People are hopping on the electric bike bandwagon! In the United States, electric bike sales grew by 145% amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a clear indication that more people are now seeing the light and, as a result, are flocking to the stores to purchase electric bikes in droves.
You’re about to jump the gun and join the thousands of people who have gotten themselves an electric bike when you suddenly remember something. What about your old bicycle that has been gathering dust in the garage? Is there a way to bring it back from the dark ages and into the electric-powered future?
You’re in luck because an electric bike wheel kit is exactly what you need! An electric bike conversion kit can breathe new life into your old mountain bike. With a little bit of elbow grease, you can easily DIY the conversion process.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Learn more about eBike conversion and discover our number one electric bike kit recommendation below.
Introducing the Swytch Universal eBike Conversion Kit
Specs at a Glance:
- Compatible with disc brake setups
- Works with most types of bicycles
- East to fit on almost any bicycle
- Has a 31 mi range
- Reaches a top speed of 20 mph
- Provides 40 Nm of torque
- Fast-charging lithium-ion battery
- Front wheel motor hub
Truly Universal and Easy to Use
If you haven’t tinkered with your bike before, the entire process of eBike conversion will seem awfully difficult and undeniably intimidating. Thankfully, Swytch has made the entire ordeal a whole lot easier, even for total beginners!
Besides the kit, the only things that you will need to install the Swytch kit is a tyre lever, a spanner, a pair of scissors, allen keys, and a pump. Once you open the box, expect to find the following in it: a motor wheel, a power pack, a handlebar mount, a pedal sensor, a saddle cover, a few cable ties, a manual, and a charger.
The installation process couldn’t be more straightforward.
- Grab the motor wheel from the kit and replace the installed wheel on your bike with it.
- Next, install the pedal assembly, including the pedal sensor.
- Mount the bike controller on the handlebar stem.
- Lastly, connect everything with the cables provided.
Tada! Whichever kind of bike you have, the process will be exactly the same.
Customize As You Wish
When you purchase aftermarket eBike conversion kits, a common problem that you will encounter is ending up with an ill-fitting wheel. To avoid this exact problem, Swytch will ask for the specific dimensions of your old bike’s front wheel to give you a tailor-made solution.
When you order from Swytch, you can rest easy knowing that it will be a perfect fit for your bike!
For the average rider, the Swytch universal eBike conversion kit will be more than enough. It’s easy to install, works with most bikes, and performs really well thanks to its powerful electric motor and battery pack.
However, it does come with a downside which is poor water resistance. The connectors for accessories are exposed and can be susceptible to water damage, but it’s nothing a little ingenuity and creativity can’t fix.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
Why should I convert my old bike into an electric bike?
You might be still on the fence about investing your hard-earned money in an electric bike kit. Converting your regular pedal bicycle into an electric bike has its advantages and disadvantages. It is certainly not for everyone as it can be pricey depending on the electric bike conversion kit you choose to purchase.
If you are the sentimental type, throwing your old bicycle away to replace it with a new and shiny electric bike might not be an option. The mere thought of it may even send shivers down your spine. Fortunately, an electric bike conversion kit can extend your old beloved bike’s lifespan and make it feel brand new.
Generally speaking, an electric bike kit costs less than the cheapest electric bike in the market. If you already have a decent bike lying around, you should go ahead and purchase an eBike conversion kit. This route might be the most cost-effective way to get yourself a fully functional electric bike.
What should I look for when buying an electric bike kit?
Usually, electric bike conversion kits consist of a wheel, an electric bike motor, a battery, and a controller. Depending on the specific kit you choose to buy, it might include other components such as a gear cassette, thumb throttle (or twist throttle) options, an LCD display, and brake sensors.
What makes an electric bicycle different from a regular bicycle is the electric motor that makes the bike move forward. There are different types of electric motors, such as direct-drive hub motors, front hub motors, rear hub motors, and mid-drive motors. Whichever you choose, its power output and top speed should be adequate for your intended use-case.
Besides a powerful electric motor, you should also consider its battery. The battery capacity determines how far you can go on a single charge. You wouldn’t want to be caught with an empty battery in the middle of a trip, would you? Moreover, the kind of battery also influences the lifespan of your electric bicycle.
What kinds of electric bike conversion kits are there?
Different types of electric bicycle kits are available on the market. Each type has its own pros and cons, which makes narrowing down your choices more difficult. These eBike conversion kits vary in how they introduce the electric motor to your old regular bike.
Each configuration offers different advantages for the rider. For instance, mid-drive motors are more energy-efficient and powerful than both front and rear hub motors. However, this comes with a trade-off. They’re more difficult to maintain and make your electric bicycle a bit harder to pedal.
The following section tackles the differences between direct drive, front hub, rear hub, and mid-drive motors. Consider your personal needs in choosing the right motor configuration for you.
Direct-Drive Hub Motor
Direct-drive motors are simple in their overall design. A direct-drive motor is composed of a ring of rare earth magnets that work together with the hub, which in turn is directly connected to the motor. The motor has a shaft that drives the entire assembly while turning the wheel forward.
