Do Electric Bikes Need Keys to Operate?
Electric bikes all come with a set of keys, but are these keys required to operate the bike, or are they for something else? In this article, I will explain what the keys for an ebike are used for and if they are required in order to ride the bike.
There are some electric bikes that can only be ridden if you have the key and it’s in a certain position to turn on the bike. While on most other ebikes, you only need the keys to unlock and remove the battery.
Electric bikes are different than electric scooters or motorcycles and can be ridden like a regular bike even if the motor is not turned on.
But, do you need a key to turn on the motor or to ride the ebike? Keep reading and I will go over some interesting facts about keys and ebikes!
Quickly Ride to a Section.
Do I Need a Key To Start-Up My Electric Bike?
This will depend on which ebike you get. Most mid-drive ebikes only need the key to remove the battery but my Lectric XP 2.0 folding ebike needs the key for the system to turn on.
Until I bought the Lectric I didn’t think you need keys to operate the bike. Now I find that on some of them you do. (I’m still learning things too)
Still, I have yet to find an ebike that “starts up” with the keys. Electric bikes will turn on with the push of a button.
I have not tried every make and model out there but some electric bikes will need the keys to work.
Do I Have To Leave The Key In My Ebike While I’m Riding?
With my Lectric XP 2.0, you have to leave the key in and at a certain position for the system to turn on, and with my Bosch bike you don’t need the keys at all.
Sorry, but a lot of these answers will depend on which ebike you bought.
I know that Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose mid-drive ebikes only use the keys to remove the battery and my Lectric XP 2.0 needs the key in at all times for electronics to work.
If you don’t want to have to bring your keys with you every ride, I would make sure your ebike doesn’t need the keys to work, before you buy one!
Now, the key does not “start-up” up the Lectric XP 2.0 but it needs to be in the “on” position to turn on the system from the controls.
How Do I Replace My Electric Bike Key?
If your electric bike key has its own serial number, you can check the lock brand and they will have a replacement program for their keys. If there is no serial number, then you may want to have some extra keys made before you lose them or they break!
If you happen to lose both of your keys and have no other option, you can take your whole bike to a good locksmith and they should be able to make a cast of your lock and cut a replacement key from that.
This is not an inexpensive option, so I would be a bit preemptive and have a couple of spare keys made in advance.
Your key should only fit your bike. Even if you have 2 of the same bike. Every lock is different so that somebody can’t just buy an ebike and have they key for every other ebike of the same type.
Make a note however that if you do have 2 of the same ebike, the keys will look the same but only fit the bike they came with.
You may want to mark them so that you don’t get them confused. I’ve had to do this for many customers that bought the same pair of ebikes.
Why Isn’t My Electric Bike Key Working?
I find it is good to add some chain oil to your lock every so often if your key becomes hard to turn or hard to insert.
Oiling a lock will also help keep your lock from freezing in really cold temperatures. Condensation can build up on the metal and freeze inside the lock, making it impossible to use your key until you have melted it.
Chain oil also works well on car doors!
Can I Remove My Ebike Battery Without the Key?
This would not be easy. You will likely need a good locksmith. The battery lock is designed to secure the battery to the bike and be theft-proof. Usually, the only way to remove the lock itself is with the battery removed.
If your battery is locked to your ebike and you don’t have the key, but need to remove the battery, the only way to do it without damaging the bike is to take it to a locksmith. A good one.
The battery is not designed to be removed without the key, so don’t lose your keys!
If you have an ebike that does not need the key to operate, then just keep them somewhere safe.
At the End of the Day
If you don’t want to have to deal with using a key to get your ebike to work, then make sure before you buy an ebike that this is not required.
Pretty much any mid-drive electric bike will not need keys to operate and some less expensive online hub drive models will.
I recommend figuring this out before you buy your new ebike and it shows up at your door. By then it’s too late!
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How to convert a bike to electric power | Electric bike conversion kits explained
The best electric bike conversion kits will enable you to add a motor to your existing bike simply and relatively cheaply – at least compared to the price of buying a whole new electric bike.
There are an increasing number of ebike conversion kits out there, and they’re getting more sophisticated and easier to install on your bike, making for a practical alternative to a new purpose-built electric bike. An electric bike conversion kit will include the motor to drive you along and the battery to power it. It also needs to include the apparatus to control the power output level. This usually takes the form of a bar-mounted display.
In addition, a kit will include sensors to detect how fast you’re travelling and your level of pedal input to ensure the power supplied matches your needs. We’ve tested a few electric bike conversion kits here at BikeRadar, but there are lots more we’re yet to try. A full test of the best electric bike conversion kits is in the works – stay tuned. If you want a more detailed explanation of the different types of kit available and things to consider when purchasing an electric bike conversion kit, then head to our explainer further down the page.
