Looking for someone to convert two bikes

nigelbb

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 19, 2019
16
2
My partner & I have been so impressed with the electric bicycles that we hired while on holiday in Brittany that we would like to equip ourselves in the UK & are looking advice. The bikes we hired were fairly heavy step through design like the bikes you see in the Netherlands but with a motorised front hub & a switch on the handlebars that gave 1-5 level of assistance. They enabled us to get around a fairly hilly bit of Brittany (think Devon, Cornwall or Pembrokeshire) without needing to get off & push once. We were pleasantly exercised after a day's riding rather than knackered. We were both massively impressed by how much fun they were to ride in just giving enough assistance so that the riding wasn't a chore & allowing us to ride much further than we could normally on our regular push bikes (>30 miles).

I see that there are kits including battery on both eBay & Amazon that allow you to fit a motorised front wheel from as little as £250. I also see that Woosh in Southend do rather more expensive kits but there are some good reviews & they seem well thought out. We already have a fairly decent bike each (a Boardman & a Trek that each cost about £700) so converting our existing bikes looks like it would be the best value for. The alternative would be selling these bikes & putting the money towards an e-bike as I can't imagine if we bought new e-bikes that we would ever use our current non-powered bikes. I'm not too certain what the relative pros & cons of fitting an electric front hub or rear hub but I understand that a crank mounted motor would be best but the cost of the various Woosh kits are pretty similar.

Finally while I can see the advantages of converting our existing bikes I really don't want to do it myself partly because of the hassle but mainly because I don't want to screw it up when the conversion kit costs over £700. We live in North Essex on the Suffolk border halfway between Ipswich & Colchester. Can anyone recommend a shop or mechanic who could do the conversion for us?
 

KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
2,951
770
Brighton
Woosh do great kits , fair prices, excellent customer support

Oh and they will do the conversion for you too

I'd pop along to them and try some bikes and have a chat. Based in Essex too
 

nigelbb

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 19, 2019
16
2
Woosh do great kits , fair prices, excellent customer support

Oh and they will do the conversion for you too

I'd pop along to them and try some bikes and have a chat
Thanks, that sounds perfect. I didn't realise they did conversions or that you could visit. The website gives the impression that they are mail order only.

My partner comes from Southend & her eldest who still lives there has just made her a grandmother so we don't need much excuse to visit Southend:)
 
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nigelbb

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 19, 2019
16
2
Rear or crank are far better than front conversions by way
So I understand. We were already extremely impressed with the bikes we hired which had front hub motors so if rear or crank are better yet we will be doubly pleased.
 

KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
2,951
770
Brighton
So I understand. We were already extremely impressed with the bikes we hired which had front hub motors so if rear or crank are better yet we will be doubly pleased.
I currently have one too and for certain bike styles they are the only option (like my shaft drive hub gear hybrid)
 

Warwick

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 24, 2015
637
168
If you can afford it, I'd suggest selling your current bikes - if you can get a decent price - and getting off-the-shelf, mid drive bikes. I've had FWD, RWD and mid drive bikes and the latter is by far the best solution, in my opinion.

However professional a job is made of the conversion, it won't hide the fact that it is a Heath Robinson affair. My current, Bosch-powered Ortler is superb and that's only with the Active unit, the Performance units must be really powerful and possibly more power than you'd need on your relatively sedate rides. See my review thread of the Ortler Wien 7-speed here.
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
600
223
I see that there are kits including battery on both eBay & Amazon that allow you to fit a motorised front wheel from as little as £250. I also see that Woosh in Southend do rather more expensive kits but there are some good reviews & they seem well thought out.
Whatever you do, don't get a cheap direct drive hub kit. Should be a given, but nobody mentioned it explicitly (they probably just assumed it). These hubs quote lots of power (making them illegal), don't really give as much more power as it appears, get through batteries, and are heavy. Also don't scrimp on the battery quality.

A kit from the likes of Woosh will be good quality. Especially important for a first time: you will know everything is chosen to work together and will get support if you need it.

Nothing more to add on what others say on conversion or new bike, or front, back, or crank drive.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
8,160
3,089
56
West Sx RH
You are not to far from Woosh HQ, it's a no brainer to visit them take your bikes with you. Whilst there also test ride some of their stock bikes as you may feel the finish of a production bike feels or looks better. The advantage of using Woosh for kits and to allowing them to fit a kit is they will or can adjust cable length correctly to make for a neater installation. Kit installation is about £80 -£100 on top of the kit price also if buying kits or new bikes make sure both batteries are interchangeable for both bikes. If you are both out and about and one of you is using up more capacity then the other they can be swapped over to save any worries about range anxiety.
 
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