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Home » Service » News center
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Time: 2017-05-19

E-bikes, or electric-assist bikes, have become increasingly popular for getting around town, doing errands, and commuting to work. Though you typically still have to pedal an e-bike, the motor means it’s significantly easier than riding a traditional bike, whether you have a long commute or live in a hill-strewn area or need to haul heavy loads on cargo bikes.

Many manufacturers offer complete bikes, such as Specialized’s Turbo, but if you’re looking for a less expensive option, you might want to consider an e-bike conversion kit, which allows you to convert just about any bike. Maybe you have a road bike that fits you well or a mountain bike that you love — a kit will allow you to add an electric motor to your existing bike.

MORE: 6 Seriously Powerful E-Bikes
How They Work
There’s a range of tech available in conversion kits. There are tiny, nearly soundless motors that’ll fit inside a wheel hub or bottom bracket. Last year, Belgian cyclocross racer Femke Van den Driessche was caught with a Vivax Assist motor in her race bike. The nearly invisible motor was detected when cycling authorities X-rayed her bike. There are also larger, more powerful options that are more visible, but also offer greater range and more powerful acceleration.

Most conversion kits include a controller, a motorized hub, and a battery pack. You can add a motor to either the front or rear wheel of the bike. But there are trade-offs for both: A front-mounted motor will make your front wheel heavier and may make the bike harder to steer. While a rear-mounted motor may give you better traction, you’ll need to make sure it's compatible with your gearing and derailleurs.

How to Find the Right Kit
Before choosing a conversion kit, you’ll want to consider your riding habits. If you’re planning short trips on mostly flat terrain, a small, light motor might work well. For longer rides or to climb more hills, you’ll need a stronger motor and extended battery life.

For larger battery systems, you may need a rack or bag to attach it to your bike, and you’ll want to think about how the battery weight will influence your bike’s handling. You might mount your battery pack to a rear rack. A frame bag such as the Salsa Warbird that fits in the front triangle of your bike offers an alternative to a rack and will help keep your load centered.

E-bike kits are sold based on the maximum wattage the motor can produce and the number of amps the controller can draw. Higher wattage will typically give you more speed and increased power for climbing. A controller with a high amp rating, meanwhile, increases acceleration.

In some cases, motors may overheat if run too long at their maximum levels. While a short acceleration is unlikely to cause damage, an uphill slog at maximum power could cause overheating. You might consider a product such as the Cycle Analyst to monitor your bike’s performance. Or look for a kit with a controller that has this information built-in.

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