Add-E electric motor kit, title shot

Like them or not, E-bikes are rapidly growing in popularity. Nearly every big manufacturer has at least one for sale, but at the same time other players are producing retrofit motor kits that offer the same power assist advantage, and possibly a few others. The Add-E motor was invented by Fabian Gutbrod, from Villach, Austria. Gutbrod decided to produce an electric motor kit so customers could keep riding their old favorite bike, plus save space and money versus buying another complete bicycle.

The Add-E is a bolt-on electric motor kit that drives a friction roller to assist the rear wheel. The whole kit weighs just 4.4lbs, creates zero friction when not assisting and the motor and battery can be switched between multiple bikes with extra mounts installed. Their Indiegogo campaign is in full swing, with their goal of €100,000 already well exceeded.

Check out more details after the break…

The Add-E motor only drives the wheel while you are pedalling, and automatically switches off when you stop. With data from a pedal assistant sensor the motor flips upwards and engages within half a second when you start cranking, and when you stop the roller automatically drops off the tire and causes no friction for unencumbered pedalling.

The motor can also be removed from its bracket in seconds, either to ditch the extra weight or to swap the assembly back and forth between different bikes. Most customers should be able to install the kit in 30-60 minutes, and Add-E will adapt the motor’s capacity and max speeds according to the buyer’s country’s regulations.

Add-E electric motor kit, on bike

The Add-E will work for many different bikes but is most ideal for touring bikes, road bikes, or commuters. The kit comes with two different mounting brackets to accommodate different frames- One fits around a 68mm BB shell (but also includes an adapter for 73mm BB’s) and the other fits into a single-bolt kickstand bracket. For anyone unsure of compatibility with their bike, simply contact the Add-E team and they will advise you if it will work… even full suspension bikes can be retrofitted assuming the frame design doesn’t interfere with the motor.

The bike must also have a bottle cage to mount the battery pack, and as for tires slicks are best but something with a solid centerline will work if you prefer multi-surface treads. The company also notes that wider tires provide better power transfer, so you might want to beef up your rubber a bit.

The coating on the motor’s friction roller has been tested and will reliably help drive your tire in rainy, wet conditions. The entire unit is waterproof, and the promo video includes a few stair gaps and drops to prove the unit is rugged and solidly connected.

Add-E electric motor kit, components

Impressively, the entire kit including the battery weighs only 4.4lbs. The battery itself is 2.2lbs, the motor weighs 800g and the mounting hardware adds another 200g. This is far lighter than the drive systems that are built in to complete e-bikes, and could easily turn your old road racer into a 24lbs electric bike.

Add-E electric bicycle motor Add-E electirc motor kit, power assist adjustment

The Add-E’s motor outputs between 250 and 600 watts of power, with different support levels the rider selects by twisting the top of the battery pack. The basic motor has four settings, but with the custom option each level can be determined by the buyer or comes in a default set up with six settings in hundred watt increments. The motor can assist at speeds up to 28mph, and its range is given as an estimate only as factors like terrain and degree of rider input will create variances, but count on somewhere less than 30 miles per charge. The battery holds 130 watt-hours of energy and takes around an hour to charge at a cost of about 3 cents.

Currently the best price available on a complete kit is $863 USD, which includes a version 25 motor (limited to 25km/h and 250 watts). For $1032 customers can get the early bird custom package, where the motor will come tuned to your liking (within your country’s regulations) anywhere up to the maximum 30 mph top speed and full 600 watts of power. Finally, Add-E is offering nine limited edition kits that include motors with serial numbers 01-10, two batteries and chargers, two mounting kits, plus personalized engraving and color choice. The Limited Edition kit sells for $3365.

The Add-E motor kit is only available on Indiegogo, and their campaign ends on June 7th. The first product shipments are expected to go out in August.


  1. Would this work for Gravel Grinding? Would I need to change my gear ratio? What is the best gearing for riding (grinding;) gravel?

  2. Dear Add-E

    Please send us one kit each.

    Sincerely, Fabian Cancellara, Ryder Hesjedal, and Alberto Contador (per delusional speculations).

  3. from the desk of:
    Fabian Cancellara, Ryder Hesjedal, and Alberto Contador

    please make future designs smaller and less noticeable, perhaps hiding them inside the frame for more….ummmm…esthetics?

  4. Yeah, what John said! Everyone needs to live in John’s black and white world. There’s no one at all that would make use of things like this, no one like commuters, partially disabled people, people that don’t want to live in the narrowly defined world of some cyclists,….

  5. I don’t doubt that the motor can do 600 watts for a short bit of time.

    The problem is it’s a remote control aircraft motor. They are not well sealed at all, in fact in the renderings you can see the giant holes where the delicately insulated copper wire is exposed for air cooling, and RC models tend to only be flying for 15 minutes or so at a time.

    There was another idea like this where it was a big all in one clamp on device that use the same kind of motor, but clamped to the seatpost.

  6. You know how sometimes a slower rider, or your significant other wants to ride with you. And your all like “Great”, but it also means you are going to have a slow ride. This is the solution!

