Custom E Cycling: Finding The Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Interested in riding around on a motor-powered bicycle but lack the funds, or simply don’t want to let go of your current non-electric ride?

If you answered yes to either of those questions then it might be time to buy something known as an electric bike conversion kit.

How these kits work is very simple:

You take an everyday bicycle, apply the correct parts, and boom, you’re now the proud owner of your very own e bike!

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that, but you get the idea.

In this post we are going to be covering some popular e bike conversion kit questions, such as “which is the best conversion kit?,” “how many different types of e bike kits are there?,” and “what are the benefits of using an electric bike conversion kit?”

And yes, we’ll be talking about Swytch Kits at some point — Swytch being one of the most known brands in the DIY e bike space.

Now, let’s get moving.

What is an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?

Simply put, these conversion kits are used to convert standard bicycles into electric bicycles.

This process typically involves replacing certain parts of your bike in order to make it run without assistance (it might need a push start, but it should move on its own after that).

What you need to replace will depend entirely on the type of e bike conversion kit you go with.

Most require a unique type of wheel that derives power from a battery pack found on the stem of the bike, whereas others offer a much simpler option by simply providing a boost to the crank for a more natural sensation.

There are three main types of e bike bike conversion kits for you to pick and choose from at this moment in time, each with its own setup, benefits, and drawbacks.

The three main types of electric bike conversion kits consist of:

  1. Friction Drive Conversion
  2. Mid-Drive Conversion
  3. Electric Bike Wheel Conversion

Friction Drive Conversion

Friction drive conversions offer the easiest installations possible, consisting of only a handful of parts that attack onto your current metal steed without needed to remove the wheel or anything like that.

You simply clip it on and off and carry it around with you when not in use!

How it works is simple:

A roller pushes against the type on the wheel and as it turns so too does the wheel.

Unfortunately, the ease of installation does not change the fact that it’s the weakest option out of the three if you’re looking to simulate the feeling of being on a legit e bike.

Why that is comes down to how much pressure is placed on the modular battery system that is generating all of the power.

This system, while powerful in the case of the Rubbee X, tends to work best over short distances — the sort of distances most wouldn’t mind just cycling towards.

We would not recommend applying a friction drive conversion on a mountainbike or fat bike.

Doing so is more likely to wear this type of kit down a hell of a lot faster. Plus, the bounciness of the ride could knock it off the wheel, which risks breaking it while you’re in motion.

Electric Bike Wheel Conversion

This type of electric bike conversion is rather self-explanatory, given the name.

It involves swapping either the front or rear wheel for an electrified version, one capable of providing your bike plenty of energy in order to run unassisted.

Like the previous kit, installing this electrified wheel is pretty simple.

All you need to do is take off the old wheel, install the new one, ensure that the chain is connected properly, connect the power pack, and away you go!

Powering the wheel can and will change the way the bike feels, and can make it feel heavier on one side instead of the other.

It can be jarring at first, but you should get used to it in time.

Mid-Drive Conversion

Mid-drive conversion kits are easily the most consistent of the bunch when compared to the other two conversion kits mentioned.

They will get you where you need to go without worry.

Part of why this type of electric bike kit is such a safe bet comes down to where it’s installed on the bike.

The drive sits very low on the frame which balances it perfectly on the bike itself, giving riders the most natural feel possible.

Mid-drive conversion kits allow you to conquer any hill, any trail, and any task (within reason).

Many come with full mobile app support, too, giving you a much better idea of power, settings, and various other tidbits of information.

We should point out that this particular type of kit tends to be the most expensive — with friction drive conversions sitting at the cheaper end of the scale.

It’s also quite complicated to install, so be sure to consult the instruction manual thoroughly to ensure that the conversion is 100% secure.

Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits

Below we’ve picked out some of the very best electric bike conversion kits out right now — each offering something different in terms of type, performance, cost, and features!

The Swytch Kit on a custom background Swytch is one of the leading e bike brands © Credit to Swytch

Swytch Kit

Cost: £449
Motor Position: Front Hub
Battery Included: Yes
Wattage: 250

You can’t talk about e bike conversion kits and not mention the Swytch Kit at least once.

