Thanks to the influx of a multitude of e-bike conversion kits, a vast majority of which are cheap and made in China, hundreds, if not thousands of old bicycles are being saved from the scrappers. Unsurprisingly, a brand new e-bike, even one that’s built to fit a budget, will still be out of the budget for a wide range of consumers. This is where e-bike conversions come in handy—transform your old bike into an e-bike for a fraction of the cost.
We’ve gone on and on about the numerous practical benefits of e-bikes here, as well as a good number of e-bike conversion kits that are perfect for those on a budget. A cool YouTube channel by the name of Drew Builds Stuff has highlighted the real-world benefits of an e-bike conversion. In Drew’s latest video, he decided to convert his mountain bike into an e-bike in order to better be able to haul around his bike camper. He shows the whole process, along with the materials he used in incredible detail. As for the camper, it’s a simple no frills camper, but even then, will certainly be a chore to tow along on an unassisted bike.
In the first half of the video, Drew walks us through the step by step procedure of building his own battery. Given the weight of the camper, as well as the distance he hopes to cover, he decided to build his own battery not only to lower costs, but in order to get the capacity he needed for the job. To make a 51Ah 48V e-bike battery, he connected in parallel 17 batches of 13 serial-connected battery cells. A total of 221 batteries were soldered together to achieve this gargantuan power unit. Of course, this heavy battery pack is housed in the trailer, and not on the bike.
As for the bike itself, Drew sourced an e-bike conversion kit online, most of which are universally applicable. Packing a 1,000W hub-motor, the kit consisted of a built rear wheel on which the cassette, disc rotor, and tire were all a direct fit. After mounting the new wheel, motor, and controller onto the frame, and fitting on some custom trailer brackets onto the bike’s frame, the transformed e-bike was pretty much ready to go. A few additional touches to the camper were made, such as reinforcements to the axles, and a 100W solar panel on the roof for additional energy.
For the total build, Drew shelled out less than $1,000 CAD, or around $1,290 USD—a fraction of the cost of a ready-to-go e-bike with the same power and range figures. Speaking of range, the new setup is expected to be able to return upwards of 62 miles with the camper in tow.