  7. @Psi Squared: Nicely put! +1.

    2 kg is pretty light, but if weight weenie ebike riders exist, they should have a look at the Velospeeder. At 1.6 kg it’s AFAIK still the lightest out there. It also seems competitive on the ease of moving from bike to bike, though I think Add-E wins that one.
    Either way, a sub 10 kg ebike is fully possible now. That’s pretty awesome.

    The Add-E doesn’t seem to have a motor cut switch connected to the brakes. Of course their crank sensor works just as well, but the brake switch is a legal requirement here in Norway, so this kit isn’t legal without some extra hacking.

    Disclaimer: E-bikes are awesome, but I don’t currently own or want one.

  8. This would be perfect for my wife to use on her day touring bike. She would only use it going up the hills so we can ride at the same speed. She would need a boost of 80-120 watts maximum and at 2 or 3 hills of 6 miles each this would be ideal. I can see this product won’t suit every application but for some people it will be ideal. Heck I could get another fitting bracket for my dad and put it on his bike for the same purpose. Then we can go riding together and I not have to ride slowly for him.

    For those people who think electric motors are for losers, shame on you. There are lots of people who are able to enjoy cycling in a greater capacity because of E-Bikes. My work colleague has started cycling on weekends with her partner and occasionally to work all because of an E-Bike. A former customer of mine is now able to enjoy 30 mile rides around the hills from his house because of his E-Bike. His knees were so bad with age that he had all but stopped bike riding before this.

  9. My dad has an ebike and it’s dope to see him wizz around on it. He also rides road and mountain but has the ebike for fun and some older dudes go out on them lol.

  10. would be great addition to the buddy bike I ride with my 10 year old autistic son who only seems to like pedaling down hill!

  11. As I get older my commute to work gets more and more difficult: I have one 1-k hill that gains about 400 feet in elevation in that kilometer, and it’s damned tough. A little boost to get up,that hill would be wonderful, and that’d be the only place I’d need it. The other 10 miles I can do by myself.

  12. I don’t understand why people feel the need to hate on e-bikes. We have a customer who is in his 70s, and thanks to his e-bike, he can still get from point A to point B on his bike. It’s awesome to talk to him about it, and see his enthusiasm for still being able to ride! He’s just as excited as a little kid!

    E-bikes are also helping get people off of the couch, and on a bike. If hill A is a piece of cake for you, good on you…because hill A might be the most intimidating thing ever to someone else…and that e-bike is giving them the confidence to conquer it. It irritates me to no end, to see or hear someone bag on someone else’s abilities or lack of, and what they might to do compensate. Get over it and go ride your bike…because they are…and not bagging on you on BikeRumor.

  13. CDG – I don’t hate e-bikes. I was going to say that I just want articles about the human powered sport I love. But then I realized I always get sucked into all these e-bike articles. It’s the comments section mostly that draws me there, but also I am a voyeur. I want to see what they’re doing – they being the “evil” e-bike people. I love the comments about Fabian and Alberto. It resonates with me. I know the motors will get smaller, maybe small enough to fit into a hub or PF30 BB shell. Weigth won’t be a big penalty as there is a minimum weight that the bikes must weigh, and the teams put slugs into the bikes today to make them UCI compliant. Maybe these motors will only produce a small amount of Wattage, maybe 10W or so. That may be enough to win a sprint. To be honest I don’t care if the pro’s cheat. They already cheat. But I would love an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary about how the skinny kid from Iowa, or Chile, won the tour, and it was later discovered after a crash that rare-earth magnets were strewn across the road.

    I also have a serious concern. I rode through the 90’s when access for mountain bikes was tenuous. IMBA has come a long way to fix the situation – thank you IMBA!!!! The e-bike motors will get smaller, and it will be harder to detect if a bike on a human-power-only trail has an electric assist or not. If trail damage occurs or a hiker gets run over by an e-bike pilot (people are *ss holes, not the e-bike) I am worried that I (all of us really) will lose the access that we have been fighting for.

    So how about some real open and honest dialogue, not just “e-bikes suck” and “you all are just e-haters!”

  14. For an underpowered friction drive with a low power battery it better cost less than $200. I wouldnt pay more than $100 for it.

  15. Go to the big ebike web sites to see how easy it is to make your own version of this. Nothing new here and their pricing is way over the top. I can’t wait to see the reviews once people start getting them in hand. A lot of people are going to be upset that they spent $1000 on this.

  16. I think for the money I would do a Bafang mid-drive. A bit heavier, and not removable, but way better torque transmission for hill climbing, I’m sure.

  17. Just goto my add-e. Instaled it on my 26 hardtail commuter and i’m lovin it. I do 7 km with a lot of climbs to get to work and it takes me 14 minutes to get there. It’s the exact same time i do when i go by car but cheaper and more fun.

  18. Any one want to buy one of these? Nothing wrong with it just not for me. I have a new set up as well as a like together or seperate new motor . All offers and trades considered. Looking for a marin muir woods 17 frame disk brakes and 29er. Or similar. contact me at… thanks-Raymond.

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