An Inexpensive Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Sales of electric bikes have spun into high gear this year — some merchants reporting a 6000% increase in sales. This is good news, because, for short trips, the efficiency and convenience of electric bikes is hard to beat. You may have heard that in the U.S.,  40% of all trips are made within two miles of the home, and 50% of workers commute five miles or less to work.

Currently, the top-rated electric bike conversion kit on Amazon is the Currie Technologies Power Kit, which gets an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars from reviewers. This kit converts a 26-inch mountain or comfort bike into an electric bike. What you get is a hybrid bike that can be powered by pedaling, or by engaging an electric motor.

Currie Electric Bike Conversion Kit

 

Using the kit, you can go 15 minutes on electric power alone (the range can be doubled with an optional second battery pack). The pack include a lead-acid battery, which requires 6 to 8 hours to recharge when completely depleted.

The Currie Technologies Power Kit is available from Amazon for about $300.

The Currie Kit is a good entry-level kit, but if your are interested in a lighter kit with better performance you may want to try a kit with a lithium-ion battery, such as the Hill Topper or the Bionx. The Bionx kit has been around the longest, and is generally regarded as the best quality conversion kit, selling for $1600. Note that lithium-ion battery packs cost more — $815 for the Hill Topper, which about as low as you’ll get for a lithium-based conversion kit.

Another good electric bike I’ve tried is from a family-run company called AmpedBikes. The founder, Danny L. Ray, was unhappy with the quality of the kits he was getting from China, so he visited China and found a company that were willing to build a kit to his specifications, using the parts he chose. The AmpedBikes kits incorporate a brushless 36V 500W electric hub, and can be installed on almost any bike with 26″ wheels. Ray says the kits can be installed in about 20 minutes, and he an installation video on his website to show how it’s done.

 

 

Comments

  1. Obiwan says

    I like that you can fill in your own battery pack. That allows you to customize the capacity to your specific needs. I could see folks in hilly areas wanting more amp-hours than others.

    There’s no reason you couldn’t build this into a 700C rim too, but you might have some issues w/ the width of the dropouts (assuming it’s 135 mm OLD) on older road bikes.

    • fred says

      always A strong supporter of the regular old bicycle, but I have been getting a tad older that I used to be, and have bad knees. without the electric assist, work was too far away, with too many hills. I couldn’t ride anymore. now I ride in, I pedal the whole way, (the batteries would not make it that far without it) I save gas, I get a workout, I feel almost like I did when I could ride myself.

      still hate the rain.

  2. cephoe says

    Electric bikes are actually more efficient than standard bicycles. See this book for more details:

    http://cli.gs/99nXTB

    Electric bikes are especially useful for commuters, those with kids in tow, or elderly people.

  3. jamey says

    Great commuters!

    We have been using ampedbikes conversion for over a year now as commuters, I have 12 mile commute and my wife has a 6 mile commute. We ride them on the average of 4 days a week, we get to work sweat free and together we saved close to $6,000 last year on fuel prices.

    We also have standard road and mountain bikes we ride on weekend for recreation and exercise, but during the week we commute for about $.01 per mile beat that!

    Its fun, it gets us outside and gives us a different outlook on the day.

    Jamey K.

      • says

        We to buy electric bike. We want to use it for transporting 1 or 2 persons to our farms and back. Now you are dealing with electric bike, you may have the answer few following questions for our guide.

        1. Can do motor bike use battery to propel with fuel (pms)?
        2. how durable is the motor bike?
        3. how long has this been in use. for example, it is not available in Nigeria where
        we intend to uuse them.
        4. Can we make 3-5 sample order immediately?
        5. Give us quotation for sample order, putting into consideration , weight, freight charges, etc to our destionation in Nigeria.

        let us have your reply with specification and colour brochure for usto make accurate decision. Isioma Punosac Limited, Benin City Nigeria

  4. jamey says

    Hi Ras. I paid $80 for batteries locally for 3 12V 10AH batteries. So I have a total of about$440 into it. But to be honest at this point cost is not a factor.

    My next thing is I am upgrading to one of the new lightweight batteries.

  5. imsold says

    Im sold.. I just ordered one after reading excellent forum reviews. I had to get on a waiting list for the 15th of September.

    I went out and bought a nice comfort bike for the conversion at Wallmart for $120

  6. bionx says

    BionX is made in Canada.. comes with batteries too! :)

    Also, it fits many different sizes of wheels, (in both black and silver), it fits your REAR wheel.. has Li-Mn batteries..

