Swytch bike review: The Swytch universal e-bike conversion kit will turn any old bike into a whizzy, modern e-bike by swapping your front stock wheel with a motor and adding a battery pack to the handlebars. The battery pack is also readily accessible when locking the bike up with low-key looks and does not do anything to alert anyone to the electrical assistance you are getting.
The power pack will add a further 2.5 kg with the narrow hub motor listed as weighing just 1.5 kg. Giving a total weight of 4 kg, one upside of this split system is that if you remove the unpowered pedaling battery, most of the system’s mass will be spared.
- Tech-specific swytch kit
- Engine: 250 W geared hub engine (40 Nm torque)
- Top speeds: US 32 km / h (20 mph) or EU 25 km / h (15.5 mph)
- Range: Depending on user input and battery pack size: 30-50 km (18-31 mi)
- Battery options: 36V 5Ah (180 Wh) & 36V 7Ah (250 Wh)
The standard £749 kit uses a 36-volt, 250-watt motor with nine different assist modes, and claims a range of up to 80 km. It also includes an easy-to-fit cadence sensor, providing power support up to 24 kmh-as permitted in the EU, or 32 km where you can play around on private roads.
Accessible through a crowd shopping scheme, if you don’t mind waiting a few months for its launch, you can get the package at about half price. The batteries powering these latest kits have drastically shrunk with the second generation now in production. The interface however remains relatively identical to the version listed below.
What is it like to ride?
Keeping in mind that this is a low-intensity kit, it really does ride well. When you give it throttle or start pedaling, the motor pulls perfectly, although there is a perceptible amount of lag on each. The controller is part of that, which is designed to ramp up power instead of dumping full power at once.
This helps to reduce wear and tear on the motor as well as increase the range, although this means that you don’t get as much power in the first few seconds of pedaling or throttle. But hey, I can live a few seconds by doing a little more of my own pedaling work.
Even though I went with a hybrid conversion, there is no reason the kit wouldn’t work on a racing bike just as well. There is also an option for the diminutive Brompton folder, while the hub tabs mean that the system will also fit the brake-equipped bikes on the disc.
Not dirt cheap compared to grubbing about components of questionable provenance on the internet, but I reckon the pricing of the Swytch kit is good.