Best electric bikes 2023 for every kind of rider
If you’re looking for the best electric bikes, there are a lot to choose from, with electric motors and batteries added to a wide range of bikes to add extra power.
Electric road bikes will come with dropped handlebars and favour low weight, whilst electric hybrid bikes will come with flat bars, wider tyres and accessories to aid commuters – such as mudguards and lights. Electric folding bikes are useful if part of your journey involves train travel or you’re short on space.
Here at Cycling Weekly, we’ve reviewed bikes from these three categories and there are links to our more detailed reviews for each bike in this guide. Our testing involves a range of routes and ride lengths and our highly experienced team of testers understands what makes a good bike and what to look for in the best electric bikes.
Electric bikes can be expensive, but there are options too if you’re looking to keep costs low with starting from around 1,000: check out the best budget electric bikes. If you’re into tinkering with your bike, you might also want to look at the best electric bike conversion kits as an alternative to buying a completely new electric bike.
Women may benefit from female specific components on the best women’s electric bikes, and if you’re venturing off-road, check out the best electric gravel bikes.
If you’re looking for the best electric mountain bike though, follow this link to head over to our sister publication MBR which specialises in mountain biking.
Here’s a quick look at our top choices from the best electric bikes, including a folding option.
The Specialized Turbo Vado is designed for fast urban riding but with its suspension fork and wider tires it can also handle rougher roads.
There’s a lot of clever tech in the aviation-inspired Gocycle G4i, with a neat folding mechanism, lightweight frame and decent mileage from its internal battery.
The Giant Fastride’s neatly integrated battery and quality spec make it a great option for the commute, with wide gear range and hydraulic disc brakes.
If your e-bike riding heads off-road, the Neo Carbon Lefty has front and rear suspension and a powerful Bosch motor to help you up the hills.
The Cento1 Hybrid takes Wilier’s race bike pedigree and inserts a rear hub motor in a stealth package that keeps the bike’s performance and doesn’t add too much weight.
The classic Brompton with the same folding mechanism, but with a front hub motor and battery housed in a neat removeable bag.
Our pick of the best electric bikes
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Best Electric Hybrid bikes
Electric hybrid bikes are the fastest selling style. Their flat bars, usually wide tyre, and commute friendly fittings. such as mudguard mounts and rack mounts. make them extremely practical machines.
The motor can be housed in the rear hub, or at the cranks, and the torque will vary. low torque models offer a natural pedalling assistance, but high torque versions will move off the lights more quickly.
Reasons to avoid
The Ribble Hybrid AL e is a road-going hybrid bike that’s equally at home on gravel paths and trails, with a comfortable and confidence-inspiring upright riding position, so great for returning or newbie riders.
For us, we think the bike is one of the best looking hybrids we’ve ever come across, with the design hiding away the motor incredibly well, although we were a little sad that adjusting the seat post left behind scratch marks. The fully loaded package includes fenders (mudguards), lights and a rear rack making it perfect as a daily commuter or for ditching the car when going to the store, although we did find these a little rattily on test.
The Ebikemotion motor delivers its power smoothly and efficiently and offers long-range in between charges, making the Ribble far more than just an A to B bike.
Understandably it doesn’t perform in the same way as the Canyon Grail:ON in terms of fast and tight torque, but tap along and it will tick over nicely, taking the top off any strenuous rides.
With all the added extras as standard and classy looks, the Ribble Hybrid AL e is a great electric bike for the money.
Reasons to avoid
A fun ride that’s great in urban environments but also provides a confidence-inspiring ride on rougher terrain is what the Specialized Turbo Vado is all about.
If you’re after a bike that is fully integrated with lights, fenders and rack (27kg capacity) as well as security (on the App removable battery using a key), then this represents a straight forward choice. Only the weight, and to a lesser degree cost, need consideration.
We found the 70Nm/250W custom-tuned motor applies power seamlessly and powerfully as soon as you push down on the pedals. Range is excellent too. 95-130km / 60-80 miles should be easily attainable using the default settings of “Sport’ and ‘50% power’. There is an Eco mode as well as Turbo, so if you’re careful you can expect much greater range.
It is a heavy machine at 60lbs/ 27kg, so not easy to lift, so anyone needing to navigate steps in or out of the bike’s storage place will need to take this into consideration, but aside from that we found the Specialized Vado Turbo to be a joy to ride.
