If we’re being honest, we were a bit hesitant to test the Swytch e-Bike Conversion Kit. Why? Two reasons. First, because bolting on a motor and battery seems like a clunky idea.

Second, because front wheel drive seems like a weird idea on a two-wheeled, pedal-powered bicycle that’s designed as a low-power, rear wheel drive machine.

Fortunately, both fears proved unfounded, and the Swytch kit surprised us with relatively clean looks and solid performance that rivaled the feel of real e-bikes. Considering its versatility and low entry price, we’d recommend it highly as a way to turn any regular old bike into a fast commuter. Here’s how it works…

How does the Swytch e-Bike Conversion Kit work?

swytch e-bike conversion kit installed on a bicycle

As if to reinforce just how versatile Swytch’s kit is, they only offer two versions – Universal, and Brompton. The latter is specifically for Brompton’s folding bikes. The Universal kit is for everything else. And they really do mean (almost) everything else.

swytch bike whats included in the box contents

It starts with a hub motor inside a wheel, more on that in a minute. The battery and electronics are housed inside a small pack that mounts to your handlebar. It looks like a small basket, but the controls are managed through the top flap, which closes with a waterproof zipper:

swytch e bike conversion kit controls and battery pack

The charging port and manual on/off switch are behind a small flap on the back. Functionally, it’s highly water-resistant and perfectly fine to ride or park in the rain now and then, but it’s not 100% waterproof. So, don’t submerge it.

The physical on/off switch disconnects the power from the electronics in case you need to ship your bike or throw the battery pack in a backpack or something. You don’t need to use it during normal operation as there’s a power button on the top flap.

The rest of the conversion kit contains the sensors and wires to connect everything.

swytch e-bike motorized front bicycle wheel actual weight

The 700c front wheel with hub motor weighs in at 6.53lb (2.96kg). The whole system will add about 7-8lb (3 to 3.6kg) to your bike after subtracting the weight of your stock wheel…but you won’t notice it while riding. The wheel is also available in all Black.

The kit comes with a pre-built front wheel using an alloy rim and their hub-based motor. The rim is made for rim brakes, and the hub can fit a standard 6-bolt disc brake rotor. An attached spacer helps the rotor align with calipers. The hub can be ordered with standard 9mm QR axle ends, or thru-axle fitments, to work on most any fork.

About the only physical modification you might need to make is to file down the flat sections on the QR axle ends if your standard fork dropouts are too narrow. (Please don’t file your fork dropouts…just use a file on the axle) We didn’t need to trim anything off ours and it was a perfectly snug fit in our older Specialized Sirrus test bike, but Swytch fully endorses this modification and will help walk you through it if you’re not sure what to do. Yes, we thought this was odd, too, but don’t let it scare you off because chances are very high you will not have to do this.

swytch e bike conversion kit pedaling sensor

The most intimidating part about installing the Swytch Bike kit is getting the pedaling sensor installed. The system is available with an optional throttle if you prefer to turn your bike into a moped, but we like e-bikes, so we tested the pedal-assist version.

To make it work, you install a magnetic ring around the left-side bottom bracket spindle. A multi-hinged arm articulates to fit flush against your left crank arm so that it turns as you pedal.

swytch crank arm attachment to add a pedal sensor to your bike

The kit includes multiple center inserts to help it fit different diameter bottom bracket shells and spindles. Since it’s unlikely you’re converting a bike with a massive carbon bottom bracket shell or tightly spaced BB386EVO system, chances are really good there are parts that will fit whatever bike it’s going on.

The trickiest part about installing this is getting the magnetic disc aligned well enough that it spins mostly flat, parallel to the rotational direction without much wobble.

This is important because the sensor that reads the magnets as they spin past it needs to be quite close to the disc for it to register.

swytch e bike pedal sensor closeup details

A small LED on the sensor lights up when it senses a magnet passing by, making it easy to tell when it’s close enough. The hard part is getting it close enough.

swytch e bike pedal sensor closeup details

This is what took the longest part of our installation process. Total install time was just over an hour, but could have gone quicker if we hadn’t had to do some backyard “engineering” to mount the pedal sensor.

Mounting it to the downtube or seat tube is the ideal location, but on steel or alloy bikes with standard threaded bottom brackets and normal (not oversized) tube diameters, you may struggle to get it close enough to register.

swytch e bike pedal sensor closeup details

We tried cutting away some of the plastic and reversing the platform to get more clearance and reach, but neither solution solved the problem of getting the sensor close enough to the magnets.

