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Electric bike conversion

 
T Blankinship
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I was fixing up my bike the other day and was thinking about using it more. About everything I need that can fit into a backpack like: food, small tools, six pack of beer, is only a mile or so away. My work place is about two miles away. So I looked up what a hybrid bike would cost. After recovering from the price shock, I thought about a conversion kit. This is a website that I looked at today. https://www.swytchbike.com/

It could work. I would like to know if anyone has converted there bike into a hybrid and how did it do? And are you happy that you did it?
 
tel jetson
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unless you're someplace with some combination of very steep hills and very dangerous streets, two miles is pretty comfortable for most folks without any batteries involved. if it makes the difference between riding or driving, though, by all means add a battery and motor of some sort.

I'm not familiar with the one you linked, apart from having seen some advertisements. not familiar with any other conversions either, I suppose...
 
T Blankinship
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I just want to say not everything in Kansas is flat! In the city that I live in there are a few steep hills. I was thinking more about having speed and ability after a long day to have the option of a powered assist.
 
tel jetson
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T Blankinship wrote:I just want to say not everything in Kansas is flat! In the city that I live in there are a few steep hills. I was thinking more about having speed and ability after a long day to have the option of a powered assist.



fair enough!

I've been working from home for the last year, and I find myself missing my daily 35-40 minute bike commutes. my job at the moment is very sedentary, so having some physical activity sort of baked into my daily routine is very welcome, even when the weather isn't what most folks would consider conducive to biking. being forced to slow down and experience the world around me for that short time where there's really nothing else I can accomplish also feels pretty restorative, so I wouldn't personally want to make it go by any faster.

I do, of course, understand that other people have different priorities and values than I do. just wanted to offer my own experience. at the end of the day, I'm in favor of just about anything that gets more people on bikes more of the time, whether there's a motor involved or not. to that end, I've been thinking about opening a little e-bike/cargo-bike shop in my small town. just a daydream at this point, but who knows?
 
T Simpson
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After purchasing a conversion kit that was factory defective and looking at more expensive kits from reputable brands I found that it was cheaper to just buy a prebuilt ebike (most conversion kits don't include a battery which can be $300+ before tax and shipping). I went with this ebike for $700 and it handles my 12 mile commute just fine. It can probably do 15 miles on a single charge going 15mph the whole way unassisted but I have yet to push it to its limits.
 
Michael Cox
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I recently converted my bike using the Bafang 750W BBS02 mid-drive kit. It is bloody awesome.

The bike is now my daily commuter, and replaces a car. The setup is slightly illegal in the Uk - technically the law limits ebikes to 250W pedal assist here, but I have some big hills and experience has shown me since building it that 250W just wouldn’t manage the job.

The police here seem to not care unless they see you acting like an idiot. No power wheelies round the ring road and you’ll be fine.

Kit bikes are not maintenance free - especially the mid drive bikes. The motor puts a lot of torque through the chain, and tends to wear chain and gears quickly. Regular cleaning and oiling can prolong life, as can changing the chain over early.

I get about 20 miles out of a full charge, using the maximum assist. I get a LOT more when I back down to a lower assistance and go at a more reasonable pace, but I’m a bit of a speed addict.
 
Larisa Walk
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We currently have 3 hybrid bikes/trike. We are in the bluff country of SE Minnesota with very steep terrain (inclines up to 10% slope, often gravel, and over a mile long) and use hub motors, not mid-mount (friends with the mid-mount have to replace their chains frequently). The electric motor makes our topography "flat". If I only had to do a couple of miles in a physically nearly flat locale on good roads I wouldn't bother with the conversion since, whether you use it or not, you're always hauling around the weight of the motor and battery and thus will need the motor's assist more often than when you ride unencumbered. A recent conversion, including 1500 watt motor and 1 kW/Hr battery, cost a bit over $700 and a day's labor to install.
 
Michael Cox
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Update on my bike.

I had a repair issue to deal with recently. The motor was whirring but the axle wasn't spinning. I suspected - based on research - that one of the internal gears had been stripped. I was able to follow youtube tutorial to open the motor, clean and degrease all the parts. Do a thorough inspection etc... I found the fault and was able to order replacement parts for £30.

It took me about 12 hours work time all told to dismantle, clean, replace parts, regrease and reassemble. A lot of that time was the learning curve. I expect I could do the whole job in an afternoon if I ever needed to again.  

The motor is well engineered and, as I learned, spares are readily available. I might in future get a spare motor so that if I have a break down I can do a quick swap and get on the road again quickly. Not having my commuter bike available for three weeks was a real pain. After the rebuild it runs smooth as silk. I think it is quieter than when I got it. Some comments online suggest that the manufacturers tend to slightly under pack the grease on the secondary gearing.

I've done just shy of 3000 miles on it now in about 18 months of owning it.
 
Edward Norton
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When people have a car, they take the car. When people have a car and a bike, they take the car. When they have a car, a bike and an e-bike, they take the e-bike.
Or in my case.
When I had a car, I took the car. When I had a car and a bike, I took the car. When I had a car, a bike and an e-bike, I took the e-bike.

I’ll be adding a motor and battery to my cargo bike in the near future cause I’m old and I like the joy of pedal assist.
 
T Blankinship
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Check out what Joshua Bertram is building with a older mountain bike.
Here is the link:
https://permies.com/t/168748/DIY-ebike-build-older-mountain
 
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