Dillenger Bafang Mid Electric Bike Kit Review Part 2: Ride & Range Test…

Dillenger Bafang Mid Drive Electric Bike Kit Review Part 2: Ride Range Test [VIDEO]

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After putting on some miles and doing a full range test, the results are in on the Dillenger Bafang mid drive electric bike kit!

Overall, the Dillenger Bafang mid drive kit is one of the more refined systems that can be installed on almost any bike.

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Mid drive systems can climb almost any hill because they can leverage the gears of the bike, similar to a car’s motor and transmission.

This review is for the 750 watt system but there are also 250 watt, 350 watt, and 500 watt systems available.

In this second part of the full review of the Dillenger Bafang mid drive kit, you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this kit.

Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with large detailed pictures of the installation and kit specifications to get familiar with this system.

What you can expect from the Dillenger Bafang Mid Drive Electric Bike Kit:

To get acquainted with the Bafang kit, checkout this video:

Dillenger began in Australia in 2007 and they are in the process of establishing themselves in multiple European markets and in the US.

In addition to this Bafang mid drive kit Dillenger also sells a range of hub motor kits and complete electric bikes.

Now let’s take a look at how the system performs on the road.

Riding the Dillenger Bafang Mid Drive Electric Bike Kit:

This particular system is very powerful with 750 watts and ~80 Nm of torque! Since the motor is powering through the gears (transmission) of the bike it can climb almost any hill and get up to speed pretty quick.

A mid drive with 750 watts and up to 80 Nm of torque is probably a bit excessive for most bikes but it definitely helps with carrying a lot of cargo on the Xtracycle Edgerunner, especially up steep hills! It is nice that Dillenger offers the options for 250, 350, or 500 watt systems to fit your riding needs.

This Bafang system is a cadence sensor system which means that when the cranks are turning the system will add assist. It is a simpler assist system when compared to a torque sensor that varies the assistance based on how hard or easily you are pedaling. Bafang is rumored to have a torque sensing mid drive at some point.

Cadence sensor systems are not as intuitive because they can provide full assist even if you are “soft pedaling” (turning the cranks but not pedaling hard). As you get used to the system it is important to remember that if you want to stop the assist you will need to stop pedaling completely or engage the brake lever.

dillenger, bafang, electric, bike, review, part

The brake levers that come with the kit have a sensor that will stop the assist when the brake lever is engaged. They only work with mechanical cable actuated brakes, not hydraulic brakes, but there is a new universal brake sensor (aftermarket) that will work with hydraulic brakes.

When you start pedaling the power gradually adds assist and the motor is relatively quiet. This adds up to a pretty smooth riding experience.

To comply to the US law for electric bikes the system comes with a 20 mph max assist but there is a way to change the max speed to be higher or lower in the advanced settings. The max speed range that is available is between 10 mph and 25 mph.

All mid drives motors will add additional wear to the drivetrain (chainring, chain, cogs, and derailleur), because they are providing more consistent power to the drivetrain than a normal human can. At 750 watts of power the additional wear will probably be significant in the long run. That is another consideration when selecting the power level for your bike.

Speaking of the power, in the higher pedal assist settings you will notice the “hard shifts” or abruptness when changing gears. The Bafang system doesn’t have a system to sense when you are going to shift (Bosch Kalkhoff Impulse systems do), so the shifting will happen under full power. If you have a higher quality drivetrain you may not notice it as much but it will still be somewhat abrupt.

One way to work around this it to tap the brake levers to stop the assist briefly while shifting gears. I didn’t have the brake levers set up on the Xtracycle Edgerunner (because it has hydraulic disc brakes) but I have used this technique on other Bafang mid drive equipped bikes.

The Bafang mid drive comes set up with 3 levels of pedal assist and a “0” level for no assist. There is a way to customize the system to add up to 9 indexed levels of pedal assist. That is nice if you prefer having smaller incremental differences in the pedal assist levels. I found that 5 levels of assist worked well for my needs.

In addition to pedal assist there is the thumb throttle option that can add a boost to the pedal assist or it can be used as a pure throttle (no pedaling required). There is some delay between using the throttle and transitioning back to the pedal assist and it would be nice to have smoother transition.

I found the throttle was useful for slowly maneuvering the bike in crowded areas before getting out into the open road where I could use the pedal assist more.

For the US and UK market Dillenger has spec’ed a 48V 8ah lithium battery with Headway cells. For the Australian market the battery is a 48V 11.6ah lithium with Samsung cells, but it is a more expensive kit.

The kit comes with a battery mount that attaches to the water bottle braze-ons on most bike frames. The Xtracycle Edgerunner that I used to test this kit has a battery mount near the rear wheel.

The battery can be charged in ~ 4 hours with the included charger. It can be charged on the bike or unlocked and removed from the bike for charging inside.

