7 Best eBike Conversion Kits for Heavy or Overweight People
Part 5 of eBike Conversions For Beginners series
Heavy eBike riders can have a hard time of it.
As the average maximum weight a bike can carry is around 250 pounds, it can be pretty challenging to find a conversion kit outside of the more expensive mid drives, that can comfortably support anybody who exceeds this weight.
So this review focuses on the 7 best eBike conversion kits for heavy people who weigh more than 280 pounds.
For a comprehensive overview on eBike conversions please refer to An Introduction to eBike Conversions as it covers topics such as safety considerations that you need to think about particularly regarding hub wheel motor conversions.
Best Hub Motor Conversion Kits For Heavy eBike Riders
VOILAMART 48V 1000W
* Best Budget Kit
Heavy eBike riders are able to climb hills with little effort on daily commutes
Controller bag is too small to hold the controller and excess wires
With the largest maximum load capacity of 440lbs this kit can carry the heaviest of eBike riders with ease
Included manual isn’t great
Has both PAS and throttle for different styles of riding
No display unit.
Great fun to ride with some riders hitting top speeds in excess of 30mph
iMORTOR 3.0 WIRELESS 36V 350W
Easiest and fastest kit to install
The iMortor app wheel is an “All-In-One” and is possibly the most unusual and easiest front wheel hub kit to install and is also great for heavy eBike riders as it has a maximum load of 369lbs (167.4kg /26stone). With no need to worry about various wires, connections and other parts, you simply slip this wheel in place and you’re virtually done. The easiest and fastest install for a complete beginner to eBike conversions.
The iMortor wireless wheel has the controller built into the hub itself which explains the huge weight. The included 36V 7.2Ah lithium battery slides on to the hub within a crescent shaped casing. What could be easier?
Despite it’s relatively low wattage compared to other kits in this review, the combination of the iMortor’s weight and torque from the motor means that you do need to add a couple of torque arms to keep the wheel in place and to ensure that your forks or dropouts do not snap.
It has a top speed of 25mph /40km/h. The battery should give a maximum range of 25 -31 miles (40 – 50km)
The iMortor wireless kit comes with no obvious pedal assist, throttle control or brake switches. Instead it has a built-in internal sensor system which can pick up how hard you’re pedaling, whether you’re climbing hills or braking and adjust its motor accordingly – a very clever piece of kit.
To operate the wheel wirelessly, you need to pair the system with your phone using bluetooth and then set your parameters like speed, level of assist etc. on the phone. You install the iMortor app using the QR code sticker on the hub or download it from your phone’s app store. It works on both android and iphone. Your phone acts as the LCD.
It has five levels of assist with interesting category names and expected top speeds for each level:
- Physical exercise 6-25-9.38mph (10-15km/h)
- ECO 9.38-12.5mph (15-20km/h)
- Economy 12.5-18.75mph (20-30km/h)
- Sports 18.75-21.88mph (30-35km/h)
- Climbing 21.88-25mph (35-40km/h)
The iMortor comes in several sizes including:
- 24″x 1.75″ with disc brake
- 26″ x 1.95″ with disc brake
- 700 x 23c with V brake
It will fit front forks between 85mm – 110mm in width. Once converted this eBike can be used for carrying kids, towing a small trailer and such like.
The wheel is strong enough to take a heavy eBike rider comfortably at 15mph
It can be tricky initally to pair your phone with the iMortor.
LCD built into your phone
Some inaccuracies on total distance travelled
Fitting the iMortor is ridiculously easy.
Despite the weight of the wheel the bike is still easy to peddle with the motor turned off.
Overall the iMortor is a good steady fun bike and great for commuting.
LEEDS BIKES 500 Series
** Overall Best Value - includes everything
The 500 series is geared specifically at heavier eBike riders, fat bikes and load bearing tasks. It is the only kit in this review that comes fully complete and is strictly road-legal offering a top speed of 22mph and a maximum range of around 30 miles. It is also the lightest wheel at just 11lbs /5kg. The 500 series is made up of three different front wheel hub kits all of which are 36V 500W.
Each kit comes with a proprietary controller and included Samsung battery offering 36V at 11Ah, 13Ah or 17Ah, a complete pedal assist system, an LCD kit which measures speed, battery power, distance etc, a thumb throttle and even a torque arm.
It is also the only one to offer a geared hub motor. Geared motors are known for their incredible torque and hill-climbing abilities.
The 500 series come in a wide range of wheel sizes including 20″, 24″, 26″, 27.5″ 650b ,700cc 29er. LeedsBikes will even install the hub motor into your existing wheel if possible.
All the kits come with a warranty of 2 years for the motor, 1 year for the battery and controller and 6 months warranty on the LCD.
Everything needed for a conversion is included in the kit including battery and display unit
The manual can be a little confusing and not detailed enough
Uses a geared hub motor which is great for hill-climbing
The motor can be a little noisy emitting a constant hum.
Customer service is second to none.
