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How to make an electric bike

How to make an electric bike

If you want to move around quickly and easily, an electric bicycle (also called e-bike) can meet your needs!

However, electric bicycles can be a bit expensive, especially if you already have bicycles in your garage! If you want to know how to convert your bike into an electric bike, then you must feast your eyes!

In this article, we will introduce you to everything you need to complete the project. So, without further ado, let’s jump in!

How to make an electric bikeWhat is needed to convert the project

How to make an electric bike?One of the best ways to complete an electric bike modification project in a short time is to use as many necessary tools as possible before starting.

This not only helps to make the project faster, but also to make it happen in the first place. In fact, many people have been thinking about conversion projects for years, but have no motivation because they don’t have all the tools around them.

The following is a quick list of common consumables used in electric bike modification projects:

Electric bike motor, throttle and speed control center (usually in a conversion kit)

Electric bicycle battery pack and battery charger

Install wrench set and pliers

Suitable gear sensor (optional)

Zipper chain

Bicycle lock (optional)

Keep in mind that every bicycle model is different, so you may find that you need an additional specific tool because your bicycle model is different.

For this reason, you may find that you need more tools, such as tape, silicone sealant, or other items along the way.

Step-by-step guide to convert an existing bike to an electric bike
Now that you have collected all the items needed for the project, it’s time to start using it! In the next section, you will find a simplified electric bike modification guide that will guide you through every step:

Step 1: Make sure your bike can handle the conversion

The first thing most DIY novices ignore is the possibility of the project. However, if your bike is relatively new and rides well, it may be suitable for modification anyway.

Since you will invest a lot of money in the conversion kit, you don’t want to install it on a donor body that is severely lacking. Make sure the bike has a nice seat, tires, wheels, and suitable accessories.

The other thing you want to check the bike is the frame material. The most popular materials used to make frames are steel and aluminum.

According to experience, steel bicycles are more durable than aluminum bicycles. If you have a steel frame, you need to double-check it for any signs of rust before starting the conversion project so that you can replace the rusty parts beforehand.

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

In addition, the newer your bike model, the better. Old bicycles may require unique tools that you may not find. In addition, although this project may save you the cost of buying a new electric bike, you still need to prepare an emergency fund for any missing or necessary parts.

Finally, here are some of the features and design aspects that can produce the best conversion results:

1. Mountain bike design. Although many bicycle types can be converted to electric bicycles, mountain bikes are usually made of steel and aluminum, so they can withstand additional weight and torque.

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

3. Standard wheel sizes, such as 16, 20 and 26 inches. The accessories and tools of these bicycles are readily available, and the electric motor can be used for more stable riding

4. Wide front frame triangle and handlebars. This provides enough space to comfortably install your conversion kits and accessories and protect them from interference and overheating.

5. Bicycles with easy-to-use controls and cables are easier to convert than complex bicycles

6. Bicycles with front disc brakes will be more suitable for stopping electric bicycles on steep hills

Step 2: Decide on the electric bike conversion kit

One of the easiest ways to make your bike electric is to use an electric bike conversion kit.

These kits usually come with all the strictly necessary tools needed to motorize the bicycle, including wheels with hub motors, speed controllers, and throttles.

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

Make sure you choose a bolt-on kit that contains all the required parts and a clear instruction manual for easy installation.

There are various types of conversion kits on the market, including front and rear wheel types. As long as their wheels are as big as the wheels on your bicycle, they all work well.

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

Step 3: Choose a suitable battery with sufficient capacity

According to experience, the conversion kit does not come with a battery, so you must pick one yourself. If you are not sure, the safest way is to buy a battery of the same brand as the conversion kit.

Ideally, electric bicycle batteries are divided into 36, 48, and 52 volts. Voltage defines the amount of power the battery can provide at one time, and has nothing to do with battery life.

Keep in mind that a battery with a higher voltage will work better with a powerful motor, but it will be more bulky and potentially more costly.

Based on this, if you plan to use your bicycle for flat terrain riding, 36 and 48 volt batteries should work. However, if you want your bike to climb hills and rough terrain, 52 volts is your best choice.

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

Step 4: Remove the bottom bracket and the wheels that need to be replaced

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 can replace one of the wheels on your bike with the wheel attached to the motor hub that comes with the kit, whether it’s the front wheel or the rear wheel. The disassembly process of the front and rear wheels is similar.

First release the rim or cantilever brake. If the wheel you want to remove also has disc brakes, you also need to remove them. You can do this simply by removing the springs, clips, or pins that hold the pads in place.

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

If you want to remove the front wheel, it will be easier to turn the bike upside down, release the brake cable and adjust the quick release lever to open mode, and then the wheel should fall off immediately when you lift the wheel.

How to make an electric bikeStep 5: Transfer tires from old wheels to new wheels

Ideally, the manufacturer recommends buying new tires and wheel inner tubes. However, if the tires and inner tubes of the old wheels are intact, you can install them on the new wheels.