In addition to powering the bike, this battery can also charge a smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, etc. with its built in USB charging port on the side. This is very handy for charging these devices while out and about or while on an e-bike tour.

The LCD display is very large and easy to read with just enough information like: current speed, odometer, trip distance, battery level, pedal assist level, and current time. It has a backlit feature that makes it very easy to see this info while riding at night. The backlight brightness can be adjusted in the advanced settings.

To turn the system on, the battery must be turned on in addition to the on/off button at the control pad on the handlebars. The control pad also has – buttons for adjusting the assist levels and changing the advanced settings.

Now let’s see how the system did in the range test.

Dillenger Bafang Kit Range Test Results:

Here is the real world information on how the Dillenger Bafang mid drive kit performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.

While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed.

Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the kit traveled 20.8 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1,700 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is pretty good range for a 48 Volt 8 ah battery pack (384 Watt Hours) with a 750 watt motor.

Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.

Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.

Speed: The stock speed for the US is 20 mph with assist. There is a way to customize the max speed between 10 mph to 25 mph in the advanced settings.

Weight: The kit tips the scales at around 15 lbs.

The weight distribution of the Dillenger Bafang mid drive kit is very good because the motor and battery are mounted in the center of the bike and relatively low to the ground. This is good for overall bike handling.

Pros:

Refined Retrofit Mid Drive: The Dillenger Bafang mid drive is probably one of the more refined systems that can be added to a conventional bike. There are other retrofit systems out there, but they are not as clean, smooth, or quiet. Features like clean installation look, large LCD display, and USB charging make this mid drive stand out.

Powerful Mid Drive: A lot of the mid drives installed on complete bikes are limited to 250 or 350 watts. The Dillenger Bafang offers those in addition to 500 and 750 watt options. For those that want the higher power it is nice to have more options.

Cons:

Cadence Sensor: The cadence sensor pedal assist is not as intuitive as a torque sensor pedal assist system because it will provide a lot of power even if you are “soft pedaling”. Cadence sensor systems are generally found on the more economical systems and this may be a way to keep the cost of this system relatively economical. There is a rumor that Bafang will be offering a torque sensor mid drive.

Hard Shifts: Since this system doesn’t reduce power when you shift the gears, there can be some abrupt shifts when in the higher pedal assist levels. It would be nice to see the integration of a shifting sensor.

Conclusion:

Overall the Dillenger Bafang mid drive is one of the more refined retrofit mid drive systems that I have ridden. The installation is relatively straight forward (for the mechanically inclined) and the performance is very good. The smooth and quiet power combined with a nice display and easy to use control pad make it a nice system to add to a conventional bike. It is nice that Dillenger offers a wide variety of power levels to choose from to suit your riding style.

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your Комментарии и мнения владельцев with the Electric Bike Report community below.

Where to buy a Dillenger Bafang mid drive kit? Check with Dillenger, they have a website for the US, the UK, and Australia.

Do you have any questions about the Dillenger Bafang kit? Do you own a Bafang mid drive kit? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you or not.

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!

Reader Interactions

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

I have a Bafang 8 fun kit(350w motor,37v Samsung Lith-ion battery) fitted to my GT(City Cycles, Cape Town). My experience is the same as mentioned in your article. All pro’s Con’s included. What is the difference between the Bafang 8 fun vs Dillinger Bafang?

Hi Chester, Dillenger is supplying the Bafang mid drive as a complete kit that includes their (Dillenger) battery and charger. 8FUN is the shortened name of Bafang but I believe they are phasing that out and will be just going with Bafang as the brand name.

Let me know when they come out with one that has a separate controller and I will happy to have one. I don’t want a motor with the controller built in. They don’t last in my experience due to the heat off the motors.

I have a 350W 36V 8Fun which I have fitted to my Sprint26 ICE trike. I think the mid-drive concept very well suited to the trike configuration though the Dillenger ‘drink-bottle’ 15.4 amp battery is difficult to place due to size and shape – I think I would sooner have a flatter shape with less tank capacity and maybe carry two. I have had one ‘sudden death’ battery failure so a standby would have been good. In the test blurb there was no mention of the assist levels used; this would influence the power consumption. From my experience (now over 6000 km ) the unit is very economical, quiet and smooth. I use the brake cut-off if I need to disconnect the drive quickly eg gear changes – I have Rohloff hub gears. When returning from a ride the last 1km is up a reasonably steep grade – 1:8 for which I select level 5 of 6 in 2nd gear @ 7kph – very easy pedalling. I’m not sure if the torque sensor would help with my set-up but a more suitable battery shape would be good. I am currently getting between 60 and 70kms per charge but actually I never run till the battery is totally used so those distances are pretty conservative. The average level of assist I use is roughly 3 – 4 of 6. The reason I fitted the e-drive is because 3 yrs ago I developed CFS (ME) and as a result have much less energy to contribute, hence the ‘outside’ help.

