How to Charge an E-Bike for Maximum Battery Life
From safe charging to the longest possible lifespan, here’s everything you need to know about your electric bike’s power source.
If you bought a bike in the last couple years, chances are good it’s an e-bike. Electric bicycles are the fastest-growing type of bike in the U.S. today; in 2021 they surpassed road bikes as the third biggest category of bikes overall and in 2022 e-bike sales were over 800 million. E-bikes still outsell electric cars, and for good reason. The lightweight electric motor on an e-bike gives a powerful boost to all kinds of riding, especially utility cycling like commuting and errands. (Plus, there is a nice tax incentive for some e-bike riders.)
At the heart of that system is a powerful lithium-based battery. Taking proper care of that battery and knowing how to properly charge it is key to safely getting the best range and long-term battery life. Here’s what you need to know about charging your e-bike battery.
Safe charging basics
You should charge your battery inside, on the proper charger, and with the motor system powered off, says Kunal Kapoor, senior manager for quality and compliance at Bosch, a leading supplier of e-bike motor systems. While e-bike motors, batteries, and wiring are weather-resistant, “chargers aren’t intended for outdoor use,” he notes.
Using the proper charger is primarily a safety issue. With a modern lithium battery, Kapoor continues, when the battery signals it’s ready to accept a charge, “the battery monitoring system in the charger makes sure that the temperatures inside the battery are optimum to receive the charge,” and shuts off if needed. An off-brand charger—even rated to the same output—doesn’t have all the features of that battery management system, so current can flow to the battery even if temperatures rise, which is a fire risk.
The risk of battery fires is low, but Kapoor recommends people not leave batteries unattended while charging. You can leave the battery on the bike to charge or take it off, as long as it’s not sitting on or near flammable stuff (like the spare gas can in the garage, for example). If you’re looking at lower-priced e-bikes with house-brand or unbranded motor and battery systems, make sure the battery and charger carry a UL 2849 certification stamp from Underwriters Laboratories. This is the industry-wide standard for safe electric systems and battery charging for e-bikes. Some bike shops won’t work on e-bikes with motor and battery systems that lack this stamp, citing fire risk when left overnight in the store.
How to optimize battery range and lifespan
Let’s start with some definitions. Range is essentially runtime: how long a battery will last on a single charge, expressed in miles of riding. Range, even on the same bike, will vary; a flat commute to the office with just a light backpack will see better range than a fully loaded uphill ride home from Costco. Most e-bikes today get between 25-75 miles of range, depending on these factors.
Lifespan is how many times a battery can be discharged and recharged before it starts to lose significant capacity. When capacity starts to dip, you won’t notice less power while riding, but you will see range start to shrink. A common lifespan benchmark for e-bike batteries is 500 “full” discharge/re-charge cycles (if you use half the battery capacity and recharge, that’s half a cycle), which works out to about three to five years of normal use before capacity begins to drop noticeably.
Even though battery range and lifespan aren’t the same thing, they are linked, and actions that reduce range will also, over time, shorten lifespan. A big culprit, Kapoor says, is running the motor hard, like leaving it in Boost or Turbo mode all the time, which means a ride of a given distance relies progressively more on motor power than at lower assist levels. You’ll run the battery through charging cycles more quickly, which will shorten its life.
A less-obvious factor that strains motors and batteries is pedal cadence. Most e-bike motors are optimized for efficiency around a 70-90 rpm pedaling cadence. You can lower efficiency by pedaling too fast (Bosch motors, for instance, max out at 100-120 rpm depending on the system). common is sub-optimal efficiency from pedaling too slowly in a large gear. This is the same as “lugging the engine” in a car; whether gas or electric, the motor works harder. “Choose your gears wisely,” says Kapoor, to stay in that 70-90 rpm sweet spot.
Mistakes that kill your battery
When you buy a new e-bike, you should charge the battery to full before riding it because it’s likely been inactive for a while. But lithium batteries do not have “memory;” that is, they do not need to be fully discharged and fully recharged every time to hold their full capacity. In fact, it’s best if you don’t run a battery to zero, says Kapoor. “If you let the battery deplete completely, that may permanently damage it,” he says, and it will never recharge to its full original capacity.
