E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Fires: Is Your E-Bike Safe. Viribus electric bike battery

Himiway Cruiser Battery Pack

This 48V, 17.5 Ah (840 Wh) Lithium-Ion battery pack with genuine Samsung/LG cells offers the best in class range and performance. The battery securely mounts to the base. It can be removed easily without disconnecting any wires to charge indoors or to switch to a fully charged battery for extended riding.

Features:

  • Weight: 9 lb
  • Total Battery Capacity: 840Wh
  • Easy to Install: Lockable and removable
  • Brand: Genuine Samsung/LG 35E cells
  • Indicator: In Built-in charge level indicator

Notes:

The battery cannot be returned. You can view our full return policy.

Please write your bike frame number and battery serial number in the note.

Customer Reviews

I was very glad to be able to get a new battery for my Himiway Cruiser. I had some vandals help me out there by trying to pry the battery apart. While it still seemingly works (those batteries are pretty tough) I am unsure about its waterproofing now. Good to note that if you leave the bike anywhere for a long time, take the battery with you.

Great product, Great quality! With this battery you won’t have to worry about running out of power, it gets to where you want to go!

How long does it take to receive a battery if I order a second one?

Very quick shipping! Couldn’t have expected any quicker! 6 days for the bike and 5 days for the battery!

We LOVE our Cruisers! My wife and I have put over 700 miles on our Cruisers riding 2-track trails in the Colorado rocky mountains. I’ve had several issues with my Cruiser, but I would definitely buy another Himiway. We have been riding some steep and dusty trails, so I was not surprised when my motor had to been replaced at 500 miles because it was making noise. Customer service was very helpful and covered it under the warrantee. I’ve also replaced the brake pads twice, but that’s by choice. I do not wait until they are fully worn out. We don’t have the long-range batteries, we carry an extra battery. I suggest you DO NOT buy a generic battery pack, they do not have the same power or range of the Himiway batteries. I’m looking at the full suspension next.

Waiting to see if I can get a key! Then I can replace the battery pack. I ordered the key but not hearing anything about it.

The battery is very powerful. A full charge gets me over 40 miles of very hilly terrain. I personally think that there should be a more secure attachment mechanism to prevent theft. The locking plunger is easily retracted with a screwdriver or knife even after it’s locked. I found that out the hard way. This needs immediate improvement to prevent theft of the 500 batteries.

Himiway Cruiser Battery Pack

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E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Fires: Is Your E-Bike Safe?

Repeated fires have prompted the FDNY to release recommendations for the care and keeping of e-bike and other lithium-ion batteries.

  • A spate of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries throughout New York City on April 21 has prompted the FDNY to issue lithium-ion battery safety tips, including for e-bike batteries.
  • Similarly, a Florida bike shop burned down on April 9, after a refurbished e-bike battery was left on the charger overnight.
  • E-bike batteries can be fire hazards when used and stored incorrectly. Below, we discuss how to use an e-bike battery correctly.

Between New York City’s fire department (FDNY) issuing a warning about e-bike batteries and a Florida bike shop going up in flames after a battery was left unattended on a charger overnight, it’s been a worrisome week for e-bike owners. But don’t panic: Your e-bike is likely safe, but consider this a warning to check your e-bike battery charging and storage practices.

Because lithium ion batteries—commonly found in everything from cell phones and laptops, to e-bikes, scooters, and electric cars—can store a large amount of energy, improper care and keeping of the batteries can result in fires.

“If using a lithium-ion battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage. Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately,” the FDNY tweeted earlier this week.

From Bicycling

New York Daily News reports that the FDNY was called to the scene of four different fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, all on April 21. The batteries were used in an array of vehicles ranging between electric motorbikes and scooters. The vehicles pictured in the fire department’s tweets are all motorbikes, rather than e-bikes—but e-bike batteries have caused fires in the past.

The largest of the four fires reportedly happened due to several batteries stored on a work shelf. While no deaths were reported, 12 people were injured in the fires. And the FDNY issued the grim reminder that four people were killed last year in fires caused by these batteries.

How do you prevent charging incidents like this from happening to your e-bike? Avoid aftermarket and off-brand or bargain batteries for your bike, first of all. Stick to the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations. Furthermore, e-bike batteries that are charging should never be left unattended. If you’re charging your e-bike in the garage, set a timer to remind yourself to unplug it when it’s done, and if you’re leaving the house, unplug it and finish charging it when you return.

Bike shop owners should be just as careful. Unfortunately, earlier this month, Andante Bike Shop in Cutler Bay, Florida, learned this the hard way. The shop was destroyed on April 9 when a rebuilt battery was left on a charger overnight. While a normal e-bike battery from a reputable brand shouldn’t set itself ablaze when left too long on the charger, a malfunctioning battery is a serious fire hazard. Inexpensive lithium-ion batteries also present a serious risk of malfunctioning. Regardless, it’s important to never leave any e-bike battery charging overnight or without supervision.

Related Stories

It may sound excessive, but considering the number of buildings destroyed just this month due to these batteries, it’s worth taking precautions. New York Daily News reported that in the U.S. alone, charging lithium-ion batteries caused 330 fires from 2015 to 2018.

Human Powered Solutions provided Bicycle Retailer a detailed set of instructions for bike shop e-bike charging protocol, and you may want to take some of their advice for your own at-home e-bike charging station.

Electric Bike Conversion Kits Guide

Electric bike conversion kits are becoming increasingly popular among commuters and bike riders. Electric bicycles take the effort out of cycling and allow you to do more and go farther than is possible on a traditional bike.

Commuting, carrying cargo, adventure riding, and mountain biking are all made easier with the help of a pedal bike motor and battery system. With an e-bike, riders can set off without worrying about steep hills, vicious headwinds, or arriving at their destination covered in sweat on a hot day.

The issue with e-bikes is the cost and the space they take up. However, many people already have a bicycle lying around, so repurposing it with an electric bike conversion kit will save you money and the hassle of buying a new e-bike.