    By far, worth every penny.. I have one on my hybrid, and I love it!

    • joy scout says

      I just got a price list for BionX from my local bike shop – prices for a conversion kit start at $900 , and if that wasn’t disappointing – they are heavy too.

  7. Safety First says

    Rightfully so roger, in Britain there are lots of pedestrians the last thing they need is crazy people going around on electric bikes. Be environmentally friendly and walk, take the bus or subway. Save electric bikes for Americans. Don’t really even see what you would need them for.

    BionX is a good system if you have the cash. On the other hand, if you use it every day, it will pay for itself. Find a local dealer to install for you, it will cost about the same and you get the warranty.

  8. Scott McElhiney says

    Jamey K. stated that he and his wife saved close to $6000 last year on fuel prices. Using his numbers for commuting, I came up with about 3744 miles between the two of them. If you figure their car gets about 20mpg (low guess?) and gas costs $5 a gallon (never got there) it would still only be $935 in fuel in a year. Now add in all the other costs of car ownership and they could have easily saved that $6K… if the cars went away. Insurance, registration, repairs etc… but fuel costs? Come on your giving electric assist a bad name with bogus claims on the savings.

    I’m interested in converting a recumbent to electric assist for commuting, I already rode over 4600 miles this year without any assist, but want more speed and not to sweat up during my commute going to work. But I’d like a system that drives through the chain so I can use my gearing with the electric. If anyone has some good suggestions… email me.

    Thanks

    • Joe says

      I’m also looking for an electric kit for a recumbent with a 16in wheel. Have you found anything? I’ve found a Cystalyte 36V kit, but I do not know if it actually would work.

    • fred says

      I use my gearing for my pedaling, the torque range on my hub motor is fine for all the speed ranges I use. (it is happy when I am in my highest gear at about 60 rpm) and it can give just a gentle assist or a healthy assist at any speed I ride.

    • Bill Snow says

      Electric drive with power through the chain? Contact Jerry, The Scooter Guy, I have a Tour Easy recumbent with a small 1.6 hp Subaru motor that runs through the chain gearing and it works great. Will soon be doing the same thing with another recumbent but using electric instead. You can contact Jerry by calling: 503 847 1118.

      Bill Snow

  9. says

    I was shocked at how much the kit cost but then I found out that it doesn’t come with the battery. My dad just started up an electric bike store called EZ Green Bikes and we’re selling them for $850 with lithium ion batteries.

    All I have to say about electric bikes are that they are great and for those complaining about how people should just ride regular bicycles…it’s difficult for someone that has a zero to low activity lifestyle to hop onto a bike and commute to work or school. Don’t discourage people from electric bikes…it still requires some physical activity and it’s better than using a car which equals better health and a better environment. As for the cost I guess all I can say is…gas prices can’t stay low forever.

    • says

      I own “normal bike” but here in Europe there are electric bikes with a 200 euro ($250) price tag. It is ridiculous to pay $800 for electric motor and batery…

  10. says

    i dont mean to cancle the warrenty on perpus but livining next to a moter sports machean shop plan on takeing it astep ferter i have a w.w.2 serplus dynamoter 6 v step up to 300 unreguated volts @ so so amps i might try it ive teted it idealy might work its like a moter w bult in genorator thay r still
    around mostly in railroad eqwipment nowa days but if you bump into a w.w.2 tube mureen radio and know your stuff i hope any body can look up dc dynamoter on google today they come in 12v to who knows !a 16 ”
    moped or dirtbike tire will fit a 20″bicycle rim i garontee ..the brushless hub i guss
    migt need a more beefy and fool proof design on a moped frame an im wondering if ishuld power front and back too you can fit alot more power on
    a resonably small cycle fram sligtly heavyer duty than a peddle bike

  11. Cameron says

    I am an american so for you guys in the UK who think its a way to be eco friendly to walk. think of a coworker who walks to work and shows up hot, red faced and sweaty so he can save on gas. by hour one he’ll stink. i walk four miles to work ever day. i tell you id rather dole out the 400$ so i show up smelling fresh and not with sweat stains and blisters. that and it would cut my commute from an hour and a half to about twenty minutes. ive been the guy no ones wants to be with in ten feet of. its not fun, by the way i have a Aluminum PK7 21 speed and i use it but sweat is for the dogs

