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Electric Bicycles: Best Buys in Add-On Kits and Conversions
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Best buys are selected because they work well, come from solid companies and get high marks from users. Generally, users can opt to install the kit themselves on their bike, or pay an installation fee to their local dealer or bike shop.Hub motor kits power the bike using a hub motor built into the bicycle wheel.
Mid-drive kits modify the bike's chain path to transmit both human and motor power to the gearing at the rear wheel - which provides the user with both high speed and good hill-climbing.
BEST BUYS - KITS In the table below, conversion kits are listed (roughly) by increasing price and quality.
For each bike or kit listed on this site, we offer a way to purchase; just follow the link(s) at the end of the description. The dealers we list are
trustworthy and provide good customer service. If you find that's not the case, please contact us so we can make appropriate adjustments.
Most electric conversion kits priced less than $400 on-line and at big box retailers are aimed at the kid/teen/toy market. They generally
lack the performance and durability that people want and expect. Also, parts and service can be problematic with both sources. We
urge you to invest in a quality kit, preferably from a local dealer, that will serve you (and others) for many years. Remember, if it's poorly constructed and you can't get repair parts, it's likely to become land-fill material. Save, beg, or borrow the money to get a quality kit.
Warning: The Phoenix II (and BMC V4 / ENDURO ) are the most powerful off-the-shelf systems available for bikes. The Phoenix II motor is about 200 mm in diameter and weighs either 10 lbs. (for the front version) or 16 lbs. (for the rear). It offers great torque and top-end speed - and can handle the current of larger controllers. The Phoenix II 26" front wheel motor with fully inflated street tires and a 180-lb. rider can reach 25 to 36 mph on a dry, paved surface.
To sort through the many options, we recommend using the PHOENIX II calculator. There you can explore the options, capabilities and pricing of various motor, controller and battery combinations. To compare performance of the various motors, check these tables.
Phoenix II are great for off road as well as on road. Most dealers will offer custom builds with rims other than the standard (~23mm wide)--thinner rims for on road racing and fatter rims for offroad. Click here for an example of Phoenix II in a FAT bike.
Phoenix II electric wheels require no periodic maintenance. There are no belts, chains, sprockets or pulleys. The spokes of the wheel are directly connected to the electric motor. Direct coupling eliminates losses in the transmission of power to the wheel.
Phoenix II electric wheel systems come complete with everything you need to convert a pedal bike to an electric bike. The installation guide takes you step-by-step through the conversion process. If you have questions, you can call your dealer or the parts and service number included with your kit. Crystalyte encourages builders to get creative with their electric power systems.
To meet US Federal law as it defines bicycles, electrically powered vehicles cannot exceed 750 watts or 20 MPH, and must have functioning pedals. Check your local laws and choose your power system accordingly if you intend to ride on-road.
Above Street Legal
Phoenix II systems exceed limits that define a bicycle under US Federal law. As with all power systems, their use and suitability to a given application is the responsibility of the buyer. Crystalyte is an advocate of all electrically powered vehicles, regardless of their use. Choose a bike with good brakes, inspect them often, and replace worn shoes or pads as needed. You'll be putting a lot more miles on a bike powered by Crystalyte than a pedal bike, and brakes become very important at the speeds you will reach.
Kits Start at $559.
Motors come in 350W, 500W, 750W and now the new 1000W. The motors weigh only 9 lbs, 12 lbs for the 1000W.
1. KINETIC8-FUN central motor/controller
2. LCD display
3. Chain wheel and chain cover
5. Speed sensor and magnet
6. Brake lever
7. Thumb throttle
9. User manual
Montague Paratrooper with KINETIC8-FUN Mid Drive
Although not technically a kit, the Ridekick power trailer performs the same function of attaching to your existing pedal bike to create e-bike performance.
Ridekick is your fun, versatile tool to free yourself from the limitations of bike riding. Need extra space to store your stuff? The Ridekick power trailer is a motorized bike trailer that hooks to almost any bicycle and propels the bike up to 19 miles per hour for a distance of about 12 miles and carries about 2 grocery bags of cargo.
It is designed in Fort Collins and assembled in Northern Colorado. In addition to building a culture that respects people, they also focus on programs to respect our environment. This includes participating in local sustainability efforts and proactively providing recycling options for Ridekick products.
