E-BikeKit Buying Guide
E-BikeKit™ Buying Guide
Making the decision to buy an electric bike conversion kit and deciding which e-bike conversion kit to buy is easy when you know what to look for.
The goal of this page is to provide you with useful information and insight so you can make an educated decision. When buying an ebike conversion kit, especially when buying online, it's important to make the right decision the first time or you risk losing money and wasting time. Too often at E-BikeKit.com we hear from people that have had bad product and poor customer service experiences buying low-quality kits from unscrupulous vendors. Here is what we think you need to know to ensure a successful and satisfying electric bike conversion process.
Making the decision to buy an electric bike conversion kit - Is conversion right for you? This is the very first decision you need to consider.
When you purchase an an electric bike conversion kit, like the E-BikeKit™, what you'll receive is a box with a wheel and parts that will need to go on your bike. This is something most people can do on their own, but having some degree of bicycle repair knowledge/experience is helpful. The process of converting your own bike using the E-BikeKit is really no more difficult than changing a flat tire; If you can change a flat tire, you can convert a bicycle to electric yourself with the E-BikeKit. If for any reason you are not comfortable with, or capable of converting your bike yourself, then you need to find someone who can do it for you. E-BikeKit has over 100 well-qualified Authorized Dealers in the USA that can convert your bike for you. You can search the Dealer Map with your zip code to find the dealer closest to you. If there isn't an E-BikeKit dealer close enough, we would suggest calling your local bike shop to ask if they can convert your bike or, as many people do, ask a handy neighbor or friend for assistance. If you have a question about the conversion process at any point you can always call us toll free at 1.866.882.3245. Sometimes a quick call an save you a lot of time and aggravation rather searching for the answer online.
Which e-bike conversion kit to buy - Just like buying a new bicycle you'll want to get the kit that suits your riding style and your budget. You'll also want to be sure you're buying from a reputable vendor with a reputation for selling quality products and providing support. When you're buying a conversion kit online you want to be absolutely certain that the vendor you buy from is available by phone and email. Availability is a key indicator of dependability and professionalism, and should be a main consideration in your purchasing decision. Avoid buying on price alone. You get what you pay for, and buying based solely on price will often cost you more in the long run. Do your research before buying to avoid paying for hassles and headaches.
Practical Considerations and Price - There are e-bike conversion kits that cost more than $1800 and there are e-bike conversion kits that cost less than $250; ultimately you get exactly what you pay for. Many factors contribute to the price of a kit but in general, where the kit is made and assembled, the level of support (pre and post sale), and the type of battery used (and how they are shipped to you) are the three main factors that determining price. Other factors that contribute to the price and ultimately affect the overall quality of the kit are the wheel building and the type of connectors used on the cables. Warranty and replacement parts are also important. A final consideration is what is actually included in the kit; is it a complete kit with everything you need "out of the box", or will you find yourself having to visit a hardware store as part of the install process. When considering who to buy from, and why one kit costs more or less than another, these are the questions you'll want to consider to ensure you're getting the best possible kit for your money.
1. Where the kit is made and assembled: The E-BikeKit™ brand conversion kit system is assembled in the USA with parts mostly imported from Asia. The wheels are hand-built in Pennsylvania USA by experienced wheel builders. E-BikeKit wheels are built with heavy-duty double-walled rims that are "eyeletted" (reinforced where the spoke enters the rim). The eyelets help protect the rim from cracking under the increased strain of the motor, especially when used by heavier riders (over 200lbs). The spokes used in the E-BikeKit wheels are stainless steel 12g spokes and they are "butted" to 13g at the threads. Brass-plated nipples are also used to prevent rusting.
2. Support - Pre and Post Sale - E-Bikekit has been offering high-quality electric bike conversion kits since 2008 and has a fully trained staff that is readily available to answer questions, take orders and handle any customer service needs. The staff is available by email and toll free phone almost 24 hrs a day. 1.866.882.3245.
3. Types of batteries - E-BikeKit uses premium 12v Rhino nonspillable SLA (Sealed Lead-Acid) cells and builds all SLA battery packs in it's Pennsylvania warehouse. Li-ion packs offered by E-BikeKit are AllCell Technologies brand battery packs made in Chicago USA. All batteries are shipped in complete compliance with current United States DOT and Hazardous Materials shipping regulations.
4. The E-BikeKit conversion kit uses proprietary cables and connectors that are waterproof and locking. Each connector has only one mating connector so it is impossible to incorrectly connect the parts of the kit. Starting in 2013 connectors will also be color-coded for an even more user-friendly and intuitive installation process.
