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Podcast 041 – How Swytch Bike hacked their e-bike conversion kits into a real business

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Swytch Bike founder Oliver Montague has a few stories to tell, both interesting and quite entertaining…especially when we get to his factory visits.

The Swytch e-bike conversion kit allows you to turn almost any bike into an electric assist e-bike, using a front wheel hub motor and lightweight battery pack that clicks onto a proprietary mount that couldn’t be easier to use.

This interview isn’t so much about the tech and the product, although we do cover that. It’s more about how Oliver started the company by using Chinese e-bike kits and random parts to help others convert their bikes and, after hacking together hundreds of different combinations, figuring out a better solution and then launching a company to make it real.

Whether you like e-bikes or not, this one’s a really fun conversation about how things work behind the scenes.

panda bikes early prototype e-bike conversion kit
One of Oliver’s more refined (but still early) conversion kits under his Panda Bikes brand name.

I love stories like this.

As an entrepreneur myself, I really admire folks like Oliver who had the gumption to take an idea and run with it, quitting their day job, but being smart enough to stick with that paycheck until they’ve proven the concept first.

What I like about his story is the insight he provided into how some products get made. It’s why so many brands end up having a full-time manufacturer’s rep on the ground in Asia to oversee production, ensuring that what’s specified is what actually comes out of the factory. It might also be a good reason why buying brand-name stuff from companies who actually have their own engineers on staff is a good idea, too.

swytch bikes e-bike conversion kit
The Swytch Bikes e-bike conversion kit as you can buy it today.

We have one of the Swytch systems in for review and will post that soon. It’s been updated a bit since it launched in 2017, and first impressions are good.

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Thanks a ton, and until next time, keep the rubber side down!

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