A flat mounting base has two loops to run zip-ties through it, and it pivots to help get the sensor closer to the disc. But it wasn’t enough, and the cable’s protrusion prevented us from angling it further.

swytch e bike conversion kit installed on a bicycle

Ultimately, we ended up looping it under the bottom bracket, through the chainstays, and coming back around to mount it on the seat tube. This allowed for a surprisingly secure fitment while working around the front derailleur clamp and giving us the cleanest wire routing possible considering our solution.

Of course, you have to do something with that wire, so we used tiny zip-ties to secure it along the rear derailleur shift cable. Since it’s not rubbing, this provided a simple and relatively clean way to route the wire without having to tape or tie it to the downtube. We tried white electrical tape…but, no.

swytch e bike kit battery and control pack on a bicycle handlebar

The rest of the kit installation is straightforward. Attach the battery/control box’s mounting dock to the handlebar, being sure to use the included strap routed under the stem and captured by the dock’s bolts. This prevents the weight of the battery from rotating the entire thing downward. Indeed, it works…we didn’t notice any rotation or sagging throughout our testing, and we plan on keeping it on the bike for a long time.

swytch e-bike conversion kit installed on a bicycle

The only other installation tip worth mentioning is that the instructions say to place the axle such that the power cable coming out of it faces downward, then loops up. As you can see in the pic above, we ignored that because it looks much sleeker if it’s pointing up.

But, there’s a reason they recommend that it points down. This creates a rain drip loop for water to run off of. The way we installed it, rain would run directly down the cable and into the motor housing. While it is sealed against moisture, etc., running the loop downward minimizes the risk of water ingress. That, or just don’t ride in the rain or through puddles. (We’ve switched it to the recommended direction since these pics were taken).

Here are the official specs:

  • Up to 50km (31mi) per charge
  • Top assisted speed of 25 or 32 km/h  (15-20mph) depending on region
  • 250W
  • 40Nm Torque

Swytch e-bike conversion kit ride review

swytch e-bike conversion kit installed on a bicycle

Once installed, the system has been rock solid and performed better than expected. What was most surprising is how natural it felt…it rides just like, well, an e-bike.

We have quite a few commuter e-bikes here – Haibike, Specialized, and Yuba are in our permanent fleet and get used almost daily. So, we know what an e-bike should feel like. And this well-loved 3×8 Specialized Sirrus now feels just like a modern, purpose-built e-bike. Which is saying a lot.

riding the swytch ebike conversion kit with front hub motor on a bike path

If you haven’t listened to our podcast interview with Swytch’s founder, Oliver Montague, it’s highly entertaining and offers a lot of insight into how this system was developed. That he could create a very simple bolt-on system that uses a sensor to mimic the pedal-assist feature of a pure e-bike is very impressive.

riding the swytch ebike conversion kit with front hub motor on a bike path

The buttons on the top of the battery pack are easily accessible, letting you adjust the amount of assist while riding. It couldn’t be easier to use.

riding the swytch ebike conversion kit with front hub motor on a bike path

The added weight on the handlebar didn’t adversely affect handling, either. It does make the wheel flop a bit if you’re moving your bike around in the garage, but on the road it’s no more noticeable than if you had a roll bag with some gear in it. Basically, the weight and position are a non-issue.

swytch e-bike conversion kit installed on a bicycle

Even the front wheel drive didn’t feel out of place. Our testers all thought it felt natural. And powerful! The kit’s assist levels match what we’re used to on brands offering modes like “eco” and “turbo” and varying “normal” levels in between. The highest assist mode surprised us with how much torque and power it delivered, yet never made us feel out of control.

The pedal sensor is quick to engage, kicking the motor on within a second of starting to pedal. It does kick in, but no so strongly as to surprise you or create an unsafe riding experience. And it falls off smoothly once you stop pedaling. And there’s no noticeable drag when you turn it off, so there’s not much downside if you run out of power. If you forget to charge it…just pop the battery pack off and head out for a ride like normal.

The retail price for the base-level Swytch Bike Universal Eco e-bike conversion kit tested here is $999/€950/£999…but, if you pre-order, you can get it for up to half off. That’s because they manufacture in batches, producing two units for every pre-order they have. This lets them offer discounts for pre-orders because it helps them get better economies of scale, and have inventory to sell at regular price. But don’t wait, because they sell out every run, and for $500-$600 on pre-order, this kit is a steal.

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42 Comments
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Tony pepperoni
Tony pepperoni
1 year ago

What is the IP rating? “Highly water resistant” can mean whatever they want it to mean.

yogibimbi
yogibimbi
1 year ago

Hmm, Oliver Montague? Any relations with Montague folding bikes?

Bart Bart
Bart Bart
1 year ago

And voids any warranty you may have on your fork…..

