Can I Convert My Trek Bike to Electric? Here’s What You Need to Know

Electric bikes have been rapidly growing in popularity in recent years, offering a alternative to traditional bicycles that doesn’t require as much effort to ride. However, buying a brand new e-bike can often be quite expensive, which can cause some riders to wonder if it’s possible to create their own e-bike at home. One question many cyclists have is whether they can convert their existing bike, such as a Trek model, to electric power. In this article, we’ll explore just what it takes to turn your Trek into an e-bike.

The answer isn’t as simple as a quick yes or no, as there are several factors to consider before attempting to convert a bike to electric power. Some riders may find that it’s best to simply purchase a new, pre-built electric bicycle, while others may be able to successfully upgrade their existing ride to electric. We’ll delve into the pros and cons of bike conversion and help you figure out if it’s the right choice for you. So, let’s start exploring the ins and outs of converting a Trek bike to electric power!

Table of Contents

Understanding the Different Types of Electric Bike Conversions for Trek Bikes

Electric bike conversion is a great way to transform your Trek bike into an e-bike without spending too much on a new electric bike. But before converting, it’s crucial to understand the different types of electric bike conversions available in the market. There are three main types – front wheel hub motor, rear wheel hub motor, and mid-drive motor.

Front wheel hub motor conversion kit is the most common and straightforward electric bike conversion option. It involves replacing the front wheel of your Trek bike with a wheel that has a motor attached to it. The kit also comes with a battery, controller, and a throttle or pedaling sensor to regulate the speed. While it’s easy to install, this conversion kit might affect the balance of your bike as it adds weight to the front wheel.

Read Also: Best Off-Road Electric Bikes for Your Adventures

The Pros and Cons of Converting Your Trek Bike to Electric

The idea of converting your Trek bike to electric might sound tempting, but before you dive into it, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of the conversion process. Let’s start with the advantages. One of the most significant benefits of adding an electric motor to your Trek bike is that it enhances your overall riding experience. You can cover more distance with less effort, tackle hilly terrain with ease, and enjoy a comfortable and effortless ride.

Another significant advantage of an electric conversion is that it’s more cost-effective than buying a new electric bike. You can save money by using your existing Trek bike as a base for your conversion. However, there are some downsides to consider as well. The added weight of the battery and motor can make it harder to maneuver the bike, and it may not handle as well as its standard counterpart. Additionally, it can be challenging to achieve a seamless integration of the motor into the bike’s frame, making the conversion process tricky and potentially costly.

What You Need to Know About Batteries and Power Systems for E-Bike Conversions

When it comes to converting your Trek bike into an electric bike, one of the most important things to consider is the battery and power system. The battery is often the most expensive and crucial component of an e-bike conversion. It’s important to invest in a high-quality battery with a sufficient watt-hour (Wh) capacity to power the electric motor.

Additionally, it’s essential to choose the right power system based on your intended use. If you plan to use your e-bike for commuting and short rides, a low-power motor and battery may be sufficient. However, if you plan to take longer rides or tackle steep hills, a more powerful motor and battery may be necessary. It’s also important to consider the weight of the battery and how it will affect the overall weight and balance of your bike. Carefully researching and selecting the right battery and power system can make all the difference in the performance and longevity of your e-bike conversion.

You may also like: Why Electric Bikes Catch Fire: The Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries

How to Choose the Right E-Bike Conversion Kit for Your Trek Bike

When it comes to choosing the right e-bike conversion kit for your Trek bike, there are some important factors to consider. The first thing you need to decide is what type of motor you want. There are two main types of motors available – hub motors and mid-drive motors. Hub motors are easier to install and require less maintenance, but mid-drive motors provide better performance and efficiency.

You’ll also need to pay attention to the kit’s battery capacity and range. This will depend on how far you want to travel and what terrain you’ll be riding on. Other features to consider include the kit’s control unit, display and sensor technology. The right conversion kit will depend on your specific needs, so it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable brand that offers a warranty and good customer support.

Tips and Tricks for Installing an E-Bike Conversion Kit on Your Trek Bike

When installing an e-bike conversion kit on your Trek bike, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure a successful installation. First, make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions that come with the conversion kit. This will help you understand how all the components fit together and reduce the likelihood of making mistakes.

Next, it’s important to choose the right tools for the job. This can include wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. Investing in quality tools can make the installation process smoother and prevent damage to your bike. It’s also crucial to take your time during the installation process, double-checking your work as you go to ensure all components are properly secured and functioning. By following these tips and tricks, you can install an e-bike conversion kit to your Trek bike with confidence.

Maintaining Your Converted Trek E-Bike: Care and Upkeep Tips

Maintaining your converted Trek e-bike is crucial to enjoy the benefits of a smooth ride for years to come. Some basic care and upkeep tips necessitate healthy e-bike maintenance practices to ensure optimum performance and longevity. Firstly, it’s critical to keep the battery charged to its full capacity and maintain the proper tire pressure. The battery should be charged after every ride, and if not in use, it’s advised to store it at around 60% charge to prevent overcharging or discharging.

Regular chain cleaning and lubrication are also required to avoid wear and tear and ensure the chain is running smoothly. In addition, you must regularly check the brake pads, brake fluid, and brake cables to make sure they’re functioning correctly. It’s critical to keep everything clean, especially the chain and brake components, as dirt and debris can cause them to malfunction. Maintaining a converted Trek e-bike is simple with regular upkeep and will offer a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Related Post: Do I Need a Licence for an Electric Bike in 2021?

Exploring the Benefits of Owning and Riding an Electric Trek Bike

Electric Trek bikes offer a multitude of benefits for riders of all levels. Firstly, electric bikes provide easier cycling by backing up your pedalling with an electric motor, reducing the effort required to cycle uphill or against the wind. This feature can be particularly appealing for those who may have struggled with traditional cycling or have physical limitations.

Moreover, electric Trek bikes can be a smart choice for commuters. They can get you to your destination quickly without breaking a sweat or consuming gas. They are also eco-friendly and have zero emissions, making them a green alternative to conventional transport modes. Additionally, with the electric motor and pedal assist, riders can save on cost by reducing the amount of energy expended. Overall, the benefits of riding an electric Trek bike are enormous and can help individuals reach their health, environmental, and transportation goals.

Final Words

To sum up, converting your Trek bike to electric is entirely possible with the availability of various conversion kits. However, it is important to keep in mind the cost and your cycling needs before deciding to undertake this project. If you have an older or damaged bike that you no longer use, conversion can be a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to buying a new electric bike.

In the end, converting your Trek bike to electric requires a bit of research and patience but can offer a great riding experience. With the many benefits such as cost, eco-friendliness, and the ability to customize your own e-bike, it is no wonder that more and more people are considering this option. So if you’re willing to take on the challenge, go ahead and electrify your Trek bike!

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The best electric bike conversion kits 2024 and how to fit them

With one of the best electric bike conversion kits you can add power to your own bike at a fraction of the cost of a full machine

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Best electric bike conversion kits: Swytch Max battery on a handlebar

The Quick List

  • 1. Easiest to fit
  • 2. Best mid-drive
  • 3. Most affordable
  • 4. Best for off-road
  • 5. Best for compatibility
  • 6. Best value front hub
  • Ebike conversion: how to
  • Why convert your bike?

How we test

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular amongst cyclists. Why? The best electric bikes increase the distances possible with commuter bikes and replace a car for running errands around town. It doesn't stop there. There are now electric bike options for every type of rider , regardless of whether you're a mountain biker or just a casual road bike enthusiast. Of course, e-bikes aren't cheap and is an e-bike worth it ? Enter the e-bike conversion kit. Put simply, e-bike conversion kits add the electric boost to an 'analogue' bike without the price tag of a full e-bike.   You'll need to consider a few factors before buying an e-bike conversion kit. Obviously, the kit will need to fit the dimensions of your forks, the width of the rear stays and wheel sizes and the type of brakes you have. You’ll also want to consider where the motor will be located. Front hub motors are typically the easiest to fit, while mid-drive motors require more effort.  Other considerations include the type of battery and the wattage rating - 36 or 48 volt battery is standard, with wattage usually running from 300 to 600 watts. But fear's far more simple than it sounds. We'll guide you through the benefits an e-bike conversion kit has to offer and—crucially—how to perform an e-bike conversion. For a walk-through on how to do it, you can check out the video above or read on for a step-by-step guide. 

Naturally, you’ll also need to consider the cost, and how much you chose to spend on an e-bike conversion kit will be dictated by not only your budget but also your needs. If you’re unsure of just how much you’ll use the converted bike then it’s prudent to opt for a cheaper kit—you can always upgrade down the road. 