This article is a complete guide to electric bike conversion kits, answering all your e-bike kit-related questions and helping you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

What Are Electric Bike Conversion Kits?

An electric bike conversion kit is a kit that contains the individual electrical components and cables used to power an e-bike.

By installing the components on your traditional bike, you can continue enjoying it while getting the benefits of electric power, saving time and money, and being environmentally responsible.

These e-bike kits come in various designs and price ranges to suit different budgets, bikes, and power requirements. In general, the components of an electric bicycle conversion kit are a motor, battery, controller, and sensors.

Types of Electric Bike Conversion Kits

As mentioned, several electric conversion kit designs exist, each with advantages and disadvantages. The type you choose will depend on the bike you will install it on (recipient bike).

Hub Drive or Wheel Ebike Conversion Kits

The most common way to convert a regular bike to an e-bike is with a hub motor kit in the front or rear wheel.

There are two kinds of hub motor kits. One type comes with a motorized hub that you replace your existing wheel’s hub with; the other comes with a complete front or rear wheel with the motorized hub pre-installed, meaning you swap out the entire wheel.

These kits are relatively straightforward to install for the home mechanic because all you need to do is swap components and connect the electric parts. In addition, the compatibility is broad because the kit only has to match the bike’s wheel size.

There are two types of hub motors, geared or direct-drive (gearless), but most products on the market have geared motors.

Direct Drive Hub Motor Kits

The most basic motor design is a direct-drive hub. The shaft in the motor connects directly to the wheel axle, so both turn at the same speed. As a result, these systems have low torque levels and are inefficient but are more durable as there are fewer moving parts.

E-Bike conversion kit with a direct-drive motor. (Image source: ebikeling.com)

Direct-drive hub motor kits are harder to find nowadays as most manufacturers have switched to geared hubs for their superior performance. Still, they are the cheapest hub motor kits and provide more power than some lightweight geared hub systems.

Choose a direct drive if you have a limited budget and don’t need lots of torque; avoid them if you climb plenty of hills and like to use lots of assistance.

Geared Hub Motor Kits

A geared hub motor on a RadRunner e-bike. (Image source: radpowerbikes.com)

Geared hubs are similar, except they have a set of planetary gears that connect to the shaft instead of connecting directly to the axle. With a high gear ratio, the shaft can spin faster than the axle, generating more torque. In addition, they are smaller and lighter than gearless motors.

Geared hub motor kits are best for budget-conscious riders who don’t want to splash out on a mid-drive but also want solid performance for hill climbing and fast acceleration.

Geared hub kits have the same installation process as direct drives, there is a massive selection of kits on the market, and they’re still relatively cheap, making them the best choice for most people.

Front vs. Rear Wheel Hub Motors

The difference between a front and rear hub motor is simple; one is located in the front wheel, and the other is in the rear wheel. However, the advantages and disadvantages of each are more complex.

Front-wheel hub motors are lighter, they make it easier to change a flat tire, they don’t limit your drivetrain choice, and the conversion kits are easier to install. The trade-off is poorer traction, slower handling, a harsher ride due to the extra weight up front, and worse aesthetics.

On the other hand, rear-wheel hub motors are easier to handle, have better traction as the rear wheel is weighted more, and look better. But, unfortunately, they are heavier, harder to repair, and they limit your gearing options.

Mid-Drive E-Bike Conversion Kits

Bafang mid-drive e-bike motor. (Image source: bafang-e.com)

Mid-drive bike motor kits aren’t as common as hub motors because they are difficult to install and have limited compatibility with traditional bikes.

They install in the middle of the frame at the bottom bracket. These motors are efficient, durable, and usually have lots of torque while producing the most natural feeling power output due to their connection to the drivetrain and use of torque sensors. However, you must use the correct gearing to achieve this smooth efficiency.

Due to the higher efficiency and torque levels, mid-drives are best for riders who value performance and natural riding over saving money. Of course, they come at a premium, but you will get more range and better assistance for tackling steep gradients. For this reason, mid-drives work well for converting cargo bikes, mountain bikes, and other off-roaders.

Avoid them if you have a total budget under 900 or aren’t comfortable tinkering with your bike, as they’re harder to install.

Friction Drive Electric Bicycle Conversion Kits

A friction drive e-bike kit is the most rudimentary design. It consists of a motorized wheel in a unit that attaches to the seatpost or behind the bottom bracket.

Rubee X friction e-bike conversion kit. (Image source: rubbee.co.uk)

The motorized wheel engages the tire and provides a slight boost to the rider. This e-bike kit design isn’t powerful but is quick to install and remove and widely compatible.

The speed and ease of installation and the lower of friction drive kits are the primary advantages they offer. However, they have limited performance and functionality and only produce enough power to assist in a meaningful way when riding on flat terrain. For this reason, most riders won’t find them valuable.

Hub Motors vs. Mid-Drive Motors

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hub Motors

Electric bike hub motor conversion kits are the most popular choice because they are cheaper and easier to install than mid-drives while still providing decent assistance power and range. The wide range of options and the broad compatibility of these systems also make it easier to find one that works for your bike.

Geared hub motors have the least amount of drag and are the lightest, meaning it is easier to pedal when you don’t have much charge left or if you want to conserve the battery.

A drawback of choosing a hub motor is the uneven weight distribution and the impact on handling. The motor’s placement in the wheel and a battery mounted on the top tube or a rack may cause handling or balance issues, especially on lighter bikes.

The bulky, untidy look of hub motor conversion kits could also deter some riders from choosing one. Likewise, the inefficiency and need for a larger battery is a trade-off for hub motors compared to mid-drives.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mid-Drive Motors

As mentioned, mid-drives are the most efficient style of motor, getting much more range from a battery than a hub motor would. In addition, the motor’s low and central position barely impacts handling.

Because traditional bikes weren’t designed to have the extra weight of an e-bike system, they are more susceptible to changes in the center of gravity and uneven weight distribution.

Finally, mid-drives also produce more torque at a given rating than hub motors, making them faster off the mark and better for climbing hills.

