DIY – Swytch e-Bike Conversion (Review)

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Swytch e-Bike Conversion – Background Info

Road Bike Conversion | Mountain Bike Conversion


Not strictly a Campervan DIY project, but we know that many in the Campervan community have been exploring e-Bike options – including us!

Weight and cost restrictions saw us head down the DIY e-Bike path. These pages are a summary of our DIY e-Bike installation and riding experience.


See also… Download….
Kiama blowhole and lighthouse Quickstart guide
Kiama Bicycle Users Group Swytch Quickstart Guide (OLED)

 

Batteries everywhere!

We have enjoyed our battery-powered bikes so much
we have upgraded to a battery-powered car!

MG electric car

Read about our EV road trip >>>

 

e-Justification

We cycle regularly to help maintain a level of health and fitness – along with enjoying some social interaction with a wonderful group of fellow cyclists.

Group ride

Amongst our cycling friends we have been the hold-outs on moving to bikes powered by battery electrons rather than leg muscles.

After all, a major reason for our cycling is exercise – why go for a ride where there is no energy expended? No muscles pumped? No cardiovascular huffing and puffing?

Another practical factor that has deterred us from moving to the world of electron-powered cycling is the weight of most of our friends’ e-Bikes – around 24kgs!

Our Campervan has a bike rack fitted to the back doors – but the rack has a 35kg weight limit, which is not enough capacity for 2 x 24 kg e-Bikes. We also need to consider our van’s overall GVM, which is getting close to maxing out when fully loaded (3550kg).

Recently we began considering a compromise e-option – fitting our carbon-frame road bikes with a hub motor and battery, so that they could still be ridden as ‘regular’ bikes most of the time, but with an option to push a button for a little battery-boost on that long climb, when all those riding with us (on their e-Bikes) take off into the distance.

Incorporating a battery and hub motor on our regular bikes provides an e-Boost to our pedaling when required, without a dramatic increase in weight.

We consider our Swytch bikes to be ‘pedal assist’ bikes, rather than full e-bikes.


Taking the e-Plunge

There is no shortage of e-Bike conversion options – it doesn’t take too much Googling to discover the wide range of kit options that are out there…

eBike kit options

You have a choice between a central crank motor, or a wheel hub motor. Some are outrageously powerful, others more modest. (Check your local jurisdiction’s legal limits on motor size.) Cost is generally around $800 – $1500 (AUD) for the full kit, plus the time, tools and know-how to install all the bits and pieces.

After weighing up all the options, we chose a Swytch conversion kit from the UK. The Swytch kit….

    • is a neat all-in-one kit;
    • is powered by an easy-to-fit front wheel hub motor (250W);
    • has a relatively small battery footprint (that doesn’t consume frame/tube space);
    • adds only 3.5kgs to the weight of the bike (with MAX battery);
    • has received plenty of positive performance reviews.

If you sign up to the Swytch waitlist, and don’t mind waiting a few months for delivery, you will receive a significant discount off ‘full price’. (Update – our more recent experience has been weeks rather than months.)

We purchased our kits (initially two, but now four including our MTBs) with optional add-ons to the base kit…

    • MAX battery
    • OLED display
    • Matte black wheel
    • Thumb throttle (MTBs only)

All of which push up the price from the original base level to around $1500 AUD, including delivery. Another factor affecting the cost (here in Australia) is the daily currency exchange rate.

We also fitted new tyres, tubes and disc-brake rotor to our new Swytch wheels on our road bikes – keeping the original wheels intact – so that we could easily swap back to the original wheel if required. Depending on your choice of tyre and brake rotor, add another $150.

Of course, if your budget is tight you can easily swap these items from your original wheel to the Swytch wheel. With hindsight, we should have done this – our original wheels haven’t been touched since we installed the Swytch kits. Consequently, 12 months down the track, when we converted our MTBs we swapped the original tyres and brake rotors to the Swytch wheel. (Link to more MTB info below.)



After installing Swytch kits on our road bikes, and enjoying the results, we have now gone down the path of adding battery power to our mountain bikes. Installation details specific to both our road bikes and mountain bikes are provided below….

Road Bike conversion Mountain bike conversion
Swytch Road Bike Installation
(and review)
Swytch MTB Installation
(and review)

 

Our experience with Swytch support….

Thumbs upVarious Swytch user forums and online e-Bike discussion groups often dish up negative feedback from Swytch customers who have had a less-than-stellar experience with Swytch support when their kit components have failed, been delivered late, or not operated as expected.

We too had a frustrating experience when installing our first Swytch kit back in early 2023. An email to the support team that needed a quick response (fitting the Swytch 10mm axle in our 9mm drop slots) took nearly two weeks to receive a reply. We also experienced some long waits when asking questions before we ordered. But we did eventually receive replies to all our emails to Swytch support.

Fast forward to 2024, and the Swytch support team – at least from our antipodean perspective – has been excellent. We now have four bikes powered by Swytch kits – two road bikes and two mountain bikes, along with another four bikes we have fitted out for friends. Over these eight installations, we have experienced a faulty motor and a faulty battery, and in both instances we have received a quick response (24-48 hours), and an excellent repair / replace outcome. We can’t expect too much more than that, especially from a support team based on the other side of the planet, operating in a different time zone.

From here in Australia we can only offer positive feedback following our recent experiences with the Swytch support team.

Five starsWell done Swytch!

 

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