E-bike transformation: Old bicycle to e-bike in one hour: This is how the Swytch Kit performs in the test

With this set, everyone can turn a normal muscle bike into a fast e-bike in no time at all.

E-bike transformation: Old bicycle to e-bike in one hour: This is how the Swytch Kit performs in the test

With this set, everyone can turn a normal muscle bike into a fast e-bike in no time at all. That's the promise of Swytch and we tried it. The whole thing works like this: The old front wheel is replaced with a new wheel with an electric motor in the hub, along with a few cables, a battery, holder and controller. There is also a module that measures the rotation of the pedals.

Ordering is a complicated act. You have to read and measure the values ​​of the old wheel so that the new one fits the engine. The old bike should therefore be next to the computer. Once that's done, the requested data is transferred, the set is ordered and then you wait for the box. We can't say how long, the test device was still available before the set went on sale in the new, current version. Incidentally, buying a used bike is complicated because the new wheel has to fit into the frame. As usual today, the box is super stylish and tidy. The instruction manual clear and concise. It should be followed. You cannot install the set spontaneously inspired.

The whole conversion was completed in less than an hour - without optical fine-tuning, but more on that later. The wheel, bracket and modules are designed for a standard wheel and will certainly fit there. The test bike was a somewhat tinkered Cube Cobalt 2 that was still in the basement. The chic stem in a special format collided with the mounting dimensions of the battery mod. We had to change the stem, otherwise the installation went like clockwork. If you've never worked on a bike before, you shouldn't start on your own, but if you've changed a brake or cassette before, you won't have any problems.

The result is impressive. If we had our own bike, the cables that were often too long and our replacement stem that was too long would bother us. The wiring harness is pluggable and conforms to the Chinese standard. The ends of the cables end in welded couplings, everything is built in such a way that incorrect connection is not possible. By the way, the whole thing is waterproof. The test bike was left in rainy weather for a few days, no problem. In principle, the cables can be shortened and then you can also lay the cable to the pedal sensor in the frame. Then the wheel would look cleaner. To do this, however, you must be able to carry out filigree soldering work and have shrink tubing ready to seal the interfaces later. We saved ourselves this work for testing. As long as the cables are not laid inside, the kit can also be quickly removed again. Of course you now have more cables on the frame, but the whole look of the e-kit remains very unobtrusive.

So the installation went really well, but how does the bike ride? Don't expect any heavy lifting from the front wheel motor and battery. The kit does not replace an electric motor for a mountain bike, it represents a significant relief in the urban environment. In principle, the motor position in the front wheel is less favorable than in the rear wheel or on the pedals. On a covered road, the difference hardly affects. The control offers five levels, the engine only becomes noticeable from level III. Then he purrs and pulls you briskly forward. Driving takes some getting used to at first, the support kicks in with a slight delay. So you have to start in low gear, here no unrestrained motor power will get you going either way. You should not stop pedaling while riding, otherwise the engine will stop and only start up again a moment after you pedal again. Both are irritating at first because one is used to it differently. This strangeness should go away after a while, but you shouldn't expect the sensitivity of a good mid-engine. The support corresponds to the cliché of "driving with a tailwind" - it is noticeable, but not as brutal as with an engine with 85 Newton meters of torque. The driving experience is unobtrusive, neither the additional weight nor the train are noticeable on a covered road.

So far so good, the Swytch kit lives up to all expectations. The range is less nice. Two battery sizes are offered. We had the smaller one with us. The Air battery weighs only about 700 grams and stores 90 watt hours. Accordingly, the range is given as 15 kilometers. That is realistic, as we have noticed, but not very much. A larger battery has twice the capacity. Stylish design bikes start with around 300 watt hours, the batteries from the German market leader Bosch store 500 or 625 watt hours. On the other hand, the entire Swytch kit is very light at three kilograms, and the additional weight of the battery on the handlebars is not noticeable.

When traveling back and forth, the simple distance with the small battery should not be more than 6 kilometers, beyond that it has to be charged. It is positive that the battery can be removed with one click. If you always charge in the office, a second charger is recommended. A radius of 6 kilometers should be enough for some. Most cyclists can easily complete their day's work with the larger 30-kilometer battery. And you can also just buy another battery. But some things definitely don't work. The set is unsuitable for real bike tours, and we wouldn't use it in a hilly area where the altitude will drain the battery. If the battery is empty, you can continue with muscle power, the motor in the hub doesn't help anymore, but it doesn't brake too annoyingly either.

The price of the kit is a little over 1000 euros, but new versions are financed via crowdfunding campaigns, here it costs about half that. So who is the Swytch kit right for? At the regular price, the Swytch kit is not the cheap route to an e-bike. Anyone who actually wants a pedelec like they bought it in a shop will be disappointed. It is a solution for all those who want to inconspicuously electrify a special bike. The electric drive should be translated with an auxiliary or support motor. So you can keep your favorite bike and still enjoy some power support. This fits a delicate steel frame, a classic Dutch bike or even an oldie like the Swiss Army bike. There is a special solution for the owners of a folding bike from the cult brand Brompton. Here you can upgrade your Brompton with little financial effort. The range should also be suitable for train commuters who only have to bridge the distance to the train station.

Manufacturer: Swytch