I’ve been building electric bicycles for nearly a decade now. A few years ago I started this website as a place to freely share a lot of the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years. One of the questions I get asked most often is about recommendations for specific parts.
There are thousands of options out there for every single ebike accessory you could think of, so it’s hard for me to make an exhaustive list. What I’ll do instead is try to compile a list below of the ebike parts I use most often and that I generally recommend to others. Some of these parts I’ve written up full reviews for, and others I’m still planning to write more about.
For the sake of this list though, I’ll try to keep it less wordy and focus more on the links and the images. Also, most of the vendors I know are either in North America or China. If you don’t live in North America, the Chinese ones will likely be more helpful to you. I’ve tried to give examples of both in cases where I buy from both places.
Electric Bicycle Motors:
There are tons of motors out there, but these are some of my favorites.
For a pretty standard yet powerful 48V 1000W ebike, I like to go with a 9C-clone-style gearless motor like this one from Conhismotor, which also includes the controller, ebrakes, etc – basically everything you need except for the battery.
For genuine 9C motors, I recommend going with Grin Technology (AKA ebikes.ca), located in Canada.
For a smaller geared motor in the 500W range, I’d recommend ebike.ca’s Ezee kits here.
If you’re not in North America but still want a geared motor kit, this is a pretty decent one for an amazing price. For $400 you can have an entire ebike ready to be assembled. It’s not the most powerful kit, but it’s certainly good for cruising around town.
For a more powerful ebike, Kinaye Motor Sports in the USA is a great source for the MXUS 3,000W motors and all the other bits (controllers, throttles, etc) that you’ll need. If you’re outside of the US, you can get the MXUS 3,000W motors from a Chinese vendor here.
The BBS02 is an amazing mid-drive motor that is badged up to 750W but really puts out about 1,000W of peak power. One of the best prices I’ve seen is available here, and it’s available for a little more from a great ebike vendor in China, EM3EV, here. But if you’re prefer to buy it in the US, a very trustworthy and helpful vendor is California Ebike here.
Bafang released a higher power version of the BBS02, known as the BBSHD, which is good for about 1,500 peak watts. I’ve gotten one here, but the best price I’ve found so far is here, though prices change often and the market fluctuates.
Electric Bicycle Batteries:
Batteries are a little tougher because there are a million and a half options out there. Generally I build my own electric bicycle batteries, but when I buy batteries, these are some of the sources I use:
EM3EV has a great selection of batteries that they build in plastic cases, triangle shapes or standard rectangular bricks. These are some great quality packs.
For better prices though, I’ve sometimes used batteries from Aliexpress. I’ve had some great batteries from there and also found some lesser quality ones, so I’ll only link to the ones that were worth it.
I used one of these 36V 10AH batteries for a customer that simply wanted a replacement battery for a standard seat tube style battery.
This is a HUGE capacity 48V 30AH triangle pack for a price that you’d never find the US. You could ride for days or weeks on this battery without recharging, depending on your commute.
If that’s a little much for you, this is also a good 48V 20AH triangle pack made from Samsung cells.
A friend of mine bought this 48V 9AH battery for a great price and has been happy with it. Keep in mind that it’s a medium power battery though. Don’t try to pull more than 800 or 900 watts out of it.
A lot of people prefer a locking battery case though, and so this 48V 10AH battery is a better fit. For under $300 including shipping, it’s simply a steal.
This little 24V 10AH bottle style battery works great for my wife’s ebike, mounted just like a water bottle holder.
There are actually a whole pile of ebike batteries on Aliexpress but I’ve only tried a handful of them. The good thing about Aliexpress is they hold your payment in escrow until you confirm that the goods are working well, then release the payment to the vendor. So if you have a problem with a product that turns out to be problematic, they give you your money back if you file a claim. I’ve used the process a few times and it was actually confidence inspiring, I must say. It makes me feel better about taking a risk on a more expensive product since I know the buyer protection works.
It’s also one reason I prefer Aliexpress to eBay, since your money is held by Aliexpress and not released to the seller until you give the go-ahead.
Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 18650 Cells:
As I mentioned before, I build my own batteries most of the time, which means I buy a lot of battery cells, mostly Li-ion 18650 cells. Here are some of my main sources for cells:
Samsung 26F cells (2.6AH, 5.2A max) – These cells are good for lower power applications where you don’t need more than 2C discharge. I built a lot of 48V 15-ish AH packs from these cells. Great for low to medium power applications. I get most of my 26F cells here. That vendor’s prices are a little higher but I’ve worked with them a lot and know they are great quality and have good service/communication. Recently I started getting cells from here in higher quantities because the price has been better.
Panasonic 18650PF cells (2.9AH, 10A max) – I use these cells for most of my medium to higher power packs. They have great energy density and are top quality, like the Samsung’s above, but are capable of higher power. I get them here or sometimes here.
Sanyo 18650GA cells (3.5AH 10A max) – These cells are a bit newer than the two previous cells and are great for medium to higher power packs as well. Basically any case where you’d use the Panasonic cells above but would like more capacity, this is the cell to use. I usually buy them from here.
Electric bicycle battery spot welder
I have a few different spot welders that I use for building lithium batteries from 18650 cells. The one I use most is this one, which I created a video review for, shown below.
I’ve also had good success with this one which has flexible welding probes which allow you to reach farther and get to the middle of a battery to make repairs. With my welder in the video above I have to do one row at a time as I build the battery since it doesn’t have the long flexible arms. Both methods work, it just depends on which you prefer.
When it comes to nickel strip for welding batteries, make sure you get 100% pure nickel strip. It should be indicated in the product description, but be sure to double check that it’s actually pure nickel when you receive it by using the test I invented here. I buy my nickel strip by the kilogram here, but you can also buy smaller amounts here if you don’t build as many batteries as me!
lithium battery BMS’s (battery management system):
BMS’s are available from a number of sources, but almost all of them are in China, so you’ll have to get used to sending some money overseas and waiting a few weeks to get your goods.
The best quality BMS’s I’ve seen are from BesTechPower. I’ve used their D131 a few times for some 72V packs and I love it. Their BMS’s are pricy though, and higher quality than most people need. You can spend a quarter of the money and get something that’s likely good enough for most applications.
A common and very inexpensive 13S BMS I’ve used a bunch is this one. The same vendor (who I buy from often) has a good 14s BMS as well, and even a 20s BMS which would be good for you if the D131 above is too rich for your blood.
Electric Bicycle Chargers:
There was a great charger vendor from China that I used but unfortunately went out of business last year. He was a young guy and just found it hard to compete with the bigger established countries. Since then, and with his recommendations, I’ve settled on a few other vendors that I use for chargers.
For my personal every day charger I use a Cycle Satiator from Ebikes.ca, which I wrote a full review about here. I use it to charge my 52V battery as well as other batteries of different voltages that I have laying around.
When I need a charger to take with me on the road, I use this 52V charger.
Electric Bicycle Electronic Speed Controllers:
There are a lot of different controllers out there and they all have their specific uses. I build a lot of medium power ebikes so I don’t need anything too fancy. For the most powerful ebikes I build, I reach for a Lyen controller or an EM3EV controller, which are comparable for quality and price. Lyen ships from the USA while EM3EV ships from China, so that may affect your decision depending which country you live closer to.
For most of the medium power ebikes I build though, I don’t need controllers that are as nice as the Lyen and EM3EV controllers. I can get away with something a third of the price. I’ve been quite happy with this controller on some 72V ebikes I’ve built.
For 36V and 48V ebikes, I usually use this controller, which is appropriate for both voltages.
For lower power 36V bikes, I use this little controller, which can actually be used on 48V ebikes as well.
Electric Bicycle Throttles:
Electric Bicycle Lights:
I wrote an article about electric bicycle lights here, but I’ll give you the summary of links below.
Most of the time I use this front head light instead, which also runs off the main ebike pack and is even brighter.
For a tail light, I go with this simple light that also runs off of my main ebike pack.
Electric Bicycle Horns:
I wrote a whole review on these horns here.
For all of those horns you’ll need a button to activate them. This is the one I always use because it comes with extra buttons for lights, but any momentary contact button will work.
I actually buy most of my saddles locally, but I picked up this little number recently to give it a shot for my wife’s bike and she actually loves it.
Electric Bicycle Bags:
Oh boy, there are a ton of good ebike bags out there. I reviewed the Electric Rider bag a while back and still love that bag – it’s the largest one I’ve used.
The EM3EV bag is a classic that is well respected in the community. I’ve got a pile of them in my closet waiting to get used. If you don’t want to wait for (or pay for) shipping from China then you can get the bag from Kinaye Motorsports in the US here. There’s also the bag by Falcon EV that has gotten good reviews, but I haven’t used that one so I can’t vouch for it personally.
For a smaller bag in the US, I’ve had great luck with the Ibera frame bags that I’ve gotten on Amazon.
This bag is cheaper than the Ibera bags but almost as big, and I’ve found it to be quite good quality.
Electric Bicycle Wattmeters:
The best wattmeter in the ebike industry is without a doubt the Cycle Analyst designed by ebikes.ca and available directly from them here.
I almost always use a Cycle Analyst on my bikes. Sometimes on customer’s bikes I use a cheaper wattmeter like this one in cases where a customer doesn’t want to shell out for a real Cycle Analyst. It’s not waterproof or backlit, but it’s more than 10x cheaper than a Cycle Analyst!
I haven’t used one like this yet, but I plan to pick up one of those styles and test them when I get the time.
Electric Bicycle Tools:
There are a number of tools that are my go-to ebike tools. I really like this bicycle multi tool and keep it on my bicycle at all times for any quick repairs or adjustments. It’s great when I notice I need to tighten my brakes a bit.
My standard soldering iron is a really simple, really cheap adjustable heat soldering iron. I use it for soldering wires, connectors, nickel battery terminals, BMS’s…. basically everything. Mine is the 220V version, but there’s a 110V version for the US here. It’s a workhorse and took me a year and a half to finally burn through the tip. I just picked up a set of replacement tips here that will probably last me years at this rate.
I use heat resistant and non-conductive tape when building batteries. It’s not super strong so I don’t recommend using it in a structural application like electrical tape, but it’s a lot stickier than electrical tape so it’s perfect for cases where you need to cover exposed wires or contacts to prevent shorts, especially in an area that can get hot – like a battery.
Helping hands are an amazing tool for soldering. They help hold your small parts in place, which is great for soldering connectors onto wires. They also protect your fingers when trying to hold a wire that quickly heats up while soldering it. For me it is well worth a few bucks to make my life so much easier.
This is my favorite little wire snips. I use it for both stripping wire ends and for cutting wires. I don’t use it on anything but copper or aluminum wire, that way it stays sharp. Ok fine, sometimes I cheat and use it to cut zip ties flush, but those are soft compared to wire, right!?
My favorite lock is the Kryptonite New York line of U-locks. They are simply beasts. I don’t know where to get them internationally, but in the US I used to get them on Amazon.
I like to use two locks at the same time to make my ebike extra theft-resistant. My secondary lock is usually a chain lock. I know that this chain lock doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually served me well and the chain links are quite hard steel. I never use cheap cable locks.
I recently got this “puck” style lock and have been quite happy with it. It’s a nice little secondary lock, but I wouldn’t rely on it as the only lock I would use.
This is a similar style lock that I haven’t gotten yet, but that I want to try out because it’s just a bit longer and thus likely more convenient.
I also have a really neat U-lock that holds just the wheel and comes with a built in motion alarm that I reviewed here.
Electric Bicycle GPS trackers:
I haven’t gotten to purchasing a GPS tracker, though I plan to very soon. I’m deciding between a simple one like this general purpose GPS tracker and a bicycle specific GPS tracker like this clever one hidden in the stem of the handlebars.
More to come…
And that’s the majority of the electric bicycle parts that I buy on a regular basis. As I think of more ebike parts that I’ve left out I will be sure to add them. I’ll also update as I find better prices in the future.
Do you have a favorite ebike accessory? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!