The 6 Best E-Bike Conversion Kits of 2021

Add some extra power to your two-wheeler.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

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 as the bike you already own. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, live in a small space, or practicing minimalism, repurposing what you already have can be a win-win-win decision. So, if you love your current ride but want to add some juice for getting uphill or for powering your cargo bike when you’re carrying a heavy load, you can, thanks to electric bike converter kits. To electrify your bike, you need a battery, sensors, controls, and a motorized wheel or a drive unit.

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

The Rundown
This mid-drive motor kit is versatile and compatible with road, commuter, and mountain bicycles.
This front-wheel E-bike conversion kit is easy to set up and easy on your wallet.
Best Friction Drive E-Bike Conversion Kit:
Alizeti 300C E-bike System at Alizetibikes.com
Friction drive e-bike conversion kits like the Alizeti 300 C are easy to install.
Daily riders will love this easy-to-install, lightweight e-bike conversion kit.
Max out at 35 miles per hour, and your bike might feel more like a scooter.
Thanks to a 48-volt, 1000-watt battery, the AW rear-wheel E-bike conversion kit satisfies anyone with the need for speed.

Best Overall: BAFANG BBS02B 48V 500W Ebike Conversion Kit

BAFANG BBS02B 48V 500W 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.

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 E-bike Front Hub Motor 48V 500W Bafang Brushless Gear 20/26/27.5/700C inch Electric Bicycle Conversion Kits

BAFANG E-bike Front Hub Motor 48V 500W Bafang Brushless Gear 20/26/27.5/700C inch 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 Friction Drive E-Bike Conversion Kit: Alizeti 300C E-bike System

Alizeti 300C E-bike System

Friction drive e-bike conversion kits like the Alizeti 300 C are easy to install—but you need a solid mounting system such as a rear rack to use it. The kit itself is budget-friendly, but you’ll have to pay extra for a battery (the kit and battery are available as a package).

One battery will offer a range of up to 20 miles, and the motor has a 500-watt peak power rating. The system comes with integrated auto rear lights, an alarm system, a horn, and a Bluetooth module for streaming music. It also features regenerative braking, so you can help recharge your battery as you ride.

Best for Commuting: Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit

Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit

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. 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.

Best Premium: Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit 36V 500W 700C Geared Electric Bike Kit

Ebikeling Waterproof 48V 1500W 26" 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 the compatible 36-Volt battery and other accessories in an a-la-cart way.

The double-walled rim and motor are ready to install right out of the box—just swap them out for your original bike tire. An LCD screen is included to help you stay within your town’s speed limit. You can choose between a front or rear mount, as well as a thumb or half-twist throttle.

Most Powerful: AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit

AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit

Thanks to a 48-volt, 1000-watt battery, the AW rear-wheel E-bike conversion kit satisfies anyone with the need for speed. A thumb throttle makes speed control simple.

The aluminum frame offers durability and stability, which is essential when you’re rolling at 31 miles per hour. Hand brakes turn the motor off automatically to both improve safety and conserve battery power.

Final Verdict

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

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

Battery

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.

Power

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.

Local Laws

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:

  1. Class 1 E-bikes that assist you while you pedal and top out about 20 mph.
  2. Class 2 E-bikes have a throttle that assists you regardless of whether you pedal and have a top speed of 20 mph.
  3. Class 3 E-bikes assist you while you pedal and top out about 28 mph.

FAQs

Are electric bike conversion kits difficult to install?

There are several kinds of e-bike conversion kits, and the ease of set-up and installation varies.

  • Friction Drive Conversion is a simple strategy. A roller pushes against the tire on the wheel. When the roller turns, the wheel turns. It’s a reasonably easy system to set up but often isn’t the most effective.
  • Mid-Drive Conversion is the technology that the best e-bikes tend to use. A weight sits at a low point on the bike frame, and the power is applied to the crank. These can be more expensive, but the technology is typically better. There’s no standardization, however, which can make figuring out exactly what you need to make your bike work a little more challenging. Adding the parts is also a bit more complex than friction drive conversion.
  • Electric Bike Wheel Conversion swaps out a non-electrified front or rear wheel with an electrified one. The process is simple depending on where and how the battery mounts—such as on a rear rack. Once installed, weight distribution can feel natural. However, powering the front wheel may impact your bike’s handling.

What tools do I need?

You’ll need a bike tool, crank arm tool, adjustable wrenches, and a screwdriver along with your electric bike conversion kit.

These demos can show you how to install your e-bike conversion kit.

Should I get a conversion kit or just buy a new e-bike?

A visit to your local bike shop mechanic is a helpful step in the decision-making process. They can help you determine if your bike is a good candidate for electric technology.

Your old bike may not be able to be converted because adding a motor can increase torque. You’ll want to make sure your bike’s drivetrain can handle it.

The extra weight from adding an electric motor also impacts your brakes, so you’ll want to make sure they are effective for stopping at a higher speed. E-bikes tend to have disk brakes for this reason. If your current bike is in disrepair, has old parts, or needs other improvements, it may be more cost-effective to sell your trusty old ten speed and buy an e-bike.

Also, consider that a quality electric bike conversion kit can be nearly the cost of an electric bike. Do some comparison shopping between the price of a conversion kit and a fully-loaded e-bike before you decide which way you want to roll. Our picks for the best e-bikes may help guide your decision.

Why Trust Treehugger?

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.

View Article Sources
  1. Philips, Ian, et al. "E-Bike Carbon Savings - How Much and Where?" Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions, 2020.

  2. 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