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How to Convert Your Bike to an Electric Bike

How to Convert Your Bike to an Electric Bike

If you want to get around quickly and easily, an electric bike (also known as an electric bike) will meet your needs!

However, e-bikes can be a bit pricey, especially if you already have one in your garage! If you’ve ever wondered how to convert your bike to an e-bike, you’re in for a treat!

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to do to complete the project. So without further ado, let’s jump in!

What does it take to convert a project

One of the best ways to complete an electric bike conversion project in a short amount of time is to have as many of the necessary tools as possible before you start.

Not only does this help make the project faster, but it makes it happen in the first place. In fact, many people have been thinking about switching projects for years but have no motivation because they don’t have all the tools.

Here is a quick list of general supplies used in electric bike conversion projects:

E-bike motor, throttle and speed control hub (usually in conversion kit)

Electric Bike Battery Packs and Battery Chargers

Install the wrench set and pliers

suitable gear sensor (optional)

zipper chain

Bike lock (optional)

Keep in mind that every bike model is different, so you may find yourself needing an extra specific tool depending on your bike model.

For this reason, you may find yourself needing more tools, such as duct tape, silicone sealant, or other items.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Converting Your Existing Bike to an Electric Bike
Now that you’ve collected all the items you need for your project, it’s time to go! In the following sections, you’ll find a simplified electric bike modification guide that walks you through each step:

Step 1: Make sure your bike can handle the transition

One thing that most new DIYers overlook is the project’s possibilities. However, if your bike is relatively new and rides well, it may be suitable for conversion anyway.

Since you’re going to be investing a lot of money in a conversion kit, you don’t want to install it on a severely deficient donor. Make sure the bike has a nice seat, tires, wheels, and the right accessories.

Another thing you want to check on your bike is the frame material. The most popular materials used to manufacture frames are steel and aluminum.

As a rule of thumb, bikes with steel frames are more durable than aluminum ones. If you have a steel frame, you’ll want to double-check it for any signs of rust before starting your conversion project, so you can replace the rusted parts beforehand.

Aluminum has the advantage of being resistant to corrosion, although they are generally not as durable as steel.

Also, the newer model of your bike the better. Older bikes may require unique tools that you may not find. Also, while this project may save you the cost of buying a new e-bike, you still need to have an emergency fund on hand for any missing or necessary parts.

Finally, here are some features and design aspects that yield the best conversion results:

Mountain bike design. While many bike types can be converted to e-bikes, mountain bikes are usually made of steel and aluminum so they can handle the extra weight and torque.

If your bike has a carbon fiber frame, you should first consider replacing it with a more durable frame

Standard wheel sizes such as 16, 20 and 26 inches. Accessories and tools for these bikes will be readily available and allow for a more stable ride with the electric motor

Wide front frame triangle and handlebar. This provides enough space to comfortably mount your conversion kits and accessories, and protects them from interference and overheating.

Bikes with easily accessible controls and cables are easier to convert than complex bikes

Bikes with front disc brakes will be better for stopping e-bikes on steep hills

Step 2: Decide on an Electric Bike Conversion Kit

One of the easiest ways to electrify your bike is with an electric bike conversion kit.

These kits usually come with all the necessary tools needed to electrify a bike, including wheels with in-wheel motors, speed control and throttle.

Other kits may also include various accessories to make your e-bike more advanced, but not required, such as LCD screens, gauges and brake levers.

Make sure you choose a bolt-on kit that includes all the parts you need along with a clear instruction manual for easy installation.

There are various types of conversion kits on the market, including front-wheel types and rear-wheel types. They all work well as long as their wheels are as big as the ones on your bike.

The choice of conversion kit depends on several aspects such as motor power, thermal protection, mileage and your budget.

Step 3: Choose a suitable battery with sufficient capacity

As a rule of thumb, conversion kits don’t come with batteries, so you’ll have to choose one yourself. If you are not sure, the safest way is to buy batteries of the same brand as the conversion kit.

Ideally, e-bike batteries come in 36, 48, and 52 volts. Voltage defines how much power a battery can supply at one time, regardless of battery life.

Keep in mind that a battery with a higher voltage will be better for a powerful motor, but it will be bulkier and likely cost more.

Based on this, if you plan to use the bike for flat riding, you should use 36 and 48 volt batteries. However, if you want to get your bike up hills and rough terrain, then 52 volts is the way to go.

For capacity, you should choose a battery with a capacity of 10 or 20 amp hours. The choice here depends on how long your journey is and how often you want to charge the battery.

Step 4: Remove Bottom Bracket and Wheel Needing Replacement

There are different types of electric bike conversion kits on the market. However, most of them use the same idea to work.

Simply put, you just replace one wheel on your bike with the one that comes with the kit that connects to the motor hub, either the front or the rear. The removal process for the front and rear wheels is similar.

Begin by releasing the rim or cantilever brake. If the wheel you’re removing also has disc brakes, you’ll need to remove them as well. You simply remove the springs, clips or pins that hold the pads in place.

If you want to remove the rear wheel, you will need to hold the derailleur rearward while holding the frame with your non-dominant hand. After that, pull up on the frame to untie the chain.

If you’re removing the front wheel, it’s easier to turn the bike upside down, release the brake cable and adjust the quick release lever to open mode, then the wheel should come off as soon as you lift it.

