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Want to convert your regular bicycle into an electric bike? Well, this article is a must-read! We’ll give you the complete step-by-step guide to converting a bicycle into an e-bike.
You can simply turn your bicycle into an electric bike using e-bike conversion kits. These kits help by adding an electric engine to your conventional bicycle and electric features to your regular bike.
Riding an ordinary bicycle is not as cool as riding an e-bike, right? But what about those who cannot afford to buy an e-bike? Well, we’ve got a solution. Simply turn your bicycle into an electric bike and enjoy the new amazing e-bike rides by just modifying your regular bicycle.
How to Turn a Bicycle Into an Electric Bike?
You can use an e-bike conversion kit to convert your regular bicycle into an electric bike. There are various types of e-bike conversion kits available in the market depending on the feature demands, models, and sizes of different bicycles. This article will describe the process of bicycle conversion to electric bikes in easy-to-follow steps. It also includes quick tips on how to choose the best one for your bicycle.
Everything you need to know about an e-bike conversion kit
A conversion kit is basically a kind of engine that is put on an e-bike’s special tire and runs on a type of lithium battery. Many of the conversion kits have an LCD display that shows battery life and other settings. The information displayed on a conversion kit varies with different kinds of kits. Most of the time, the handlebar grips of an e-bike have this LCD display attached to them, which makes it easy for the user to access all switches and other options.
To transform your regular bike into an electric bike, you simply need to install the conversion kit. However, the bike won’t get completely automated; you will still have to do some pedaling. You won’t have to pedal like a normal bike though as it requires less effort. If you are looking forward to going cycling or commuting in hot weather and do not want to sweat much you can, go with this option.
What the user gets in an e-bike conversion kit?
A battery does not come in the kit. The user must buy it separately. You should not get disheartened because this is a good thing. The battery is an essential component of an electric bike. Every bike has its own battery needs — that is the reason you must buy the battery separately — so that the e-bike battery requirements are fulfilled appropriately.
Buying a battery that suits your e-bike needs is far better than having a battery that does not meet the requirements of your e-bike. You will also have to pay for the battery in the kit, which will add additional cost for something that is not useful.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the general features and their operation. The first component is a hub. There are many options for the hub. They are:
- Front hub motor:
In the current market, front hub motors are the least expensive and most popular of all. For the installation of this hub into your bike, you do not have to worry about needing experience because installation is not very complex. You won’t need extra tools for the installation process either as all the required tools are often included in the kit. The product will also include a front wheel, which plays an important role in turning your bike into an e-bike. After, you must set the wires in a way so that they run from hub to controller. Finally, your bike will be ready for a ride.
- Rear hub motor:
Unlike the front hub motor, the rear hub is to be installed on the rear wheel of the bike. The working mechanism of both rear and front hub is similar. However, the rear hub is considered a better choice for many kinds of cycling because the hub motor at the rear of the bike provides balance and stability for the bike. Moreover, there is less distance between the hub and rear rack, so shorter wires are required, which is also a plus point for cyclists.
- Friction drive:
These kits work by pushing the rear wheel along. The most appealing fact about these conversion kits is that their installation is quite simple. However, if the bike is intended to be used in wet conditions, it can become a terrible option for cycling. Since the electric bike has rubber on its wheels, if the rubber gets wet, the friction is lost as the wheel gets slippery. With these friction drive machines pedaling, traction and acceleration become fruitless in wet areas.
So, it’s best to consider this as a general fact sheet and guide! Every company manufactures kits differently and has different systems, so the installation process can differ slightly. However, the basic principle is the same for all kits. The installation steps are mentioned below.
- Step 1:
Choose the kit and relevant components that best suit your needs and cycling goals.
- Step 2:
The bike that is being used for the conversion process, also known as the donor bike, must be capable of taking on the extra weight of the battery and motor. Upgrading and re-engineering your older bike can give you a wonderful result.
- Step 3:
The third step is where the motor installation begins. The initial goal here is to get the job done right. So, you will have to spend some time understanding the guidelines provided by the manufacturer before installing the motor. You will then install the motor while following the given instructions. For the front wheel, you will have to change the front wheel and connect the motor and other components (like wires) there.
A mid-drive motor is typically attached with a bracket to the frame. As far as the rear wheel systems are concerned, you need someone to assist you due to the issue of the derailleur coming off. Whichever motor hub you choose, you must position them accurately in front of the reacting hub.
