If we’re being trustworthy, we have been a bit hesitant to check the Swytch e-Bike Conversion Package. Why? Two causes. First, as a result of bolting on a motor and battery looks like a clunky concept.
Second, as a result of entrance wheel drive looks like a bizarre concept on a two-wheeled, pedal-powered bicycle that’s designed as a low-power, rear wheel drive machine.
Luckily, each fears proved unfounded, and the Swytch equipment stunned us with comparatively clear seems to be and stable efficiency that rivaled the texture of actual e-bikes. Contemplating its versatility and low entry value, we’d advocate it extremely as a solution to flip any common outdated bike into a quick commuter. Right here’s the way it works…
How does the Swytch e-Bike Conversion Package work?
As if to strengthen simply how versatile Swytch’s equipment is, they solely provide two variations – Common, and Brompton. The latter is particularly for Brompton’s folding bikes. The Common equipment is for every thing else. And so they actually do imply (nearly) every thing else.
It begins with a hub motor inside a wheel, extra on that in a minute. The battery and electronics are housed inside a small pack that mounts to your handlebar. It seems to be like a small basket, however the controls are managed by the highest flap, which closes with a water-resistant zipper:
The charging port and guide on/off change are behind a small flap on the again. Functionally, it’s extremely water-resistant and completely positive to trip or park within the rain every now and then, nevertheless it’s not 100% waterproof. So, don’t submerge it.
The bodily on/off change disconnects the facility from the electronics in case you could ship your bike or throw the battery pack in a backpack or one thing. You don’t want to make use of it throughout regular operation as there’s an influence button on the highest flap.
The remainder of the equipment are the sensors and wires to attach every thing.
The equipment comes with a pre-built entrance wheel utilizing an alloy rim and their hub-based motor. The rim is made for rim brakes, and the hub can match a regular 6-bolt disc brake rotor. An hooked up spacer helps the rotor align with calipers. The hub may be ordered with customary 9mm QR axle ends, or via axle fitments, to work on most any fork.
About the one bodily modification you may have to make is to file down the flat sections on the QR axle ends in case your customary fork dropouts are too slim. (Please don’t file your fork dropouts…simply use a file on the axle) We didn’t have to trim something off ours and it was a wonderfully cosy slot in our older Specialised Sirrus check bike, however Swytch totally endorses this modification and can assist stroll you thru it should you’re unsure what to do. Sure, we thought this was odd, too, however don’t let it scare you off as a result of chances are high very excessive you’ll not have to do that.
Essentially the most intimidating half about putting in the Swytch Bike equipment is getting the pedaling sensor put in. The system is offered with an elective throttle should you want to show your bike right into a moped, however we like e-bikes, so we examined the pedal-assist model.
To make it work, you put in a magnetic ring across the left-side backside bracket spindle. A multi-hinged arm articulates to suit flush towards your left crank arm in order that it turns as you pedal.
The equipment contains a number of middle inserts to assist it match completely different diameter backside bracket shells and spindles. Because it’s unlikely you’re changing a motorbike with an enormous carbon backside bracket shell or tightly spaced BB386EVO system, chances are high actually good there are elements that may match no matter bike it’s occurring.
The trickiest half about putting in that is getting the magnetic disc aligned properly sufficient that it spins largely flat, parallel to the rotational path with out a lot wobble.
That is necessary as a result of the sensor that reads the magnets as they spin previous it must be fairly near the disc for it to register.
A small LED on the sensor lights up when it senses a magnet passing by, making it simple to inform when it’s shut sufficient. The onerous half is getting it shut sufficient.
That is what took the longest a part of our set up course of. Whole set up time was simply over an hour, however might have gone faster if we hadn’t needed to do some yard “engineering” to mount the pedal sensor.
Mounting it to the downtube or seat tube is the best location, however on metal or alloy bikes with customary threaded backside brackets and regular (not outsized) tube diameters, it’s possible you’ll battle to get it shut sufficient to register.
A flat mounting base has two loops to run zip-ties by it, and it pivots to assist get the sensor nearer to the disc. But it surely wasn’t sufficient, and the cable’s protrusion prevented us from angling it additional.
