Looking to add some extra power to your bicycle? A bike motor kit is a great option. For one, you don't have to invest in a whole new vehicle if you've already got your trusty wheels. Second, most bike motor kits can easily attach to any standard mountain bike, road bike, or hybrid bike. If you're handy enough to fix a flat tire, you can install your own bike motor kit.
The question now becomes, what is the best bike motor kit? Should I get an electric bike motor kit or a gas-powered bike motor kit? What are the advantages and disadvantages of either one? Since there are so many bike motor kit manufacturers out there, we decided to break down Electric Bike Motor Kits and Gas-Powered Bike Motor Kits and see which is the better choice.
The standard electric bike motor kit is made up of three components: the motor, the battery, and the controller (throttle, speed setting, etc). Just ten years ago, an electric bike motor kit was impractical. The heavy SLA batteries added thirty pounds to the bike frame, and the chain-driven motors needed to be maintained constantly. It was better to just buy a gas-powered bike motor kit.
Due to the green movement in the past few years, the electric bike motor kits have improved dramatically. Hub motors are built into bicycle wheels, so you just swap out the wheel on the bike for the motor wheel. New Lithium batteries are 1/3 of the weight, and can power a bike for up to twenty miles. It's a big improvement. The typical electric bike motor kit adds about 18 lbs to an existing bicycle. That's not bad!
One drawback to the electric bike motor kit is the price of the battery. Though they will last around 1000 charge cycles (about 2-5 years, depending on the rider), the average cost to replace a Lithium battery is about $500. Taking into account all of the money saved from gasoline or transit fees, this is definitely cheaper in the long run.
Pre-dating the electric bike motor kit by about a hundred years is the gas-powered bike motor kit. Because it runs on gasoline, this kit has a tank that needs to be refilled periodically. It is also noisier and dirtier than its electric counterpart. On the plus side, the gas-powered kits are much less expensive, making them a popular option for people with a budget.
Gas-powered bike kits tend to have bigger motors as well, so if you're looking for something with a lot of power and speed, go for a gas-powered motor kit. Just be wary of the legality of these motors - many states consider gas-powered bike motor kits illegal.
If I was presented with this question ten years ago, I'd almost certainly say the gas-powered bike motor kit is the better choice. It was cheaper, lighter, and more powerful. However, after the advancements in battery technology in the past few decades, the electric bike motor kit is now far superior. The weight is comparable (in many cases lighter), the range and power are a lot better, and the bikes tend to need less maintenance in the long run.
It's not just the technology that has changed. The mindset of consumers is also much different than it was ten years ago. Just look at the popularity of electric cars and solar panels. People want something more environmentally friendly, clean, and reusable. Battery-powered bike motor kits are all of these things.
As battery technology improves, the electric bike motor kit will become more practical. In Asia and Europe, it is already becoming a primary mode of transportation. Americans just need to get past the idea of driving a car every day and switch to a healthier alternative: an electric bike motor kit.