Swytch e-bike conversion kit

Easiest to fit

The Swytch kit is super simple: just swap out your front wheel, wire up the controller and battery and you're off. The battery is also very compact, allowing you to remove it from the bike easily to carry with you.

Read more below

TongSheng electric bike conversion kit

Best mid-drive for weight

The TongSheng kit positions the motor at the centre of the bike, so it will fit to a wide range of designs. It's lightweight for its high torque and power output, although you'll need to buy the battery separately.

Voilamart rear wheel electric conversion kit

Most affordable

The Voilamart kit is an inexpensive rear wheel conversion option, although you'll have to source a battery separately. It's slightly fiddly to fit as well and requires additional waterproofing if you plan to ride in wet weather.

The Best Electric Conversion Kits 2024: Our picks

Swytch Max Air Kit ebike conversion kit fitted on a bike

The Swytch e-bike conversion kit is compact, light and easy to fit

1. Swytch eBike Conversion Kit

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

The newly updated Swytch system is one of the simplest conversion kits to fit out there. The latest version, launched in August 2022, has a smaller, neater battery pack that improves the bike's dynamics and lowers its weight. There's the choice of the Air battery (700g, range 15km) or the Max battery (1,100g, range 30km). Both use the same mount, which places the battery on the front of the handlebar.

The motor sits in the front hub and we found it to be pretty discreet. Incidentally, the new batteries will work with the original motor and pedal sensor, so if you already own the original kit you can upgrade it with just a new battery without having to buy the whole kit again.

The Swytch kit is incredibly easy to fit. It took us around 30 minutes working at a steady pace.

We tested it on both a reasonably light two-speed steel bike and a heavier Pinnacle utility bike. It transformed the ride of the two-speed bike, making it fast, nimble and responsive. We also found the stated range to be conservative: after 20 miles on setting number two (medium assist) it had only used two bars out of five on the battery.

With the heavier Pinnacle on maximum assist (and on draggy routes) we were getting slightly under the 30km for the Max battery. As with all e-bike batteries, range depends on the terrain, weight of bike and level of assistance.

Great customer support makes this one of the best kits for people who are new to working on their bike and who aren't familiar with electrics. And even if you do have a strong background in both those areas, a simple system is always appreciated.

Read more: Swytch eBike Conversion Kit full review

Tongsheng TSDZ2 Mid Drive e-bike conversion kit fitted on a bike

You can choose your own battery to go with the TongSheng mid-drive motor

2. TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid Drive Motor

Like the Bafang mid-drive system below, the TongSheng offers the same benefits of compatibility with a wide range of bike designs and a high torque for steep hills and off-road terrain. However, the TongSheng mid-drive does manage to be a little lighter than the Bafang for approximately the same power. 

This model doesn't come with a battery, so you'll have to source your own 36v item. As a rule of thumb, around 10Ah will give a range of 29km / 18mi, whereas going up to 18Ah will typically give around 53km / 33mi, so be sure to factor that in when you're making your choice. 

There's a huge range of batteries sold on Amazon, but Green Cell is a particular brand we'd recommend.

We found fitting to be reasonably easy. As with most mid-drive systems, you replace your crank and chainring with the one provided in the kit. There's an LCD display for attaching to your handlebars and you'll need a battery to be hooked up to the motor.

Read more: TongSheng TSDZ2 ebike conversion kit full review

Most affordable rear hub

Image shows rear wheel ebike kit fitted to a bike

A rear wheel swap adds a hub motor with the Voilamart kit

3. Voilamart 48V rear wheel kit

We've also tested the Voilamart kit, which comes with six main parts: the replacement rear wheel, the replacement brake levers, the control screen, pedal sensor, throttle and the control box. It doesn't come with a battery, however.

On review, we found the kit pretty straightforward to fit, although you'll need to remove the bike's crank to fit the pedal sensor and this element of the conversion was a bit fiddly. Another potential drawback is that the connectors, which link to the control unit, aren't waterproof, with only a bag supplied to house the delicate electronics. While it does a good job of keeping everything tidy, we decided to buy a plastic enclosure, cut the wires to length, solder the connections and then heat shrink for added protection.

As for the ride, the rear wheel kit delivers plenty of power. However, since the pedal sensor only detects when you're pedalling rather than how hard you're pedalling it delivers the power as soon as you start to turn the crank arms. Fortunately, you can quickly adjust the level assistance, with five power options available.

All in all the Voliamart rear wheel kit is an affordable way to 'go electric', although it requires you to be mechanically competent to fit it and you'll need to factor in the additional cost of a battery.

Read more: Voilamart e-bike conversion kit review

Best for off-road

Bafang mid drive which is one of the best electric bike conversion kits

The Bafang motor provides 80Nm torque

4. Bafang Mid Motor Kit

A mid-motor drive system offers a number of benefits over hub-driven conversion kits. With the power delivered at the cranks, it can produce more torque, making it more effective on particularly steep and bumpy terrain. 

Another perk is that the compatibility is much greater – no concern about wheel diameters , hub widths, axle standards and brake type . No matter whether you're running rim brakes or disc, quick release or thru-axle, the crank-driven system is compatible with all.

The only proviso is that the frame material must be alloy and the bottom bracket width is 68–73mm – but that covers most bikes you're likely to be fitting this system to.

There are a few aspects to be aware of, the first being that this system doesn't include a battery and that typically makes up about half the cost of a conversion kit. Finding an e-bike battery is quite straightforward with many being sold on Amazon, with Green Cell being among those we'd recommend.

Just make sure to get a 36V one for this motor as a higher voltage can damage it. Also, you should be aware that capacity of 10Ah will give you a range of about 29km / 18mi, while a capacity of 18Ah typically gives about 53km / 33mi – so be sure to factor in the distances you're planning on riding. 

Best for compatibility

Rubbee X Wireless Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit which is one of the best electric bike conversion kits

The Rubbee X is quick to fit

5. Rubbee X Wireless Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit

This radically different approach from Rubbee makes for an e-bike conversion with far fewer parts. The battery and motor are housed in a single unit which powers the bike directly turning the rear wheel with its integrated roller.

Not only is the initial installation notably fast and easy, the quick-release system means that you can take off the unit for rides that you don't wish to be assisted on. At 2.8kg, it doesn't add much weight to that of the bike, making the bike easier to handle.

The range of this model is quite low, limited to Eco mode it only offers a range of 16km / 10mi – although taking the device off to charge at the other end is easy to do and it only takes an hour to top up. There is the option to increase your range by buying additional battery modules that fit into the base unit. 

Up to three can be accommodated, which in turn increases the maximum range to 48km / 30mi, or around 23km / 14mi with moderately heavy use. However, unlike many other e-bike systems, the Rubbee X supports regenerative braking, allowing you to scrub back some power on the descents.

Best value front hub

Bafang front hub motor kit which is one of the best electric bike conversion kits

The Bafang front hub motor makes for quick set-up

6. Bafang front hub motor kit

Bafang is a well-established maker of electric bike motors and offers a front hub-based motor; if you’re not a fan of the bulky profile a mid-motor conversion system creates. You can buy this kit without a battery – although why would you? – but if you sensibly also opt for a power pack there's a choice of amp hours, and you can select either a downtube or a rear-rack mounted version. 

The setup follows the same principles as most front-wheel e-bike conversions. First you need to set up the wheel with a disc rotor , tyre and inner tube and install that into the bike. Then attach the cadence sensor – so it can tell when you're pedalling and need assistance – then attach the battery and the LCD display and you're essentially good to go!

It's worth bearing in mind that although this conversion kit comes in many different wheel sizes, it is only compatible with bikes that have a front disc brake and a Quick-Release axle. If your disc brake bike is a newer, more expensive model, it might not be compatible, so worth checking first.

Remember, that in the UK electric bike laws mean that e-bikes are not permitted to have a power output of more than 250w and shouldn't propel the bike when it's travelling more than 15.5mph – you'll have to make sure you select the right model with the relevant limitations.

How to convert your bike to an e-bike in four steps

Here's our step-by-step guide to how to add an electric bike conversion kit to your pedal-powered bike.

1. Swap the tyre and tube

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Remove the tire and tube

First remove your tire and tube

Firstly, remove the tyre and tube from your current front wheel and then install them on the new wheel from the kit. Make sure to check if the tyre is directional, if it is, ensure that the tyre is mounted so that the cable sticking out of the hub is on the left-hand side (non-drive side) when the wheel is installed in the bike – otherwise, it’ll be powered in the opposite direction to your direction of travel!

To swap the tyre and tube over, you will need some tyre levers and a pump. 

The final points are to do up the nuts on the wheel’s axle to keep it firmly in place in the forks and to check that the brakes are correctly adjusted for the new wheel.

