Top 5 Best Electric Bike Kits for 2019

A new electric bike can be quite an expensive purchase, but if you already own a decent bike, it may be worth considering an electric bike conversion kit. There are literally hundreds of different e-bike kits available, so I have narrowed it down to a shortlist of  5 of the best electric bike kits for 2019.

Through my e-bike conversion business, I have first hand experience of all the electric bike kits featured in this article. I have been as honest as possible in my appraisal of each kit. Before you make a purchase, please take time to read my buyer’s guide on how to choose the best electric bike conversion kit to suit your particular needs.

I have placed links to trusted sellers on Aliexpress for all the products featured in this article.  These are sellers that I personally trust and use.  I participate in the Aliexpress affiliate program and receive a small commission for every sale I refer. This in no way effects the price you pay, and ultimately helps to fund the upkeep of this site.

What are the top 5 best electric bike kits in 2019?

My shortlist of the best e-bike conversion kits currently available is based on several factors: Value for money, popularity, availability and functionality.

 

  1. Bafang 8fun BBS01 / BBS02 mid-drive
  2. Tongsheng TSDZ2
  3. DAS-kit 36v 250w rear wheel hub kit
  4. Bafang 48v 500w rear wheel hub kit
  5. Ncyclebike 1500w Electric Bike Kit
  6. ***BONUS REVIEW All-New torque sensing mid-drive kit***

#5 Ncyclebike 48v 1500w Electric Bike Kit Review

1500w electric bike kitThe Ncyclebike 1500w ebike conversion kit uses a simple ‘direct drive’ hub motor. Direct drive hub motors are the simplest and most reliable form of electric propulsion for a bicycle. I have written an article about these motors and how they work.

If you want to turn your ordinary mountain bike or hybrid into a fast electric bike, then this kit is a great starting point.

What’s included in the kit

  • Direct drive electric hub motor laced into a 20″ / 24″/ 26″ / 27.5″ / 28″ rear wheel
  • 48v 35A smart controller
  • Motor controller bag
  • LCD Display
  • Throttle
  • Pedal assist sensor
  • E-Brakes
  • Cable ties

Please note: This kit does not include a battery – you can find a list of electric bike batteries here.

Is this kit easy to install?

Installation is fairly straightforward, you will need certain tools, and a bicycle stand would come in handy. Basically you would swap out your standard rear wheel for this one and fit the display to your handlebars. The pedal sensor fits on the left hand side (non-drive) over the bottom bracket axle, and the motor controller goes into a frame-mounted bag.

On some bikes it may be necessary to file out the rear drop-outs to accommodate the larger axle of the hub motor. You should always buy a torque arm, as this will help prevent the rear wheel from popping out of the drop-outs.

Assuming you have purchased and e-bike specific Lithium battery pack, this will need to be connected to the controller – ensuring the red (+) and black (-) wires are not mixed up.

A lot of time will be spent cable tying up all the wires, and making a nice clean and tidy finish.

What bikes are compatible?

This kit is usually available in 20″ / 24″ / 26″ / 27.5″ and  28″ wheel sizes. A Fat Bike version is also available.

==>>SHOP NOW 1500w rear hub motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==

If your bike has thru-axles then the motor would not fit. The other thing to consider is the kind of bottom bracket (BB) your bike has. If it is a standard square-tapered BB, then you will be fine. If you have a Shimano Hollowtech ll or SRAM GPX BB, then you will need a special Hollowtech compatible pedal sensor specifically made for this type of BB.

Conclusion

Direct drive hub motors are heavy, inefficient and difficult to pedal without power, but when you have 1500w on tap, they can be great fun! You should only install this kit on a bike with decent components, like hydraulic brakes and good suspension.

The motor itself should be maintenance-free, but you will need to tighten the spokes regularly, and I advise fitting a good puncture resistant tyre like a Schwalbe Marathon Plus – You do not want to be trying to remove the rear wheel at the side of the road, as it can be a right pain (and time consuming). The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is also one of the few tyres rated for e-bike use.

I have fitted lots of these kits, and there have been very few long-term issues. I personally prefer geared hub motors, but if it’s value for money you’re after, then these 1500w kits are hard to beat!

