Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

E-bike collection at Yeppoon.


Converting Bicycles to E-Bikes Creates Extensive Collection

I had the pleasure of meeting Ian Ellis at the recent Yeppoon EV Expo. He has made an extensive collection of vehicles for himself by converting bikes to e-bikes. Here is his story in his own words.

Contrary to the consensus opinion, I believe that normal, human-powered bicycles are sufficiently sturdily constructed to handle being converted to e-bikes through the fitment of an electric motor and battery, if use is restricted to cycle paths, footpaths, and bike lanes for hybrid bikes. Based on my limited experience of the rigors of mountain bike single tracks, it’s my belief that converted normal mountain bikes can easily withstand the abrasions of gravel roads and rail trails as well.


Converting to Ebikes

Ian’s rusted mountain bike.

E-bikes are basically of two types — firstly, those fitted with a hub motor in either the front or rear wheel, and secondly, those described as “mid drive,” where the motor powers the chain ring and cranks directly. My experience as an e-bike builder is solely with the latter.

The building process using one of the commercially available kits is a relatively simple process. Firstly, the donor bicycle has to be prepared by removing all the components from the bottom bracket — that is, the pedals, cranks, chain rings, and axle. Depending on how corroded and rusted these components are, that will determine the difficulty of the task. It is usually a significant undertaking. The front derailleur and the lever on the handlebars will also need to be removed. The commonly available kits appear to be designed for threaded bottom brackets that are 68 to 73mm in length. In other words, hybrid and mountain bikes designed and built 15 to 20 years ago or longer. Mountain bikes of more modern design have bottom bracket lengths of 100mm and are too wide to accept the electric motor housing.

The next stage of the process is to fit the battery. The battery sits in a cradle which in turn is fixed to the bicycle using the water bottle cage fastening points. The weight of the battery depends on its capacity and can be of a considerable size (e.g., 3.5 to 4 kg). That represents a considerable stain on the anchor points, so I usually add a third Riv-nut for additional support.

The third and final stage involves making all the electrical connections and sorting out the aesthetics of the final product — in other words, camouflaging the electrical cables, which always appear to be excessively long. With the commercially available products, the cabling is directed inside the frame tubing resulting in a neat and tidy appearance. That isn’t the norm with DIY kits. The cabling is always very noticeable.

Ebike conversions

Ian’s partner enjoys riding her converted bike.

My collection of e-bikes is becoming quite extensive. It includes three hybrid or touring style bikes, one of which has a step-thru or “lady’s” frame for my partner to use; seven 26” wheel mountain bikes, including three that are dual suspension and one beach cruiser. All are unique and significantly different enough to give a different riding experience. All are for recreational use only.

For a more thorough look at e-bikes, check out our brand new E-BIKE GUIDE.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


You May Also Like


If you've ever related to those bumper stickers that read, "built, not bought," Vanpowers has the e-bike for you!


Outdoor adventures are a dominant American pastime and have been for many decades. The most recent statistics show Americans spending more than $400 billion...


New York City’s Fire Commissioner wants a crackdown on subpar e-bikes that could be fire risks.


A great little machine that defies categorization.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.