Electric Motor Bike Kits for DIY Bicycle Conversion

Electric bikes are a fun and enjoyable way to get around town and leave your car at home, but they are expensive. I mean, we love the idea of cycling without effort, but is spending a couple thousand bucks on a new e-bike worth it?

The electric bike conversion kit is a great alternative to spending a lot of money on a pre-built electric bike, especially if you already own a bicycle. With the right conversion kit and some tinkering you can turn your regular bike into an electric powered one, and save money you would spend on a brand new electric bike.

If you ride your bike on regular bases, if you use it to commute, you might be wondering about upgrading your bike with an electric motor. However, if you have tried looking for conversion kits online, you have probably come across an overwhelming number of different options, different manufactures and price ranges.

Top 5 eBike Conversion Kits

What is the best electric bike kit? Well, that question is much more complicated than it seems. There are more than few ways to convert your regular bike into an e-bike and many different variations of electric bike kits. It depends on the bike that you want to convert, and your riding habits. An older mountain bike or beach cruiser–style bike that needs just a little bit of an extra push, will do just fine with a simple front wheel kit. For more traction and better maneuverability you should choose a rear wheel kit, but just make sure it’s compatible with your gearing and derailleurs. If you need an electric bike that can climb hills and haul a lot of weight, you should look for mid-drive motor kits.

1. JAXPETY 48V 1000W: Front Hub Motor Kit

This electric bike kit allows you to transform your bike into an electric bike for a fraction of the cost of the production eBike. Comes with all necessary accessories, including the thumb throttle, brake levers and PAS. There are lots of extra connectors, and the manual is not very good, so it might take you a while to figure out how to assemble it, but once you figure it out it is pretty easy.This kit will work with a 12 Ah battery, but we suggest that you get the 20 Ah battery with it, so you can experience the full potential of this awesome setup. Depending on the battery, with this motor you will be able to go to speeds up to 28 mph.

Packing List:

  • Motorized front wheel with tire (26”)
  • Controller
  • Controller bag
  • PAS(pedal assistant system)
  • Brake levers
  • Thumb throttle
  • Elastic rope
  • Wiring
  • Manual

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2. eBikeling  700C:  Top Geared Hub Motor

This is not the most powerful setup available for a DIY e-bike, but it is very affordable and easy to install. The build quality is excellent, not perfect, but surprisingly good for the price. This is kit includes all the necessary components: aluminum double walled rim with built in geared 36V 500W motor, PAS, throttle, brake-handles, disc-brake capable, LED display with the option to upgrade to color LCD display. It is a great setup for if you want to electrify your commuter bike for  little money. The thumb-throttle is useful for navigating intersections and blind sections of trail, and for long straight sections, the cruise-control feature is a given.

Packing List:

  • 36V 500W Geared Hub Motor
  • Brushless Motor Controller
  • LED or upgraded LCD Display
  • Twist or Thumb Throttle
  • Pedal Assist Sensor
  • Freewheel (for rear kit)
  • Two Brake Levers with safety switches, V type and Disc brake compatible
    Torque arm
  • Tube liner
  • Installation hardware and zip ties

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3. AW 48V 1000W: Best Rear Wheel Kit

Combined with the right battery this kit is pretty fast. The recommended battery for this kit is an electro kinetic cell battery ( Li, lead-acid, NiMH battery etc.) with  a nominal voltage of 48v, and nominal capacity not less than 17Ah. The 470rpm motor works under Hall effect and non-Hall effect. Brake handles may be unreliable, so installing a backup disk brakes might be a good idea. Tire is not the best quality.

Packing List:

  • Brushless Hub Motor
  • Rear Wheel With Tire
  • Brake Pullers
  • Electric Controller
  • Speed Throttle
  • Handlebar Grips
  • 1 Set of Widing Pipe/Cable Tie
  • 1x Battery Extension Line
  • 2x Terminal Box
  • Controller Bag
  • Manual

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4. NBPower Fat Tire Rear Motor

NBPowers is a renowned manufacturer of electric bikes and kits, especially for fatbikes. This is a full kit for a DIY fat tire electric bike that comes with everything you need to turn your bike into an electric one, including the battery. It is 750W, but you can find more powerful kits by this manufacturer: 2000W, 3000W, up to the whooping 8000W, which will allow you to reach top speed of over 40 mph.

Fat bikes are not too versatile, but if you want to assemble a cheap winter bike, or if your commute goes over the beach this kit might be the one you need. As long as you don’t soak in water for long time, you can ride this kit no matter the conditions, rain or shine, even snow.

