Converting a bicycle into an eBike or electric bicycle isn’t nearly as hard as you would think.
With the items found in your standard electric motorcycle kit. You can DIY yourself to an electric bike in as little as a single afternoon.
But what actually comes in those kits?
We’re going to break them down, and explain why you should even consider purchasing one in the first place, as well as how difficult it can be to actually install one of these depending on your current skill level and DIY know-how.
Reasons to Convert Your Bike to Electric
If you’re not sure whether you want to go through with the time and upfront cost of bicycle conversion, you’re not alone.
These are the main benefits to upgrading your bike to an eBike, once the initial work is over.
Become Eco-Friendly: There’s no hiding it: the planet is in trouble, and if we don’t use renewable forms of energy as often as possible, we could see devastating results in the next few years. There are so many environmental benefits to using an eBike to become eco-friendly, but the major point is that you become 100% emission-free.
Save Money on Commuting: Whether it’s bus rates or taxi fares, the average American spends around $848 per year for five round-trip commutes per week while using public transportation. If you use a taxi or rideshare company, that cost could elevate to over $10,000 per year. An eBike is going to last you for more than a year, and cost less than taking the bus after a relatively short amount of time.
Assist During Mountain Biking: The great news about a converted electric bike is that you still have full manual power, and you don’t have to flip on the electric motor of the bike unless you want to. This means that if you’re trying to push yourself physically and reach new exercise goals, you can still finish your trail with some assistance here and there. As time goes on, the less you use the motor, the more you can see your improvements.
Cheaper Than a New eBike: Already want to get an eBike, but can’t afford it? Get in line: that’s what happens to a lot of people. There are sales commissions associated with buying ebikes, not to mention storage and manufacturing. But when you buy your own kit and use a pre-existing or used bicycle, you can save hundreds or more compared to the MSRP you can find from a quick Google search on brand new eBikes.
What Does an Electric Motorcycle Conversion Kit Include?
The average electric motorcycle or eBike conversion kit includes about seven items, each of which can be DIY’d onto your bicycle.
Remember that this is a conversion kit, so you’re not adding a ton of items onto your bike; in some cases, you’re swapping out pre-existing parts on your bike for new ones that can work with the motor and freewheel adapter.
Electric bike conversion kits have high success rates, but in the event that you’re new at this or you end up with faulty parts (which is a possibility regardless of the manufacturer you choose), you want to maintain your manual bike parts to the best of your ability.
You’ll have to remove the chain when you put on a conversion kit. Oil the chain, wrap it, and keep it somewhere cool and dry in the event that you need to send the motor in to be replaced, or another element to your eBike breaks down and you have to go back to manual for a while.
If nothing else, these parts can be useful later on if you decide to use an eBike for commuting, and a manual bike exclusively for exercise.
How Difficult is it to Convert Your Bike?
It depends on your skill level, but even a new DIY warrior can convert their bike in a relatively short amount of time.
All you have to do is follow the instructions included with your conversion kit. Let’s run through some prerequisites and bits of information that we wish we knew before starting our very first conversion project.
Inspect Your Bike First: Steel and aluminum are the most popular frame materials for bicycles across the world, and for good reason: they’re both durable. That being said, steel is much more durable than aluminum, and you’re going to be adding weight with your conversion kit. You want a frame that can withstand the extra tension. Steel frames also tend to be thicker, so you won’t have to worry about your motor heating up the frame and affecting you at all. During this time, inspect your frame to make sure there’s no rust or weak points.
Have the Right Hardware Ready: You’re not going to get a full toolkit with your conversion kit. You have to have the necessary tools ahead of time. When you see a list of all included parts, you’re not not often met with the specific tools that you’re going to need. It’s best to have a set that can adapt. At most, you may receive a low-quality screwdriver or something along those lines, but that ends up being more of a sentiment than anything else. Get the appropriate tools for the job by either looking up your specific eBike conversion kit on social media websites/forums and seeing what other people needed, or by checking Amazon customer reviews that have helpful information from buyers.
Staying Organized: During the entire process of converting your bicycle into an eBike, organizing is key. You’ll remove parts from the kit itself, and you’ll be removing pieces from your bicycle. Keep everything categorized and in their proper places, otherwise you may end up feeling lost. Marking Ziploc bags with part names/numbers is a great way to make sure you don’t lose anything, and you can grab exactly what you need without getting confused.
Have a Wide Open Space: You may think that this is something you can do at the kitchen table, but once you unpackage everything, you’re going to need ample space to move around and get at the right angles to attach everything to your bicycle. This also helps with organization.
Once everything is in place, you can begin converting your bicycle. Strip the old components, and follow this brief list to help keep yourself aligned through the conversion process.
Every kit is going to be different and may include alternate parts, or additional parts like digital speedometers, but there should be instructions with your kit to help you out with anything not mentioned here.
Remove the brackets on the wheel that you’re be replacing
Replace your brake wire that runs to your replacement tire with the wire included in your kit
Fasten the new wheel in place and double-check that it’s steady
Attach the throttle to the handlebars (a speed controller may also be included depending on the kit you purchase, and will need to be hooked up separately)
Attach all necessary wiring to the battery; be sure that the wires don’t interfere with riding
Find a suitable spot to place your battery, once again ensuring that it doesn’t interfere with riding
Attach the battery to the frame of your bike
Attach the motor to the frame of your bike if you haven’t already
Double-check wiring; secure with narrow zip ties if necessary for safety
Test drive your eBike and check for wire issues, connectivity, and to ensure that the battery/motor is mounted properly
That’s all you need to do. While it may sound daunting at first, attaching everything to your bicycle isn’t too difficult.
The most strenuous part of this entire process may be removing the old components from your bike, so you may want to consider doing this prior to receiving your package, as long as it doesn’t interfere with commuting to work or engagements.,
Video guides can be unnecessarily lengthy and unrehearsed; bookmark this page and return to our simple, easy-to-follow list above to help you every step of the way (and save you some time in the process).
Conversions for Better Commuting
Converting your eBike is going to be a lot easier if you already have the required tools on hand, and you know how to use them.
This can be a simple afternoon project, or a slightly longer task depending on your capabilities, but one thing is certain: no matter how long it takes, it’s worth it.
The cost-saving benefits and environmental benefits outweigh the time spent. Now that you know what you can save with an eBike conversion kit, the only question is: when will you get started? Faster, eco-friendly travel is just a kit away.
Noel Joseph has been in the world of motor vehicles for a long period. Currently, he is enthusiastic about Electric & Hybrid Motors and is an independent researcher. He advocates for a clean and sustainable future and envisions utilizing his years of experience in mechanical engineering. His new venture here at CompactPower.com is to organize and simplify knowledge on Electric vehicles. He wants to build a space where people can talk about EVs and associated technologies with freedom.