Feel like you want to cut down on burning fossil fuels, but don’t have the money for an electric car and/or find biking through hilly town a tad tiresome? Take a look at an electric bike conversion kit, which costs less than half the price of a ready-made electric bicycle, and will have you gliding up those sheer streets in no time.
Conversion kits can cost up to $1000, and typically comprise a motor, rechargeable lithium battery and a throttle connecting cable. And while you can store an electric motor on either the front or rear of the bike, it’s recommended you store the motor on the front (as it’s easier to install without gears and can make changing a tyre more pleasant) and the battery pack on the rear, for even weighting.
You should have no problems installing your electric bike conversion kit yourself, provided it’s on the front wheel. Most kits should fit on to the majority of bikes seamlessly, although this depends of course on your kit and bike. Bikes that may prove troublesome include frames larger than 28 inches and smaller than 16 inches. Also avoid racing handlebars (for control installation) and carbon forks (which can snap).
All engines supplied with an electric bike conversion kit should have a 200w output capacity maximum. Anything larger than this is currently illegal in Australia or requires a license. An engine with this output should get you to 25 km/ph on a flat surface, which is about the safe limit.
The range for batteries is anything from 30 km right up to 100km before they need a recharge. Each kit will vary in price depending on range and you should check with your purchaser on battery range, as well as how many charges it will endure in its life cycle. Batteries typically last up to 500 charges, and their range will also depend on whether you’re using throttle power or pedal assist to transport you around town.
Pedal assist power will get you further on a charge, as the engine only kicks in when your speed drops to a certain limit (when you’re going up hills, or you’re dead tired). An electric bike conversion kit using throttle power is useful if you’re unable to pedal, however a combination of throttle and pedal assist is probably best for conserving power. Typical charge time for your electric bike will be from two to six hours.
Take a look at these Australian electric bike starter kits to get you going.