Packing List:

  • 4.0 Motor wheel(with spokes rim and motor)
  • Hailong Lithium Battery & Charger
  • Controller
  • Controller bag
  • LCD Display
  • Pair of Brake levers
  • Throttle &Grips(optional)
  • PAS
  • Ties
  • Screws,winding pipe
  • User manual

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5. Bafang 8FUN (BBS01B) 36V 250W

BAFANG is one of the best brands for electric bikes in the world, and their mid-drive motors are on most high end e-bikes from renowned manufacturers.
The Bafang 8FUN is a 36 V 250 W motor, which means it’ll easily reach speeds of up to 20 mph (often cited as the legal limit in most states for ebikes).
It can go faster if you pedal faster. The 250 W isn’t a lot of power for most hub-motors, but the mid-drive motor gives you a lot of torque (80 Nm), and you won’t have any trouble riding up hills. It feels more powerful than you’d expect out of a 250 W motor.
In this package, you also get an LCD display, Brake levers, water-proof cables, a thumb throttle, speed sensors and magnets and all the other little bits of extra gear you need to do the conversion. Of course, you also get a very nicely illustrated instructions manual, and we suggest that you take it slow.
Bafang also sells an optional 36 V battery (you have a choice between the smaller 10 Ah and the 17.5 Ah battery). We always suggest taking the bigger battery, if your budget can handle it.
All in all, this is a relatively cheap way to make your regular daily drive bike into a great mid-tier e-bike, using one of the best motors on the market.

Packing List:

  • Bafang 36V 250W Motor
  • Brake levers (or hydraulic sensors, optionally)
  • LCD display (various options, with or without Bluetooth)
  • EB-BUS water-proof cable(1 to 4 cable)
  • Chain wheel with chainring plastic guard ( 44T/46T/48T/52T)
  • Pair of Cranks
  • Thumb Throttle
  • Lock Nuts Set
  • Speed sensor and magnets
  • 68 mm- 73 mm installing extra gaskets
  • Headlight and a power extension cable
  • Installation manual

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6. Bafang 48V/52V 1000W: BBSHD/BBS03

BAFANG’s 1000 W motors are usually mounted on premium e-bikes that come with a premium cost (about $3,000-$5,000). This conversion kit gives you all the premium electronics and you can save a lot of money on making your own ebike. This kit isn’t something you should put on a $100 bike; there’s a lot of power involved and you should first have a quality mountain or road bike before you give it a lot of power.

The BAFANG 48/52 V 1000 W Mid Motor is very, very powerful; due to legal requirements, the e-bike won’t go faster than 20 mph on its own, but if you pedal hard you can hit some pretty unsafe top speeds (bring safety gear). 48/52 V motors are entering the “serious business” territory of electric motors, you can consider them the V6 of e-bike motors. The 1000 W of power gives you a lot of torque (and acceleration); you won’t notice hills at all. It’s a lot of fun, and you’ll definitely feel the acceleration.

Like most conversion kits, you’ll get everything you need in the package, from the nuts and bolts, to the brake cranks, brake sensors, magnets, speed sensors, cables and the thumb throttle. If you’re not a well-versed bike mechanic, there’s absolutely no shame in taking your bike to a bike shop. For a small price, they’ll do the conversion work properly.

Packing List:

  • Bafang 36V 250W Motor
  • Brake levers (or hydraulic sensors, optionally)
  • LCD display (various options, with or without Bluetooth)
  • EB-BUS water-proof cable(1 to 4 cable)
  • Chain wheel with chainring plastic guard ( 44T/46T/48T/52T)
  • Pair of Cranks
  • Thumb Throttle
  • Lock Nuts Set
  • Speed sensor and magnets
  • 68 mm- 73 mm installing extra gaskets
  • Headlight and a power extension cable
  • Installation manual

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Front Wheel E-Bicycle Kits

The easiest way to turn your regular bike into an electric one is to swap the front wheel with one powered by an electric hub motor. To convert your bike with a this kit type, fork must be the standard 100mm to properly accept these electric bike kit wheel. If you have a fat bike, the fork is likely to have a larger spacing, so you would need to look for a specialized kit.

Why use a front hub ebike kit

Besides the motorized wheel this type of conversion kit usually comes with all the parts needed to electrify your bike, minus the battery: a speed controller, a pair of brake handles, an LCD display and a thumb or a twist throttle. The rest of your bike – pedals, gears to the rear wheel, using your brakes – all works exactly as it has before. The front-wheel conversion kits also may come with a cadence sensor, or a pedaling assistance sensor, that engages the motor when you start pedaling.

PROS:

  • Simple and quick installation, even for people with little bike experience
  • Gives balance to a converted bike with a rack mounted battery
  • This is the best option for converting a trike into an electric one, since balance is not a problem with a tricycle.

CONS:

  • This type of installation is not recommended for bicycles with front shocks due to the possibility of fork failure.
  • You might have to modify the fork slightly to fit the motor.
  • Having a motor on the wheel used to steer the bike can be tricky for the inexperienced rider, especially at full throttle.

