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What are the different types of e-bike conversion kits?
There are various ways you can choose to power your bike using an electric motor. The following e-bike conversion kits are usually available for this purpose:
The most common type of conversion kit you’ll find. In this case, the front or rear wheel on your current bike is replaced with a special wheel that features a hub and gearing. You may also find a battery on the hub or have it mounted somewhere else.
For a battery that is mounted separately, replacing the front wheel will be preferable for road biking given that the weight of the kit will be distributed evenly across your bike. On the other hand, steering becomes heavy when the whole weight sits on the front wheel.
You also want to consider the strength of the fork and make sure that it can cope with the torque from the electric motor. The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need the frame to be stronger than a road bike’s if you want to install a front-wheel motor.
A back-wheel motor is more suitable for off-road biking because of improved traction. But if your bike already has a hub gear, it will have to be replaced with a cassette and derailleur. You can also mount a separate battery on the frame, although this is not a necessity.
Integrating a battery into the wheel or mounting it on the rear rack tends to shift all the weight to the back wheel, resulting in unforeseen wheelies when you apply too much power.
This type of conversion kit mimics what you see on complete e-bikes. The motor and battery are mounted on the frame, with the motor attached to the bottom bracket in most cases. The weight is kept low in this design, which helps with the feel of the ride.
The only problem is that the motor is too exposed at this position and may be prone to damage when riding off-road.
In this conversion kit, the roller and motor sit on the back wheel and propel the bike forward with the help of friction. This is generally a crude solution and not many people prefer it. Apart from having weight distribution issues, the entire system is also not efficient.
If you want to hide the fact that you are riding an electric bike, this is the solution for you. However, it is going to cost you more. The motor and battery are fitted inside the seat tube where it drives the bottom bracket. This conversion kit is recommended if you really want to have a secret e-bike, especially when you consider the cost involved.
Can I convert the bike I currently have?
An electric bike conversion kit comes with everything you’ll require for the process. All the tricky part has been cut out for you and all you need to do is install the kit on your bike. This is a task that can be performed by practically anyone with the aid of a few tools. It’s even easier if the person has a background in bicycle mechanics.
Essentially, any bike can be converted into an e-bike, although some tend to be more appropriate for this. The main thing to consider on your bike is the strength of the frame and durability of the front fork.
The sturdier your frame, the better your bike will perform at high speeds and chances of the front fork breaking will be significantly decreased. While a steel frame makes a great choice, it adds weight to the bike and this may not sit well with anyone who has to carry the bike.
A bike with an aluminum frame is something you can definitely work with. It offers a good balance between weight and durability. Nevertheless, you still want to ensure that the frame feels stable and sturdy to avoid breaking the front fork when you encounter a pothole at high speeds.
Finally, a carbon frame bike is the lightest option you can get, but it is not as strong as you may want it to be. If you possess one, be sure to get an appropriate e-bike conversion kit. Generally, the best kits are installed on the back wheel or middle section of the bike.
What does it take to install an e-bike kit?
If you are installing a hub motor kit, it shouldn’t take you longer than a couple of hours to get the job done, as far as time is concerned. In fact, it could be done in just under an hour if you have some remote knowledge in bicycle mechanics. The mid-drive e-bike kits are the best when you want to convert your bike.
However, they happen to be the most difficult kits to install. This also means that they will cost a little extra to install. If you are willing to get your hands dirty, you are definitely going to need a number of tools.
Basically, a standard bike toolset should be enough to get the job done. The individual tools that will prove necessary include wrenches (Phillips and Allen), pliers, air pump, screwdrivers, etc. If you don’t own any of these tools, you can readily order a bicycle tool kit online.
Alternatively, you can check in with a rider friend to provide you with any tools you might be missing. You are also going to need a bike stand! This will ensure that you are working comfortably and helps to reduce the strain associated with the process.
The above set of tools will have you working comfortably to get your new e-bike up and running in no time. Otherwise, if you feel like you are not up to the challenge, there’s always a local bike store that you can find a technician to do it for you.
Just be sure to consult them before you order the kit, and be ready to bear the extra cost!