Reasons to avoid
We absolutely loved zooming around on the speedy Ride1Up Roadster V2 with its five levels of power assist. If you’re anything like us and are more used to training and racing on standard road bikes it can easily become your guilty pleasure. it’s fantastic fun to ride.
The bike was so quiet, even on level 5, convincing onlookers that our tester had to be some kind of super Hero to ride so fast up 15 per cent climbs. The only downside. in common with other e-bikes that only assist when you’re pedalling. was where there was a requirement for a hill start, the cranks had to be turned over in order to get the motor to engage, creating a pregnant pause at the lights, before vavavooming off.
The claimed 24mph maximum assisted speed (in the US) needs input from the pedals to reach on the flats, but without a doubt it’s noticeable downhill, where other bikes, such as the Wilier Cento1Hy Ultegra Di2 e-bike auto assist would cut out and slow you down.
This extra speed also puts the bike into a class 3 e-bike, meaning that it doesn’t meet EAPC rules in the UK, but that’s by the by as US brand Ride1Up doesn’t currently ship there.
If you are in a country lucky enough to be shipped to: the US, Canada and Mexico, then it’s a great option and one that has a very high fun-to-dollar ratio.
Ride1Up is a direct-to-consumer brand. check out the Roadster V2 on its website here.
Reasons to avoid
The Canyon Precede:ON is an efficient automatic transmission city bike that performs well in multi-terrain settings whether for utility or for leisure purposes thanks to a powerful motor and control panel.
With built-in accessories such as lights, mudguards, rack and kickstand all the trappings are there to make for a comfortable ride with style straight out the box. All these add ons however do make it one of the heaviest e-bikes on the market, even heavier than the Specialized Turbo Vado.
We really loved the Canyon Grail: On and it’s great to see the Precede:ON also be kitted with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor, although ideally we would love to see a little more juice in the battery to support the other impressive spec.
With everything you need straight out the box, including navigation system and lights, it’s the easiest way to swap driving/ public transport for a bike, but it is at the higher end price tag wise. There are a couple of models to choose from, which also takes the cost down a touch, but with a six year guarantee, it could be a savvy investment.
The only other point to note is that Canyon has a direct sales model, so you’ll have to buy directly from the brand here.
Reasons to avoid
The Giant Fastroad E Pro is another road-going hybrid bike with flat handlebars to promote a comfortable ride position for even the rustiest of riders, in fact we enjoyed riding this great electric hybrid road bike so much we gave it a Cycling Weekly Editor’s Choice Award.
The tyres provide plenty of squish and the ability to go lightly off-road. However on test we found the aluminium frame and fork quite stiff, which will suit those used to a traditional road bike’s feel and riders looking for a speedy commute, but worth bearing in mind if you’re used to a softer hybrid feel.
We really liked the bike’s integration of the battery, which can often be a design factor forgotten about on hybrid bikes. We were also really impressed to see the spec on the FastRoad, with hydraulic disc brakes and quality Shimano shifting, with a compact chainset and wide range cassette at the rear to provide plenty of gears for the hills all making an appearance.
A great electric hybrid bike for a fair price that will have a lot of appeal to lots of different riders.
Reasons to avoid
With its 36V battery, which should give around 70 miles of juice, hooked up to a mid-drive motor, we found that the Volt Infinity electric bike gave a nice balanced feel to the bike.
Shimano provides the power in the form of 8-speed Alfine Di2 hub Shimano Steps, the highly regarded motor and e-bike specific groupset.
Three different assistance modes will let you get the most out of that battery and the display mounted on the front will make it easy to keep track and we loved that the torque sensor picked up when we were flagging and gave us a little boost to help us along our way.
Previously similar to the Carrera Subway E, it’s had a bit of a make over and it’s now much more visually integrated than the previous model that we tested, although it’s still without a quick release rear wheel, making investing in the best puncture-proof tyres or inner tubes a shrewd investment.
The only real downside is the one size fits all. Great if it does fit you, not so much if it doesn’t.
Best Electric Folding Bikes
Folding electric bikes are practical if you have a train journey forming part of your trip or are low on space. Being small, the battery and motor can represent a large percentage of the weight, so the FOCUS is often on reducing this as much as possible.
Mileage on folding bikes is often low, since they’re typically used to ride to and from train stations, so battery range isn’t always a major consideration.
If you are considering going for a folder, you might find our buying guide page dedicated to helping you find the best folding bikes a useful read.
