Electric bikes are becoming more popular than ever. Many are even modifying their existing bicycles using an electric bike conversion kit to juice up their rides. In this guide we will showcase the best electric bike conversion kits and provide instructions on how to install them. If you already have a bike that is in decent shape, why not convert it to an eBike and save some money instead of buying a brand new fancy electric bike.
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Electric Bike Conversion Kits: The Basics
Before we begin, you will need to understand the basics of ebike motors and batteries and what to look for in a conversion kit.
The battery is what will power your ebike’s motor. There are two major things to keep in mind when selecting the right battery for your set up: voltage and capacity.
An electric bike’s battery typically ranges from 24V (volts) to 72V (volts). The higher the voltage of the battery the more power and speed your bike will have.
A battery’s capacity is measured in amp hours (Ah) and are typically within the range of 10Ah to 30Ah for eBikes. The higher the Ah, the longer you will get between charges. A more powerful motor driven at higher speeds will make the battery drain faster, so be sure to find a setup that suits your needs.
Recommended Setup: 48V 10Ah Battery
Your electric bike’s motor is the heart of your bike. There are two main things to consider when choosing your motor: power (watts) and where the motor is located (front wheel, rear wheel, or mid-drive).
Motors will range in power from 250 W – 1,000 W. The higher the watts (W) the faster your bike will accelerate and to some degree will determine the max speed of your ebike. In most states the legal top speed for a bike to be classified as an electric bike is between 20-28 mph. A 500 W – 750 W motor can achieve this easily.
In some cases a much less powerful 250 W motor will work just fine. If you are building a beach cruise ebike meant for gentle rides around generally flat areas then a powerful motor will be overkill.
The motor‘s location will determine the type of ride you will have. A mid-drive motor will provide the most comfortable ride, while rear and front motors will typically give you less traction while riding.
Recommened Setup: 750 W rear or mid-drive motor
Conversion Kit Checklist
Here is just a quick recap of things you will need to consider before buying an electric bike conversion kit:
- What type of electric bike build do you want: speed, comfort, or a mixture of both?
- What type of battery and motor will you need to achieve that?
- How easy is the installation process?
Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits
Below you will find the best electric bike conversion kits on the market. The list includes a conversion kit that will fit the needs of every type of rider. If you have had a positive experience with a kit not on the list, please leave us a message in the comments section below.
Bafang BBS02B 750 W / 48V / 11.6Ah eBike Conversion Kit (includes battery)
Bafang is hands down one of the most popular electric bike conversion kits on the market and for a reason. The 750 W motor and 48V 11.6Ah battery provides a max speed of 28 mph and a drive time of approximately 65 miles before needing to recharge. The motor is mid-drive Which will give you the smoothest ride available.
AW 48V Electric Bike Conversion Kit (does not include battery)
This kit from AW makes the list because it is a solid kit with a 1000W motor that will help with your bike’s acceleration, especially on steep hills. It has a max speed of 28 mph which mean it is street legal in most states. This kit does not include a battery, so unlike the Bafang kit above, this will allow you to pick the perfect battery for your needs.
TongSheng 36 V / 15.6Ah Electric Bike Conversion Kit (includes battery)
TongSheng is another popular conversion kit and unlike some other kits on the market they let you customize your kit to a degree. The kit that we are recommending is the 36 V /15.6 Ah version. A 36 V battery will slow down your acceleration just a tad when compared to a 48 V motor, but for cruising around town it will be just fine.
How to Install an Electric Bike Conversion Kit: Step-by-step Guide
Step 1: Know your kit
The most important step in installing your ebike conversion kit is to make sure you understand exactly what kind of setup you bought. Your kit will either include a motor that is for the rear wheel, front wheel, or mid-drive. Depending on the kit you bought the steps may be different.
Most kits also come with an instruction manual, so be sure you read that as well. You may find that your kit has special instructions unique to your kit that you’ll need to take note of.
This guide is not meant to be an in-depth tutorial, but rather a quick overview of what converting an e-bike entails. If you think the below steps are within your abilities we recommend that you watch video tutorials on YouTube for more elaborate instructions
Step 2: Remove your wheel
The first thing that you will need to do is remove the wheel. To remove your tire a bit easier loosen up the brake cable first. Once that is done hold down the derailleur while you lift out your wheel and it should come off easily.
Step 3: Remove your freewheel
Remove the freewheel from your bike. Your kit should have come with a freewheel removal tool. If it did not come with the tool you can use a simple wrench or even pliers to help remove it.
Step 4: Remove the tire and tube
Now it is time to remove your time and tube. To make it easier to remove, deflate your tube first and then use a screwdriver to pop out the tire and tube from the wheel. This should be fairly easy to do.
Step 5: Grab your ebike conversion kit
Grab the new wheel that came with your kit and install your tube and tire to it. Now comes the tricky part, you will need to drill a hole in your freewheel (9/16 in hole) for the axel.
Step 6: Install the wheel and torque arm
Install your wheel with two washers on both sides (your kit will include these). Add the torque arm to the wheel and secure it tightly.
Step 7: Run the wires and add your battery
Attach the wires included in your kit to your battery and mount your battery to the bike. Some kits will come with a battery mount.
Step 8: Add your display and controller
Remove the following from your handlebars: grips, shifters, and brakes. You’ll now be able to easily mount your display wherever you think it will look the best. Most people place the display in the center of their handlebars to that they can see it easily while riding. You can now reinstall your shifter, throttle, brakes, and grips.
Step 9: Other optional customizations
Now would be a good time to add any other customizations to your ebike. If you want to upgrade your shifter to a 10-speed shifter you should do that now. Another popular customization is to add LED lights to your rims or upgrading your grips with higher quality ones.
Keeping your wires nice and tight up against your bike frame is important too. We recommend zip tying them to your frame.
Step 10: Test your new ebike
Before planning your first ride, make sure that you do a short test run around the block to make sure everything is connected and running properly. The last thing you’d want is to be a mile into your first ride and have something short out forcing you to walk home.
We hope that this guide helped steer you in the right direction and helped you decide with you are going to attempt to convert your bicycle into an eBike, If you think the whole process is a bit overwhelming, don’t worry I understand, I feel the same way. Check out our blog on the Top 7 Coolest Ebikes on the Market to find a pre-built ebike at an affordable price.
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