Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around. If you need a little more oomph than legs allow, an e-bike conversion kit is a great way to supercharge your pedal bike with electricity.
Whether you’re plugging in to renewable energy sources or drawing from a conventional electric grid, electric bike kits produce far fewer emissions than fossil fuel-powered alternatives and allow you to keep your old bike you know and love.
An e-bike conversion kit makes use of your existing bike frame by replacing your standard tire or pedals with a motorized hub. Here are the best e-bike kits on the market today.
Best Electric Bike Kits
When choosing the best e-bike conversion kits, we considered elements including ease of installation, power output, ease of control, design, extra features, cost, customer reviews and more. Based on these factors, these are the top e-bike kits on the market.
The Shuangye Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit offers a solid, feature-packed motorized wheel hub unit to easily convert any pedal bike into a hybrid e-bike powerhouse. A weatherproof design and powerful 1000W motor mean you can take electric propulsion anywhere your adventures take you, from street to trail.
The Shuangye is packed with plug-and-play features like cruise control, pedal-assist mode and all of the parts needed to hook up to your bike and a battery. We especially like the multiple throttle options this unit offers, including front thumb, rear thumb and front twist. An LCD display gives you essential information on battery levels, speed, error codes and more right on your handlebar. The only downsides to this awesome package are you’ll need to purchase a separate tire and battery (48V or 52V is recommended), and it’s expensive.
Why Buy: The Shuangye Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit is powerful enough to tackle the toughest trails and subtle enough to cruise city streets. Simple installation and intuitive operation make this a hands-down best performer for e-bike conversion kits. If you have the budget to buy a battery (not included), the Shuangye conversion kit is as deserving on your favorite bike as it is at the top of our list.
Daily riders will love this easy-to-install, lightweight e-bike conversion kit. It is compatible with most mountain, road, hybrid, and step-through bikes, and disc brakes.
It’s as easy to install as swapping out your front tire. The controller and battery are combined into a 36-Volt power pack, which is included in the kit and mounts to the handlebars. That makes it easy to remove and keeps thieves at bay, but our tester did miss having the use of a handle bar basket. The battery pack is fitted with indicator lights that tell you how much juice remains and what assist mode you’re in. Once the system is set up correctly, you’ll be able to top out at 15-25 mph.
Do you want to go farther or faster? You can do both with this setup from Ebikeling, with its 500-watt motor. Ebikeling makes it easy to buy the compatible 36-Volt battery and other accessories in an a-la-cart way.
The double-walled rim and motor are ready to install right out of the box—just swap them out for your original bike tire. An LCD screen is included to help you stay within your town’s speed limit. You can choose between a front or rear mount, as well as a thumb or half-twist throttle.
Thanks to a 48-volt, 1000-watt battery, the AW rear-wheel E-bike conversion kit satisfies anyone with the need for speed. A thumb throttle makes speed control simple.
The aluminum frame offers durability and stability, which is essential when you’re rolling at 31 miles per hour. Hand brakes turn the motor off automatically to both improve safety and conserve battery power.
The Shuangye conversion kit comes with a powerful, noiseless 48-volt, 1000-watt motor, which lets you cruise up to 28 mph. That makes this an excellent option for mountain bikes with 26-inch tires.
Ride in E-bike mode when going on long rides or chose pedal assistance for short runs and climbing hills. You have a choice of front or rear wheel installation. Battery not included.
Is the battery included? You’ll need something to power and charge your e-bike conversion kit. Many kits include a battery. Cheaper kits may not, though, which means you’ll need to source a compatible battery separately.
You’ll also want to think about your power needs. The higher the motor wattage, the more power you’ll get. A 250-watt motor is typically plenty of power to make the daily commute less sweaty. If you want to take your converted bike out on tougher mountain trails, you’ll want more power.
Keep in mind that according to U.S. federal regulations, e-bikes with more than 750 watts of power are considered motor vehicles and require a motorcycle license.
You’ll want to check your state and local laws as some cities and towns have banned e-bikes from bicycle paths, so if that’s where you want to ride, you’ll want to make sure your town allows your upgraded bike to cruise around on them.
E-bikes come in three classes:
- Class 1 E-bikes that assist you while you pedal and top out about 20 mph.
- Class 2 E-bikes have a throttle that assists you regardless of whether you pedal and have a top speed of 20 mph.
- Class 3 E-bikes assist you while you pedal and top out about 28 mph.
Are electric bike conversion kits difficult to install?
There are several kinds of e-bike conversion kits, and the ease of set-up and installation varies.
- Friction Drive Conversion is a simple strategy. A roller pushes against the tire on the wheel. When the roller turns, the wheel turns. It’s a reasonably easy system to set up but often isn’t the most effective.
- Mid-Drive Conversion is the technology that the best e-bikes tend to use. A weight sits at a low point on the bike frame, and the power is applied to the crank. These can be more expensive, but the technology is typically better. There’s no standardization, however, which can make figuring out exactly what you need to make your bike work a little more challenging. Adding the parts is also a bit more complex than friction drive conversion.
- Electric Bike Wheel Conversion swaps out a non-electrified front or rear wheel with an electrified one. The process is simple depending on where and how the battery mounts—such as on a rear rack. Once installed, weight distribution can feel natural. However, powering the front wheel may impact your bike’s handling.
What tools do I need?
You’ll need a bike tool, crank arm tool, adjustable wrenches, and a screwdriver along with your electric bike conversion kit.
These demos can show you how to install your e-bike conversion kit.
Should I get a conversion kit or just buy a new e-bike?
A visit to your local bike shop mechanic is a helpful step in the decision-making process. They can help you determine if your bike is a good candidate for electric technology.
Your old bike may not be able to be converted because adding a motor can increase torque. You’ll want to make sure your bike’s drivetrain can handle it.
The extra weight from adding an electric motor also impacts your brakes, so you’ll want to make sure they are effective for stopping at a higher speed. E-bikes tend to have disk brakes for this reason. If your current bike is in disrepair, has old parts, or needs other improvements, it may be more cost-effective to sell your trusty old ten speed and buy an e-bike.
Also, consider that a quality electric bike conversion kit can be nearly the cost of an electric bike. Do some comparison shopping between the price of a conversion kit and a fully-loaded e-bike before you decide which way you want to roll. Our picks for the best e-bikes may help guide your decision.