The 5 Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits in 2019 – Reviews and Ratings of the Top Bicycle Electric Motor Kits

Heard about electric bikes but just want to dip your toe in before getting a factory-built e-bike?

Know how they can get you places with less effort than traditional bikes but don’t or can’t spend big money on one?

Fancy a project in your garage to hide from the family this Fall yet don’t want to disappear until next summer doing up a car?

Many of these reasons (and others) may lead you to convert a traditional bike into an e-bike!

There are 20 or 30 e-bike kits on the market and the differences are often quite small. Here at Boxer Cycles we have reviewed the best electric bike conversion kits and have selected the five top rated ones to choose from. 

Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit Comparison

ImageProduct
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to fit
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to fit
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  • Lots of options to choose the right kit
  • Easy to fit
  • Delivers a lot of power
  • Lots of options to choose the right kit
  • Easy to fit
  • Delivers a lot of power
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  • Small and light mid-drive system
  • Low cost for a crank kit
  • Can be fitted to a wide range of bikes
  • Small and light mid-drive system
  • Low cost for a crank kit
  • Can be fitted to a wide range of bikes
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  • One of the bestselling kits in the world
  • Comes with a range of options
  • Choice of PAS or throttle
  • One of the bestselling kits in the world
  • Comes with a range of options
  • Choice of PAS or throttle
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  • 1000W front-wheel motor
  • Easiest of all kits to put together
  • Simple LED display
  • 1000W front-wheel motor
  • Easiest of all kits to put together
  • Simple LED display
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Types of Electric Bike Kits

Broadly there are three types of electric bike conversion kit:

  1. Front-wheel kits have hub motors and are the most easily fitted.
  2. Rear-wheel kits are better performing than front-wheel kits but are slightly harder to install.
  3. Mid-drive kits are more expensive and harder to fit but give the best riding experience, and are not limited to the size of bike wheels. You can also use them for off-road on MTBs.

Though cost is a factor, you should consider the level of skills you have in bike mechanics.

If the idea of buying a new tool and potentially spending five or more hours putting a crank drive onto the machine is off-putting then choose an easier e-bike kit. 

The ride experience is another factor that you should think about too.

For a goodly amount of riding, a rear hub motor like the AW we review here will serve you well. The more expensive and harder-to-fit crank kit such as the Tongsheng TSDZ2 will deliver almost the perfect riding experience but this is marginal by comparison to a rear motor. 

The easiest conversion kit gives the least favorable riding experience. The 750 Watt AW front wheel bike motor will give you the sensation of being pulled along by a pack of hungry huskies after a rabbit and can catch you out if unprepared.

mechanic preparing electric bike conversion kit

Other Things You Need To Buy With The Kit

The kits themselves are not the only thing you need to buy.

The battery is going to cost at least $250 and comes in different chemistries ranging from the lighter and more expensive lithium-ion to the heavier and cheaper lead-acid. If you want a lot of battery power for a 750W+ motor you will spend considerably more.

A battery bag is useful when you remove the battery in a public place. 

Disc brakes should be fitted to your bike if at all possible. Buy a cable operated system as the motor cut-outs supplied with most conversion kits are for cable brakes. That could be another $100+. 

You may also need special tools like a crank pull. Together with the other components expect to pay around $900 and more for a hub motor kit and $1000+ for a crank-drive system. 

How We Picked The Best Conversion Kits

Looking at the range of e-bike conversion kits available, many are of similar quality. Here are the four criteria that we based our decisions on:

  • Ride quality
  • Cost of the conversion kit 
  • Value to be had for the conversion
  • Ease of fitting 

Ride quality and cost immediately put the two mid-drive kits close to the bottom of the pile.

Why?

Rear-wheel kits like the AW we review here are almost as good in terms of ride quality yet cost far less.

Most e-bikes sold in America today have rear-wheel motors – if OEMs don’t think that the difference is huge, then why should you?

Even though it is the easiest of all to install, we placed the front-wheel motor at the bottom of the pile for ride quality too. Ultimately you want the best e-bike experience for your money and that’s why the cheapest doesn’t come to the top. 

Let’s now drill down into the detail of what we believe to be the best five electric bicycle conversion kits on basis of the criteria discussed above and bang for your buck.

Reviews of the Best eBike Conversion Kits

AW 26"x1.75" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle LCD Display Motor Kit E-Bike Conversion 48V1000W

We looked at the 1000W, 48-volt version that can get you up to about 32mph top speed on the flat on a typical bike. As with all rear-wheel e-bike conversion kits, its power delivery is such that you feel as if an invisible hand is giving you a push as you pedal.