Best electric bike conversion kits 2022: our picks
Swytch electric bike conversion kit
Swytch says its electric bike conversion kit can convert any bike into an electric bike. Stan Portus / Our Media
- Pros: Very compact; easy to install; variety of range options
- Cons: 100mm threaded front axle only; not compatible with thru-axles
London-based Swytch makes a conversion kit that, it says, is the lightest in the world at 3kg total weight. It can convert any bike into an ebike.
The kit includes a 40Nm brushless hub-based motor that comes pre-laced into a replacement front wheel. The lithium-ion battery pack connects to your handlebars and also acts as the system controller and LCD display.
There’s a crank-mounted cadence sensor, and that’s all you need to fit to your bike to get going.
There’s a Brompton-specific kit available too, with an adaptor for the Brompton’s front luggage mount.
Depending on the range you want, there are three sizes of battery pack available, which provide a claimed range of 35km, 50km or 100km.
Swytch has recently unveiled an even more compact kit with a.sized battery that weighs just 700g and, Swytch says, gives 15km of range.
Cytronex electric bike conversion kit
Cytronex makes electric bike conversion kits for Bromptons, as well as standard bikes. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
- Pros: Clever sensor tech; decent range
- Cons: Not much onboard info on battery level and range
Weighing between 3.2kg and 3.6kg, the Cytronex ebike conversion kit is another front-wheel conversion to house a hub motor, but in this case, the battery is designed to fit in a standard bottle cage.
We tested the kit on a Cannondale Quick hybrid and reckon that conversion takes around 30 minutes. The charge level is displayed via LEDs on the battery, which also houses the system controller. We got up to an impressive 48 miles on a charge.
We’ve also tested the kit on a Brompton P Line lightweight folder, where the total weight undercut the C Line-based Brompton Electric. Fit it to a C Line and it’s also cheaper than the Brompton Electric.
Electric bike conversion kits: different types explained
Electric bike conversion kits come in styles to suit all types of bike. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
There are a number of ways to electrify your existing bike for assistance up those hills: you can fit a powered wheel, either front or rear; you can attach a drive unit to the bottom bracket; you can fit a motor above the rear wheel and drive it via friction; or, most sneakily, you can conceal a motor in the seatpost.
Whether you ride a hybrid, mountain bike, road bike or even a folder, tourer or gravel bike, it should be possible to convert your bike.
Many can even be fitted by a competent home mechanic if you’re feeling handy and have an afternoon spare.
So, what are your options? Let’s take a look at the different ways to convert your non-assisted bike into an electric bike.
Powered ebike wheels
The Swytch is a good example of a readily available universal electric bike conversion kit that uses a motor at the front hub. Swytch
Fitting a powered ebike wheel is probably the most practical option for many people.
A powered ebike wheel is built around a special hub that contains a motor. This is usually powered by a separate battery.
This sounds simple, but the main downside is that it adds rotating mass to your bike, which feels harder to accelerate than non-rotating mass.
There’s a steady stream of front- and rear-wheel conversion kits on Amazon and eBay, all looking suspiciously similar, priced from around £150 and with names you’ve probably never heard of.
Be wary of systems controlled by a throttle (also called ‘twist-and-go’) though. Legally, they’re classified as electric motorcycles rather than ebikes, and need to be taxed and insured. Take a look at our guide to ebike laws for more information.
Rear-mounted friction drive ebike conversion kit
Readers of a certain age may remember earlier incarnations of these in the 1980s/90s: a box that sits on your rear wheel and powers it via friction with a rubber flywheel driven by a motor.
The idea hasn’t gone away, and lives on in devices such as the Rubbee, which promises bolt-on electric assistance for nearly any bike.
Rubbee’s base model has a claimed weight of just 2.8kg, with a 16km range that can be extended up to 48km with the top-spec, 4kg version.
It works with any wheel diameter between 16in and 29in, has an integrated carrying handle and clips on and off your seatpost. start from €579.
Concealed ebike conversion kit
The Vivax Assist hid a motor in the seat tube of the frame and applied power directly to the axle of the crank. Vivax
Now we come to the low-key way to do it – hiding a motor inside your bike so no one knows it’s there.
The Vivax Assist was the best-known device for doing this, although the company has now ceased trading. It’s the system that was used by Belgian cyclocross pro Femke Van den Driessche in 2016 to power her way to victory in her home championships. She was found out at a subsequent race, got a six-year ban and quit racing.
Vivax Assist may be no more, but we reckon this idea still has legs – at least for the budding cyclocross cheat.
