E-Bike Conversion Kit: How to Convert My Mechanical Bike to Electric?


Easy E-Biking - converted connected e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

If you’re thinking of switching to an electric bike, you may be asking yourself the question. Should I buy an electric bicycle or convert my current bike with a conversion kit? That is a debate that has been going on in the cycling community for a long time! To help you decide, here is a list of pros and cons.

What is an electric bike conversion kit?

It is an ingenious system that converts any bicycle into an electric one. The electric assistance kit combines an engine and a battery, which are more or less easily installed on your bike. There are three types:

  • The electric wheel has a motor, a battery, and a controller. This all-in-one system replaces the wheel of your traditional bicycle, which thus becomes an e-bike;
  • The wheel-mounted engine kit is an intermediate version of the bicycle electrification kit. It consists of a motor installed in the front or rear wheel, a battery, and a controller to be attached to the vehicle. This system requires a few hours of DIY and offers good performance for the new electric bike;
  • The kit with the engine in the crankset is the most advanced system, as it distributes the weight and power over the whole cycle. It is a little more complex to install but provides excellent assistance.

Read also: Should I buy a new e-bike or a conversion kit? – in this article. And, Can a traditional bicycle be converted into an e-bike? – in this article.

The advantages of the electric bike conversion kit

Price: the electric bike kit is cheaper 

Suppose you already have a mechanical bike in good condition. In that case, adding an electric conversion kit is cheaper than buying a new electrically assisted bicycle. Conversion kits vary in price depending on the range, brand of components, etc. Still, they are always cheaper than complete bikes for the same performance. 

For example, a new electric bike costs between 600 and 6,000 $/€, while a conversion kit costs between 300 and 1,000 $/€.

Read also: How much does it cost to own an e-bike? – in this article. And, What is the difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes? – in this article.

Easy E-Biking - city e-bike conversion kit, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo credit Swytch conversion kit

The adaptability of the electric bike kit

Once your conversion kit is installed on your bike, it becomes electric… until you change your mind! 

Suppose you want to get back to the feeling of a classic bike or electrify another bike (to switch from an urban bike to an electric mountain bike, for example). In that case, you can then dismantle the conversion kit. But beware, the operation can be more straightforward depending on the chosen solution.

The environmental impact of the bike conversion kit

Manufacturing a new bike and its transport to your home requires far more materials and carbon impact than a simple electric bike conversion kit.

Read also: Are electric bikes good for the environment? – in this article. Is riding an e-bike eco-friendly? – in this article.

Disadvantages of the electric bicycle conversion kit

Installation of the electrification kit

If you have yet to develop any particular DIY skills, consider buying an already assembled electric bike, as conversion kits usually take several hours to install. 

Of course, this depends on your chosen model, as electric wheels are much simpler than kits with the engine in the hub or crankset… But still! Note that this point could go up in the advantages category for DIY enthusiasts.

Warranties

Once again, it all depends on the model you choose. Still, generally speaking, you are not safe from the possibility that one of the parts of your electric bike kit may fail. 

If this happens, the warranty is more challenging to enforce, as the brands may consider that you have missed something in the installation and that it is not their fault (which is sometimes true, as the building can be complicated… As said above!). 

Read also: How to maintain your e-bike when you know nothing about it – in this article and this article. And, How to store your electric bike – in this article.

When you buy an e-bike in a shop, it has a manufacturer’s warranty of at least two years, parts, and labor.

Easy E-Biking - city e-bike conversion kit, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo credit Swytch conversion kit

The aesthetics

Depending on the quality of the device you choose and your mechanical skills, your “homemade” electric bike can sometimes look a little homemade. On the other hand, if you like the look of a brand-new bike, you’ll probably prefer a factory electric bike.

Conversion kit or electric bike: what about power?

Power and range will depend on the model chosen for both a whole bike and a conversion kit. There are electric bike kits with a higher power rating than some entry-level e-bikes. 

Make sure you know the characteristics of the engine (250 W max to comply with European legislation) and the battery. The responsiveness of your bike and its electric range will depend on the size of the battery. Generally speaking, it is better to opt for 36-volt models.

So, conversion kit or electric bike, what did you choose? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Riding, testing, and writing about e-bikes since 2017.

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