2. Attach the bracket to the handlebars

Attach the bracket to the handlebars

Next attach the bracket to the handlebars

There is a strap that needs to be attached to the bars to keep the bracket in place and stop it from rotating around. There are also some adaptors included in the kit which can be used if your handlebars are a little skinnier. 

But essentially all that’s needed to be done here is a couple of screws to clamp the bracket tightly to the bars.

3. Attach magnet disc and sensor

Attach magnet disc and sensor

Attach the pedal sensor unit to the bike

The magnet disc has a split design so it can just clip around the inside of the left (non-drive side crank) and is then held in place by its retention ring. Next, stick the sensor on the frame directly in line with the magnets – this will ensure that the sensor can tell when the cranks are moving.

4. Plug in the cables

Plug in the cables

Finally wire everything up

The thickest one is the main power cable and that just needs to be plugged into the cable extending from the hub. The other orange cable attaches to the cadence sensor and this just needs plugging in as well.

It’s then a good idea to use some cable ties to tidy up the lengths of the cables a little bit, so they aren’t flapping about and risk getting caught on the spokes or on the cranks.

The blue cables, you don’t need to worry about, these are for an optional brake sensor upgrade kit.

Why convert your bike to an e-bike?

What types of conversion kit are available.

You can get conversion kits that power your front or rear wheel or power the bikes via the cranks.

Wheel-based systems usually have a hub motor and require the replacement of your existing wheel with a compatible motorised one. 

The alternative is a system like the Rubbee that drives your wheel by pushing on the tyre. Tyre wear can be an issue here though.

Finally, some systems power the e-bike via the bottom bracket. 

Usually, the e-bike's battery will bolt onto your frame or be attached to your handlebars, although sometimes you can fit a battery pack to a rear rack. 

We've more on compatibility - which can be an issue - below.

How much does it cost to convert a bike to an e-bike?

Prices vary depending on the type of conversion kit and the size of the battery. To give a rough band, you can expect to pay a total of between £500 and £800 from a reputable brand, but there will be outliers at either end.

Is it worth converting a bike to an e-bike?

There are many reasons to upgrade your bike to offer a little e-assistance. On the one hand, it can greatly increase the usefulness of your bike, enabling you to replace short car journeys – such as around town, to the shops, or to work – with going by bike instead.

It’s a lot more environmentally friendly getting about on two wheels than in a two-ton metal box. It can also save you time – bikes can take more direct routes and are less affected by traffic, as well as eliminating the need to search for a parking space at the other end.

But beyond just their practical benefits, e-bikes can also be a potent tool for boosting your fitness. Consistency is key when it comes to exercise, so making commitments with friends is a great way to ensure you’re heading out the door. Previously, differing fitness levels could make it difficult to find a riding partner but with an e-bike levelling the playing field, getting in a productive workout (for both of you) with a friend is much easier to do.

Added to that, an e-bike can be much more motivating in that it opens up a far greater range of roads than you’d be able to access just under the power of your own two legs. Exploring new roads is part of the fun of riding a bike and an e-bike can help preserve that.

Can you convert any regular bike to an e-bike?

Most bikes can be converted to an e-bike – it just requires getting the matching the right conversion kit to match the specification.

For conversion kits where the motor is located at the wheel’s hub, you’ll need to consider the wheel’s diameter, the width and axle standard of the hub and whether it uses rim or disc brakes. For instance, a 700c (AKA, 28”) disc brake wheel with a 100mm wide quick-release hub is a relatively common spec. Once you’ve determined what type of wheel you need, the conversion is quite a straightforward process

Crank-driven systems are generally easier in terms of determining compatibility; the requirements are typically just an alloy frame and a bottom bracket width of between 68 and 73mm – which is the standard for all road and mountain bikes, it’s only specialist bikes that have a different spacing there. In replacing the crankset, these systems are a bit more involved to fit than a hub system, but still well within the remit of a home mechanic.

Other kits, such as those that directly drive the rear tyre, have almost universal compatibility – provided your tyres aren’t too heavily treaded.

Are electric bike conversion kits any good?

You won’t be getting the very best motors and the largest, seamlessly integrated batteries with an e-bike conversion kit. But with that said, e-bike conversion kits are much cheaper than purchasing a whole new e-bike and they do deliver many of the same benefits.

Converted e-bikes are great for commuting and utility cycling, giving that extra boost to help flatten hills, motor along the flat and lug about heavy loads. E-bike conversions are also good for leisure cycling, helping to moderate your effort level as needed and greatly extending the range you can explore.

For more specialist utility needs, buying a new cargo e-bike would help boost your carrying capacity and range. Equally, for the aesthetically conscious, the latest breed of e-road bikes are almost indistinguishable from a non-powered bike at first glance. Then again, both those options are much more expensive than a conversion.

Do e-bike conversion kits affect the bike's warranty or legal status?

Short answer: It depends. 

If you're buying a brand new bike, there's a possibility e-bike conversion kits will void the original manufacturer's warranty as you're technically 'modifying the bike's original components'. But chances are you'll be fine as long as you don't return your bike with the conversion kit on. It's very easy to remove a conversion kit and restore the bike to factory condition. 

As for legal status, this varies according to your local e-bike legislation. In the UK for example, you can ride an electric bike as long as you're 14 or over and the electric motor is within the maximum power and speed requirements. We'd definitely advise researching the e-bike laws in your area before purchasing a conversion kit. 

Where we've been able to link to a review, it means that we've put the e-bike conversion kit through its paces. We've assessed how easy it is to fit and maintain as well as other factors such as the quality of the components, battery life and charge time. Riding the bike once fitted with the kit, we've taken into account the ride quality, the ease of use and the battery range.

Where we haven't yet had the chance to review an item, we're still confident in recommending it as one of the best, because we either know the brand really well and have probably tested another product or the previous version and can still happily recommend it as one of the best.

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Rob has been Content Director of Cycling Weekly - and stablemates Bikeperfect, and MBR - since May 2021. Before that he spent two years in similar role at Bikeradar, which followed 12-years as Editor-in-chief of Cycling Plus magazine and eight years at Runner's World. In his time as a cycling journalist he's ridden from London to Paris at least twice, London to Bristol once, completed the Fred Whitton Challenge, L'Etape du Tour and Maratona dles Dolomites. He's also jumped into the broom-wagon at La Marmotte and Oetzaler Radmarathon.

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trek e bike conversion

The 6 Best E-Bike Conversion Kits of 2024

Here's how to add some oomph to your favorite two-wheeler.

Heidi Wachter was a senior editor at Experience Life magazine for 10 years. She has written for publications like Experience Life, Shondaland, and betterpet.

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Treehugger / Lecia Landis

E-bikes are easier on the environment than cars . They’re also easier to pedal than a standard person-powered two-wheeler. You get as much exercise riding an e-bike as you do a traditional bike. Thanks to improved technology and more people interested in alternative transit methods, e-bikes are also becoming more available—and more affordable.

But no electric bike is as cheap (or as green) as the bike you already own. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint , living in a small space, or practicing minimalism , using what you have on hand can be a win-win decision. So, if you love your current ride but want to add some juice for getting uphill or powering your cargo bike when carrying a heavy load, you can, thanks to electric bike converter kits. You will need a battery, sensors, controls, and a motorized wheel or a drive unit to electrify your bike—kits contain most or all of these components.

Here are the best options for upgrading your bike with an e-bike conversion kit.

Best Overall

Bafang ebike conversion kit.

Since 2003, Bafang has been a leader in manufacturing e-mobility components and complete e-drive systems. Its products offer outstanding performance and reliability, and the BBS02B conversion kit is no exception, making it our top overall choice.

This mid-drive motor kit is versatile and compatible with road, commuter, and mountain bicycles. All you need is a bike with a 68-73 millimeter bottom bracket and the battery of your choice. Installation is relatively easy, and the battery is included. Once the kit is installed, you’ll be ready to tackle any hill.

Although several different conversion kits are available online from Bafang, those with more than 750 watts of power will be considered motorcycles in the United States.

Best Budget

Bafang 48v 500w electric bicycle conversion kits.

This front-wheel E-bike conversion kit is easy to set up and easy on your wallet. Electrify your bike in one hour by following the installation video and manual. Don’t forget to choose the correct wheel size!

After setup is complete, ride around the town with pedal assist or switch to e-bike mode for longer trips. Commuters, long-distance trekkers, and mountain bikers can cruise up to 24 miles per hour. The battery is not included.

Best for Commuting

Swytch universal ebike conversion kit.

Swytch BIKE

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 34.2-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.

"In general, I love it. It makes my ride easier without feeling like I’m riding a giant bulky e-bike. It’s got a phenomenal amount of power for such a little machine and seems like it has a good battery life too." ~ Treehugger Tester

Best Premium

Ebikeling waterproof direct drive rear ebike conversion kit.

