When choosing to make an fat bike elettrica using a conversion kit, it is very important to consider the starting point; that is what kind of bicycle are you going to convert? While most kits will fit on any bike, some bikes make better electric bikes than others. In this article I will provide some basic pointers to help make this an easy decision and to prevent some basic mistakes.
First and foremost, how are you going to use your electric bike? If you intend to use it for commuting, then you want a bike that is comfortable to ride, allows you a good relaxed posture and has fenders and chain guards to protect you from splashes and mud. You do not require a lot of gearing. 5-10 speeds max. You simply will not use more than that. If you just want a fast ride or to go mountain biking, then choose a bike more suitable for those pursuits. Mountain biking will require more gearing than a street bike, which can also do well with only 5-10 speeds.
Secondly take a good look at the front fork and suspension. For a powerful motor say 350 watts and above if you are going to build a front wheel drive kit you will want to use a bike with a steel fork. The motor is simply too powerful for an aluminum fork and it will bend or break out the drop outs. You definitely do not want to use a shock absorber/suspension fork. The advantage of a front drive kit is that they are very easy to install. If you were to use a rear drive kit, then it is possible to go with aluminum and suspension front forks.
Third, make sure that there is a way to mount the battery and controller box. Most kits mount the battery above the rear wheel on a rack. Where you mount the controller is up to you but often times, it is mounted to the underside of the rack or on the seat post. The rack is not designed to flex and any bicycle that has a flexible frame is not going to be suitable for this use. This type of frame is mostly used in mountain bikes.
Fourth, how does the bicycle shift gears? An electric bicycle will use a twist grip activated throttle that replaces one of the hand grips or a thumb throttle that is mounted against the hand grip. If you have twist shifting on both ends of the handle bars, you are going to have to move the shifter more towards the center and possibly shorten the throttle grip.
Fifth is weight. Bicyclists love to shed weight on their bikes. The lighter the better is their motto and the lighter the bike, the more it costs. When you are adding around 30 or more pounds of motor, battery and controller, trying to save five pounds by using a more expensive bike is self defeating. Actually, a less expensive good solid steel framed bike is ideal for the installation of an electric bike conversion kit.
Last but definitely not least is brakes. Most of the current electric bike kits require front and rear hand brakes. This is mostly in the form of “v” or “u” style friction brakes. There are a few kits that will accommodate disc brakes but these a quite rare at the moment. You can use a rear coaster brake but only if you use a front drive kit and you must also have a front hand brake. There is a safety device built into electric bikes that causes the motor to cut out as soon as you activate the hand brakes. Without at least one hand operated brake, the bike will be unsafe to ride.
Nothing is worse that beginning an elaborate project like building an electric bike and finding that the kit won’t fit or that you have to modify or purchase a lot of additional parts. If you take all of the above into consideration before you buy your electric bicycle kit, you will have a much easier time with the installation and get a lot more pleasure out of your purchase.