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BionX conversion kit

The Best Electric Bike Motor Kit

by Electric bike guru on July 10, 2010

BionX Electric Bike Motor Kit

A BionX-converted electric bike

There are so many different kinds of electric bike motor kits available that it’s often overwhelming trying to figure out which components make up the best electric bike conversion kit, and if there’s a good balance between cost and investment of electric bike conversion kits. You don’t want to buy something that’s cheap and needs constant maintenance, but you also don’t want to spend too much money on something that might be a little over the top. Each component in an electric bike motor kit differs in quality and performance, so here is an in-depth look at some of the pieces that make up electric bike conversion kits.

Electric Bike Motor

An electric bike motor is the part that powers an electric bike. Some of them are external motors, driving the wheel with a chain that must be occasionally serviced. Other, better quality motors are called hub motors, and they are built into the wheel. These provide better balance, and are generally more maintenance free than the external motors. The BionX electric motor kit utilizes a high quality hub motor with torque sensors, to give the most efficient response.

New motors built into the bottom bracket of a bike can actually turn the pedals along with the rider’s motion. Sealed inside the bike, these are some of the most efficient motors built today. The better the quality of the electric motor, the longer the lifespan of the electric bike.

Electric Bike Battery

The different electric bike batteries available for purchase can range in price from $50 up to $1200. This is the primary component that determines the range of an electric bike. On the low end, there are heavy Sealed Lead Acid batteries, which are the same batteries used in lawnmowers and golf carts. These will power a bike for about 5 miles on a single charge, and weigh 10-20 lbs. Needless to say, they’re not the most efficient battery that can be used.

Lithium batteries are far more efficient, and much lighter than their SLA counterparts. On electric bikes using Lithium batteries, the rider can go between 20 and 30 miles on a single charge. This is more practical for long distance commuters.

Electric Bike Controllers

Different electric powered bikes have different modes of operation. The most basic type of electric bike controller is the throttle-powered bike. This works simply by pulling a throttle on the handlebar. It is the easiest to operate, but also tends to drain the battery faster.

Pedelec bikes measure the rider’s pedal power and give a percentage of motor power. This is the most efficient way to power an electric motor wheel. With the rider pedaling along with the motor, batteries on a pedelec bike have much better range.

If good quality components are selected, electric bike motor kits can cost more, require less maintenance, and last a much longer time than kits that use cheap components. A serious bicycle rider should invest in a long term solution, as there are less problems in the long run.

There are many different kinds of electric bike motor kits to choose from.


Man and Machine: The Pedelec Bike

by Electric bike guru on June 26, 2010

Electric Bike

eZee Forza pedelec bike

Electric bikes are pretty common these days, with all of the different kinds of electric bike motor kits and battery options available. You’d be hard pressed to find a bike shop who didn’t carry an electric bike, especially since all of the big bike manufacturers like Trek and Giant have electric bikes of their own. Of course, every electric bike operates differently, and there’s different terminology for different kinds of bikes. For example, a bike that is powered completely by a throttle, with no pedaling required, is often referred to as an ebike. This is usually how cheap electric bikes operate, and they tend to kill the batteries from all of the strain of the throttle. The most efficient electric bikes on the market are hybrid bikes, or bikes that integrate the rider’s pedaling into the motor power. It’s like pedaling a bike that is half-man, half-machine. The popular industry term for this type of electric bike is pedelec bike.

What exactly is a Pedelec Bike?

Pedelec means that you have to pedal the bike to power the motor. Some are simply activated by pedaling, and then the motor will move on its own, like the eZee Sprint electric bike. Others will actually measure the rider’s pedal torque, and give a proportional motor assistance that is a percentage of the rider’s power, like the OHM electric bikes. It’s up to the rider on which method they prefer, but both kinds of pedelec bikes are far more efficient than the traditional ebike.

The most popular pedelec bike is a BionX electric bike. This is a standard bike that has been converted to an electric bike using the BionX electric motor kit. Using an intelligent torque sensor, the BionX kit utilizes four different motor speeds that depend on the rider’s pedal power, in addition to an ebike-style throttle, that powers the rider to full speed. This pairing of both modes is often the best for riders who want to ride a bike, but could use that extra boost once in a while.

How Far can a Pedelec Bike Go?

Since the rider is always pedaling on a Pedelec bike, it is far more efficient than an ebike. In fact, you can always shut the bike off and pedal it as if it weren’t electric at all! In terms of the battery life, most Lithium-based pedelec models, like the IF Reach DC folding electric bike, will run for about 20 miles on a single charge. This can be extended with more pedaling and less assistance from the motor.

Some bikes, like the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike, have the ability to be recharged while riding. Simply pull on the brake, and the battery life is regenerated via an internal generator in the motor. Using this frequently during the trip can also greatly extend battery life.

The Best Electric Bike

So what is the best electric bike out there? A pedelec bike will definitely travel further than an ebike, solely because of the rider’s pedal assistance. Of course, for someone that wants to cruise on a throttle, maybe an ebike would be better. Electric bikes are in the eye of the beholder, so see what works best for you and then decide.

To see which electric bike is best, maybe try filling out the electric bike selector.


The Scandinavian Affair – Velomobiles

May 22, 2010

Imagine your favorite electric bike transformed into an automobile.  How could such a thing happen?  It makes no sense!  Okay, let’s slow down a bit.  Let’s start with a recumbent bike – you know, one of those machines where you sit close to the ground and recline, or lean back, to pedal.  Now, instead of [...]

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Make Your Own EBike: Electric Conversion Kit

May 17, 2010

Would you like to own an eBike?  Have you got an old bike sitting around that you don’t ride very often?  Are you interested in saving some money?  If you answered “Yes” to these three questions, then you are a good candidate for an ebike conversion kit. You may have seen one of these kits [...]

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