Electric bikes are great. They make the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet more comfortable for people who don’t want to bike up hills, who don’t have as much spring in their legs as they did 60 years ago, or who can’t quite keep up with their more athletic partners, family members, or friends. They open up the wonderful world of bicycling to more people.
We’ve published about a lot of electric bikes over the past few years, and even have a category dedicated to them. There are so many interesting electric bikes that you could start a blog just about them. However, most of them come with a pretty hefty price tag.
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the DIY type. I’m happy to pay someone to do or make something for me while I make money doing what I love, blogging about cleantech. However, this DIY electric bike book by Micah Toll is something I would genuinely consider buying if an electric bike would be useful in my life. (At the moment, I walk almost everywhere, take trams/streetcars longer distances once in a while, and don’t have any place to store a bike so just use the city bike-sharing system when I want to bike.)
First of all, I imagine the savings on a DIY electric bike could be considerable. Second of all, building my own electric bike sounds like a lot of fun. A very important third, Micah clearly knows his shit. He has first-hand experience:
I built my first electric bicycle years ago to allow me to commute around the city, up steep hills and to the far edges of town without breaking a sweat and without spending any money on gas. From the first moment I instantly knew I had a love affair with electric bicycles. That’s when I became hooked.
What I love most about electric bicycles is that at the end of the day, it’s still a bicycle! I can pedal my ebike whenever I want, but if I get tired or I feel like riding up a hill at 20 mph, I can just turn the throttle and take off! I can still get exercise whenever I want, but I can also have the performance of an electric motorcycle in a sleek, stealthy package. I couldn’t believe that all of this could be had in one bike, and for so little money too!
But I mean real experience. He hasn’t built just one electric bike for himself. He has built hundreds for other people. And after awhile he decided to also teach others how to build their own electric bikes, volunteering his time to do so.
Eventually, it hit Micah that he should write up a book about building electric bikes (aka ebikes). Apparently being a DIY person, he self-published an ebook on the topic. The ebook was popular and people kept asking for a “real” version of the book, so he went on crowdfunding site Kickstarter and raised money to publish a paperback version of the ebook. That has also done well and now Micah is back on Kickstarter raising enough money to publish a hardcover version of the book.
Micah’s actually well past his fundraising target, so pledging your support will just ensure that you get a version of the book (+ perhaps other goodies) and will help Micah to spread the word and get even more books published. Plus, I assume it will give him a bit of a reward for the tireless work he has put in making people’s commutes and the world as a whole a better place.
Needless to say, I hope you go and support Micah’s campaign!
One final, important note, however: one potential customers asked the all-important question on the Kickstarter campaign page:
How much money are we talking on building an eBike from scratch?
Just so I know how much I would be saving compared to a standard one.
The answer, of course, was that it depends, but Micah also gave some examples:
It really depends on how you choose to build your Ebike. I built my wife’s 250w Ebike with quality in parts including lithium battery for about $340, not including the bicycle. My 1000w ebike cost me about $700 to build, not including the bike. Those Ebikes, if purchased retail, would have been around $1,000-$1,500 and $2,000-$3,000 respectively.
*Disclosure: This article was supported by The Awesome Micah Toll. (“The Awesome” is my own insertion, not Micah’s.)