Finding the right ebike conversion kit for your soon-to-be DIY ebike in 2021 can be a hassle. There are more and more options available these days, ranging from direct-drive hub motor kits to mid-drive motor kits. There are also a lot of brands to choose from, some brands more known than others. In this post, I will list 3 great conversion kits that will not disappoint you.
Update September 2021: Bafang has sued Tongsheng for patent infringement. Bafang has won this l September 2021: Bafang has sued Tongsheng for patent infringement. Bafang has won this lawsuit, therefore the Tongsheng TSDZ2 officially can’t be sold on big platforms like Aliexpress and Amazon anymore. Because of this, it can be hard to find sellers of the Tongsheng TSDZ2 on these platforms. Sellers on Aliexpress and Amazon now don’t use the official name anymore to avoid getting their listings removed by the platforms. I have updated the links in this post to sellers that still actually sell the Tongsheng TSDZ2 on these big platforms. You can safely order from these sellers.
1: The Bafang Geared hub motor conversion kit | My all-time favorite!
The 48V Bafang geared hub motor kit is my all-time favorite, go-to ebike conversion kit. I will start by explaining the different versions that are available. As off power ratings, there are two versions, one 500 watt version and one 750 watt version. The 750 watt version is only available for fatbike type conversions. The 500 watt version is the general version, which comes both as a front and rear motor version. For the rear motor version, you can choose between a cassette or a freehub mount. So whatever kind of bike you have, there will be a fitting version.
How much power?
The power ratings on these motors can be a bit confusing. Almost all the sellers that sell this motor will include a 48V, 22A controller. If you do the maths, this will result in over 1000 watts of power. This 1000 watts also is the amount that the motor actually uses. So even though the motors are listed as 500 and 750 watt motors, they both will actually pull over 1000 watts of power. You shouldn’t be worried about this, because the motors can even easily handle 1500 watts, they are capable of running at 1000 watts all they long. This 1000 watts will easily bring you up to speeds of 45 km/h (30mph) and higher.
So what makes this motor so great? The reason that I recommend this motor so much is its built quality and overall reliability. The motor is IP65 rated and it is built like a tank. Bafang really does a good job at making excellent hub motors, this definitely also is one of them. This hub motor is a hub motor of the geared type, this means that there are gears inside. In general, this has the following advantages: more torque, lower weight, smaller size, and low freewheel resistance. All these advantages also apply to this hub motor. It is just a really compact and lightweight 1000 watt hub motor. Because of its built-in freewheel, you can also pedal the bike really easily with a dead battery.
Variations between kits
There are several kits available on sites like Aliexpress that offer this motor. In general, all kits come with the motor, a 48V 22A controller, a display, brake levers, throttle, and the wiring that goes with it. There are some differences between offered kits you should look out for though. The two things that vary the most among different sellers are the controllers and the displays delivered with the motor kit.
Let’s start with the controllers, sellers will either sell a blockwave or a sinewave controller with the motor. In all cases, I will go for the sinewave controller, all the sellers I list in this post, sell this sinewave controller. A sinewave controller will result in way smoother and quieter motor operation. It’s therefore always worth the little extra money since it will make a big difference in the overall feel of the ebike.
Sellers also vary with the displays they deliver in the kits. Sellers most commonly either sell the P850C/DPC18 display or some sort of KT style display. In general, both options are excellent. The P850C/DPC18 are nice color displays with premium looks, but the KT displays have a bit more adjustability in the settings menu. But for the average user, both display types do an excellent job, with mostly esthetic differences.
The conversion kit is available in almost all common wheel sizes, ranging from 26 to 29 inches with average rim width. So whatever wheel size your bike has, you should be fine. The motor has 160mm disc brake mounting points as standard, but if you have rim brakes you can ofcourse also use these. If you go for rim brakes, make sure that the rim that the motor is spoked into has a braking strip for rim brakes. You can always ask the seller about this.
How does it ride?
So how does this conversion kit ride? I think this ebike conversion kit rides great, it has a lot of power, great acceleration and a nice pedal assist. If you need a lot of power, this kit definitely delivers. Because a hub motor doesn’t deliver its power through a chain, you can also pedal worry-free. Unlike with mid-drive motors, where you have to think about in which gear you are in. With a hub motor, you just paddle or hit the throttle and you are of every time. The fact that you don’t have to think about anything that can possibly harm your bike is just awesome.
Installation of this kit is pretty straightforward, there are lots of video tutorials online that show the installation process. I haven’t encountered any problems with the kits once installed. The complete conversion kit doesn’t need any maintenance over time, which is really nice. Do make sure that you also install a so-called torque-arm, this will ensure that the wheel will stay put in the frame.
