2018 is the year of the electric vehicle. Apple’s self driving i-Car, named under the epic code-name Project Titan, is rumored to be completed this year and is set to rival Tesla’s hugely successful model 3. But electric cars aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to green transport.
As urban populations seek out alternatives to the rising costs of motorised transport, electric bicycles, or E-bikes, have seen a sudden surge in popularity. Global sales, which were leveled at 32 million in 2014, are expected to rise to an astonishing 40 million by 2023.
Simply put, E-bikes are all the rage.
Finding a better way to commute
That brings me round to my own commuting story. Being a regular commuter in an industrial sized city with no metro, my options were pretty limited. Either I sat in traffic everyday guzzling fuel or I sat in traffic everyday on a bus with screaming school kids.
My resolution last year was to find another way. Like most people I opted for a commuter bicycle. A slick looking road bike with clever gear-shifters, brakes and carbon fiber frame. But, like most people’s, it spent a lot of time in the house.
It wasn’t the design that was the problem; I enjoyed weaving in and out of traffic like a hell’s angel. The problem was the long straights. Miles of straight road on a steady incline with nothing but my own pedal power pushing me forward.
I resolved to find a better way, which sparked my interest in E-bikes. They’ve been around since the 1890’s but new models, like the URB-E, seemed to be the practical commuting solution I was looking for.
The issue came down to price. A top-level E-bike costs in the region of two-thousand dollars. I’d already invested just under a thousand in my push bike I wasn’t keen to just leave it sitting in the shed. That was when I came across the Physician on Fire article about his e-bike conversion case study.
Like me he had invested in a Fortified 8-speed Invincible commuter bike. The difference was that he’d enhanced his using a Luna Cycle kit; essentially a mod kit which transforms a push-bike into legitimate E-bike.
Converting an push bike into an E-bike
A Luna Cycle conversion kit isn’t cheap but they are cheaper than a new E-bike. The costs of a full kit come in well under a thousand dollars but more if you have to invest in a decent bicycle as well. Still, I was intrigued by this story. I’m something of a engineering-phobe in that I’ve always assumed any kind of mechanical construction is best left to the experts.
Reading the story on Physician on Fire made it seem pretty straight forward. The kit arrives with full instructions and, if you don’t have the tools, you can just take it to the nearest bike shop to use theirs. With no previous training he managed to set it all up within a couple hours.
The real appeal is in the results though. With a 1000W battery mounted you can get up to speeds of 31mph. The battery is lithium so recharging is relatively straight-forward and quick plus you get to keep your old bicycle.
I haven’t invested in a Lunar kit just yet, but I’m seriously considering upgrading my old push bike rather than paying full price for done-for-you E-bike.
Have any experience with an E-Bike conversion kit?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!