If you want to build a fairly powerful off-road e-bike on a tight budget, then I would say this kit is worth a punt, but don’t forget to factor in a decent 48v battery into the price – you will need  battery that has a continuous rating of least 30A (amps).

Ncyclebike 48v 1500w eBike conversion Kit

Price               ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Performance ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reliability      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Efficiency      ⭐

Installation    ⭐⭐⭐⭐


#4 Pasion eBike Bafang 500w 48v rear wheel E-Bike Kit Review

 

500w 48v bafang rear hub motor kit

Bafang have been a global leader in electric bike components for some years now and their geared hub motors are among the best available. They are so good, in fact that a lot of e-bike manufacturers uses their hub motors in factory electric bikes.

Unlike their direct drive counterparts, the geared hub motor is not only more efficient, but produces a lot more torque (very important for hill climbing).

The Bafang hub motor is generally also very reliable, while at the same time offering top class performance. The motor is a little nosier due to the planetary gears, but the noise minimal.

The Pasion eBike 500w 48v Bafang kit contains everything you need apart from a battery.

What’s included in the kit

  • 500w 48v Bafang 8fun geared hub motor – laced into a 24″ / 26″ / 27.5″ or 28″ wheel
  • Motor controller
  • Motor controller bag
  • LCD Display
  • Thumb throttle
  • Pedal assist sensor
  • E-Brakes  (for cable brakes only)
  • Motor to controller extension cable and wiring loom

Is this kit easy to install?

Installation is the same as for the other hub motor.  You will need certain tools, and a bicycle stand will definitely come in handy. Basically you would swap out your standard rear wheel for this one and fit the display to your handlebars. The pedal sensor fits on the left hand side (non-drive) over the bottom bracket axle, and the motor controller goes into a frame-mounted plastic box.

The connectors on this kit are of the higo type (which a waterproof) and make for a very neat installation.

On some bikes it may be necessary to file out the rear drop-outs to accommodate the larger axle of the hub motor. You should always buy a torque arm, as this will help prevent the rear wheel from popping out of the drop-outs.

This kit will require a 48v e-bike specific Lithium battery pack, with a continuous rating of preferably 20A. This will need to be connected to the controller – ensuring the red (+) and black (-) wires are not mixed up.

bafang 500w 48v hub motor installed on a Giant XTC mountain bike

What bikes are compatible?

This kit is available in various wheel sizes from 24″ up to 28″ (700c). As with all hub motors, If your bike has thru-axles then this kit would not be compatible. As with all external pedal sensors, the kind of bottom bracket your bike has is important. This pedal sensor that comes with this kit would  not be compatible with a Shimano Hollowtech ll or SRAM GPX BB. If you have this type of bottom bracket then you will need a special pedal sensor.

Conclusion

The Pasion eBike 500w 48v Bafang  hub motor kit, is one of the best on the market. It is incredibly efficient, and provides loads of torque for helping you up those steep hills. Another good point worthy of note, is when the motor is switched off or on level ‘0’ you can pedal your bike normally, without any increase in drag or resistance.

The other great thing about these motors is their durability. Geared hub motors can sometimes suffer from wear of the planetary gears (which are usually made of nylon), but with the Bafang hub motor it doesn’t seem too much of a problem – be warned though. If you choose upgrade this motor with a more powerful controller and battery, it will increase the likelihood of premature planetary gear failure.

==>>SHOP NOW Bafang 48v 500w hub motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==

As with all hub motors, you will need to check and tighten the spokes regularly, and definitely make sure you fit a good puncture resistant tyre like a Schwalbe Marathon Plus – to save on time consuming roadside puncture repairs.

I have fitted a lot of these kits, and to date I haven’t experienced any long-term issues.

This is certainly not the cheapest electric bike conversion kit available, but the Bafang 8fun hub motor is smooth, powerful and generally reliable, plus  I like the flexibility of a geared hub motor, as they are much easier to pedal with the motor switched off.