  12. Fritz Jackson says

    My commute is 7 miles each way. No way that I can walk that in a reasonable amount of time. A bicycle is the solution. An electric bike is even safer b/c instead of a 3 mph hill climb I can do a 10+ mph hill climb. Perhaps even 15 mph hill climb. I would not worry about my relative speeds but I must mix with cars…

  13. john says

    electric bikes are legal in the uk ..i ride one and they’re sold here ..i’ve had 2 heart attacks and i think it;s great

  14. Kevin says

    What I don’t get is why you can’t figure out the specs of electric bike motors. I have a cheap Currie bike that would be fine for flat terrain, but I need something that will climb steep hills for several miles. I was talking with a local electronics shop to see if they had recommendations and they said no, they don’t even work on them because of the quality of the motors. Which leaves me wondering, why can’t you find out if these kits are any good? I don’t want to buy a motor that’s only going to last 2 years. There are so many kits, motors, and electric bikes out there but I’ve yet to see a comprehensive rating system. It’s just a wild frontier of start ups as far as I can see. Any suggestions on where to get good information?

    And to save comments from the “purists”; yes, I understand I can ride a bike without a motor. But, I use my electric bike for commuting to and from work and don’t want to be covered in sweat. Hence the electric bike. As a bicyclist, car drivers, walker and electric bike rider I get the pecking order: cars drivers don’t like bicyclists of any kind, bicyclists don’t like people using electric bikes, and walkers don’t particularly care for any of them.

    • fred says

      for reliability
      I bought a used hub motor on ebay years ago, and the first problem I have had is the guy ? who stole it out of my (locked) shed. it is a simple design, few moving parts
      make sure your controller gets air flow, and charge your batteries asap if you have sealed lead acid (sla)
      and…. stay on the black stuff between the trees.

  15. Janice says

    kevin,

    Call E-BikeKit.com at 1.866.882.EBIK (3245). Their complete system is great for tackling hills. My husband is 225 pounds and goes up hills in the highest gear on his commuter bike. And they offer a 2 year warranty on the motors.

    Also check out independent forum sites like http://endless-sphere.com/forums/index.php to get reviews on electric bikes. That’s how I found e-bikekit. The people at Endless-Sphere really know e-bikes and e-bike batteries.

  16. Sharon Taylor says

    We saw rode and bought 3 ampedbikes kits yesterday. They were at the car show, very helpful, knowledgeable and we are all up and running today. We saved about $4,000 as we were going to buy schwinn electric bikes.

    The ampedbikes have more power, no noise, easy to install and a blast to ride.

    Danny Ray was very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the whole process.

    Thanks Danny!!!

  17. Jordan says

    Sharon,

    Can you tell us what you paid? We are looking at the E-BikeKit conversion system from http://www.e-bikekit.com and trying to decide between this and amped kit. The amped website is not that good but the e-bikekit site is pretty impressive. Does anyone know what the differences are between the two kits?

    The E-BikeKit kit seems to offer a lot more out of the box and also a nice LiFePO4 battery. What kind of batteries are you using with your kits?

    Would love to see pictures if you can post them:)
    Best of luck to you. If you’re new to the electric bike you have a lot to look forward to. These things are so much fun!

  18. Sharon Taylor says

    The reason we chose the amped kits, was first off we rode them at the show, then did some research and found that they are just about the best on the market. There are alot of knock offs of the amped kits so we decided to simply buy the origional. We bought at the show so we paid around $320 each kit.

  19. Jordan says

    Thanks Sharon! We called Amped and we called E-BikeKit.com and we eventually decided to go with E-BikeKit. Amped actually didn’t answer the phone the first time so we called E-BikeKit and they couldn’t have been more helpful.

    We bought 2 of the “E-BikeKit Complete Conversion System with 36v10ah LiFePO4 Battery” and we were very impressed with the whole package. They even included a couple t-shirts, zip ties, a professional manual, a spoke wrench for maintenance and a universal torque arm($30 extra from Amped) with each kit which is a really nice touch. based on our experience with other conversion kits in years past we were surprised by everything that was included.

    The LiFePO4 batteries are amazing. My husband and I have been riding whenever we get a chance and have gone on 20 mile trips with no sign of losing power. I have used lead acid batteries before on a bike we had years ago and this is a whole new world.

