There is no shortage of bikes around the world, but as technology evolves, so do our buying habits. Over the past year or so, the electric bike industry has seen a massive increase in demand, but buying a fully electric bike isn’t the only way to get extra power into your pedal.
With so many manual bikes out there, converting an existing bike to an electric bike is one way to kick your pedal up without having to buy a brand new bike. E-bike conversion kits aren’t new, but the folks at UK-based Swytch wanted to simplify the process and built their own custom-made high-quality electric bike conversion kit.
The Swytch kit revolves around a replacement front wheel delivered with a 250 watt hub-mounted motor. A questionnaire on its site before purchase ensures that the wheel is as close as possible to your current wheel for a plug and play experience. When the kit arrives, just move the old tire and inner tube to the new bike and, for bikes with disc brakes, move the rotor to the new rim.
The motorized front wheel is wired to a battery mounted on the handlebars which also serves as a screen for the entire preparation. The battery is a smart choice and is detachable for even more convenience. When you arrive at your destination, press the unlock button and remove the pack to charge it.
I’m not generally a fan of the added handlebar weight as it does impact the steering, and while you’ll definitely feel the extra 2 kilograms of the battery, the added extra functionality almost makes you forget it’s there. .
A cadence sensor completes the kit and provides the system with the main input to tell it when to provide assistance. It consists of a ring of magnets which attaches to a crank arm which clips around the crankshaft. A wired sensor runs down the down tube and lives on the frame side of the magnetic ring to read each of the magnets as the pedals spin. The kit comes with a few different options for mounting the magnetic ring to fit a wide range of bikes.
A handful of zippers ensures that the various wires are attached to the bike, and after a quick battery charge, you go for runs. Pro tip: Drop the battery onto the charger when you start installing the kit so it’s ready to go when you are. A full charge takes around 2 hours, so make sure you allow plenty of time to fully charge it before you embark on the inaugural race.
Our specific installation required me to file the axles on each side of the Swytch wheel for about 1 mm in total. The kit comes with a standard 10mm axle and, for the lucky handful of fork owners designed to work with 9mm axles, this is necessary. It took about 10 minutes in total, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s something worth noting right off the bat. The company provides a practical tutorial for the process. Whatever you do, don’t take the easy route and just file your forks. This may be easier as they are usually made of softer, lighter metals, but it can compromise the integrity of the fork.
The resulting installation is pretty stealthy, considering the amount of features it adds. The front hub motor adds 3 lbs / 1.5 kg to the front wheel and blends in perfectly with the wheel. Aesthetically, we hardly notice its presence. The cadence sensor and wiring blend seamlessly into the cables of most manual bikes.
After a quick battery charge, it was time to go out on the street. The kit is powered on by a button above the power supply that serves as a basic but functional display for the system. On the left, a set of LED lights serve to indicate the remaining battery capacity while the right side of the display indicates which pedal assist setting is selected, from one to five.
The integrated display is a testament to Swytch’s efforts to develop a streamlined and functional kit. From levels one through three, the front motor provides a smooth amount of assistance that provides the perfect amount of assistance for long journeys like a commute to work, a trip to the store, or a day trip to the city. beach.
Helping him assist levels four and five turns the bike into a workhorse ready to conquer any hills in your path. That’s an impressive amount of power for a motor rated at 250 watts continuously and speaks for the 40Nm of torque it produces. As e-bikes continue to evolve, manufacturers are still improving to maximize the benefits for cyclists. Even at the standard 250-watt power rating, this motor’s torque produces rapid acceleration at the highest levels of pedal assist.
All in all, Swytch has come up with a high quality e-bike conversion kit that is sure to give buyers the reassurance that they won’t settle for a jumble of parts. Instead, the Swytch kit can convert just about any bike into electric power. As with any modification, there will definitely be a few things to tweak, like the need to file the axle on ours, but that is to be expected for a kit designed to fit a wide range of bikes.
In addition to the universal kit with the Eco Power pack that we reviewed, the company also offers a kit with a larger battery in the Pro Power Kit. Swytch also manufactures an electrification kit optimized for UK-based Brompton folding bikes. These bikes are very popular with urban commuters and turn into absolute trip killers with this little electrification kit.
Prices for the Swytch kit range from £ 999 (~ US $ 1,375) for a universal Eco Power kit to £ 1,500 (US $ 2,065) for the Brompton Pro, although Swytch offers promotional prices for future production runs at a significant price. discount. For more information on either kit or to order one for yourself, go to the Swytch website.
Specifications of Swytch Electric Bike Kit
- Vary: Up to 21 miles / 50 kilometers
- Engine: 250W Brushless DC Gear Front Hub Motor
- Versions: Eco Power Pack and Pro Power Pack
- Battery: Eco: 180Wh built with 2500MAh cells, Pro: 250Wh built with 3500MAh cells
- Battery life: 800 cycles (Eco) / 1000 cycles (Pro)
- Vary: Eco: 35km at 125W Pro: 50km at 125W
- Reader type: Frictionless front hub geared motor
- Fork Dropout Width: 100 mm (suitable for standard bicycle forks)
- Top speed: 25 km / h. Can be limited to 28 km / h (Eco) and 32 km / h (Pro) for off-road use
- Couple: 40Nm
- Brake compatibility: Rim and disc brake (screws included to mount the rotor disc)
- Equipment compatibility: All types of gears, including derailleurs and hubs
- Added weight: Power Pack 2kg and motor 1.5kg
- Spokes: Silver or black spokes 36x12g
- Rim: PowerRim silver or black double wall
- Dimensions: 120x70x190mm
- Light: Pro includes a built-in 200 lumen front light. Eco does not include light