There is a choice of fitting a twist throttle, PAS or both. Many people opt for just the throttle, as this is easier to fit than removing the cranks to fit the pedal assistance system.

The control system is a dual-mode controller. This means it is set-up for durability and long life of the system thanks to working in Hall-effect and non-Hall modes.

Fitted with a brushless gearless hub motor the AW is a solid long-lasting electric conversion kit.

Specs

  • Comes as a whole 26” wheel with tire and 7-speed cassette
  • 1000W brushless motor
  • Dual-mode motor controller 
  • Max speed 32mph
  • Twist throttle and PAS system 
  • Controller and LCD display
  • Battery not included

What We Loved

Fitting the AW rear conversion kit is a breeze.

The instructions are clear and with an average amount of bike mechanic knowledge you should be able to fit the system in a couple of hours.

Getting the loom neat and tidy and fitting the speed throttle is always a fiddle but once you know which wire is going where you can get everything in the right place.

Why It Might Not Work For You

Though on the surface the kit costs $250 or so, there are a few other things you need for your shopping trip that will add to the overall cost.

You will need a 48-volt battery and charger. A 17Ah with sufficient power output for a couple of hours riding (recommended by the manufacturer) will cost upwards of $500.

Should you wish to fit the PAS system you will need the tools and mechanical competence to remove the crank. You remove the pedals to fit the magnets for the PAS system sensors to know when you’re pedaling. This effort adds time but improves your riding experience.

Verdict

The AW rear conversion kit delivers a great riding experience, is cheap to buy even with the necessary additions and is easy to put together.

With value for money factored in, this is the best electric bike conversion kit.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

EBIKELING 48V 1500W 700C Direct Drive Rear Waterproof Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit

Before you buy the kit you have a range of options including LED/LCD indicators and throttles.

The choice of throttles is up to you – the twist throttle is harder to fit but you could get a tired thumb after a while riding the bike with the throttle on all the time!

That’s why for the added effort fitting you should really go for the twist option.

Delivering packs of power, the ride experience on this kit is fantastic.

If you’re that way inclined you could have fun out-accelerating cars at the lights on a bike with this kit on your bike with torque this motor produces.

Do remember to put your weight over the handlebars as you do so as you could wheelie land on your backside, giving the car driver the last laugh!

Fitting the EBIKELING is a little harder than the AW, but compared to the crank kits below is still less of a problem.

You will need a cassette torque wrench to fit the cassette, though you could always use your old cassette (and save on replacing the chain) on the new wheel.

Specs

  • 1500W direct-drive motor
  • Top speed over 35mph possible 
  • 700C wheel – only for a road bike
  • Options include LCD display and different throttles,
  • Brake levers, PAS sensor, torque arm, front & rear all-purpose lights supplied

What We Loved

The LCD screen offers a range of parameters you can watch on the move including battery level, speed, distance, and should something go wrong it offers error codes so you immediately have an idea what to look for. 

EBIKELING is a brand renowned for their build quality and reliability.

If anything goes wrong they have good customer service, too. This immediately puts the brand at the front of the pack. 

Why It Might Not Work For You

The 700C wheel size is for a road bike so don’t expect to head out into the sticks on your MTB with this.

You will also need to supply your own tire.

A final thing to note is that, rated at 1500W, this is a battery-thirsty motor so you will need to go for a large one.

That could leave you a fair few dollars lighter with the kit, disc brakes, lithium battery and charger. This cost is what dropped the conversion kit below its AW rival above.

Verdict

Though easier to fit than the Tongsheng below, the EBIKELING will still take a bit of time to put together.

However, once it’s installed, it packs a real punch when accelerating and is a fun machine to ride. 

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

NEW BUT EXTREMELY PROMISING

#3. Tongsheng TSDZ2

TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid Central Motor Conversion ebike Kit

The Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive conversion kit is cheaper and in many ways better than the Bafang BBS02.

“Tong who?”

Your problem with this is that unlike its rival you may never have heard of Tongsheng. But listen, this conversion kit uses better components and is smaller and lighter than its fellow crank conversion kit. If you have the mechanical competence then this is your crank conversion kit!

The TSDZ2 mid-drive kit lacks a hand throttle but it does PAS better than the BBS02. This is because it has a torque sensor fitted to the crank that tells the controller not only that the pedals are being moved but how much effort is going in.

Having an idea as to the wattage you’re putting in allows it to adjust its output, too. Speed sensors like that on the other crank kit below just make it kick in if it’s moving. 

