Installing an electric drive conversion kit on your bike is not like rebuilding a Jaguar V-12 or converting the family car from gasoline to electricity. Still, some electric bike kits are easier to easier to install than others. And when you can buy a top-of-the-line conversion kit which is loaded with features and also easy to install, you have a winning combination.
Starting in the 1990’s, bicycle manufacturers began to utilize aluminum to make bicycle frames lighter than previous frames manufactured from steel. Because of the different properties of aluminum compared with steel, the aluminum frames had thicker diameter tubes than their predecessors. Soon thicker frames became the style, and even Cromoly (i.e. chromium-molybdenum steel) frames were being manufactured in the new style.
These larger diameter tubes presented the opportunity for manufacturers to install threaded screw bosses into their frames at the factory, for the first time allowing accessories such as pumps and water bottles to be directly bolted onto the frames, eliminating mounting brackets which wrapped around the frame tubes. This arrangement was not only easier, but it was more secure and problem-free, as most wrap-around mounting brackets have a tendency to slip and loosen with time.
The BionX electric bike kit makes clever use of this feature of modern bicycle frames to insure that installation of their electric drive conversion kit is safe, simple and secure. The heart of the BionX system is the lithium-ion battery, which supplies power-on-demand and provides superior performance and range compared with other battery types.
A locking battery mount bolts directly to your bicycle’s frame using the factory fastener bosses on the frame. This mount holds the battery securely, and contains the wiring harnesses to connect the battery to the rear electric wheel hub motor which is supplied with the kit, as well as to the control console which mounts to the handlebars.
Installing a BionX bike kit is simple, because the kit contains a rear wheel equipped with its own freewheel, which simply bolts on, replacing your bike’s existing rear wheel. Anyone who can fix a flat can remove the tire from the old wheel, and mount it on the new wheel with built-in BionX hub motor, then slip the new wheel into place and tighten the axle nuts.
Once the control console is mounted on the handlebars and the wires for the console and the motor are plugged in, the installation is nearly complete. The next step is to install the brake shut-off switch. This switch ensures that the BionX motor drive is disconnected whenever you apply the brake. It also allows the BionX regenerative braking feature to be engaged.
Regenerative braking allows the system to recapture some of the energy used by the motor when you need to slow down. It does this by temporarily turning the motor into a generator, allowing your bike’s kinetic energy (i.e. motion) to be converted back into electricity, then feeding it back into the BionX battery to be used again.
The brake shut off switch uses the same principle as a magnetic door switch on a security alarm. The switch is attached to the handbrake housing, and a small magnet is mounted on the handbrake lever adjacent to the switch The shut-off switch is normally closed, allowing the system to operate in assist mode, but when you squeeze the brake, the magnet on the lever moves away from the switch, causing the circuit to open and the system to go into regenerative mode.
The final step of the installation is to tie-wrap the two cable runs, one from the battery mount to the rear motor and the second from the battery mount up to the control console mounted on the handlebars. Keep your work neat by using a scissors to clip off the excess tie-wraps. There’s even a sturdy fabric wrapper for the rear fork, with Velcro closures, which protects the battery cable from dirt, water and grease.
Seems like the BionX folks have thought of everything!
As a rider with more than 25+ years of experience, I also have a lot of experience in what can go wrong with do-it-yourself projects. But the BionX electric drive kit makes it easy to get things right the first time. And that leaves more time and energy for riding and enjoying the fruits of your labor, which is how things ought to be!