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Electric bike conversion in Canberra?

By jadejewel - 19 August 2012 18

I’m turning to the Riot Act for some helpful information! I need info on electric bike conversion. I want to get to work without my car, and I have tried Action and just can’t make it work. So I thought of looking into electric bikes. I have an ordinary bike that I ride very occasionally, but I often work  odd hours and don’t want to be pedalling it for hours in the middle of a hot day or after dark on a cold night. An internet search found me a couple of Canberra companies who will sell me an e-bike – that is, a whole new bike with an electric motor – and others who will sell me a conversion kit.

I don’t want a whole new bike when I already have a perfectly good one. I have absolutely no handyman or tinkering skills to speak of and would never be able to manage doing the conversion  with a kit. Is there any business in Canberra which would be able to convert my current bike into an e-bike?

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Electric bike conversion in Canberra?
jadejewel 9:49 am 21 Aug 12

Very glad to have come here for help – lots of very useful information. I didn’t even know there was a hackspace – I mean other than Ikea hacking, which I’ve seen before. I hadn’t quite thought of converting a bike as hacking but I guess hacking is just the new way of saying tinkering with things, which is a skill I dearly wish someone in my family had helped me develop when I was younger!

Also sent an email to the Eagle Bikes people and heading off this weekend to talk to some bike places here in Canberra about conversions and bikes.

I’m definitely just in this for the losing-the-car angle – I don’t have any kind of super-cyclist barrow to push or self-worth to prove, just looking for an easy way to get around without a car when most of the places I need to go are too distant to make a bike, without some kind of help, a practical option. It’s funny, when I put this post up I had absolutely NO idea that this was such a thriving industry with so many options. Makes sense really, I guess!

TOPGUN 12:26 pm 20 Aug 12

Hi,
You have received a lot of advice, some of which is accurate and helpful. Some note so good. Here are some pointers for you…
You can use your existing bike – a good idea if you are happy with it – and convert it economically to an e-bike.
The process is simple and you do not have to be workshop savvy. If you are intimidated by it, a friend/handyperson, local mechanicc, bike shop or auto-electrician could instal a good e-bike kit in less than an hour. If you have any doubts, get a professional to do it to avoid future problems.
You must buy the highest-quality kit you can find. El-cheapo kits will cause you major pain and fail in the worst circumstances. They will end up costing you much more.
You must not buy an over-power kit. Firstly it is illegal, and authorities can easily check your bike. Secondly there is absolutely no point – you can get a high-speed or more acceleration but you will need massive battery power to go the same distance. Yoiu can get 25-30km/h out of a legal e-bike and that is plenty.
You need a company that can supply you a kit AND a compatible high-quality battery. the electricals and the controllers are not all interchangeable.
A legal kit can provide you with a 200-250watt motor that complies with both legal Australian systems – that is 200-watt twist-and-go and 250-watt Pedal-Assist. The controller automatically selects the appropriate one. You then have the choice to use pedal-assist (more exercise) or throttle-and-pedal-option.
Do not take any notice of ‘cycling snobs’ who insist you must pedal. There are scores of reasons to use an e-bike, including lack of mobility, injury, arthrititis, lack of fitness etc. In your case you suggested you wanted to replace your car – this is an admirable sentiment that should be embraced by the community. You can use your e-bike as a viable substitute and you can utilise it to also get fit by pedalling when you are able.
We purchased a number of e-bike kits for friends, family and staff members. In the end we found that Eagle Electric Bikes in Sydney produced the best and most cost-effective kit – and it comes with the most advanced Lithium-Polymer battery – light weight, powerful, quickly charged, good range (30-50km on the flat without pedalling) reliable, well-supported.
We had owners in various states and country towns and they shipped the complete change-over kits and in most cases arranged a suitable installer or someone to check the installations.
You can find them at http://www.eaglebikes.com.au but they don’t seem to have their kits on the website (they have an advanced Harley-style E-bike). So you may need to contact them through email at info@eaglebikes.com.au or phone (02) 9986 3776.

darkmilk 11:42 am 20 Aug 12

Mordd said :

What I want to know is can anyone convert my very old Flying Furniture original recumbent with an electric assist device added to it for long range commuting – I would be willing to pay good money for anyone able to tackle such a job!

Pretty sure flying furniture would be a good place to start… ohhh I see what just happened, that was a good way to slip their name in here!

The conversion kits now mostly seem to have the motor in the wheel, either front or rear. So change a wheel, add the battery and throttle handle and away you go.

