Converting a dirt bike to an electric is like giving wings to a grounded bird. With increasing fuel prices, it’s no surprise that more and more people are converting the finest motorcycles into electric-powered machines. Conventional bikes are making the world’s climate worse. Therefore, they’re becoming the bikes of past eras.
With the power of electricity, you can transform your dirt bike into a quiet, emission-free and low-maintenance ride. Many benefits of these electric bikes contribute to the market. An increased number of electric motors revolutionized the automobile sector in 2022.
The conversion of dirt bikes to electric is an exciting process. It involves replacing the combustion engine with an electric motor, installing batteries and another control system. This guide will equip you with valuable knowledge and practical insights into electrifying a dirt bike. Get ready to ride in the future where sustainability meets excitement.
Features to Convert a Dirt Bike to an Electric One
Nowadays, getting an electric bike with a click of a button is an effortless task. Electric motorcycle manufacturers are responding to the demands of many people. But in the USA, many individuals embrace the DIY approach to convert their dirt bikes to electric ones.
This trend reflects the desire for customization, cost-effectiveness and a hands-on approach to sustainability. DIY conversion allows for different components, technologies and design choices for creativity and innovation.
It would help you if you looked for the following features in your electric bike:
1. The Engine construction for an electric bike
Electric bikes, known as e-bikes, use electric motors instead of traditional combustion engines. An electric bike typically consists of an electric motor, battery, throttle, controller, wiring and connectors. You must search for the best electric motor to replace the engine with all the key components. Let’s see some motor brands with their features:
|Integrated torque sensor with compatible drivetrains.
|Shimano STEPS E8000
|Customizable modes and trail-oriented designs.
|High torque with proper off-roading.
|Bosch Performance line CX
|Best torque with advance sensor technology.
|High power output, proper for long terrains.
|(TDCM) Tech Drive
|Smooth and quiet with a wide range of options
2. Twin-Spar Frame Construction
Twin-spar construction is a frame used in electric bicycles, motorcycles, and vehicles. It’s a durable and strong type of frame. It includes two main tubes, spars, that run from the steering head to the swingarm.
Twin-spar construction provides strength and rigidity. It makes sure the balance is along the length of the bike. These frames have lightweight, making them a good choice for riders. In short, the twin-spar frames enhance motorcycles’ performance, stability, and handling.
3. A Guide to Instrumentation and Controls
You want to keep an instrumentation kit on your electric bike for a classic ride. Instrumentation and control systems can help you to prevent any accident by warning you about potential problems. It can help to improve efficiency by optimizing the operation.
Here’re the key instrumentation and controls commonly found on a motorcycle:
- Indicator Lights
- Ignition Switch
- Clutch Lever
4. Aesthetics Look
While converting your dirt bike to electric, the motorcycle may loss its good appearance. Aesthetics is a crucial aspect of the overall visual impression of an electric bike. You’ve to put effort not only into designing its functions but also its appearance. An electric bike with an innovative style will give you more joy and happiness.
Try to save the original style of your bike after converting it to electric. It’s up to your riding experience, height and weight which bike you will convert to electric.
Benefits of Switching to an Electric Dirt Bike
Do you know, why should you switch to an electric dirt bike? Electric bikes are good to use for smooth traveling and even outdoor activities. Switching an electric bike to save money and innovate a restored model would be best. Traditional bikes can quickly exhaust you, however, e-bikes provide adequate rest to your legs and calf muscles. You can travel long distances in a short time. Here’re some notable benefits explained for your satisfaction:
Operating an electric motorcycle costs less than traditional gasoline-powered bikes. E-bikes have lower fuel and maintenance costs because electricity is cheaper than fuel. Electric motors have fewer moving parts. So reduced the chances of repairs and servicing. Minimal maintenance costs for an e-bike are increasing the number of people converting dirt bikes to electric ones.
2. Renewable Energy Integration
Charging infrastructure is essential to support renewable energy integration in your e-bike. Renewable energy can be generated by clean energy resources like hydro, solar and wind. Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology draws power from the grid and feeds the excess energy back to the grid.
3. Zero Emissions
Zero emissions refers to the absence of greenhouse gas emissions. E-bikes operate using electric motors powered by batteries. By transitioning to zero-emission vehicles like e-bikes, we can significantly reduce the CO2 emission from the transportation sector. E-bikes are quieter and more energy-efficient. Hence, by using an electric motorcycle, you’re helping to reduce the carbon impact on Ozone layer.