In the end, we ended up looping it underneath the underside bracket, by the chainstays, and coming again round to mount it on the seat tube. This allowed for a surprisingly safe fitment whereas working across the entrance derailleur clamp and giving us the cleanest wire routing potential contemplating our answer.
In fact, it’s important to do one thing with that wire, so we used tiny zip-ties to safe it alongside the rear derailleur shift cable. Because it’s not rubbing, this offered a easy and comparatively clear solution to route the wire with out having to tape or tie it to the downtube. We tried white electrical tape…however, no.
The remainder of the set up is simple. Connect the battery/management field’s mounting dock to the handlebar, being positive to make use of the included strap routed underneath the stem and captured by the dock’s bolts. This prevents the load of the battery from rotating all the factor downward. Certainly, it really works…we didn’t discover any rotation or sagging all through our testing, and we plan on protecting it on the bike for a very long time.
The one different set up tip price mentioning is that the directions say to position the axle such that the facility cable popping out of it faces downward, then loops up. As you may see within the pic above, we ignored that as a result of it seems to be a lot sleeker if it’s pointing up.
However, there’s a purpose they advocate that it factors down. This creates a rain drip loop for water to run off of. The best way we put in it, rain would run straight down the cable and into the motor housing. Whereas it’s sealed towards moisture, and many others., working the loop downward minimizes the danger of water ingress. That, or simply don’t trip within the rain or by puddles. (We’ve switched it to the really helpful path since these pics have been taken).
Right here’s the official specs:
- As much as 50km (31mi) per cost
- Prime assisted velocity of 25 or 32 km/h (15-20mph) relying on area
- 40Nm Torque
Swytch e-bike conversion equipment trip evaluate
As soon as put in, the system has been rock stable and carried out higher than anticipated. What was most stunning is how pure it felt…it rides identical to, properly, an e-bike.
Now we have fairly a number of commuter e-bikes right here – Haibike, Specialised, and Yuba are in our everlasting fleet and get used nearly each day. So, we all know what an e-bike ought to really feel like. And this well-loved 3×eight Specialised Sirrus now feels identical to a contemporary, purpose-built e-bike. Which is saying so much.
When you haven’t listened to our podcast interview with Swytch’s founder, Oliver Montague, it’s extremely entertaining and provides lots of perception into how this technique was developed. That he might create a quite simple bolt-on system that makes use of a sensor to imitate the pedal-assist function of a pure e-bike could be very spectacular.
The buttons on the highest of the battery pack are simply accessible, letting you alter the quantity of help whereas driving. It couldn’t be simpler to make use of.
The added weight on the handlebar didn’t adversely have an effect on dealing with, both. It does make the wheel flop a bit should you’re shifting your bike round within the storage, however on the highway it’s no extra noticeable than should you had a roll bag with some gear in it. Principally, the load and place are a non-issue.
Even the entrance wheel drive didn’t really feel misplaced. Our testers all thought it felt pure. And highly effective! The help ranges match what we’re used to on manufacturers providing modes like “eco” and “turbo” and ranging “regular” ranges in between. The very best help mode stunned us with how a lot torque and energy it delivered, but by no means made us really feel uncontrolled.
The pedal sensor is fast to interact, kicking the motor on inside a second of beginning to pedal. It does kick in, however no so strongly as to shock you or create an unsafe driving expertise. And it falls off easily when you cease pedaling. And there’s no noticeable drag while you flip it off, so there’s not a lot draw back should you run out of energy. When you overlook to cost it…simply pop the battery pack off and head out for a trip like regular.
Retail value for the base-level Swytch Bike Common Eco e-bike conversion equipment examined right here is $999/€950/£999…however, should you pre-order, you will get it for as much as half off. That’s as a result of they manufacture in batches, producing two items for each pre-order they’ve. This lets them provide reductions for pre-orders as a result of it helps them get higher economies of scale, and have stock to promote at common value. However don’t wait, as a result of they promote out each run, and for $500-$600 on pre-order, this equipment is a steal.