Might be worth waiting a few weeks though, apparently the law is about to change to 250W instead of 200W.

devdsp 11:37 am 20 Aug 12

You could drop into the hackerspace on a Tuesday or Thursday night and ask around. Most folk there would be more than happy to help you put a conversion kit.

makehackvoid.com

Mordd 11:04 am 20 Aug 12

What I want to know is can anyone convert my very old Flying Furniture original recumbent with an electric assist device added to it for long range commuting – I would be willing to pay good money for anyone able to tackle such a job!

jimbob87 10:41 am 20 Aug 12

Just buy the parts online, very easy to install. Most expensive part is the battery.

Intel70 9:28 pm 19 Aug 12

Recommend one of these:

http://rev-electricbikekits.com.au/shop/product.htm?pid=K-pushit-GM

Motor is programmable, can be restricted to 200 watts for legal road riding, or bumped up to 1kW whilst riding off road.

DrKoresh 9:05 pm 19 Aug 12

troll-sniffer said :

The concept of an electric bike seems simple and straightforward enough, but experience has taught me that in e-bikes as in most things in life there are few quick fixes or free lunches. most e-bikes have a throttle system, you twist, it helps, which initially sounds like just the thing. But in almost all cases that I’ve been involved with, the temptation to let the bike do the work becomes greater and greater and soon you might as well have a motor scooter as the old twist grip gets used more and more and more and more…

There is a system called pedal assist fitted to e-bikes such as the Dutch Gazelle brand that IMHO is the only system truly worthy of consideration for an effective e-bike, ie one that makes you do at least some of the work without causing too much stress. The assist only comes on when it’s needed and you can’t just dial it in when you’re feeling lazy. But it will assist you to comfortable tackle uphill sections and headwinds, and you should never have to pedal harder than you would on the flat on a nice day, and unless you’re a real sloth that’s hardly what you’d call work.

The price of admission is quite high hough, but quality products have always cost more. I guess it depends on whether you think you’ve got the mettle to see the e-bike thing through or just play with the second-rate alternatives that will surely disappoint in the long run.

Maybe jadejewel wants a bike that will let them be lazy when s/he wants to? If that’s the case, then more power to you, don’t let snobby-folks get all high and mighty about quality etc. I have a mate who’s a whiz with stuff like this, maybe you have a friend or acquaintance that would be willing to fix up the conversion kit for a few monies?

troll-sniffer 6:52 pm 19 Aug 12

The concept of an electric bike seems simple and straightforward enough, but experience has taught me that in e-bikes as in most things in life there are few quick fixes or free lunches. most e-bikes have a throttle system, you twist, it helps, which initially sounds like just the thing. But in almost all cases that I’ve been involved with, the temptation to let the bike do the work becomes greater and greater and soon you might as well have a motor scooter as the old twist grip gets used more and more and more and more…

There is a system called pedal assist fitted to e-bikes such as the Dutch Gazelle brand that IMHO is the only system truly worthy of consideration for an effective e-bike, ie one that makes you do at least some of the work without causing too much stress. The assist only comes on when it’s needed and you can’t just dial it in when you’re feeling lazy. But it will assist you to comfortable tackle uphill sections and headwinds, and you should never have to pedal harder than you would on the flat on a nice day, and unless you’re a real sloth that’s hardly what you’d call work.

The price of admission is quite high hough, but quality products have always cost more. I guess it depends on whether you think you’ve got the mettle to see the e-bike thing through or just play with the second-rate alternatives that will surely disappoint in the long run.

milkman 6:36 pm 19 Aug 12
milkman 6:31 pm 19 Aug 12

Anyone know what price ballpark we’d be looking at for a basic conversion?

Benaresq 5:43 pm 19 Aug 12

Switched on Cycles in O’Connor sell electric bikes and can do conversions.

My other half has been commuting on one of their ebikes for six months or so now and it’s been great.

jadejewel 2:56 pm 19 Aug 12

Thanks folks. I will look into both these options.

BTW, M0les – hi, if you are who I think you are and I think you probably are 🙂

M0les 2:25 pm 19 Aug 12

Have you asked a regular bike mechanic?

I know a dude at work who had his bike converted and I think it was done through a local bike mechanic with a mail-ordered kit.

Note that if you want to be legal (and let’s face it, who wants to do that?!), there’s a maximum motor power of 200W, I think (And possibly something like 25-30 KM/h speed too).
Constable plod probably wouldn’t recognize a more powerful motor from just looking at it, but he may notice you “getting air” over the uneven paving slabs on the footpath (My workmate’s bike is 1KW and goes like the clappers).

Now that I’m well off-topic, here’s a documentary video by Solarbike (Oz conversion reseller). At about 3’45”, there’s a clip of a totally mental 2KW bike (1KW per wheel). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KA47vf6f64

(I have no financial interest in Solarbike)

Postalgeek 1:50 pm 19 Aug 12

You could try Pushys in Fyshwick (formerly Onya). They sell electric bikes and probably do conversions too.

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