    We posted pictures of our bikes in the “E-BikeKit™ Owner’s Club” section of their website: http://www.e-bikekit.com/shop/index.php?p=gallery

    They are the two black Schwinn Sidewinders on the second page.

    Thanks for your advice and we’ll see you on the road!

    Overall we would recommend E-BikeKit.com and their complete electric bike conversion offering to anyone interested in converting their existing bike into a really nice electric bike.

  20. dnmun says

    i just read this comment from jeff stearns and i find it totally false. i have five, yes five 9 Continents hubmotors i got through e-bikekits.com and not a single motor had a defective spoke, not one. 180 spkes, count em, not one!

    if jason at ebikekits is correct and this is slander deliberately used to damage his reputation because he has undercut the price on hubmotors so much then the site moderator here should do something to edit the sources of these defamations.

    if you wanna see how people feel about the 9C then go over to the sphere and see how many people talk about their builds using a 9 C hubmotor they bot from jason at ebikekits.com because he was so much cheaper.

    i think his kits are great too because the 9 FET controller can be used at 48V and i figured out how to modify them to run safely at up to 72V lifepo4, and because the motor is direct drive with seals on the axle to keep out water. i did not want a geared hub because i want to use regen for braking and the large direct drive hub motors can handle the heat over longer periods of heavy use. just everything about my 9C i think is so neat. but i don’t sell bikes or kits, i just like to build my own.

  21. thom york says

    Folks. you shouldn’t trust some of these comments since they are planted by the competing manufacturers. All of the equipment for both of these bikes kits are made in China in the same factory under the name 9C and then rebranded here in the US.

  22. dnmun says

    that is an insult. i have 5 of these ebikekit motors and controllers. what i was responding too is the delberate lies spread by that phoney eric guy about how the spokes are bent, and how it is dangerous which is a total lie. the wheels came in perfect shape, and i have a park truing stand to establish that, so i can say for certain they are not bent or have bent or damaged spokes or dented rims, which i have seen on other bike kits that get shipped direct from china since i help out other guys here in portland with ebike problems from buying the ebay special ebike kits.

    9 continents makes a buncha different motors for sure, but they don’t put the kits together and this kit from ebikekit i feel is so much better for the money because of the 9 FET infineon controller and i was able to buy a kit so cheap from ebikekit that i bot 4 more for a community ebike sharing project i am starting in portland. if you something about ebikes you would know what i mean, and who i am.

    i thought it was amazing that jason would actually pay the conversion fee for newbies to have their motor and controller installed at the bike shop if it was too difficult. which it really may be for people who are totally green in terms of tinkering. but for anybody who likes to build bikes like me, then the deal was the cheap price from ebikekits.com, so that’s why i bot from him. i wanted to buy a 9C kit from justin but it was just outa my price range until jason offered them so cheap.

    the difference between the direct drive and the geared motors is the ability to use regen for braking with the direct drive motors but you cannot get regen out of a geared hubmotor.

    also the ability of direct drive hubmotors to shed more heat than a geared hubmotor, from the large amounts of power that get pushed through the motor, is why i wanted to use a direct drive 9C rather than the geared type hubmotor.

    for someone like me who has to fight the rain then one of the most important features on the 9 continents motor is the seals on the axle to keep out the moisture because that is how the hall sensors get shorted out and die. even C’lyte is now using seals like 9C has on the axles. this is so important in the pacific NW. a lotta of us up here like our electric assist, in large doses. but rain is the enemy of ebikes everywhere and so i think the seals are proof of their just overall higher level of quality.

    power was why i did the 72V upgrade thread on the 36V 500W 9 FET Infineon controller that jason includes with his ebikekit and posted it up on the sphere. this controller can be reprogrammed to adjust the regen and power so they provide a useful platform for those of us who want more. and cheap too. i know a lot of other ebikers on the sphere that bot hubmotors and kits from jason at ebikekit.com too. we weren’t swayed by lies from fake phony guys.

    we bot the best we could get for the least amount of money. same as anybody would. that’s what jason offers.