Mark
Mark
1 year ago
Reply to  Bart Bart

Warranty aside, whatever stress the motor puts on the fork is far less than heavy braking.

Drew Diller
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, I believe Bart Bart is talking about the torque that the front hub applies directly to the fork dropouts. Before e-bikes were mainstream I had built one – the add on kits definitely have potential to chew up frames. Everything is fine until suddenly it is not. Never again.

William
William
1 year ago

With the battery pack mounted at the centre of the handlebar, where would you mount a light?

Swytch
1 year ago
Reply to  William

Great question! The power pack has a built in light (the logo in the front) and also has four clip-on locations, two on front and two on top, where you can mount additional accessories like high powered lights
The Swytch Team

Climate Cal
1 year ago

This is excellent, thank you. One question – if you install it as pedal-assist, this means that you’ll have the usual non-ebike trouble with getting started if you’re facing uphill, right? Whereas with a throttle you can get help before you have pedaled, which also means it can walk itself upstairs with a little guidance.

dartmouth11
1 year ago
Reply to  Climate Cal

tork is tork…. dont matter the wall in front of you

Hec
Hec
1 year ago
Reply to  dartmouth11

Torque is torque, yes, but the difference is are you trying to climb the wall (front wheel torque) or push the wall over (rear wheel torque)?

Thesteve4761
Thesteve4761
1 year ago

If you can afford to sell at $500 now, then that’s your price. Don’t couch inflation and profiteering as a pre-order discount.

Let’s get these things down to $100 already.

Deputy Dawg
Deputy Dawg
1 year ago

Coming next, a disc brake version, perhaps?

cdn-dave
cdn-dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Deputy Dawg

“the hub can fit a standard 6-bolt disc brake rotor”

Gillis
Gillis
1 year ago
Reply to  Deputy Dawg

Maybe read before commenting?

Jpchiesa
Jpchiesa
1 year ago

I’m curious if this is set up with a 700C wheel and would fit on a say, steel framed italian racing bike?

Francis Richard Daley
Francis Richard Daley
1 year ago

I have an old beach cruiser with rear coaster brake that was recently restored. Do you have larger wheels to fit? I think everything else in the kit should install. THX!

nooner
nooner
1 year ago

So is it 36V i reckon?
250w nominal hub motor?
Battery looks tiny, how many wh?
Lion or gel pack?

Looks like ebikes did 10 years back…

nigy
nigy
1 year ago

Get right on that Steve. And let us know when you launch your company.

lihtan
1 year ago

Most ebike systems will also have a sensor on the brake lever that’s used to immediately cut power to the motor when you’re braking. I wondering how that’s managed on this system. I hope not the cadence sensor!

Zg
Zg
1 year ago
Reply to  lihtan

I have one of these from their first batch. Unless they changes something drastic there is a simple clip on brake interrupt that it comes with. The whole set up is plug and play, very simlple

Brompton FL
Brompton FL
1 year ago

I installed one on my Brompton. It was simple and it still folds. The battery is small so no issues with it on the handle bar. It has a lot of power so I go between turning it off and having it on 1 or 2 level of power. No hills here in Florida but we have heat so it’s nice to have a little extra help at times.

Mike Bigelow
Mike Bigelow
1 year ago

Can Switch be made for my 26inch wheel Kina mountain bike?

Thomas
1 year ago

The range is much less like 35 km, but besides the range issues the kit is great

Dave nicholson
Dave nicholson
10 months ago

I have Recumbent with 20 inch front wheel.
I only want pedal assist.
Do-able???

Anthony Farrar
Anthony Farrar
10 months ago

The retail price for the base-level Swytch Bike Universal Eco e-bike conversion kit tested here is $999/€950/£999

The UK is the most expensive, as usual, even though it is a UK company.

Martin Roach
Martin Roach
9 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Farrar

My preorder cost £605 with pro battery. It includes the 20% VAT. so not so expensive.

Amberlouise Everitt
Amberlouise Everitt
10 months ago

How does the swytch conversion fare on steep hills? I previously had an ebike which couldn’t assist on our steep incline to home? It’s very difficult to know what to buy next. I am not terribly fit and I have a heart condition so need help on the last 20 minute steep incline journey every day.

Rachid Mesli
Rachid Mesli
9 months ago

Ok! I’m still waiting for my kit and I’m already disapointed. Why?
After the long 12 weeks production time, no news, until I wrote to costumer support. Then the ”we’re sorry” there is a worldwide shortage of containers. Not only that but the’ are waiting confirmation! In my opinion this is really bad planning. I’m really unhappy.
In conglusion. Expect more than 6months to get your kit!

