Boost and Swytch are two UK-based ebike conversion kit companies - and both have opted for a wheel-based system instead of the more expensive and harder to fit mid-drive approach. But that’s where the similarities end. So which is best?
Back to front
The obvious difference is in the wheel to which the kits are fitted. Boost thinks rear wheel conversion kits are best - they give a more natural feel to riding and are closer to the bike’s original handling. Swytch is a front-wheel system. This means there are some bikes where Boost won’t work but Swytch will - on folding bikes, for instance, Boost has a Brompton-specific kit, whereas Swytch works with most folding bikes.
However, there are several disadvantages to front-wheel kits, according to Nick Bailey, Boost CEO: “The weight is over the front wheel, which changes the handling - as does the fact the front wheel is now powered which can make it feel like the bike is pulling away from you. Also front forks aren’t usually designed with powered wheels in mind, which can lead to cracking. This is why we designed a rear-wheel system - it’s just a more natural feel.”
- Winner - most bikes: Boost
- Winner - Bromptons: Boost
- Winner - other folding bikes: Swytch
Price and availability
Boost has a clear pricing approach and easy to understand availability. It’s £649 for the kit, including a custom-built wheel, if you fit it yourself plus £30 shipping. You choose the right wheel for your bike and it’s built here in the UK and delivered in around two weeks usually. Boost gave a network of 100 UK bike shops where you can buy your Boost kit and expect to pay £50 to £100 to install it. In both cases, you pay between £15 and about £30 if you want a new cassette fitting to the wheel (or you can reuse your existing one at no cost).
The Swytch model is quite different. It has a number of fixed launches each year. To buy one, you register for the launch. When it’s announced, usually within a month or two, the price of the kits is then shared - no prices are given on their website. During the most recent launch (December 2023), the sign up process gave a price range from £449 if you were prepared to wait three months for your kit to £849 for next-day delivery.
If you go ahead and try to pre-order, you are quoted the £449 price for the limited 10-mile-range base kit (£499 if you want the 20-mile-range battery) although this included a £150 key worker discount to which we weren’t entitled. There’s an extra £30 delivery charge on top.
You have to hand over your credit card details to secure this price, although there may be extra costs later as the page says: “You will need to use our Order Portal to add later: Delivery Address, Wheel Size, Add-Ons & Extras.”
The T&Cs make clear it will take three months to come: “Once paid and orders are locked, we will start manufacturing your order with estimated delivery times in 12 weeks (standard) from the order lock date.”
As you can see, this is quite a complex, slow process with little clarity about the final price.
- Winner - clarity on price: Boost
- Winner - speed of delivery: Boost
Longevity and support
Boost is committed to the same physical version of the kit going forward - so you won’t get into a position where, for instance, you can no longer replace the battery.
Swytch, however, has redesigned its kit a couple of times and no longer seems to sell replacement batteries for its legacy systems.
The Boost system also has a high-tech main processor that can be upgraded wirelessly from your phone, and so will keep getting better over time. Swytch does not have an app or the ability to upgrade existing units.
Winner - ongoing support: Boost
Boost’s battery gives a real-world range of about 30 miles - although we have seen people eke it out to 50 with careful riding.
Swytch’s current model comes with a choice of a 10-mile or 20-mile battery.
- Winner - battery range: Boost
And finally …
Don’t just take our word for it - join the community on Facebook, where you can read the experiences of other Boost owners who have upgraded their bikes. We are active there and can answer any questions.
Oh - and we have an app where you can set the power level and review battery capacity etc (ios app, Android app)
|Suitability - most bikes
|Suitability - Brompton
|Suitability - other folders
For more information, read our ebike conversion kit buying guide.