Reasons to avoid
We absolutely loved the Brompton Electric bike when we took it out for a spin, finding it to be the perfect bike for commuting in traffic and then stowing well out of the way post-ride.
The brand is considered by many as the gold standard of folding bikes, and the Brompton Electric is clearly cast from the same mould.
As typical with any Brompton bike, the brand has taken full control of the engineering, so everything from frame to motor has been designed in house. Brompton however has called upon the experiences of Williams Advanced Engineering when it comes to the motor, developing a bespoke lightweight removable battery and motor.
As you would expect when a team of Formula One engineers get under the bonnet of the Brompton Electric, the small, but perfectly formed motor has excelled, delivering power smoothly, safely and exactly when you need it.
The frame is the usual Brompton high standard, and while one size, keeps the ability to choose handlebars, seatpost heights and even saddle widths. There are six speeds, giving you plenty to play with when you hit a hill.
Whatever your final set up, you can rest assured as to the bike’s foldability, which is one of the reasons why Brompton stands out from the folding bike crowd. Its folded footprint is one of the smallest out there: 565mm high x 585mm wide x 270mm long (22.2″ x 23″ x 10.6″). This means it’s highly portable and capable of stowing in the smallest of spaces, although be warned, due to the independent motor and battery pack, you’ll find yourself with two hands full, so best to invest in a rucksack for your other belongings.
On test we felt this was an absolute dream of a bike, in fact, we went as far as calling it a transport gamechanger. If you’re worried by the 17kg-plus weight, there’s now the Brompton Electric P Line bike, which uses lighter frame materials to drop the claimed weight down to 15.6kg.
Reasons to avoid
The G4i is a solid choice for a commuter, with the option to add many accessories such as mudguards (fenders), a front and rear pannier rack, integrated lights, lock holster and a travel case.
The design folds in half, so that you can push it on its wheels rather than needing to carry it, or you can fully fold it into a compact package. There’s built-in rear suspension, concealed cabling and a fully enclosed drivetrain.
It features a discreetly integrated USB port on the handlebar, enabling owners to charge their phone or other small devices from the bike’s battery when not in use. although we found the quality of the integrated phone mount didn’t quite match that of the bike itself. The same goes for the LED display, which we found to be rather basic. although the information it provides is useful.
It’s also likely to be pretty low-maintenance given that the drivetrain is completely enclosed. This makes sense, given that commuting year round usually means cycling in the wet at some point. The G4i utilizes a Shimano Nexus 3 speed internally geared hub. With 1” of elastomer suspension and 2.35” wide tyres, it is one of the more comfortable small wheelers. Single-sided wheel attachment means you don’t even have to remove the wheel, should you puncture one of the 20” wheels.
The 500W (250W in the UK/EU) G4 electric motor and 375Wh Lithium-ion battery is claimed to provide a range of up to 80km (50mi), but the most we managed to get out of it was just 44km (27mi). To be fair, that was in one of the more ‘assisted’ modes and I always had the daytime running lights on. and the city of Bath is well known for its brutally steep hills.
The bike is available from 17.6kg / 38.8lbs. However, as the weight is centred low on the frame, this at least makes the ride more stable. The folding mechanism has been improved since previous versions and can be quickly collapsed into a small package. Gocycle says this can be done in as little as ten seconds; we found it was closer to 20.
Bosch 500 Wh Battery, Frame Mount, Anthracite
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Bosch batteries are an efficient energy provider with staying power – and the most modern eBike batteries on the market. They combine impressive mileage performance, a long lifetime and low weight with an ergonomic design and simple handling. The high-quality lithium-ion batteries are equipped with a Battery Management System, which recognizes potential sources of error and protects the cells from overload. The DualBattery is perfect for tour bikers, long-distance commuters or cargo bikers. The combination of two Bosch batteries delivers up to 1,000 Watt hours.
The Bosch PowerPack 500 is the same size as and only slightly heavier than the PowerPack 400 but with extended range. The Lithium-ion battery requires about two hours to charge 50% and approximately 4.5 hours to charge with the Bosch Standard Charger and 3 hours with the Bosch Fast Charger. The PowerPack 500 is available for all product lines as a frame or rack battery.
No memory effect
Bosch batteries with lithium-ion cells can be charged quickly irrespective of your charge level at any time. Interruptions of the charging process do not harm the battery. Complete discharge is not required.