Better than the mid-drive kits?
You might wonder why I prefer this Bafang hub motor kit above the popular, well-known Bafang BBS02 mid-drive motor kits. The simple answer is: reliability. The BBS02 has a bad reputation for its controller failures, I personally also experienced this. I have replaced multiple BBS02 controllers, which isn’t an easy thing to do. For beginner builders, this is a nightmare.
The motor is also hard to troubleshoot when issues occur, and problems will occur, it’s just a matter of time. Because mid-drive motors exert force on the chain, you can experience chain snaps or broken cassettes and freehubs. The motors are simply too powerful for most bikes to handle, which results in lots of maintenance. The BBS02 can also become loose because of the torque it exerts on the frame. So as you can tell, the Bafang hub motor kit is just way more reliable, maintenance-free, and beginner-friendly, which makes it a better option for almost all builders in my opinion.
So if you want a hassle-free, great quality, nice riding ebike conversion kit with punchy power, the Bafang hub motor kit is the one for you! You really can’t go wrong with it.
|Power:||(4.0 / 5)|
|Pedal-assist:||(4.0 / 5)|
|Reliability:||(5.0 / 5)|
Buy this Bafang hub motor conversion kit @Aliexpress – Global shipping:
- Bafang 48V 500 watt version with P850C Display
- Bafang 48V 750 watt version with P850C Display (only for fatbike)
- 48V 17.5Ah Hailong battery (suitable for this kit)
2: The Bafang BBS02/BBSHD Mid-Drive motor kit | The ride pleasure king!
The Bafang BBS02/BBSHD mid-drive ebike conversion kits are probably the most known ebike conversion kits on the market. This popularity isn’t without a reason, they really are one of if not the best riding and versatile ebike motors. There is a lot to like about these mid-drive motor kits, but I also have some problems with them, which keep them away from the number 1 spot. I will tell you everything about it but first, let’s start with the different versions available.
Which versions and power levels?
Bafang has come out with a lot of different versions of its mid-drive motors. There is a 250 watt BBS01, a 500/750 watt BBS02, and a 1000 watt BBSHD version available. The BBSHD itself is also available in different bottom bracket widths, which makes them compatible with fat bikes as well.
The power of these motors can be a bit confusing again. The BBS02 750 watt motor, for example, has a 48V, 25A controller inside. This means that in practice it can handle more than 1200 watts. The BBSHD has a 30A controller inside, which results in a power rating of over 1400 watts. So, in general, all the different Bafang mid-drive motors can output more power than specified. If they actually output higher power than specified though, is determined by the way the motor is programmed. Every Bafang mid-drive motor can be reprogrammed, which allows the user to change the motor’s behavior. Out of the factory, the motors are programmed in a conservative way, but even then they often output more power than specified.
Popular for a reason?
Why is it that this motor seems to be used by every DIY ebike builder? Because it simply is a really nicely integrated and well-functioning motor system. The controller and the motor are combined in one metal housing that is nicely constructed. This integrated controller also prevents you from having to deal with sometimes annoying external controllers. The motor is also waterproofed pretty well and looks nice and discrete.
Apart from its convenient size, it also rides amazing! The cadence pedal assist is arguably the best out of any cadence system. The pedal assist feels natural and a mid-drive motor in general just provides an amazing balance to any bike. Because the motor is centered and low on the bike, the center of gravity doesn’t get affected much. This great center of gravity makes the bike handle great! The power that these motors can output is also insane, speeds higher than 50km/h (32mph) is no exception for the BBSHD.
The fact that you can even reprogram the behavior of the motor to your liking, makes this motor kit even better. You can really finetune every setting to your desired behavior. Reprogramming the Bafang motor can however be quite challenging and can cause damage if done wrong. If you ever plan to reprogram your Bafang mid-drive motor, make sure to use a great guide to help you.
Installation of a Bafang mid-drive motor is generally a bit easier than installing a hub motor. This is the case because both wheels can stay on the bike during installation. Only the bottom bracket needs to be removed. The only challenging thing can be installing the optional gear sensor, but a good video tutorial can help with this.
So why isn’t it number one in this post? As I explained in the Bafang hub motor section, there are some problems with this motor’s reliability. The controllers inside the motors tend to fail quite often. Replacing these controllers is not easy and can be really frustrating. The higher power motors (750 and 1000 watt) also tend to have problems with staying tight in the bottom bracket. Because of the high torque, the motor will become loose over time, therefore periodic tightening is a necessity.