Another advantage of using this mid-drive is when you have it switched off there is virtually no resistance from the gearbox when you pedal. This can mean you can cycle economically on much longer distances, using the battery for the hard climbs.

The next thing to note is its size. All e-bike conversions involve adding quite a bit of weight to your machine and a 30% weight saving on the electric motor compared to its rival means the equipment is pushing more of you and less of itself on the road.

One of the advantages of the torque sensor is that you don’t need a motor cut-out on the brakes, saving another wire to route and tidy up once in place.

Wheel size is not a problem here. If you have a fat bike or a beach cruiser there are aftermarket fittings that will allow you to fit this. On those bikes, people have been fairly limited as to what kits that they can use, and the TSDZ2 opens doors in this regard. 

By using a 52V battery it is possible to add around 8% to the range and speed of the equipment. Unlike the BBS02 below, this does require a specially hacked controller. 

Don’t worry – they aren’t like ‘jailbroken’ iPhones – the kit isn’t sophisticated enough that a Chinese military hacker could seize control of your bike remotely as you’re entering a busy junction!

Specs

  • 750W mid-drive motor
  • Weighs 7.9lbs excluding battery
  • LCD display
  • 42T front chainring
  • Options include fat bike fittings, 52V controller, and different displays

WHy It Might Not Work For You

Here is a video on how to mount and fit the Tongsheng TSDZ2. It is not for someone who can do just a little bit of DIY.

You will need mechanical competence and a lot of confidence to fit this to your machine.

The video is made to ‘show you how easy it is’ but believe me you will be using one or two choice words in your vocabulary as you fiddle it together. If you’re doing this as a way of hiding from your family, make sure the kids are well out of earshot!

Remember also that a battery and charger for the conversion kit will cost at least another $250 on top of the $450 or so headline outlay. 

Verdict

Thanks in part due to their laws forbidding throttles, Europeans swear by PAS. Not all Americans do.

If you want to know what a good PAS system is like (at least as good as a Bosch) then the Tongsheng TSDZ2 is the one for you.

Do prepare to spend a little time fitting it but the rewards are well worth the effort!

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

RELIABLE BEST-SELLER

#4. Bafang BBS02

BAFANG BBS02B 48V 750W Mid Drive Electric Bike Motor Ebike Conversion Kit Mid Motor for Mountain Bike Road Bike

The US equivalent to the European, speed limited Bafang 8Fun, the BBS02 has long been a market leader in conversion kits.

The Bafang 8Fun and BBS02 are also used in many OEM machines, and if retailers are selling this as part of $3000 e-bikes, you know this is a good one!

The first thing to note is the riding experience, which is just like riding a traditional bike…but your thigh muscles will feel three times as strong.

You will be able to climb hills while having a lengthy conversation that used to turn you red and breathless.

Being able to change gears on your rear cassette, on a longer ride you can go easy on the battery. 

The display on the handlebar allows for 10 different settings. You can choose a throttle-only mode so you ride it like a motorbike, or use the Pedal Assist System mode.

There is also the choice to cycle with the motor off, not causing any drag as you pedal.

There are several modes of assistance for PAS, allowing you to put as much or as little effort (and battery) as you like. You can also see things like speed and battery level on it. 

You can also choose to ‘over-volt’ the system using a 52V battery that will deliver extra power or extra range just by adding the battery, unlike the Tongsheng. While giving you an extra 8% distance it won’t trash the controller as that is rated to 52V as well. 

Specs

  • 750W crank drive
  • PAS and throttle can be fitted
  • Speed sensor not torque sensor
  • Weight 9.5lbs excluding battery
  • Options include different LCD screens, batteries, battery pannier rack and others

Why It Might Not Work For You

The kit will only fit on a bottom bracket of 68mm or 73mm – beach cruisers and fat bikes won’t take it though most regular bikes will. 

One thing to note is that you will only have one chainring on your pedals. This is more than compensated for with the motor but it might impact efficient longer distance rides. Electric bike riding isn’t just for the lazy and battery juice only goes one way!

Riders who have put the BBS02 together have said that in terms of battery efficiency it is better to use PAS. Especially from a standing start, the throttle makes a lot of demand on the battery.

This conversion kit isn’t easy to put together by comparison to hub kits. You will also have to buy new tools such as a crank puller and a bottom bracket remover before you sit down and pull your old machine apart.

As well as having the tools you need to know how to use them. A short YouTube video should clarify where you struggle there.

With a lithium-ion battery this can sting you hard with the price.