Bafang 500w 48v rear wheel Electric Bike Kit

Price                ⭐⭐⭐

Performance  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reliability      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Efficiency      ⭐⭐⭐

Installation    ⭐⭐⭐⭐


#3 DAS-Kit 36v 250w Bafang rear hub Electric Bike Kit Review

das-kit 36v 250w bafang hub motor electric bike kit

This kit, supplied by Leon Cycles in Germany uses the excellent Bafang 36v 250w hub motor.  Bafang are one of the most well-established electric bicycle component manufacturers in the world. The DAS-Kit 250w hub motor kit is identical to that, fitted to the NCM Prague electric mountain bike (also sold by Leon cycles).

This kit is specifically manufactured to be road legal in Europe, so you can fit this kit to your bike without being worried about being nicked! The big downside to this of course, is that you are limited to 250w and 15mph (25km/h). But being a small geared hub motor, pedalling beyond this speed limit shouldn’t be an issue. The other good thing about the speed limit is that it will help to increase your battery range.

What’s included in the kit

  • 250w 36v Bafang 8fun geared hub motor – laced into a 26″ / 27.5″ or 28″ (700c) wheel
  • Motor controller
  • LCD Display – DAS-Kit LCD6
  • Thumb throttle
  • Pedal assist sensor
  • E-Brakes  (for cable brakes only)
  • Motor to controller extension cable and wiring loom

Is this kit easy to install?

Installation is the same as with the other hub motors.

The connectors on this kit are of the higo type (which a waterproof) and make for a very neat installation.

On some bikes it may be necessary to file out the rear drop-outs to accommodate the larger axle of the hub motor. As with all hub motors, there is a chance of the rear wheel from popping out of the drop-outs, so a torque arm is recommended.

You will also need to purchase a separate 36v Lithium battery pack.

What bikes are compatible?

This kit is available in 26″ / 27.5″ and 28″ (700c). As with all hub motors, If your bike has thru-axles then this kit would not be compatible. As I have mentioned previously, the external pedal sensors supplied with most of these kits are not compatible with a Shimano Hollowtech ll or SRAM GPX BB. If you have this type of bottom bracket then you will need a special pedal sensor specifically made for this Hollowtech ll.

Conclusion

This is not only one of the cheapest electric bike conversion kits available, but is also one of the best. Not only does if offer excellent value for money but is also very efficient and robust, plus it provides a lot of torque for such a small motor (making those hills a doddle). True, it doesn’t have the grunt of the 500w version, but it is road legal, and you haven’t got to worry about looking over your shoulder for the law.  As with any geared hub motor you can pedal your bike easily with the motor off, without any increase in drag or resistance.

This motor should offer the same durability as the 500w version. It is also lighter in weight and physically smaller in diameter.

==>>SHOP NOW Bafang 36v 250w hub motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==

Maintenance is the same as other hub motors, you will need to check and tighten the spokes regularly, and preferably fit a good puncture resistant tyre like the e-bike rated Schwalbe Marathon Plus – to save on annoying roadside puncture repairs.

I have fitted quite a few of these kits, and to date I haven’t experienced any long-term issues.

Footnote: This kit is also available in 48v 250w version.

DAS-Kit 36v 250w Bafang rear hub Electric Bike conversion Kit

Price                ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Performance  ⭐⭐⭐

Reliability       ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Efficiency       ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Installation    ⭐⭐⭐⭐


#2 Tongsheng TSDZ2 Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion Kit Review

tongsheng tsdz2

I absolutely love the Tongsheng. It is a cracking little mid-drive motor for the money. If you are after Bosch-like performance for a fraction of the price, then this is the kit for you.

As I have stated in my full review of the TSDZ2 this is a good system, and like the Bafang BBS01 / BBS02, it is available in 250w / 350w / 500w / 750w versions.

For those of you unfamiliar with this motor. It uses a torque sensor for pedal assist, meaning it will give you power, proportionate to the amount of force applied to the pedals (much like the Bosch system). The benefits of this system are, it gives you an enhanced cycling experience rather than just giving you power whenever the pedals are turned. In other words, you still have to put a bit of effort in.