Extremely low self-discharge
Even after long periods of storage, e.g. over winter, the battery can be used without recharging. This means Bosch rechargeable batteries do not need to be recharged after a long break in use. For longer storage, a charge status of approx. 30 to 60% is recommended.
Long service life
Bosch batteries are designed for lots of trips, miles and years of service. The intelligent, electronic Bosch battery management system (BMS) protects lithium-ion batteries from excessive temperatures, overcharging, and deep discharge. The BMS checks every cell, extending the life of the rechargeable battery. This makes the time from initial use to the need to replace a Bosch battery very long.
Electric bike conversion kits 2023 – Give any bike a boost
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, 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 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 electric bike conversion kits available now
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Reasons to avoid
A thorough purchase process ensures the product is easy to install, but it’s complicated so can take time
The first on our list is one we reviewed very recently and 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.
Reasons to avoid
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 have 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.
Reasons to avoid
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.
Reasons to avoid
There are a number of simple install options on the 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 like 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. 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.
Reasons to avoid
Bafang is one of the largest and most well-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.
Reasons to avoid
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 power. 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.
Reasons to avoid
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.
Types of e-bike conversion kits
Friction drive conversion
A friction drive e-bike conversion means there is a roller that pushes against the wheels 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.
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.
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 25kmph (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 laws are different depending on the country, with the United States, for example, allowing more powerful motors – 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 are 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 for being 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 the two (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 for 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 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.
How do you install an e-bike conversion kit?
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 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.
How much does an electric bike conversion kit cost?
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).
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 also 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.
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.
How to Extend the Life of Your Bosch eBike Battery
New batteries are no longer that complicated, but here is a guide on how to extend the life of your eBike Battery focusing on the Bosch range of products.
The 300Wh, 400Wh, 500Wh 625Wh PowerPacks used on Bosch-powered eBikes are amongst the most advanced batteries currently on the electric bike market. They offer a superior range, reliability longevity compared to many other batteries. However, this all comes at a price; with a replacement pack currently costing around £600. Some people are put off by the price of a replacement battery, thinking that it will have to be replaced every other year, but this is just not true.
Bosch actually guarantees their batteries for 2 years or 500 charge cycles (whichever comes first). This doesn’t mean your battery will pack up after 2 years and 1 day. In fact, Bosch themselves state that the battery should be good for around 10 years or 1500 full charge cycles. After 1500 cycles the battery will still work, but any battery will age over time so it will start to lose capacity and therefore not power your electric bike as far.
Also, it’s worth pointing out now that many people think that a part charge counts as a full charge cycle in Bosch’s terms. Unfortunately. it doesn’t! If you just top the battery up a small amount, only this is recorded and will not be counted until there are enough of these partial charges to count toward a full charge cycle.
As a registered Bosh eBike dealer, when a Bosch-powered eBike visits our workshop we can use our diagnostics tool to read the battery itself. The Bosch battery is a very clever unit and records many different parameters, these are then saved within the system for us to analyse and consider depending on any issues presented. Also, we can tap into the system and see exactly how many ‘Full Charge Cycles’ this particular battery has had. Furthermore, we can view many other variables within the Bosch software, for example – maximum/minimum battery temperature, charge state, usage, etc.
Here are some of the most common questions we hear regarding Bosch batteries:
If your eBike came from us, we normally charge the battery fully just before letting it out of the workshop as we know you’ll be itching to ride it the minute you receive it. This helps condition the battery and gives it a starting point from which to gauge the rest of its operation. If you find it’s not fully charged, please charge it to 100% before riding. This applies to all brands of electric bike batteries too.
How often should you charge your Bosch eBike battery?
The new Lithium cells used within the Bosch battery packs are very advanced. Unlike the older style batteries where you had to completely discharge the battery and then fully charge it back up again, the new Bosch PowerPacks do not need this. In fact, it’s much better to just top up the battery after every trip. So if you have just cycled 10 miles on your electric bike, it’s better to top it back up to full when you get home rather than incorporating a few trips before charging fully.
Can I still clean my bike?
Yes, as with any bike – it is good to keep all components of your eBike thoroughly clean. If the exterior case or shell of the battery and motor is dirty, which will happen, this does not affect the performance of the internals. The best way to clean the battery is with a specialist bike cleaner, wet sponge (or soft paintbrush!), and low-pressure hose. A typical garden hose is perfect for washing away grime without applying too much pressure, once the area has been lightly agitated with the bike cleaner and sponge/paintbrush.
