It’s clear to see that electric bikes are gaining popularity rapidly around the world and more people are getting the e-bike fever each passing day. While some prefer to purchase a ready-made electric bike from popular brands, many people choose to convert their own bicycles to e-bikes, using the DIY method. In this article, we will show you exactly how to convert bicycles into electric bikes.
Converting a normal bicycle into an electric bike involves a few steps which can seem complicated if you don’t have the right resources. Luckily for you, this article will breakdown each step to make the conversion process as simple as possible.
Converting a bicycle into an electric bike starts with deciding on the type of e-bike you want. The choices you have include the pedal assist e-bike, the throttle assists e-bike and the speed pedelec e-bike. While the steps involved in converting a bicycle into these classes of e-bikes might look similar, there are some distinctions in each of e-bike type.
The pedal assist e-bike is the most common category of e-bikes in the industry. It is designed to allow the rider to pedal the bike like a normal bicycle. However, while the rider is pedaling, a motor in the bike assists his efforts to boost the power that is transmitted to the wheels, thereby providing more speed and reducing the pedal effort required to move the bike.
The throttle assist e-bike works more like the motorcycle or scooter, where there is no need for pedaling the bike. Instead, the bike is moved by a power supplied by a throttle in its motor. The throttle assist e-bike is not as popular as the pedal assist technology, but many people prefer to use them.
The speed pedelec e-bike is like the pedal assist bike. The distinction is the function that allows the bike to run at a faster speed while being pedaled, just as suggested by the name. Many communities and countries require licenses from riders of this e-bike category, as it is often considered as a motor vehicle.
The processes to converting your bicycle to one of these e-bike types are all distinct.
Things To Consider Before Converting Your Bike
Consider the questions below before you move forward in converting your bicycle into an electric bike.
To successfully convert your bicycle into an e-bike, you must consider a few factors including the type of e-bike you want, the e-bike motor type, the bike style, the e-bike battery type, and the use of the e-bike.
What type of electric bike do you want?
As we just discussed in the section above, you can choose between three different categories of electric bikes. You should study these types of e-bikes and their features to determine which one would suit your needs.
What is the best e-bike motor for you?
The e-bike motor is the electric engine that moves the bike or assists the bicycle pedals in moving it. There are different types of e-bike motors. Understanding the distinction between these motor types will help you make an informed decision.
Here are the types of e-bike motors you should know:
Hub Motors are often placed in the front or the back of the bicycle. This motor functions to drive either the front wheel or the rear wheel of the bike. This type of e-bike motor is quite popular and it is further classified into the front hub motor and the rear hub motor.
Mid-Drive Motors are usually placed in the middle of the bike frame, just around the engine area. It drives the chain of the bicycle, instead of its wheels, and it is much more efficient in balancing weight across the bicycle and carrying heavier loads.
How will you use your e-bike?
Before converting your bicycle to an e-bike, think about how to plan to use it. What do you intend to use the e-bike for after conversion? There are several reasons why people want an electric bike, from commuting to work, hunting, riding uphill, or just for leisure. You must decide the purpose of your e-bike before you convert it.
What is your preferred e-bike style?
Consider what style works best for you before converting your bike. You should go for a style that suits your personality.
What You Will Need To Convert Your Bicycle Into An E-Bike
We will discuss exactly what you will need to convert your bike in this section.
To successfully convert your bicycle into an e-bike, you will need the following items.
The e-bike battery generates the power that is needed by the motor to move the e-bike. It is often rechargeable and can be purchased as a single e-bike component. Without a doubt, the e-bike battery is among the most important things you will need for converting your bicycle to an e-bike.
For more information, see our article: Tips for Charging Your E-Bike Battery
The e-bike motor is an electric motor that functions to convert the power supplied to it by the e-bike battery into energy for moving the bike, or for assisting the pedal in moving the bike. There are different types of e-bike motors and you should choose according to the type of e-bike you want for yourself.
For more information, see our article: How To Select A Motor For Your E-Bike
The control panel is a display that allows you to view and monitor the energy that is being consumed by your e-bike. This component of the e-bike shows you important details about the activities of your bike so that you can make adjustments when necessary.
Once you have these components, grab your toolbox to get started.
You are now ready to convert your bike.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
First, gather your supplies (listed above). Also, gather the bike you want to convert. Ensure that the bike is in good shape in preparation for your conversion.
Step 2: Work on the Donor Bike
The donor bike is the bicycle you will be converting into an e-bike. It is important to get a donor bike with a sturdy frame for this process to ensure they are durable. This is the time to fix any issues with the donor bike and possibly repaint it, if necessary.
Step 3: Install The Motor
Once the donor bike is prepared, you are ready to install the motor. Install the motor by following the instructions in the included manual. Don’t stray from the instructions in the manual or you risk installing the motor incorrectly.
Step 4: Install The Switches
After installing the e-bike motor, the next step is to install the switches on the bike. This step requires you to remove the old handlebar clamps from your donor bike.
Removing the handlebar clamps from your bike can be tough, but there is a way around it. Firstly, pry the clamps open with a screwdriver, then apply some soapy water inside the opening you have created. When this is done, use a pair of pliers to wiggle the grips around until they come off.
Before taking off your old gear shifters, look out for where you will install the switches and make sure it is close to the gear lever.
Having fixed the switches, carefully arrange the wire back to the area where the motor is placed. Then use zip-ties to attach the wires to the motor frame.
Step 5: Install The Battery Box
Now install the battery box. This will protect your e-bike battery from the elements. Here are the proper steps to creating your own box.
- Evaluate Your Battery’s Size and Decide On Material
You should assess the type and size of your battery. This will determine the frame size and type that will work best for you. Your frame can be made of a wooden, plastic, or metal material.
- Take Measurements
Next, measure your battery and determine the size of the proposed box that will be on the frame of your bike. Allow the box to be bigger so the battery can easily fit inside.
- Place the Battery In the Box
Drill holes on the frame according to the measurements you made. Once you place the battery in your box, screw it into the holes. Ensure the box is strategically placed on the frame so it won’t get in your way when you ride the bike. Cut out an opening so you can pass the battery wires through the box and install the wires accordingly.
- Install the Battery:
After putting everything in place for the battery installation, connect the battery wires, and make necessary adjustments. You can also choose to line the battery box with foam or other materials for insulation.
Step 6: Test Your Work
Now that your bike is converted, it’s time to give it a test drive. You may need to make adjustments if necessary.
If everything goes well, you can then congratulate yourself for successfully completing the conversion of your bicycle to an e-bike all by yourself!
Please note that if you discover issues while test riding your newly converted e-bike, be sure to re-read the steps above and make sure everything is properly connected.
Alternatively, you can visit a certified e-bike specialist to help you diagnose the problem and fix it.
Electric bikes continue to gain in popularity as more people are learning of their benefits to them and the environment. Many bike owners are choosing to convert their bicycles, but the process is not always easy. We have extensively discussed everything that will help you convert your bicycle to an e-bike in this article. What’s more, you can do it all on your own! So, go ahead, stop wishing, and start converting.