Step 5: Transfer the tires from the old wheel to the new wheel

Ideally, the manufacturer recommends buying new tires and tubes for their wheels. However, if the tires and tubes of the old wheels are in good condition, you can install them on the new wheels.

To do this, you’ll need to clear any air from the tires for easier handling. After that, use your hand or a bicycle tire lever to pull down the tire and tube.

To install them on new wheels, you just need to repeat the process, but in reverse. Make sure to remember the wheel air pressure before removing the wheel so you can restore similar air pressure in both wheels when you’re done.

Step 6: Install the New Wheels on the Bike

Once the new wheel is ready, put it back on the bike and connect it to the braking system. Again, the process should be as simple as reversing the delete process.

For rear wheel replacements, you’ll also need to adjust the chainring to make sure it fits.

After that, complete the step by using the lever to close the bike’s wire brakes and rims. If the bike uses disc brakes, reinstall the pads and secure the clips with pliers.

Check the brakes for any mechanical adjustments, such as aligning the calipers or pulling the brake levers.

Step 7: Connect the Throttle and Speed Controller

Most tuning kits on the market are designed so the speed controller and throttle can easily be bolted onto the bike without any electrical adjustments.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install them properly on your bike.

The kit should also come with the necessary bolts to hold the speed controller in place. This is usually on the bike frame above the chain.

Pick a good spot on your handlebar for easy access to the throttle and connect them too.

Some conversion kits will take over the shifting process of the bike, so you will also have to remove the shift cable while leaving the brake cable intact.

In some cases, this step can create some wire mess. In this case, do not connect the motor until you have mounted the motor to the bike and secured the loose wires.

Step 8: Connect Components to the Battery

To complete the main electrical system, you need to connect the power supply. Unpack the battery and carefully read the instructions for connecting the speed controller and throttle to the battery.

Make sure you’re positive about the cables you’re connecting, as wrong connections can cause shorts, sparks, and failures.

Ideally, most manufacturers would make the connection process as simple as connecting the wires to their respective sockets.

Step 9: Test the Motor Position

Some e-bike motors will use bottom brackets as anchor points, allowing you to swivel or adjust them a little to sit comfortably on your bike without getting in your way or being interrupted by tangled wires.

Before attaching any bolts and installing the motor, make sure you test out the ideal way to place the motor on the bike to keep everything in good balance.

The most important part here is to make sure that no wires can scratch the motors, putting them at risk of fraying.

Step 10: Mount the Motor to the Bike

With everything in order and running well, it was time to attach the motor to the bike by mounting it in the right place, whether it was on the bottom bracket or where the water bottle holder was.

This position is ideal because it keeps the center of gravity well balanced between the front and rear of the bike.

If you think the motor is too bulky to fit on a bike frame, you can mount it in a basket on the rear or front of the bike. But keep in mind that this can throw you off balance

Step 11: Install Electrical System Displays and Controls (Optional)

Some conversion kits will also feature different accessories along with the main system, such as LCD systems, gear sensors, controls, and more.

Of course, you can install the motors before installing them on the bike. However, before attaching any additional tools and gadgets, it is always wise to connect the main system first and make sure it is functioning properly.

This way, if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to troubleshoot it faster because you have fewer variables to isolate and test.

Step 12: Connect and Secure Any Loose Wiring

After commissioning the electrical system and making sure it starts well, you need to make sure all the wires are in place.

Use cable ties to secure any loose wires and attach them to the bike frame for safety and convenience.

Step 13: Test-Run Your New Electric Bike

Now everything should be ready and you can try the bike for the first time. Do a final round of inspections on the bike to see if any parts are rubbing together and give it a try!

When you get back, make sure to charge for your first trip and consider investing in a new bike lock to protect your investment from theft.

How much will the conversion process cost?

The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on the type of conversion kit you want to use and its specifications.

However, we can estimate the cost based on the rates for mid-range conversion kit options on the market.

From there, you can expect to pay more or less, depending on the performance and brand of the conversion kit.

As a rule of thumb, a decent 48-volt power conversion kit will cost you anywhere from $300 to $700, with some premium options as high as $1,000.

For recreational riders, a 36-volt kit will be more suitable, which typically runs between $200 and $500.

Add this to the average price of a good e-bike battery should be between $350 and $500, depending on its capacity.

Don’t forget to add the cost of any necessary tools the project might need, although this shouldn’t account for a significant change in cost.

Based on these numbers, an e-bike conversion project is expected to cost you anywhere between $650 and $1,500.

Should you buy a new e-bike or retrofit an existing e-bike?

As you can see, the conversion process can still cost you a fortune, which is why some people question whether buying a new e-bike is a better option.

Before assuming, you should keep in mind that brand new e-bikes aren’t cheap either. In fact, some e-bikes can cost as much as $2,500 or even $3,000 depending on the brand and specification.

As a result, many riders feel that converting an existing bike to an e-bike is the smarter option from a financial standpoint, especially if you’re looking for a powerful model.

However, a simple e-bike model for casual riders can cost as much as a conversion kit with a battery pack. However, this is where emotional value comes into play!

Many people have a strong attachment to their bikes and would rather convert them into electric models than buy a new one. In this case, continuing to convert should be the better option.

Wrap up

you have it! A complete guide showing you how to convert your bike to an electric bike in simple steps!

Aside from the financial and emotional point of view, completing such a DIY project can be a hassle.

So if you feel the project is a little onerous, or you don’t have the time to do it, a new e-bike will be better for you, provided you don’t have access to a professional who can do it for you.

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