Although less polluting than combustion cars and motorcycles, the electric bicycle is an excellent means of transport. And contrary to popular belief, an electric bicycle user would move twice as much as with a traditional bicycle …
If the environment is important to you and you want as much as possible to avoid getting behind the wheel or on the handlebars of your motorcycle to go to work, there is an economical and ecological solution: Convert your classic bike into an electric bike!
Several French start-ups already offer this solution to cyclists. Among them are the Parisian start-up Virvolt, the Lyon start-up A fond Gaston, the Nice start-up Teebike, the Nantes start-up Beebike and the Parisian start-up Monspad.
What is the point of electrifying your bike?
Electrifying your bike has several advantages. In the first place, this will allow you to save money because the electrification kits cost approximately between 750 and 1,200 euros, installation included. However, it will take at least 1,749 euros to buy a new high-end electric bike.
Thus, electrification frees you from buying a new bike, which also benefits our environment, as the co-founder of Virvolt, Jérôme Gaymard explains to us, who declares that “the production of new vehicles in an already overloaded fleet seems to us go against the current ecological requirements ”.
What does this electrification consist of?
Each start-up can have its own electrification system.
At A fond Gaston, for example, they install a new motorized wheel at the rear of your bike which will be connected by cables to a battery. There will also be a mini on-board computer which will show you the level of assistance, mileage and speed, among other things. The cost is between 790 to 1,090 euros. The kit is ordered online but the installation, already included in the price, can be done in its partner workshops in Lyon, Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nancy, Metz, Grenoble or even Annecy.
Virvolt, meanwhile, also offers this same system for 820 to 860 euros and another kit, with a motor at the bottom bracket which is connected to a battery placed on the frame for a price between 1,180 and 1,220 euros including installation is done in his workshop in Paris.
Teebike also offers you another option: an electric and connected front wheel which is connected to your smartphone through an application that allows you to adjust the level of electric assistance of the motor or even to switch it off to return to classic mode. This device will cost you 750 euros and can even be transposed from one bike to another.
Are all bikes electrifiable?
No, not all bikes are electrifiable but the majority are (around 80%). According to Antoine Galonnier, founder of A fond Gaston, cyclists can electrify a 150-euro Decathlon bike as well as a 1,500-euro bike, an urban bike, a mountain bike or a cargo bike. Typically, these start-ups refuse to electrify bikes that have a carbon frame because they would be too fragile to withstand electrification.
Switch on the electric bike. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Microgen
In addition, the president of the Federation of Bicycle Users (Fub), Olivier Schneider, strongly advises against buying electrification kits anywhere and even more, to install them yourself under the pretext that it would cost you. cheaper. He does claim that kits sold on eBay or AliExpress rarely comply with regulations and that they are easy to unbridle, if they are not already on sale. And, unfortunately, in the event of an accident, the rider could suffer serious injuries not to mention the quality of the kits which is unsavory.
Conversely, using one of the aforementioned start-ups will allow you to benefit from after-sales service in the event of a problem and, the advantage is that these service providers will refuse to electrify your bike. ‘it is fragile or unsuitable for electrification and this could be dangerous for you.
Conversion kit or new electric bike – pros and cons
Antoine from the company A Fond Gaston explains in a video why converting a classic bicycle into an electric bicycle is more economically and environmentally friendly compared to a new, turnkey electric bicycle.