Rear Wheel Bike Conversion Kits

Some riders do not like the idea of having the motor on the front wheel, as it is the wheel that is used to steer the bike. That is the reason why most production electric bikes with a hub drive mount their motors on the rear. If the convenience of mounting the kit is not your priority, and you are not converting a tricycle into the electric one, we would advise you choose the rear wheel kit.

Why use rear hub conversion kit

The main advantages over the front hub motor are better grip and control. The rear wheel kits are the great for riders who will often go off-road on steep or loose tracks, and need an electric powered mountain bike. These kits includes the motorized rear wheel that replaces the bike’s rear wheel and includes a throttle as well as new brakes that will cut power to the motor while braking. Hub motors come in both direct-drive, single speed configuration, and geared models. Direct drives are usually quieter, a bit faster, and more durable. Rear wheel motors can be combined with derailleur shifting, not with hub gears, since these are replace by the motor.

PROS

  • Can handle more powerful motors
  • It looks stealthier, it is hard to spot an electric bike with a motor mounted in the rear wheel.
  • Wiring is simpler since the rear wheel axle is fixed and the controller and batteries are probably closer to it

CONS

  • More complicated to mount than the front wheel.
  • Installation takes a bit more time since shifting might need to be adjusted.
  • With a heavier motor, and the battery mounted to the rear, your front wheel is prone to lifting off the ground when accelerating. Like an unplanned wheelie. Cool, but dangerous.

Mid-Drive Conversion Kits for Electric Bikes

Mid-drive motor, also called crank drive motors, directly powers the crank drive, and usually works together with your gears. A mid-drive motor mounted near the crank leaves your rear derailleur free to shift gears. Big brands in eBike industry like Bosch, Shimano, and Yamaha have their own top-of-the-line mid-drive units. However, these require special design of the bike frame to fit on, and they come with a hefty price. For the best performance/price ratio, that can be fitted on any bike frame look for brands such as Bafang or 8fun.

Why use a mid drive motor

This type of setting is all about smooth and efficient performance, rather than just the simple force. The mid drive bike might not be the fastest, but it will be able to climb crazy steep hills, and the weight distribution is even.

PROS

  • Mid-drives uses the bike’s transmission as the motor’s gears, so the electric motor can run in the optimum RPM range.
  • The main advantage of mid-drive motors over hubs is their hill climbing ability, so it is the best option for building a full-on electric mountain bike.

CONS

  • The entire unit is sealed, so if one component fails you have to replace the whole thing.
  • The mid drive conversion kit is usually more expensive, especially in the long run.
  • The mid-drives are more noisy than hub motors.

Advantages of DIY electric bikes

The great thing about purpose built E-bikes though is that they usually come with everything you need for the most part and the wiring is professionally done for a clean look. However, high quality models are often very expensive, and the ones that fit into your limited budget look like DIY projects anyway. If you like the felling of building something with your own hands, and have some knowledge of how to maintain a bicycle, building your own e-bike has many advantages.

When you decide to convert your own standard bicycle into an electric one, you cut out all of that extra stuff and just pay for the ebike parts themselves. Combining a high performing kit with a good quality full suspension mountain bike you can make a powerful ride for a fraction of the price of a ready-make e-bike with similar performance.

When you choose your own parts, you have total control over the performance of your ebike. This applies more to choosing parts individually, but even buying a complete electric bicycle conversion kit is a great way to go. There are so many different kits out there that it is definitely possible to find something for everyone.

Conversion Kits Compared

jaxpety 48V ebikeling 36V 500W Fat Tire Rear wheel 48V 750W kit bafang 1000W ebike motor
Name Jaxpety 48V/1000W EBIKELING Waterproof AW 48V/1000W NB Power Fat Tire Kit Bafang BBS03
Type Front Wheel Front Wheel Rear Wheel Rear Wheel Mid Drive
Motor 48V 1000W (750W) gearless hub motor 36V 500W geared hub motor 48V 1000W brushless hub motor 48V 750W brushless geared motor 48V /52V 1000W Bafang BBSHD motor
Wheel Size 26″ x 1.75″ 26″ x 1.75″/1.95″/2.125″ 26″ x 1.75″ 20″/24″/26″ x 4.0 Fat Wheel /
Weight 16.5 lbs 7.4 lbs 26 lbs 21 lbs 20 lbs
Battery NO NO NO 48V/12.8Ah Hailong Lithium Battery 48V 17.5Ah Lithium Ion
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Where to buy cheap e-bike kits with battery?

As you can see picking the right conversion kit for your bike is not an easy decision at all. You will need to take several factors into consideration, and the choice that you will make will depend on your riding style and preferences. Have in mind that the price shouldn’t be the first thing on your list of priorities. Having said that, there is no reason to go for the most expensive kit you can find. You can often find great deals on Amazon. And on Ride Two Wheels, we are always on the lookout for the hottest deals for you.

See Also:
Electric Bikes List
E-Bikes For Commuting