There are a couple of drawbacks to buying a mid-drive eBike conversion kit that aren’t obvious. In general, mid-drive e-bikes are preferable, but the added cost and complexity of making a mid-drive conversion can tip the balance in favor of hub drives.

Mid-drive kits are more expensive, which impacts one of the main advantages of eBike conversions, the low cost. Poor compatibility is another drawback; these kits are only compatible with a specific range of bottom bracket sizes.

Another problem is that they are tricky to install, so you must be a competent mechanic to do it correctly, unlike friction or hub-drive kits.

Should You Buy an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?

As we’ve seen above, installing an electric bike kit is possible with some time and basic home mechanic skills.

Electric bike conversion kits are a popular option, offering several advantages over purchasing a new e-bike. However, there are drawbacks worth considering before you decide on conversion or a purpose-made e-bike.

Pros of an Electric Bike Motor Kit

  • Price — Converting a traditional bike you already own is typically much cheaper than buying a new electric bike, making them ideal if you have a limited budget.
  • Use a bike you like — You can choose almost any model or bike you already own and enjoy riding, and pick a suitable conversion kit instead of settling for an e-bike that’s not exactly what you want.
  • Environmentally friendly — Repurpose a bike you already have and save the environmental footprint created by manufacturing the new e-bike.
  • Customization options — Pick the specific battery and motor size that suit your needs and riding style.
  • Low weight — A converted e-bike typically weighs less than a purpose-built one, especially if you choose a light e-bike kit.

Cons of an Electric Bike Motor Kit

  • Requires some mechanical skills — To safely install most e-bike kits, mechanical experience is necessary, and you need specific tools to do the conversion. This can be off-putting for riders who don’t have a mechanical inclination.
  • Limited mid-drive choices — Electric bicycle mid-drive conversion kits are uncommon and have limited compatibility due to bottom bracket size and tread requirements. In addition, they’re more challenging to install.
  • Quality — Many electric conversion kits on the market are not high-quality or long-lasting, meaning they won’t be durable under heavy use. There are some excellent options available, but they are pricey. Choose a reputable brand to avoid issues with performance and function.
  • Warranty — Many e-bike kits don’t have good warranties, so you’ll be liable for repairs or replacement parts. In addition, installing an e-bike conversion kit will typically void the frame warranty on a bike.
  • Aesthetics — These systems are not integrated like many modern e-bikes, meaning they don’t look great. Most new e-bikes have integrated wiring and electronics.
  • Performance — A converted bike won’t perform the same as a purpose-built e-bike. The handling will be slightly off, and the ride quality won’t be as smooth.

All things considered, electric bike conversion kits offer a cost-effective way to turn a traditional bicycle into a motor-powered bike, but they also come with trade-offs. So be sure to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether an electric bike kit is right for you.

Motor Power: How Many Watts Do You Need?

One benefit of choosing an electric motor kit is that you can select the size of the motor you want. Road-legal e-bike motors range from 250 to 750 watts (W).

The power you need depends on several factors, the most important of which are rider weight, how much assistance you like to use, whether or not you carry cargo, and how hilly the local terrain is.

For example, a heavier rider who frequently rides up moderately steep gradients will need extra power from the motor to get the same benefits as a lighter rider.

Likewise, a lightweight hybrid or road bike with narrow tires doesn’t need as much power as a heavy full-suspension MTB tackling steep inclines. For this reason, an electric motor for a mountain bike usually has high wattage and torque.

Peak vs. Nominal Power Output

Most motors come with two power ratings; peak and nominal power. Unfortunately, these ratings are not standardized or regulated, meaning manufacturers can use slightly different definitions. For example, one brand’s peak power may be sustained for three seconds, whereas another’s peak rating is one second.

Peak power is the maximum output a motor will reach under surge conditions, such as on an extremely steep gradient. Nominal power is the maximum output a motor can sustain continuously.

The more consequential of the two is the nominal (continuous) power, as this provides a better idea of how the bike will feel when you have pedal assistance set to high. But, again, the power rating isn’t the only factor determining how the motor performs, and not all 750W motors feel the same, so read user reviews for a better picture of a specific motor’s performance.

Torque

An e-bike motor’s torque rating is important to look out for as it gives an idea of how the bike will perform on climbs, how fast the acceleration is, and if the bike will feel jerky or smooth from a stopped position.

High torque means you reach the maximum assisted speed faster and allows you to go uphill without a significant drop in speed, so it’s easier to climb steep gradients.

Electric mountain bikes, cargo e-bikes, and hunting/adventuring e-bikes require more torque for the extra demands of the terrain, the high weight of the bikes, and higher cargo loads.

The downside of more torque is it can make the bike jerky, detracting from the ride quality and making it more difficult to control.

Mid-drive motor torque ratings range from 35 Nm to 160 Nm, but most kits have 80 Nm to 120 Nm. In contrast, most hub motor e-bike kits have 40 Nm to 80 Nm of torque.

If you are an urban rider who doesn’t tackle steep hills and is not worried about maintaining high speeds, you don’t need to worry about choosing a high-torque kit.

Are Electric Bike Conversion Kits Legal?

Following local rules and regulations is essential when doing an electric bike conversion. If your electric bike kit exceeds power or speed limits, you can be fined or prosecuted as an unlicenced motor vehicle.

A map depicting e-bike rules and regulations by state. (Image source: Bosch-ebike.com)

In the United States, a 1000-watt electric bike is not legal on the roads and must be registered as a vehicle, equivalent to a moped or scooter. By law, in most states, e-bikes must fall within one of the following three classifications:

  • Class 1 E-Bikes: Pedal assistance only, 20 mph top speed, 750W max power
  • Class 2 E-Bikes: Pedal assistance and throttle, 20 mph top speed, 750 max power
  • Class 3 E-Bikes: Pedal assistance and optional throttle, 28 mph max speed, 750W power

In Europe, the restrictions are even more strict, allowing pedal assist only, a 250W max power, and a 25 kph (15.5 mph) max speed. We recommend you avoid conversions that exceed these restrictions, such as a 1000W eBike kit, to ensure you don’t get fined.

