Best electric hybrid bikes in 2023: ebikes for commuting, shopping and riding…

Best electric hybrid bikes in 2023: ebikes for commuting, shopping and riding around town

The best electric hybrid bikes will get you around in style and give you a bit of a push when you need it.

Many of the first electric bikes to hit the market were hybrids. With flat handlebars and a comfortable, upright riding position, they’re a good option for general recreational riding, beginner cyclists, shopping and trips around town. Electric hybrid bikes also work well for commuters who aren’t pressed for storage space and want a little assistance when cycling to work. If space is tight, take a look at our guide to the best electric folding bikes.

For more information on what to consider when buying an electric hybrid bike and other electric bike options, we’ve got a full buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article but read on for our pick of the best electric hybrid bikes.

The best electric hybrid bikes in 2023

Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 9

The Grand Canyon:ON 9 is happy around town but can take you places at the weekend. Mick Kirkman / Our Media

  • £3,699 / €3,899 / AU6,899 as tested
  • Smooth around town, but with the power for weekend adventures
  • Good range and spec

Although it’s a hardtail mountain bike rather than a hybrid, the Canyon Grand Canyon:ON is potentially a good choice for city riding if you want to go somewhere more adventurous at the weekend. It has the performance for steep and rough riding, but still feels comfortable around town.

It’s powered by the compact, powerful Shimano EP8 motor, with a 630Wh battery on all but the smallest frame size, delivering over 100km of range. The 12 speeds give plenty of options to tune your own pedalling power.

Canyon Pathlite:ON 5

The Pathlite:ON has the looks and many of the capabilities of an electric mountain bike. Dave Caudery / Our Media

  • £2,499 / €2,699 as tested
  • Delivers lots of power
  • Handles and rides well
  • Very bulky

The Canyon Pathlite:ON 5 is all you want in a commuter bike. It soothes rough roads and presents great value, while Bosch’s Gen 4 motor is powerful and the drivetrain is superb. Our testing was consistent with Canyon’s claimed 100km range.

The battery slots into the down tube and comes out at the click of a key. Its charger is easy to carry in a rucksack, which is a bonus for commuting. Mudguards and integrated lights add to its ride-to-work credentials.

Where the Pathlite:ON 5 stands out from the field is off-road. Its handling, gearing, suspension fork and tyres make it at home on mountain bike trails, but it has an upright riding position for urban riding and bike paths.

The Bosch motor is discrete when you’re pedalling unassisted. A welcome boost comes on steep inclines. You switch between off, Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo modes using the Bosch’s Purion display.

Since it weighs 23kg, one place you won’t want to take the Pathlite:ON 5 is up a flight of stairs.

Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0

  • £3,900 / €4,100 / 4,000 / AU6,900 as tested
  • Smooth and comfortable
  • Long range
  • Sophisticated controller

The Specialized Turbo Vado comes in the SL version and this full-fat iteration, with a more powerful motor boasting 70Nm torque and larger battery capacity. Specialized calls it “4x You” as opposed to “2x You” for the Turbo Vado SL.

We got over 70 miles/113km on a charge. There’s an impressive four-colour controller display, which you can configure using the Specialized Mission Control app. You can also set an alarm and deactivate the motor if the ebike is stolen.

It’s a relaxed, comfortable ride, thanks to 80mm of suspension in the fork, a suspension seatpost and comfortable saddle, although at 26kg – 11kg more than the Turbo Vado SL – you’re not going to want to lug the ebike up a lot of stairs.

Latest deals

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 4.0

Specialized’s crimson red/black paint is a treat, while the reflective frame graphics are another nice touch. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

  • £2,600 / €2,999 / 3,500 as tested
  • Well-tuned power delivery
  • Low weight
  • Lights included

Weighing under 15kg and with a 130km range, the Turbo Vado SL is intended to take ebike use for recreation and city riding mainstream. Its motor weighs under 2kg and the concealed battery makes for clean looks, although the 35Nm torque output is lower than most ebike motors.

Support feels very natural, without any bursts of acceleration but still helping out well on inclines, although it seems a bit underpowered on the steepest climbs, even in its top Turbo mode.

