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We have put together a guide to assist you in purchasing an electric bike kit.

Having arrived at the Electric Biker website, I’m sure you are already curious about the features and benefits of electric bikes and might be wondering if investing in a conversion kit is the way to go for you

OK, let’s talk about some of the benefits. Over 90% of non-electric pedal cycles and tricycles can be converted with one system or another. So a bike you already own, the one that has been sitting at the back of a shed for years, or one that you use regularly can, in most cases, be the basis for electrically assisted cycling. Something really important to point out about kits is that if at some time in the future you decide to change your bike, it can be removed and fitted to another bike. Alternatively, you may be thinking of buying a new or used bike with the intention of converting it yourself or having it converted for you.

Types of Kits Available

There are currently 3 types of kits available

  • Front Hub Motor
  • Rear Hub Motor
  • Mid Drive Motor

The most common kits have hub motors that can be either geared with a set of internal planetary reduction gears that drive the hub mechanically, or direct drive, which takes the power coming from a motor without the use of reduction gears.

These type of kits come with the motor already built into a front or rear wheel and replace the existing wheel. They are available in a range of sizes, commonly 20”, 26” and 700c or 28”.

One important thing to check before choosing a kit is will the forks accommodate the motor wheel? The crucial measurement is the distance between the front or rear forks where the axle locates. Electric Biker kits typically have a distance of 99mm at the front and 135mm at at the rear. Forks made from aluminum or steel can be spread or pulled closer together to a degree to fit the hub motor axle and there are acceptable tolerances of between +/- 5mm for this measurement. If there is a larger discrepancy, please seek expert advice.

Front or rear wheel drive?

The choice of a front or rear kit is a subjective matter, but there are some issues to consider. If the bike is normally to be ridden on roads and paved cycle tracks,, then a front motor is the better choice, especially if the battery is rear mounted, This arrangement gives better weight distribution between the front and rear of the bike, it is also easier to install as you do not have to make any changes to the existing gears. Another plus point is that you have in effect 2 wheel drive i.e. a human powered rear wheel and a motorised front wheel.

If you are spending a lot of time riding ‘off road’ on loose and slippery surfaces, a rear motor may be a better choice as far as traction is concerned, as you have more weight over the motorised wheel. If you decide on a rear hub motor conversion, you will have to change the gears. You cannot use this type of conversion on a bike with hub gears, i.e. gears that are inside the existing hub.

With external/derailleur gears, this requires fitting a ‘screw on’ freewheel to the motor hub with the same number of sprockets as your existing setup, however some rear motors are available with the same splined shaft your existing derailleur cassette uses.

Battery Power

Electric Biker conversion kits have Lithium Ion cells, the same as you will find in mobile phones and many other modern devices, but have a much higher voltage and larger capacity.

The battery can be located on or within a rear rack, which can also be used to carry luggage, or on the frame tube where a water bottle would normally be fitted.

A compatible battery charger will also be supplied that is powered from a normal domestic 10amp plug socket.

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Handlebar Display

Electric Biker kits have a handle bar LED or LCD display that can provide information on distance travelled, speed, level of assistance and battery level.

DIY or Professional Installation?

All Electric Biker kits are supplied with a set of instructions that explains how each stage of the installation process is completed. This is adequate information for someone who is familiar with basic bicycle maintenance and a reasonable level of DIY skills. We are always available to provide ongoing assistance should you require additional information. Electric Biker can complete the conversion for you or provide details of a local bike shop what will perform the conversion for you.

Mid Drive Motors

There are mid drive motors that fit next to the crank and drive through the bike’s front gears via the chain. They are mounted to the ‘bottom bracket’ shell, (this is the part that connects the crank arms and pedals together and rotates through a bearing mounted spindle). These are typically higher powered kits suitable for off road use. These have the advantage that the existing bike wheels or gears do not need to be changed.

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The Controller

This is the centre of the system. It connects all the electrical components to each other and regulates the delivery of the power to the motor. With Electric Biker kits the controller is incorporated into the battery case to reduce the required wiring and separate components

Pedelec

Electric Biker kits have a pedelec sensor that detects the rotation of the crank as you pedal and this activates the delivery of power to the motor. With the pedelec system, you must pedal to activate the motor. In addition several kits have a throttle that can be in the form of a twist grip like a motorcycle, a thumb throttle or simple button that is pushed when a boost of power is required. The throttle can be useful to have in traffic when you need instant power assistance. The twist grip and thumb throttle allows variable power assistance without having to pedal, however using the throttle without pedaling will drastically reduce the distance that you can ride.

Wiring

Electric Biker kits use an integrated wiring harness that is colour coded to connect all components. We use weatherproof connectors that cannot be wrongly connected

Brake Levers/ Sensors

Electric Biker kits include a set of electrical cut offs, that attach to the existing brake levers and cut the power to the motor as soon as pressure is applied to the levers. The cut-offs are cable operated, so they do not work with hydraulic brakes.

Brake cut offs are suitable for VBrakes, disc brakes & Hydraulic brakes.

Is It For Me?

You will almost certainly use your bike more, spend less on fossil fuels, parking fees and public transport. You can transfer the kit to your next bike. You will also be doing your bit for the environment and in the long run can recoup your investment.