Buying an E-bike vs Using a Conversion Kit

In recent times, e-bikes have gained significant ground in the automobile industry. Right now, they are the most popular mode of electric transportation available to you in Canada.

Due to the set of advantages they offer, it is no surprise that a lot of individuals are opting to use e-bikes. They are one of the most innovative inventions we have now. They take their seats right at the center of urban civilization.

Related article: Tips for Electric Bike Beginner

So what choice do you have if you already have a traditional bike? Being in this position can be very conflicting. You can either choose to buy a new bike or convert the one you already have into an e-bike.

While a lot of people would rather go for the former as they find it simpler, others might find it more appealing to convert their bikes. Converting your bike into an e-bike can be done by infusing a motor and battery into the components of your bike.

Whether you choose to buy a new bike or convert your bicycle into one, you should keep it in mind that both options have pros and cons. Choosing between an e-bike or a conversion kit doesn’t necessarily have to be a tough decision to make.

Note that your decision-making process should be based on your needs and interests. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both conversion kits and a new bike and then discuss which is best for you.

Related article: An In-depth Comparison: Electric Bike vs. Regular Bike

 

What is an e-bike Conversion Kit?

An e-bike conversion kit can be described as an engine attached to one tire of your bike. This engine works with a lithium-ion battery as they are more beneficial than other types of batteries. The lithium-ion battery powers the electric motor that will drive your new look electric bike.

Do not make the mistake of not pedalling your bike after installing a conversion kit. Remember your bike is still a normal regular bicycle and does not have an assisted pedalling system. So in order for your bike to move, you still have to pedal for the engine to work.

There are different types of conversion kits available in the market. They all come with different features. However, before you get carried away with these really cool gadgets, make sure you carefully consider these three important things:

Battery

Your e-bike’s battery life is an important aspect of an electric bike and it has a major impact on your riding experience. Be sure to know the capacity of the battery and how long it can last for while riding.

Also, the voltage and ampere ratings of your e-bike battery are really important. Usually, e-bikes can work with a 12V battery but there are some that have a 24 to 62V battery capacity. It all depends on your specific needs.

Weight

Depending on what your bike already weighs, you wanna go for a lighter conversion kit. The lighter the net weight is after installation, the higher your chances of enjoying a smooth ride with your newly converted e-bike. 

Quality of the motor

The motor is the powerhouse of the bike. The power of your motor is a factor in its price. The cost of your motor is important but don’t let it scare you from getting the best. The higher the quality, the better for you in the long run.

As already established, there are different varieties of conversion kits for you to choose from. Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s 100% your preference. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you need a kit with a powerful motor. If you want to buy a conversion kit for your kid, then you need one with a good battery.

Related article: Buying an affordable electric bike conversion kit – all you need to know

 

Components of a conversion kit 

Generally speaking, an e-bike conversion kits should have some vital components. They are listed below. Make sure you check for these components when you purchase your conversion kit.

Geared brushless motor

This is the component that enhances and propels the bike without using much human power. It is an electromechanical device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. It is considered the most important part of an e-bike. Without it, an e-bike cannot function.

Controller

The controller is basically the current regulator. It regulates the current that is supplied to the motor by monitoring the throttle setting. This is what makes the bike stop when you apply the breaks. It also shuts down the motor if there is a need to. 

Headlight

This is included in a conversion kit. Its main function is to provide vision in low light situations This could either be early in the morning or late at night.

Battery Charger

It is important that you buy a conversion kit that has a portable charger. A portable charger can be easily carried about in the event that you need to charge your bike at your destination. Remember, your e-bike becomes a conventional bike if you can’t charge it.

Throttle

It is best to go for a conversion kit with a twist throttle. It gives you better control of your converted bike.

Battery indicator

This is an important component of a convertible kit. It gives you information on the amount of charge left so you have an idea of how far and how long you can ride your bike.

Wiring set

This is necessary to make the connection from the battery to the motor possible. It is the component responsible for the flow of current to your bike motor. 

Freewheel chain

This equipment makes it easier to convert a simple bike to an e-bike. They transfer the energy used from the pedal to the wheels making it easier for the rear wheels to turn faster.

Now that we have briefly discussed what you should look out for in an e-bike conversion kit, let us take a look at the types of conversion kits available for you in Canada.

Related article: Gearing up for a trail ride: Must-have accessories for E-bikes in Canada

 

Types of Conversion Kits

There are different types of electric bike conversion kits. These differences are a result of the different types of hubs. 

Front Hub Conversion Kits

They are the most affordable hubs on the market plus they are very accessible. They are very common so getting them won’t be problematic at all. In terms of installation, they are very easy to fix.

You do not any special tool or professional to fix them for you. You can simply do a DIY by removing and replacing your front wheel with the one provided in the kit, and connect the wire to the hub. After that, run the wire through all the way to the controller. You have yourself an e-bike!

