We wouldn’t call building an electric bike the simplest thing in the world, but it isn’t as hard as you might think, either. Do a little searching around the Internet and you’ll discover that most electric bikes consist of the motor, a means of transferring power from the motor to a wheel of the bike (or directly to the pedals), a power plant (the batteries), and a control system and throttle to control the power (although you could argue that these are optional). It can be hard to create an electric bike that can “free wheel,” but if you aren’t worried about that, building your bike is relatively simple.
Choose a bicycle to convert, one that has a decent braking system and is in good repair. The bike will need some place to support the battery and motor, so make sure you incorporate that part. You’ll need a battery and charger, too, of course, and where you get these systems can vary widely. Depending on how creative you get, you can build more or less support onto your bike, but be aware of the weight you are adding to the frame when you do this. Take the suspension, and the type of tires you are using, into account when you do all this. Bigger tires are generally better than smaller, thinner ones, as your new electric bike has to support quite a bit of weight even when you’re not riding it.
If you’re not an electrician, get help wiring the whole system together, including attaching a linkage from the motor to the drive wheel or pedals. There are plenty of example builds online that you could choose to follow, but remember, you’re playing around with electricity and electronics here. The risk to you is relatively low, but there is still risk, so if you don’t understand electricity and you don’t know how to safely make these connections, you’ll need to find someone or learn how to do it safely.
When you’re all done, especially since you’re likely using a chain drive with your electric bicycle, you’ll need to do some tweaking to align the bike chain. That’s normal. What’s also normal is that after your bike and its components get “broken in,” you’ll need to make adjustments to accommodate anything that has stretched or worn.
Building an entire electric bike is not the focus of this website, but we would be fascinated to see your builds. Don’t hesitate to contact us to show us what you’ve made when building your own electric bike. Do your homework, choose an example build you could try to copy, and use your own innovation to create a unique electric bike of your very own. This is a fun way to build an electric bike for much less than a manufactured electric bike costs. It might have fewer luxuries and fewer amenities, but you might end up liking it more than a bike that you buy. And we’d love to cover your builds in our electric bike reviews and electric bike news.