What’s included in the kit

  • Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive electric motor
  • LCD Display
  • Speed Sensor with spoke magnet
  • Installation spanner / tool
  • Motor fixing plate (and fixings)
  • Motor lock-rings
  • Wiring loom

Is this kit easy to install?

Mid-drive motor installation requires the complete removal of the bike’s bottom bracket. You will need to have the right Shimano bottom bracket tool for the job, and also a decent breaker bar. Removing the bottom bracket can be a right pain (literally!) but thankfully once this job is done the rest is fairly easy. Once you have removed the bottom bracket you will need to clean the area and possibly use a little sand paper to prepare the shell for insertion of the motor axle.

If all goes smoothly it should only take around 3 hours, but it can take a lot longer, if you end up having problems removing the bottom bracket. Watch the installation video below to see how the motor fits – it is worth noting that it looks like they loosened the bottom bracket beforehand.

What bikes are compatible?

This kit is only suitable for bicycles that have a 68mm-73mm threaded bottom bracket (including Shimano Hollowtech ll or SRAM GPX) I would not personally attempt fitting one to a bike with a pressed fit bottom bracket, as you will need to machine a special shim adaptor – fine if you know a good engineer.

Orange full suspension mountain bike fitted with a Tongsheng tsdz2 mid-drive

Conclusion

When I was writing my review of the Tongsheng TSDZ2 I was very tempted to make it my number one electric bike kit.

In my opinion, it beats the Bafang, hands-down in a number of areas. The chain-line is much better, and you could even fit a double chainring to this motor if you wanted (something that doesn’t work well on the Bafang). The other thing I like about this motor, is that it is not too difficult to pedal with the power off.

==>>SHOP NOW Tongsheng mid-drive motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==

The only reason I haven’t put this kit at the top spot, is because the Bafang mid-drive is a more versatile, as far as custom programming is concerned.

The TSDZ2 may not suit everyone’s tastes, but if you are after an enhanced cycling experience, where you still have to put in some effort, then this could be the electric bike kit for you.

As with all mid-drive motors, the long-term reliability is questionable, and it really boils down to luck of the draw, and the way you ride it. Thankfully there is a good supply of replacement parts available. You will also need to purchase a separate 36v or 48v Lithium battery pack.

Tongsheng TSDZ2 Mid-Drive E-Bike Kit

Price               ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Performance ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reliability      ⭐⭐⭐

Efficiency       ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Installation    ⭐⭐


#1 Bafang BBS01 36v 250w / BBS02 48v 750w Electric Bike Kit Review

bafang bbs02b 48v 750w electric bike kit

It was Bafang that got the ball rolling with plug-and-play mid-drive e-bike kits back in 2014. In the ensuing years, this motor has gone from strength to strength, undergoing various upgrades to the electronics. A lot of people have a love / hate relationship with these motors ( including me!). They are fantastic when they are running well, but can be a pain when they go wrong.

The Bafang is available in various guises – the BBS01 250w / 350w  and the BBS02 500w / 750w versions. There is also a 1000w version called the BBSHD – read the full review here.

The BBS01 250w / 350w is the same motor, just with different firmware settings in the controller. Although physically the same, the BBS02 has a more powerful motor, and can handle 48v at 25A maximum (or 52v if you’re feeling lucky!), the 500w version has 18A maximum current and there is a 36v 500w version that uses a different controller.

These motors use cadence based pedal assist, meaning that the motor provides assistance based on pedal rotation (and cadence speed). I personally prefer the torque sensing pedal assist of the Tongsheng TSDZ2, but one of the great things about the Bafang is the ease at which it can be reprogrammed. All you need is a USB lead and the software and you are good to go. The software is very user friendly and there is plenty of information available on programming (particularly endless sphere).

What’s included in the kit

  • Bafang BBS01 / BBS02 / BBSHD mid-drive electric motor
  • LCD Display – B&W C961 / C965 or full colour P850c / P750c / DP-C18
  • Speed Sensor with spoke magnet
  • Motor fixing plate (and fixings)
  • Motor lockrings
  • Wiring loom
  • E-Brakes (for cable brakes only)

Is this kit easy to install?

