Rubee X E-Bike Conversion Kit: Fricton-Drive Reinvented. Rubbee electric bike

Rubee X E-Bike Conversion Kit: Fricton-Drive Reinvented

I recently discovered this new twist on an old idea and felt compelled to dig a little deeper. In this overview of the Rubee X e-bike conversion kit, I’ll take a closer look at the specs to see if it’s a worthy alternative to the masses of hub drive conversion kits available. As always, I’ll try and get hold of a sample of the Rubee X to review as soon as possible.

Summary

Rubee was started way back in 2012 with the idea of creating an all-in-one e-bike conversion kit that could be fitted to practically any bike. Version 1.0 of the kit became available in 2013 with subsequent models released in the ensuing years. Fast forward to 2021 and the latest version – the Rubee X, is now available.

Tech specs overview

I’ve never been a fan of friction drive systems, although I can understand their place in the world of e-bike conversions. The idea behind this type of conversion kit is simple – the electric motor drives a rubber wheel which in turn drives the rear wheel of the bicycle it’s fitted to.

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Early friction systems were very basic and usually quite heavy. There wouldn’t be any pedal assist and the motor would usually be activated by a switch, so it would either be on or off.

Rubee has taken this design to a whole different level and added a clever wireless pedal assist sensor, modular battery pack and regenerative braking. There’s also a smartphone app to control everything. The whole system is contained within a single, compact unit that fixes to your seat post.

Compatibility

According to their website, the Rubee conversion kit is compatible with 16″- 28″ wheels with a tyre width of 0.5-2.5″ and can be fitted to rigid or full suspension frames. I can see potential issues on full-suspension bikes and it’s unlikely this kit could be fitted to a dropper seat post.

Who is the Rubee X aimed at?

The Rubee X is going to be popular with commuters or cyclists who are looking for occasional assistance when they ride hillier routes. If you already have a folding bike and don’t want to fork out for an e-bike, the Rubee is easy to transport and will fit in a rucksack.

One of the great things about this system is the ease with which it can be installed and removed. If you rely on your bicycle for day-to-day transport but only need to use e-assist occasionally, then I can see the Rubee being very useful.

Conclusion

I’ll be contacting Rubee to see if I can get hold of a sample to review as it looks like an interesting option for someone who wants a quick and simple way to convert a bike to electric.

I like the fact that it’s a completely integrated system and could be swapped between bikes quite easily. This would be especially useful if you had several bikes in your household.

Anecdotal reports suggest the performance is more than adequate and comparable to similarly powered hub motors. The battery range will be modest and even with a full complement of battery packs should give a potential of around 30 miles (48km).

If you’re looking for a more permanent e-assist solution, then I don’t feel it would be the way to go, as you’ll be limited by a maximum of 30 miles (48km) range. However, if you wanted a plug-and-play system that was quick and easy to fit then you won’t get any easier than the Rubee. For more conversion options, check out the best e-bike conversion kits for 2023.

Visit the Rubbe website for more information

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Meet Tony, a passionate e-bike advocate and enthusiast who discovered the life-changing benefits of electric bikes back in 2016. Tony’s technical experience within the e-bike field was gained while running a successful electric bike conversion business for 5 years in his home county of Cornwall, UK.

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

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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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.

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