Although the technology has been around for a while, electric bikes have grown in popularity in the last year or so. Since the national lockdowns, more people than ever have chosen battery-powered bicycles to get around. Data from the Bicycle Association shows that electric bike sales rose 67 percent last year after the initial lockdown.
Contrary to popular belief, the fact that electric bikes have a motor doesn’t mean it’s not a good workout. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that while pedal assist bikes may not offer quite the same workout as a traditional push bike, they are more of a full-body workout than walking. E-bike enthusiasts also report that the presence of the motor that starts when the pressure on the pedals indicates you are having difficulty tempts them to ride more and longer or more challenging routes.
Unfortunately for many, the barrier remains price. Buying an electric bike can cost you anywhere from £ 700 to £ 5,000.
While the UK government plans to tackle that later this summer with a grant to buy electric bikes, another way to save some money – and garage space – is to convert an existing bike into an electric bike.
One of the most famous kits is Swytch.
Swytch sells two kits – one for the popular Brompton folding bike brand and a “Universal Conversion Kit” which is suitable for almost any other type of bike. Whether you have a mountain bike, road bike, or tandem … Swytch says his kit adds a pedal assist motor to help you out when you’re struggling uphill.
Both Swytch conversion kits come in two parts – a motorcycle that replaces your current front wheel, and a quick release battery with some power control for mounting on the handlebar. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about constantly having to take your hands off the handlebars to adjust the assistance on the bike. This is because the Swytch-Kit is equipped with a cadence sensor that monitors how fast you are pedaling and adjusts the force that is transferred to the front wheel accordingly.
Optional extras include a throttle that lets you set off with the push of a button without pedaling – though that means your humble bike could be classified as a moped. Swytch also offers brake sensors that switch off the motor immediately when you start to brake.
The battery adds 1.5kg to the weight of your bike while the front wheel with the motor built into the hub adds another 1.5kg.
Swytch offers two battery specifications. First of all, Eco adds 35 kilometers of range, while Pro offers 50 kilometers between charges. After that, you can continue riding … but the bike will be a little heavier than you remember. Eco will bring you back € 799 while the Pro version costs € 999. That’s not cheap, but it can be a lot cheaper than a ready-made option.
Swytch is currently offering a 50% discount to anyone who signs up for the waiting list for the next inventory.