Although the Bosch batteries are weatherproof, it is never advised to use any sort of high-pressure jet/pressure washer on your bike. This pressure can force water into the battery case itself and potentially cause damage. It can also force water into other parts of your electric bike where you don’t want water to be (motor, bearing internals, suspension seals, etc.). So although it may be quicker to clean please don’t use pressure washers at all.
Will my battery range be affected if using an inverter from my vehicle or motor home?
No, you can use inverters to charge your electric bike – for example – from the cigarette lighter port in most cars. This can be handy if you are out and about or wish to charge on the move. But please make sure that the inverter itself is rated for the correct output for the Bosch charger. You can normally find this information on the inverter’s packaging or on a sticker on the inverter itself. The Bosch charger is designed for a rated voltage between 207 – 264 volts with an output of 42v.
The charger only charges the battery at a low 4 amp current; this is fine for most inverters and car batteries. Please check these values to make sure the inverter is compatible before plugging it in. One point to remember is that depending on the inverter itself, the battery may take a little longer to charge than if it was plugged into the mains.
Most importantly of all make sure the vehicle engine is running whilst the battery is on charge because it could drain your vehicle battery faster than you think.
How you can extend the life of your eBike battery easily:
In very simple terms, the harder you use your eBike the faster the battery will discharge. You can maybe classify this as the trade-off between fun and economy! Remember, the power of the motor can peak at 500w (depending on the specific Bosch motor) so it can draw power from the battery quicker and put a higher load on it the harder you push, and the assistance required.
The faster it discharges, then the more you will be charging it back up. This means that you could end up performing many more charge cycles than someone who is using their eBike lightly in the same time period. After a long period of time, the capacity of the battery will gradually drop. You could, therefore, be in the position of replacing it sooner if you’re riding your eBike close to capacity for the majority of the time (this is especially prevalent in de-restricted bikes).
We would recommend using an assistance level that works for you. Quite honestly you don’t ‘need’ to use the eBike flat out in ‘Turbo’ all of the time (even though it is fun!). The use of ‘Eco’ ‘Tour’ modes for the majority of riding is generally more than enough, with ‘Turbo’ mode assisting on the very toughest of climbs or in tough conditions.
You can also utilise the eMTB mode on your Bosch system, which will vary the motor’s input depending on what you are putting in yourself. eMTB mode is always optimally adapted to you, the incline, and the terrain – regardless of rocks, roots, or steps. This will give you the most bike-like ride feel and will give you an even drain on your battery.
Obviously, everyone’s fitness levels are different so you will need to work out what works for you, it is far too easy to hit ‘Turbo’ mode for the majority of your ride. The bike won’t go any faster (mph) but it will have more ‘grunt’, in fact, the eBike will only go as fast as you pedal, it’s just the amount of assistance the motor gives you that changes.
I’m putting my eBike away for the winter, will this damage the battery at all?
No, we know that some riders may not want to cycle through the cold, wet, and grim UK conditions found in the winter. You can store your bike away, it’s not a problem, however, there are some steps you can take to keep your battery healthy during these times.
If you are keeping your eBike outside in a shed or garage, then it’s always best to bring your battery indoors. The Bosch batteries are capable of being stored in temperatures between.10 through to 60 degrees centigrade. But the cells don’t like to be stored in very low or very high temperatures. In fact, the best possible temperature for storage is room temperature – around 15-20 degrees.
Once in the house at room temperature, store the battery in a dry and secure place. Sticking it on a shelf in the kitchen above the kettle runs the risk of moisture traveling up from the kettle and into the battery case. So we probably wouldn’t recommend this as a location for storage! The perfect place is tucked away in a cupboard where it’s kept at optimum temperature, away from moisture, and where it’s not vulnerable to being knocked at all. We know it can make a very good doorstop, it’s tempting; but not good for your battery. Just make sure you remember where you left it when you come to want to ride it again…
When storing your eBike battery for long periods of time it’s best to keep the battery partially charged. If you store the battery completely flat then you run the risk of damaging the internals of the cells themselves. Also if you store the battery fully charged this can leave the cells under more pressure. So it’s best to keep the battery stored in between.