How to Choose the Battery for an Electric Bike Conversion Kit?

The capacity of a battery will determine the maximum range an eBike conversion can achieve. As with choosing an electric bike motor, the battery you select will depend on your budget, how much range you need (the average length of your journeys), and how demanding your rides are.

For example, poor motor efficiency, riding uphill, carrying cargo, or riding with high assistance levels will put extra demands on your battery.

Another thing to pay attention to when searching for a new pedal bike motor kit is whether or not it includes a battery. Most electric bicycle kits have one, but a few don’t, which you can often identify by the suspiciously low price. So double-check that the battery is included; if it isn’t, purchase one separately or choose a different kit.

If you buy the battery and eBike conversion kit separately, ensure they’re compatible. The voltage and brand must match.

Voltage

Voltage measures the force that drives the flow of an electric current through a circuit, i.e., from the battery to the motor.

The voltage rating determines how much power can be delivered to the motor; higher voltage means more power, torque, and a potentially higher speed, making it an important consideration for choosing a battery. Unfortunately, the trade-off for higher voltages is they drain the battery faster, so more isn’t always better.

As mentioned, the battery, motor, and controller voltage must match for the system to operate correctly. Typical electric bicycle conversion kit voltages are 36V and 48V.

Amp-Hours

Amp-hours (Ah) is a measurement of the capacity of a battery in terms of the number of hours it can sustain a specified current. For example, a 10Ah battery can deliver two amps of current for five hours.

Electric bike batteries with larger Ah ratings will have more capacity and range. But again, numerous factors affect the expected range of an e-bike system. So we recommend choosing a battery with a rating of at least 10Ah.

Watt-Hours and Capacity

The final and most important measurement to look out for when choosing a battery is ‘watt-hours.’ Watt-hours (Wh) measures the total energy or power stored.

It’s worth noting that mid-drive motors are much more efficient and have lower voltages, so they often come with lower-capacity batteries compared to hub drives but offer similar real-world ranges.

This rating is found by multiplying voltage and amp-hours and gives the most accurate understanding of a battery’s capacity. For example, a 48V battery with 14Ah (48 x 14) equals 672Wh, a standard battery capacity for a rear-wheel electric bike conversion kit.

Battery Size and Weight

The physical size and weight of a pedal assist kit battery are significant factors to consider. Adding a battery to a bike that isn’t built for it can be tricky, especially on smaller-sized frames.

Ebike battery size and weight is important to consider because of range and practical reasons.

The more capacity a battery has, the larger and heavier it will be, so you may have to buy a smaller one so that it fits your frame. Additionally, a heavy battery can negatively impact handling, especially on lighter bikes or if it isn’t mounted in a stable place.

Battery Mounting Position

The mounting position varies widely based on the type of electric bike kit and recipient bike you use. Most cyclists who do an eBike conversion attach the battery to the downtube. However, it’s possible to mount it to a rear rack or in a frame bag hanging from the top tube.

Hybrids, urban bikes, and hardtails usually have plenty of room in the main triangle, but full-suspension MTBs or step-through frames are more complicated.

We recommend measuring your main triangle before searching for an electric bike conversion kit and battery. Ideally, you want to avoid drilling holes in your frame or mounting the rack in a position that impacts the center of gravity.

How to Convert a Bike to an Electric Bike?

To install an electric conversion kit, you’ll need to be a competent home mechanic with plenty of time and patience. The process can be relatively complex, depending on the kit, and it may require improvisation to make it fit correctly.

An easy-to-install mid-drive ebike motor kit by Cycmotor. (Image source: cycmotor.com)

Almost all kits come with detailed instructions and videos you can follow step-by-step through the electric bike conversion kit installation. However, if you’re doing it for the first time, choose a brand with excellent instructions and customer support in case you run into issues.

Not all kits require the same tools, but the tools you need at a minimum include:

  • Bike stand (optional but preferred)
  • Set of screwdrivers and hex keys
  • Pliers
  • Tools for removing crankset, hub, or freewheel (depending on the e-bike kit)
  • Heavy-duty cable ties

If you have zero mechanical knowledge and experience, it’s better to find a local bike mechanic who would be willing to do the conversion for you. It will cost more, but you will save a lot of time and avoid potentially damaging the kit.

What Types of Bikes Can Be Electrified?

In theory, you can install an electric bike motor kit on any bike. However, some styles are better suited to taking an e-bike motor and battery. For example, sturdy, slow fat tire bikes make better recipients than lightweight road bikes.

Regardless of the type of bike you choose, ensure it is in good working condition. Excessive wear on the frame, drivetrain, or brakes can quickly lead to broken components when you add the extra weight and power of a pedal-assist bike kit.

Hybrid Bikes

The most common models you’ll find electrified are hybrids and urban bikes, which also happen to be the most popular categories of purpose-built e-bikes.

Hybrids blend mountain and road bike characteristics that result in versatile capabilities. There is a wide range of hybrid bikes on the market, some better suited to commuting and others to fitness and leisure rides.

Because they aren’t specialist performance bikes, hybrids are more affordable and practical for day-to-day use, making them excellent recipient bikes for e-bike kits.

Fat-Tire and Hardtail Bikes

Fat bikes are perfect bike kit recipients because of their sturdy and durable frames and stable base. Similarly, they benefit from motor power because they’re slow and heavy. In addition, it’s easy to find a fat tire electric bike kit.

Fat tires range from 3.8″ to 5″. Most fat bikes are rigid-framed, but high-volume tires help compensate for the lack of suspension. People regularly convert fat tire bikes to electric because they function well for carrying cargo, tackling mixed-terrain rides, or riding in wet weather, thanks to the grippy and stable tires.

Hardtail mountain bikes are another popular option for an e-bike conversion. They are affordable, versatile, durable, and have plenty of space for adding the battery. The main issue when converting a mountain bike to electric is the extra pressure on the fork suspension. It will experience more load from the added weight, meaning you should limit hard riding.

