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How You Can Turn Your Bicycle Into An E-Bike
By JULIAN VAN DER MERWE
The electric bicycle market is expected to grow by around 50% from 2022 to 2023, with many dominant manufacturers joining the trend. While e-bikes like the Giant Talon E+ 3 could cost well over $2,000, some DIY kits will transform your existing bicycle into an e-bike for far less money — for instance, you can get a 750 watt Bafang kit for around $800.
At the most basic level, an e-bike consists of four parts: the battery, brakes, motor, and frame, though you can further upgrade it to include pedal sensors, throttles, or display units. Depending on your intended use case and skill level with tools, Hub and Mid-Drive are the two main variations of conversion kits that you must choose between.
Hub motors’ main benefits are their simplicity and self-contained nature that requires low maintenance, but adding the extra weight can affect its handling and limits it to an on-road commuter bike. Mid-drive motors mitigate the effects of the excess weight and benefit from having the transmission system of a standard mountain bike, but installing it is more complicated and expensive.
Building a DIY e-bike isn’t very difficult, but there are other factors to consider beforehand, such as finding the right bike that can handle the added weight, speed, and power of a motor. You must also be aware of any local laws and regulations before building an e-bike, as many states have distinct class levels that may require you to register it.