Introduction: Easy DIY Electric Motorcycle Conversion
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We started with a Honda Rebel junker and a dream. to make a practical, zero emissions vehicle for commuting in San Francisco. After consulting with some plans available online which required chopping the frame significantly, We decided to figure it out for ourselves. Armed with a basic metal shop, we methodically convert the Honda rebel 250 into a clean quiet bike in about a week. It is registered and insured in CA as a modified 250. (if the power system were 24V or less, no registration is required).
The old rebel rolling chassis provided us with many of the needed parts. wheels, tires, brakes, etc. which was a real bonus. but it also supplied us with many rusty, broken, stripped or missing parts. In fact, most of our difficulties were because of the old parts, not because of the conversion itself. Without these annoyances, the conversion would have taken about two and a half days.
With an onboard 48V charger and 3-prong wall plug hardwired on, recharging is easy anywhere there’s a wall outlet. Charging time depends upon how depleted the batteries are, but usually they were topped off after 5-8 hours.
Step 1: Gather Parts, Tools and Materials
We scored a blown Honda Rebel 250 on Craigslist for under 500. It had a blown engine, but included all the other parts needed to make the bike safe and street legal: Lights, brakes, wheels, shocks, etc. I had a set of 4 deep cycle batteries from previous projects. We purchased most of the other AC components from Electric Motorsport in Oakland and also consulted a set of plans from 21 Wheels. Ultimately we had to redesign many aspects of the project and develop our own solutions.
BASIC PARTS LISTHonda Rebel 250 rolling chassisPerm PMG-132 electric motor(4) 12V 50Ah batteries in series36V-72V PWM controller5 k potentiometer (i.e. twist grip throttle)48V AC charger48.12V down converter OR additional small 12V battery (for lights, signal and horn)#4 welding cable and lugsCustom sprockets
BASIC TOOLSWelder4 angle grinder (with cutting and grinding wheels)Drill pressMetal Band sawSawzallStandard auto shop tools, wrenchesHeavy duty wire cutters / crimping tool
RESOURCESHonda Rebel service manualMake Magazine Gear calculator (for choosing sprocket sizes)EL Chopper ET builder’s plans. outdated, but a great starting pointFriends who can help
Step 2: Stripping the Frame
The first step is stripping the frame of all components. This is fast and fun and only requires basic hand tools. Save all the parts. Keep a jar or bucket handy to collect all the nuts, bolts, washers, etc. You will need most of these bits later.
Once everything is removed from the frame, clean it thoroughly. Be sure to remove all grease, dust, dirt. Lightly sand any rust spots.
Step 3: Removing the Motor Mounts
The frame requires some modification to accomodate the AC motor and batteries. Fortunately, this metal work is fairly simple. ( the plans suggest chopping the frame and extending it by several inches to accomodate all the batteries, but we decide to keep the original frame dimensions and distribute all the batteries around the bike. Two batteries will go into the engine compartment, but two others will ride on the back of the bike, like saddlebags.
Using a combination of 4 angle grinder and Sawzall, remove the existing motor mounts points and tabs.
Step 4: Cutting the Swing Arm
The swing arm modification is probably the most challenging part of the metal work. It requires a hole to be cut out of it to make room for the motor. Many people have correctly commented that cutting into the swingarm can seriously weaken it, potentially causing problems. This is partially true, but the final design takes that into account. The placement of the AC motor helps to strengthen and reinforce the swingarm stiffness.
This step requires precision. the motor must sit perfectly in-line with the rear wheel, so that the chain travels straight between them without any flex or twisting caused by misalignment. We used both a square and straight-edge to mark the cut lines with precision.
Step 5: Fabricating the Swing Arm Motor Mount
Once the hole is complete, and the motor fits snugly into it, we measure and fabricate a mount. Cutting a rectangular piece of 1/4 plate steel, then measure and remove a concave semi-circle, resulting in a custom mounting plate that holds the motor precisely in place.