This nifty little piece of kit is very easy to use, and has been proven to install itself on almost any type of bike — from a penny-farthing to a unicycle.

If it has wheels and pedals, then it’s compatible with the kit, essentially.

One of the best things about the Swytch Kit is how easily it attaches itself onto the bike. The battery mounts easily to the handlebars, and disconnecting it is even easier.

One of the latest updates of the Swytch system has added a neat handlebar-mounted LCD display, in place of those clunky buttons that used to be on the battery.

E4TP Says

Not a lot of e bike kits can compete with what Swytch has produced. It’s the perfect entry-level kit due to its ease-of-use, but unlike other entry-level kits, it lasts.

The Pendix mid-drive e bike kit on a custom background Is this the best looking kit of the bunch? © Credit to Pendix

Pendix eDrive 300

Cost: £857
Motor Position: Crank
Battery Included: Yes
Wattage: 250

The first mid-drive conversion kit on our list here is also one of the most expensive.

Is it worth it? We’d say so, as would those who are already riding around thanks to this kit.

One what I love about this particular e bike kit is how seamless it fits in with any bike. It’s not bulky like a lot of crank-based kits which can feel odd to cycle with.

One of the only downsides of this option is that it needs to be fitted by a dealer, and dealers might not be so close to a lot of owners.

Still, this does have its benefits as it means you are guaranteeing that the Pendix is installed correctly, allowing you to ride around with complete confidence.

E4TP Says

It looks the part, and it feels the part. There’s not a lot of electric conversion kits that can measure up to the same standard as Pendix eDrive 300.

A TongSheng mid-drive motor on a custom background Reliable and guaranteed to take you places

TongSheng Mid-Drive Kit with Battery

Cost: £579
Motor Position: Rear Tire
Battery Included: Yes
Wattage: 250

When we think of some of the very best mid-drive conversion kits, we instantly think of options like the TongSheng Mid-Drive Kit.

Why? Because it’s everything it says it is and more. It’s also one of most natural-feeling conversion kits on the market.

What’s great about this particular kit is that it will actively match the effort you put in — or as the manufacturer puts it:

“The harder you work, the harder it works.”

Max torque available on this TongSheng system is 80Nm but depending on your chosen assist level, that 80Nm will add between 36 and 300 per cent to your pedalling power.

Here’s a quick rundown of its key features:

  • No thumb throttle
  • LCD display
  • Replacement cranks
  • Fits 67 – 73 mm BS bottom bracket

E4TP Says

Pure. Unrivalled. Power. That’s what you’re getting should you decide that this is the e bike kit for you. The installation can be a tad finicky, but once it’s on there you should have no problems.

The Rubbee X e bike kit on a custom background Meet the Rubbee X © Credit to Rubbee

Rubbee X

Cost: £715
Motor Position: Crank
Battery Included: Yes
Wattage: 250

If you’re looking for the simplest install possible — like literally taking less than 60 seconds to install/detach, then you can go no wrong with the Rubbee X.

We’ve mentioned this particular bike kit already, and mentioned that friction drive conversions do have their pitfalls in being not as consistent as others.

This Rubbee X would be one of the exceptions to the rule.

Like other friction-based kits, the motor of the Rubbee X sits on top of your wheel, powering it directly. It shouldn’t move around a lot either thanks to its optimised locking features.

Like other e bike kits, the Rubbee X comes with a dedicated mobile app that can be used to change various assistance modes.

E4TP Says

The X does make a fair amount of noise when working, but that shouldn’t put too many of you off this fantastic option for quick and easy electric riding!

Bafang mid-drive motor on a custom background Power like this needs to be seen to be believed © Credit to Bafang

Bafang Mid-Drive Motor Kit

Cost: £689
Motor Position: Crank
Battery Included: Yes
Wattage: 500

The final kit we want to direct your attention towards is the Bafang Mid-Drive Motor Kit.

Bafang is a name that many of you reading this might already be somewhat familiar with. This brand is one of the most popular electric bike names in the world, and with good reason.