Cruiser Bikes

Cruiser bikes are another solid choice for installing an electric bike kit. Adding motor power to this type of bike makes for easier, more enjoyable rides, as these bikes are heavier and slower than average.

The sturdy steel frames and low-slung geometry are also ideal for receiving bike kits. However, step-through designs can make installation tricky, especially if the bike doesn’t have a rear rack.

Folding Bikes

Folding bikes are some of the best to add an e-bike motor to because they can make commuting even easier or allow you to go faster without sweating.

Unfortunately, there are limited kit options for folding frames. One option is the Swytch front-wheel electric bike conversion kit with a battery. This system uses a pre-made front wheel with the hub motor integrated, and the battery sits in front of the handlebars like a handlebar bag, making it possible to fold the bike with the battery still mounted. This brand has wheels for most folding bikes, including 16 and 20″ wheels.

Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes

Full-suspension mountain bikes have suspension in the front and rear, making them the most capable off-road bikes.

They aren’t a common choice for eBike conversion because limited frame space and complicated geometry restrict your options. However, if you can find a suitable kit, the added motor power will make your off-road rides easier.

Another complication with this type of kit is the suspension. You’ll have to recalibrate it to account for the extra weight of the mountain bike motor kit after you convert a mountain bike to electric.

Road Bikes

Road bicycle motor conversion kits are another uncommon kind, but they make excellent recipient bikes for lightweight kits.

A light frame, aggressive geometry, agile handling, and narrow tires make the road bike the fastest option for pavement. By adding a slight boost from, say, a 250W motor, a lightweight road bike will experience significant benefits. It’s vital to use a lighter system and mount the battery as central and low as possible to minimize the effect on handling.

Recommended Wheel Sizes

All electric bike kits are compatible with a specific wheel size or sometimes multiple sizes. The most common sizes are 20″, 26″, 650b, and 700c. Folding and fat-tire bikes usually have 20″ or 26″ wheels, while hybrids and cruisers often use 650b and 700c.

Most e-bike kits are only compatible with one wheel size, but they may have several different electric bike wheel sizes you can choose from, such as Swytch. The size of the electric wheel doesn’t affect ride quality or performance. The only important consideration is fit.

Also, e-bikes with 20″ wheels are more practical for urban commuting, especially if you combine your e-bike commute with public transportation.

DIY or Purpose-Built E-Bikes?

Choosing between building a DIY electric bike and a purpose-made one isn’t too difficult. People who choose a DIY eBike do so to save money and because they already have an old bike lying around. However, in many situations, it would be worth selling the old bike and putting that money toward a new or pre-owned purpose-built e-bike.

Should you choose an electric bike conversion kit or buy an electric bike straight away?

Additionally, buying a factory-made e-bike doesn’t have as many possible downsides as doing an e-bike conversion, such as reliability and lack of warranty.

On the other hand, if you’re a natural tinkerer who enjoys a mechanical project like an eBike conversion or are happy to use a cheap eBike kit with a battery, it might be the right choice.

The total cost of buying a good quality electric motor kit can be almost as high as purchasing a new electric bike.

Another situation where using a DIY electric bike kit makes sense is if you have a high-quality recipient bike and compatible mid-drive motor (roughly 900) and are comfortable installing it yourself. In this scenario, you could make considerable savings over purchasing a mid-drive e-bike of equal quality for, say, 2,000 (1,100 savings).

Regardless of which you choose, consider the pros and cons of choosing an electric bike conversion kit that we outlined at the beginning of the article.

What Should I Look for When Buying an Electric Bike?

There are several important factors to consider when buying an electric bike. Firstly, we recommend setting a budget to narrow down your options and make it easier to search.

With a budget set, consider what you will use the e-bike for, how long your rides will be, where you ride, and how much assistance you need. Then, you can look for specific components, features, and capabilities.

  • Type – Pick a bike that meets your needs, such as general transport, commuting with cargo, mountain biking, road cycling, or adventuring. There is a bike for all requirements.
  • Motor – Choose between a hub or mid-drive e-bike. Bike hub motors are cheaper but inefficient and not as smooth to ride; mid-drives are more efficient and natural-feeling but more expensive.
  • Battery and range – If you ride long distances, look for a bike with a high average range. The range isn’t as important if you ride short to medium distances and can charge regularly. Remember, a larger electric bicycle battery means extra weight.
  • Weight – Do you need to lift, carry, or transport the bike regularly? If so, ensure the bike isn’t too heavy. Cheap e-bikes can weigh as much as 75 lbs.
  • Brakes – Look for hydraulic disc brakes when possible. They are the most reliable and effective for the extra power of an e-bike.
  • Display – Look for one that’s easy to use and read and has the metrics you want for your rides.
  • Tires – Tough, durable tires and puncture resistance are invaluable for e-bikes.
  • Brand reputation – Look out for well-reviewed, popular brands with high customer satisfaction.
  • Customer support – E-bikes regularly run into problems, especially in the lower price ranges. Good customer support can make or break your experience as an owner.

Most Popular E-Bike Kit Brands

Many brands produce DIY eBike kits, some of which make motors for purpose-built e-bikes, like Bafang, and others specialize in electric bike conversion kits, like Swytch. In addition, you can find dozens of lesser-known manufacturers selling cheap kits at Amazon and Walmart.

The most popular brands are those with reliable products, clear instructions, straightforward installation, good customer service, and product warranties.

Hilltopper

Hilltopper bike is a Seattle-based electric bike company that focuses primarily on electric bicycle conversion kits but also sells a proprietary gravel e-bike.

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Hilltopper sells both complete ebikes and electric bike conversion kits that are known for simplicity and affordable pricing.

They offer three different front hub eBike kit options ranging from 599 to 1,399. Each Hilltopper e-bike hub motor kit comes with a front wheel customized for your bike, a motor, a battery, a throttle, and a charger.

Hilltopper eBike kits all have disc brake compatibility and an integrated lock. In addition, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its products, subject to a 50 restocking fee.

