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There can be no doubt that riding a bike with an integrated electric motor is thrilling. Zooming off at barely a touch of your pedal, you can fly up hills without breaking a sweat, and bomb down the far side at hitherto unimagined speeds. But in your research on the NYCeWheels site, you have come across a whole range of electric bike conversion kits! You did not count on having the option of a conversion. So, what to do? Should you go with the electric bike, or deck out your old bike with a new kit?

Electric Bike Conversions: Electrify your favorite ride!

Let’s take a look at the conversion option first. At NYCeWheels, we love our BionX kits with a fiery passion. These systems are relatively straight forward–mechanically-minded folks can install them on their own bikes with enough determination–and offer the ability to toggle between a power assist and a power on demand mode using a simple handlebar mounted computer. These modes add a whole new dimension to biking, with the assist mode making even the most brutal climb easy, and the demand mode giving you the ability to fly along effortlessly at the tap of a button. BionX conversion kits are versatile enough that we have installed them on everything from small Dahon folding bikes to vintage mountain bikes and everything in between.

Even though BionX kits are our go-to conversion option, there are some situations where more specific tools are required to get the job done. Since the motors in BionX systems are built into the rear hub, bikes that use an internal gearing system will not accept the conversion. This is why we have cooked up a range of high quality front wheel-mounted kits for a variety of wheel sizes. We did this to ensure that we could install these conversions on any of our folding electric bikes–and it’s worked out amazingly well! Not only can we convert internally geared Dahons and Terns with 20- and even 26-inch wheels, but we have successfully installed these systems on the legendarily small Brompton! Our custom electric Bromptons use a capacious front-mounted commuter bag to house the battery, and because both the bike and the electronics are so streamlined, this is one of the lightest electric bikes available. Best of all, our electric Bromptons can still fold as small as ever–you don’t even need to remove the bag!

Surly Pugsley with a BionX motorOf course, the real draw to an electric bike conversion kit is that you get to pick the exact bike you want. We have seen some pretty wild BionX installations over the years–like a rack-mounted kit that one customer attached to their tandem, and dozens of customers who have been happy to compensate for the considerable heft of their recumbent bicycles and tricycles with a powerful motor. We have also whipped up some pretty unusual setups ourselves–our Surly Moonlander, powered by a 36-volt 350-watt BionX motor, generated so much buzz that we couldn’t help following that up by converting a Surly Pugsley in similar fashion. For the more sentimental among you, an electric kit can breathe new life into your favorite old beater. I know that personally, the next bike I would like to electrify is my dad’s old 1980 Fuji cruiser. Believe me, not having to work hard to get up hills on that thing would be a revelation.

Dedicated Electric Bikes: Power and performance

The downside of a conversion system is that there is no guarantee everything will work perfectly together–the shape of the frame might make it difficult to remove the battery easily, or as mentioned previously, you can run into difficulties with gearing systems and the like. With the high quality dedicated electric bikes we offer at NYCeWheels, you will get no such trouble. Everything is designed to work flawlessly together, and because we only carry bikes in which we have a lot of confidence, you can be assured that they are going to be well engineered.

At the entry level of this category, these bikes are configured not dissimilarly from the some of the conversion systems. With the Currie Technologies iZIP Path and iZIP Zuma, a low-profile battery is housed within the rear rack. However, since these bikes are designed from the ground up with the electric components in mind, their look tends to be more streamlined than what you would get with a conversion. The battery disappears into the shape of the rack, making for a very clean look.

Upper-end dedicated electric bicycles tend to have frame-integrated batteries. In the case of the iZIP Metro, A2B, and Stromer, large-capacity lithium ion batteries are housed in the bikes’ downtubes, keeping the extra weight close to the ground and centered so as to minimally effect the bike’s handling. Currie Technologies’ eFlow Nitro has a unique seatpost-mounted battery. In this case, the quick-release saddle is attached directly to the top of the battery pack. This positioning does a good job of keeping the battery’s weight centered, and makes removing the battery quite simple. In both of these configurations, the battery’s placement makes for a aerodynamically well-designed bike.