Two holes are measured and cut for mounting bolts, then the piece is welded to the swing arm and the motor attached.
Step 6: Battery Tray Fabrication
Using steel angle iron, we fabricated three trays for batteries. One tray holds two batteries in the engine compartment, while two smaller trays are mounted like saddle bags on the rear of the bike.
The original design for the battery trays used beefy 2 angle iron to insure that they could support the weight (about 50 lbs. each). This was not a great choice. It added far more weight then needed. A redesign of the bike uses slightly smaller batteries, which helped in several ways.
A newer re-design of the bike uses smaller batteries. Now all four batteries could fit into the engine compartment. eliminating the need for the two rear saddlebags. The new design also replaces the 2 steel with 1/2 angle iron as well as gigantic zip-ties. Overall, this new design saves a ton of weight, which helps to offset the smaller range of the smaller battery set.
Step 7: Painting the Frame and Parts
Now is a good time to paint the frame. Fabrication is done and everything fits together.
Mask off any bits of chrome and clean the metal once more. Use a rust inhibiting spray paint and coat the frame lightly with multiple coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry between applications.
Step 8: Gears, Sprockets
This step can a little tricky. You need to calculate some things to try and determine the best arrangement of teeth on the two sprockets. one on the motor (the Drive sprocket) and one on the rear wheel (the Driven sprocket). The performance of the bike will be greatly affected by slight differences in gear-teeth number, so we used a gear calculator, like this great one provided by Make Magazine.
Once we knew the ideal sprocket sizes we purchased them online from Sprocket Specialists
Step 9: Assembly and AC Component Placement.
Once the fabrication of the frame is complete, reassembly of the bike can begin. Start with the basic components: the forks, swing arm, wheels and battery trays. With many of the usual parts of a motorcycle missing, it will definitely look different as you reassemble it.
The new electronic components need to fit somewhere, including the motor controller, charger, fuses, etc. I found this old cooking pot and decided to fit the parts inside of it. It looked odd and dangerous, but somehow appealing.
Step 10: Wiring
This part is challenging. Wiring the new 48 v. AC system is complex, plus the original 12V power system is still needed to run the lights, horn, brake lights etc. There are several different ways to proceed:
One: Keep the old and new electrical systems separate, and run the old system off a small rechargable 12V battery. This option keeps the wiring simple, but requires maintenance of two separate battery/charging systems.
Two: Integrate the two systems by using a DC-to-DC converter, which steps down the power from 48V to 12V This is a more complex wiring set-up, but can be maintained with a single charging system, which is much more convenient on a day-to-day basis.
We chose to integrate the two systems together, so we relied on several sources of information to guide us, including the original Honda Rebel service manual, the suggested wiring diagram from the 21 Wheels plans, consultations with the guys at Electric Motorsport and quite a bit of guessing on our part.
It took a few tries, and we burned out some fuses and bulbs along the way. But ultimately we got the wiring working reliably.
Step 11: Conclusion. UPDATED!
The final layout and design of the bike was ok, but needed some work. After some time on the road, we decided to make some modifications. First to go were the four big, mismatched 80Ah batteries. These were never a good matched set and always caused unreliable performance. I decided to replace them with four sealed, golf cart-style 50Ah batteries, which were smaller and lighter, but stored less energy.
However, the new batteries were small enough that all four could fit into the engine compartment. eliminating the two heavy rear saddle bags ( and all that weight). Using smaller gauge steel and gigantic zip-ties to build the new battrey trays saved even more weight. Sadly, the new design meant there was no room for the cooking pot that held the electronics, so those had to be remounted in an available spot.
The final design looks cleaner, weighs a lot less, but holds less power. a trade off that didn’t result in much change in the speed or distance of the bike, which always fluctuated around 35-40 MPH, and 15-30 mile range per charge.
Visit Gomi Style for videos, plans and instructions for many cool projects.
How to Convert a Dirt Bike to Electric?