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 different compatible batteries and other accessories in an à la carte way. There are seven different batteries that come in different shapes (bottle, triangle, rectangular) so that you can pick the one that suits your bike and needs best.

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 and a thumb or half-twist throttle.

Most Powerful

Aw electric bicycle motor kit.

Thanks to a 48-volt, 1000-watt battery, the AW wheel E-bike conversion kit satisfies anyone with the need for speed. A thumb throttle makes speed control simple. This kit is available as either a front-wheel or back-wheel conversion option. It fits any 26-inch bike frame with a 3.9-inch front dropout spacing (for a front wheel conversion) or 5.3-inch rear dropout spacing (for a back wheel conversion). The rear wheel kit weighs 24.7 pounds; the front wheel kit weighs 23.5 pounds.

The aluminum frame offers durability and stability, essential when rolling at top speeds of 28 miles per hour. Hand brakes turn the motor off automatically to both improve safety and conserve battery power.

Easiest to Install

Rubbee x conversion kit.

If you want the fastest conversion possible and even the option to take a motor off your bike quickly, the Rubbee X makes it a snap. The Rubbee X gives you a boost by resting against the rear tire and has a special release that lets you remove the motor without un-mounting the entire system. You control the power just by pedaling, as a wireless cadence sensor that gets mounted to the pedal crank sends information to the motor, which shifts automatically without any additional user interface. 

This conversion kit has some other nice features. It has tail lights on the back of the motor to give you some additional visibility when riding at night. The base model comes with one battery, which weighs 6.1 pounds, gives you 250 watts of power, and has a top speed of 16 mph. Upgraded models have two or three additional batteries, each offering more speed and power but also adding more weight. It’s compatible with any frame type and with tires that are between 0.5 and 2.5 inches in width and between 16 and 29 inches in diameter. 

There are a few things to keep in mind before you buy. First, the product ships from the European Union, so an additional import tax may exist. Second, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of room on your seat post to connect the motor.

Whenever you’re buying a newer technology, sticking with a known brand makes sense. That makes Bafang’s E-bike conversion kits a sound choice—in terms of quality and price. If speed is what you’re after, the kits from Ebikeling .

What to Consider When Shopping for an E-Bike Conversion Kit

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.

Drive Type and Installation

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 sometimes 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.

The difficulty of installation depends of the type of conversion kit, as well as your comfort with the tools required. But generally speaking, converting your bike is a DIY project. Many manufacturers offer how-to videos that show what’s involved, so you can see ahead of time what you’ll need to do. 

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.

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.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger has reported on dozens of e-bikes and e-bike conversion options over the past decade. To make this list, we deeply researched the market by reading other third-party reviews, user comments, and enthusiasts blogs. We also considered the product’s value and the manufacturer’s reputation.

Author Heidi Wachter has been writing about travel and adventure for over a decade. When she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her riding one of her six bicycles—even in the winter.

Philips, Ian, et al. " E-Bike Carbon Savings - How Much and Where? " Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions.

Castro, Alberto, et al. " Physical Activity of Electric Bicycle Uses Compared to Conventional Bicycle Users and Non-Cyclists: Insights Based on Health and Transport Data From an Online Survey in Seven European Cities ." Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives , vol. 1, 2019, pp. 100017., doi:10.1016/j.trip.2019.100017

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Electric bike conversion kits 2024: Add a motor to your bike

Upgrade your bike with our comprehensive guide to electric bike conversion kits and how to use them

  • The list in brief
  • Best overall
  • Best budget
  • Easiest installation
  • Best for blending in
  • Best for configuration
  • Best for dealer support
  • Most natural ride feel

Types of e-bike conversion kits

  • How to choose

The battery from a Swytch kit, one of the best ebike conversion kits we've tested, fitted to the handlebars of a black hybrid bike

The list in brief 1. Best overall 2. Best budget option 3. Best for easy installation 4. Best for blending in 5. Best for custom configuration 6. Best for bike shop support 7. Best for natural ride feel 8. Types of e-bike conversion kit How to choose

Why pay for a brand new e-bike when electric bike conversion kits can easily give a boost to the bike you already have?  E-bikes have enabled people who need or want some pedal assistance to broaden the range and scope of their riding while making it easier than ever to choose sustainable and greener transport methods. 

Whatever your reason for wanting pedal assistance – whether it makes cycling more accessible to you and your family, or you think you'll have more fun with that boost  –  the e-bike market is vast and often requires a large upfront cost. So if you're struggling to find an e-bike that suits you, and already have a bike at home that's suitable for conversion, then you might consider an electric bike conversion kit instead.

Whichever option you go for, there's no denying that the best electric bikes make it easier for riders to explore and experience different terrains and riding environments. Plus they offer a cheaper and greener form of transport to get you from A to B at a higher pace for less effort than a conventional bike, which is especially beneficial for those who are commuting or using them for work. The best electric bikes for commuting can make for a speedier and altogether less sweaty cycle to work, not to mention the money saved when compared to soaring fuel or rail fare prices. 

But what if you're not sure about which option to go for? If you're weighing up an e-bike vs an e-bike conversion kit , consider whether you already have a bike that you love riding. Converting it means you can continue enjoying the same ride quality while introducing you to a new world of electrically-assisted fun. 

To make all these decisions easier for you, we've outlined in our buyer's guide lower down this page the key things to consider when fitting an electric conversion kit to your own bike, including the various motor and battery options available. We've tested as many as possible in real-world riding conditions, assessing how easy they are to fit, and what kind of electric assistance they provide. 

So here are our findings, and our roundup of the best electric bike conversion kits you can buy right now.

Best e-bike conversion kits: Quick list

Cytronex C1 conversion kit fitted to a Cannondale bike

Well-thought-out design, engineering and easy installation with a couple of Allen wrenches. Intuitive operation, app-based diagnostics and great UK-based customer support. Smooth ride quality and easy mode choice too!

Read more below

The Bafang front hub conversion kit parts on a white background

A simpler alternative to mid-drive setups. Customizable specs for wheels, displays, and battery sizes. Powerful motor and high-quality construction. Installation is more complex, but it's excellent value.

The Rubbee X ebike conversion kit mounted to a bike

Effortless installation; it simply attaches to the seatpost. The 250-watt motor propels a roller that moves the rear tyre, and assistance adjusts based on your pedalling. Three models offer three battery options, and an app tailors assistance modes.

Swytch ebike conversion kit parts on a white background

Easy conversion by replacing the front wheel with a motorised one. Includes a convenient handlebar-mounted battery, and an LCD display in place of buttons, which makes it easier to see your battery level and more. 

Bafang mid-drive ebike conversion kit parts on a white background

Comprehensive mid-drive conversion kit suitable for bikes with a bottom bracket size between 68 and 73mm. Customization options for front chainring size, battery size, and display preferences.

Pendix mid-drive ebike conversion kit parts on a white background

E-bike conversion kits can be complex to install, so Pendix works with a dealer network for sales, installation and support, ensuring correct installation and peace of mind, albeit with an additional cost.

Best electric bike conversion kits available now

You can trust Cyclingnews Our experts spend countless hours testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Recent updates

The electric bike conversion kit market is quite dynamic, with brands entering and exiting it regularly. All the options listed below are from established brands though, and we've checked the continued availability of these electric bike conversion kits as of April 2024 and updated this guide accordingly.

Best e-bike conversion kit overall

The bottle-shaped Cytronex e-bike conversion kit fitted to the top tube of a Brompton, leaning against a brick wall

1. Cytronex

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

The first on our list is one which really impressed us. The Cytronex electric bike conversion kit is extremely well thought-out, with great specs and top-notch engineering. You only need Allen keys to install it, it comes with an accompanying app to offer up basic diagnostics, and once it's set up it's a breeze to operate.

When purchasing, you'll go through a thorough process, which can feel a bit over-complicated, but in doing so it means the actual conversion is a straightforward one. We tested out the Cytronex on a Brompton T-Line and found it delivered smooth and intuitive power. Plus, our hands-on time with it leads us to believe it's strong and durable enough to use for commuting.

While it's pricier than some of the options listed below, one thing to consider is that it comes from a UK-based company that offers comprehensive customer support. You can pay less for a Bafang kit on Amazon, but buying direct from a company that can support you if anything goes wrong, makes it a smarter choice in our view.

For an in-depth look, check out our Cytronex review.

Best budget option

Bafang front wheel conversion kit fitted to a hybrid bike, with a chunky battery on the rear rack, leaning against a wire mesh fence

2. Bafang Front Hub Motor

If you're on a tighter budget than the Cytronex or Swytch allow for, then as we mentioned above, getting a kit from Chinese manufacturer Bafang may be a better option. Plus, if you like the idea of an electric bike conversion kit but just don't want to have to deal with the added complexity of a mid-drive setup, then the Bafang Front Hub kit makes things much easier. 

