Another day, another novel approach to adding electric power to your bicycle. The Swytch is the latest offering in a seemingly constant stream of e-bike kits. And this one is billed as the lightest and most affordable E-bike conversion kit on the market.
The Swytch Instant E-Bike Kit carries its battery and control components in a handlebar bag, and drives the bike via a motorized front wheel. The kits cost between $300-$425 and add about 8.5-13lbs to your bike, depending on the version you choose…
The Swytch’s front hub motor comes built into a complete wheel – standard sizes available include 16, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29” and 700c, and other sizes are available upon request. The kit is said to fit almost any bike, but the motorized hub uses a 10mm (or optional 9mm) threaded axle with 100m spacing so bikes with thru-axles or 110mm boost forks aren’t going to be compatible. There is, however, a narrower axle available for Brompton folders, and the hub does include a disc brake mount.
The Swytch kit includes the handlebar bag & mounting bracket, a complete front wheel, brake sensors, and a pedal sensor. Installation looks fairly easy; users first swap out their front wheel, then clip the crank sensor ring around your BB shell, zip-tie the pedal sensor to your frame, squeeze the brake sensors onto your cables (FYI-there is an optional kit with different sensors for hydraulic brakes) and install the handlebar bracket and bag. The only step left is to secure the wiring and plug everything together.
The handlebar bag carries the battery, and has a control unit/display on top. The display shows your battery life and which of the five power assist levels you’re using. Plus the rider can turn on or off the bag’s integrated 500 lumen front light. The bag is waterproof, as are the sensors and the bracket’s electronic connections.
When the bag is clipped into its bracket it connects to the motor and sensors, so there’s no messing around with wires each time. Since the bag can be easily removed it won’t get stolen while your bike is left unattended. It also makes the bike lighter to carry up stairs, as you can haul the battery pack separately with its shoulder strap.
The standard front hub motor puts out 250W and 30Nm of power, and provides a 20mph top speed for the USA and 25kmph for Europe. While the kit comes as pedal-assist only, there is an optional throttle intended for bikes that can’t accommodate the pedal sensor or simply as an add-on to the system. Non-European buyers can choose between a twist or thumb-lever style throttle.
There is also an option for a more powerful hub motor that outputs either 350W with a top speed of 20mph, or 500W which can go up to 30mph. Due to legal regulations, the 30mph version is only suggested as a de-restricted version for off-road use. This motor is available in front or rear wheel options, on 24” wheels or larger. These motors are both paired with a 50-mile battery.
The Swytch’s lithium-ion battery charges in 3hrs (25 mile) or 6 hours (50 mile) via a portable USB charger. The 25 mile battery pack weighs 4.6lb while the 50 mile version comes in at 6.6lb. The 250W hub weighs 3.3lb, and the 350 or 500W versions each weigh 6lb.
The Swytch kit can be purchased on its own, or also already mounted to one of several complete bikes. Bike options include an aluminum commuter (available with a step-through frame or traditional style), a kickbike (aka scooter), a street cruiser, a bamboo touring bike, a carbon fiber road bike, and even an electrified penny farthing (yikes)!
The Swytch’s Indiegogo campaign is already well over its funding goal, and there’s plenty of time left to buy in. Supporters can now pre-order a 250W 50 mile kit for $350, or a 25 mile kit for $300. The more powerful 350-500W 50 mile kit is selling for $425. As for complete bikes, the aluminum commuters or kickbikes (scooter) with the 250W/50 mile kit are currently $599. All other custom completes will cost $1999.
The first units are expected to ship out in April 2018, and the kits come with a one year warranty. Check out the Indiegogo campaign page here.