5. Geared hub motors are warranted for 1 year. Direct-drive hub motors are warranted for 2 years. All other kit accessories are warranted 6 months. SLA battery packs are warranted 6 months. AllCell Li-ion packs are warranted 2 years. Replacement parts are readily available from E-BikeKit.
6. The E-BikeKit conversion kit includes everything that you will need to convert your bike including the small incidentals like zip ties and hex wrenches. This may seem trivial but these small extras can mean the difference between a fun cnoversionl or an aggravating conversion.
Key considerations for choosing the right electric bike conversion kit for YOU - The best thing about conversion kits is they allow you to take an existing bike or a bike you want, that likely isn't sold in an electric version, and make it your own custom e-bike. The second best thing is that they can save you a lot of money versus buying a complete e-bike. Most complete electric bikes are nothing more than bikes with kits professionally installed (and partially hidden wires run through frames). By choosing a kit in most instances you can spend about 50% less and build a bike with the same electric performance and power.
When deciding on the right kit to suit your needs there are a few main considerations but the real question is what are you going to be using the bike for? Is your e-bike for getting to work without breaking a sweat? Is it for keeping up with your spouse? Is it to help getting over the hills? Maybe you want to leave the car at home and tote the kiddos to school on your cargo bike or use your electric tricycle to go grocery shopping. Each of these riding scenarios is different but the decision process for choosing the right kit for YOU is easy because in every scenario there are only three things to consider and those are outlined below. The final consideration is compatibility; most bikes and tricycles can be converted to electric using a conversion kit but some can't. Review the Work on MY Bike page to ensure the bike you want to convert is E-BikeKit compatible. If you are unsure after looking at that page, call us.
1. Is the total weight of the you and the bike over 200lbs? - In 90% of the riding scenarios, where the total weight is over 200lbs, you'll want to choose a kit with a direct-drive motor. The reason for choosing direct-drive, and not choosing a geared motor, is that direct-drive motors do not use nylon or composite material gears that will break or wear down under heavier loads. The 10% exception to the rule is in scenarios where the rider either accepts the increased wear and tear or understands it well enough to provide the appropriate input necessary to avoid damaging a geared motor. Basically you can use a geared motor for heavier applications BUT you must respect the limitations and pedal hard on the starts and when necessary to avoid harmful strain on the gearing. It should also be noted here that in scenarios where more weight will be relying more on the motor that a rear wheel conversion is preferable. Front forks and dropouts( where the axle enters the fork) are not intended to withstand stronger tensile pressure.
2. How far do you need to go with assistance from the battery on a single charge? - How far your ebike will take you with assistance from the motor depends on the size of your battery (measured in amp hours or "ah"), the efficiency of the motor used, and how much input you provide by pedaling. Typical e-bike batteries range from 7ah to 20ah. On average (considering a 170lbs rider, a moderate route of hills, and moderate pedaling input) a 7ah battery will have a range of 5-15 miles per charge. under the same average conditions a 20ah battery pack will have a range of 20-60 miles per charge. The chemistry of the battery pack (from sealed lead-acid through lithium-based) does not change the range expectations. Capacity = Range no matter the chemistry. Most people that require less than 20 miles per charge with moderate route and input will be fine with a 9-12ah sealed-lead acid battery or a lithium-based battery of the same capacity. There are differences in battery chemistry with regard to weight, performance and life-cycles (all rechargeable batteries have a limited lifespan), and ultimately you get what you pay for when choosing your battery type but how far you go depends on your battery size (ah), your motor type, and how much you pedal. If you need to go farther than 20 miles on a charge you should be looking at geared motors in combination with lithium-based batteries of 15ah or more. If you still have questions call us toll free at 1.866.882.3245 and we can help you find the best battery for your kit. We can offer suggestions for your needs and budget.
3. How much do you plan on pedaling? - How much you want to or plan on pedaling will determine what kind of motor you'll want, and how far you will be able to ride with power from the motor on a single charge. In any scenario, the more you pedal the less energy used from the battery and the farther you will be able to go with assistance from the battery. Geared motors are approximately 30% more efficient than direct-drive motors and will yield approximately 30% greater distances using the same battery energy compared to direct-drive motors. If you intend to pedal a moderate amount, than the option of motor and battery is open to your desire for speed, power, and range. The bigger the battery the farther you'll go and the bigger the motor the higher the top speed (and the more power) you will have available. For most people that plan on pedaling a lot, and keeping their bike more of a bike than electric scooter, a geared motor is the best decision. For those that need more assistance from the motor, are over 200lbs, or simply do not want to pedal as much, a direct-drive motor is a better decision.