Cheap Electric Bike Kits

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If you’re thinking about converting your bike to electric, but are on a tight budget.  I have compiled a shortlist of the best cheap electric bike conversion kits available in 2023. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to power your ride, and the cheapest e-bike kits provide a cost-effective way to boost your pedal power!

You can pick up a new or second hand e-bike nowadays for not a lot of money. But, there’s a certain satisfaction in resurrecting an old bike you’ve got in your shed or garage. That unloved steel-framed mountain bike from the 80’s or 90’s is just begging to be converted into an electric bike. And, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, then the cheap e-bike kits featured below may be the answer.

Most of the e-bike conversion kits featured below are available in the UK, EU and USA. They all use tried and tested technology, that’s been around for years. Sure, they may not be the most refined or efficient motors, or feature the latest tech, but they do the job well. And, because these motors haven’t changed over the years, they’re actually quite reliable.

The Best Cheap E-Bike Kits

The best cheap electric bike conversion kits cost less than £300 / $300 and have positive customer reviews. They have been selected based on my personal experience (with most of the kits featured below), value for money, ease of installation and positive customer feedback. In some cases I have provided a similarly priced alternative.

Fitting a cheap e-bike conversion kit should be a fairly straightforward process. But, if you haven’t done this kind of thing before, I would recommend getting a qualified bike mechanic to do the installation. There are many safety considerations, and an improperly installed kit may result in serious injury or even death.  Please read my quick guide to cheap electric bike kits at the bottom of this page.


Voilamart 1000w E-Bike Conversion Kit

Best 1000w Front / Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion kit

voilamart 1000w 48v ebike conversion kit rear wheel
Voilamart 1000w Rear Wheel Electric Bike Conversion Kit

Specification

  • Wheels size: 26″
  • Net Weight: 11 kg (24 lbs)
  • Power output: 500w – 1500-watts
  • Voltage: 36 or 48-volts
  • Top speed: 25-30 mph (estimate)
  • Battery included: No

Pros

  • Simple technology
  • Fairly straightforward installation
  • Good value for money
  • Decent performance (on the flat)

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Inefficient
  • Broken spokes
  • Will struggle on steep hills

The Voilamart e-bike conversion kit has been a popular budget option since 2016. It uses a direct drive hub motor, which has no moving internal parts (like a geared motor). I have installed loads of these conversion kits over the years and had very few problems.  The issues that do occur include broken spokes, hall sensor failure or controller failure.

Available in 36-volt 500w or 750w, and 48-volt 1000w or 1500w, the Voilamart electric bike conversion kit has power and voltage options to suit all budgets. In addition, this kit is available with an LCD display or a cheaper throttle only version.

What it lacks in refinement it makes up for in value for money. If you’re after a cheap way to add electric power to your bicycle, the Voilamart is well worth considering. Read the full Voilamart e-bike kit review for more information.

Check Price and Availability on Amazon

Also available from eBay

Alternatives to the Voilamart E-Bike Conversion Kit

The two best alternatives to the Voilamart kit listed below are very similar in terms of quality, price and specification.

AW 1000w E-Bike Conversion Kit US only

Viribus 1000w E-Bike Conversion Kit US and UK (and some EU countries)


Ebikeling 36v 500w

Best 500w Geared Front / Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion Kit 

ebikeling 500w front or rear wheel e-bike conversion kit
Ebikeling 500w Geared Hub Motor Conversion Kit

Specification

  • Wheels size: 26″ (other size available)
  • Net Weight: 7.3 kg (16.1 lbs)
  • Power output: 500w
  • Voltage: 36-volts
  • Top speed: 25 mph (estimate)
  • Battery included: No

Pros

  • Efficient geared hub motor
  • US Company
  • Very good customer feedback
  • High quality kit

Cons

  • Expensive (in the UK)
  • May struggle with very steep hills

Ebikeling are an American company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, and their e-bike conversion kits, although not the cheapest, are certainly amongst the best currently available.

The Ebikeling 36v 500w motor kit is one of their best-selling products. Geared hub motors are 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 –  it will feel 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 a torque arm with this kit – something not all kits include. If you don’t mind spending a bit extra, the Ebikeling kit comes highly recommended!