Powerful mid-drive motors can also cause issues with your bike’s drivetrain. Because all the power is exerted on the chain, the chain and the cassette or freehub will wear out way quicker. You will have to replace those parts about 4 times more often than on a normal non-electric bike.
So to summarize, all the Bafang mid-drive motors are great systems that give an absolutely amazing ride. The power and torque of the motors are insane and the pedal assist feels really natural. If you want the best possible riding experience with a lot of power, this is the conversion kit for you. If you, however, want a really reliable, maintenance-free ebike, don’t go for a Bafang mid-drive ebike conversion kit. You will be better of buying a hub motor kit from Bafang.
|Power:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Pedal-assist:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Reliability:||(2.5 / 5)|
Buy this Bafang BBS02 conversion kit @Aliexpress – Global shipping:
- Bafang BBS02 and BBSHD different versions and display options
- 48V 17.5Ah Hailong battery (suitable 48V versions)
- 36V 17.4Ah Hailong battery (suitable for 36V versions)
3: The Tongsheng TSDZ2 Mid-Drive motor kit | The torque-sensing champion!
The Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive motor is a one-of-a-kind motor. The Tongsheng mid-drive motor has a built-in torque sensor which makes it truly unique in the DIY sector. This feature is usually only found in expensive factory-built ebikes. I will explain all the things to like and not to like about this Tongsheng ebike conversion kit.
Different power options
The Tongsheng TSDZ2 also is available in multiple versions: a 250, 500, and 750-watt version. Unlike the Bafang products, the actual power rating of the motor isn’t exceeded in practice. All motors output roughly the same power as specified. Because of this, the 750 watt Tongsheng motor version is not as powerful as the 750 watt Bafang motor version. So if you are looking for really high power, the Tongsheng TSDZ2 ebike conversion kit isn’t the one for you.
What makes it so unique?
The Tonsgheng TSDZ2 set itself apart from other conversion kits because of its built-in torque sensor. A torque sensor measures the amount of force you exert on the pedals. So it does not only measure how often you rotate the pedals, but it also measures the force at which you rotate them. This way, the amount of assistance the motor gives you is dependent on the force you exert on the pedals.
This dependency will result in an amazingly natural feeling ebike, the pedal-assist really feels like an extension of your body. It makes you feel like you have super-human strengths. If the only thing you care about to be good on an ebike is its pedal-assist, then this definitely is the go-to option for you.
Built-quality on par with Bafang?
How about the brand and the built quality? The brand Tongsheng is relatively new to the e-bike segment but is growing fast. More and more people use the Tonsgheng motor and more versions and parts become available each year. The built quality of the ebike conversion kit can be called descent. It still can’t match Bafang’s excellent built quality, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
The motor and controller are enclosed in a metal housing that feels nice and robust. The way that the chainring is attached to the motor is especially nice. The part I dislike the most about the kit is the displays. Tongsheng offers multiple displays, but all the displays they offer lack in looks, built-quality, and functionality. The displays look old-fashioned, are made of cheap plastic, and don’t show important information like power usage.
The installation of the Tongsheng motor is very similar to the installation of the Bafang motor. The Tonsgheng motor includes an extra mounting mechanism which can be hard to install on some bikes though. Fortunately, most bikes don’t have trouble with it, it can also be left out if absolutely needed.
Characteristics and reliability
Because the Tongsheng motor is a mid-drive motor as well, you will experience some accelerated wear on your drive train with powerful versions just like with the Bafang mid-drives. It, however, isn’t that bad as the Bafang mid-drives because in general the motors are less powerful and deliver their power in a more controlled way. The reliability of the Tongsheng motor is good, with only a few people complaining about controller failures. So this is less of a concern with this motor than the Bafang mid-drive.
If you are looking for an amazing pedal assist experience that gives you super-human legs, look no further! The Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive motor delivers a truly amazing pedal-assist. It, however, isn’t as powerful as its Bafang counterpart and it also can’t match the BBSxx’s built quality. So if you are willing to sacrifice some built quality for extra power, you should go for the Bafang mid-drive options instead.
|Power:||(3.5 / 5)|
|Pedal-assist:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Reliability:||(4.0 / 5)|
Buy this Tongsheng TSDZ2 conversion kit @Aliexpress – Global shipping:
- Tongsheng TSDZ2 different versions and display options
- 48V 17.5Ah Hailong battery (suitable 48V versions)
- 36V 17.4Ah Hailong battery (suitable for 36V versions)
If you have any questions, want to start a discussion, or need some support, please use the comment section below. I will respond to you within 24 hours.