The electric bicycle motor, a seemingly new phenomenon, has in fact been around for quite some time. The first electric bicycle motor was built by the German manufacturer Heinzmann in 1920. Heinzmann produced a nice twin-seated bike and equipped it with an electric bicycle motor, thereby making it easier for the rider in the pedaling position to pull the increased load. Heinzmann still makes quality electric bicycle motors to date.
These days, there are a handful of other manufacturers making electric bicycle motors as well, including Currie, Wilderness Energy, ETC, Estelle (Heinzmann), and Bionx. For many, installing an electric bicycle motor on their bike makes lots of sense. We have customers that sold their second car after converting their bike with an electric bicycle motor, and others that sold both cars. Essentially, electric bicycle motors make bike riding easier. They remove or reduce a lot of the effort. You can still get exercise if you want, but you can also get to work without breaking a sweat. And, equally as important, if you install an electric bicycle motor on your favorite bike you will realize just how much more fun this method of riding is compared to sitting in traffic with your car. Whether you're commuting to work or just looking for some fun in the park, equipping your bicycle with motor assistance makes riding an exhilarating and pleasurable experience.
A typical motor for bicycle will only consume a few dollars worth of electricity in an entire year, which is probably a third of what your car costs you in gas in one day. You're likely to spend more money ordering pizza. Most electric bicycle motors are guaranteed to give you years of trouble-free service, only requiring that you change your batteries from time to time. An electric bicycle motor kit does not require much attention, for the most part you just keep your batteries charged and enjoy it. That said, electric bicycle motors come in different versions of quality, speed, hill climbing ability and range. This is dependent upon the manufacturer as well as the model.
You'll want to pick the right electric bicycle motor for your needs; if you are a heavier rider or have a lot of hills to conquer, you'll need a more powerful electric bicycle motor, something with about 350W. If you are planning to use your electric bicycle motor mostly on flats and would like to do a portion of the work as you ride, a less powerful electric bicycle motor (about 250W) would be ideal, as it'd give you everything you need and make for a lighter converted bike.
With electric bicycle motors, you generally get what you pay for. Try to stay away from the low-priced electric bicycle motor systems that you find on eBay and similar sites, as those typically do not have much power, offer a very short range, and frequently break. If you purchase such a kit from a site like eBay, there is also no manufacturer's warranty to protect against defects.
Over the years, we've carried a variety of electric bicycle motors. We did a lot of experimenting with what was out there. Some of it was trial and error. After everything we've seen, and after a good amount of experience, we've narrowed our selections down greatly to what we know to be the best. Currently, the most comprehensive and high-quality electric bicycle conversion kit is the Bionx kit.
Currie Technologies offers an affordable alternative to the Bionx kit, using a rear rack mounted kit and 24 Volt Sealed Lead Acid batteries. This electric conversion kit can be easily installed on any bike with 26" wheels, and has the option for a second battery to double the range. While the SLA batteries do not have the power or lifespan of Lithium batteries, they are much less expensive and easy to replace. Check out this article on electric bike conversions for more details.
In sum, an electric bicycle motor is the perfect solution for you to get back into bicycle riding. You can control the amount of help you need from the electric bicycle motor, riding it from full throttle to only a little cheating on the hills.