Mid-drive ebike conversion kit
eBay and Amazon are awash with mid-drive motor electric bike conversion kits like this one from TongSheng. TongSheng
Many commercially available ebikes are powered with motors mounted around the bottom bracket, near the pedals.
These have the advantage of placing the weight low down on the bike, making it more stable.
This isn’t just a ready-made option though – you can also buy aftermarket conversion kits with mid-drive units.
Bafang is a brand that is increasingly focusing on complete ebikes, but it also offers a mid-drive conversion kit on Amazon, as well as wheel hub motors.
Priced from £360, Bafang says the conversion is easy to install using only a few tools to remove the bottom bracket and fit the drive on the front of the down tube.
As above, be careful of throttle-controlled kits that won’t pass the UK ebike regulations and will legally be considered a moped.
You’ll find other mid-motor systems on Amazon too, such as that from TongSheng, which is claimed to fit 95 per cent of standard bike frames and be 30 per cent lighter than a Bafang unit.
It uses a torque sensor, so should fall within the ebike regulations, and is priced from around £350 – although that doesn’t include a battery.
German brand Pendix has a mid-drive system priced from €999 to €2,190 that weighs from 5.4kg for a 28km range. It replaces a BSA bottom bracket and can be fitted to folding bikes as well as a wide range of regular machines.
Folding ebike conversion kit
The Brompton electric conversion from Electric Concepts is one of many kits available to electrify an existing Brompton. Electric Concepts
What can you do if you’ve got a folding bike and want to join the electric revolution?
Well there’s good news if you’ve got a Brompton – a number of ebike conversion kits are available. They generally work with a powered hub in the front wheel and a battery carried in a bag mounted on the front.
As discussed above, Swytch and Cytronex can both be used to convert a Brompton. Swytch’s Brompton kit is priced at £999, although discounts of up to 50 per cent are sometimes available on the site.
As with its other systems, there’s a front wheel hub motor, a clip-on power pack and a bottom bracket torque sensor. Quoted range is up to 50km.
Swytch will also build wheels for folders with other wheel sizes and different fork blade widths, such as Dahon’s models.
Are electric bike conversion kits legal?
If your electric bike uses a throttle, it is technically classed as a moped, and must be taxed and insured as such. Simon Bromley / Our Media
Most electric bike conversion kits are legal to fit to a bike, although the precise rules differ depending on where you live.
In most of the world, the motor needs to be limited to a maximum of 250 watts of continuous power output, unless the electric bike is only used on private land.
You also need to be pedalling for the motor to work – a throttle can only operate at low speeds and assistance needs to cut out once the speed exceeds 25kph. There may be a minimum age to ride an electric bike: in the UK it’s 14.
The rules are different in the US, where higher power outputs and higher speeds are usually legal, while Australia has some variants as well, so it’s worth checking that your electric bike conversion kit is legal where you live before purchasing.
Is converting an electric bike worth it?
An electric bike conversion kit is not cheap, so you want to be sure it’s going to work for you.
You need to have a candidate bike in decent condition to justify taking the kit route.
If you’re going to have to buy a bike to fit the kit to, or going to need to make a lot of repairs to your bike to make it roadworthy, the total cost is probably going to mean it’s not a lot cheaper than buying a complete electric bike.
You need to be confident you can fit the kit yourself as well. If you’re going to have to pay a shop to fit the motor or sort things out if the conversion goes wrong, your savings over purchasing a new electric bike may dwindle quickly.
It’s also worth noting that an electric bike conversion kit may affect your bike’s handling, particularly if there’s a heavy motor and battery mounted somewhere where the bike was not designed to carry it.
Drivetrain components may not be adequately beefed up for the extra power they need to transmit and may wear or break. Factors such as torque steer may be a problem, and cabling and sensors can be unsightly.
In contrast, if you buy a complete electric bike from a reputable brand, it will have been engineered around the motor and battery, and you’ll know what the finished product looks like.
Can you convert any bike into an electric bike?
There are designs of electric bike conversion kit that will work with pretty much any type of bike. Kits are available that are engineered specifically for certain bikes, such as the folding bike conversion kits we’ve talked about above.
A design such as the Rubbee should be mountable on most bikes. However, tyre wear may be an issue with a road bike with narrower tyres, and wet-weather grip between the motor’s drive wheel and the tyre may also be a problem.
But some kits, such as those that work with a specific bottom bracket configuration, may not fit on some bikes. An unusual wheel size may also limit available options, so it’s worth checking the compatibility of your planned solution before buying.
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How To Start An E-Bike Without A Key? (Solved With PICs)
Losing an electric bike key may be one of the things that disturb the peace of any electric bike rider because losing this small key turns your bike from a fast electric bike to a regular bike. Despite the importance of this key, most cyclists lose it a lot, and the journey begins to search for alternative ways to start the electric bike without a key. In this post, we will explain How To Start An Electric Bike Without A Key? as well as alternative ways that you can use to operate the bike
What is the use of the ebike key?