It is nice to read about some one who is using a 8FUN style mid drive,I have never had an electric trike but I hooked up a mid drive similar to this but used a 49cc gas engine hooked into the Bottom Bracket much like the way the 8Fun is done I will soon be trying to hook up a similar hook up with a 24v x 250 watt motor to the BB on my current trike……It is very nice to hear from some one using one of these type systems……my designs don’t have all the fancy wiring and or cut-offs my motor is either on or off I run a sprocket in the chain between the wheel and the BB,when I want assistance I simply turn on the motor, and I instantly have full power coming from my 24v x 250 watt motor into the chain in whatever gear I happen to be in. no pedelec, just 2500 rpms,If it is too fast I can either down shift or just use the motor in small bursts or raw power,I can go really fast,I have no stats,but I never run out of power. If the battery’s [2 x 12v motorcycle batteries ] gets too low,I either switch batteries or start the propane powered generator……….Thank You for your posting I learned a lot from it!!

Is there any drag when the motor is set to the 0 setting, like there would be if it were a hub motor?

I don’t like how your reviews are broken up into two or more parts. That’s not usual. If I read a car review, I get the whole thing. Same with computer reviews, coffee makers, etc. And no matter what part of the review I’m reading (I’m never sure) there are aways talk of going to the other half of the review, somewhere. Just do it normal, like everybody else. I’d find that easier to follow.

I don’t understand why EcoSpeed is not mentioned. EcoSpeed makes a super high quality mid drive system, with amazing torque because it is up to 1300 watts. I have had 2 EcoSpeeds for 6 years and have upgraded to their latest technology. They are a great company to deal with, stand behind their products, and for hill climbing EcoSpeed is amazing. I also have Bionx, their first verstion 350 Watt system, and it is nothing compared to EcoSpeed. I am interested in the new 500 D Bionx but since my main requirement is serious hill climbing, EcoSpeed will always be my go to system.

Hi Andrew, Thanks for your thoughts on the EcoSpeed; it is good to get your feedback because it sounds like you have put the system to good use. This particular article is a review focused on the Dillenger Bafang kit but I recently posted an electric bike mid drive system guide which includes the EcoSpeed system. Pete

Hi I fitted two 8fun mid drives to our mountain bikes for use on our holidays around France – amazing range and power to cope with all terrain – I did fit the larger gear cassette to ensure all hills would be climbed with ease and it also takes the strain off the chain gear etc. Worth every penny considering all the panniers we carry around.

Hi, Lectric Cycles in the US includes a gear sensor with their Bafang/e-Rad kits.Watching the review from EBR on YT shows it works quite well.There is a bit of time delay using the gear sensor but it beats the heck out of mashed gears and wear on the bikes parts. Now for the new 1000 watt Bafang/e-Rad!! Joey.

There are other mid-drive systems besides Bosch or Bafang. There are GNG mid-drive system and From Taiwan Cyclone mid drive system not proprietary like the Bosch. Bafang system is only limited to 48v while other offer higher voltage in their system.

I have 737 miles on a Bafang 750W center drive system with an aftermarket Lekkie Bling Ring sprocket. (Without replacing the original steel sprocket, off-set Will be an issue.) Battery: 50V (9P) Triangle Pack, High Energy-29E, 50V 24.8Ah. (18.8 lbs.) The Bike is a Panamericana, fully suspended, steel tour bike with 26” wheels, manufactured in Germany. Power is transmitted through a Rohloff 14-speed, speed hub and sporting hydraulic disc brakes. I have climbed 30,717 feet, 50 hours moving time in 33 total rides. Longest ride: 55.9 miles in 3.28 hrs. Elev chg 1746 / – 1726 ft. (Note: I charge the pack to 80% and have never depleted it trying to extend the life of the battery so additional performance can be achieved.) The bike has been setup in a training/everyday configuration. Two full front panniers 20 lbs. each, an over full bar bag 6 to 10 lbs., two mirrors, umbrella, K-bar, 5 lbs. of Bluetooth speaker, GPS, 6’ cable lock, Litelok, dynamo and high density light, rear side-stand, leather seat bag and leather mud-flaps on full fenders, and water bottles. In this configuration she weighs 120 lbs. Rider weight is 300 lbs. The battery has been charged 15 times. Using the 8Fun motor has more of a learning curve than you would guess. Because I am using a Rohloff hub I disconnected the break lever cut-out switches. They were causing more problems than helping anyway. BUT, I stop peddling to shift, 1st to 14th and back without peddling. Quiet, smooth and 100% sure. Coming to a fast stop at a mistimed light would lead to a multi second power time-out and often a cpu lock-up (error 30H), leaving me floundering at the intersection. The power IS either on or off. The least peddle movement will activate the drive at whatever assist level it is set for. Applying torque to the peddles is only necessary if you wish to conserve battery or once at top speed to go faster. Unlike others I notice no drag from the motor when set at 0 PAS (assist)… but, my bike weighs 117 lbs. without my ass on it. Distance is of utmost importance to me not speed. I am truly hoping to reach distances of 100 miles as training progresses. I have mine set for levels 0-9 in pedal assist. I only use levels 0-3 all the time, most of the time, a lot of the time. I have found that using anything above PAS 3 is a luxury only. To feel the wind in your face. Speed is very very addictive. And distance is most important to me. I peddle with PAS when going uphill at all times. This sounds obvious but remember there is a throttle to bypass the peddle assist. On level ground you can pause peddling, feather in the throttle and actually increase speed a mile or 2 an hour, hold it there until you reach an incline that would bog the motor down or until the battery runs dry. To combat a head wind, you can go to a higher PAS level, peddle harder, use the throttle, or… down shift and KBO like you don’t have a motor. How Far OR How Fast. I use the throttle as little as possible knowing that it all decreases my maximum possible distance. But I can’t describe the feeling of timing an intersection correctly, going to level 9 on PAS, shifting to 14th gear and sailing through the light with little to no effort.