Like the mid-drive system listed below, the Bafang Front Hub Motor kit covers everything required and gives tons of spec choices. We started by choosing our wheel size and display preference, then added the battery size and shape we wanted. 

We did find it more of a time investment, given the installation process was more complex than the Cytronex, Swytch and Rubbee, but this did allow us to achieve a powerful, high-quality set-up.  

To find out more about how we got on, read our Bafang Front Hub Motor review.

Best for easy installation

Rubbee X electric bike conversion kit pictured on road surface

3. Rubbee X

There are a number of simple install options on this list but the Rubbee X takes it a step further. We were really impressed with how easy it was to attach the mount to the bike's seat post and then click the unit into the mount. There's no need to change the wheel as with the Swytch system. Here the motor sits on top of the rear tyre and a roller pushes it around from above. There's also a wireless cadence sensor, as this is a cadence-based system that adjusts based on pedalling cadence, rather than torque. 

There is a slick-looking 250-watt motor with a single battery in the base kit. If the 10-mile range of the base unit feels a little constricting, another battery can be added to double the range, or a three-battery model adds both extra range and another 100 watts of power. Rubbee also has a handy phone app that can be used to change assistance modes. 

We've spent some time testing it out, so why not check out our Rubbee X e-bike conversion kit review for more details.

Blend in - it just looks like a normal bike

A flat bar mixte bike leaning on a kickstand in an urban area, with the Swytch conversion kit fitted to the front of the bars

One of the easiest ways to convert a bike to electric is to swap out the front wheel for one with a front hub motor. This is the approach that Swytch takes, but there's more to a good system than just a motor and battery. From our time testing and reviewing it, it's clear to us that the team behind Swytch has considered the whole system in its design. 

The battery mounts to the handlebars and we found that a really useful detail. It is easy to disconnect and take it away for storage, so it doesn't get stolen when you are out and about, or to lighten the bike when, for example, it needs to be carried up a flight of stairs. 

The 2022 Swytch system, which we tested, makes use of a neat handlebar-mounted LCD display instead of the buttons on the battery it had before. There's also a cadence sensor that attaches to your bike. It's a well-thought-out system that looks and feels great. 

To read all about how it works, and find out why we gave it four stars, take a look at our Swytch review.

Easy and plentiful configuration

Bafang BBS02B mid-drive motor kit on a plain background

5. Bafang Mid-Drive Motor Kit and Battery

Bafang is one of the largest and best-known electric bike motor companies in the world. It's been around since 2003, and in 2014 Bafang established a US arm to better support the US market. There are many well-known electric bike companies sourcing its components, so if you want to get in the game and source your own electric bike components, you won't go far wrong with Bafang.

This particular option covers everything you need for a mid-drive motor conversion kit. As long as the bike you are starting with has a bottom bracket sized between 68 and 73mm, this kit will work. From there you can choose the front chainring size, the battery size, and what display works for you.

If you're not sure whether or not a mid-drive motor conversion is what you need (or what other drive options there are), head down to our FAQs at the bottom of this article for an explanation of all the possibilities you can choose from.

Best for bike shop support

Pendix eDrive 300 electric bike conversion kit on a plain background

6. Pendix eDrive 300

If you like the idea of a mid-drive system and you want it to have torque-sensing pedal assist then you've got a few choices. The challenge with a system like that is complexity. For some people, it's no big deal to take apart a bottom bracket, but for others, it's a slightly more intimidating prospect. 

The Pendix system does the same thing as other kits but there is a dealer network that handles sales, support, and installation. This comes with an extra cost attached, but the benefit is that you can feel comfortable that the system is correctly installed and ready to ride.

Best for natural ride feel

Tongsheng mid-drive e-bike conversion kit with battery and interface on a plain background

7. TongSheng Mid-Drive Kit with Battery

The most natural-feeling electric bike conversion kits are going to be those with a mid-mounted motor. If that works for you and you also like the idea of doing some pedalling, then the very best is a mid-mounted motor paired with a torque sensor. 

Instead of the system knowing you are pedalling and adding power, such as the Rubbee X cadence-based system above, a torque-based system adds a percentage of the power you are putting into your pedalling. The Max torque available on this TongSheng system is 80Nm but depending on your chosen assist level, that 80Nm will add between 36 and 300 per cent to your pedalling power. 

To keep it simple, think about it as an amplifier. If you pedal harder you go faster, just like a normal bike, but now your muscles have extra support, so you can go further with less effort.

Friction drive conversion

A friction drive e-bike conversion means there is a roller that pushes against the wheel's tyre. So when the roller turns, the wheel turns. It's not the most efficient strategy, but it's simple and it works. There is very little involved with regard to making it work but, at the end of the day, it doesn't work as well as other systems out there. The Rubbee X is an example of a friction drive conversion kit system.

Mid-drive conversion

The best electric bikes tend to be mid-drive because this delivers the most natural ride feel, and the same is true of conversion kits. The weight sits low in the frame and the power gets applied to the crank for a more natural power delivery sensation. The only downside is pricing and packaging, plus it can be complex to set up yourself. Different standards make it challenging to figure out exactly what you need, as well. The Bafang Mid Drive Motor Kit is an example of this.

Electric bike wheel conversion

Swapping either a front or rear wheel for one with a hub-mounted motor is a good balance. The conversion process is very simple and, depending on how the battery mounts, the weight distribution can be quite good. Powering the wheel does change the way the power delivery feels, and making the front wheel heavy can affect the handling of the bike. If mid-drive seems overwhelming, this is an excellent option. Cytronex and Swytch are examples of this.

How to choose the best electric bike conversion kit for you

If you're interested in fitting an electric bike conversion kit to one of your own bikes, you should consider your own personal requirements first and do plenty of research. You're in the right place, as this guide will help you with a lot of that. 

Before anything, familiarise yourself with the laws regarding e-bikes in your region. Then you may want to choose a conversion kit based on your range and journey needs. If you live in a hilly city, for example, you may want something with a little more top-end power. Lastly, check whether or not the system is compatible with the bike you plan to fit it onto. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, think about getting a quote for installation from a reputable bike shop.  

Do all electric bike conversion kits come with a battery?

The short answer is 'not always'. You need a battery, of course, so when browsing online, make sure the kit you select has one included. Since not all kits include a battery, you might find yourself browsing through options and landing on something at an unbelievable price. If that's the case, double check it's got the battery included. 

If not, then it is possible to source the battery yourself, but be sure about what you are getting. The battery voltage and output need to match the motor. It's really important to make sure that your charger is compatible too;    charger incompatibility is cited as a cause of many fires caused by electric bikes.

What is the range of an e-bike conversion?

It depends, and that's why we've not quoted it for each kit listed above. Instead, we've included the battery size and motor power, to help you get a fair gauge of how one compares to the next. 

To help you understand why that's relevant, a quick basic formula: A 100Wh (Watt-Hour) battery will last for one hour when the motor is putting out 100 watts of power. 

Different products come with different battery sizes and various motor powers, but as an example, if your e-bike conversion kit has a 250-watt motor, and it has a 500Wh battery, it will last for two hours at full power. 

To then convert that into a distance (to be able to quote a range) is even more confusing. Riding uphill will use more power but be slower than riding downhill, so you'll cover different distances for the power output depending on where you live and the terrain you'll cover. What's more, one person may use full power sparingly, whereas another will use it everywhere.

And finally, if it's cold, batteries perform worse than if it's warm, so will drain more quickly in winter than in summer. 

With all that said, in our experience, a 200Wh battery paired with a 250w motor will get you around 25-30km when used on mixed terrain with a mixed use of power outputs. 

Some battery options will have much larger capacity than this though. Long-range electric bike conversion kits might give you around three times this range, although the battery will be larger and heavier and cost significantly more. 

How fast do electric bikes go?

This is hard to answer specifically as electric bikes are, on the whole, designed to assist pedalling rather than replace it, and it is the same with electric bike conversion kits. The measurement of the power of the motors is in wattage and, in effect, the higher the wattage of the motor, the faster speeds it will be capable of achieving. 

However, the speed is often limited as a result of country-specific regulations. In the UK, the assistance an e-bike can legally provide is up to 25kph (15.5mph) and, after that point, the bike can go faster but without any assistance from the motor. Anything faster would not meet the UK's electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPC) criteria , would be classed as a moped or motorcycle, and need to be licensed and taxed appropriately. The same is true in the EU.

The laws are different depending on the country, with the United States, for example, allowing more powerful motors for some e-bike classes – although individual states have their own legal frameworks.   

Which bike is best for electric conversion?

