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On this page, I have compiled a shortlist of the top selling cheapest electric bike kits available on Amazon and Aliexpress. These are all electric hub motor kits, and are fairly straightforward to install.
Most of the kits listed below are direct drive hub motors, they are a cheap, reliable and effective way to add electric assist (or throttle only control) to your bicycle.
I have compiled a shortlist of the top best selling cheap ebike conversion kits available in the UK and USA. If you live in other countries, check out my ✅recommendations for trusted Aliexpress vendors who ship to EU countries.
- Installation criteria
- Are cheap electric bike kits any good?
- 5 Important things to consider when fitting a direct drive hub motor
- Jaxpety 36v 500w front wheel electric bike conversion kit
- AW 48v 1000w rear wheel ebike conversion kit with LCD
- Ebikeling 48v 1200w 700c rear wheel electric bike kit
- AW 48v 1000w front wheel ebike conversion kit
- AW 48v 1000w front wheel electric bike conversion kit for 26″ fat tire
- Ebikeling 36v 500w front or rear wheel geared hub motor conversion kit
- ReaseJoy 48v 1000w rear wheel ebike conversion kit with LCD display
- ReaseJoy 48v 1000w front wheel electric bike kit
- ReaseJoy 36v 500w rear wheel electric bike conversion kit
- NCB 36v 250w rear wheel ebike kit
- Voilamart 36v 250w rear wheel electric bike kit
- Voilamart 48v 1000w front wheel e-bike conversion kit
Cheap e-bike conversion kit installation tips
First and foremost, you will need to make sure the wheel size is compatible with your donor bike. If you have a 27.5″ rear wheel for example, you could fit a 26″ rear wheel kit if your bike has disc brakes. I have fitted 26″ rear wheel kits to 27.5″ wheeled mountain bikes previously without any problems.
Most of the generic kits are available in 26″ wheel size only, but there are others available that accommodate 27.5″ and 28″ / 700c / 29er wheel sizes.
The only time you would have an issue fitting a smaller diameter rear wheel would be if your bike had traditional v-brakes. If you had a hybrid with a 700c rear wheel, with v-brakes, then it is unlikely the pads would reach a 26″ rim. So this only works on bikes with disc brakes.
Can you install a hub motor on Carbon fibre frames and forks
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend installing a heavy direct drive hub motor on a carbon fibre bike. These frames weren’t designed to take the extra weight, stresses and strains of one of these motors and it could lead to a potentially dangerous failure. I would definitely stock with alloy or steel-framed bikes.
In my post: Electric bike vs conversion kit, I compare the benefits of hub motor vs mid-drive and the pros and cons associated with each type of drive system. Direct drive hub motors are generally the cheapest and most reliable, but they can be heavy, and difficult to pedal without electric assist. They are also less efficient than their geared hub motor counterparts. For more information check out my article on the direct-drive electric bike hub motor.
5 Important things to consider when fitting these kits
- Make sure you get the correct wheel size. Most of the kits listed below are 26″ wheels.
- The yellow phase wire connector block supplied with some of these kits is not very good, and if there is significant load on the motor, you may end up with melting phase wires. I always fit a 30A ceramic connector block.
- The e-brake cut-off levers supplied with these kits are only suitable for cable operated brakes.
- Another important item missing from these kits is a torque arm. This is an important safety back-up measure that will ensure the wheel doesn’t pop out of the dropouts on your bike.
- Due the the extra weight you will need to regularly check the spokes. Loose or broken spokes are quite a common occurrence with heavy hub motors. It would be worth making a note of the spoke length and having a few spares available.
Are cheap electric bike conversion kits any good?
Just because something is cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t any good. I have converted countless bikes using budget 500w and 1000w rear wheel electric conversion kits and I have had very few issues.
The direct drive hub motor has been around for a long time and even though they are considered ‘old-hat’ nowadays, they are still a very cheap and effective way to add electric assist to your bike.
There are two main compromises to consider when buying a cheap direct drive hub motor – weight and efficiency. Most of the 500w and 1000w motors featured below will weigh in at around 5kg, which is quite a hefty addition to the weight of your bike!
Direct drive hub motors are quite basic in design and therefore are not particularly efficient. You will get a reduced battery range, when compared with a mid-drive or geared hub motor.
Despite the negatives, if you just want to build a cheap electric bike to get to and from work or do a little off-road riding on the weekend. The kits listed below will do the job!
Most of the kits listed below will require either a 36v, 48v or 52v battery. You will need to make sure your battery voltage matches that of the motor controller. Most 48v controllers will accept a 52v battery and some controllers will accept both 36v and 48v batteries (but you will need to check the label on the controller beforehand).
The more powerful 1000w motors will need a battery that can handle at least 20A of continuous current.
Check out my list of the most popular electric bike batteries ranging in power from 36v to 52v.
Can I use lead acid batteries?
Sealed lead acid batteries can be used, if you don’t mind the extra weight and size. It is a cheaper option than using a lithium battery pack, but the longevity of the battery will be shorter. For a 48v motor you could use 4 x 12v motorcycle batteries connected in series. Connecting batteries in series means connecting the (+) terminal of the first battery to the (-) terminal of the next battery. Each battery you connect in series increases the voltage of the battery bank.
Personally I would stick with lithium batteries, as they are coming down in price now, they are much lighter and last longer than lead acid batteries.