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How to convert a bike to electric power | Electric bike conversion kits explained

The best electric bike conversion kits will enable you to add a motor to your existing bike simply and relatively cheaply – at least compared to the price of buying a whole new electric bike.

There are an increasing number of ebike conversion kits out there, and they’re getting more sophisticated and easier to install on your bike, making for a practical alternative to a new purpose-built electric bike. An electric bike conversion kit will include the motor to drive you along and the battery to power it. It also needs to include the apparatus to control the power output level. This usually takes the form of a bar-mounted display.

In addition, a kit will include sensors to detect how fast you’re travelling and your level of pedal input to ensure the power supplied matches your needs. We’ve tested a few electric bike conversion kits here at BikeRadar, but there are lots more we’re yet to try. A full test of the best electric bike conversion kits is in the works – stay tuned. If you want a more detailed explanation of the different types of kit available and things to consider when purchasing an electric bike conversion kit, then head to our explainer further down the page.

Best electric bike conversion kits 2022: our picks

Swytch electric bike conversion kit

Swytch says its electric bike conversion kit can convert any bike into an electric bike. Stan Portus / Our Media

  • Pros: Very compact; easy to install; variety of range options
  • Cons: 100mm threaded front axle only; not compatible with thru-axles

London-based Swytch makes a conversion kit that, it says, is the lightest in the world at 3kg total weight. It can convert any bike into an ebike.

The kit includes a 40Nm brushless hub-based motor that comes pre-laced into a replacement front wheel. The lithium-ion battery pack connects to your handlebars and also acts as the system controller and LCD display.

There’s a crank-mounted cadence sensor, and that’s all you need to fit to your bike to get going.

There’s a Brompton-specific kit available too, with an adaptor for the Brompton’s front luggage mount.

Depending on the range you want, there are three sizes of battery pack available, which provide a claimed range of 35km, 50km or 100km.

Swytch has recently unveiled an even more compact kit with a.sized battery that weighs just 700g and, Swytch says, gives 15km of range.

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Cytronex electric bike conversion kit

Cytronex makes electric bike conversion kits for Bromptons, as well as standard bikes. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

  • Pros: Clever sensor tech; decent range
  • Cons: Not much onboard info on battery level and range

Weighing between 3.2kg and 3.6kg, the Cytronex ebike conversion kit is another front-wheel conversion to house a hub motor, but in this case, the battery is designed to fit in a standard bottle cage.

We tested the kit on a Cannondale Quick hybrid and reckon that conversion takes around 30 minutes. The charge level is displayed via LEDs on the battery, which also houses the system controller. We got up to an impressive 48 miles on a charge.

We’ve also tested the kit on a Brompton P Line lightweight folder, where the total weight undercut the C Line-based Brompton Electric. Fit it to a C Line and it’s also cheaper than the Brompton Electric.

Electric bike conversion kits: different types explained

Electric bike conversion kits come in styles to suit all types of bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

There are a number of ways to electrify your existing bike for assistance up those hills: you can fit a powered wheel, either front or rear; you can attach a drive unit to the bottom bracket; you can fit a motor above the rear wheel and drive it via friction; or, most sneakily, you can conceal a motor in the seatpost.

Whether you ride a hybrid, mountain bike, road bike or even a folder, tourer or gravel bike, it should be possible to convert your bike.

Many can even be fitted by a competent home mechanic if you’re feeling handy and have an afternoon spare.