While they are heavier than their geared counterparts, direct-drive motors can reach higher top speeds than geared motors. Direct-drive motors are perfect for high-speed situations where maximum power output and torque are more important than anything else.
Another advantage that direct-drive motors have is that they run quieter than geared motors. This is perfect for early morning rides, making it easier for you to appreciate the surrounding environment. It does come with a drawback though: pedaling becomes more difficult and less efficient.
Front Wheel Hub Motor
Unlike direct-drive hub motors, geared motors exhibit a more complicated mechanism. They have a cassette consisting of differently sized gears, allowing you to shift gears depending on your riding needs. Due to the many moving parts, geared motors produce noise when in operation.
If you want a two-wheel-drive experience, you can achieve it by installing a geared motor hub on the front wheel of your bicycle. In this configuration, the electric-powered front wheel and the pedal-powered rear wheel work in tandem to propel you and your bike forward.
Having the motor hub in the front also gives the rider the advantage of having the weight of the bike evenly distributed between the front and the rear. The rear of the bike almost always has the most weight because of the bike components that can be found there, plus the weight of the rider.
Rear Wheel Hub Motor
While having the geared motor in the front does give you the benefit of even weight distribution across your bike, it does come with the disadvantage of having less traction. Since most of the weight is in the rear, the rear wheel enjoys more traction and would benefit from having a rear motor hub installed.
If you have a powerful motor installed in the front of your bike, the front wheel would spin out until friction kicks in. With a rear-wheel hub motor, you won’t have to worry about this problem at all. As a result, more powerful hub motors can deliver more torque with a rear-wheel configuration.
Mid Drive Motor
If you feel like both front and rear hub motors give your converted eBike away, you would appreciate the stealthier and low-profile mid-drive motors. Unlike geared motors, this kind of motor is fully concealed by an enclosure installed along with the bike frame, making it more aesthetically pleasing.
Mid-drive motors offer more powerful torque, making it the more preferred option of those who make steep climbs with their mountain bikes. However, it does come with a cost. Pushing the pedal down feels harder and more rigid. So you have to work harder to gain the same fast speeds on a geared motor.
What pushes most people away from mid-drive motors is the hefty price tag. Compared to their geared counterparts, mid-drive motors are more expensive. In addition, they tend to suffer from wear and tear more easily, which can add up to the costs of owning one.
How much do electric bike conversion kits cost?
Due to more efficient manufacturing techniques and lower costs of raw materials, electric bikes have become more affordable for many people. The cheapest eBikes can be bought for as low as $400, while those on the most expensive end of the spectrum cost $2000.
If you have an old bike lying around, you can get away with converting it into a fully functional electric bike. This route can save you more money as the most affordable eBike conversion kits can cost less than the cheapest brand new eBike in the market.
While it is not advisable to go for the cheapest option, the lowest price for an electric bike wheel kit can be below $200. However, keep in mind that you may incur more expenses by repairing substandard and defective kits in the long run.
How long will an eBike conversion take?
So you have finally decided to get down and dirty and take your old bike into the future. With a little bit of patience, you can learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance despite starting from absolutely zero experience.
If you’re a complete neophyte when it comes to tinkering with your bicycle, then consider this eBike conversion as a weekend project. Besides, there are plenty of resources available on the internet to help you out with your endeavor, in addition to the manual that came with your electric bike kit.
Usually, manufacturers assume that the rider has no experience and knowledge of bike repair beforehand. As such, you can expect that the documentation and manual that they provide inside the box would be helpful even for complete beginners like you.
How fast would a converted electric bike go?
There are countless variables that can affect the top speed of your now-electric bike. For instance, the weight of your bike can force your electric motor to work harder which can reduce both your maximum speed, torque output, and battery life.
But, most importantly, which motor you choose to install into your bicycle determines how fast your converted electric bike can go. Motors with higher wattage, such as those in the 750W range and upwards, can reach speeds of 30 mph, while less powerful ones are more suited for a casual ride at around 10 mph.
As a reminder, take the manufacturers’ claims about top speeds with a grain of salt. Their conversion kits’ performance will vary from one bike to the next.
Can I still ride my converted electric bike in the rain?
We all know that water and electronics don’t mix. Despite the developments and wider adoption of waterproofing technology in consumer electronics, avoiding water at all costs remains the rule of thumb. Regardless of what manufacturers tell you about how water-resistant their eBike conversion kits are, avoid riding your bike through the rain.
On their own, individual bike components can be made absolutely waterproof. However, when put together, the connections between those components can serve as entry points for water. Those eBikes marketed as being waterproof can still be prone to water damage. But how about the DIY e-bike that you assembled over the weekends? Even more so.
It may seem that the entry price for eBikes is steep and out of reach for most people, but what they fail to realize is that most electric bikes are just bikes with electric motors strapped on to them. As such, electric bike wheel kits make it possible for the average joe to get on the electric bandwagon!
If you’d like to pair your electric bike with some gears and accessories, read our other guides. Do you have an old fat tire bike you’d want to convert to an eBike? You’re in luck because we rounded up the best fat tire conversion kits too.