  23. mrgarci1 says

    I am also a member of endless-sphere and while I don’t have a kit from 9c, I can stand behind dnmun’s posts – he is not a vendor, is a truly objective consumer, and has always been honest and forthright on the boards. The Jeff Sterns post, in my opinion, is a complete smear campaign by the ampedbikes people, which is unfortunate – up until this point I had thought ampedbikes was a reputable company, but I’m reconsidering that. I have heard nothing but good things about Jason e-bikekits.com

  24. Letsee Guess says

    Hello everyone,
    The electric motors for bikes have caught my eye. My bike is a runner’s one, the ones with the skinny wheels http://imgcdn.adoosimg.com/bb6035cf8084d2c45e3fb434b294-1-3.jpg (here it is), I weight 250 lbs. Think I will be able to install the motor kit on it?
    What’s the motor’s maximum speed and how long does the battery last?
    Thank you very much, any additional information you may want to let me know before I buy this will be greatly appreciated.

  25. Mike in China says

    When you are knocking the Chinese made units, bear in mind that probably 95% of the worlds e-bikes are made, and OWNED by people in China. Granted, I wouldn’t be seen dead on some of them, but the fact is they are totally unmaintained yet seem to cope with the abuse extremely well. I have watched the locals here for 5 years and the bikes just seem to go and go, and when they do pack up, the guys on the roadside who fix them have less electrical engineering knowledge than a middle-schooler. :-)
    On another note, comments about walking to work, from people in England, remember that although one can get just about anywhere in England in a day’s driving, in other parts of the world, you are barely out of your own state during that time:-)

  26. Loran says

    i can afford the fuel so don’t care about that but riding ebike is reall fun. you need 1-2kw to have actuall fun tho.

  27. says

    The E-BikeKit™ Complete Conversion System offers the ultimate electric bicycle conversion solution.

    Complete System includes the E-BikeKit Conversion Kit plus the E-BikeKit LiFePo4 battery & charger. The complete system has everything you need “out of the box” to convert your conventional bike into a high-quality electric bike.

    Visit http://www.E-BikeKit.com for more information.

  28. says

    The E-BikeKit™ Complete Conversion System offers the ultimate electric bicycle conversion solution.

    Complete System includes the E-BikeKit Conversion Kit plus the E-BikeKit LiFePo4 battery & charger. The complete system has everything you need “out of the box” to convert your conventional bike into a high-quality electric bike.

    Visit http://www.folding-electric-bicycle.com/ for more information.

  29. JIM says

    Two things to promte the ebike in US. One is pricing and other is reliable quality. It is too expensive in market. I have contact the best manufactures in China for ebike motor and lin-ion battery. The price for whole kits is about $350.00 in China. I saw people sell them for $800 to $900 here plus it is not best product from China.

    • says

      yes, power and wheel size ..they can install a full kits for you . also LifePO4 battery is safty .
      china has a mainly manufactory ,you can review and contact online:www.electricbicycle-conversionkit.

  30. says

    yes, power and wheel size ..they can install a full kits for you . also LifePO4 battery is safty .
    china has a mainly manufactory ,you can review and buy from online:www.electricbicycle-conversionkit.

  31. T-Tone says

    Thanks for the review. We now have two ampedbikes conversions in the garage. The difference is that the bikes don’t stay in the garage anymore!

    Great deal! Thanks for the informative review!

  32. RJ says

    Anybody have experience with amp’ing a footbike/kickbike scooter? I actually have a Mogo scooter and looking to motorize it reasonably.

  33. dizzy says

    Hey, my coworker and I are looking for cheap electric bike conversion kits so that we can commute to work on them. We carpool, but gas is getting really expensive and farmwork doesn’t pay very much. The farm is 7 uphill miles from where we live. It would be totally bikeable with a regular bike if we didn’t do hard physical labor all day. The cost of food if we were to both start burning an extra 1000 calories a day would be more than the cost of gas.

  34. Danny Swanson says

    I am trying to start a company to install electric conversion kits to the Effingham, Il. area.
    It sounds like you’ve “been there;done that”. I want to provide superior service and would like to use your kits as a model.
    Would you please give me advice as far as capital start-up and advertising/marketing of this venture.
    Thank You for any help and God Bless You and Yours!

  35. brady says

    I just read through this. I read all of the forums.No one uses nine continent conversion kits and re-brands anything. You can get a Chinese kit off of Ebay for $350, these are the lowest end, 15 MPH kits. If you have a problem then what?

    Just be aware of what you are buying. Read the forums http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31191

    It pretty much goes on and on about this guy and his support. you are pretty much on your own if your kit fails.

    There are plenty of great kits out there. At least if you buy in the USA you have re-course.

    The E-bikekit site says Clearly that it is up to him, the sole employee and owner if you get your $$ back or not.

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