All models come with lights, and higher specs add a rack and mudguards.

Latest deals

Tern Quick Haul P9

  • £3,100 / 3,299 / AU 4,995 as tested
  • Great handling and ride quality
  • Vertical storage to save space
  • Loads of extras to carry everything from kids to locks

Electric cargo bikes enable you to lug groceries, equipment, kids and dogs around, ditching the car, without breaking too much of a sweat.

The Tern Quick Haul can carry up to 70kg of additional load and is a much more affordable and compact option than Tern’s older models. It comes with a large rack, which can also be used to stand the bike vertically and free up space when it’s stored.

Tern sells loads of accessories and luggage, so you can kit the bike out for whatever you want to use it for.

With 65Nm of torque from the Bosch motor and a range that we found to average 46 miles, the Quick Haul has plenty of oomph to get you around. Handling and ride quality are great, although with a rack and luggage, it’s not so easy to negotiate tight gaps.

Latest deals

VanMoof S3

  • £1,998 / 2,298 / €2,198 as tested
  • Outstanding value
  • Easy and comfy to ride
  • Integrated lights

Weighing in at 21kg, the VanMoof S3 is a smooth-riding urban ebike with substantial range thanks to a 504Wh battery in the frame. The front-wheel hub holds a 250W motor.

Our tester managed almost 130 rolling kilometres relying on the battery alone, with the 378Wh power bank attached but not turned on. The S3 fully recharges in four hours and the battery tops up halfway in 80 minutes.

The bike’s automatic four-speed rear-hub shifting mostly works well in hilly and flat settings. The assistance correlates with your speed and the turbo gives a blast of power if required. The S3’s two sizes should cater for riders of most heights.

The nifty LED display on the top tube doubles up as an accurate speedometer and battery indicator. When parked, you can set the in-built alarm and freeze the rear wheel, so you don’t need to tether it to something. Both can be disabled via an app or code.

VanMoof has now replaced the S3 with the S5, which looks similar but has upgraded functionality.

Latest deals

VanMoof X3

The VanMoof X3 is a brilliant bike to ride around town, combining agility, pace and comfort along with a host of useful extras, including integrated lights and security features. You can also strap a bag to the front carrier. Power delivery is steady and correlates to the force you exert on the pedals. These can, however, lack grip in the rain.

Our tester eked out 64km and 500m elevation from the battery, a respectable distance. As for charging, the battery weighs 867g, so it’s easy to remove and carry. It charges fully in four hours.

The VanMoof X3 only comes in one size, but this should suit the majority of female and male riders. It’s now been replaced by the VanMoof A5, which has a sloping top tube design which gives a little easier step-over.

Latest deals

Bianchi E-Spillo Luxury

Coming with a rear rack for proper panniers and an upright riding position, the Bianchi E-Spillo Luxury is made for cruising stylishly to the shops or work. The Shimano Steps E5000 motor is partially concealed in the position of the bottom bracket. It has three modes – Normal, Eco and Turbo.

The 418Wh battery slides under the rear rack, bringing maximum claimed range to 120km. Our tester found the power gauge dipped sharply after 97km, underlining the bike is best for short, urban trips.

The E-Spillo Luxury has Shimano’s 9-speed Altus groupset. The 34t front ring, matched with an 11-36 cassette, suits most town riding. The brakes do a decent job of slowing the bike’s bulk.

Steel mudguards are included and match the brand’s iconic celeste frame. It weighs 21.65kg in size 53cm and also comes in a 47cm version.

The easy-to-read Shimano Steps dE6100 head unit displays speed, predicted range, distance and journey time.

Latest deals

Cannondale Quick 4 Disc with Cytronex C1 motor kit

Cannondale’s Quick 4 Disc hybrid fitted with a Cytronex ebike kit. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £1,646 as tested
  • £995 for Cytronex C1 kit, £579.99 for Cannondale Quick 4 Disc, £71 for optional lights
  • Cytronex add-on kit electrifies a standard hybrid bike
  • Subtle power delivery

The Cytronex C1 kit includes a front-hub motor and bottle cage battery to electrify a standard non-assisted hybrid bike, adding just over 3kg to the weight. We tried it out on the Cannondale Quick 4 Disc, which was responsive and sporty, with a good gear range. It’s one of a range of pre-built options from Cytronex.

