Electron Wheel E-bike Conversion—It Doesn’t Get Much Easier Than This.
Here is a product with a chance to capture the hearts and love of millions, it did mine. As the knowledge of electric-assist bicycles showers over the masses, they start their search for just the right way to live the fun and thrill. The cost, complexity and specific designs of a production E-bikes can be daunting, yet the Electron Wheel shines alone like a beacon of light through the darkness. If that light catches your eye, you might be the one with a new found bicycle experience that is almost impossible to explain.
Last year I spent maybe 6 weeks with a pre-production unit of the Electron Wheel. Before I opened the box, the info I had received had already peaked my interest and made me see a new era of riding for people the world over. After the minutes it took to install it on my beach cruiser, I was won over from the first turn of the pedals. I posted some videos of that first foray, but was asked not to do the full review as it was already slated for more refinement. Some of my suggestions are incorporated into this version, just as the final production model will feature my last two.
What makes this different is that all your electric conversion items are inside the wheel itself. To be 100% truthful, there are a few other pieces in the mix too, There is a small box that Velcros onto your pedal arm to send a signal to the wheel as they turn. A matching plastic cover for the rear wheel can balance out the look of your newly converted E-bike if you choose to install it, and will be part of the package. The final item is your own smart phone, whose app interacts with the Electron Wheel.
The wheel houses the 250 watt brushed and geared motor. The light-weight and powerful lithium battery is tucked inside too, and is speced at 24 volts and 10.7 Ah (256 Wh). The electronic control unit not only runs the motor, but receives wireless signals from the pedal sensor and your phone. All this adds up to a E-bike conversion with no wiring to connect or see, and no bolts and nuts to deal with. Another big plus here (which I will explain more about) is the ability to switch between a regular bike and a converted bike in the (near) blink of an eye. Since the Electron Wheel comes with a mounted tire and tube, nothing will slow you down in that direction.
I had it on a couple of my bikes and did get a wrench involved. On my beach cruiser the original front wheel has 15mm nuts on the axle that needed to be loosened for removal. Also, I used a handlebar mounted holder for the cell phone that had one screw. My hybrid uses a quick-release axle mounting (no tools required) like the Electron Wheel does, yet a small adjustment of the brake system was needed. So a bit of the nut and bolt thing did happen, but just the smallest bit.
Compared with other E-bike conversion kits, this is so simple and easy. Although some might wince when viewing the wattage and voltage specs, let me tell you not to concern yourself there. It has great power, smoothness and a range between recharges that matches the others well. It hits the max E-bike speed of 20 mph, climbs as good as most, and the control system is programmed smartly. Because of the all-in-one feature, the efficiency is great with no electrical power losses, and minimal chances for breakdowns. The Electron Wheel is smarter than your smart phone that helps control it.
With the app empowered, your phone works it in a few ways. First up is the initial calibration needed. It all happens with the push of a button, a easy and consistent speed ride of 200 yards (with a return to your starting spot) , then confirmation it (calibration) was completed successfully. This is after you tell the phone of your pedal sensor location (on the inner or outer part of the pedal arm). From there you just choose between 3 levels of assist modes as you ride. And don’t forget, you can map your rides and use many other features your phone has in that respect.
The reasons I love this are many, some might be better taken advantage of by you. Some pre-made E-bikes come in 1 or 2 sizes fit all. The bike you have now could be the perfect bike (size and type wise), yet adding an electric-assist could make it that much more to your liking. Many might not have the room or $ for 2 bikes, one electric and one not (sometimes you may not want or need an E-bike for any given ride). Lots of bike repair shops refuse to work on E-bikes, so swapping the original wheel back on opens up repair and tune-up options you may not have with an electric bike in your town. The list of why the Electron Wheel could be just right for you is a long one, use your own imagination to fill in more reasons.
There are a few drawbacks though, some I didn’t feel the first time I tested the prototype. Each one has a way around it, but I feel it is my duty to list them. With a close to 20 lbs heft (a little less than most conversions), all the weight is in the front wheel. On the whole, it doesn’t adversely affect the steering much, but does require a beefy and solid kickstand when parked. I rode it in some pretty stiff winds and that too can buffet the steering some (because the wind doesn‘t flow through normally wide-open wheel spokes). It wasn’t enough to cause problems, but is one reason you may decide not to use the supplied rear wheel cover.
When I took the bike for a couple group rides and some at the beach cruises, I realized one other issue that didn‘t crop up in my mind before. The bike rack fit it fine, yet the wheel did block off the view of my car’s lights to the people behind me. If we do end up with a couple Electron Wheels (and I really hope we do), I think I would add some trailer style lights to my bike rack for safety’s sake. You may never transport your bike in this manner, but if you do, extra lights would be wise.
All in all, this E-bike conversion is one awesome way to go. The benefits are giant and the fun is rampant. Even though there are other products coming to the market place with a similar approach, several mount on the rear of the bike, requiring much fuss making the spacing and the gear adoption a expert’s job. Who needs that when it works better replacing the front wheel? Not me for one, even though such mechanical stuff is a breeze for me.
Last up, you may see the Electron Wheel marketed under different model names. The maker has found to diversify will work best to get it out there and to keep the price-point where you will be happiest. No matter what they call it, I am convinced this is a great way to add an electric-assist to your bike, and like I said above, I can easily see my family sporting a pair of these in the very near future. I love, love, love the Electron Wheel.
Power-up your bike smoothly and quietly, Turbo Bob.
“Love is a bicycle with two pancakes for wheels. You may see love as more of an exercise in hard work, but I see it as more of a breakfast on the go.”—Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE.
Look for the Electron Wheel on the web and Facebook.
I posted several videos on the first version on the Electron Wheel, those can be found on my site. Here are the ones on this revised model.