If you’ll go a few weeks or more without riding the bike, store it (or at least the battery) in a dry, room-temperature space with the battery between 30-60 percent of full charge, says Kapoor. That’s the most stable level for long-term storage, and will lower the chance of a deep discharge that would damage your battery. Don’t leave your battery plugged in to the charger for long periods. It’s not necessary, and can create a short discharge/recharge cycle that will eventually reduce capacity. If you go long periods without riding the bike, check the battery charge monthly and partly recharge when it drops below 30 percent.
Lithium batteries are less affected by cold weather than other types of battery and you shouldn’t see reduced range while riding unless the temperatures are truly arctic. But researchers at the Department of Energy recently found storing lithium batteries below freezing for longer periods can damage part of the battery’s cathode, which will reduce its capacity. Lithium batteries also won’t charge effectively in cold temperatures. If you store your bike outside or in an unheated space and live in an area with sub-freezing temps, says Kapoor, bring the battery inside when not in use.
Also, keep your battery protected from extreme heat, like sitting next to a sunny window or a hot car. Excess heat can raise battery temperature enough to damage its components; in an extreme situation, it can contribute to what’s called thermal runaway, where a battery enters an unstable, uncontrollable self-heating state that can result in fire.
You don’t need to recharge after every ride. Topping off your battery sounds Smart, but over time it will reduce capacity more quickly. If you get 50 miles of range from a charge and ride 10 miles a day, you only need to recharge every three to four days.
When it’s time to replace
Even if you take great care of a battery, over time it will lose capacity. You’ll notice this on your bike’s range estimate on the controller unit. Capacity is a primary indicator of the health of a battery, so if you notice your range dropping to 70 percent or less of what it was when your bike was new, that’s a sign to start planning a replacement. If your battery is less than two years old and is well under original capacity, it might be a warranty claim (terms vary by manufacturer).
If it’s not a warranty issue, the decision on when to replace is personal preference, says Kapoor. “If you got 50 miles (of range) out of the battery originally and let’s say now you get 40, I wouldn’t classify it as ‘end of life’ if you can live with that 40-mile range,” he says. A battery with reduced capacity should still be safe, Kapoor adds.
Always purchase a name-brand replacement for your battery. Just as batteries and chargers should be paired, batteries and motors are designed to work together. And, says Kapoor, never try to repair a damaged battery or let someone else do it. Despite guides that claim you can, this is not just corporate greed or legal butt-covering by manufacturers. While e-bike batteries are almost always made from standard 18650 cells that are widely used in various products (even electric cars), those cells have a variety of different chemistries, capacities, and amperages, and that’s before we even get into connecting a string of them and repackaging the battery in the housing. The slightest mistake in any of that increases fire risk. If you need a new battery, just buy one.
Dealers that sell your brand of bike can order you a direct replacement for that bike or motor brand. Costs vary depending on battery size and brand, but plan on spending 400-800 for a new unit.
A dealer can also recycle your old one. A new program from Call 2 Recycle offers free e-bike battery recycling (paid for by bike and motor brands) through partner shops in almost every major city and many smaller ones. No participating dealers near you? Request an easy DIY shipping kit online.
Why recycle? Even a spent battery contains raw materials that can be re-made into fresh ones, at moderately less energy cost and less environmental damage than producing from virgin materials. Spent lithium batteries also have a fire risk in landfills and can leach toxic metals and other chemicals into the soil and air.
In case of fire
Though rare, battery fires do happen. If your battery gets hot to the touch while charging, unplug the charger from the wall immediately. If you can, put the battery in a metal container like a bucket (better yet, one filled with sand) away from anything flammable.
But if it’s not safe to handle, call 911 right away and tell the dispatcher that you have a lithium battery fire, which requires different firefighting methods than conventional fires. Don’t pour water on a battery fire; water and lithium react to produce hydrogen, which is highly flammable. A standard fire extinguisher may help, but in the event of a fire, special tools may be needed.
R006 Rear Rack eBike Battery 36V 10Ah 15Ah 17.5Ah 48V 12.5Ah Battery Pack With Luggage Carrier for 750W 500W 350W 250W Motor
Safety lock, while fixing the battery, reduces the risk of battery theft.
Removable design, convenient for charging and carrying.
ABSmetal sealed shell, IP65 waterproof and anti-drop.