You should consider the condition and componentry of your old bike. With an electric motor dramatically increasing the torque, using a low-quality or worn drivetrain will result in poor performance, with shifting being affected and the chain skipping or even snapping. 

Another important consideration is the brakes. Adding the extra weight of an electric bike conversion kit and increasing potential speeds will put more stress on the brakes as they try to curtail momentum. We recommend choosing to convert a bike that has disc brakes as they will provide far better braking performance.

I haven't heard of a lot of these brands, are they safe to use?

In the world of electric bikes, there are a lot of brands you may not have ever heard of. There's been a boom going on for a while, so new brands are popping up all the time. Not only that but Europe, and especially the US, are playing catch-up to the trend of electric bikes. You will probably stumble across a lot of unfamiliar brand names. 

Consumers have a tendency to look away when they encounter a new brand. It's not a bad strategy most of the time but in the electric bike world, including conversion kits, you've got to be more open than that. If you aren't open to names you've never heard of you will find the options limited. A lot of the names you may come across will be unfamiliar to you but have a solid history behind them.

That doesn't mean you should go forward blindly. Do your research and be careful with your money, like always. The only thing that might be different is the need to be open to new companies. At the very least be willing to look a little deeper, read reviews, and do some research. The brand you've never heard of might actually be a well-established brand from a different part of the world. 

Is converting my bike to an electric bike worth it?

There are plenty of reasons to install an electric bike conversion kit to your current bike, but the question of whether it's worth doing is going to depend on your circumstances. 

For many kits, once the installation has been completed, it will be an arduous task to remove it again, so one of the questions you'll need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to retain the ability to use the bike as a 'normal' bike. If you expect to be flitting between powered and non-powered then a kit that can simply be folded out of the way – like the Rubbee X – might be perfect, but you might instead prefer to simply buy a second bike for the convenience. 

The second question is to assess the state of your current bike. If you don't yet have one, then the cost of buying a bike, buying an electric bike conversion kit and then fitting it, is probably not going to be worth the time, effort, or money involved. However, if you have a bike that is in reasonable repair, then the value for money – and effort – will be greater. 

Beyond the financial and practical element, the question of 'is it worth it' will also depend on the amount of use you get out of it. E-bikes can be incredibly motivating and enjoyable and if converting your standard bike to electric helps you to ditch the car on a regular basis, then the answer becomes clear. 

If you want a monetary answer to this question, then there are ways to work out whether the investment is worth it. Take a moment to think about your current car usage and work out the cost per day/mile, including fuel, parking and running costs. Try to work out how many journeys, days or miles you will use the bike for after it is converted. Once you know this, you should be able to work out the reduction in car running costs per mile/day and, with that, you should be able to work out how many miles/days it will take for the electric bike conversion kit to pay for itself. 

Should I just buy an electric bike instead?

Remember to consider all your options. You have a bike in the shed you haven't touched for many years and it seems like a perfect candidate for conversion to an electric bike. It might be, but it's also just as possible that it's a better candidate for a sale. Sometimes it's better to take the money from that sale and put it towards an electric bike someone else built. 

As with anything, consideration of the end-use during design and build can have advantages. A quality electric bike conversion kit might end up being very close to the price of a complete electric bike. If a company starts with a clean slate and designs an electric bike, it's easier to keep costs low and integration high. Really consider why you are thinking about converting your bike and whether it makes sense compared to what's on the market. In some cases, it will but in others, it won't.

Are electric bike conversion kits legal?

The kits themselves are entirely legal, and fitting them to your bike is equally so. However, the question of legality arises in relation to where you then plan to use your newly powered electric bike. The answer will vary hugely, depending on where in the world you're based, and which kit you choose.

For example, in the US, there are different classes of e-bikes that vary by their power, speed limitations and whether or not they have a throttle, and each class is subject to different rules. Things are a little more simple elsewhere, with the UK and EU stating that anything with a speed limiter of over 25km/h is classified as a moped, while anything up to 25km/h (15.5mph) is classed as a bicycle. 

Before you complete any purchase, make sure you have an understanding of the local laws that govern electric bikes, which is where our guide to e-bike classes comes in handy.  

The best legal electric bike conversion kit will vary by where you are based. In the UK and EU, a motor has to have a continuously rated power output of no more than 250 watts, whereas in the US a more powerful electric bike motor can be used. There are also higher speed limits for assistance in the US and an electric bike conversion kit can include throttle control, whereas elsewhere it needs to be pedal actuated.

Which are the fastest electric bike conversion kits to install?

Sadly, there is no single and simple answer to this question. Each electric bike conversion kit works in a different way and therefore fits onto your bike in a different way too.

The most simple options, and thus the fastest electric bike conversion kits to install, are the friction-drive kits, such as the Rubbee X , which place a roller onto your rear tyre. In the example of the Rubbee, you simply need to mount the device onto your seat post, with the roller placed against the tyre.

However, more complex systems require the removal of drivetrain components and wheels, and the installation of wiring. These are far from impossible, but they may require some tools and a bit of patience.

In general, a kit which includes a replacement wheel is likely to be faster to install than one that sits in your bottom bracket, as removing your old wheel and fitting a new one is relatively straightforward. It's then a question of bolting the battery to your frame and cabling the two up, along with any extra control units and sensors included in the kit.

How much does an electric bike conversion kit cost?

Prices will depend very much on the conversion kit in question. Some are available for as little as £250 ($350), while the more high-spec and integrated kits can fetch as much as £750 ($900) or more. 

An e-bike conversion kit will add significantly to the value of your bike and, if it's easy to install, it's also easy to remove. It's worth considering insuring your e-bike conversion kit , just in case.

Will a bike shop fit my electric bike conversion kit?

It's understandable that you might not want to take on the arduous task of fitting your electric bike conversion kit yourself. You might not have the tools, the know-how, the confidence, or simply the time to invest. Luckily, almost all bike shops will be happy to fit it for you. 

Some systems, such as the Pendix kit listed above, are only sold via physical stores and the fitting is sold as part of the overall package. However, with kits bought online such as the Bafang kit, the shop will charge you for the time it takes, which will add to the cost of the overall conversion. In our opinion, knowing that it's been done correctly and safely is worth spending extra. 

Some bike shops or workshops may refuse to install a conversion kit to a bike they consider unfit for purpose or potentially unsafe. If you plan to have your local shop fit a kit it may be worth consulting with them on the job first to make sure they are happy to do it for you. 

How do we test the best electric bike conversion kits?

Like all of our buying guides, our advice is gained through countless hours of using products in the real world, often back to back against their peers to compare them, but ebike conversion kits have an additional need. 

If a conversion kit is too tough to install, it will cost you more as you seek the help of a professional. Therefore, with our testing, we also spend time fitting the kit to the bike in the first place, judging how long it takes and how intuitive it is. 

Once that's done, we do the real-world testing, judging the range, the ease of use and the durability of the product in question. 

Individuals carrying out the instructions in this guide do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement. There is a risk to safety if the operation described in the instructions is not carried out with the appropriate equipment, skill and diligence and therefore you may wish to consult a bike mechanic. Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future Publishing Limited, its suppliers or any of their employees, agents or subcontractors shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information, provided that nothing shall exclude or limit the liability of any party for personal injury or death caused by negligence or for anything else which cannot be excluded or limited by law.   

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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes. Height: 5'9" Weight: 140 lb. Rides: Salsa Warbird, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx

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Best Ebike Conversion Kits: The Ultimate Guide

May 07, 2024


Starting your eco-friendly journey doesn't have to mean buying a brand-new electric bike. For cycling enthusiasts and casual riders alike, e-bike conversion kits offer a smart, affordable alternative to purchasing a new e-bike. These kits transform your trusty bicycle into a pedal-assist powerhouse, helping you conquer hills, tackle longer commutes, and rediscover the joy of riding without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaways:

  • Converting your existing bicycle with an e-bike conversion kit offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to enhance your cycling experience.
  • The best kit for you depends heavily on individual needs, riding style, desired power, and your comfort level with the installation process.
  • Top e-bike conversion kit contenders often include BAFANG for powerful mid-drive options, Swytch for its universal, lightweight design, and Cytronex for its smooth, on-demand power boost.
  • Always prioritize safety by wearing a helmet, familiarizing yourself with e-bike laws in your area, and starting with gradual power assist.

Conversion kits are a cost-effective alternative to brand-new e-bikes and a great way to give your existing bike a new lease on life. This article explains everything you need to know before buying one.

Understanding E-Bike Conversion Kits

E-bike conversion kits are truly a game-changer when it comes to cycling. Think of them as a power upgrade for your existing bicycle. These kits contain all the necessary components to transform your regular bike into an electric-assist machine. Essentially, you're adding a motor, a battery, and a few extra bits to give your rides a welcome boost. 

