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Electric bicycle conversion kits - easily and quickly electrify the bike of your choosing
Submitted by Webmaster on Wed, 08/26/2015 - 19:12
With an electric motor, an electric bicycle is more practical than a non-powered bicycle. You can easily ride further with electric than non-powered bike, you can easily carry more cargo, and there's the practical benefit of possibly getting less sweaty making it more possible to ride the electric bike to work than a non-powered bike.
Once you've decided that you indeed want to own/ride an electric bicycle there's a choice between building your own electric bicycle versus buying a manufactured OEM electric bicycle.
With the OEM electric bicycle
- You can start riding the electric bicycle right away
- You're limited to the bicycle style and electric bicycle components sold by the manufacturers
- You don't have the opportunity to learn how electric vehicles work
- It's less possible that you could repair the bicycle yourself if it breaks
By building your own electric bicycle
- It's easy - an afternoon or so to install the parts
- You learn how it works, and can repair it yourself - you have no choice but to repair it yourself
- You have the option of selecting custom components - like power levels that are probably illegal
The typical electric bicycle conversion kit has the electric motor built into the wheel - what's called a hub motor. You simply replace an exsting wheel on your bicycle with the hub motor wheel, then attach the controller, throttle, dashboard (if any) and other components to the bicycle. In most cases this is an easy process that just takes a few hours.
Some electric bicycle conversion kits instead use a bottom bracket drive system, or mid-drive system. While they offer distinct advantages, the installation is more complex.
Most areas have laws limiting the power on an electric bicycle. There's a slippery slope between an electric bicycle and an electric motorcycle. Higher power higher top speed electric bicycles are possible, but when your bicycle can go 50 miles/hr it had better have good quality brakes, tires, turn signals, mirrors, lights, etc. Look around the interwebs and you'll find plenty of people building high power electric bicycles that go 50 miles/hr or faster. At what point should Society say "wait a minute, that's really a motorcycle even though it has pedals, and should be regulated as a motorcycle?"
While the installation process is easy you'll need a few tools and perhaps some experience with assembling electrical circuits.
With a hub motor drive system you must be aware of two factors: Will the wheel rim size fit your bicycle? Front wheel or Rear wheel?
A hub motor creates torque which the bicycle manufacturer won't have expected. In some instances installing a hub motor on the front has broken the dropouts, causing the motor to fall off the bicycle. It's possible to mitigate the risk by using a torque arm between the hub motor and the fork. The rear wheel, however, generally has a sturdier design that's capable of sustaining the torque from the motor.
Torque arms are fairly simple - it slips over the axle, and then a hose clamp is used to attach it to the fork. They distribute some of the torque from the axle to the fork in a safe fashion.
In some cases the conversion kits are sold with special brake levers that connect to the controller. The purpose is to cut power to the motor when you operate the brake lever, for safety.
|Build Your Own Electric Bicycle (TAB Green Guru Guides): A complete guide on building electric bicycles. "Complete" means it even gets into nitty-gritty stuff like building your own battery pack, repairing battery management systems, delving into the motor for upgrades or repairs, and so on. The book is from 2010 and may be a little dated, but the advice should still be useful.
|ELECTRIC BICYCLE CONVERSIONS
|Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit Installation - Made Simple (How to Design, Choose, Install and Use an E-Bike Kit)
Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US: The "5 minute install" is because the kit doesn't include as many parts as other kits - no dashboard for example. It's just the motor, controller, battery pack, and throttle. The kit is complete in that you'll be able to ride right away, so long as it's okay to not have a dashboard. Everything is pre-wired and no additional tools are required to install the kit.
The motor weighs only 8 lbs meaning your bicycle will still be liftable (say, onto a train or bus) and you will hardly notice it's there except for the speed boost.
Unlike many of the other kits, this one does include a battery pack.
Front wheel, 24", 26" or 700c
|Currie Technologies Electro-Drive Conversion Kit 4 with Plug and Play Battery Pack: Currie Technologies has been in the electric bicycle business since the 1990's. Meaning, this kit is backed up by way more experience than most in the industry. The proprietary rack system holds the battery pack (included) easily next to the rear wheel. It's very easy to remove the battery pack, for example to bring it inside for charging. Unfortunately it's an old-school lead-acid pack.
Electric Bike Conversion Kit / Li-ion 5.2 Ah Included 24V 250W Front Wheel: This complete kit includes an 8Fun motor (one of the top motor makers) and a Samsung battery pack (one of the top battery makers). It's easily installed, and then you're ready to go.
It's available for several wheel sizes from 20" to 700c.
Electric Bike Conversion Kit / Li-ion 10.4 Ah Included 24V 250W Front Wheel: The same kit, but with a larger battery for longer range.
AW 26" Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Kit 36V 250W Pro Light Motor Cycling w/ Dual Mode Controller: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.
Front wheel 26"
|AW 36V 800W 26" Electric Bicycle Front Hub Conversion Kit Electric Bicycle Speed Control Cycling Conversion: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.
Front wheel 26"
AW 26" Rear Wheel 36V 800W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit E-Bike Cycling Set Outdoor Gym Dual Mode Controller: Same, but set up for the rear wheel
DIY Motorize Bike 36v 800w 26in Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit: Complete kit including motor controller, speed throttle, power brake lever, wire harness. The display for battery state of charge is simple LED lights. No battery pack.
Front wheel 26"
Electric Bike Bafang 8fun Mid Drive Crank Motor 36v 500w BBS02: IMPORTANT: This is a mid-drive system that mounts in the bottom bracket in place of the regular crankset. That means installation will require some expertise. However, you'll get a well designed drive with more power capability than a 500 watt hub motor because mid-drive systems push power into the rear wheel gearing.
It includes a dashboard display panel.
The motor powers one of the chainrings, while the other has the chain going to the rear wheel. It means you'll only shift gears on the rear wheel, and not at the pedals.
No battery pack.
Currie Technologies Electro-Drive Conversion Kit 3 with Plug and Play Battery Pack: Another kit by Currie Technologies. This one has a higher voltage, and uses a lithium-ion battery pack rather than lead-acid.
Front wheel 26"
Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 3625 Controller - 20 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: This kit is from Electric Rider, another company that's been in the electric bicycle business a long time. It's a complete kit, lacking battery pack, from a highly regarded ebike kit seller.
Front wheel, 20"
Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 3640 Controller - 29 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: Almost the same kit, for a 29" wheel.
AW 26" Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Kit 48V 1000W Powerful Motor E-Bike Conversion w/ LCD Display: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.
Front wheel 26"
Aosom Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Battery Powered Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit, 26": Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.
Rear wheel 26"
|Electric Bike Bafang 8fun Mid Drive Crank Motor 48V 750W BBS02: 48 volt higher power version of the Bafang 8fun system described above. Everything said there holds true for this unit, except of course it's higher power.
|Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 4825 Controller - 24 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: Electric Rider again, with a higher power version of the kit listed above.