Add the motor and the Quick becomes a competent ebike with around 60km of range and progressive power delivery. The motor is controlled easily via the single bar-mounted button.

You can also spec lights when you order the bike, while the Quick has mounts for mudguards and a rack, making this an all-weather commuting machine.

Canyon Precede:ON CF 9

Stunning looks mean that the Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 stands out on the commute. Russel Burton / Immediate Media

  • £4,999 / €4,999 as tested
  • Top-spec motor and large battery
  • Belt drive with CVT transmission
  • On the heavy side

The Precede:ON’s futuristic design includes comprehensive integration for a slick, fast-looking commute. Power comes from a top-spec Bosch Performance Line CX motor, with a high-capacity integrated battery that gives plenty of range and is easy to remove for charging.

There’s a belt drive with a constantly variable transmission system that means you don’t need to change gears.

There’s a slick-looking cockpit, too, and the Precede:ON feels stable without being sluggish or lacking agility. At 23kg, it’s heavy though.

Latest deals

Carrera Crossfuse

A classic hybrid position makes the Carrera Crossfuse the perfect bike for negotiating traffic. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • £1,899 as tested
  • Bosch motor and battery
  • Comfortable ride
  • Quality Shimano gears and brakes

Halfords’ Carrera brand offers the competitively priced Crossfuse, with a 50Nm Bosch motor and lockable battery. The ride position is upright, and the saddle and handlebar grips comfortable, while wide tyres with a deep tread work well on a variety of surfaces and the short-travel fork helps smooth the way.

Range is good – we got close to 100km – and you can remove the battery for charging.

The single-chainring drivetrain offers a wide spread of gears and the hydraulic disc brakes come from Shimano, making for effective stopping power. Coupled with a very comfortable ride, we rated the Crossfuse a great commuter option.

Latest deals

Carrera Impel IM-2

Carrera’s Impel IM-2 looks neat for one of the more affordable ebikes available. David Caudery / Immediate Media

  • £1,299 RRP as tested
  • Commuting and off-road capability
  • Respectable range and punchy motor
  • No mudguards, disappointing brakes

The Carrera Impel IM-2 is a capable commuter with all-road potential and a nippy ride. Carrera says the 367Wh battery will see you through 50km, but our tester found this was slightly optimistic. Its assistance is supplied by a 45Nm/250W rear-hub motor, which has three modes.

The battery can be taken off the bike and recharged in five and a half hours.

The Impel’s agile handling, 650b wheels and 47mm tyres make it no slouch off tarmac.

The 1x drivetrain is unfussy and effective. It comprises a Shimano nine-speed Alvio rear derailleur and the brand’s Altus shifter. The 11-36 ratio is perfect for most commuting.

The absence of mudguards and powerful brakes are among few downsides to this keenly-priced bike.

Latest deals

Cooper CG-7E

Cooper makes ebikes that are designed for clean lines and simplicity, with a rear hub that includes both the motor and its 173Wh battery, so there’s no wiring, sensors or other stuff to clutter it up.

It also allows regenerative braking, upping the range to a claimed 25 to 37 miles, which we exceeded. It’s controlled via a phone app rather than a separate controller, which also reduces clutter, although we found it a little hard to read in bright sunlight.

It’s a really nice bike to ride, with the characteristic feel of a steel frame. The motor helps, rather than taking over, although its 40Nm of torque is enough to get you up hills at a good pace. The gearing is basic but works, while Cooper has specced quality grips and saddle.

Latest deals

Genesis Smithfield

A comfy ride and attractive looks come with a raft of commuter features. Dave Caudery / Our Media

The Genesis Smithfield is a sleek urban ebike that rides nicely with a sizeable 150km claimed range and all you need for commuting, such as metal mudguards, a nurse’s lock and bosses for bottle cages or racks.

Although the price tag calls for a better drivetrain than the nine-speed Shimano Acera, the Smithfield does boast a capable Shimano STEPS motor, long-lasting battery and disc brakes.

The Smithfield might not be the snappiest given it weighs 23kg, but it has the range and compliance for you to incorporate off-road sorties into your route home.

