Install Mid Drive Motor on a Bike

Electric Bike Conversion Options for the DIYer

Exploring the realm of electric bike conversion can unlock new potential for your traditional bike, transforming it into a powered e-bike. This article delves into the essential aspects to consider during this process, from choosing the right conversion kit and understanding different motor types to complying with local laws and regulations.

My eBike has a 52-volt battery
My eBike has a 52-volt battery

Assess Your Bike’s Suitability

Firstly, assess your bike’s suitability for conversion. You need to take into account factors like the bike’s frame, the braking system, and the bike’s overall condition. It’s ideal to start with a bike that is in good working order, as this will make the conversion process easier.

Selecting the Right Conversion Kit

The next step is to choose the right e-bike conversion kit. This typically includes an electric motor, a battery, a controller, and other necessary components such as throttles, LCD displays, and wiring.

Front Hubs

Most straightforward installation processIf the power exceeds 250 watts, torque arms become necessary, making tire changes and repairs more complex
Provides “All-wheel drive” sensation on flat roads when combined with pedalingTraction may be compromised on steep inclines and under poor road conditions
Costs less than rear hubs or mid-drivesThe motor is more prone to overheating on hills or during spin-outs
Offers greater flexibility for battery placement with the possibility to use smaller batteriesHandling and balance might be difficult for those new to biking
Features a more subtle appearance due to a smaller motorPower limitations suggest a maximum of 500 watts, especially when paired with aluminum or carbon forks

Rear Hubs

Rear Hub Drive Motor for eBike
Rear Hub Drive Motor for eBike
Installation is simpler than for mid-drivesThe process of changing tires becomes more cumbersome
Ensures better weight balance and improved traction for riding in hilly areas and rainy conditionsLarger motors result in heavier bikes
Supports higher power rangesFor high wattages, torque arms are required
Compatible with bikes featuring irregular bottom bracketsThe quality of the drivetrain and wheel components may not match that of the original bike parts


Mid-Drive Motor eBike
Mid-Drive Motor eBike
Allows for effective utilization of your bike’s gears for alternating between torque and speedCan lead to faster wear and tear of the drivetrain
Provides better weight distributionOffers less clearance space under the bike
Supports safer power configurationsIt’s recommended to avoid gear shifting while the motor is in use
Best suited for mountain, trail, and hill ridingThe installation process is more demanding, requiring specialized tools and can be complicated by varying bottom-bracket sizes

Consideration for Motor Type and Battery Capacity

Motor type and battery capacity are crucial factors to consider. Front and rear hub motors are the most common ones, while mid-drive motors offer better balance and efficiency. As for the battery, larger capacity means longer range but also greater weight and cost.

Removing the battery from an eBike
Removing the battery from an eBike

eBike Motor Wattage Options

Motor WattageCommon Uses
250WEntry-level electric bikes, urban commuting, light recreational riding on flat terrain. Suitable for riders who want assistance with pedaling and moderate speeds.
500WMid-range electric bikes, urban commuting, recreational riding, and light off-road trails. Provides increased power and speed for riders who require more assistance on hills or rougher terrain.
750WPowerful electric bikes, off-road trails, steep hills, and heavy loads. Suitable for riders who need maximum power and torque for challenging terrains or hauling cargo.
1000W+High-performance electric bikes, extreme off-road trails, and heavy-duty applications. Offers exceptional power and acceleration for experienced riders seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or specialized uses.

Always ensure compliance with local regulations when selecting and using a motor wattage for your electric bike.

Recommended Motor and Battery

A suitable combination of motor wattage and voltage for a bike that can handle some hill climbing during a commute would be a mid-range option. A 48V motor with a power rating of 500-750 watts would provide ample power to tackle moderate hills while still offering a good balance between performance and battery efficiency. This setup ensures that you have enough torque to conquer inclines without sacrificing overall range and battery life.

Common Electric Bike Battery Options and Use

VoltageCommon Uses
24VEntry-level electric bikes, casual commuting, and leisurely rides on flat terrain. Offers a basic level of power and range for riders looking for a simple and cost-effective electric bike experience.
36VMid-range electric bikes, urban commuting, recreational riding, and light off-road trails. Provides a balance of power and range suitable for riders who want moderate assistance and longer rides.
48VHigh-performance electric bikes, hilly terrains, off-road trails, and faster speeds. Offers increased power, acceleration, and range for riders seeking more demanding and exhilarating rides.
52V+High-performance and specialized electric bikes. Provides even higher power and performance capabilities for advanced riders, extreme off-road adventures, or specific applications requiring exceptional torque and speed.

Recommended Motor and Battery

A suitable combination of motor wattage and voltage for a bike that can handle some hill climbing during a commute would be a mid-range option. A 48V motor with a power rating of 500-750 watts would provide ample power to tackle moderate hills while still offering a good balance between performance and battery efficiency. This setup ensures that you have enough torque to conquer inclines without sacrificing overall range and battery life.