Kettler Twin electric bikeIf power is what your after, integrated electric bicycles are definitely the way to go. Whereas BionX systems can give your bike a respectable 350 watts of power, most dedicated electric bikes sport 500-watt motors. This translates into tearing up hills, seriously effortless acceleration on the flats, and the ability to haul a massive amount of cargo. What’s more, these bikes are designed to take the wherewithal of that kind of pressure, so they come equipped with disc brakes, and in the case of the Stromer Sport and Kettler Twin, front suspension systems to make sure you have a smooth ride as you lean on that throttle.

In my opinion, the main draw to an electric bicycle conversion is knowing that you are getting exactly what you want in terms of your frame and setup–from vintage Fujis to tiny folding bikes, almost any conversion is possible. With a dedicated electric,
everything will be more streamlined and powerful.

Ready to pick your poison? Head to the electric bike and electric bike conversion kit sections of our website and order yourself some serious wattage today!

About the Author

Miles Schneider is manages social media for NYCeWheels in New York City. He plays 6-string electric violin and loves dogs.


Hurricane Sandy on a Stromer

by Jack R. on November 24, 2012

Here in New York City, hurricane Sandy completely halted all public transportation.  Living In Brooklyn and working at NYCeWheels in Manhattan, the only option was to travel by bicycle.  An electric bicycle is a great alternative to public transportation, giving you a freedom and independence that can only be achieved by cycling – allowing an average rider like myself to travel over 30 miles in a day, every day.

Why I went with the Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

For me, the Stromer Electric Bicycle was the obvious choice.  Its strong aluminum frame and front suspension are tough enough to tackle anything.  It uses a 14ah Lithium ion Battery, providing enough power to cruise over 15 miles with no pedaling whatsoever.  In economy mode, the Stromer will assist your pedaling for up to 60 miles, making it one of the most efficient electric bikes on the market.

Riding the Stromer electric bicycle is a one of a kind experience.  Its powerful 600 watt motor makes the Manhattan Bridge and the long rolling hills of Prospect Park Brooklyn effortless.  Electric bicycles in general have the stigma of being an easy alternative for people who want to avoid hard work, but this is not the case.

The Stromer Elite is versatile, a great bike for riders of any level.  If you want to relax and enjoy the ride, just turn up the assistance and let the motor carry you up to 20 mph.   If you want to push yourself, you can pedal it like a normal bike to save the battery, or boost up the assistance and dig into the pedals to reach speeds faster than most professional road bikers could boast.  A Triple Crankset allows you to push this Stromer to over 30mph in its tallest gear!  To help you maintain safety at these high speeds, the Stromer‘s Hydraulic disk brakes offer smooth and evenly distributed stopping power, and low maintenance as compared to inferior rim brakes.

Components on the Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

As far as bicycles go, the Stromer Elite has been constructed with Top Tier components:

-Alex Double Wall Wheels

-Stainless Steel Spokes

-Alloy Sealed Cartridge Bearing Front Quick Release Hub

-600 Watt RMS Hub Drive Rear Motor

-Maxxis Overdrive Tyres

-A SR Suntour Front Suspension Fork w/ Lockout Feature

These are few of the parts that not only make this an awesome bike, but make the Stromer Electric Bike a long lasting reliable machine.

Why I ride an Electric Bike.

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Electric bicycles in general are a great option for a variety of different cyclists.  From every day commuters to weekend joyriders, electric bicycles give everyone the opportunity to cover more ground in a way that is good for the environment, economical, and also good for your health.

As the MTA system continues to become more congested here in New York City, transportation alternatives have become a way of life for many.  From Kick Scooters to folding bikes and Electric Bicycles, it just makes more sense to get around quicker above ground!

As for Hurricane Sandy, my Stromer Electric Bike has made it possible to get around, and most importantly get to work!  While many others are stranded without power, transportation, and fuel;  the Stromer Elite makes it possible to get around and get things done.  I’ve been very grateful to have a reliable form of transportation during this tough time, and I would certainly recommend the Stromer Electric Bike to anyone looking for a better way to get around town.