For the Bosch battery in particular the optimum charge state to leave it in is 60% (Or 3 LED’s lit on the battery level indicator). Try to check the capacity every 6 months or so. When the battery reaches 1 LED showing, then top it back up to 3 LED’s again. Many people think it’s best to keep the battery on charge so it’s always topped up in storage, but this is simply not the case. The Bosch charger won’t ‘overcharge’ the battery at all and does not trickle charge.
Will it harm the battery if I run it completely flat on a ride?
No – it’s never recommended to run the battery completely flat – but for longer rides, we know it can happen. The Bosch Battery is protected by its onboard BMS (Battery Management System). This means it’s protected for deep discharging, the BMS won’t allow the battery to run completely flat.
It may seem that you have no power left, but the BMS will have already shut off the power to the motor before it can hurt itself. We all know that the beauty of the Bosch drive is you can still ride without any resistance with the power switched off. On a side note here, if you are running lights directly powered from the Bosch motor and you do run out of power, the BMS will allow a small amount of power still to the lights so you will still remain visible!
I ride in very cold conditions during the winter, will this affect my battery life and performance?
The simple answer is yes. Similar to fuel MPG in a traditional car, Bosch says economy can be affected up to 30% in sub-zero conditions. So if you are consistently riding in these conditions it can really affect not just your range but will decrease the overall lifespan of the battery as well. There are certain actions you can take to prevent this, such as wrapping an external Bosch powerpack in a specific neoprene sleeve to keep it as temperature as possible.
Should I remove the battery when transporting my bike on the bike rack of my car/motor home?
Yes, this is strongly advised, put it in a dry safe place inside the vehicle. It is less likely to get knocked and lessens the chances of the battery flying off the bike on the motorway if it’s not secured properly.
The best place to store the battery is under the driver’s seat, this means it’s out of the way and also shouldn’t move around too much. Wrap it in a towel to prevent any knocks. Do not leave the battery on your parcel shelf, if you end up braking hard, the 2kg battery is the last thing you want hitting you in the back of the head.
Also, by storing it in the car it keeps the battery from getting wet. Although the battery is rainproof, people don’t realize that if you’re traveling at 70mph down the motorway, the water air traveling over your car is then doubled in speed as it wraps around the back of your vehicle. This means the battery could be being sprayed with water at around 140mph! This is stronger than a pressure washer and can force water into the battery and components of the bike itself.
I dropped my Bosch battery and the case is cracked, what shall I do?
If your Bosch battery (or any eBike battery for that matter) is damaged in any way, then it should be looked into being replaced. Even if it seems OK on the outside one or several of the cells inside may be damaged, this can then move on to other cells and the whole pack can become a ticking time bomb. The battery could seem fine and work but weeks later the effects of the damage could become apparent. The battery could heat up or even ignite in extreme circumstances.
Do not under any circumstances ship this battery anywhere. A faulty Lithium cell can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees. It’s really not worth the risk, visit us in-store and have it replaced.
So, how many miles can I ride on a Full Charge?!
Well this is the million dollar question we get asked over and over again. And to put it frankly, there is no one fits all answer to this question! You see, there are multiple factors at play which affect the distance capable on an eBike.
Tyre pressures, total system weight, type of bicycle, tyre tread, battery capacity, motor system, cadence, environmental conditions, riding mode, average riding speed and even road surface choice will have individual and then combined factors on what you can get out of your Bosch motor battery.
Bosch have a fantastic tool on their website, classified as Range Assist which can help you calculate the range for your next eike ride or tour. This takes into account all of the above factors, for you to determine by the sliding tools, and it will calculate the estimated range for you! Bosch Range Assistant – Here
When was your eBike last serviced?
Something as simple as a brake pad rubbing can slow you down considerably. With the extra assistance on an electric bike, you may not even notice the extra drag. But the motor will be working much harder to assist you and therefore will drain the battery faster. It’s best to get your eBike serviced at least once a year to keep it in good shape which can pay dividends to battery health.
I think my battery needs replacing, what shall I do?
You should visit a Bosch dealer and have the battery capacity checked properly. We won’t take a meter near it, we will plug the entire bike into our computers and be able to give you a decision straight away if the battery needs to be replaced. On request, we can also print diagnostics reports for your records. When a new battery is purchased it comes with a new Warranty from a Bosch dealer, so be sure to keep the receipt of the purchase date safe.
Remember if you treat your Bosch eBike Battery well, it will treat you well in return. We hope that this guide will help you to extend the life of your eBike Battery!
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