To do this, you need to empty the tires from any air for easy operation. After that, pull down the tire and inner tube by hand or by using a bicycle tire lever.

To install them on new wheels, you just need to repeat the process, but the other way around. Make sure to remember the air pressure of the wheels before removing them so that you can restore similar air pressure in both wheels when you are done.

Step 6: Install the new wheel on the bike

After preparing the new wheel, put it back on the bicycle and connect it to the brake system. Once again, the process should be as simple as reversing the deletion process.

For rear wheel replacement, you also need to adjust the wheel chain to ensure that it fits tightly.

After that, this step is done by using the lever to close the wire brake of the bicycle and the rim on the rim. If the bicycle uses disc brakes, reinstall the brake pads and secure the clip with pliers.

Check whether the brake requires any type of mechanical adjustment, such as aligning the calipers or pumping the brake lever.

Step 7: Connect the throttle and speed controller

Most retrofit kits on the market are designed so that the speed controller and throttle can be easily bolted to the bicycle without any electrical adjustments.

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

The kit should also be equipped with the necessary bolts to hold the speed controller in place. This is usually located on the bicycle frame above the chain.

Choose a suitable position on your handlebar so that you can easily reach the throttle and connect them as well.

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

In some cases, this step may cause some wiring confusion. In this case, do not connect the motor before installing the motor on the bicycle and fixing the loose wires.

Step 8: Connect the components to the battery

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

Make sure you are positive about the cables you are connecting, because wrong connections can cause short circuits, sparks, and malfunctions.

Ideally, most manufacturers will simplify the connection process to connect the wires to their respective sockets.

Step 9: Test the placement of the motor

Some electric bicycle motors will use the bottom bracket as a fixed point, allowing you to slightly rotate or adjust them to sit comfortably on the bike without getting in your way or being disturbed by the clutter of wires.

Before fixing any bolts and installing the motor, make sure you test the ideal way to place the motor on the bike to keep everything balanced.

The most important part here is to make sure that there are no wires scratching the motors, which puts them at risk of wear.

Step 10: Install the motor on the bicycle

After everything is in order and progressing smoothly, it is time to fix the motor in the correct position on the bike, whether it is on the bottom bracket or in the position of the water bottle holder.

This position is ideal because it can maintain a good balance between the front and rear center of gravity of the bicycle.

If you think the motor is too large to be installed on the bicycle frame, you can install it in the basket on the rear or front of the bicycle. But keep in mind that this may cause you to lose your balance

How to make an electric bike

Step 11: Install the display and controls of the electrical system (optional)

Some conversion kits will also be equipped with different accessories and main systems, such as LCD systems, gear sensors, controls, etc.

Of course, you can install them before installing the motors on the bicycle. However, before connecting any additional tools and gadgets, it is always wise to first connect to the main system and ensure its normal operation.

This way, if any failures occur, you will be able to troubleshoot them faster, because you have fewer variables to isolate and test.

Step 12: Connect and secure any loose wiring

After commissioning the electrical system and ensuring that it starts normally, you need to ensure that all wires are secured in place.

Use cable ties to secure any loose wires and connect them to the bicycle frame to ensure safety and convenience.

Step 13: Test run your new electric bike

Everything should be ready now, and you can try this bike for the first time. Do a final round of inspection on the bike to see if any parts are rubbing against each other, then give it a try!

When you return, make sure to charge the battery on your first trip, and consider investing in a new bicycle lock to prevent your investment from being stolen.

How much will the conversion process cost you?

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

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

From there, you can pay higher or lower fees depending on the performance and brand of the conversion kit.

According to experience, the price of a decent 48-volt power conversion kit is between US$300 and US$700, with some advanced options as high as US$1,000.

For casual riders, a 36-volt kit will be more suitable, and the price is usually between $200 and $500.

With this added, the average price of a good electric bicycle battery should be between US$350 and US$500, depending on its capacity.

Don’t forget to add the cost of any necessary tools that the project may require, although this will not result in a major change in cost.

Based on these figures, the electric bike modification project is expected to return you between US$650 and US$1,500.

Should you buy a new electric bike or modify an existing electric bike?

As you can see, the conversion process will still cost you a lot of money, which is why some people question whether buying a new electric bike is a better choice after all.

Before making assumptions, you should remember that brand new electric bicycles are not cheap either. In fact, depending on the brand and specifications, the price of some electric bicycles may be as high as US$2,500 or even US$3,000.

Therefore, many riders believe that from a financial point of view, converting an existing bicycle to an electric bicycle is a more sensible choice, especially when you are looking for a powerful model.

However, a simple electric bike model suitable for casual riders may cost as much as a conversion kit with a battery pack. But this is where the emotional value comes into play!

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

Wrap up

You have it! A complete guide to show you how to convert your bike to an electric bike in simple and easy steps!

In addition to financial and emotional points of view, there is also the trouble of going through such a DIY project.

So, if you think this project is a bit depressing or you don’t have time to do it, then a new electric bike will be more suitable for you, provided that you can’t find a professional who can do the conversion for you.

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