Kris Cook
9 months ago

Range is excellent and the fact you can uninstall the kit from any bike at any time only adds to the memories your old bike has. Easily one of the best purchases if you’re looking to upgrade to an electric two-wheeler.

Gary Pericak
Gary Pericak
9 months ago

I’ve been riding my Swytch Bike set up now for over a month. I have it mounted on a Masi single speed road bike and love it. Mostly ride it in a standby mode and only engage the motor on hills and into wind. It’s making biking more enjoyable for my 70 year old carcass and I’m riding more often. It seems to have the right amount of torque so that you still have to pedal it, just easier.

Karin Marks
Karin Marks
8 months ago

I cannot tell you how it works because after 6 1/2 MONTHS I have still not received it. I was promised that it would take about 3 months after I fully paid for it which seemed long but I accepted it. At this point, I don’t know if I need to get a lawyer because it feels like a scam to me. I am so disappointed. I missed the entire biking season when I wanted to use it.
The idea may be good but given their terrible customer service I would definitely not recommend it.
Buyer beware!!

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Karin Marks

Supply chain issues are real, and totally out of the manufacturer’s control. For perspective, even without supply chain issues, I waited 2 YEARS for my Copenhagen Wheel.

Gabriel
Gabriel
8 months ago

Hello, Where is your company located? Delivery delay? The price of regular Swytch today? Thank you.

evelyn
evelyn
7 months ago

I am on the wait list for Switch. I have a lung condition where I cannot do hills well. My husband purchased me a bike 7 yrs ago and I would love to be able to ride with him and grandkids regulary. I hope this enables me to do so!

Nick
Nick
7 months ago

Just did mine this weekend – had a friend help who had a bike stand, tools and a bit of experience, took about an hour. Its brilliant so far. I’m in Melbourne, so we had to wait a while – but so worth it – back on a bike.

I’m pretty out of shape and still in lockdown – but this is the best escape I’ve had for a long time. Its even ok for inexperienced riders like me – the power is quite surprising so I am keeping it at the lower level til I get used to it and still want to put a bit of effort in!

I can see how easily this could become a scooter with the throttle option (I didnt take that up, but see why some might)

Dont notice any weight/balance problems. I used an old giant boulder xt as donor – the only issue was the spline/centre lock brake rotor – but you just need to buy (beg, borrow…qv friend above) one and the bolts come with the hub..

I had wanted to put it on an old pashley that’s rusting away – but they advised me (I think I can see why now) not to…

The kit was remarkably good value – even with the import tax we have to pay here….I bought the kit to see if I would like an e-bike and perhaps upgrade to something more elegant at a later stage – but thus far I dont think I’ll be needing to do that – unless stepping up to some serious $$$

I haven’t yet taken it far enough to see distance limits – but it would get me easily to the local shops, into the city and back and round some off road trails if there specs are genuine….

Happy to report back when its been bedded in and I have got more used to it – this is just a first take…

JAMES ANTHONY WALLER
JAMES ANTHONY WALLER
7 months ago

I am so disappointed! I assembled my bike took a 22 mile ride that was great and now the piece of crap doesn’t work anymore! One ride and now the motor won’t even turn the front wheel when it’s off the ground. Now I have to deal with customer service in another country! Stupid mistake to buy this nearly $1000 wheel!

Herman Krieger
6 months ago

The Switch Kit works fine on my two wheel recumbent bike.
http://members.efn.org/~hkrieger/SwytchKit.jpg

Alkay Waller
Alkay Waller
5 months ago

Is there are no words to express the way this kid has changed my life you better ask somebody JB I’m in the process of ordering another I’m on the waiting list again

Michael Z
5 months ago

Based on the comments above, a kit will be a long time in coming. I think I have approximately 550 folks ahead of me on the waiting list. However, if I am able to get the kit in the next couple of months, that would be fantastic. Here’s my question: I will be in South Korea for most of next year. If the kit arrived before my departure, I am certain I could not take the battery with me due to airline restrictions. Can I easily find a substitute battery in South Korea, or is the one you provide proprietary in some way? If I needed a new battery, would I always need to order it through you?

Pat
Pat
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Z

This isn’t the SwytchBike customer service – try swytchbike.com – they are very responsive and helpful.

CP
CP
4 months ago

Very happy to have received my Eco kit a month earlier than anticipated and getting used to my new steed. I’m intrigued by the cables leading seemingly to nothing on the bottom of the battery. Or am I missing something??

Pat
Pat
3 months ago
Reply to  CP

There’s a few options you can order with your kit. One is a brake detector so that the power stops immediately when you press the brake, so 2 cables, one each front and rear. Another is a throttle, so you don’t need to pedal, which is only legal in some countries or for use on private property.