Our tester managed an undulating 81.5km using the variety of modes and found the battery recharged to 80 per cent in two hours and full charge in four.

Latest deals

best, electric, hybrid, bikes

GoCycle G4

The GoCycle G4 is a class-leading collapsible bike with an excellent motor and reasonable range. A carbon fork and mid-section reduce weight but increase cost to just shy of £4,000.

The GoCycle is well-specced. It has hydraulic brakes and a three-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear with ratios low enough for steep hills. Its battery should be good for 50 to 60km rides.

The G4 motor has so much torque it really whizzes around town, and beyond, including towpaths, thanks to wide tyres, suspension and traction control.

The GoCycle’s app, which allows fine-tuning and displays loads of data, gets the best out of a fun-to-ride bike.

Latest deals

GT Power Performer

  • £1,800 / 2,625 as tested
  • Retro BMX style
  • Decent range and performance
  • Fun but still practical

With 1980s-inspired looks and equipment, but the benefit of a motor, the GT Power Performer gives you a BMX-style ride position with a low saddle and high bars. There’s even a platform behind the saddle to stand on.

There’s a Bafang rear-hub motor with five assistance levels and 45Nm torque, and we got around 40 miles of range. There are hydraulic disc brakes to help with skids and tricks, and full mudguards that almost keep you dry, but not quite.

It’s more practical than you’d expect for the commute, well-priced and fun.

Latest deals

LeMond Prolog

Former professional road racer Greg LeMond is back in the bike business with this impressive electric bike. The LeMond Prolog is lightweight and sleek-looking, but one of its biggest surprises is its dynamic ride.

Unlike many electric hybrid bikes, which look to mountain bikes for their relaxed, upright designs, the Prolog is much sportier and consequently has faster handling.

The stiff and responsive carbon frame has wide tyres and comfortable contact points to cushion your ride.

The bike has a 1x Shimano GRX drivetrain and an oversized rear hub that houses a 250W motor, putting out 40Nm of power. We found the battery life to be decent in testing, with the bike only running out of power after 60 miles / 100km of riding.

At over £4,000 / 4,500, the Prolog is at the pricier end of the electric hybrid spectrum. But if you’re looking for a sporty assisted bike, we reckon it should be high on your list.

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

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.

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.

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.

best, electric, hybrid, bikes

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.

best, electric, hybrid, bikes

Electric Varsity Collection – Cambridge

Get 12 months of free bicycle insurance for your new Quella e-bike, provided by our partner Laka.

Why do I need bicycle insurance?

Cycling gives a feeling of freedom like nothing else. But it’s not without its risks. Unfortunately bike thefts, traffic accidents, even stolen batteries can happen to any cyclist.

This is where Laka comes in. By activating your 12 months of free Laka cover you’ll be protected against theft, damage and loss, leaving you free to enjoy the ride.

Why insure your bike with Laka?

Laka is the new way to insure your bike. With no upfront premiums, no excess, and much fairer collective pricing, they’ve flipped traditional insurance on it’s head.

With a Laka policy you’re covered for;

  • Theft, at home and on the go
  • Damage, accidental and vandalism
  • Loss, by third-parties e.g. a courier

Plus the Laka claims experience is so good, you’ll actually want to claim. Claims are handled by real bike experts and usually agreed within a working day.

They even scooped up ‘Best Cycle Insurance Provider’ for 3 years running.

Activate today to cover your new Quella e-bike.

How do I claim my free insurance offer?

  • Add the bike you want to the basket
  • On the basket page add the LAKA insurance offer to your basket
  • Finish purchasing your ace new Quella bike
  • Laka will email you with your activation link to the email address you use for your bike purchase
  • Complete the registration process with Laka and you’re covered!

Where can I get more information?

Feel free to get in touch with us on social media or email, alternatively you can head to https://laka.co/gb for more information about their insurance policies.