So, what are your options? Let’s take a look at the different ways to convert your non-assisted bike into an electric bike.

Powered ebike wheels

The Swytch is a good example of a readily available universal electric bike conversion kit that uses a motor at the front hub. Swytch

Fitting a powered ebike wheel is probably the most practical option for many people.

A powered ebike wheel is built around a special hub that contains a motor. This is usually powered by a separate battery.

This sounds simple, but the main downside is that it adds rotating mass to your bike, which feels harder to accelerate than non-rotating mass.

There’s a steady stream of front- and rear-wheel conversion kits on Amazon and eBay, all looking suspiciously similar, priced from around £150 and with names you’ve probably never heard of.

Be wary of systems controlled by a throttle (also called ‘twist-and-go’) though. Legally, they’re classified as electric motorcycles rather than ebikes, and need to be taxed and insured. Take a look at our guide to ebike laws for more information.

Rear-mounted friction drive ebike conversion kit

Readers of a certain age may remember earlier incarnations of these in the 1980s/90s: a box that sits on your rear wheel and powers it via friction with a rubber flywheel driven by a motor.

The idea hasn’t gone away, and lives on in devices such as the Rubbee, which promises bolt-on electric assistance for nearly any bike.

Rubbee’s base model has a claimed weight of just 2.8kg, with a 16km range that can be extended up to 48km with the top-spec, 4kg version.

It works with any wheel diameter between 16in and 29in, has an integrated carrying handle and clips on and off your seatpost. start from €579.

Concealed ebike conversion kit

The Vivax Assist hid a motor in the seat tube of the frame and applied power directly to the axle of the crank. Vivax

Now we come to the low-key way to do it – hiding a motor inside your bike so no one knows it’s there.

The Vivax Assist was the best-known device for doing this, although the company has now ceased trading. It’s the system that was used by Belgian cyclocross pro Femke Van den Driessche in 2016 to power her way to victory in her home championships. She was found out at a subsequent race, got a six-year ban and quit racing.

Vivax Assist may be no more, but we reckon this idea still has legs – at least for the budding cyclocross cheat.

Mid-drive ebike conversion kit

eBay and Amazon are awash with mid-drive motor electric bike conversion kits like this one from TongSheng. TongSheng

Many commercially available ebikes are powered with motors mounted around the bottom bracket, near the pedals.

These have the advantage of placing the weight low down on the bike, making it more stable.

This isn’t just a ready-made option though – you can also buy aftermarket conversion kits with mid-drive units.

Bafang is a brand that is increasingly focusing on complete ebikes, but it also offers a mid-drive conversion kit on Amazon, as well as wheel hub motors.

Priced from £360, Bafang says the conversion is easy to install using only a few tools to remove the bottom bracket and fit the drive on the front of the down tube.

As above, be careful of throttle-controlled kits that won’t pass the UK ebike regulations and will legally be considered a moped.

You’ll find other mid-motor systems on Amazon too, such as that from TongSheng, which is claimed to fit 95 per cent of standard bike frames and be 30 per cent lighter than a Bafang unit.

It uses a torque sensor, so should fall within the ebike regulations, and is priced from around £350 – although that doesn’t include a battery.

German brand Pendix has a mid-drive system priced from €999 to €2,190 that weighs from 5.4kg for a 28km range. It replaces a BSA bottom bracket and can be fitted to folding bikes as well as a wide range of regular machines.

Folding ebike conversion kit

The Brompton electric conversion from Electric Concepts is one of many kits available to electrify an existing Brompton. Electric Concepts

What can you do if you’ve got a folding bike and want to join the electric revolution?

Well there’s good news if you’ve got a Brompton – a number of ebike conversion kits are available. They generally work with a powered hub in the front wheel and a battery carried in a bag mounted on the front.

As discussed above, Swytch and Cytronex can both be used to convert a Brompton. Swytch’s Brompton kit is priced at £999, although discounts of up to 50 per cent are sometimes available on the site.

As with its other systems, there’s a front wheel hub motor, a clip-on power pack and a bottom bracket torque sensor. Quoted range is up to 50km.

Swytch will also build wheels for folders with other wheel sizes and different fork blade widths, such as Dahon’s models.

Are electric bike conversion kits legal?

If your electric bike uses a throttle, it is technically classed as a moped, and must be taxed and insured as such. Simon Bromley / Our Media

Most electric bike conversion kits are legal to fit to a bike, although the precise rules differ depending on where you live.

In most of the world, the motor needs to be limited to a maximum of 250 watts of continuous power output, unless the electric bike is only used on private land.

You also need to be pedalling for the motor to work – a throttle can only operate at low speeds and assistance needs to cut out once the speed exceeds 25kph. There may be a minimum age to ride an electric bike: in the UK it’s 14.