Ensuring Adequate Braking Power

Braking power is another essential aspect. Since an e-bike will be heavier and potentially faster than a regular bike, it’s necessary to have a braking system that can handle these changes. Upgrading to disc brakes, if your bike doesn’t already have them, is a good idea.

The Best Braking for an Electric Bike

The best braking system for an electric bike largely depends on your personal preferences, riding conditions, and budget. However, there are two main types of brakes commonly used in electric bikes: disc brakes and rim brakes.

1.      Disc Brakes

These are often considered the best option for electric bikes due to their superior stopping power and performance in various weather conditions. Disc brakes come in two forms: mechanical (or cable-activated) and hydraulic.

Mechanical Disc Brakes: Also known as cable-activated disc brakes, these use a steel cable to activate the braking mechanism. They are cheaper and easier to maintain than hydraulic brakes but offer less stopping power and may require more hand strength to operate.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes: These utilize a sealed fluid system for activation, similar to what’s found in many car brakes. They offer the most stopping power and require less hand strength to operate, but they can be more expensive and require more specialized knowledge to maintain.

What is an eBike Brake Sensor
What is an eBike Brake Sensor

2.      Rim Brakes

These are less common on electric bikes but are still used, particularly on less expensive models. Rim brakes work by applying friction to the wheel’s rim to slow the bike. They come in two types: V-brakes (or linear-pull brakes) and caliper brakes.

V-Brakes: These are more effective than caliper brakes and are relatively easy to maintain. However, their performance can be affected by wet or muddy conditions, and they can wear down the rim over time.

Caliper Brakes: These are often found on road bikes and are typically less powerful than other types of brakes. They can be cheaper but may not be as effective in wet or muddy conditions.

Overall, disc brakes, particularly hydraulic disc brakes, are considered the best choice for electric bikes due to their superior performance, particularly in hilly areas or in wet conditions. However, they are typically more expensive, and maintenance may require professional assistance.

RIDE e MTB Pro Tip: With eBikes growing in popularity learning all the terms and definitions can be a bit overwhelming. Let me help with this comprehensive glossary. 👉 eBike Glossary

Dealing with the Added Weight

Converting your bike will inevitably add weight, which will alter the bike’s handling characteristics. Make sure you’re comfortable with these changes and ensure your bike’s frame and wheels can handle the additional load.

RIDE e MTB Tip: Are you thinking about building an eBike? It isn’t very hard – Heck I’ve got step by step instructions with videos along with all the tools. Check it out 👉 How to Build a Mid-Drive Electric Bike

Complying with Local Laws and Regulations

Lastly, it’s crucial to comply with local laws and regulations when converting your bike to electric. These can vary greatly, and it’s your responsibility to ensure your e-bike meets any power output, speed, and safety equipment requirements.

Ride eMTB Tip: People for Bikes has an incredible resource describing the ebike laws across the USA. Check it out with this link 👉 State by State eBike Laws

Ready to Shop for the eBike Components

Now, you’re ready to shop around for your e-bike conversion kit! These come in a range of power outputs and features to match your requirements. Remember, the quality of components will affect the e-bike’s performance and lifespan, so it’s worth investing in decent quality parts.

DIY e-bike conversion might sound daunting initially, but the sense of accomplishment and the thrill of riding your upgraded bike are definitely worth the time and effort invested. Start small, learn along the way, and don’t hesitate to seek expert advice when needed. Happy riding!

Bafang Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion
Bafang Mid-Drive Electric Bike Conversion

Did you Know You Can Convert a Regular MTB to Electric?

Bafang a leader in DIY electric bike conversions has a mid-drive kit that will fit on most regular bikes. I’d recommend the BBSHD kit, it’s a complete setup with a huge capacity battery and a 1000 watt motor. Why this setup?

  • Heavy duty 1000 watt motor (built for cargo bikes)
  • +50 volt 17.5 Ah battery for speed and distance
  • Easy installation with provided tools.

If you’re considering a conversion, do what I’m doing get the BANFANG BBSHD 1000w eBike Conversion with Battery

Crank Those Pedals with Power

An electric bike conversion offers a flexible and cost-effective way to transform your existing bike into an electric-powered machine. By considering factors such as motor placement, control systems, power and battery size, brake compatibility, and reliable conversion kits, you can tailor your electric bike to your specific needs and preferences.

Whether it’s for commuting, leisure rides, or tackling challenging terrains, electric bike conversion opens up a world of possibilities for enhancing your cycling experience. Embrace the joy of electrification and ride on!

David Humphries Author at Ride e MTB

Hi David Humphries here the guy doing all the pedaling behind the scenes with this blog. I’ve been in the MTB world for a while and recently started getting into eMTBs. You can check out more about me HERE and on my other passion project –

More Ebike Conversion Resources


  1. Endless Sphere Forum:
  2. Electric Bike Forum:
  3. EBR Electric Bike Forum:

Non-profit Organizations:

  1. Electric Bicycle Association (EBA):
  2. PeopleForBikes:
  3. League of American Bicyclists: