By Dr. Charles Owubah
Today is World Food Day, a time to reflect on the foundational role that food plays in our lives, communities, and cultures. We cannot live without food.
While safe and nutritious food is an essential right, sadly, two billion people go without. After decades of progress, world hunger is on the rise again. From 2018 to 2019, 10 million more people became undernourished because of climate change and conflict, and COVID-19 is further exacerbating this crisis. The UN's World Food Program says more people may die from hunger due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.
On the bright side, new innovations for dealing with hunger offer hope in these ominous times. At Action Against Hunger, we are working on innovations that never-before could have been imagined, such as artificial intelligence to help herders in the Sahel find food for livestock and real-time data on global hunger. These and other programs will enable the planet's poorest communities to more easily predict and prevent hunger and are a needed source of progress toward the UN's Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.
Artificial Intelligence to Help Herders Feed Livestock
With support from The World Bank, we are using AI and tele-detection technology to help herders in West Africa find food and water for their goats, sheep and other livestock. Across Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal, the Pastoral Early Warning System (PEWS) lets herders know — via local radio, SMS, and bulletins in local languages — where to find fodder for their herds, as well as market prices and animal disease trends. In many of these nations, livestock farming accounts for 40% of the agricultural GDP, making it a lynchpin of the economy and culture. The information, which they receive every 10 days, helps them navigate droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, and even closures due to COVID-19, reaching approximately 100,000 people.
First Real-Time View of Global Hunger
Right now, most of the world's malnutrition data lives in spreadsheets and reams of paper. We're in the middle of creating a new app and database to provide the first real-time view of world hunger. Currently in development, "SMART+" will be an all-in-one digital tool to log data when children are screened for malnutrition and provide an aggregate view, down to the "postal code" level. The goal is to detect food emergencies earlier and improve coordination among governments and agencies so that aid can get to people quicker.
Treating Life-Threatening Hunger at Home
COVID-19 has prevented many families from traveling to faraway hospitals for treatment of malnutrition. We have been able to fill in this critical need for urgent care by training health workers and volunteers to treat malnourished children at home. This is not only more convenient and less expensive for families, but also eases the burden on clinics, which are already stretched thin in the midst of a global pandemic.
Even better, it's more effective. Research shows that 95% of malnourished children treated locally by community health workers recovered from malnutrition, compared with 88% of those who were treated in health centers. These findings prompted the country of Mali to change its entire national health system to reflect this new approach, and now several other countries are following their lead.
Growing Plants Without Soil
In Ethiopia's Waghimra region, which borders the Sahel, climate change is exacerbating unpredictable rainfall and recurring droughts. More than 90% of families depend on farming or herding, and they now face historically large livestock losses and rising levels of malnutrition. In response, we introduced hydroponics, an innovative way to grow plants without soil. Grass sprouts from a simple raised bed built with wood and plastic and is watered with a nutrient-rich mineral solution that produces richer fodder. This feed nourishes livestock that become healthier, expanding herds and milk production. In turn, farmers can better feed their families and have more to sell, earning income and strengthening local markets. Compared to traditional, soil-based methods, hydroponics uses less water and can produce higher yields in as little as seven days, rather than months.
Every day thousands of children still die from hunger. In fact, when a child younger than five dies, nearly half the time, hunger is to blame. This isn't inevitable. Innovations abound — both high- and low-tech — that continue to offer hope.
This World Food Day, let's pause to remember that hunger is predictable and preventable, and we all can take action. Solutions exist, and we must continue to support the world's most vulnerable until everyone has food to eat.
Dr. Charles Owubah, is the CEO of Action Against Hunger.
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Riding a bicycle is one of the most sustainable ways to get around. If you need a little more oomph than legs allow, an e-bike conversion kit is a great way to supercharge your pedal bike with electricity.
Whether you're plugging in to renewable energy sources or drawing from a conventional electric grid, electric bike kits produce far fewer emissions than fossil fuel-powered alternatives and allow you to keep your old bike you know and love.
An e-bike conversion kit makes use of your existing bike frame by replacing your standard tire or pedals with a motorized hub. Here are the best e-bike kits on the market today.
Best Electric Bike Kits
When choosing the best e-bike conversion kits, we considered elements including ease of installation, power output, ease of control, design, extra features, cost, customer reviews and more. Based on these factors, these are the top e-bike kits on the market.
|Best E-Bike Conversion Kits||Our Award||Buy Now|
Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit
|Best Overall||Check Price|
48V 500W Front Hub Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit
|Best Front-Wheel Conversion Kit||Check Price|
26" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
|Best Rear-Wheel Conversion Kit||Check Price|
8FUN BBS01B 36V 250W Mid Drive Motor Conversion Kit
|Best Mid-Drive System||Check Price|
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Best Overall: Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit
The Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit offers a solid, feature-packed motorized wheel hub unit to easily convert any pedal bike into a hybrid e-bike powerhouse. A weatherproof design and powerful 1,200W motor mean you can take electric propulsion anywhere your adventures take you, from street to trail.
The Ebikeling is packed with plug-and-play features like cruise control, pedal-assist mode and all of the parts needed to hook up to your bike and a battery. We especially like the multiple throttle options this unit offers, including front thumb, rear thumb and front twist. An LCD display gives you essential information on battery levels, speed, error codes and more right on your handlebar. The only downsides to this awesome package are you'll need to purchase a separate tire and battery (48V or 52V is recommended), and it's expensive.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 160 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit is powerful enough to tackle the toughest trails and subtle enough to cruise city streets. Simple installation and intuitive operation make this a hands-down best performer for e-bike conversion kits. If you have the budget to buy a battery (not included), the Ebikeling conversion kit is as deserving on your favorite bike as it is at the top of our list.
Best Front-Wheel Conversion Kit: Bafang 48V 500W Front Hub Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit
Surprisingly simple to install and use, the Bafang 48V 500W Front Hub Conversion Kit is easy on the wallet and your mechanic skills. We love the multiple battery options this product offers, and a wide offering of rim sizes means you'll never find a bike that can't be e-converted. The waterproof motor and connectors make this a great front-end, go anywhere conversion kit.
The Bafang kit replaces your standard brake levers with units that communicate with the motor, but if you want to keep your hydraulic brakes, just let Bafang know in your order, and the company will ship you a brake sensor instead. Also, while this front-motor drive is designed for disk brake rims, if your bike has a V brake, Bafang's got you covered — just let the company know via email, and it'll make sure you get the right rim.
Customer Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars with about 60 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The sticker price may shock you at first glance, but don't be fooled: Other cheaper options don't include the battery, nor come close to matching Bafang's quality and performance. The Bafang 48V 500W conversion kit is the best front hub conversion assembly that's truly ready to go out of the box.
Best Rear-Wheel Conversion Kit: Voilamart 26" Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit
Voilamart makes top-shelf e-bike performance attainable for your old velocipede with a capable 1,500W electric motor and envelope-pushing quality, and the waterproof motor kit and connectors mean you can take that 1,500W of power anywhere.
Unlike other models listed here, the Voilamart comes with a pre-installed nylon tire, sparing you the hassle of self-installation or a trip to the shop. The LCD display clearly indicates battery level, pedal assistance settings, speed and modes. Cyclists get excellent control over battery life with adjustable amp modes, but keep in mind there is no battery included — you'll need to purchase one separately.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with nearly 100 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Voilamart's rear-wheel e-bike conversion kit offers a range of premium features at an attractive price point. The powerful motor offers enough juice to climb, splash and cruise through any terrain or street, and a wide range of modes allows great flexibility of battery life, speed and more. There are a few reported issues with design and the manual definitely needs a facelift, but most problems reported are fixed with a bit of patience and elbow grease. Overall, the Voilamart offers a compelling package at an even more compelling price point.
Best Mid-Drive System: Bafang 8FUN BBS01B 36V 250W Mid Drive Motor Conversion Kit
Balance, power and multifunctionality combine with the Bafang Mid Drive Motor conversion kit. With a few simple tools and a couple of hours, the Bafang mid-drive conversion kit replaces your existing crankset and shaft with a 250W motor ideal for cruising at moderate speeds and with light loads.
It can be installed on any road bike, mountain bike or cruising bike with a standard JIS 68-73mm bottom bracket, but isn't the best fit for rugged biking or high-speeds and shouldn't be used on fat-tire bikes or carbon frames. As far as riding modes go, the Bafang mid-drive kit is as simple as it gets with electric or pedal-only operation. Installation hardware and display are included, but the battery is sold separately.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with about 120 Amazon ratingsWhy Buy: The Bafang 8FUN BBS01B Mid Drive conversion kit honors your bike's center of gravity and aesthetics while providing the functionality and power of a hybrid motor conversion system. Bafang's mid-drive kit is a dream come true for urban commutes and light trail riding, but you might need something with a bit more pizzazz if you're hitting the mountains.
How to Choose the Best E-Bike Conversion Kit
As you can see, there are plenty of quality electric bicycle kits on the market. But which is the best for you? Here are a few things to consider when choosing your new e-bike kit.
1. How Will You Use Your E-Bike?
The most important factor to consider when purchasing an e-bike conversion kit is how you plan to use it. More powerful units are better suited for high-speed and trail riding, while lighter motors are a great option for urban commutes or cruising.
2. What Kind of Battery Pack Do You Need?
Batteries are something you don't want to skimp on. You may be able to cut a few corners with a motor and get away with it, but you'll regret buying a budget battery. Look for well-known battery brands like Panasonic, LG and Samsung. Certain batteries perform better in terms of the distance you can travel (specific energy), how they handle high-load situations like accelerating or traveling uphill (specific power) and safety. Picking the right battery is a balancing act of the activities you plan on doing with your e-bike. Nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry offer the best overall value for the average e-biker, providing a happy medium of capacity, power, safety and price.
Voltage and amps are important considerations when choosing a battery. Choosing the wrong volt/amps rating may damage your e-bike or even start a fire. E-bike motors require specific battery volts, and you should choose a battery that falls in the range of your motor's voltage requirements. Choosing a battery within the higher voltage limits of your motor's range usually translates to greater speeds.
Amps are the measure of current flow at a specific voltage. In simplistic terms, amps can be thought of as a measurement of your e-bike's torque. The higher the amps, the higher the current, and the more torque you'll have.
Watts (W) is a combination of volts and amps. Battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh) and can tell you the theoretical capacity of your battery. Some manufacturers will claim 50-mile travel distances, but don't be fooled: Real-world biking scenarios are very, very different from sterile lab conditions, so most 6- to 8-pound lithium-ion batteries will actually have about a 20-mile range.
3. How Easy Is it to Install?
If you're buying an e-bike conversion kit because a dedicated e-bike isn't in the budget, you may also opt to install the kit yourself, so ease of installation is a must. All of the conversion kits listed above have glowing reviews for no-sweat installation, but there are a few reported hiccups: Some filing may need to be done here or there, a spacer or washer may need to be added and the manual's language may be difficult to follow.
Watch as many tutorial videos as you can (hint: search "your bike model" + "your e-bike conversion kit"). And as always, be patient and consult a bike repair professional if necessary.
4. How Much Speed Do You Need?
In more than 30 states, e-bikes are organized into three classes as defined by speed, wattage and operation. Typically, Class I and II bikes are allowed wherever regular pedal bikes roam. Here's a breakdown of each class:
- Class I: E-bikes that are pedal-assist only, having no throttle and attaining a max speed of 20 mph
- Class II: Throttle-equipped e-bikes with a max speed of 20 mph
- Class III: Pedal-assist only with a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph
No class can exceed a max motor power of 750W (one horsepower). In some states, e-bikes over 750W are considered motor vehicles, making them subject to certain laws and regulations. Check your state's motor vehicle department to see if these rules apply to you.
5. What Intuitive Features Do You Want?
Each manufacturer designs its e-bikes differently. Some control features are simple, such as pedal-activated assist modes. Others require you to toggle the settings from a control monitor. Consider other control designs like throttle and braking configurations. The last thing you want are controls that make you think twice while on the road, creating an unsafe and cumbersome riding experience.
6. What Design Are You Looking For?
There's no sugar-coating it: Your classy old Schwinn road bike is going to look different with a motor and battery strapped to it. If you prefer to not wear your tech on your sleeve, there are plenty of options for as sleek and low-tech a look as possible, such as hidden batteries, low-profile or no-profile speed displays and more. If performance is your salient consideration, a slew of techy add-ons are at your disposal.
7. What's Your Budget?
Finally, cost. Balance the considerations above and choose an e-bike conversion kit that fits your budget. If you need to skimp a bit on price, don't do it with the battery.
FAQ: Electric Bike Kits
How much does an e-bike conversion kit cost?
The best e-bike conversion kits cost between $320-$700.
What is the best electric bike conversion kit?
We recommend the Ebikeling Waterproof Ebike Conversion Kit to turn your regular bike into an electric bicycle.
Are e-bike conversion kits worth it?
If you have a pedal bike you love, conversion kits are an excellent investment, offering solid performance at a price point significantly lower than a brand new dedicated e-bike. E-bikes allow you to go farther, faster and longer than pedaling alone but still provide great exercise.
E-bikes are also an inclusive means of getting around, as they open the world of cycling to those who may otherwise be unable to ride a bike due to age or physical abilities. They're a safe, affordable and efficient way to supercharge any old bike into a trail-crushing, commute-slaying, road-riding machine.
How fast does a 1000-watt electric bike go?
A 1,000-watt e-bike can reach a top speed of 35 mph.