0 x 32C Panaracer GravelKing Folding Tyre (Set) – Black

Specification

Frame: Cro-mo 4130 Track Geometry

Forks: Cro-mo 4130 Track Profile

Crank: Quella Premium Vintage CNC Aluminium 44T

Pedals: Wellgo Platform

Gear ratio: 44T/16T

Rear Electric Hub: Zehus Generation 2

Front Hubs: Joytech sealed bearing

Rims: Quella 40mm Deep-V Double Wall CNC Braking Surface

Tyres: Kenda West 25c

Brakes: Radius Dual Pivot Calliper

Handlebars: Quella Premium Bullhorn with 31.8 Bore

Stem: Quella Premium 90mm reach

Saddle: Quella Premium Varsity Body Geo Comfort Saddle

Seat Post: Micro Adjust 27.2

Headset: Quella CNC Sealed Bearing

Stand Over Height: 28.5″ 51cm, 30″ (54cm), 33″ (58cm), 34″ (61cm)

Weight inc Electric Hub: 13.9 kgs (51cm), 13.9 kgs (54cm), 15.2 kgs (58cm), 15.2 kgs (61cm)

FAQ

Anything else?

Our Guarantee

All Quella Bicycle frames and forks are guaranteed to be free from manufacturing defects in material and/or workmanship for a set period. This period is 12 months for all Quella brand complete bikes and frame sets. Warranty also includes coverage on bicycle components for sixty days from the original date of purchase. This warranty applies to the original owner only and is not transferable. Proof of purchase may be required.

Vintage-inspired Design

The vintage-inspired paint finish and hand-made leather saddle and bar tape complete the signature Quella aesthetic.

Extra options

Bottle Holder

This Quella bottle holder is an essential accessory for most commuters and fits easily into our bike mounts.

Cateye AMPP 200 / Orb rechargeable bike light set

Cateyes best value rechargeable light sets, paring the AMPP 200 front light and the small, but powerful Orb Rechargeable rear light. The AMPP200 is perfect for urban riding, the compact, lightweight Cateye AMPP 200 offers impressive functionality and visibility. Simple functions and easy to fit, the set is perfect for commuting.

Hiplok DX D-Lock Hardened Steel – Diamond Secure Lock – Black

The ultimate D lock design built to the strongest standard with anti-rotation, double locking tabs and 14mm steel shackle. One of the lightest Sold Secure Diamond rated D-locks on the market features Hiplok’s unique CLIP RIDE system so that it can be easily carried on bag straps and belts.

Horizontal pedal strap (pair)

Restrap horizontal pedal straps provide remarkable strength and comfort. Made from tough nylon webbing, the straps are fully adjustable to suit all riders. The Velcro system holds your foot firmly in place for fast, tough cycling. No fittings required. Just fasten and go. Our straps can be worn with any footwear. Perfect for urban riding, bikepacking and touring.

Phone holder

This Quella phone holder is the perfect addition to your handlebars, adjustable attachment to fit all mobile phones securely. Compatible with all Quella Varsity and Nero handlebars.

RavX Bike Basics Kit – 4 Pieces

RavX Bike Basics Kit Includes 4 essentials you need to keep you on the road: Econo X mini pump; ‘X10’ Multi Tool; Classic X saddlebag; Patch X patch kit. We recommend you also purchase a set of Cycle tyre levers.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Wired PL Tyre 700 x 25c (Set)

Punctures are a memory. The SmartGuard layer made from a flexible, special rubber offers particular resistance to shards of glass and flints. Even a thumbtack cannot penetrate this protective layer.

Tortec Tour Ultralite Rear Rack

Lightweight in design, the Tour Ultralite Rear Rack is the ideal choice for fast tourers or audax riders. Produced from 10mm alloy tubing, it’s quick to fit and includes a rear reflector / light plate.

Bottle Holder

This Quella bottle holder is an essential accessory for most commuters and fits easily into our bike mounts.

Cateye AMPP 200 / Orb rechargeable bike light set

Cateyes best value rechargeable light sets, paring the AMPP 200 front light and the small, but powerful Orb Rechargeable rear light. The AMPP200 is perfect for urban riding, the compact, lightweight Cateye AMPP 200 offers impressive functionality and visibility. Simple functions and easy to fit, the set is perfect for commuting.