Hilltopper electric bike conversion kits are pretty pricey, but they’re easy to install, and they come with extra features and a solid max range and speed.

Swytch

Swytch bike is a London-based company founded in 2017. The brand has a unique e-bike hub motor kit that’s both the smallest and lightest on the market.

Swytch is a popular English company specializing in the production of simple electric bike conversion kits that can be installed on almost any bike.

The Swytch kit installs in four simple steps, comes with a.size battery that mounts to the handlebars, and a customized front wheel available in 13 sizes (from 16″ up to 29ers).

Overall, reviews of the Swytch system are overwhelmingly positive. However, the trade-off for being so light (1.54 lbs or 2.42 lbs) is it doesn’t provide substantial assistance or range. The Air version lasts 9.6 miles; the Max version double that.

The Swytch kit cost is another deterrent, priced at 1,199 and 1,599. At this price, you can purchase a fully-equipped urban electric bike with more power and range.

Bafang

Bafang is a leading manufacturer of electric bike conversion kits and components, producing some of the most powerful motors on the market. They are also the most popular brand of electric bike conversion kits, particularly mid-drive ones. You can choose from an extensive selection of hub-drive and mid-drive motors from the Bafang USA Amazon store.

Bafang is one of the most popular brands in the e-bike world, producing conversion kits as well as ebike motors and batteries used by large ebike brands.

Their front hub kits and mid-drives are available in several power ratings, from 500W to 1000W. vary widely, from 300 for the cheaper front hub kits to 1,300 for the top-end mid-drives.

Overall, Bafang DIY kits are well-reviewed, reliable, and covered by warranty. In addition, you can reach out to their customer service team for help with sales and installation.

Rubbee

The Rubbee X e-bike kit is the most popular friction-drive system on the market. Of all electric bicycle conversion kits, the Rubbee is the easiest to install and has the widest compatibility.

Rubbee makes a super-easy-to-install friction drive electric bike conversion kit suitable for almost all types of bikes.

To install the Rubbee electric bicycle kit, you simply attach it to your seatpost and align the motorized wheel with the rear tire. The system is compatible with wheels 16″ to 29″ wide, tires 0.5″ to 2.5″, seat posts between 22 mm and 35 mm in diameter, and any frame, including suspension bikes.

The motor has 250W of power and comes with a 10-mile battery. Users can purchase a second battery for 99 to double the range of the Rubbee X.

Unfortunately, friction drives have clear power limitations, making them ideal for those who need a slight boost on hills or when fighting headwinds, for example. The Rubbee bike price is just 579, putting it in the middle of pricing for e-bike conversion kits.

Electric Bike Kits on Amazon

Amazon is the place to go if you’re looking for an electric bike conversion kit, hosting an extensive range of options from different brands. You can find most of Bafang’s e-bike kits on the site, along with others from brands like Ebikeling, Voilamart, and AW.

The most common electric bike kit Amazon sells is the hub-motor system with several front-wheel and rear-wheel eBike conversion kit options. In addition, Bafang’s mid-drive kits are also available at the site.

When searching for an Amazon bike motor kit, double-check that it comes with a battery included, as some of the products don’t, usually identifiable by the lower (sub 200).

Electric Bike Kits on Walmart

Walmart is another major online retailer of electric bicycle conversion kits. They host some of the same brands found on Amazon, like Voilamart and Bafang, and a range of others, such as Viribus and Yescom.

The only electric bike kit Walmart sells from the store is a Preenex system with a 1000W 48V motor. The rest are sold by third-party retailers, such as those found on Amazon. Again, the pricing varies from the low 100s to over 1,000.

Electric Bike Conversion Kit FAQs

What is the best electric bike conversion kit?

The best electric bike conversion kit is one that fits your bike without negatively impacting the ride quality and provides enough power and range for your typical rides. Because bike styles and rider requirements vary so much, it’s impossible to say which kit is the best.

Are eBike conversion kits any good?

Yes, eBike conversion kits are good for some riders, like those with a limited budget who want to repurpose their current bike. Converting a bike to an eBike provides the benefits of electric power without a high cost, making rides easier and allowing you to ride farther than before.

How much is a Swytch conversion kit?

A Swytch conversion kit costs 1,199 for the 15km Air version and 1,599 for the 30km Max version. An upgrade to the Max kit costs 799 for existing customers. This e-bike motor kit is quite expensive, but it is one of the easiest to install and lightest.

How much is a conversion kit?

A conversion kit costs anywhere from 200 for a low-power off-brand kit to as much as 1,600 for Swytch’s premium kit. If you find an unusually low price, ensure it is an electric bike kit with a battery, as some products don’t include one.

How do you attach an electric motor to a bike?

You can attach an electric motor to a bike by installing a pre-made front-wheel electric bike kit or retrofitting a hub motor to an existing front or rear wheel. Alternatively, attach a motorized wheel to drive the tire directly or install a mid-drive at the bottom bracket.

Is it legal to put an engine on a bicycle?

Yes, it’s legal to put an engine on a bicycle, given it complies with local restrictions on power (W) and speed. An electric motor for a bicycle can have 750W of power and go up to 28mph (Class 3). In Europe, the limit is 250W and 15.5mph.

How much does it cost to convert a bike to electric?

It costs roughly 300 to 1,000 to convert a bike to electric, depending on the kit you buy and the tools you need to buy for installation. Of course, there are cheaper and more expensive options, but most kits fall in this range.

How fast does a 1000W electric bike go?

A 1000W electric bike can go as fast as 32 mph if the controller has no limit. However, it’s important to note that a 1000W electric bike kit with a battery doesn’t comply with e-bike regulations in the United States and can only be used on private land.

How do I choose an eBike conversion kit?

Choose an eBike conversion kit by finding one that is compatible with your bike. First, measure the main triangle, so you know what size battery fits. For mid-drives, your bottom bracket must be within the specific range (typically 68-73mm). For hub-drive kits, check wheel size compatibility.

How do I install an eBike conversion kit?

Install an eBike conversion kit by ensuring compatibility, gathering the appropriate tools, and following the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Many brands offer step-by-step video guides for their electric bike kits too.