Thankfully, there are plenty of electric bike parts available, should you ever have any issues with your build. The cheap electric bike kits available here are all generally very reliable, but controllers, displays and pedal sensors can play up from time to time.
If you are in the UK, EU or Australia then the maximum permissible assisted speed is 15.5mph (25km/h) and 250w of continuous power. Anything above that cannot be legally used on the public highway, cycle ways or any land that the public has access to. Please read my post on UK electric bike laws.
Cheap Electric bike conversion kits available from Amazon and eBay UK
The ReaseJoy 26″ rear wheel 48v 1000w ebike conversion kit is a cheap and effective way to add electric assist and throttle control to your bike. This motor kit is not road legal in the UK, however if you are planning on using your bike on private land, then you won’t have any worries.
The ReaseJoy 1000w front wheel electric bike kit is the cheapest option available. This kit doesn’t come with an LCD display, just a 3-speed switch and throttle. Being a front wheel kit, you will need to make sure you have enough clearance for your disc brake caliper (if fitted) as these can sometimes rub on the hub.
This ReaseJoy 500w rear hub motor kit is another popular choice amongst DIY ebike builders. It is currently one of the cheapest ebike conversion kits available, and will provide more than enough power for most people.
If you are looking for a lightweight and reliable 36v 350w electric bicycle conversion kit, then this is just the job! The small geared hub motor is not only very efficient but also produces a lot of torque, making it feel a lot more powerful than it actually is. The Season e-bike conversion kit is available in 26″ and 28″ wheel sizes (subject to availability)
The Voilamart 36v 250w rear wheel electric conversion kit is another good value road legal kit, but It doesn’t come with an LCD display, although it does have pedal assist and throttle control. It uses a generic geared hub motor, so efficiency and torque will be comparable to the NCB kit listed above.
The Voilamart 48v 1000w front hub motor kit is kit an alternative to the ReaseJoy motor, albeit a more expensive option. This kit comes with a throttle with a small integrated display.
Cheap ebike conversion kits available from Amazon USA
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add an electric motor to your bike, the Jaxpety 36v 500w front hub motor kit offers a no frills kit at a bargain basement price. All you need is a cheap 36v ebike battery and you’re away!
The performance of this front wheel motor isn’t going to win you any races, but if you just want to build a reliable ebike hack, that will haul you along at about 20mph on the flat without too much fuss, then this kit does the job.
The AW 48v 1000w ebike conversion kit offers excellent value for money and definitely gives you the best bang for your buck amongst this selection. The direct drive hub motor combined with a good quality 48v (or 52v battery) will give you in excess of 1200 watts of peak power and hustle you along at around 30 mph on the flat.
Ebikeling are an American company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, and their ebike conversion kits, although not the cheapest, are certainly amongst the best currently available.
This kit uses a powerful 48v 1200w direct drive hub motor with 30A controller and comes with everything you need bar the battery.
What I really like about these kits is the attention to detail. Things like rim tape, and the all important torque arm are included. There is also a choice of thumb or twist throttles and either LED or LCD displays available. The LCD display is clear and easy to use and looks very similar to the Bafang C965.
The Ebikeling conversion kit is at the pricier end of the scale, but I would say, if you can afford the extra expense this motor kit is definitely worth a look.
Another excellent bargain basement ebike kit from AW. This time the 48v 1000w front wheel drive version.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of a front drive electric system, and I have to admit, i’m one of those people. But as long as you’re not going to be tackling serious off-road riding and just pottering around on trails and gravel tracks, then this motor shouldn’t give you too many hassles.
It certainly has plenty of power, but you will find that trying to climb steep off-road tracks challenging due to the tendency for powerful front hub motors to loose traction and spin all too easily. That said, the motor performs well enough on the flat and has enough power to take you up to nearly 30 mph on throttle alone.
If you are after a cheap and easy to fit front wheel electric conversion, then the AW isn’t all that bad.
If you are thinking about adding an electric motor to your fat tire bike, but are on a tight budget. This motor kit by AW offers excellent value for money. Front wheel drive systems aren’t the ideal solution for off-road riding as they can be prone to wheel spin, but at this price point, it is by far the cheapest option for building your own electric fat bike.
The brushless, direct drive 48v 1000w motor offers plenty of power when combined with a decent 48v or 52v battery and will give you a top speed approaching 30 mph without too much fuss. Definitely worth considering.
The Ebikeling 36v 500w motor kit is my favourite of the bunch. Geared hub motors are so much more efficient than direct drive motors, and they produce considerably more torque. Even though this motor produces a nominal 500w, peak power is closer to 750w, and it feels a lot more responsive than a 1000w direct drive.
This conversion kit has everything you need apart from a battery. The connectors are the much better ‘higo’ waterproof connectors and they even include an important torque arm with this kit, something that most of the other kits do not include.
The other great thing about this kit is it is sold by an American company, based in Illinois.
All of the cheap e-bike conversion kits featured here offer an affordable and simple way to convert your existing bike to electric. I’ve installed well over 100 of these kits over the last five years and rarely get any problems reported.
Although direct-drive hub motors are very dated now, this simple technology is usually reliable and affordable. They are inefficient when compared with mid-drive motors but if you’re just after a cheap electric bike to get you from A to B quickly then they’re hard to beat.
If you require any advice relating to fitting one of these kits, please leave a comment below.