Any mid-drive motor installation requires the complete removal of the bike’s bottom bracket. You will need to have the right Shimano bottom bracket tool for the job, and also a decent breaker bar. Removing the bottom bracket can be difficult, but thankfully once this job is done the rest is fairly easy. Once you have removed the bottom bracket you will need to clean the area and possibly use a little sand paper to prepare the shell for insertion of the motor axle.

You will need a Bafang tool to tighten the lockring. If you do not want to purchase one of these, a c-spanner will suffice, but be prepared for scraped knuckles!

If all goes smoothly it should only take around 3 hours, but it can take a lot longer, if you end up having problems removing the bottom bracket. I have a downloadable PDF installation guide available.

You will also need to purchase a separate 36v or 48v Lithium battery pack – see table below for suitable batteries.

b twin 520s full suspension mountain bike fitted with a bafang bbs02 750w

What bikes are compatible?

This kit is only suitable for bicycles that have a 68mm-73mm threaded bottom bracket (including Shimano Hollowtech ll or SRAM GPX) I would not personally attempt fitting one to a bike with a pressed fit bottom bracket, as you will need to machine a special shim adapter – fine if you know a good engineer. PLEASE NOTE: There is a 100mm and 120mm bottom bracket version of the BBSHD suitable for Fat Bikes.

Conclusion

Despite some of the reliability issues I have experienced with customer conversions, I still think the Bafang BBS02B 750w is one of the best electric bike kits available. I used a BBS02 powered bike for the best part of a year, clocking up nearly 2000 miles, and I never had even a hint of a problem. Having said that, I used the bike as a means of getting fitter, so would only use the power when I really needed it.

It seems that a lot of the problems experienced with this motor happen when they are thrashed constantly in full power mode. Thankfully there is never a shortage of spare parts available.

==>>SHOP NOW Bafang BBS02 mid-drive motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==

I have installed over a hundred of these motors, and have had a lot of happy customers. But there have been issues with controllers failing – these failures all happened on bike’s that had 52v batteries fitted.

The most reliable of the Bafang mid-drives are the 36v 250w / 350w BBS01 varients, I have only ever had one failure reported with this model.

If you can live with the potential issues, that may arise, these really are excellent motors and well worth the money!

For more information on the Bafang mid-drive kit, I have posted a full review of the BBS01 250w and the BBS02 in separate posts.

Bafang BBS01 36v 250w / BBS02 48v 750w Mid-Drive Electric Bike Kit

Price                ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Performance ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reliability      ⭐⭐⭐

Efficiency      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Installation    ⭐⭐


***BONUS REVIEW – All-new torque sensing mid-drive motor***

GP-LB01 torque sensing mid-drive e-bike kit review

GP-LB01 mid-drive motor

The new GP-LB01 mid-drive e-bike kit is available on Aliexpress through a trusted vendor I have used numerous times in the past. This newly  released motor has been developed by a group of former Bafang engineers, and there are certainly some similarities between the GP-LB01 and Bafang BBS01/BBS02.

It is available in 36v 250w and 350w versions and there is also a 48v500w version available. There are also two different displays available, the black and white C600 display and the colour C800 display. Both displays are very clear with the colour display being my preferred choice.Apart from the external similarities, the internals are quite different. This motor uses a similar geared reduction system as the Bafang but one major design improvement is a much beefier primary nylon gear. This important part is substantially bigger in size than both the Bafang and Tonsheng gear. One could assume that the service life of this particular part should be longer.

gp mid drive motor primary gear

The other main difference between this and the Bafang is that it uses a torque sensing pedal assist (like the Tongsheng). As I have mentioned before, I personally prefer this kind of pedal assist as it makes the motor feel more like an extension of your own abilities.

As this motor is relatively new, it is hard to gauge the long-term reliability, especially where the electrics are concerned, but early reports seem to suggest this is a very good motor.

The motor is apparently very quiet and smooth and provides responsive pedal assist on demand.

Installation

The installation of this motor is the same as for the Bafang and Tonsheng and it is compatible with a 68mm-73mm bottom bracket shell.

