Go back to Electric Bicycles
An e-bike kit provides all the needed items to convert a bicycle into an e-bike, rather than purchasing these items separately.
The two major types of kits are "with battery" or "without battery". The basic items in a "without battery" kit include:
- motor and mounts or a hubmotor
"With battery" kits add a battery and charger to the above list.
Things you'll need
Quality kits also include all required wiring and connectors to connect each component. They may also include things you need such as torque arms, spacer washers, wattmeters, allen wrenches, a spoke wrench, and battery bags, boxes, or mounts. And of course a good set of installation and operation instructions, on paper or at least available on-line.
Often advertised as "easy as fixing a flat tire on a bike" or "takes 30 min", installing a kit requires basic mechanical ability. You should at least be able to assemble an Ikea table.
For an experienced e-bike rider, it may still take an hour or more depending on whether small modifications to the frame are needed. Dropouts might need a bit of paint filed off, or may need to be filed 2 mm deeper. Disk brakes can add time fiddling with spacer washers to get alignments right. Battery mounting can be very complicated, or as easy as bolting onto the water bottle mounts on the frame.
Choosing an e-bike kit
The reviews and testing forum contains many reviews of e-bike kits.
Kits vs pre-made e-bikes
Many prefer e-bike kits for a simple system that is less prone to failure than pre-made e-bikes. Pre-made e-bikes often contain unnecessary bells and whistles, increasing complexity and risk of malfunction. Kit e-bikes tend to include only the necessary components required for reliable operation, and some are easier to modify for more power later.
Things to watch out for
- Wiring quality: Are the wires thick enough for the current? Are the connectors good enough for the current? Are the connectors reliable and long lasting? Is the wiring waterproof?
- Voltage vs claimed top speeds: See this wiki page to check whether the speed claims are realistic based on the kit voltage.
- Battery: replacement cost (although you could always replace it with your own battery in future), chemistry and weight
- Technical assistance from seller. Some sellers are just resellers and don't know much about their kits. This can cause trouble if you have problems installing the kit or something breaks.