Hiplok DX-Lock Maximum Security Bike Lock with 2m Cable

A double dead lock and anti-rotation locking combine with a 14mm premium hardened steel shackle to withstand the toughest of attacks. Independently awarded maximum Diamond level security rating by the experts at sold secure.

Horizontal pedal strap (pair)

Restrap horizontal pedal straps provide remarkable strength and comfort. Made from tough nylon webbing, the straps are fully adjustable to suit all riders. The Velcro system holds your foot firmly in place for fast, tough cycling. No fittings required. Just fasten and go. Our straps can be worn with any footwear. Perfect for urban riding, bikepacking and touring.

Phone holder

This Quella phone holder is the perfect addition to your handlebars, adjustable attachment to fit all mobile phones securely. Compatible with all Quella Varsity and Nero handlebars.

Commuter Bike Seat Pack – Black

Not Too Big. Not Too Small. The Commute Seat Pack was made for items like tools, mini pump, spare tubes, and a light jacket that you need to keep your bike and yourself ready for anything.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Wired PL Tyre 700 x 25c (Set)

Punctures are a memory. The SmartGuard layer made from a flexible, special rubber offers particular resistance to shards of glass and flints. Even a thumbtack cannot penetrate this protective layer.

Tortec Tour Ultralite Rear Rack

Lightweight in design, the Tour Ultralite Rear Rack is the ideal choice for fast tourers or audax riders. Produced from 10mm alloy tubing, it’s quick to fit and includes a rear reflector / light plate.

The best electric bike conversion kits 2023 and how to fit them

The best electric bike conversion kits can give you an extra boost of power without the expense of purchasing a new electric bike. We’ve fitted some of the best e-bike conversion kits ourselves, so will walk you through the process, how easy it is and how the different systems perform.

E-bikes are soaring in popularity – and for good reason. The best electric bikes replace a car for running errands around town and greatly increase the distances it’s possible to ride on one of the best commuter bikes. An e-bike can also be a great tool for boosting your fitness, whether that’s enabling you to ride with a greater range of people or offering the motivation of a greater range of roads to explore.

But is an e-bike worth it,? As the best ebike conversion kits promise to add power to an ‘analogue’ bike for a lot less than a full ebike, it’s an easy, cheaper way to get an electric boost.

In this guide we’ll take you through the surprisingly broad range of benefits an e-bike conversion kit has to offer and – most importantly – how to perform an e-bike conversion, based on our hands-on experience. 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 – it genuinely is so much simpler than you would think.

When buying an ebike conversion kit there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider. Most importantly you’ll need a kit that will fit your bike. To help with this it pays to take a few frame measurements, notably the width of your forks and the width of the rear stays, as well as noting the wheel size and the type of brakes. You can then match these details to the kit specifications.

Naturally you’ll also need to consider the cost and how much you chose to spend on an ebike 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.

You’ll also want to consider where the motor will be located, and match this to your bike and your mechanical prowess. Front hub motors are typically the easiest to fit, while mid-drive motors require more effort. A rear hub motor lies somewhere in between the two, and like a front hub option is applicable to a wide range of bikes.

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.

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.

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.

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 bike conversion kits

You can trust Cycling Weekly.

Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Specifications

Wheel sizes: Each wheel is custom built – specify your required size at checkout (Bromptons also catered for)

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 to 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 assist.

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.

Reasons to avoid

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 included, 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 conversion kit review

Reasons to avoid

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.

Reasons to avoid

This radically different approach from Rubbee makes for an e-bike conversion with much 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.

Reasons to avoid

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.

Reasons to avoid

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 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 your 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 mechanical competent to fit it and you’ll need to factor in the additional cost of a battery.

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.

Swap the tyre 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-driveside) 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. If you want to go over how to do these, we have a guide that can be accessed here.

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. If you’re unsure how to do that, we have another guide here.

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 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.

Attach magnet disc and sensor

The magnet disc has a split design so it can just clip around the inside of the left (non-driveside 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.

Plug in the cables

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 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, there are systems that 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?

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 are able to 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.

How we test

Where we’ve been able to link to a review, it means that we’ve put the ebike conversion kit through its paces. We’ve assessed how easy it is to fit and maintain as well other factors such as quality of the components and 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.

Leave a Comment