4. Noise Reduction
Noise reduction is one of the significant advantages of electric bikes. Gasoline-powered bikes may cause noise pollution and create a disturbing environment. However, electric motors in e-bikes use electric energy, reducing noise emissions.
Electric bikes are popular now due to their sustainable environmental benefits. The eco-friendliness of electric bikes is due to zero emissions, reduced carbon footprints, sustainable energy sources, noise reduction and cost-effectiveness.
Other conventional vehicles can cause disturbance to wildlife and the environment as well. However, e-bikes are eco-friendly and quiet, providing enjoyment without sacrificing someone’s peace.
6. Reduced Weight of Your Dirt Bike
Ever think, How do electric bikes lighter than dirt bikes? A lightweight electric motor replaces the heavy combustion engine during the conversion to an electric bike. The whole fuel system, such as the engine, fuel tank, fuel lines and other components, are eliminated. Lithium-ion batteries also take part in reducing the weight of your electric bike. Streamlined and optimized designs also improve performance and efficiency.
7. Optimized Riding Results
Electric bikes get credit for their strength. It offers optimized riding results with instant torque, quiet operation, low maintenance, environmental friendliness, customizable power modes, and lower operating costs. Electric bike riding can be more exciting than other traditional motorcycles.
8. Technological Advancement
The technological advancement in converting a dirt bike to electric has improved the feasibility and performance of e-bike conversions. Electric motors have improved torque and high power output characteristics. The power management system, charging infrastructures and lightweight materials enhanced electric bike conversions’ performance, range and safety.
9. Increased Worth of Your Used Dirt Bike
Converting your dirt bike to electric can increase its worth. Because eco-conscious buyers are willing to pay a premium, they enhance its worth. Electric dirt bikes are also desirable for potential buyers due to their cost-saving and environmentally friendly features. Therefore, converting your used dirt bike to electric can increase its resale value.
Limitations in Converting Gas Motorcycles into Electric One
Converting a gasoline-powered dirt bike to an electric one is complicated. Prospective disadvantages are as follows:
1. Complicated Conversion
It’s simpler to say than to execute. Conversion to electric bikes is complex. Therefore if you are not interested in building an electric bike and have less time to do this hard work, you should buy a new one.
Due to a lack of knowledge and a limited supply of tools, DIY electric bikes may not work properly according to your desire.
The cost of conversion may exceed the price of a new e-bike.
2. Unavailability of Fit Kits
What do you know about the fit kits? Fit kits are specific conversion kits designed to integrate electric components into motorcycle models. Due to the range of motorcycle models, fit kits may only be readily available for some bikes. Therefore it’s important to consider the availability of fit kits before planning an electric conversion project. You can explore alternative options or consult with professionals.
3. Change in the Original Style
Conversion involves modifications to replace the components, such as motors and batteries. It can alter the overall aesthetics and design of the motorcycle. It’s important to be aware that the original style and appearance of the gas motorcycle may be compromised in the conversion process.
Additional Tip: Search for an online gear calculator application that suits your needs. Some popular options include BikeCalc, Sheldon Brown’s Gear Calculator, and Gear Calculator by CyclingAbout.
4. Battery Capacity and Charging
Battery capacity determines how far you can ride. Longer ride trips may require planning and charging stations on the way. Before going for a ride, you’ve to recharge a battery. It may take longer to become fully charged. On the other hand, gas-powered electric bikes can be fueled in a few minutes.
5. Warranty and Insurance
Disadvantages of electric bikes related to warranty and insurance include potential limitations in warranty coverage and higher insurance costs compared to gas-powered bikes. Careful consideration and research are necessary to ensure appropriate coverage for your electric bike.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Converting a Dirt Bike to Electric
At first, converting a dirt bike to an electric is a simple process. But it’s an undertaking method that requires significant consideration. You can transform your dirt bike into a powerful electric machine with careful planning and the right tools.
Automobile manufacturers have also started to embrace the need for electric bikes and other vehicles in the auto industry. Be ready to embark on an electrifying journey as we delve into the detailed step-by-step guide:
1. Research and Select the Right Dirt Bike
Determine your needs, preferences, terrains, and intended use for an electric bike. It’ll help you to determine the size, power and features required. Look for bikes with strong frames, good suspensions, and compatible components for easier conversion.