Ridekick power trailer features include:
Combine a Sun Bicycles EZ-1 (EZ Classic), EZ-3, EZ Sport, X1, X3 or other recumbent bike with a 500-watt drive system to get an extraordinary electric bike we call a "betterbike". The lowered seat and feet-ahead design of these bikes provide a comfortable, stable and safe ride. The Electro Cycle E-4 takes advantage of the bike's long chain to deliver power through the gearing of the bike/trike. Using the bike's gears provides great hill-climbing ability along with higher speeds - not just one or the other like most fixed-gear drive systems that directly drive a wheel. The E-4 mid-drive motor system works in tandem with the rider's pedaling through the variable-speed rear derailleur, significantly increasing motor and battery efficiency for higher assisted speeds, better pulling power and longer range. The throttle controlled drive system means no pedaling is required. When you do pedal, your effort will extend the range and increase the speed. The stock E-4 battery pack can be fully re-charged in about 4 hours using the included charger.
The comfortable and streamlined recumbents from Easy Racers are excellent for transportation. The recumbent design reduces wind resistance and greatly increases comfort and safety over a standard upright bike. Recumbents are safer in two important ways: 1) sitting closer to the ground means that falls to the side hurt much less and 2) in a head-on collision, your feet in front provide shock absorbtion and reduce the likelihood of a head-first fall over the handle bars. It's long frame also allows for additional batteries, if needed, for longer range.
Two- and three-wheeled recumbents from Sun Bicycles
are popular due to their low price and Taiwanese quality.
The three-wheeled EZ-3 Classic
provides the same great features with a stable, no-balancing-required configuration.
[Editor's note: The EZ-3 Classic has replaced the original square-tubed EZ-3 and the X3 model.]
The E-BikeKit brand electric bike conversion kit empowers you to easily convert your own conventional bike into a battery-powered electric bicycle with our high quality electric bike kit. This electric bike conversion kit with SLA e-bike battery pack offers both e-bike novices and experienced electric bike riders safety, power, convenience and reliability.
With the E-BikeKit Conversion Kit you get everything you need out of the box to convert your own conventional bicycle into a quiet, efficient and economical hybrid electric bike.
The E-BikeKit electric bike conversion kit system will work with any 36v or 48v e-bike battery pack.
Please be aware that at 48 volts the system is capable of speeds (30MPH top speed at 26”) that exceed Federal EBike Laws and your bike may become classified as a “motor vehicle”. At 36 volts the E-Bike Conversion Kit is within the speed limitation guidelines (20MPH unassisted on flats with 150 pound rider) established by the U.S. Federal Electric Bike Law, and in most states, no license, registration or insurance is required.
This is the same high-quality geared hub motor kit used on eZee bikes. Combining the 400W power (700W peak) of the motor with internal gearing provides incredible torque for hill climbing.
This is one of the few disc-ready front hub motors available. It comes with throttle, 20 amp controller, Li-Ion 10AH 36-volt battery, battery bag, Schwalbe Marathon tire, disc rotor, and all the wiring to hook it up and go. Just add your bike!Other details:
EcoSpeed makes high-performance electric bicycle conversion kits. With their patented Electric Mid-Drive kit (used primarily on recumbents) and the new Electric Mountain Drive, users can turn high quality bicycles from other manufacturers into high performance electric-assisted bicycles.
EcoSpeed electric conversions are made with extreme attention to detail and quality. The systems are designed to compliment the styling of your bike. They use the largest motors the law allows with external controllers to shed heat efficiently and crank out the power reliably.
A key factor in their performance is that they drive a bike's chain which enables use of most or all of a bike's gear range. Using the bike's gears provides great hill-climbing ability along with higher speeds - not just one or the other as with most fixed-gear drive systems that directly drive a wheel. The EcoSpeed motor system works in tandem with the rider's pedaling through your bike's variable-speed rear derailleur, significantly increasing motor and battery efficiency for higher assisted speeds, better pulling power and longer range. Yet, when the motor is idle, there is absolutely no motor drag on your pedaling efforts.
With the EcoSpeed EMD (mid-drive), a recumbent bike has enough performance to match door-to-door time of a car in around-town driving. Upright bikes are not quite as aerodynamic as recumbents, so the EMtnD (mountain drive) equipped bikes won't be as fast. Instead, the EMtnD is deliberately geared lower for stump-pulling low gear performance. Put one on your long cargo bike and carry passengers up hills! Or, put one on your mountain bike, and stop pushing it up the steep trails.Legal maximum speeds for electric bicycles vary by jurisdiction. To use the higher speeds available with EcoSpeed kits, you may need to register your bike as a moped, operate off road only, or stay under the radar (literally). In practice and in most locations, pollution-free transport is encouraged. Obviously, courtesy to other road users - especially pedestrians - will reduce unwanted attention.
To simplify ordering, the basic EMD Unit is sold with an appropriate frame adapter that customizes the unit for different bikes. Parts are CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum for rock-solid durability and then anodized for sharp appearance and scuff resistance. However, frame adapters are available for only a limited number of recumbent bikes.
