Turn Your Bike into an Electric Bike with a Conversion Kit
Posted by Tom Lee on
You’ve probably seen electric bikes whisking thrill-seekers along a dirt trail or carrying tourists on a tour. They look fun but make no mistake, these bikes can be expensive. They can also be too heavy to use manually when you don’t feel like an electric-powered ride.
These two factors make an electric bike conversion kit a happy medium. You can use your regular ride, but with an added boost when you want it—and save thousands of dollars! Electric bike conversion kits also give you flexibility—once you’ve satisfied your need for speed, simply remove the converter and return your bike to normal again.
This spring, whether you ride your bike for fun or as a daily commuter, an electric bike conversion kit can turn your bike into a mode of fun, functional, high-speed transportation.
Benefits of Electric Biking
- It’s good for your health. An electric bike conversion gives you all the health benefits of biking, along with a big power boost for those hills that might have kept you from biking in the first place. In fact, a study by the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that electric bike riders enjoyed their time biking far more than bikers who used manual bikes.
- Bike commutes are made easier. Say goodbye to sweating through that button-down! Start and end your workday with all the relaxation of a bike ride, without needing a shower afterward.
- Other commutes are made better. Modified electric bikes are easier to park, less expensive and less polluting than cars and can be less stressful and more time efficient than taking public transportation.
- You can climb that mountain. Dare to venture out on that steep Black Diamond trail. With extra power one twist of your wrist away, you’ll find yourself able to adventure out into personally uncharted territory, knowing that you’ve got a boost if the climb gets difficult.
Different Types of Electric Bike Conversion Kits
- Mid-drive Motor: Mid-drive motors drive the crank rather than the wheel itself. By taking advantage of the bike’s existing gears, they offer higher torque than other motor types. This makes them ideal for mountainous regions and for tackling steep hills. A mid-drive motor is also easier to maintain, with easily removable and replaceable parts. Most ordinary bike shops will be able to repair or troubleshoot if your mid-drive motor breaks.
Hub Motor: The most common type of electric bike conversion motor, hub motors are electric motors housed inside either the front or rear wheels, or sometimes distributed between both wheels of the bike. There are three types of hub motor:
- Front Hub Motor: Front hub motors are easily installed and removed because they don’t involve gear systems. Because a front hub motor drives the front wheel while the rear wheel is powered by the bike’s pedals, a front hub motor converter creates an all-wheel drive bike! This can be advantageous for biking through snowy or sandy terrain.
- Rear Hub Motor: The most commonly used motor type; rear hub motors ensure less tendency for spinouts on loose conditions because most of the rider’s weight is over the rear wheel. Most rear hub motors also offer a wider range of power options (250 to 750 watts) than other motor types.
- All-in-one Wheel Motor: Easy to install or replace, an all-in-one motor is the sleekest-looking motor style, almost indistinguishable from a regular bike. Some recent models even have smartphone integration that allows you to customize the ride style, track rides, share ride data on social media, and even lock the wheel.
- Friction Drive Motor: Friction drive kits usually involve installing a roller on the rear wheel that, when the throttle is engaged, spins to power the bike. While friction drive motors are tough on the tires, they are typically the simplest system and are suited for a wide range of conventional bikes.
Charging Your Electric Bike Conversion Kit
- Types of Electric Bike Batteries: Most electric bike conversion kits take either lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries. Lithium polymer batteries are usually less expensive than lithium ion batteries, but they can be less durable. Both types last a long time, though, typically 500 to 1,000 charge cycles.
- Battery Range: The range of your electric bike conversion battery depends on the power of the battery, the power of the bike, the wind conditions, the weight of the rider, and how the bike is ridden. Typically, you can expect to ride between 20-70 miles with a single 6-8-pound lithium battery. This will of course depend on how much you rely on the battery—if you’re throttling uphill for extended periods of time, you’ll end up using more battery than on a flat path. You’ll also travel less far on a charge by using the motor at a high rate of speed.
- Caring for Your Electric Bike Battery: To help prolong the life of your battery, charge it at least once per month even if it’s at a nearly full charge. Some cycling retailers suggest that, while all batteries deteriorate over time, the more you use your battery while biking, the stronger it will be.
Charging Your Electric Bike Conversion Kit: Unlike plug-in electric cars, electric bikes don’t need a special, high-powered charging station. They take a charge from standard wall outlets, just like your laptop or cell phone charger. That means you can set up a charging station wherever it’s convenient for you, just so long as you keep these things in mind:
- Charge your electric bike conversion kit battery in a dry location only.
- Use a wall-plug timer on your charger to automatically shut off the draw to mitigate the risk of spark or electricity-related hazards.
- Make sure a smoke detector is installed nearby. Battery fires are rare, but they do happen. Because your battery is left unattended to charge, it’s wise to have a system in place to alert you in case of a fire.
- Charge your battery with the charger that was supplied with that battery to be certain the battery is not being overloaded with a charge it wasn’t meant to handle.
To ensure that your home is a safe place to charge your converted electric bike, call Mr. Electric®. As experts in electrical safety, our courteous technicians offer comprehensive repairs, upgrades, and installations to keep you and your family safe. Call (844) 866-1367 for an electrical safety inspection by one of our licensed electricians today.
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