Conclusion

It’s a bit early in the day to comment on the long-term reliability of this motor, but early indications suggest this is a worthwhile alternative to the Bafang and Tonsheng. The price is a little more than the TSDZ2 and a bit cheaper than the Bafang BBS02, so it seems to be good value for money.

On top of that, the supplier is confident enough in the product to offer a 2 year warranty, which is double what a lot of suppliers will give on the Bafang.

Once I get hold of one of these motors I will be doing a long-term test and full review.

==>>SHOP NOW GP-LB01 mid-drive motor kit **GLOBAL SHIPPING**<<==


Bafang BBS01B 250w mid-drive kit with choice of 36v batteries - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
Bafang BBS02B 36v 500w mid-drive kit - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
Bafang BBS02B 750w mid-drive kit with choice of 48v or 52v batteries - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
Bafang BBSHD 1000w mid-drive kit with choice of 48v or 52v batteries - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
Tongsheng TSDZ2 250w / 350w / 500w 36v or 48v - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
GP-LB01 mid-drive motor 250w / 350w / 500w 36v or 48v - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
Electric Bike Batteries - 36v / 48v / 52v / 72v - International Shipping
==>>SHOP NOW
All the suppliers that are linked to in this table are trusted sources that I use regularly. They provide excellent customer service, and communication is always good.


How to choose the Best Electric Bike Conversion kit

If you are willing to take the plunge, converting a bicycle to electric assist can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only that, but you can also make a substantial saving when compared to buying a factory produced e-bike. [see the table below]

Cube Cross Hybrid One 400 Electric BikePrice
1599 GBP
1850 EUR
1999 USD
2913 AUD

Good quality hybrid or MTB Bike cost
500 GBP
580 EUR
650 USD
910 AUD
Tongsheng 36v 500w mid-drive kitKit cost
270 GBP
310 EUR
355 USD
491 AUD
36v 13ah Batteryelectric bike batteryBattery cost
220 GBP
255 EUR
287 USD
400 AUD
Total cost of build
990 GBP
1142 EUR
1295 USD
1803 AUD
Total Saving
699 GBP
808 EUR
914 USD
1274 AUD

As you can see there are substantial savings to be made by converting a decent spec new bike to electric assist. If you are converting a bicycle you already own then the savings are even greater.

KTM Macina Ride electric mountain bike

Converting a bike to electric isn’t for everyone though, and if you are not mechanically minded, I would recommend you purchase a ready-made e-bike or find someone who can fit the kit for you.

You also need to consider the fact that a retro-fit electric bike conversion may not be as reliable in the long-term as a factory produced e-bike.

Contents

In order to choose the right motor for your needs, you need to ask yourself what your intended use is going to be.

If you live in a fairly flat area, with only slight inclines, then a small geared hub motor should be more than adequate, but if you live in an area where there are relentless steep hills, then a mid-drive would be more suitable.

Ultimately, the decision you make will be influenced by your own personal needs.  Both types of motor have their place on e-bikes but it is worth remembering that mid-drives in general are far more energy efficient than small hub motors.

Direct drive hub motors

The direct drive hub motor is the simplest form of electric bike propulsion: The outer shell of the hub is an integral part of the motor, and has a big ring of powerful magnets fixed to it.

When the motor runs, it drives the wheel directly (that’s where the name comes from). Put simply this means that the wheel is basically a motor with the shaft fixed in place so that the body of the motor (the outer hub shell, and thus your wheel) spins instead of the shaft.

direct drive hub motor installed on a hardtail mountain bike

It is a simple design, but comes at a cost – the motor needs to be quite big and heavy to produce enough power. A smaller motor spinning slowly wouldn’t produce enough torque, and the speed you want your wheel to turn at is relatively slow, so the motor needs to be as big as possible to produce torque at low speeds.

On the positive side, direct drive hub motors tend to be cheap and reliable plus they can handle a lot of power. So if you are looking for a high performance electric bike on a budget then a big hub motor may be the way to go.

Geared Hub Motor

Small geared hub motors are a lot more efficient than direct drive motors. The motor case is connected to the stator through a planetary gear reduction system. For every rotation of the case, the motor inside spins many times faster. This allows the motor to work at higher (and more efficient) speeds, while still allowing the wheel to spin at a slower driving speed.