Rear Hub Conversion Kits

This kit requires that you replace your rear wheel with the one in the kit. That is, the kit is attached to the back tire. There is no significant difference between this and the front hub convertible kits. These are much better because there is less distance between the controller and the hub. This means that the writing is less convoluted. 

Friction Drive Conversion Kits

This kit is very easy to install. They work by generating fiction. Their operation is not electrical but mechanical. The downside to this conversion kit is that whenever it rains, the rubbers get wet and become slippery. We would not recommend that you buy this type of conversion kit. 

 

Pros and Cons of a New Bike

While buying a new bike can seem easy and direct, there are some downsides to it Below are some of the merits and demerits of buying a new electric bike.

 

We will start with the benefits. They include:

Good after-sale service

With a new e-bike, you will be sure to enjoy excellent after-sale services. This is a given especially when you purchase your bike from a well-known brand. 

The advantage of this benefit is that your bike will have the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, if any dysfunction happens to your bike apart from the regular tear and wear, it will all be covered by the manufacturer.

Advanced technological features

New e-bikes come with advanced technological features. Features such as GPS, fenders etc enhance your productivity and in general allow you to have better and more enjoyable riding experiences.

Resell at a reasonable value

New e-bikes have higher durability. They mostly come with steel, carbon or aluminum frames which are specifically designed to ensure the longevity of the bike. A few years down the line, you can sell your bike for a reasonable price, especially if the warranty is still valid.

Lower cost of maintenance

If you buy a new bike, you will spend less will be spent on repairs over the next few years especially with your warranty still intact.

Variety of colours

New e-bikes are available in different colours, shapes and sizes. You can buy any colour you want, unlike with a converted bike. With a converted bike, the only option you are left with is to repaint it. Repaint jobs do not last long. 

Easier and smoother rides

A new bike is way easier to ride. They are less disappointing and more reliable. You can easily leave your house, beat the traffic and get to wherever you are going on time. 

No surprises

You will not have to deal with any recurring faults from the past. All parts and components are brand new. No need to worry about a bad tire, a broken chain or a malfunctioning brake.

 

There are really no cons to purchasing a new e-bike. The only reasonable ones we could think of include:

Depreciation starts immediately

Depreciation starts from the moment you ride your bike out of the dealer’s store. This affects the price at which you can sell your e-bike in the future. Of course, this is a con that is common to all new items. There’s no avoiding depreciation!

New e-bikes have high initial cost outlay

The upfront price of buying an e-bike can be very expensive. The initial price you pay for a new bike is without a doubt on the high side. However, the versatility, convenience and fun that you get from it are well worth it. 

Pros and Cons of Using a Converted Kit

The good thing about this is you don’t have to go out of your way to spend so much to purchase a new bike. If you already have a good and functioning bike, you can decide to convert it. It is an awesome idea and will, in turn, save you a lot of cash.

However, before you choose between a conversion kit or new bikes, consider the following pros and cons. As usual, we will begin with the pros. They are: 

  • In contrast to buying a new bike, a conversion kit is less expensive. It is relatively affordable, saving you some money.
  • If you already have an existing bike, you can convert it and still get the electric-bike feel.
  • You can build your bike from the ground up in any way you please. If you want a mountain electric bike, you can install a more powerful motor and a higher capacity battery.
  • You can remove the conversion kit at any time and have your traditional bike back and ready to go.

The cons of using a conversion kit include:

  • A certain degree of technical know-how is required to install the kits
  • If you decide to go DIY instead of hiring a professional to install the wiring, the end result might not look as clean as it should. It can turn out to be somewhat messy.
  • Depending on the type of conversion kit you go for, you might need to upgrade your tires and brakes. That’s additional expenses.
  • Unlike a new bike, you have no access to the manufacturer’s warranty which is usually up to 2 years and above.
  • Although most of the tools are reliable – the battery, motor, controller and pedal sensor. Their warranty is not usually the best.

Related article: How to Install an Electric Bike Conversion Kit

 

Which is Best for You?

Choosing between an e-bike or a conversion kit is not always an easy choice. However, if your budget is flexible and you are willing to try the latest technological advancements on e-bikes without getting your hands dirty, it is best that you buy a new electric bike. 

If you already have a bike, chances are that you are already attached to it so converting it would not be a bad idea. You can be adventurous on your own customized e-bike. There are tons of conversion kits in the market. Find the one that best suits your needs and install it carefully. 

We will recommend that you buy new e-bike. That way, you can have an array of options to choose from; road bikes, mountain bikes, and cargo bikes. Get them in whatever colour and size you please and be sure to enjoy a good warranty plan from the manufacturer too. We’ve got a bike for every one of your needs. Call us today!

Related article: How To Choose An Electric Bike? A Complete Buying Guide

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