Verdict

In terms of volumes of global sales, the Bafang BBS02 is one of the most popular crank motors in the world.

It is, however, a conversion kit for electric bike purists.

If you’re new to e-biking then it may not be the one to choose thanks to price and effort in fitting it. 

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

BEST BUDGET CONVERSION KIT

#5. AW Front Wheel Kit

AW Front Wheel Kit

Put too much throttle on when you pull away and a front-wheel motor will spin. This can be quite disconcerting for the newbie electric bike rider, and this is why we put the this kit at the bottom of our list.

But that isn’t the end of the tale so read on!

The LED display makes for a really simple system that won’t divert your eyes from the road. It comes with a thumb throttle and as a package is a really easy kit to put together.

Specs

  • 1000W 48V brushless hub motor
  • 26”X1.75” wheel + tire
  • LCD display
  • Thumb throttle 
  • Direct drive

What We Loved

Of all the kits we show you in this review, this has to be the easiest to fit. No chain breaking, let alone crank pulling required here!

There is some work in fitting the wheel and wiring it up but where we suggest you hide from your kids putting certain other kits together, this is the sort of task you could involve them in, showing some light bicycle mechanics.

Expect to top out at over to 30mph so you will get above a neighborhood speed limit if you wish (and stay with/dodge the traffic). Remember that should a policeman stop you to have a word!

Why It Might Not Work For You

Don’t forget to order a good battery with the AW kit as a 1000W motor can be thirsty should you spend a lot of time at higher speeds.

It should be 48V and again remember the higher the capacity the higher the financial outlay, meaning that this might set you back more than you initially think when you look at the cost of the kit alone.

Note that it pulls hard, so go easy on the throttle to maintain control.

Verdict

Overall, if you want a simple e-bike conversion kit that won’t break the bank or be too fiddly to put together, then the 1000W AW front hub kit is the kit for you.

Its unnatural riding sensation is the issue that puts it at the bottom of the list, but if you can get over that, it’s a great easy option.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

Fitting / Installing Your eBike Conversion Kit

When considering converting a regular bike into an e-bike you first need to assess the bike.

Forget carbon – stainless steel or aluminum alloy frames are a must due to strength.

Wheel size is another issue – they must be 26″ in the cases of the kits we review here and of sufficient strength not to buckle when put under sudden torque. 

In terms of time and money, the best riding experience comes from the hardest kits to fit!

The easiest of the riding experience/fitting continuum is the front crank motor conversion kit. Front hub conversion kits like the AW front wheel electric bike conversion kit we review may just take an hour to convert your bike but also gives you a different, potentially unsettling riding experience.

You need a bike with good steel forks such as a mountain bike as the torque on acceleration could snap them. The effort, however, is very little and largely just requires some plugging in and tidying up.

Rear conversion kits like the AW or EBIKELING ones we review are harder to fit than front hub kits but give a very natural riding experience. You may need to fit a new tire, but largely the work involves breaking and refitting the chain as well as wiring up the looms. 

At the other end of the spectrum is the crank electric bike conversion kit like the Tongsheng TSDZ2 we review here. Experienced e-bike riders will often choose the crank kit over the front/rear hub motor because the riding experience is more natural and you can climb big hills with a lot less effort. You can also do routine maintenance like puncture repair as you would a traditional bike. 

The downside of crank conversion kits is the effort in fitting. They take a lot of effort in terms of removing and replacing chainrings and the cassette, attaching the kit to the bottom bracket and then fixing the battery and controller onto the frame.

You may find the directions difficult so look on YouTube for advice – a good English language video is here for the BBS02. The cost in money is a notable step up from a hub motor electric bike conversion kit. You do however get what you pay for.

ImageProduct
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to fit
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to fit
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Lots of options to choose the right kit
  • Easy to fit
  • Delivers a lot of power
  • Lots of options to choose the right kit
  • Easy to fit
  • Delivers a lot of power
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Small and light mid-drive system
  • Low cost for a crank kit
  • Can be fitted to a wide range of bikes
  • Small and light mid-drive system
  • Low cost for a crank kit
  • Can be fitted to a wide range of bikes
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • One of the bestselling kits in the world
  • Comes with a range of options
  • Choice of PAS or throttle
  • One of the bestselling kits in the world
  • Comes with a range of options
  • Choice of PAS or throttle
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • 1000W front-wheel motor
  • Easiest of all kits to put together
  • Simple LED display
  • 1000W front-wheel motor
  • Easiest of all kits to put together
  • Simple LED display
VIEW LATEST PRICE
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