Another great benefit to using a geared hub motor is there is practically zero pedalling resistance if the motor is switched off or runs out of power – you can pedal like on a normal bicycle.

a small geared hub motor installed on a mountain bike

Geared motors are usually maintenance-free, but if you do a lot of hill climbing it is likely the nylon planetary gears will wear over time. Thankfully these are cheap and relatively easy to replace.

Mid-Drive Motor

The mid-drive motor is the preferred drive system of more expensive e-bikes. These types of motors are by far the most efficient and they also produce much more torque than hub motors.

a bafang bbshd mid drive motor installed on a hybrid bike

Fitting this kind of motor can be tricky for the inexperienced, as the bicycle’s bottom bracket needs to be removed to facilitate installation. Once this job has been done, the rest is fairly straightforward. It is important to remember that most mid-drive kits are only compatible with standard threaded bottom bracket shells of 68mm-73mm wide and approximately 33.5mm diameter.

When installed correctly, a mid-drive system will give your bike the look and feel of a more expensive e-bike.

cube mountain bike with a bafang bbs02 and 52v battery

The only downsides to mid-drive motors are increased pedalling resistance when the motor is switched off and periodic maintenance (such as tightening the motor). You will also be limited to a single chainring on the front.

Mid-Drive vs Hub motor

Taking into account all of the above information it really boils down to your budget and the kind of riding you plan on doing.

In my experience, small hub motors are usually a lot less hassle than mid-drives in the long-term. Another thing to consider is pedalling resistance. Both the mid-drive and direct-drive hub motor produce a significant amount of resistance with the motor off.

Mid-drives are definitely much better at hill climbing, a 250w Bafang BBS01B will produce nearly 100% more torque than a geared hub motor equivalent.

mountain bike fitted with a 1000w direct drive hub motor

Hub motor kits have more of a ‘DIY look’ about them, there will be an external controller (usually in a frame bag), an external pedal assist sensor and lots of wiring to tidy up. Mid-drive motors definitely provide a cleaner and neater looking finished product.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a bit of help with hills but want to pedal under your own steam for a lot of the time, then a small geared hub motor would definitely be the way to go. If you are looking for a bike that will be able to tackle very steep climbs with ease, then maybe a mid-drive would be a better option.

Choosing the right e-bike battery

Battery choice is important because it will determine the kind of range you can expect from your electric bike.

First and foremost you will need a battery of the right voltage. Most kits are 36v or 48v, the 48v kits will usually take 52v batteries but this can in some cases compromise reliability. There are some motor controllers available that will take either a 36v or 48v battery but you will need to double check this first before making your purchase.

36v 17ah battery hailong case

The Ah (amp hour) spec provides a measurement of battery capacity.  In other words, it is an indication of how much energy can be stored by the battery. For example a 36v 13ah battery (36v x 13ah) will have a total energy capacity of 468Wh (watt hours) – using a constant 20Wh per mile would give a  range of approximately 23 miles. In real-world riding this figure could be much greater or lower depending on power level used, rider weight, the kind of terrain (flat or hilly) and wind direction.

The other thing to consider is the size / style of frame you will be fitting the battery to. Normal hybrid or hardtail mountain bikes of 18″ frame and above usually have plenty of space, but when you get down to 16″ frames, things can become a lot tighter.

full suspension mountain bike fitted with a bafang bbshd

If you have a full-suspension mountain bike then mounting a battery in the frame can be practically impossible (depending on the bike). Ladies framed bikes and step-through bikes are usually better suited to a rear rack-mounted battery.

It is advisable that you take measurements of your frame triangle before purchasing a battery. It is also worthy to note that some battery packs do not align particularly well with the bottle holder threads on the frame. If this is the case, you may need to drill and riv-nut an extra hole or two.

For more information on e-bike batteries please check out my article ‘electric bike batteries explained’


Thank you for taking the time to read this article, if you need any further help or advice choosing a conversion kit, please use the contact form below.

 

 

 

 

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