Best ebike conversion kit

Let's break down the basics:

Types of Kits

There are three main categories of e-bike conversion kits. Each offers different advantages and works in slightly different ways:

  • Front-wheel kits: The front wheel of your bike is replaced with a wheel that has a built-in electric motor (within the hub). When activated, the motor spins the front wheel, essentially pulling you along. This is often the most affordable and easiest to install but it can affect steering and handling slightly. This might not be ideal for very hilly terrain.
  • Rear-wheel kits: Similar to the front-wheel kit, the motor is integrated into the rear wheel. This kit propels you from behind. It provides a more natural "pushing" sensation, better for tackling hills, but the installation can be a bit more complex than that of front-wheel kits.
  • Mid-drive kits: This type replaces your bike's bottom bracket (where the pedals and cranks connect) with a unit containing the motor. The motor directly assists your pedaling, working through your bike's existing gears. This kit offers the most seamless integration and natural riding feel, excellent for hilly areas. However, this is the most expensive and often the most complex to install.

Pros and Cons of E-Bike Conversion Kits

The heart of an e-bike conversion kit lies in its core components, working together to transform your regular bike into an electric-assist machine. Understanding these components will help you compare kits, make informed decisions about power and range, and ultimately get the most out of your e-bike experience.

The powerhouse of your e-bike, the motor provides the extra boost that makes cycling easier and potentially faster. Motor power is measured in watts (W), with typical options ranging from 250W for basic assistance to 1000W or more for serious hill-climbing and higher speeds. Torque, measured in Newton-meters (Nm), is another critical factor, helping you accelerate from a standstill and conquer those tough inclines.

The fuel for your motor, the battery in an e-bike conversion kit, is key to determining how far you can ride on a single charge.  Battery capacity  is measured in amp-hours (Ah) or watt-hours (Wh), with higher numbers translating to a longer range. However, range can vary widely depending on the power of your motor, the terrain you're riding on, your own weight, and the level of pedal assist you choose.

Think of the controller as the brains of your e-bike system. It works behind the scenes, controlling the flow of power between your battery and the motor and responding to your input from either the throttle or pedal-assist sensors.

The display is your dashboard, giving you real-time information about your ride. Depending on the kit, it might show your speed, battery level, the current pedal-assist mode, and sometimes even additional data like distance traveled or estimated range.

Throttle/Pedal Assist

This determines how you interact with your e-bike's power. A throttle system lets you engage the motor using  a twist grip or thumb lever throttle , perfect for those moments when you need a quick boost or want to take a break from pedaling. Pedal assist systems (PAS) sense your pedaling effort and respond automatically, making your natural pedal strokes feel amplified and easier. Many e-bike conversion kits offer both options, including an type of electric bike throttle , letting you choose how you want to ride . 


Not every bike is suitable for an e-bike conversion kit. When planning a conversion, you need to consider several key compatibility factors.

The type of bike matters: Most standard bikes can be converted, but mountain bikes, hybrids, and cruisers are especially good choices due to their sturdy frames designed for various terrains. However, road bikes with ultra-light frames are generally only suitable for smooth roads. Additionally, full-suspension mountain bikes are often difficult to convert because of their complex rear suspension systems.

Wheel size is crucial: Conversion kits typically accommodate common sizes like 26-inch, 27.5-inch, 28-inch, and 700c wheels. For detailed information on this wheel size, check out the 700C e-bike wheel guide . Kits for less common sizes may be harder to find. The perfect 700C wheels for e-bike conversion provide a balanced ride, suitable for both urban commuting and longer distance rides. The bike's frame is important: Steel and aluminum frames are preferred for their durability and strength. Carbon fiber frames are usually not recommended because they may not withstand the stress from a motor. It's important to check the dropouts (where the wheels attach), as stronger, thicker dropouts are better able to handle the motor's power.

Consider the brakes: Disc brakes, whether hydraulic or mechanical, are recommended for the additional stopping power required for an e-bike. If your bike has rim brakes, they may suffice, but consider upgrading the brake pads for better performance.

5 Best Ebike Conversion Kits of 2024

5 Best Ebike Conversion Kits of 2024

Choosing the right e-bike conversion kit is a big decision. To help you make the best choice, here are some of the top-rated kits on the market, considering factors like power, ease of installation, reliability, and value for money.  

1. BAFANG Mid-Drive Ebike Conversion Kits

BAFANG is a major player in the e-bike world, renowned for its robust and customizable conversion kits. They offer both mid-drive and hub motor options to suit different needs and preferences.

BAFANG kits stand out for their power, versatility, and compatibility. Their mid-drive systems, particularly the BBS02B and BBSHD, are popular choices for serious e-bikers who demand  hill-climbing power  and seamless integration with their bike's gears. Those seeking a smoother, more affordable entry point often find a great fit with BAFANG's reliable hub motor kits.  

Crucially, BAFANG kits boast wide compatibility. The BBS02B mid-drive kit specifically accommodates mountain bikes, road bikes, and many other frame styles, fitting a standard 68-73mm bottom bracket (with options for 100mm bottom brackets). The powerful motors, available in 750W and 1000W options with impressive torque, can propel riders up steep inclines and reach speeds exceeding 25 mph.

Installation, while potentially more complex for mid-drive systems, is aided by comprehensive instructions and helpful video guides. Riders enjoy the flexibility of three riding modes: pure electric, pedal-assist, and even traditional bicycle mode for those times when you want a pure workout.  BAFANG also shines with its customer support, including service centers in the US, UK, CA, and the EU. 

  • Wide range of power options
  • Excellent torque (especially with mid-drive kits)
  • Kits are often compatible with many different bike styles
  • Good aftermarket support and parts availability
  • Multiple riding modes for added versatility
  • Responsive customer support
  • Mid-drive kits can be more complex to install
  • Some BAFANG kits may require additional tools or knowledge for setup
  • May need to purchase additional components (like displays) separately

2. Cytronex C1 Ebike Conversion Kit

Cytronex delivers a unique and lightweight e-bike conversion solution with its Cytronex C1 Kit.  A core philosophy behind this kit is preserving the natural feel of your traditional bike. When the system is off, Cytronex claims the ride experience is completely unchanged, allowing you to use your own pedal power on easy terrain. 

However, when tackling hills or facing challenging conditions, the Cytronex C1 promises to provide a smooth, silent power boost at the touch of a button.

The Cytronex system stands out with its intuitive "Boost Button." A single press activates the e-assist motor, and holding the button allows you to cycle through different power levels—all customizable via the companion C1 App. This offers excellent control over the level of assistance you get to match the terrain and your own energy level. Additionally, the Boost Button can activate an optional high-powered LED light system for enhanced visibility.

  • Lightweight design minimizes impact on the bicycle's original feel
  • Highly customizable power levels
  • Seamless on/off operation for a natural cycling experience.
  • Versatile button control with optional lighting integration.
  • May require some technical understanding for setup.
  • Pricing might be higher than some competitors.
  • App-based adjustments might not be for everyone.

3. Swytch Universal Ebike Conversion Kit

Swytch aims to bring e-biking to the masses with its universal conversion kit  that promises to transform your beloved bicycle into an electric machine for a significantly lower cost than buying a new e-bike. One of Swytch's greatest strengths is its focus on simplicity and compatibility. Their kits boast an easy installation process and are designed to work on virtually any bike type, regardless of wheel size or brake style (rim or disc brakes).

Swytch sets itself apart with its remarkably compact and lightweight design. Both the motor and battery pack are surprisingly small, ensuring your converted bike retains a sleek, traditional aesthetic. The kits are designed to comply with road-legal speed limits and offer two range options (15km and 30km) to cater to different commute lengths and riding styles.

Features like the 250W geared hub motor ensure a smooth ride, whether you're using the power assist or relying entirely on your own pedal power. The sine-wave control system further enhances ride quality, delivering a quiet and seamless power delivery experience.

  • Extremely versatile with wide compatibility
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Straightforward installation
  • Multiple range options for flexibility
  • Smooth and quiet motor system
  • Range might be limited for longer commutes/trips
  • Some technical knowledge may still be helpful for installation

4. AW Ebike Conversion Kit

The AW Ebike Conversion Kit offers a powerful and budget-friendly option for transforming your regular bicycle into an electric powerhouse. With its 48V 1000W brushless hub motor, this kit promises a quiet ride and the ability to reach speeds of up to 27.95 mph. It's a good choice for both commuting and those seeking a boost on mountain bike trails.

This kit stands out for its durability. The aluminum alloy frame is designed to withstand heavy weight (up to 220 lbs), and the drive system reduces friction for smoother operation. Compatibility is another strength of the AW kit—it fits 26" frames and works with both disc and V brakes.