Check Latest Price on Amazon

Also available from eBay

Alternative to the Ebikeling 500w E-Bike Conversion Kit

Yose Power 500w Motor Kit with Battery


AW 1500w Rear Wheel Kit

Best Cheap E-Bike Kit for Fat Tire Wheel

aw fat tire e-bike conversion kit 1500w
AW 1500w Fat Tire Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion Kit

Specification

  • Wheels size: 26″ Fat Tire Wheel
  • Net Weight: 10.7 kg (23.6 lbs)
  • Power output: 1500w
  • Voltage: 48-volts
  • Top speed: 32 mph (estimate)
  • Battery included: No

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Very powerful
  • Straightforward to install
  • Comes with everything (apart from battery)

Cons

  • Adds a lot of weight
  • Not efficient (high power consumption)
  • Not suitable for thru-axle

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. Heavy, direct-drive motor aren’t the ideal solution for off-road riding as they’re inefficient. But, at this price point, it is by far the cheapest option for building your own electric fat bike.

The brushless, direct drive 48v 1500w motor offers plenty of power when combined with a decent 48v or 52v battery and will give you a top speed of just over 30 mph without too much fuss. Definitely worth considering.

Available from Amazon

Alternatives to the AW 1500w Fat Tire Kit

Voilamart 1500w Fat Tire Rear Wheel Conversion Kit

Ebikeling 1200w Fat Tire Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion Kit


AW 20 inch Fat Tire Wheel Kit

Best Cheap E-Bike Kit for 20″ Fat Tire Wheel

AW 48v 1000w 20 inch fat tire front wheel electric bike conversion kit
AW 20 inch Front Wheel Fat Tire E-Bike Conversion Kit

Specification

  • Wheels size: 20″ Fat Tire Wheel
  • Net Weight: 9.5 kg (20.9 lbs)
  • Power output: 1000w
  • Voltage: 48-volts
  • Top speed: 28 mph (estimate)
  • Battery included: No

Pros

  • Easy to fit
  • Decent power
  • Smooth motor
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No display with this kit
  • Front wheel option only

I’ve seen people use these kits as a cheap way to make a two-wheel-drive 20″ wheel fat tire e-bike. The AW conversion kit is the most cost effective way of turning your folding fat tire e-bike into a 2-wd beast!

This particular kit is one of the cheapest and most popular 20″ fat tire e-bike conversion kits available. And, has everything you need to get going apart from a battery. There’s no display, just a basic twist throttle with pedal sensor (optional to fit). If you require a full kit with appropriate battery and display. The alternative listed below has every you’ll need.

Available from Amazon

AW 20″ Fat Tire Kit Alternative

Ebikeling 20″ 1200 / 1500w Fat Tire Conversion Kit with Battery


Yose Power 250w

Best 250w Rear Wheel E-Bike Conversion Kit
yose power front wheel e-bike conversion kit

Specification

  • Wheels size: 26″ / 27.5″ / 28″ (depending on availability)
  • Net Weight:  6 kg
  • Power output: 250w
  • Voltage: 36-volts
  • Top speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
  • Battery included: Battery included with some kits

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Road legal in the UK and EU
  • Different wheel sizes available
  • Battery option with integrated controller (optional)
  • Toolkit included

Cons

  • Some reports of broken spokes
  • Struggles on steeper hills

The Yose Power 250w e-bike conversion kit is not only one of the cheapest, but comes with everything you need to do your conversion including a toolkit and instructions. I have installed lots of these kits over the years, and reliability has generally been very good. In addition, this 250w version is road legal in the EU and UK.

This kit includes a 36-volt geared hub motor, available in front or rear wheel fitment. And, is available in popular sizes of 20″, 26″, 27.5″ and 28″ (subject to availability). Plus, there’s a pedal sensor, controller with waterproof bag, and a very nice quality LCD display. For more information, please read my review of the Yose Power e-bike conversion kit.

Buy direct from Yose Power – use discount code BH2E24BXQH for a €10 discount

Also available from eBay

Check on Amazon(UK)

Best alternative to the Yose Power 250w e-bike kit

Season 250w e-bike conversion kit


Tongsheng TSDZ2

Best Cheap Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion Kit

what's included in the tongsheng tsdz2 kit
Tongsheng TSDZ2 e-bike conversion kit

Specification

  • Bottom Bracket Size: Compatible with 68mm – 78mm threaded BB shell
  • Net Weight:  3.6 kg
  • Power output: 250w – 500w
  • Voltage: 36 or 48-volts
  • Top speed: 15.5 mph (25 km/h) – 25 mph unrestricted
  • Battery included: No (kits with battery included are available)

Pros

  • Torque-sensing pedal assist
  • Better for hill climbing
  • Smooth and responsive
  • Very efficient
  • Neat installation
  • Fairly easy to service / repair

Cons

  • Not as straightforward to install
  • Limited clearance for gear and brake cables (under motor)

The Tongsheng TSDZ2 is an affordable alternative to the hub motors featured here. It’s not the cheapest option, but the technology and refinement is substantially better. The torque sensor responds to rider pedalling input, thus providing a very smooth and intuitive assist. This also benefits battery consumption.