- Step 4:
Here the motor installation finishes, and the switch installation begins. For making switches easier to access, you must place the switches close to each other and the handlebars so that they are close to brakes and gears, and you won’t have any problems. To install the switches, you’ll need a screwdriver. Use zip-ties to smarten the components and connect the wires appropriately to the motor.
- Step 5:
Now everything is connected, so you can enjoy the ride on your bike. It is necessary that all the previous steps are followed to detail. Installation is not that difficult; you only have to get the right type of kit.
Pros of an E-bike Conversion Kit:
- The cost of a conversion kit is less than that of an e-bike.
- There is at least a one-year warranty on a conversion kit.
- If you love your old bike and don’t want to sell it to get an e-bike, conversion kits can provide a solution.
- When you are thinking of buying a new bike, you can transfer the kit to that bike too.
- All the required tools needed for the installation are provided in the kit, and the installation process is also quite simple.
Cons of an E-bike Conversion Kit:
- No doubt there is an improvement in the performance of the bicycle when you convert it to an e-bike, but it doesn’t give the same feel as an original electric bike.
- The battery and motor are an additional weight to the bike. It can become difficult to carry the bike onto trains or up stairs.
- Due to the extra weight put on the bike by the battery and motor, the bike’s tires can deflate more quickly than usual.
Selecting the right e-bike conversion kit:
The selection completely depends upon how you want to use the electric bike. If you want the bike for daily uses or short rides, a higher output conversion kit is not required, unless speed is a concern to you. For such a category of usage, a kit of 350W and 10Ah is an ideal option. With these specifications, you will be able to travel 50Km. Weight is also a concern here.
However, if you are a person who loves adventures and want a bike for longer or tougher rides on mountains and terrains, then you need a strong motor. The motor ranges from 500 to 700Wh and has a battery capacity of 40Ah. By increasing the budget a bit more, and getting ready to pay more, you can get a conversion kit with an LCD display system. Such a system provides access to an in-depth control panel, and it comes with a GPS.
Choosing the best battery for an electric bike:
A battery is an essential component for an electric bike, we cannot mention it enough. To choose a battery that performs well, you need to think about its capacity and voltage. Both of these are discussed below.
A stable electric bicycle is required at a voltage of 12 volts. You can also find e-bikes ranging from 24v to 72v. Increasing the voltage is helpful because the more the voltage, the more the bike will have power and you will be able to ride your bike at a greater speed. After reading this, many of you will be wishing you chose the highest voltage battery for your bike, but just wait a second.
You really don’t need a battery greater than 24 volts if you want a conversion kit for your bike so that you can ride only around your city or town. It is not mandatory to get exactly 24 volts battery if you want a ride in your town or city. You can choose greater options for better speeds, but the suggested voltage scale is 24v.
Furthermore, if you are looking to take the bike into the mountains, the suggested voltage scale range is between 36v and 48v. Forty-eight volts is the highest voltage range that any rider is ever going to need, but if you want to speed more than that, you will have to pay extra for a greater voltage battery.
Battery capacity is also equally important as voltage. This is like looking at the distance you can cover and the capacity of your e-bike to cover it. The measurement units for capacity are watt-hours or amp-hours. While looking for an e-bike conversion kit, you must stumble across 10Ah.
You must be very conscious about your weight. Not just the bike’s weight, but your own weight and weight of whatever extra things you might carry — for instance, a bag pack. The more extra weight is put on the bike, the greater the pressure will be on the bike’s battery box, control panel, hub motor, and frame.
In many cases, 20Ah or less is completely fine. If you’re thinking of doing long rides and rough terrains, then you can go for a higher battery capacity. Watts are commonly used measurement units; these are a product of capacity and voltage together. After multiplying capacity and voltage, the result is the number of kilometers per hour that can be covered on that e-bike.
This was all about converting your regular bicycle into an electric bike. By following this step-by-step guide, you will be able to successfully convert your regular bicycle into an e-bike and enjoy the electric bike features. Finally, we have also mentioned the pros and cons of using e-bike conversion kits.
So, before you decide to use one for your bicycle, make sure you’re well informed about its advantages and disadvantages. Last but not the least, always buy the best conversion kit for your bicycle in terms of quality, durability, reliability, features, and technology.