With today’s ever-increasing gas prices, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking for the finest motorcycle to convert to electric power. Conventional bikes are deteriorating climate conditions. Therefore, they are becoming a thing of the past.
Many benefits of electric bikes contribute to the market growth for these vehicles. The number of motorcycles with electric motors has increased dramatically over the past year, marking the start of a new movement in the automobile sector.
How to Convert a Dirt Bike to Electric
Specialty dirt bike manufacturers are responding to the rising demand for electric motorcycles. While it’s possible to have an electric bicycle delivered to your door with a click of a button, many people in the United States are turning to a DIY transformation. However, it’s still a lot of work.
It would help if you looked for the following features in an electric motocross bike:
The engine’s dimensions and orientation constrain the engine bay and mounting arrangements.
You can choose to keep some components of the previous drivetrain to save money and provide a better experience for riders.
The first step in the conversion process is deconstruction, or taking everything back to the skeleton of the building.
The unintended design modification occurred around ten years ago when twin spar frames were introduced. This modification is partially responsible for the gasoline bike to electric conversion mania.
Motor frame designers converted to a twin-spar design around ten to facilitate the installation of a single, massive battery pack, increasing the bike’s power and range significantly.
Instrumentation and Controls
You may want to keep some traditional instruments on your e-bike for aesthetics.
For example, you could reuse the ignition key and reassign its function to the clutch lever, which could then be used to activate regenerative braking manually.
The charm of working on a motorbike restoration project is recreating the classic look and feel that has grown on you.
It would help if you didn’t settle for a cheaply made modern bike; instead, seek out a vintage one that has been lovingly restored. Try to save and preserve as much of the original layout as you can.
Depending on your height, riding experience, preferred suspension configuration, and desired to handle, you can decide which motocross bike to convert to electric.
Why Should You Switch to an Electric Vehicle?
While it’s true that you can easily get an electric bike from the market, nothing beats the elegance of a beautifully restored vintage model. The following are some of the most basic arguments in favor of proceeding with your do-it-yourself electric vehicle conversion.
The minimal maintenance cost is one of the appealing aspects of having an electric vehicle. With rising petrol costs, it’s no surprise that people everywhere are looking for alternatives.
Original and Sturdy Construction
No one wants to blend in on the new e-bikes that look like they were made out of cheap plastic. As a bike enthusiast, you must know the desire to build something amazing and then ride it.
Reduce your carbon impact at any time. Since green is supposed to be the new blue, electronic vehicles are becoming all the rage these days. When you know you are helping to reduce pollution by going on that hike, your mind will be put to ease.
Conventional vehicles endanger wildlife and disrupt classrooms and hospitals. Noise pollution is another reason motor enthusiasts are reprimanded in these public places.
Electric vehicles are peaceful and eco-friendly. They are silent without sacrificing any of the supple force or sheer enjoyment they provide.
Electric motors typically don’t get their due credit for their strength.
Depending on the motor’s size and how the bike is tuned, riding an electric bike can be just as exciting as riding a motorcycle powered by a traditional combustion engine. It is dependent upon the motorcycle’s original engine.
Increased Worth of Your Used Dirt Bike
Electric conversions can be challenging. Performing conversions for a niche clientele has become a lucrative industry for enthusiasts.
Thoughtful electric conversions increase the motorcycle’s worth and can be readily transformed into a side business.
Reduced the Weight of Your Dirt Bike
Due to the lack of need for fuel and engine oil, e-converted bicycles are often lighter than their conventional counterparts, despite the inclusion of an extra battery. This helps with fuel economy and agility on and off the track.
Limitations of Converting a Gas Motorcycle to an Electric One
Converting to electric power or not, working on a bicycle project is not for the faint of heart. Prospective roadblocks are as follows:
The process of conversion is complex. It is simpler to say than to execute. If you don’t want to work excessively, fear wasting your time, or don’t enjoy building a dirt bike in general, you should opt for a new one because the process could take months.