The rules are different in the US, where higher power outputs and higher speeds are usually legal, while Australia has some variants as well, so it’s worth checking that your electric bike conversion kit is legal where you live before purchasing.

Is converting an electric bike worth it?

An electric bike conversion kit is not cheap, so you want to be sure it’s going to work for you.

You need to have a candidate bike in decent condition to justify taking the kit route.

If you’re going to have to buy a bike to fit the kit to, or going to need to make a lot of repairs to your bike to make it roadworthy, the total cost is probably going to mean it’s not a lot cheaper than buying a complete electric bike.

You need to be confident you can fit the kit yourself as well. If you’re going to have to pay a shop to fit the motor or sort things out if the conversion goes wrong, your savings over purchasing a new electric bike may dwindle quickly.

It’s also worth noting that an electric bike conversion kit may affect your bike’s handling, particularly if there’s a heavy motor and battery mounted somewhere where the bike was not designed to carry it.

dillenger, bafang, electric, bike, review, part

Drivetrain components may not be adequately beefed up for the extra power they need to transmit and may wear or break. Factors such as torque steer may be a problem, and cabling and sensors can be unsightly.

In contrast, if you buy a complete electric bike from a reputable brand, it will have been engineered around the motor and battery, and you’ll know what the finished product looks like.

Can you convert any bike into an electric bike?

There are designs of electric bike conversion kit that will work with pretty much any type of bike. Kits are available that are engineered specifically for certain bikes, such as the folding bike conversion kits we’ve talked about above.

A design such as the Rubbee should be mountable on most bikes. However, tyre wear may be an issue with a road bike with narrower tyres, and wet-weather grip between the motor’s drive wheel and the tyre may also be a problem.

But some kits, such as those that work with a specific bottom bracket configuration, may not fit on some bikes. An unusual wheel size may also limit available options, so it’s worth checking the compatibility of your planned solution before buying.

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Knowing Ebikes: The Different Types of Ebike Classifications

Tell your friends about electric bicycles, and you’re sure to elicit at least one confused look and a request for some follow-up questions. They might ask, “So, is it a bike or a motorcycle? Do you still have to pedal? Are you sure it’s legal?”

The answer to all these questions is that it’s complicated.

Legislators and ebike manufacturers have worked to determine a set of classifications for ebikes. Together, they have settled on a three-class system. This system describes the different forms of electric bicycles, what they can do, and where they can go. In today’s post, we’ll help you with knowing ebikes by taking a closer look at the different types of ebike classifications.

Class 1 Ebikes

The most common kind of electric bicycle on the market is a Class 1 ebike. A Class 1 ebike also goes by another, less common name—pedelec. This word is a nifty little portmanteau of “pedal” and “electric.” As that name would indicate, this ebike requires you to pedal for it to function, just like any traditional bicycle. However, the electricity comes into play with a sensor that determines when your pedaling could use a little boost. The ebike’s motor supplements your movements with added speed to conquer challenging hills, compensate for exhaustion, or simply speed up. Class 1 ebikes have a built-in speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

Because pedelecs are bicycles first and foremost and rely primarily on the cyclists to power them manually, most states and provinces consider them bicycles rather than motor vehicles. This helps obviate the issues of licensing and registration that accompany motor vehicle operations. Alas, while all pedelecs are ebikes, not all ebikes are pedelecs. There’s a significant distinction between Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes.

Class 2 Ebikes

As we move from Class 1 to Class 2, ebikes gain a significant addition—that of a throttle. This component attaches to the handlebars and allows the cyclist to activate the motor without pedaling. The throttle represents a notable change in how you operate an ebike, and this difference is clear to manufacturers and regulators. Cyclists on Class 2 ebikes can use pedal-assisted electrification or throttle-controlled electrification. By relying entirely on the throttle, they can get from Point A to Point B without pumping their legs at all.

This feature is useful for cyclists who may have an injury or disability but still need access to independent transportation. It also makes Class 2 ebikes popular choices for off-roading. While many Class 1 ebikes are best for urban use, their Class 2 brethren tend to find applications in a wider territory. Outfitting a mountain bike with ebike technology allows riders to power through the toughest terrain in state and national parks, making for a fun added attraction for camping trips and hikes.

Just like Class 1 ebikes, though, there is a hard limit on how much power a Class 2 ebike can derive from its motor. Again, 20 mph is the point at which the ebike’s internal speedometer overrides the motor and tells it to stop supplying power to the pedals no matter how much you work the throttle. It’s this degree of independent motorization that made the state of New York apprehensive toward the legalization of ebikes, despite being a potentially ideal cradle of ebike ridership. It was only in April 2020 that New York started rolling back its heavy restrictions—the heaviest in the nation—on electric bicycles.