The quality of their work is a step above most others, as proven by how outstanding this particular kit is.

This kit offers everything you need if you’re looking for a durable/robust mid-drive kit — as long as your bike has a bottom bracket sized between 68 and 73mm, that is.

Reviews for this particular e bike kit are very positive, so it’s not just us here at E4TP that see the benefits of buying this one over some of the others we’ve looked at above.

E4TP Says

Bafang has come through with one of the best mid-drive motor kits available, if not the best. They’re a notable name, too, if you only trust known brands that have established themselves quality-wise.

Benefits of E Bike Conversion Kits

Now onto the benefits of these electric conversion kits, and why they could be a much better option than buying a full electric bike.

There are many benefits to choosing a conversion kit, as you can imagine, the most obvious being “they tend to be a lot more cost effective than a bike.”

While true to some extent, you can actually get a decent e bike for under £1000 which is quite close to the costs mentioned above.

How you choose to ride is completely up to you, of course, but here’s a brief rundown of why going with an electric bike conversion kit is beneficial:

  • Convenience: The ability to attach/detach the kit whenever you like gives you the best of both worlds. It also means you don’t have to get acquainted with a brand new ride!
  • Affordable: Most e bike kits are under £700, making them somewhat cheaper than full options from the likes of Raleigh, Trek, and Rad Power.
  • Preferred: A lot of cyclists feel comfortable with their non-electric bikes. Giving them the option to go electric without having to buy a completely new bike is why a lot of riders go down this route.
  • Eco-Friendly: E bikes are known to be a lot better for the planet when compared to, say, cars, trains, and buses. They’re great for commuter, and for getting around, generally, without emitting a lot of emissions.

If you want our advice, you should make your decision based on why you want to ride around on a pedal-assisted bike in the first place.

For example, let’s say you’re someone who likes to do a lot of adventuring via a sports-style bike, but you need just a little bit of extra assistance in order to help you train and get better.

A conversion kit is great for that as it acts as a set of training wheels for long distance travel, helping you increase your stamina without feeling too exerted.

Buying a full electric bike for this might not be the best choice, especially if you’re already beyond satisfied with the racing bike you have.

This is but one scenario, yours might differ somewhat but you get the point.

Custom Cycling: Finding The Best Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Electric bike conversion kits are a lot like standard e bikes in that manufacturers are constantly perfecting their designs by releasing newer, better kits for you to buy and try out.

Swytch, in particular, have reworked the original Swytch Kit design multiple times, with each iteration getting better and better (it’s partly the reason why their kits are always sold out on the website).

One of the main take aways we want to drive home in this post is that electric cycling has never been more accessible. Hopefully, we’ve done just that and have given you a lot to think about in terms of which kits work best for you and your trusty two-wheeler.

If you’re more into skateboards — or cars — know that there are conversion kits for those, too! We have blogs dedicated to both topics which you can find here:

Electric Bike Conversion Kit FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions on e bike conversion kits.

Which is the best electric bike conversion kit?

In our opinion there isn’t one definitive e bike conversion kit but several.

Swytch’s easy to use kit is one of them — as is Bafang’s Mid-Drive motor kit and battery. We’d highly recommend both given the quality they possess.

Can any bike become an electric bike?

Yes, any bike can become an electric bike. Swytch have demonstrated this many times, having installed their kit onto everything from a penny-farthing to a European-style city bike.

Is an electric bike better than an e bike kit?

The answer to this question will depend entirely on your own perspective, budget, and requirements.

If cost isn’t an issue, then it might be worth looking at buying an electric bike. You can find plenty of fantastic options under £1000 at the moment.

That said, you can breathe a lot of new life into your old bicycle by giving it an electric makeover, and you can swap the parts out at will, giving you the best of both worlds.

Do all e bike kits come with a battery?

Not every e bike kit comes with a battery — the majority of electric bike kits found on Amazon don’t — which needs to be considered when shopping around for your ideal kit.

Batteries tend to be rather expensive on their own, so try to find a kit that has everything included within the same box.

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