Evaluate the condition of the dirt bike you plan to convert. It would help if you verified that the bike’s frame, mounting points, and other essential components could accommodate electric elements. Evaluate the available space on the dirt bike for installing the battery pack.
Choose a dirt bike model that allows for customization and expansion of electric components as your needs evolve. Here’re some dirt bike models suitable for conversion:
|Dirt Bike Model
|Lightweight, reliable, powerful engine
|Agile handling, durable construction
|Versatile off-road capability, robust build
|Rugged design, excellent off-road performance
|KTM 350 EXC-F
|High-performance engine, advanced suspension
|Husqvarna FE 350
|Lightweight, responsive handling, quality components
It’s just a small selection of dirt bikes. The best model for you will depend on individual needs and budget.
2. Select the Electric Components
What Is an E-bike Conversion Kit? An e-bike conversion kit allows you to convert your dirt bikes to electric ones, so you can have an electric bike without purchasing a new one. E-bike conversion kits may be different in terms of quality and power, but all should contain the same components:
- Electric motor
- Lithium-Ion Battery
- Gear shifters
- Brake and control unit
- A display system for remaining battery power and speed
Numerous e-bike conversion kits are available in the market, but I suggest three top conversion kits for ease.
i) Bafang BBS02B 48V and 750W Mid-Drive Kit
The Bafang BBS02B is a recognized mid-drive conversion kit. It offers sizes and styles to fit most dirt bikes. It features a powerful 750W motor compatible with various bottom bracket sizes. The kit includes a motor, controller, display, pedal-assist sensor, and all necessary wiring and hardware.
Bafang brand is known for its reliability and performance. The Bafang kit costs approximately $500 to $800. The costs may vary depending on wheel size and accessories.
ii) Tongsheng TSDZ2 52V and 750W Mid-Drive Kit
The Tong sheng TSDZ2 is another popular mid-drive conversion kit. Its torque sensor pedal-assist system offers a smooth and efficient riding experience. The kit is available in different power options, such as 250W, 350W, and 500W, allowing you to choose the appropriate power level for your needs.
Tong sheng is known for its quiet operation. Tong sheng TSDZ2- 52V and 750W Mid-Drive Kit are typically priced between $300 to $500, depending on their wattage.
iii) E-RAD Electric Bike Conversion Kit
The e-RAD conversion kits are known for their quality and versatility. They offer hub-drive and mid-drive options, allowing you to select the system that suits your preferences. The kits have a high-quality motor, controller, display, battery, and accessories.
E-RAD offers various power options, ranging from 500W to 1,000W, providing ample power for different riding scenarios. Depending on the specific kit and features, it costs from $800 to $1,500.
3. Removing Gasoline Components
When you’ve chosen the right kit for conversion, now it’s time to remove all the gas-powered components. Remove the remaining gasoline fuels from the tank. Remove all the gas lines on your dirt bike. This quick and fun step requires only simple, handy tools. Disconnect the engine, carburetor, exhaust system, fuel tanks, and filters.
After removing, save all the parts like nuts, bolts and washers safely. They may be used later if needed. Once everything is removed, clean the bike spaces thoroughly to free them from grease, dirt and oil stains.
4. Cut the Swingarm
What is a dirt bike swingarm? A swing arm or pivoted fork is usually the metal part that attaches the rear wheel of a bike to its body. It maintains vertical movement during the undulations of a bike on the road.
Cutting the swing arm is the most challenging step of metalwork. A hole is created to fit the motor in it. The replacement of the AC motor makes the swingarm stiff. This step needs more precision. A motor should be placed in a particular way so the bike chain can travel straight between the rear wheel and the motor.
5. Mount the electric motor
Measurement is crucial while mounting an electric motor in a bike. Now you need a best-fit conversion kit for your motorcycle. You can opt for the motors as mentioned earlier. Firstly, remove the old tires and tube and install another wheel from the conversion kit. Make sure that the wheels are directional. Now attach the brackets to the handlebars.
Use a plasma cutter or metal cutting bandsaw to cut a rectangular part of a custom mounting plate. The steel plate will be precise for the motor to fit in.
Two holes are made and welded for swingarms. Then the electric motor is attached to mounting bolts.
6. Fabricate the Battery Trays
Fabricating a battery tray involves creating a structure or platform to hold and mount a battery in a specific location securely. Try to choose light and rusting-free metals to fabricate the battery trays.
