One of the greenest forms of transportation is the electric bicycle. Electric bicycles are more practical than non-powered bicycles because you can travel farther, carry more cargo, and the motor helps you arrive less sweaty making it more feasible to ride to work. It’s very simple and easy to build your own electric bicycle by installing a conversion kit, if you wish. Several manufacturers make complete electric bicycles, saving you the trouble of building your own, if you wish.
The process is very simple and easy – if your chosen electric bicycle conversion kit uses what’s called a “hub motor”. These are a bicycle wheel with an electric motor built into the hub of the wheel. It’s necessary to match the wheel size for the kit with the wheel size on your chosen bicycle — if your bike has 26″ wheels, get a 26″ hub motor kit.
- Remove the existing bicycle wheel
- Remove the tire and inner tube from the existing wheel, putting them on the new wheel
- Install the new wheel on the bicycle.
- Attach the controller and throttle to the bicycle, attaching wires from throttle to controller and from controller to motor.
- Mount the battery pack on the bicycle, perhaps storing it in a bicycle trunk bag. Attach wires from the battery pack to the controller.
- If the kit came with a dashboard, connect its wiring to the controller.
The steps are described a little vaguely, because the specifics differ from kit to kit.
With an electric bicycle your transportation is now
- Very quiet and peaceful
- Healthy, because even with the electric motor you’ll get some exercise
- Very low energy requirement – about 1/2 kiloWatt hours to travel 10 miles, or about $0.05 worth of electricity
- Much easier to find parking, because bicycles can park almost anywhere
Electric bicycle conversion kits run for less than $300, and the battery pack runs for another $300 or so. It means for a total investment of maybe $800 you can build an electric bicycle, and slash your transportation costs to the bone. Where in your car a 10 mile trip consumes about 1/3rd a gallon of gasoline, for a $1 cost, the electric bicycle makes the same trip for pennies.
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