Clean Transport

Published on August 14th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


DIY Electric Bike Kickstart Campaign Underway

August 14th, 2014 by  


Originally posted on GAS2

Electric bikes are growing in popularity in nearly every urban area, but not everyone wants to ditch their current cruiser for a fancy motorized machine. Still, having an electric motor to assist with some of those more difficult hills would be pretty nice.

Micah Toll agrees, and he’s launched a Kickstarter for what he calls the Barak Electric Bicycle Kit. Complete with battery, throttle, controller, and an in-wheel electric motor, it’s designed to be applied to nearly any bike out there…including the one in your garage or shed. Of course this kick isn’t free, and Kickstarter funders should expect to shell out $585 for one of Toll’s 350 watt (about .46 horsepower) and 20-inch wheel.

The versatile kit is designed to be installed on road bikes, mountain bikes, and even folding bikes, changing any humble bike into an electric one. While $585 is about what you’d spend on a decent bike in the first place, many electric bikes cost thousands of dollars. The Barak Electric Bicycle Kit is comparatively cheap when you put it in those terms, though it’s not the only DIY electric bike kit making its way to the market. Bosch has put together an electric bike kit of their own, and numerous niche shops are offering their own take on the electric bike fad.

With its low cost and versatility though, Toll has certainly made the case for his DIY E-Bike Kit. Any backs plan on contributing to his cause? He’s got 22 days and about $8,000 to go to reach his Kickstarter goals, so he could use the help.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Brigita


  • Sam Hsu

    Mr. Toll, I don’t mind what happened as long it gets more people to use bicycles instead of cars on some trips. I use the hilltopper on my small yellow flevo bike for over 1 year now., see left in my avatar pic. Recumbents should all have e-bike kits for climbing hills. I don’t pedal fast just to go up hills slowly any more.

  • Your campaign isn’t affecting our results and your kit is no competition for anything we offer. You did however knock other companies that supported you off of the front page of the SERPs with your Kickstarter. The real issue is you’ve declared yourself an expert, solicited free samples under false pretense and made videos including much better products to elevate your outdated systems to be on par. Then in your “educational videos” you guide people to the only obvious and heap option for those that want to be “smart” and save money, your kit. It’s a clever bait and switch, but a bait and switch nonetheless. If you would have asked any of the vendors to give you product so you could make those videos to compete with them, none of them would have agreed. It was IMO a slimy and unethical approach to enter the e-commerce market. People will see in time that you develop a site ebikeschool dot com and you use it to sell your own cheap products under the guise of education and saving people money. All you’ll really be doing is selling junk to people as you hold their hands for the DIY part. A lot of us have worked hard for years to ensure better products that provide a great experience. You are looking to go backwards because as much of a self-declared expert as you are, you’ve never sold anything or had to deal with the after-sale issues that come from that rats nest of a product you’re pitching. You don’t even know the laws for shipping the li-ion packs you’re selling. You don’t have product liability insurance. In the end you will be one of the outfits that fails and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of your backers in regard to conversion. You’re not doing anything good here and all the while you have your nose in the air pretending you’re some saint teaching the ignorant. What you’re doing is a joke and it’s not helpful to the industry, the people backing you or yourself. For the record, and as I have told you privately, we do not want our products in your videos.

  • bikeguy17034

    Jason = Moron

  • Benjamin Nead
    • Jim

      Thanks for the link. Great article

  • Benjamin Nead

    While Jason Kraft is obviously very upset with Micah Toll (and, since we haven’t heard directly from Mr. Toll in rebuttal, nobody else is qualified to comment on
    these allegations one way or another,) one would think that there would be some consensus on what Mr. Toll has been saying all along: that e-bike kits in this $400
    to $600 price range paired with a thoughtfully repurposed bicycles of similar price are often as good as factory turn-key e-bikes in the $2000 price range . . . some of which often seem like little more than a $400 bicycle with someone’s entry level motor/controller/battery package bolted on.

  • My name is Jason Kraft and I am the CEO of Electric Bike Technologies; we make the E-BikeKit™ and E-TrikeKit™ conversion systems.

    Mr. Toll solicited free samples and advice from all the top kit companies (including us) and now he has taken that generosity and turned it into a competing product. Not only that, but the entire angle of his KS campaign is that everyone else is over-promising and under-delivering, which I find insulting. The only thing worse than Mr. Toll’s deceptiveness, is his self-righteous attitude. In a tight-knit industry, it demonstrates a lack of business acumen and professionalism; it’s careless.

    There is nothing new here with regard to the product. Directly competing products can be found with a Google search for “Hill Topper”. Toll is using KS and the media connections he established on three previous KS campaigns, to sell something that already exists. Not only do inexpensive 24 volt kits like this already exist, but they are much better quality than what he is attempting to sell.

    I (and others in the industry) have personal correspondence with Toll promising product promotion (most recently an upcoming video series on conversion) in exchange for free samples. Is he going to promote the companies that helped him now that he has developed his own competing product? I don’t think so. Was it deliberate and planned this way?… maybe. In the end, he is using the generosity of the people and companies that helped him write his e-book, in a desperate attempt to compete with them and elevate his own industry persona.

    Mr. Toll is late to the kit business; he has chosen the wrong time and the wrong avenue to enter the business and he has offended the people that supported him so far. The electric bike industry is a small group and one’s reputation is valuable. Mr. Toll has now risked his reputation by proving himself untrustworthy.

    Toll’s KS campaign proves he doesn’t have the business savvy to succeed if funded. To set the funding goal of $12k is either an indication of his inexperience, or it is deliberate, and his real goal is cheap publicity (or both). Either way it’s a slap in the face to prospective KS “investors/pre-buyers”. Twelve thousand dollars is not nearly enough to produce quality kits, provide solid customer service or fund a sustainable business. It is a joke from an investment view and it will fail.

    Anyone who is deceived into believing this is a new product or that Mr .Toll is an honest entrepreneur doing something unique for the greater good (or for the good of his prospective investors), is being naive. That includes any media that support him; it shows a lack of research and professionalism. Make no mistake, you are all being used for Mr. Toll’s self-promotion.”

    • Tommie

      Grow up little man. Boo hoo hoo for you.
      This other guy tops you and you cry foul?you kidding me!! Just grow up. Hope your business goes bust.

      • Tommie, do you have anything of value to add or are you just drunk and anonymously telling people off on the Internet again?

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