Convenient, economical, and fun to ride. E-bikes are the best and fastest way to get around town. The only issue? A brand new e-bike can be expensive.
The other option is to convert your existing bike into an E-bike using an E-bike kit with a battery. It's certainly a more affordable way to get an E-bike you've always dreamed of, but are they just as good as the real deal? Let's find out.
What are the Advantages of Converting Your Regular Bike to an E-Bike?
Regular bikes come with many benefits. They're a great way to get around while being kind to the environment and your wallet. Riding a bike gives you plenty of exercise and gets you out in the fresh air, which is vital for your overall health and mental wellbeing.
However, a regular bike still doesn't compare to a car or motorbike because your leg power limits them. Long commutes can be hell on a regular bike and ensure you arrive at your destination sweaty and out of breath.
That is where an e-bike becomes far more advantageous. You get all the benefits of a regular bike but with an extra "oomph" that makes long journeys far more enjoyable.
The electric motor on the bike gives you a power boost when you feel tired or you're navigating steep hills. And, because it's electric, you won't be releasing any nasty emissions into the atmosphere. All in all, it's better for you and the planet.
Are There Different Types of E-Bike Conversion Kits?
While there are plenty of brands, each with its conversion kit solution. You can pretty much separate them into three main categories:
- Friction drive conversion kit
- Wheel conversion/hub-drive kit
- Mid-drive e-bike conversion kit
Friction Drive Conversion Kit
This type of kit has a roller that is attached to the motor. This roller uses friction to move the rear wheel when the motor is switched on. The friction drive kit is the most unpopular choice as it is noisy and inefficient in wet weather. The installed motor also causes an imbalance on the bike.
Wheel conversion/hub-drive kit
Hub-drives are electric motors connected to the back or front wheel. They are considered the standard E-bike conversion kit and are easy to install. This type of kit is also the cheapest option.
Because the motor sits on one side of the bike, the weight can become slightly imbalanced, making it better for commuting rather than sports.
Mid-Drive Conversion Kit
This type of kit comes with a small, lightweight motor that you place in-between the pedals, giving the bike an even weight balance and the best torque and riding experience out of all three options. Changing tyres is not affected by this conversion kit.
This option is best if you enjoy mountain biking or off-roading, but remember it's the most expensive.
What Should You Consider Before Buying an E-bike Kit?
Before you jump right in and purchase the first conversion kit that you come across, there are some important points to consider.
How Do Converted Bikes Perform?
While a converted E-bike can perform well, it's worth keeping in mind that the bike wasn't built initially for the speeds an electric bike can achieve. Coupling that with the uneven weight distribution from having the conversion can make riding the bike more dangerous.
Having said that, if you don't push the bike beyond its limits and take care to purchase a suitable conversion kit for your bike, you will find that you get the best performance from it.
Do E-Bike Conversion Kits Come With a Battery?
The surprising answer to this is no. E-bike conversion kits don't typically come with a battery, so you must purchase one separately. While this makes the conversion kit lower in cost, you also have to factor in the cost of buying a battery into the overall price.
While this may seem inconvenient, it's an advantage. Rather than put up with a mediocre battery, you can shop around and choose a battery with the power and capacity you need.
Batteries are available up to 72V, although rarely necessary. 24V is perfect for commuting and shorter journeys, and 36V - 48V is the right power for sports. Anything above 48V gets costly. Check out our battery range on Eskute to get some ideas.
Which Brand of E-bike Kit Should You Buy?
Since the E-bike conversion kit market is still relatively new, no brands have yet established themselves as the market leader. New and different companies are entering the market every year, so the choice is only set to get bigger.
If you're unsure which brand to go for, we always recommend doing some online research to find reviews. It should help you establish whether or not the brand is worth purchasing. You can also ask an E-bike retailer what they recommend.
How to install your E-bike Kit Are E-Bike Kits Easy To Install?
That depends on your existing knowledge of bikes. If you're comfortable taking bikes apart and putting them back together again, you likely won't find it a problem.
On the other hand, if you struggle to repair a puncture, you'll be better off getting a professional to fit it for you. Keep in mind, though, that this will add to the total cost of the conversion.
If you do decide to go down the self-installation route, you can fit your conversion kit by going through the following steps:
- Remove the existing wheel, so swap it with the new motorised wheel.
- Attach the tyre and inner tube to the new wheel. Use sufficient spacers, so the parts don't clash together.
- Attach the motorised wheel to the bike and install the torque arm.
- Attach the cable to the motor, battery and handlebars.
- Mount the display unit and controls, including the brakes and brake wires, pedal assist sensor, throttle, cruise control and speed changer.
- Finally, install the battery.
Which Accessories Do You Need?
No E-bike conversion is quite complete without adding a few essential accessories. To get going on the road, you're also going to need:
- A battery charger like this one for the Wayfarer
- Bike frame bag to store all your important things
- A phone holder is also a perfect idea for when you need to navigate.
Are E-bike Conversion Kits Worth the Money?
We would always recommend buying an actual E-bike over converting your existing bike. That is because they are purpose-built for the job, have proper weight distribution, and can handle the motor's speeds.
However, E-bike kits with batteries are a great choice if you need some extra power but lack the budget for a purpose-built E-bike.
Purpose-built E-bikes are sleeker and look great, but if you love your regular bike and can't let it go. An E-bike kit will be a practical way to enhance the enjoyment of riding it.
Despite all the above introduction about the e-bike convention kits, we still recommend those who own perfect pedal bicycles for transformation. But for most people who don't have one and those with poor manual skills, we always recommend weighing the pros and cons of buying a whole piece E-bike over a conversion kit to DIY. Most importantly, you must feel comfortable and safe riding a purposed-made e-bike. As a fast-growing E-bike company, we'll be able to recommend the best e-bike option for you.