As its a proprietary controller you may lose some flexibility if you want to upgrade the eBike later on
Great way to exercise using the pedal assist at the lowest level
MAGIC PIE 5
*** Premier Bespoke Hub Kit
Able to fine-tune every setting for the perfect ride with ease
Freewheel not included for rear install
6 levels of adjustable pedal assist
Can be a little expensive
Comes in a range of sizes from 16″ to 29er
Can use your cellphone to change settings on the fly
Great pre and post-sales support
* UK best selling budget kit
The ReaseJoy 26″ front and rear wheel hub motor kits are one of the popular sellers on Amazon UK and comes with a 1000W 48V brushless motor, thumb throttle with battery indicator, e-brake, disc brake mounts and fitted tire. The rear wheel comes with a 7 speed freewheel. With these specs you’ll end up with a speed pedelec capable of reaching 28mph without much effort.
Its two unique selling points are i) its maximum load capacity of 330lbs (150kg / 23.5stone) can carry heavy eBike riders with ease for a fraction of the cost of any retail eBike. ii) its dual mode controller has in effect a backup, meaning that if the Hall effect breaks down for any reason the controller can switch over to a non-Hall effect enabling you to continue riding your eBike with the motor.
At 21.7/bs /9.9kg the ReaseJoy wheel is almost the heaviest hub motor kit in the list so probably unsurprising that it can carry a lot of weight.
To keep things simple for eBike conversion beginners there is no pedal assist system included. This means no faffing about with the crank arms and less time needed to convert your bike therefore more time to ride it. This is probably a key reason for it’s popularity. There’s also no LCD and of course no battery.
The battery needs to be 48V with a nominal capacity of not less than 17Ah to be compatible with the motor.
The ReaseJoy focuses on one thing only and that is converting your bike to a fast eBike without any frills.
Easy to install as it is throttle only
No display unit – LCD
Ideal for heavy eBike riders with its maximum load capacity of 330lbs
Enclosed manual needs a lot of work
Comfortably hits speeds of 20mph on the flat with maximum load
Makes for a great commuting bike
Gives great value for money
Best Mid Drive Kits For Heavy eBike Riders
*** Premier all-rounder mid drive
Torque sensor for more natural cycling experience
Nylon gear inside the motor can fail over time
4 levels of pedal assist
LCD with large amounts of data
Great for off-road and speed
Like most mid-drive motors, the Bafang BBSHD can handle heavy eBike riders better than most hub conversion kits.
In fact with 160 newton meters of torque, the BBSHD is probably the most powerful motor in this list capable of speeding up steep hills on full throttle with barely a hiccup. As it is so powerful, the BBSHD is built with external cooling fins to keep the motor from overheating.
The kit is available from 500W up to 1000W and is very popular with off-roading eBikers.
It comes with 9 levels of power assist which will kick in once you start pedaling. A common complaint from riders who use the PAS is that they have to pedal really fast to try and keep up with the speed of the motor as it tends to go at full speed very quickly. One way of reducing this problem is by using careful gear selection with the right level of assist for you. Another way is to tweak the settings of the kit using flexible open source software on a PC using a USB programming lead. With this software you can change how much power you get on each level of assist. However as the software is open source as opposed to a Bafang owned application that comes with the kit as standard, you do need to know what you are doing as you can risk damaging your controller.
For many riders, PAS isn’t an issue as it’s all about the throttle and riding at maximum speed.
The BBSHD comes with ebrakes which will stop the motor as you brake and a wide choice of LCD screens
Quick Tips For Rear Wheel Hub Motors
- Due to the added weight of a rear wheel hub motor it’s a good idea especially as a heavy ebike rider to squeeze some super sealant into the inner tube to prevent or slow down punctures.
- Also fitting a rim liner round the wheel, a stronger inner tube and tougher tire will all help in extending the life of the wheel.
- To distribute the weight it’s a good idea to place your battery (not provided) somewhere on the frame like the downtube, rather than on a rear rack.
- Make sure you check and tighten the spokes before your first ride.
All these kits are great for heavy eBike riders but the four kits that stand out are:
- The Magic Pie 5 hub conversion for providing a completely bespoke build
- The Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid drive conversion for providing the best of all riding styles with it’s torque sensor, pedal assist and throttle.
- The 500 Series from LeedsBikes provides the best overall value as it is a fully kitted out hub kit.
- The Voilamart front/rear hub kit is the best budget buy
For step by step instructions on how to install a front or rear wheel conversion kit please refer to the eBike Conversions for Beginners series in the yellow box below
eBike Conversions for Beginners series
- Part 1 is an introduction to eBike conversions and covers reasons to convert a regular bicycle to an eBike, types of conversion kits with their pros and cons, safety and legal considerations, planning where to place components and much more
- Part 2 is a step by step guide on converting your bike with a front wheel hub motor kit
- Part 3 is a step by step guide on converting your bike with a rear wheel hub motor kit
- Part 4 is a step by step guide on converting your bike with a mid drive motor kit
Last update on 2020-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API