Class 3 Ebikes

Here’s where things seem to get a bit complicated. Class 1 ebikes only have pedal assistance, while Class 2 ebikes combine pedal assistance with an independent motor. So, you might expect that a Class 3 ebike represents the other end of the transition. You may picture an entirely motorized bike with no pedal power. Although that’s a logical assumption, it’s incorrect. You can more accurately think of Class 3 ebikes as something akin to “Class 1A” ebikes. The difference is all in the speed.

This classification arose from what the Germans labeled the Schnell-pedelec, a faster version of a traditional pedelec. All Class 3 ebikes feature pedal-assist technology, just as Class 1 and 2 models do. They may have a throttle, or they may not. That aspect varies between models. What sets Class 3 apart from its fellow classifications is its higher maximum speed. Rather than topping out at 20 mph, a Class 3 ebike, or S-pedelec, achieves maximum speeds of 28 mph. This may be more than municipalities, states, and provinces permit from a bike that anyone can ride without passing a test. For instance, anyone in California can ride a Class 1 or 2 ebike. But riding a Class 3 ebike with its additional velocity requires a minimum age of 16. While only minors in California need to wear helmets on Class 1 or 2 ebikes, that 28-mph capacity calls for mandatory helmets on all riders in the Golden State. Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee implement this restriction as well. Thus, if you want to use a Class 3 ebike, you should check local regulations.

Retrofitting a Bike

There’s a fourth class to cover in this guide to the different types of ebike classifications. This category includes those bikes that began their lives as manual models but received upgrades to become ebikes. Such a transformation is possible with one of the kits from Ebike Essentials. Depending on how you decide to modify your bicycle, it can wind up landing among any of the three ebike classes. Most commonly, people upgrade a manual bike—a “Class 0 ebike,” if you will—to a Class 1 with a pedal-assist motor and no throttle. In conjunction with your own pedaling power and a little help from gravity, this motor can push you to speeds of around 25 mph if you can handle them. We feature electric bicycle conversion kits for sale that will help you successfully retrofit your bike into an ebike. You’ll enjoy easier pedaling, faster speeds, and all the benefits that come with ebike ownership, no matter its classification.

The 6 Best E-Bike Conversion Kits of 2023

Heidi Wachter was a senior editor at Experience Life magazine for 10 years. She has written for publications like Experience Life, Shondaland, and betterpet.

E-bikes are easier on the environment than cars. They’re also easier to pedal than a standard person-powered two-wheeler. You get as much exercise riding an E-bike as you do a traditional bike. Thanks to improved technology and more people interested in alternative transit methods, E-bikes are also becoming more available—and more affordable.

But no electric bike is as cheap as the bike you already own. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, live in a small space, or practicing minimalism, repurposing what you already have can be a win-win-win decision. So, if you love your current ride but want to add some juice for getting uphill or for powering your cargo bike when you’re carrying a heavy load, you can, thanks to electric bike converter kits. To electrify your bike, you need a battery, sensors, controls, and a motorized wheel or a drive unit.

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

Best Overall

BAFANG BBS02B 48V 500W Ebike Conversion Kit

Since 2003, Bafang has been a leader in manufacturing e-mobility components and complete e-drive systems. Its products offer outstanding performance and reliability, and the BBS02B conversion kit is no exception, making it our top overall choice.

This mid-drive motor kit is versatile and compatible with road, commuter, and mountain bicycles. All you need is a bike with a 68-73 millimeter bottom bracket and the battery of your choice. Installation is relatively easy, and the battery is included. Once the kit is installed, you’ll be ready to tackle any hill.

Although several different conversion kits are available online from Bafang, those with more than 750 watts of power will be considered motorcycles in the United States.

Price at time of publish: 466

Best Budget

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

This front-wheel E-bike conversion kit is easy to set up and easy on your wallet. Electrify your bike in one hour by following the installation video and manual. Don’t forget to choose the correct wheel size!

After setup is complete, ride around the town with pedal assist or switch to E-bike mode for longer trips. Commuters, long-distance trekkers, and mountain bikers can cruise up to 24 miles per hour. The battery is not included.

Price at time of publish: 579

Best for Commuting

Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit

Daily riders will love this easy-to-install, lightweight e-bike conversion kit. It is compatible with most mountain, road, hybrid, and step-through bikes, and disc brakes.

It’s as easy to install as swapping out your front tire. The controller and battery are combined into a 34.2-Volt power pack, which is included in the kit and mounts to the handlebars. That makes it easy to remove and keeps thieves at bay, but our tester did miss having the use of a handle bar basket. The battery pack is fitted with indicator lights that tell you how much juice remains and what assist mode you’re in. Once the system is set up correctly, you’ll be able to top out at 15-25 mph.

In general, I love it. It makes my ride easier without feeling like I’m riding a giant bulky e-bike. It’s got a phenomenal amount of power for such a little machine and seems like it has a good battery life too. ~ Treehugger Tester

Best Premium

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

Do you want to go farther or faster? You can do both with this setup from Ebikeling, with its 500-watt motor. Ebikeling makes it easy to buy different compatible batteries and other accessories in an a-la-cart way. There are seven different batteries that come in different shapes (bottle, triangle, rectangular), so that you can pick the one that suits your bike and needs best.

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

Price at time of publish: 390

Most Powerful

AW 26×1.75 Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit

Thanks to a 48-volt, 1000-watt battery, the AW wheel E-bike conversion kit satisfies anyone with the need for speed. A thumb throttle makes speed control simple. This kit is available as either a front wheel or back wheel conversion option. It fits any 26-inch bike frame with a 3.9 inch front dropout spacing (for a front wheel conversion) or 5.3 inch rear dropout spacing (for a back wheel conversion). The rear wheel kit weighs 24.7 pounds, the front wheel kit weighs 23.5 pounds.

The aluminum frame offers durability and stability, which is essential when you’re rolling at top speeds of 28 miles per hour. Hand brakes turn the motor off automatically to both improve safety and conserve battery power.

Price at time of publish: 300

dillenger, bafang, electric, bike, review, part

Easiest to Install

Rubbee X Conversion Kit

If you want the fastest conversion possible, and even the option to take a motor off your bike quickly, the Rubbee X makes it a snap. The Rubbee X gives you a boost by resting against the rear tire, and has a special release that lets you remove the motor without un-mounting the entire system. You control the power just by pedaling, as a wireless cadence sensor that gets mounted to the pedal crank sends information to the motor, which shifts automatically without any additional user interface.

This conversion kit has some other nice features. It has tail lights on the back of the motor, to give you some additional visibility when riding at night. The base model comes with one battery, which weight 6.1 pounds, gives you 250 watts of power and has a top speed of 16 mph. Upgraded models have two or three additional batteries, each offering more speed and power, but also adding more weight. It’s compatible with any frame type, and with tires that are between 0.5 and 2.5 inches in width and between 16 and 29 inches in diameter.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you buy. First, the product ships from the European Union, so there may be an additional import tax. Second, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of room on your seat post to connect the motor.

Price at time of publish: 612

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

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

Battery

Is the battery included? You’ll need something to power and charge your e-bike conversion kit. Many kits include a battery. Cheaper kits may not, though, which means you’ll need to source a compatible battery separately.

Power

You’ll also want to think about your power needs. The higher the motor wattage, the more power you’ll get. A 250-watt motor is typically plenty of power to make the daily commute less sweaty. If you want to take your converted bike out on tougher mountain trails, you’ll want more power.

Keep in mind that according to U.S. federal regulations, e-bikes with more than 750 watts of power are considered motor vehicles and require a motorcycle license.

Local Laws

You’ll want to check your state and local laws as some cities and towns have banned e-bikes from bicycle paths, so if that’s where you want to ride, you’ll want to make sure your town allows your upgraded bike to cruise around on them.

E-bikes come in three classes:

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

Drive Type and Installation

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

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

The difficulty of installation depends of the type of conversion kit, as well as your comfort with the tools required. But generally speaking, converting your bike is a DIY project. Many manufacturers offer how-to videos that show what’s involved, so you can see ahead of time what you’ll need to do.

You’ll need a bike tool, crank arm tool, adjustable wrenches, and a screwdriver along with your electric bike conversion kit. These demos can show you how to install your e-bike conversion kit.

A visit to your local bike shop mechanic is a helpful step in the decision-making process. They can help you determine if your bike is a good candidate for electric technology. Your old bike may not be able to be converted because adding a motor can increase torque. You’ll want to make sure your bike’s drivetrain can handle it. The extra weight from adding an electric motor also impacts your brakes, so you’ll want to make sure they are effective for stopping at a higher speed. E-bikes tend to have disk brakes for this reason. If your current bike is in disrepair, has old parts, or needs other improvements, it may be more cost-effective to sell your trusty old ten speed and buy an e-bike. Also, consider that a quality electric bike conversion kit can be nearly the cost of an electric bike. Do some comparison shopping between the price of a conversion kit and a fully-loaded e-bike before you decide which way you want to roll. Our picks for the best e-bikes may help guide your decision.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger has reported on dozens of e-bikes and e-bike conversion options over the past decade. To make this list, we deeply researched the market by reading other third-party reviews, user Комментарии и мнения владельцев, and enthusiasts blogs. We also considered the product’s value and the manufacturer’s reputation.

Author Heidi Wachter has been writing about travel and adventure for over a decade. When she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her riding one of her six bicycles—even in the winter.

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