While it’s true that manufacturers exaggerate the range of their electric vehicles, practical testing demonstrates that commercially created electric vehicles outperform DIY electric vehicles because of the limited supply of tools and knowledge.
Since you don’t want to produce e-bikes in bulk, the cost of producing greater power will likely exceed the price of a brand-new e-bike.
over, it can be difficult to justify the cost of a well-executed electric vehicle conversion when you start with nothing but a motivation to save a few bucks.
It’s more expensive than buying brand new, and that’s probably not a good thing.
Disruption of the Original Style
Unlike cars, converting a historic motorcycle would always involve altering its distinctive appearance.
Sometimes kits won’t fit, and you may have to resell or return them to the store.
Conversion of Dirt Bikes into an Electric Bike
At first appearance, the transition from a dirt bike to an electric one might seem simple.
You might think that taking off the old gas tank and engine and putting in an electric motor and battery pack are all required to do the conversion.
However, converting a dirt bike into an electric bike is a huge undertaking. However, the auto industry is starting to embrace the need for it and developing electric vehicles more frequently than ever.
Changes like these don’t have much aesthetic impact on a car because the engine is hidden, but everything is on full display on a motorcycle.
An electric motorcycle cannot transport a battery as large as an electric automobile. The bicycle’s frame limits electric motor placement and size.
The motorcycle’s engine can be throttled either manually or electronically, like a car’s. And the transmission can be kept intact during the transformation.
Your converted vehicle will likely keep its existing final-drive mechanism, much like Kawasaki EV Endeavor, the teaser of which features their trump card – manual transmission.
When converting dirt bikes, it’s crucial to remember that standard motor kilowatts and horsepower are not comparable in any way. To get the job done, couple a strong motor with a suitable controller like Sabvoton.
Here is a quick 10-step tutorial for modifying your dirt bike:
- Collect all required components, equipment, and supplies, such as wire cutters, Sawzall, and drill presses.
- Remove all paint from the frame.
- Get rid of the mounting points and tabs to fit batteries and motor.
- Delete the swingarm. The AC motor’s location in the frame increases the swingarm’s rigidity, making it the most difficult metalwork element.
- After you’ve drilled the hole and confirmed that the motor fits inside it, you can take precise measurements and begin building the swing arm motor mount.
- The battery tray can be made from a steel-angle iron.
- Cover the wood and metal in paint.
- Drop in the cogs and sprockets. Depending on the conditions of the race, you should gear up or gear down by adjusting the front and rear sprockets. You can improve your top speed for straight-line racing by using a larger sprocket to create a higher gear ratio. It also lessens your acceleration or low-end torque.
- Assemble the off-road bike once more once the frame has been fabricated. The forks, wheels, battery tray, and swing arm are the foundation.
- Connect the wires last. Depending on how low the batteries are, a full charge for an electric motorcycle can take anywhere from eight to twelve hours.
Copying an existing motorcycle’s drivetrain could be a time-saving option. Otherwise, you might find it difficult to start from scratch due to the high cost.
Even though electric motor drives for bicycles aren’t cheap, at least you know you’ll get some more mileage out of your battery because they’ve been tried and tested.
The Top Battery Packs for Your Electric Bike Conversion
If you decide to ditch gasoline for electricity, you’ll have to get used to charging. You can’t leave home without it because of how crucial it is to the operation of your electric vehicles. If you’re looking for chargers, here are a few options to think about:
The Lotfancy QL-09005 is designed to work with various popular kits, thanks to its 36V XLR pin connector. Its speed is to be expected to be modest since it is limited to only 1.5A of output current
Wonderfully, it can protect your vehicles from short circuits and a year guarantee that you can use or return for a full refund.
If you’re looking for a way to get things done more quickly than the recommended stock that comes with the cheapest e-bikes, you might want to look into getting some wings.