Installation may require some mechanical knowledge, but AW claims the process is generally straightforward. The inclusion of a thumb throttle with battery indicators is a plus, offering convenient speed control and helping prevent unexpected battery drain.

Safety and eco-friendliness are also key features. The hand brakes are designed to immediately cut power to the motor, while the battery-powered operation eliminates gas emissions. Additionally, the CE certification adds a layer of confidence in the kit's quality and safety.

  • Powerful motor with decent speed potential
  • Durable build
  • Compatible with various bike styles and brake types
  • Safety-focused features with brake cutoffs
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Installation might still require some mechanical skill
  • Limited information on battery range

5. Rubbee X Ebike Conversion Kit

The Rubbee X stands out as one of the simplest and most lightweight e-bike conversion options on the market. It aims to transform your existing bike with minimal hassle and without drastically altering its appearance. The core of the system is a compact motor unit that friction-fits onto your seat post, eliminating the need to replace wheels or deal with complex wiring.

Installation is remarkably quick thanks to the patented locking mechanism and wireless communication with the cadence sensor. The Rubbee X boasts a 36V, 93.6 Wh Li-Ion battery, which the company claims can provide a range of approximately 16 miles (25 km), though this can vary depending on usage and terrain.

With its focus on ease of use and ultra-portable design, the Rubbee X offers a unique value proposition. It's great for anyone who wants a quick and unobtrusive way to add electric assist to their existing  bike.

  • Extremely quick and easy installation
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Wireless technology simplifies setup
  • Modular battery lets you customize for your range need
  • Range may be limited for longer commutes
  • Friction-fit design may be less secure in very rough terrain

Choosing the Right Conversion Kit

Finding the perfect e-bike conversion kit is a decision that hinges on your individual needs, riding style, and the bike you want to convert.

Best ebike conversion kit

Before going into kit specifications, you can ask yourself the following questions:

How will you use your e-bike?  

Think carefully about your primary riding scenarios. If your main goal is commuting, consider the distance you'll cover, your desired speed, and the terrain you'll encounter. Do you anticipate tackling steep hills or cruising on flat routes? For leisurely rides, you might prefer a kit that emphasizes ease of use and a gentle boost on primarily flat terrain.  

Mountain bikers, on the other hand, will prioritize high-powered kits with excellent torque and a design compatible with their bike's specific frame and suspension system.

How much power and range do you need? 

Consider the typical length of your journeys. Short commutes might be perfectly suited to a lower-power motor with a smaller battery. Longer rides or those with challenging hills will demand a bigger battery for extended range and a motor with higher wattage to help you conquer those inclines.

What's your technical skill level? 

Be realistic about your comfort level with mechanical installations and potential troubleshooting. If you're a DIY enthusiast, a more complex mid-drive kit might be a fun challenge. If you're new to bike mechanics, prioritize kits known for straightforward installation, such as hub-motor kits or the ultrasimple friction drive options.

What is your budget? 

E-bike conversion kits span a wide price range. Establishing a realistic budget upfront will help you focus on options that fit your financial needs. Consider balancing the desired features with the overall cost to find the best value for your investment.

Are you familiar with the motor brand featured in the kit?  

While features and compatibility are crucial, the quality of your chosen e-bike conversion kit plays a major role in its longevity, performance, and overall riding experience. It's wise to invest in a well-made kit from a reputable company rather than cutting corners and sacrificing reliability and safety. Reputable motor brands often indicate a higher standard of quality.

Where to Buy?

Your main options for finding the perfect e-bike conversion kit are online retailers and local bike shops. Online sources offer the widest selection, better prices, and the convenience of doorstep delivery. However, be sure to choose reputable sellers and carefully research the kits you're interested in. Look for official manufacturer websites, large retailers with vetted sellers, or specialized e-bike stores.

Local bike shops provide a different kind of advantage. You can get valuable in-person advice, and some shops offer installation help or ongoing maintenance support. Keep in mind that selection might be smaller, and prices can sometimes be higher than online. Before heading to a bike shop, call ahead to ensure they carry e-bike conversion kits and have experience in e-bike conversions.

The Conversion Process

Transforming your standard bike into an e-bike can be a rewarding project, but it's essential to realistically assess the difficulty level and the resources required to successfully complete the conversion. A good foundation in  bike maintenance  is helpful, even for the most straightforward conversion kits, as understanding how to work with wheels, brakes, and drivetrain components will make the process smoother.

Hub motor kits are generally the easiest to install, followed by friction-drive kits. Mid-drive conversions tend to be the most complex, often requiring specialized tools and a higher level of mechanical expertise.  

Additionally, most reputable kit manufacturers provide detailed installation instructions, often with supplementary videos. YouTube and dedicated e-bike forums are also great resources for guides and troubleshooting tips. If you're not confident in your mechanical skills or simply want to save time, many local bike shops offer e-bike conversion installation services.

Tools Required:

  • Metric Allen wrenches
  • Screwdrivers (Philips and flathead)
  • Torque wrench (especially for mid-drive installations)
  • Chain tool (for some kits)
  • Crank removal tool (for mid-drive)
  • Additional specialized tools, as required by the kit

Most conversions will broadly follow these steps:

The Conversion Process

It is important to always refer to the manufacturer's specific instructions for your kit. 

Riding Your Converted E-Bike: Safety Considerations 

Now that your bike is transformed, it's time for the exciting part – riding! Before hitting the streets or trails, it's crucial to prioritize safety. Always wear a well-fitting helmet, and consider additional protective gear like gloves and knee pads. 

Familiarize yourself with the e-bike controls and practice in a low-traffic area to get a feel for how your bike handles with the added power. Start with lower assist levels and gradually increase as you get comfortable.

Importantly, research and understand the legal regulations for e-bikes in your area.  Electric bike laws can vary significantly between regions and may cover aspects like maximum speed, where you're permitted to ride, and any age or licensing requirements. It's your responsibility to ensure you're operating your e-bike legally. Adhering to regulations not only protects you but ensures that e-bikes remain a welcome addition to roads and trails.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Maintaining your e-bike conversion kit is crucial for its longevity and reliable performance. Proper battery care is essential. Follow the manufacturer's recommended charging practices, avoid extreme temperatures, and do not let the battery remain fully discharged for long periods. Ideally, store the battery at a partial charge (around 50-70%) in a cool, dry place.

The motor usually requires little maintenance, but keeping up with regular bike maintenance is important for a smooth e-bike experience. Clean and lubricate your drivetrain regularly, check your brake pads for wear, and ensure all bolts are tightened to the correct specifications. These basic steps help prevent problems that could strain your motor and shorten the lifespan of your system.

Despite good maintenance, issues can still arise. If you notice a reduced range, check your tire pressure, ensure your brakes aren't dragging, and assess your battery's condition. For motor issues, start by checking all connections and wiring for any loose or damaged components.  

Here are some basic troubleshooting techniques you can follow:

Common E-Bike Troubleshooting

If troubleshooting becomes challenging, consult your kit's instruction manual or online forums, or seek help from a local bike shop. Many e-bike conversion kits include troubleshooting guides, and the online e-bike community can be a great resource for resolving common issues.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to convert your existing bike opens up a world of exciting possibilities. With the right conversion kit, you can rediscover the joy of cycling, tackle new challenges, reduce your environmental impact, and make sustainable transportation a fun part of your life. The key to success lies in finding a kit that aligns with your needs, understanding the installation process or seeking professional help, and always prioritizing safety on the road.

With careful consideration and a dash of adventurous spirit, an e-bike conversion kit can transform your regular bike into so much more. Whether your goal is to conquer hills with newfound ease or simply add a boost of fun to your leisure rides, embracing the possibilities of e-cycling will undoubtedly enrich your life on two wheels.

Best ebike conversion kit

E-Bike Conversion Kit FAQs

Can i convert any bike.

While most standard bicycles can be converted, there are some exceptions. It's best to avoid full-suspension mountain bikes (due to complexity) and bikes with extremely lightweight frames. Always check specific kit compatibility with your bike type, wheel size, and brake system.

Is it worth converting my bike?

This depends on your goals and how much you value your existing bike. Conversions offer a more affordable entry into e-biking than buying a whole new e-bike. If you love your bike but want a boost, it could be a fantastic solution!

How much does a conversion kit cost?

Prices vary depending on kit complexity, motor power, and brand. Expect a range from a few hundred dollars for simple kits to over $1000 for high-end mid-drive systems. Factor in potential installation costs if you're not doing it yourself.

How fast can a converted e-bike go?

Laws dictate the maximum speed of an e-bike. Be sure to research the regulations in your area. Most kits are designed to stay within those legal limits for road use.

Are e-bike conversions safe?

When properly installed and operated responsibly, e-bike conversions can be safe. Always wear a helmet, start with low assist levels, and be mindful of increased speed while getting used to your e-bike. 

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