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.
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.
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.
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.