It’s not as straightforward to install, and you will need specific tools for the job. But, it makes for a really professional looking end conversion.

Hybrid bike fitted with a tongsheng tsdz2 mid drive electric bike conversion kit
A hybrid bike fitted with a Tongsheng TSDZ2 conversion kit

If you afford the extra money, and don’t feel confident tackling the job. I can highly recommend the Tongsheng TSDZ2, it’s a great conversion kit and will turn your unloved bike into a smart-looking electric bike.

Available from Amazon

Also available from eBay

Compare Tongsheng TSDZ2 prices 


Yose Power 250w – 500w kit with battery

Best Cheap E-Bike Conversion Kit with Battery

Yose Power E-Bike conversion kit with battery
Yose Power E-Bike Conversion Kit with Battery

Specification

  • Wheels size: 26″ / 27.5″ / 28″ (depending on availability)
  • Net Weight: 9 kg (including battery)
  • Power output: 250w – 500w
  • Voltage: 36-volts
  • Top speed: 30-32 km/h (350-watt version)
  • Battery included: Yes

Pros

  • Cheap kit with battery
  • Toolkit included
  • Good capacity battery
  • Integrated motor controller
  • Good quality display

Cons

  • Broken spokes occasionally reported
  • Not suitable for very steep hills

The Yose Power electric bike conversion kit with battery is the cheapest option for a complete kit. Available in various power outputs from 250w to 500w (in the US). Plus, several different wheel sizes (on their website). This is one of the best complete conversion kits you can buy.

I really like this kit, as the motor controller is neatly integrated into the battery mounting plate. This means you get a tidy, professional looking conversion with no external controller bag spoiling the aesthetics.

yose power e-bike conversion kit with battery fitted to mountain bike
The Yose Power Kit with Battery fitted to a cheap mountain bike

Costing just under £400 in the UK, it’s a bargain! If you have an old mountain bike or hybrid languishing in your shed or garage, this is a great way to give it a new lease of life.

Buy direct from Yose Power – use discount code BH2E24BXQH for a €10 discount

Check Price on Amazon (US and UK)

Also available on eBay


Quick Guide to Cheap Electric Bike Kits

Below I’ve included some common questions relating to the cheap electric bike kits featured in this article. If I’ve missed anything out, or you have a particular question. Please leave a message in the comments section below, and I will reply within 24 hrs.

What bike is best for a cheap e-bike conversion kit?

Older bikes are generally more suitable for a lot of the kits featured here. They tend to have 26″ or 28″ wheels with quick-release dropouts. Modern bikes can sometimes have pressfit bottom brackets and thru-axles which would make fitting any of the kits near difficult without serious engineering modification to the donor bike.

How will I know if the kit is compatible with my bike?

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.

a cheap 1000w ebike conversion kit fitted to a mountain bike
A Voilamart 1000w hub motor fitted to a cheap mountain bike

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.

The type of bottom bracket will also be a consideration. The pedal assist sensors are all designed to work with sealed-cartridge bottom brackets. If your bike has external cup bearings (like Shimano Hollowtech), ISIS or pressfit bottom brackets, you will need a special sensor.

Can I fit a hub motor on Carbon fibre frames or 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 stick with alloy or steel-framed bikes.

1000 watt Direct drive electric bike conversion kit fitted to a mountain bike with 48 volt battery
A cheap 1000w e-bike conversion kit fitted to a mountain bike

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.

What maintenance will I need to do?

Some of these kits, particularly the cheaper direct drive hub motors add a lot of weight to the rear wheel. This will increase tire wear substantially. In addition, broken spokes are a very common occurrence. I would recommend buying some spare spokes in the correct length. Another consideration is increase wear on brake pads. Due to the extra weight you will wear them down much quicker.

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. A typical 1000w direct-drive motor will weigh in at around 8kg, 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 have 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 leisure riding on the weekend. The kits featured here will do the job!

How do I Choose the right battery?

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.

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.

Are spare parts available?

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.

Are these cheap e-bike kits legal to use on the road?

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. US federal law is 750w maximum power output with top speed not exceeding 20mph.


Conclusion

All of the cheap e-bike conversion kits featured here offer an affordable way to convert your existing bike to electric.  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 help or advice, relating to any of the kits featured, please leave a message in the comment section below.