The Moto Sealed 2.5’s output is a great time saver when switching from a 1.6A or 1.8A model. The built-in fan and 3-pin XLR connector make it ideal for professional use. Not only is it a viable choice, but it’s also quite affordable.
Honey Care G100-L10L13
The LED screen on the HoneyCare G100-L10L13 is great for keeping you updated on its status. It works with 48-volt, 13-cell battery packs.
It has secure, hardwired connections for its alligator clamp output connectors, preventing them from becoming dislodged. A four-step charging process and protection against reverse polarity are features.
Li Do UY360
The Li Do UY360 utilizes a combination of continuous current and voltage to help you get a full charge and then switches to trickle mode to keep it charged until you’re ready for a ride.
over, an extra fuse and a tough aluminum housing are also included. You can swiftly charge your device with its 8A output.
Green Technologies’ Cycle Satiator
Cycle Satiator is a powerful global model that can be programmed to work with either lithium or lead batteries.
It’s designed to save power and make it simpler to keep tabs on operations thanks to a large, easy-to-read display. It is approved for use in all regions of the world, has a waterproof seal, and operates with a whisper-quiet fan.
Is It Practical to Convert a Dirt Bike to an Electric Bike?
There has been a meteoric rise in the production of electric dirt bikes over the past few years. Their low-end torque numbers are astonishing.
Don’t estimate the power of electric motors in horsepower or kW. They are so quiet that riders can take them to almost any place.
Therefore, yes. It is practical to convert a dirt bike into an electric bike. It’s money well spent.
As investing in a brand-new electric dirt bike quickly becomes a white elephant project, you might want to think about making the switch yourself. This way, you can save money without sacrificing the custom construction or ride quality.
You may like the following electric dirt bikes:
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.
Latest Custom Electric Motorcycle DIY Builders From Instagram
Electric Motorcycle Developments around the world are so enormous, and that makes it impossible to document all. These are the latest Instagram DIY conversions and DIY builds that we found lurking around the Internet Of Things
Cagiva Electric Motorcycle DIY conversion by Matko Pečanić
We are unsure what motor Matko is using. It seems to be EMRAX OR Agni motor.We hope Matko will join Evnerds and tell us more, since the conversion on Instagram is not well documented.
Matko was able to make full electric motorcycle homologation for the Cagiva DIY conversion in Croatian CVH department! Now he can shred legally.
Coast Cycles Conversion with Luna Bikes parts from Night Shift Bikes
We interrupt our regularly scheduled BMW R75 build to share this little side project, a Coast Cycles mini bike for commuting on wet nola summer roads. Luna Cycles mid drive electric motor goes in next!……. Mockups for up a 52V 14s5p pack (that’s 14 Group’s of five 4volt batteries welded together) Likely 18650 Samsung 30q cells. – Night Shift Bikes
We wrote about Night Shift Bikes before here
Relec Motors Making Electric Motorcycle Drive Kits for DIY conversions
Retro-fit standard motorcycles with an electric drivetrain Retro-Electric Motors (RELEC) produces electric drive kits to replace your inline four-cylinder motorcycle engine – one for one – using existing mounting points, similar dimensions, and delivering similar performance.
The company started with the 3d model of batteryengine, 3d print model, cardboard model and finally a prototype ready for testing. The prototype is in DEV mode right now, so please follow them if you wish to be one of the first to recognize this fine work. This is Relec motors website
SKART Motorcycles are finishing their CafeBreak electric motorcycle and just finished Mini Roadster
– Rated Output power 800W – Battery (Li-FePo) 48V 10Ah – Maximum Speed 20-30km/h – Max Efficiency 89% – Range/charge ~20km
SKART MOTORCYCLES CAFE BREAK MODEL
Main specificationS: – Rated Output power 4kW – Battery (Li-FePo) 72V 60Ah – Maximum Speed 50-100km/h – Continuous Input Current 118.9A – Max Efficiency 90% – Range/charge (50km/h) ~150km – Charging Time 3h – Max. Torque ~250Nm