So you’ve heard of the electric bike, or maybe you’ve seen one around, or perhaps someone you know even owns one. If you’re decided that the motorized bicycle is something that you’d like to have, you now need to decide how you’re going to acquire it. Are you going to buy a bike that comes motorized, or are you going to buy an electric bike conversion kit, to add power to a bicycle you already own.
Once you decide which way you’re going to go, there are a lot of features, options, and types that you will need to choose between. But let’s focus on one thing at a time. Here are the top three advantages of both electric bike conversion kits and pre-built electric bikes; it’s up to you to decide which fits better with your needs.
This bike comes powered with a battery from the very start. It’s ready to ride right when you get it.
- PRO: Ready right ‘out of the box’, so to speak, a bike that is designed to be run on electricity requires little to no assembly or maintenance (aside from making sure the battery is charged) to get going.
- PRO: Takes minimal technical knowledge. To troubleshoot your bike, it’s good to have a working knowledge of engines, but you don’t have to be a mechanic or even a tinkerer to get it to work if you buy it already converted.
- PRO: Design. Electric bikes are designed to be electric, so the components are often concealed more tastefully (and are better protected) than when they’re affixed from the outside, as in a kit.
Electric Bike Conversion Kits:
- PRO: Price. Conversion kits are almost always much more affordable than a whole new bike, adjusting for which end of the quality spectrum you seek in each, of course. A kit can cost anywhere from $200-$1500, while a motorized bike will range $350-$3,000. And if you already have a spare regular bike (or can find one at a garage sale), it’s even more cost-effective.
- PRO: A good project. People who appreciate motors like putting together their own machines, and for many people, that’s a fun part about the conversion kit.
- PRO: Flexibility. Instead of buying something “out of the box,” you get to decide which parts you want to use, how it will be configured, and how much power you’re going to get. An electric bike conversion kit is one of the best ways to get a bike that really works for you.
Type Of Electric Bike Conversion Kit
If you are looking to use an electric bike conversion kit to change your standard bicycle into one with a bit more power, you’ll need to decide what type of kit (and essentially, which type of operation) is best for your needs.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make is whether you want a kit that gives power to the propulsion of your bicycle on an on-demand basis, or whether you want generalized electric assist. Let’s look into the differences between the two, to help you decide what exactly makes sense for you.
If you are planning to convert your bike to run on electricity in addition to just pedals, think about why you want this. Do you want to be able to achieve a faster speed than you can do pedaling? Do you get tired and need something that can keep you moving while you take a break from pedaling? Do you live someplace that has hills or inclines that can be difficult to climb, and you could use a little boost? The answers to these questions will help you decide which type of electric bike conversion kit will work for you.
If you are looking for more speed in general, know that an electric bike can achieve speeds up to 20 miles per hour. This is faster than the casual biker achieves on his or her own, and the type of electric bike conversion kit you want to buy is one that gives you what is called “electric assist.” For this, you simply flip the switch to “on” and your electric engine is set to give you a boost whenever you need it based on the speed you are going or how you are pedaling.
If you just want some help with certain situations (like going up a hill), the electric assist can work. Or you can go with the other choice, the “on-demand” option, which has a throttle on the handlebar by which you choose exactly when to initiate power from the engine to increase your speed or torque.
Either way, buying an electric bike conversion kit gives your bike—and you—more capability and more options with how fast, how far, and even where you ride your bike. You can still pedal all you want (and can turn it off so you are only pedaling and it becomes a normal bike). The conversion kit just gives you the option of more power without the speed and risk of a bigger motorized vehicle.