexmor Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Pexmor Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Specs

  • Motor: 1,200W
  • Battery: Not included
  • Throttle: Yes

Pros

  • Mindboggling wattage
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Some may not like the front-wheel hub motion

The fact that this conversion kit from Pexmor is under $200 yet functions reliably would in itself garner it consideration as kits at this price point tend to disappoint. This one works great, and its 1,200W motor is almost too powerful, capable of zipping you up to 36 miles per hour. The throttle is also highly responsive, which isn’t always the case with budget brands. 

It does go in the bike’s front wheel, and some may not like the “pulling” sensation that placement causes. But as far as affordable e-bike conversion kits go, there is no competition. 

What to consider when picking an e-bike conversion kit

When choosing your e-bike conversion kits, remember a few key points: 

Types of e-bike conversion kits

E-bike kits are relatively new, so there aren’t clear-cut categories for different product types yet. For the most part, however, they group something like this.

Wheel hub kits either come attached to their own wheel, or you have to attach them to an existing wheel. They can be in either the front or back. A front wheel kit’s main advantage is ease of installation and reduced cost. Rear hub kits, however, provide better performance and balance.

Mid-hub motor kits are installed into your crankshaft. These deliver the best performance by far, but they can be difficult to install and usually cost more.

Snap-on kits come in a range of formats, but they usually clip onto either your rear hub or seat post. They are typically a bit underpowered, but they are very convenient and easy to use. They can also swap between different bikes.

Wattage

Wattage on conversion kits tends to be in a higher range than on typical e-bikes, as some of the power is lost in the process. If the usual e-bike range is between 250-750W, kits lean toward 500-1,200W. While more wattage usually translates into more speed and pedal assist, many riders may not need the utmost wattage possible. Less power means less weight, so try to strike the right balance for your needs. 

Throttle and accessories

Some conversion kits come with a throttle, allowing you to affix either a thumb trigger or twisting piece to your handlebar to activate the motor without pedaling. This is great for getting up to speed from a stop or simply cruising along, but throttles eat up a lot of battery. Kits may come with other electronic accessories like an LCD screen, highlight, tail light, and more. 

Ease of installation

E-bike conversion kits can vary greatly when it comes to installation difficulty or lack thereof. Snap-on kits are theoretically the easiest, though less mechanically inclined people may find them tricky. Front-hub kits tend to be rather straightforward as well. Things get more complicated with rear-hub kits due to the involvement of gears, though they’re still pretty manageable. Last but not least, mid-drive motors often take a bit more know-how with a toolbox, though they rarely require expert-level skills.

FAQs

Q: Are e-bike conversion kits good?

That kind of depends on your expectations and what you mean by “good.” Typically speaking, they’re not quite up to replacing the performance of an e-bike, but they can provide substantial pedal assistance. If you’re a daily commuter who just wants to take the edge off their ride, a conversion kit will accomplish that. They’ll do that to get a bit of extra oomph during recreational rides. However, if you’re looking for serious e-bike performance, you may want to consider investing in a full bike. 

Q: How much does it cost to convert a regular bike to electric?

A kit can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 to $800 and even much higher. The cost typically depends on factors like the engine wattage, accessories, and overall craftsmanship. Remember that some of the lower-priced kits may not include a battery, which is a necessary additional expense. 

Q: Is it worth it to convert a bike to an e-bike?

That depends on your intended use. If you’re just looking for a bit of pedal assist to ease your daily commute or you expect to use an e-bike infrequently, you might not need to lay out the expense for an entire bike. But if you’re looking for full electric performance and will be relying on it regularly, a full e-bike might be what you want.

Q: Can I convert a normal bike to electric?

Yes, these kits will, for all practical purposes, turn your traditional (what some now call “acoustic”) bike into an e-bike.

Q: What is the best size for an e-bike?

An e-bike should be sized the same way you would size a normal bike. Riding a bike that’s not so large that you can’t control it or so small that you’re uncomfortable is important. There are all sorts of different formulas and suggestions for how to size a bike, but my advice is to go to a bike store and sit on many bikes. Find the size that feels right for you.

Final thoughts on the best e-bike conversion kits

An e-bike conversion kit can be a great way to bolster the performance of your normal bike. They’re not usually intended for or capable of completely replacing an e-bike. Still, for daily commuters, they can make life noticeably easier, and for recreational riders, they can be a lot of fun.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top