Ebike conversion kits can be fitted to an existing bike in minutes, saving money and hassle, as well as avoiding waste and unnecessary manufacturing. Here are 5 of the best kits:
Heading down to the local dealership and buying a brand new ebike may seem like an instant win for the planet – but not so fast. Ebikes are a revelation for anyone needing pedalling assistance, wanting to cover more miles, or lug around children or cargo, but buying one brand new can be both unnecessarily expensive and not that great for the environment, when taking all the manufacturing into account. Electric bike conversion kits come in all shapes and sizes and mean you can give your existing steed battery power in as little as half an hour. Then your old bike doesn’t (potentially) head to landfill and you can continue to enjoy all the bits you love about it, whether that’s the perfect seating position or all those stickers you carefully applied. Here’s our guide to the 5 best ebike conversion kits on the market:
Swytch is probably the best-known ebike conversion company on the market. Started in 2017, it benefits from pure start-up ethos – that is, it’s attractively branded, easy to understand, fairly competitively priced and makes you feel like you just have to have one. To date 60,000 people have done just that across more than 100 countries, too. Fitting the system, which involves a box with a correctly-sized front wheel, beautifully integrated and easy to install pedal sensor, and handlebar battery that’s looks like a smartphone, is summed up in a video of just over one minute on YouTube – it’s foolproof. Handlebar-mounted displays are an optional extra. The 36V battery is a choice between the pocket sized AIR (15km 90Wh) or the tablet sized MAX (30km 180Wh). The battery is also easily removed meaning that it won’t get stolen and can be strategically placed on the table of a coffee shop or co-working space to flex your eco credentials. From £500 (c. €575).
Cytronex is a UK company that has put a lot of thought into making an ebike conversion kit that is simple to use and hassle free. The set-up process is thorough, with lots of questions about wheel, tyre and brake choice, allowing you to both upgrade parts (beware: the costs can start to notch up at this point) and ensuring the correct system for your bike. It can seem a bit complicated if you aren’t too familiar with your bike or component sizing in general, so make sure to have these at hand, but the result is a super simple and joyfully well-made, effective and easy to fit conversion kit that is barely noticeable once installed. The bottle cage carries the battery and one press of the ‘boost button’ gives virtually silent electric assistance. There’s even an app to customise the power and range as well as having a diagnostic function if anything goes wrong. The conversion adds 3.6kg and works out around 5kg lighter than a purpose-built electric bike. In short, with such a quality, integrated system, there is hardly anything not to love about Cytronex. The company won both ‘ebike of the year 2021’ for the Brompton version plus ‘best overall ebike kit’ in 2022. The only sticking point is the price – it’s not that cheap but you do get peace of mind knowing that you can deal direct with the company when needed. From £1045 (€1,200 ).
The Rubbee X may look like a handheld vacuum cleaner and have a name like something sold at Ann Summers, but it is an amazing piece of kit. It fixes to the seatpost and drives the rear wheel directly, so it’s not the most elegant conversion kit out there but negates the need to get rid of (and build) a front or rear wheel for starters, so already scores an eco point. Then there is the fact that the system takes a piffling 30 minutes to set up and can be easily installed on another bike in the family. There’s even a second bike kit available to make this process easier. Inside the box is a Wireless Cadence Sensor, 36V/93,5Wh Li-Ion Battery Module and 110/220V 2A Charger. The only rub, literally, is the bit of noise you’ll hear from the tyre and the range of 10 miles, but this will be more than enough for most commuters. Electric bike conversions don’t come any easier. From €579.
Pendix eDrive 300
On paper it’s hard to justify the Pendix eDrive 300. It’s quite expensive and difficult to fit (you’ll need a professional mechanic) but imagine it more like a precision piece of performance kit and it makes more sense. Produced in Zwickau, Germany, it is impeccable quality and during design and production the motor and battery are subjected to constant quality controls as well as endurance tests. That means that once installed it should be bullet-proof and a dedicated dealer network is on hand for any support needed. Then there is sustainability and accountability. The majority of components are sourced in Europe and, in cooperation with with the Stiftung Batteries Joint Take-Back System, the disposal of the rechargeable batteries is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. The kit itself is built into the crank and supplies power for up to 79km. The 48 V Pendix ePower300 battery has a capacity of 330 Wh and can be easily removed from the bike and fully recharged within two hours the supplied 160 W charger. If you want something dependable and fully integrated that could outlast other components on your bike, this is the one to go for. From €1,649.
Viribus Ebike Conversion Kit
At the other end of the scale from all of the aforementioned kits is the Viribus. This Chinese conversion kit literally jumps out of Amazon thanks to its rock bottom price, and also the accompanying images of a man riding a kitted out bike that is far too small for him. Let’s just say, there is arguably less attention to detail here – and that’s where the cost savings are. Unlike the Cytronex there is no option for a quality wheel manufacturer like Mavic, instead you get the one that they send you. The next issue is that the kit doesn’t come with a battery – you can get these for a shade over 100 Euros also on Amazon – and you need to find somewhere to hang it off the frame too. All that aside, the whole kit can be had for less than 200 Euros depending on the wheel size, and includes a natty LCD display, brake levers and grips with built-in throttle lever. So, if you are an avid cyclist or heavy commuter who wants a dependable system, buying at such a budget level may not be the best choice. However, if you just want to have an occasional ebike, or just try one out and see if you like it, the Viribus is a worthy option. From €163.79 for a 36V/ 500W front wheel conversion kit.