Lightweight E-Bike Conversion Kit Promises an Affordable "Instant" Swytch to Electric

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
©. Swytch

With a top speed of 25 mph, and a range of up to 50 miles, this drop-in e-bike conversion kit aims to make it easy to add an electric boost to any bike.

For those who already own a bike they love, and yet want to get a little extra boost now and again (or all the time), from an electric drive system, the options just keep getting cheaper. Although many of the lower-cost units haven't seen much real-world action yet, which means data on their reliability and actual performance isn't available (and some of them haven't even been delivered to customers), that hasn't stopped people from being drawn to "instant" e-bike kits. This next product is attracting a fair bit of attention for not only its performance claims, but also its incredibly affordable price.

UK e-bike startup Swytch is trying to lay claim to the "world's lightest, most affordable" electric bike conversion kit, by connecting a front wheel with an integrated electric hub motor to a removable battery pack that hangs from the handlebars, for a total weight of less than 8 pounds, and priced at just $300. For that pre-order pricing, a 250W unit and a 36V 5Ah battery pack said to cover 25 miles will be delivered to customers in the spring of 2018, after which the expected MSRP will be roughly double that amount.

The Swytch e-bike kit is also available as a 350W (non-EU) version, and a larger 10Ah battery pack option will give riders 50 miles per charge, with a variety of standard wheel sizes available to fit "any bike." Seems like a bit of a bold claim, but because the Swytch is meant to power the non-drive wheel (the front, in this case, or the rear, in the case of the penny farthing), it doesn't have to be integrated into the gear train, which makes it much simpler than rear-wheel conversions.

The bike's battery pack is attached to the front of the handlebars with a quick-connect bracket, which allows for it to be easily removed when parking it, and the battery bag also serves as the dashboard for the Swytch wheel. The control dashboard is so much simpler than even the most basic e-bike LCD display, as it uses LED lights to show battery charge level and power assist mode (which is actually quite refreshing, as most of us only want to select the power mode and keep an eye on the battery level), and the pack includes an LED headlight for additional visibility.

Swytch e-bike penny farthing

© Swytch
Those who don't actually own a bike to put the Swytch on, a complete e-bike package, or an electric kickbike, is available to backers at the $599 level. And for the well-heeled electric bike enthusiast, Swytch is also offering 4 versions of custom-built e-bikes incorporating its technology -- a bamboo road bike, a carbon fiber road bike, a street cruiser, and a penny farthing -- to backers at the $1999 level.