Generally, three trays are made of steel or aluminum. One for holding an engine battery. While the other two have smaller lighting, instrumentation, and control batteries.
The original design for the battery trays used a 2″ angle iron, but we have used ½ angle iron to save tons of weight.
Place the battery on the tray to ensure a proper fit and alignment. Make any adjustments or modifications to the tray to ensure a secure fit.
7. Install Gear and Sprockets
This step is tricky. The gear ratios affect the bike’s speed, acceleration, and climbing ability. You have to calculate the best arrangements of teeth to the tooth on two sprockets. One sprocket is the drive sprocket that transmits the electric power from the motor to the driven sprocket. On the other hand, the driven sprocket receives power from the drive sprocket to the rear wheel and other machinery.
8. Assemble the Wiring and AC Components
Once the frame is fabricated, new electrical components need to be installed. Ensure you have all the necessary AC components for your electric bike, including the motor controller, throttle, display panel, battery charger, and other accessories. Connect the motor controller, throttle and brake system. After this, install the battery charger and display panels with the proper wiring connections.
Assembly of wires is a challenging step. Keep the old wiring system away from the new one. Old wiring would help to run the lights, horn, brake lights etc. It’ll keep the wiring simple.
Integrate the two systems DC-to-DC from 48V to 12V, maintained in a single charging system. Surely, it’ll take some tries, but ultimately, you’ll get reliable wiring work.
9. Painting the Frame and Parts
Now is a good time when everything is updated. Use rust-free spray paint on the frame and other parts of the bike. Coat the whole frame lightly with many paint coats. It’ll provide you with an aesthetic and classy look. Let it dry!
10. The Final Test of Your Electric Bike
For inspecting the final operation of your electric bike, you should:
- Turn on the battery and ensure the electrical system powers up.
- Check if the display panel or indicators show the battery level and other relevant information.
- Activate the electric motor by using the throttle or pedal assist system.
- Test the brake system to ensure it functions properly.
- Check if the chain moves smoothly between the gears without skipping or grinding.
- Verify that the headlights, taillights, and turn signals illuminate as intended.
- Ensure the battery charges and discharges correctly and that the estimated range aligns with your expectations.
Is it worth converting a bike to electric?
Converting a dirt bike to electric can be worth it if the cost fits your budget. Another big advantage of electrifying a dirt bike is familiarity. It allows you to keep your beloved bike as an electric bike for the future.
A conversion kit may be cheaper than buying a new e-bike. Consider your DIY skills, availability of electric bike alternatives, and long-term implications before deciding.
Generally, converting a bike to electric may depend on the following:
- Cost of conversion kit
- Your budget
- Condition of your existing bike
- Intended use for the e-bike
Converting a dirt bike to an electric one can be exciting and rewarding, offering numerous benefits such as reduced noise, lower maintenance, and eco-friendliness. However, it requires careful planning and consideration.
Start by selecting a suitable conversion kit, removing the gasoline-fueled parts, and installing the motor and wiring system. Follow our best guide for converting your dirt bike to electric.
How much does it cost to convert a bike to electric?
The cost of converting a bike to electric can vary depending on the required conversion kit. Hub motor kits are inexpensive and range from $300 to $500. The mid-drive motor kits are expensive and cost around $500 to $1000. The battery is the bike’s most expensive component, costing an average of $500 to $900.
How do you determine the battery capacity needed for an electric dirt bike?
To determine the battery capacity needed for an electric dirt bike, consider the desired range, power requirements, weight, riding style, terrain, and charging infrastructure. You have to calculate the battery capacity range. Apply the formula; Watt Hours= Amp Hours x Volts.
Which battery is best for an electric bike?
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the most reliable for an electric bike. Other batteries, like lead-acid batteries, may be cheaper but are heavier than li-on batteries. Therefore, I recommend you prefer a lithium-ion battery the most.
What do you need to make an electric dirt bike?
To make an electric dirt bike, you’ll need a dirt bike frame, an electric motor, a high-capacity battery, a controller, wiring and connectors, a throttle, upgraded brakes, suspension, and optional accessories. Additionally, you’ll need tools, safety gear, and guidance tailored to your specific project.
Which bike is best for electric conversion?
The mountain, commuter, cruiser, and hybrid bikes are strong and durable for off-road and on-road riding. These bikes can be converted to electric depending on your budget, riding skills, interests, and compatibility with the conversion kit.