Electric bikes are great for both fun and work. If you’re thinking about buying one but don’t want to spring for an entire new bike, you can upgrade your existing bike with a conversion kit. But what if you don’t know which conversion kit is right for you? They can be confusing and complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you feel confused, then we’ve broken down the different types of conversion kits here. Whether you ride mountain bike or a road bike, there is several ways to electrify your bike and remove those challenges that many people face with traditional bikes.
Front Hub Motor
The front hub motor is the simplest and the easiest way to convert your normal bike into an electric one. In this type of ebike conversion kit, you have to replace the front wheel with a motorized wheel. Most of the time a front wheel conversion kit features a front wheel with a hub motor, a battery, speed controller, electric brake to cut off any power, an LCD display panel, and either a twist throttle or a thumb throttle depending on the model.
Rear Hub Motor
A rear hub motor can be a better option than the front wheel conversion kit because it provides you with more control and traction when you use the throttle. Almost all the manufacturers that are building electric bikes feature a rear hub motor unless it’s a mountain bike.
Rear wheel electric conversion kit obviously features a rear wheel hub motor which can go unnoticed since it looks much like an oversized traditional bike hub. This conversion kit also comes with a battery, speed controller, electric brakes, an LCD display panel, throttle, and a pedal assist.
Mid Drive Motor
In mid-drive electric bikes, the motor is integrated with bottom bracket and cranks in the center of the bike. This type of conversion kit is great because it evenly distributes the weight of the motor across the bike which is why mid-drive motors are considered the best option for any type of off-roading or mountain biking, where you need your bike to be perfectly balanced. They also usually need higher torque because they are heavier than the other types of ebikes. Though mid-drive units are a bit more expensive than hub motors, often it’s because they are more compact and powerful.
In a mid-drive or central system, the motor is directly connected to the crank drive so as soon as you start pedaling the motor drives the crank arms which takes advantage of the range of gear shifts. The bike transmission gear ratio affects the torque and speed. Also the freewheel sprocket lets the wheel freely roll with no drag.
Direct Drive Motor
This is another option but can be a little more difficult to install. The direct drive motor is when the outer shell of the hub is part of the motor. When the motor runs, it drives the wheel directly so there is very little wasted energy.
It’s a simple system, but the motor has to be big and heavy to produce enough power. A small motor spinning slowly doesn’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
Where and how will You be riding?
If you’re using your e-bike to commute to work and riding on flat surfaces and paved roads where you don’t need that much power, either a front wheel or rear wheel conversion kit will do. However, if you enjoy a little off roading, a mid-drive unit is better to climb steep hills or over bumps.
What’s Your Budget?
Budget will largely determine what type of conversion kit you’re going to buy. In most of the cases, a mid-drive bike will work great in any kind of situation, but you also pay for the extra power. Keep in mind you get what you pay for. The better the parts generally the more expensive the conversion kit will be. Having said that, make sure you do your research to discover which parts are the best and don’t get fooled just because a kit has a high price tag.
You should not to be put off by all the different e-bike conversion kits out there. If you still feel confused, then ask an expert. If you enjoy tinkering and solving problem then this is an opportunity for you to build something with your own hands and find that perfection in it.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it all comes down to which electric bike conversion kit is best for you, either you prefer a hub motor, direct drive or a mid-drive unit it’s your call. If you need some advice, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at EbikeBC and we’ll be happy to help you out.