How do you electrify a bike?

You can electrify a bike by installing an electric bike conversion kit, including a motor, battery, controller, and sensors. Doing so will provide you with pedal assistance to take the effort out of riding on flat ground or going up hills.

Troubleshooting Common e-Bike Problems: The Ultimate Guide

Maintaining an ebike in good working condition can be tricky business, especially if you’re a newbie ebike rider.

An ebike will work smoothly only when all the parts are functioning properly. Luckily, not every hiccup with your electric bike means there’s a major problem. Sometimes, it just needs a bit of DIY maintenance.

Not to mention, many ebike owners don’t live near an electric bike service shop, so getting the job done themselves can be a lifesaver. In any case, knowing how to troubleshoot common problems of ebikes is valuable information for anyone owning an electric bike or thinking about buying one.

In this article, we’re sharing a full guide on how to troubleshoot common ebike problems to help you get back on the road in no time. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Troubleshooting the Battery

If your ebike won’t start or keeps cutting off, the issue can often be traced back to the battery. Even if you’re just doing a routine troubleshooting session, the battery on your ebike should be the first component to inspect. Here are some ways to troubleshoot battery problems:

Check the Voltage

The first thing you need to do is check the battery voltage. The LEDs on the control panel and the ebike should light up, if this doesn’t happen, then there’s a chance that the battery hasn’t been charged or there may have been a blown fuse.

Checking the battery voltage can give you a clue as to whether or not the battery has been damaged.

You can check the voltage of an ebike using a voltmeter by simply attaching the prongs to the positive and negative sides of the prongs on the battery. Another way to get a reading is to fasten the voltmeter directly into the charger connector on the battery.

If you find that the battery power dies out too quickly, then the first you should do is determine how long the battery pack has been left without charging. Accordingly, you’ll be facing one of 2 scenarios:

  • If the battery pack hasn’t been charged for 6 months or less, you may be able to recharge it successfully.
  • If the battery pack hasn’t been charged for more than 6 months, then it’s probably defective.

If you know that your ebike has been sitting in the garage for some time without recharging and when you try to start it, the battery loses power too quickly, then it’s safe to assume that the battery is defective and will require a replacement.

If you’ve charged your ebike battery for less than 8 hours, try letting it charge for 8 hours and then check if the electric bike can run at full speed. We highly recommended not to leave the battery charger plugged into your electric bike for more than 12 hours. This is to avoid the risk of overcharging or damaging the battery if the charger malfunctions.

Check the Battery Charger

While you’re at it, you should also check the battery charger. You don’t need any tools to get this done; just plug the battery charger into the wall and see if one or more of the indicator lights are illuminated.

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If the indicator light doesn’t illuminate or even blink on and off when the charger is plugged into the wall, then you’re dealing with a defective charger. To test the output voltage of your battery charger, you can use a multimeter or voltmeter.

The voltage reading must be a few volts higher than the battery charger’s rated voltage. If the output on the battery charger is lower than the battery charger’s rated voltage or if it’s zero, then the battery charger is defective.

For example, if your ebike is equipped with a 36V battery but the voltmeter reads 10 volts, then the battery is faulty. In this case, it’s a good idea to check if your ebike is still under warranty.

If so, then you can contact the manufacturer and file a warranty claim for replacement parts. But if not, then you should buy a new battery.

If the voltmeter reads a surface charge of more than 36V, then the battery is fully charged and you can try troubleshooting another component.

Check the Battery Management System

If your ebike keeps cutting off, one of the most common reasons for such hiccups is a failing battery. If your battery pack is particularly choking when under load, then the issue could be that the battery management system is shutting it off to protect your battery pack from overeating.

Typically, the battery management system will cut off the power if it senses the battery draining too fast below certain safe levels.

Often than not, a severe voltage drop means that one or more cells in your battery pack have been damaged. There are several reasons for such malfunction including aging, too frequent charge cycles, improper battery management, and a manufacturing defect.

e-bike, batteries, causing, fires, your, safe

If you’re experiencing power cuts with a new ebike that you’re just starting to use, it might be because the pack has been sized, engineered, or manufactured with less than the required high current capacity for supporting heavy loads.

When cells fail, it’s usually due to being under severe loads. One way to solve this is by dropping the assist level and pedaling a little harder when going up steep inclines or hills. This should reduce the load on your battery.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is the possibility of your battery arriving already pre-aged. This can happen in lower-quality batteries that are typically installed in cheaper bikes because they’re made by recycling batteries from other older devices such as laptops.

To find out if your battery is the culprit behind the repeated choking of your ebike, try using it on a different reliable electric bike with the same setup as yours. The same problem should happen if the battery is faulty.

If you’ve owned your ebike for a few years and you’ve used it almost every day, the frequent rides may have just pushed the battery pack towards the natural end of its lifespan. Here, buying a new pack from the manufacturer will solve the issue.

Check the Battery Prongs

A failing battery can be the result of improper lining up of its prongs. If this is the case, the electrical circuit can’t be completed so no power will be produced.

Using a wrench, you can easily fix this issue by slightly bending the prongs to realign them into the correct position.

Check the Battery Charger Port

Additionally, you need to check the battery charger port. Be sure to first unplug the battery charger if it’s plugged into the wall.

Next, plug the battery charger into the battery charger port on your ebike and observe the indicator light on the battery charger. If the indicator light illuminates when the charger is plugged into the electric bike, then the wiring and the wiring connectors going to the charger port as well the charger port itself are working.

If you have a voltmeter or a multimeter, you can test the voltage of the battery charger port. The level of the voltage measured at the charging port must be the same as the one rater for the battery pack.

Alternatively, you can test the battery pack on another reliable electric bike where you ride the ebike at full throttle on flat ground. Note how long the battery pack will last.

On flat ground, most ebikes have a battery range somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes. If your battery pack lasts less than 30 to 20 minutes, chances are it’s worn out and you have to replace it. Severely worn out batteries have a maximum range of 5 to 10 minutes.