The EPS (Energy Propulsion System) BionX has taken electric kits to the next level. The BionX kit is the most sophisticated and well integrated electric kit available today. Using advanced batteries and a totally silent, brushless motor, the EPS kit is lightweight and extremely unassuming. In pedal activated mode, the power is applied seamlessly and intuitively, and the throttle allows the BionX to be used without pedaling on flat terrain.
BionX offers a number of models to match the diverse needs of different cyclists. Any BionX product will provide you with four assistance modes and four regenerative modes, giving you extra energy to climb a steep hill, overcome a strong wind or just to ride your bike with more ease.
The BionX System consists of a console, a battery and a special wheel-based motor.
Learn more at: http://ridebionx.com/Price = $1800+ (350W), $2500+ (500W).
Currie has offered electric bikes and scooters since the late 90's. Now, they also offer the Currie Electro-Drive® Conversion Kit with either lead-acid or Lithium 10Ah battery packs. These kits convert most 26” bicycles into electric bikes. The Lithium version (left) uses a 250-watt hub motor wheel that replaces the front wheel of a bike. The sealed lead-acid (SLA) version (right) uses a 400-watt motor and gear reduction wheel that replaces the rear wheel of a bike. Also included with in the kits is a rack-mounted battery pack with rack, charger and throttle. Both the SLA ($400) and Lithium ($800) versions are available.
Heinzmann of Germany builds a variety of hub motors both in wattage rating and gearing for both front and back wheels. Unlike many kits that perform to specification only on 26" wheels, Heinzmann offers 16"- and 20"-wheel kits. The quality and dependability of their system is excellent. They sell a complete kit or individual components. Their hub is used on the EV Global bike as well as others. Their controller is a twist grip throttle that comes both in a Pedelec, (must be pedaling) and an EBike version. NiCad and NiMH battery packs are available.
Light Electric Vehicle Technologies provides service and warranty work on Heinzmann motors sold in the U.S. To contact the National Service Center, e-mail Light Electric Vehicle Technologies with technical questions.
Heinzmann Motors is more than 100 years old. The company has been building electric motors for 40 years, and electric bicycle motors since 1994.
Here's a note from someone who seems to know: "You are correct in that the Heinzmann hubs with high torque have lower top speed. However, Heinzmann is the best electric choice I know of for good torque. They are being used on Pedicabs that haul up to 4 people around fairly steep environments. You can select the gearing and voltage options you wish from about 12 configurations now available from dealers in North America. These include hubs with very high torque and ones that achieve high top speeds as well as good compromise units."
MANUFACTURER: Fritz Heinzmann
GmbH, zHd. Frau Geppert, Am Haselbach 1, 79677 Schönau, GERMANY
Tel +07673 - 82 08 22, Fax +07673 - 82 08 94
Stokemonkey is an electric motor assist kit exclusively for cargo bikes built to Xtracycle's open source longtail standard (which extends the rear of the bike). Xtracycle's hitchless trailer concept gives bikes amazing cargo capacity, and Stokemonkey gives you the power to haul it over mountains or swiftly across town.
Most electric bike products are designed for people who don’t, won’t, or can’t ride regular bicycles, even without passengers or cargo. Stokemonkey is different, designed for avid bikers who will continue to ride on their own power most of the time, but want a more capable car alternative some of the time. We don’t believe in replacing human power with electricity; we believe in replacing cars for work that even the strongest cyclists seldom if ever choose to handle without a car. Developed in a car-free household, Stokemonkey is for fellow riders who want to become more completely independent of cars in their daily lives.
How it works When you want help, you turn a variable throttle on the handlebars to activate the motor. The motor drives the pedals, just like the stoker of a tandem bicycle helps the captain. You cannot use the motor without pedaling, but you can pedal normally without any motor resistance, and coast whenever you let go of the throttle. As you shift gears to maintain normal pedal speeds, you keep the motor operating between its most powerful and efficient speeds, for several times the torque, higher top speeds, and much better range than typical electric bike products lacking variable motor gearing.
Stokemonkey’s exceptional torque moves heavy loads off the line quickly, helps you walk your grocery-laden bike up stairs, and enables you to haul adult passengers up the very steepest streets. We've managed 480 pounds gross up the steepest block in San Francisco (31.5% grade). This extreme torque capability distinguishes Stokemonkey from electric bike products not designed for cargo applications.
Stokemonkey comes with a six-week money-back guarantee, and a two-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Our batteries are warranted separately for six months. We advise you to purchase an Xtracycle, set it up, and become accustomed to it before ordering, so you will have the full guarantee period to install and evaluate Stokemonkey.
Click to learn more about the Stokemonkey and the Xtracycle.