Before we get into the technical ways in which you can start an electric bike without a key, let us first know what are the key uses of an electric bike, which are completely different from the function of the key in a car or motorcycle. As a general rule, the key is used in an electric bicycle to lock the battery to the bicycle frame and also to close the electric circuit, which allows the passage of electric current from the battery to the motor. Based on the above, if the function of the key in terms of starting the electric bike is to close the electric circuit, then if we manually close the electric circuit, you will be able to start the ebike without a key!
How to Paypass the ebike ignition?
In this part, we will assume that you are able to remove the battery from the electric bike (later we will explain in detail how to remove the battery from the bike without a key) “Disclaimer: the below method required electrical technical knowledge and may cause damage to your ebike or harm you so do it at your own risk please take all the necessary precautions”
A step-by-step guide to bypassing the Ignition key on an electric bike?
Note: The goal of using a switch is the ability to manually control the closure or opening of the electrical circuit.
ِِAdvantages of this method bypassing the Ignition key:
In my personal opinion, this method has one advantage, which is your ability to use your ebike without the need for a key, or more precisely, it is a temporary method until you find the key or change the lock completely.
Disadvantages of this method:
- This method needs some electrical information because it is a rather advanced method
- The battery will not be locked and easy to be stolen
- If the battery or bike is in warranty, you will take the battery out of warranty if you do this way
Alternative Way to Start An Electric Bike Without A Key?
In this section, we will discuss other alternatives that you can use to Start An Electric Bike Without A Key.
1-Contact manufacturer to get another key
If you bought your electric bike from a well-known manufacturer, you can contact them and give them the serial number of your bike and they will send you a replacement key, as all known manufacturers have a system that contains all the bike data.
2-Order A new key.
If you know the code for your electric bike key, you can make a copy of it online. There are many sites that provide this service, such as AXA
3- Drill the lock.
This method depends on the drill key core so that you can remove the battery and then you can change the core or change the lock completely to get a new key.
Note: When drilling, always start with a small bit, and if you cannot remove the battery, you can use a larger bit so as not to break the tire or battery.
check out this video for how to replace the lock core.
4-Use a screw to remove the battery and change the lock.
In this method, you will use a thin screwdriver to remove the battery from the body of the bike, and therefore the lock can be changed by following the previous method.
This method can be used if the drill is not available or if it is used This method depends on inserting a thin screwdriver between the battery and the body of the bike and then pressing against the direction of the battery exit.
5- Pick a Lock.
This method depends on releasing the pins inside the lock using a thin piece of metal, and the advantage of this method is it does not need any tools, all you have to do is use a screwdriver in the direction of opening the lock and then using a thin metal tool press on the inner pins of the lock so that you can open the lock.
6- Use a blank Key.
One of the things that I personally tried is to use the blank key.
What is meant by the blank key is a key that does not have any cuts. You can go to the locksmith to try the blank key, and in fact, this method works with 60% of batteries, especially batteries outside the frame of the electric bike.
How to avoid losing your ebike Key?
In this part of the post, we will give you some tips that will help you avoid losing your electric bike key.
1- Make a third copy.
This advice I personally gave when I received my electric bike, as the bike came with two copies of the keys. The first thing I did was take the code for the key and I made a third copy of the key and put it in a safe place at home.
In fact, this method helped me a lot, whether it was in an emergency situation or if One of my family members wanted to use the bike when I was not at home.
2- Always keep your ebike key attached to your keychain.
The key to the electric bike is very small and will not represent anything to you if you attached it to your keychain as we are always having our keychain within our hands so, make sure that it has your electric bike key.
if the matter for you is not pleasant, you can put it in your wallet.
3-Always Keep a copy of your ebike data.
When you receive the electric bike, it is good to ask the seller for the details of the electric bike, whether it is the serial number or service tag, as well as the key code, then take pictures of all this data and send it to yourself on the e-mail to keep a copy of all the data.
This will help you if you want to make a backup copy of the key, follow up on maintenance, or even if you want to sell the bike in the future.
4-Give a key copy to your close friend or relative.
One of the good things you can do is to make a backup and give it to your close friend or someone you trust to keep at home.
From experience: The person you give the key to will keep it more than you because he feels responsible for it and also if he does not use your ebike so he will not lose the key.
As a general rule, you can start an electric bike without a key by connecting the two wires attached to the key manually using a switch. this closes the electrical circuit and connects the current from the battery to the motor.
Alternatively, you can order a new key from your ebike manufacturer or make a copy using online websites or replace the lock core using a driller or screw