  • If your ebike features a headlight, you can perform a load test by fastening an arch-shaped piece of cardboard over the headlight so you can see the beam from the headlight while riding.

From here, you can fully charge the battery pack and ride your ebike with the headlight on. Keep an eye out for the headlight’s beam shining on the cardboard.

If the battery is good, the headlight will dim just a bit when you give the ebike full throttle. If the beam on the headlight dims severely when you give the ebike full throttle, then you’ll know that the battery is worn out.

  • If you can get your hands on a multimeter, you can perform a battery load test while your ebike is running. Start by fully charging the battery, then jack up the rear wheel by connecting the multimeter to the battery. Give the electric bike full throttle while engaging the brake on the rear without locking it up.

When you engage the rear brake, the battery pack will go through a load so you can then read the voltage and find out how much it drops. If the battery is working well, the voltage will drop by a few volts only. Otherwise, the voltage will massively drop.

Troubleshooting the Brake Motor Inhibitor

If you’ve dropped your ebike, then a part of the handlebars may have been damaged. You can easily spot this by visually inspecting your handlebars and brake levers for signs of any cosmetic damage.

If you find that the brakes have been pulled back because of damage and can’t seem to break free, this will cause the motor inhibitor switch to stay turned on. To get your ebike running again, you’ll need to fix the jammed brake levers.

If the damage is significant, then the switch itself may require replacing. Such a process will need the skills of an expert electric bike mechanic.

  • Some people may suggest that you use your controller to figure out which wires are for the brake inhibitor so you can disconnect them completely to get rid of the problem. However, we stress that you never do that as it can be extremely dangerous on the road.

If your brakes aren’t functioning properly, then you should check the shoes or the brake pads for signs of wear. If they’re damaged or worn out, replace them right away. You should also check the brake cable tension and adjust it if necessary.

If you find the brake pads or the brake shoes in good condition then you may want to tighten the brake cable adjuster on the brake lever or the brake itself until the brake becomes more responsive. Make sure that the brakes aren’t rubbing on the rotor or rim when the brake lever is released.

Once you’ve adjusted the brake cable adjusters to the end of their limits, screw them all the way in. Then, tighten the brake cable by loosening the brake cable stopper, pulling the brake cable tight, and re-tightening the brake cable stopper.

You can make a final adjustment to the brake cable tension by unthreading the brake cable adjuster until you get the right tension.

  • It’s crucial to your and others safety that you maintain the braking system; keep discs and rims clean and straight, promptly replace any worn-out brake shoes and pads, replace frayed or worn cables and housings, and lightly lubricate brake pivot points.

Troubleshooting the Controller

Think of the controller as the processor of your ebike operating system. As a result, it’s also one of the most common reasons why your electric bike may not be working properly.

The controller’s job is to take input signals from all the controls and sensors on the ebike, analyze them, and then determine the best way to transfer the power coming from the battery to the motor.

Since the controller serves a huge yet sensitive purpose in the functioning of an ebike, the slightest technical glitch could ruin the established balance in any aspect including power transfer and distribution.

Inspect your controller for any wires that may be loose, disconnected, or misconnected. If you do see disconnected cables, reconnect them to the proper port. In general, the wires should be color-coded so you can match the same color wire with the same color the outlet.

If the controller doesn’t work at all, make sure that the power switch is turned on. Also, check the fuse or circuit breaker.

If your ebike comes with a circuit breaker, you can reset the circuit breaker by pushing the breaker. However, you should be aware of any problems that may pop up as circuit breakers are designed to protect the system and there could already be an ongoing problem that’ll seriously damage components.

For ebikes with a fuse, you can simply remove it and hold it against some light to see if it’s burned out. If so, replace the fuse.

Troubleshooting the Throttle

A lot of ebikes on the market come with throttle control. If you overuse the throttle control, it may get stuck when pulled back and won’t return to the off position on its own.

If you do this repeatedly, the throttle will eventually loosen or get damaged. If this happens, you’ll tend to experience power cut-offs.

The safest way to use the twist throttle is to pull it back and then slowly release it back into its original position once you’re done.

If the throttle is feeling loose or missing out on strokes from time to time, you can just replace it after testing whether or not it’s receiving steady power. This way you’ll know for sure that your throttle is to blame.

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Troubleshooting the Pedal Assist

Malfunctions of the power or pedal assist system on your ebike may cause issues associated with pulsating or occasional power cut-offs. Different ebike models feature different pedal assist systems; some are built around the front sprocket chainring while others are built into the bottom bracket.

If you’ve recently made mechanical adjustments to the wheels, pedals, sprockets, derailleurs, and so on, this could be why you’re encountering power supply hiccups. Another reason for such issues could be the ring of magnets on the front sprocket; the sensors may be out of alignment due to being dirty or knocked around.

You can adjust the pedal-assist magnet position using a flathead screwdriver to push the disc nearer to the sensors. If this doesn’t work and you’re having a hard time determining whether or not your pedal assist system is faulty, it’s best to take your ebike to an electric bike service shop so they can remove and replace the faulty parts.

Troubleshooting the Motor Connections

As we mentioned earlier, loose wire connections are one of the most common reasons why you may be experiencing issues with your ebike. As such, the wires connected to the rear hub motor can often get loose, frayed, or damaged over time.

If the wires are loose, you’ll probably have to replace the loose or damaged portions. Check if there are any melted or burned wires connected to the rear hub motor.

Melted or burned wires are a sign of overheating. If the insulation on the copper coil wires melts due to overheating, occasional short circuits may occur causing the power to cut off.

If the coils in the motor keep overheating, you’re potentially risking the motor’s integrity and may end up having to replace the motor to avoid damaging the controller.

Check the motor’s power transmission system for missing parts. Worn-out, missing, or damaged components could lead to problems in power transmission resulting in unwanted interruptions of power flow.

Wrap Up

There you have it, a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot common problems of ebikes. Even though DIY maintenance can be easy to perform, it’s still best to bring your electric bike to a service shop if you’re not fully confident in your skills.

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