Electric Bike vs Conversion Kits. The Pros and Cons Explained.

Electric Bike vs Conversion Kits. The Pros and Cons Explained.

The world today is moving towards a more sustainable future. 

With many people converting to a greener way of traveling like the e-bike.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Conversion kit by outlining the pros, cons and general information you need before choosing which route to take on your electric bike journey. 

Below you can find the pros of converting your normal bike into an electric road bike.

Now, if you’re anything like us you’ll probably end up searching YouTube for “how to install a conversion kit”, picking the one with the most views, watching it for 10 minutes and then end up trying to figure it out for yourself.

Now we cannot stress this enough, don’t do that.
Talk to the person trying to sell you the kit, read the instructions or take it into a bike shop to get a professional opinion.

THE PROS!

The pros of a converted bike can be listed rather easily: 

  1. There’s Affordability. Due to their nature, conversion kits are substantially less expensive than the average e-bike, with the most common conversion kit being the Air Suspension option.

  2. Install at home. The DIY aspect of the conversion kit is attractive to hands-on people who like to know exactly how their machinery works.

  3. Customisation. A lot of people take years to find and perfect their bike, so the notion of enhancing their favourite toy can be a very big incentive. 

Each of these points should be taken into full consideration when thinking of purchasing an e-bike, by gathering accurate information on e-bikes you can make informed decisions and walk away with exactly what you were looking for.

THE CONS

Many of the cons of the conversion kit lie in the fact that when we design things, we have purpose in mind, a book is for reading not swimming, a car is for driving not flying and a standard bike is made for pedalling not automation. 

The issues below are often not considered when making purchasing decisions, please take the time to consider each point as it directly affects the physicality of the rider. 

  1. The first issue is the excess weight that comes with installing a bulky conversion kit, this extra weight makes it harder to move nimbly on trails as the bike becomes rather cumbersome and heavier to lift.

  2. The second issue is the stressors placed on the frame and tyres of a standard bicycle. This extra weight often leads to a loss of tyre pressure, and an increase in the amount of maintenance needed to keep the bike in top shape.

  3.  The risk of accidents due to badly installed conversion kits.

After that, we have one other con as the others could be written off as mere annoyances and not fully-fledged issues (we’re not fans of making mountains out of molehills). 

This point is a very common misconception that needs immediate attention… 

A higher price doesn’t mean better quality when it comes to conversion kits.

We’re going to say it together this time…, A higher price doesn’t mean better quality. In fact, what it means is that you’re buying a specialised kit that in no way benefits a regular rider.  

As we’ve laid down the pros and cons of the conversion kits themselves, keep reading as our Electric Bike vs Conversion Kits. The Pros and Cons Explained. CONTINUES.

THE IDEA THAT WE DESIGN WITH PURPOSE

When an architect sits down and dreams up a building, she doesn’t consider that one day someone may come along and add wings.

When a shoe designer creates a pair of sneakers, he doesn’t consider that one day someone may come along and wear them as gloves.

Similarly, when an industrial designer builds a bicycle, they don’t factor in the idea that one day someone may come along and automate it.

Which is exactly what the conversion kit does, it automates a bike frame that is built to carry out a certain purpose with precision and ease. By altering it, you bypass its purpose and stand the risk of compromising the integrity of the original design.

Now the other side of the argument is that the conversion kits themselves are created with that very thought in mind and are designed to complement the original structure of the bike, serving only to enhance rather than detract from it.

Below we’ve outlined some of the major and minor differences that should be considered before making any purchasing decisions.  

  1. The E-bike as we’ve established is designed from the ground up, meaning the chances of faulty installations are basically nil. Conversion kits, on the other hand, are installed at home, linking the risk of accidents directly to the skills held by the installer.

  2. The “ready to go” factor of originally automated bikes is undeniable. Walk-in, ride-out if you would. The tinkering that goes into installation can be tedious if you don’t have the mechanical version of a green thumb.

  3. The upgrade of an E-bike conversion kit is always available, allowing the rider to continually improve on the bike they own. When it comes to originally automated electric bikes, it’s not always possible to physically upgrade the technology as it’s built into the bike.

  4. When it comes to electric bike conversion kits the cost is substantially different from that of an E-bike, making it an attractive option for first-timers. When you buy an E-bike, the cost can be daunting, but the ease of use, increased mobility and pleasure is said to more than make up for it.
  5. The Warranty if things go wheels up. When you buy an electric bike you’re also buying a promise that if things go wrong, you’re covered. When you buy an electric bike conversion kit you’re almost outsourcing the job of creating an E-bike to yourself, which means you’re the only person liable when anything goes wrong.

  6. Getting what you want and what works for you. When you buy an electric bike in store, you have access to a team of professionals who can help you find an e-bike that suits your needs.

The comparisons above are carefully researched and considered with an aim to inform you of the downsides and upsides of each individual product.

What are your thoughts and opinions? Do you own an e-bike? Or perhaps a converted bike? Are you thinking about getting into the electric bike lifestyle, and if so, which option is for you?

Let us know in the comments and continue reading our blogs as we explore the lifestyle of the Electric Bike Community.

Midsection of unrecognizable businessman commuter with electric bicycle traveling from work in city. Copy space.

Should You Choose a Hub Mount Motor or Mid Mount Motor Electric Bike?

We are asked many questions about e-bikes with one of the first usually relating to the choice between an e-bike with Mid Mounted Motor (MMM) as opposed to a Hub Motor (HUB).

Our answer is that before choosing any model electric bike, end users must be brutally honest as to what purpose they require an electrically assisted cycle. As an e-bike that can be used for everyday use as a commuter type cycle, for exercise in the evening or on week end rides, for use primarily as a commuter cycle with occasional off road use, or to used exclusively as an off road “mountain” bike.

MID drives are, by some, perceived as the Holy Grail of power-providers for e-bikes. If you want to know how you can spend a lot of money on an electric bike and get the ultimate in efficiency and performance, a MMM is a good start. MMM drive are not the easiest or the cheapest electric bikes to build, but can be the cream of the crop once you are out riding, especially off road, particularly climbing hills (or mountains).

When compared to a hub motor, for exclusive, serious off road use a MMM drive is a sophisticated solution. This is because MID drive allows you to use the bike’s chain driven transmission as the motor’s gears, so the electric motor can run in its optimum RPM range. This translates to a happier more efficient motor and a better balanced e-bike.

Having said all this, for non-serious mountain climbing users, a hub motor is ideal and more suitable for commuter cycles that will occasionally be used off road. Hub motors are “Direct” drive as they drive the powered wheel directly, not through the cycle’s chain driven gears. They are less expensive and there is less wear and tear on the e-bikes chain and gear system.

It ultimately comes back to the first question, what is going to be the primary use of the e-bike?

Midsection of unrecognizable commuter with electric bicycle and helmet traveling in city.

Do you need a licence for an Electric Bike in South Africa?

We get asked this question a lot: Do you need a licence for an Electric Bike in South Africa?

South African law (SABS 311/2007) defines that a bicycle that looks like a cycle, with its  primary means of propulsion is by pedal, but has an electrical motor, not exceeding continuous 250w, for assistance, that cuts out at 25.4 kph, weighing less than 40 kg, IS A BICYCLE.

Hence, no drivers licence required, no age restriction, no vehicle licence, no roadworthy, etc. Riders must however comply with regulations relating to the use of bicycles on roads, cycle helmet, not permitted on motorways, etc.

EzyBike e-bikes comply with the legislation, while allowing riders the option, while riding off road, to increase power and speed.