- GET 10.00 OFF ON ORDERS OVER 900.00
- GET 30.00 OFF ON ORDERS OVER 1,300.00
- GET 100.00 OFF ON ORDERS OVER 2,400.00
R006 Ebike Battery Main Features:
With on/off button, safer and more convenient. Lighted battery LED power Indicator, inform you battery power in anytime Safety lock, while fixing the battery, reduces the risk of battery theft. Removable design, convenient for charging and carrying. ABSmetal sealed shell, IP65 waterproof and anti-drop. The taillight design makes it safer to ride at night, and it saves electricity when matched with the taillight switch. Matching bicycle battery rack is convenient for installation, and avoids that the battery is incompatible with the frame model. The battery reserves the space for the controller box, and the built-in controller box makes the whole ebike look more beautiful and tidy.
|36V 10Ah 0-500W
|36V 15Ah 0-500W
|36V 17.5Ah 0-500W
|48V 12.5Ah 0-1000W
|Nominal Watt Hour
|Battery Pack Cell
|Grade A Branded 2500mAh
|Grade A Branded 2500mAh
|Grade A Branded 2500mAh
|Grade A Branded 2500mAh
|Number of Cells
|Fit Motor Power
|36V250W 350W 500W (0-560W)
|36V250W350W 500W (0-560W)
|36V250W350W 500W (0-560W)
|48V 500W750W 1000W (0-1092W)
|Charge Cut-off Voltage
|Discharge Cut-off Voltage
|Over charge, Over discharge,Over current, Short circuit
Charger Plugs and Discharge Connectors Optional： 1. Charger Plug:US EU UK AU plugs optional, will provide according to delivery country if without requested. 2. Discharge Connector: There are 6 kinds optional as below picture, will soldered with default female connectorextra male connector if without requested. 3. If you have any requirement about this, please leave message in your order. If send from Germany, the discharge cable have soldered with 3#Small Bullet connector already. we will add an extra male connector for your controller.
B:With Rack 1 eBike Battery(Option); 1 Charger( US/ EU/ AU / UK Option); 1 Motor Battery Connection Cable; 1 User Manual; 1 Rack; Installing accessories.
Our Advantages: 1. Global Service: Germany,United Kingdom,United States, Canada, Australia warehouse, 3-7 days fast delivery and local return. We prefer to ship from oversea warehouse if you make order.
2.Self-operated Factory:We assemble all batteries in our own factory, we only source A-grade genuine cells ,at lowest price to attract buyers. But then have to scrimp on everything, then assemble them as quickly/cheaply as possible. We don’t take chances when it comes to our batteries or your safety!
3.High Quality Cells:We only source A-grade genuine cells from the official sources.
4.Rich experience: 10 years of battery packaging experience, from 24V, 36V, 48V, 52V, 60V, 72V to DIY Voltage/Size, we can tailor it for you, mature production technology, and screen out high-consistency cells, we know how Manufacture reliable and safe batteries for customers.
5.Battery Test:Each pack is ran through a full charge and discharge before leaving our facility to make sure you are getting every amp hour you paid for. The test include: Short Circuit Safety Test √ Overcharge Safety Test√Crush Safety Test √ Needing Safety Test √ Extrusion Safety Test√
6.Warranty Service:We do all this and offer it at our usual low pricing, we don’t charge a premium for Safety and Reliability. Just because we offer low prices, it doesn’t mean we don’t stand behind our product if there is an issue. We have a proven track record of offering great after-sales support and warranty repairs/replacements. We will not leave you stuck (18 month warranty for battery, free repair or replacement if there is any quality problem, with Support Centres in GermanyUnited KingdomUnited StatesCanadaAustralia.)
Rear rack ebike battery
Your lightweight, everyday e-bike
FX is an intuitive, fully equipped electric assist bike designed for exploring more of your city. Ride to work, run errands, or just ride for fun on our lightest city e-bike ever.
Simple, fun, equipped, electric
Just get on and go! FX is equipped with lights, fenders, and a rear rack to carry your essentials, simple and intuitive on-bar controls with three levels of assist, a sleek 250Wh internal battery, and so much more.
Natural-feeling assist up to 20 mph
Pounds lighter than most electric bikes
Simple and intuitive—just get on and go
Stock with lights, fenders, and a rear rack
Our best-selling bike, now with a boost
FX is the electric-assist version of our most popular hybrid bike. Hop on and enjoy a natural-feeling 20mph assist, simple and intuitive on-bar controls, and a powerful and efficient rear hub motor that makes it easy to see even more of the places you love.
A powerful and reliable hub-drive motor provides a smooth, easy to control boost that feels natural while you’re pedaling, so you can enjoy speedier adventures, sweat-free errands, and a morning commute you might actually look forward to.
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.
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.