Swytch Technology has announced a new conversion kit that will turn any bike into an e-bike, complete with hub motor, pedal sensor and battery.
London-based Swytch first launched a conversion kit in 2017, raking in $500,000 on Indiegogo.
It was later relaunched with a similar e-bike conversion kit in 2019, which was said to be the “smallest and lightest” available at the time. Swytch says it sold 9,000 in 2020.
Officially launched in May, Swytch’s latest conversion kit exceeds that claim with a “pocket” battery said to be about the same size as a smartphone and with a claimed weight of 700g.
This battery powers the 250 Wh hub-based motor built into the front wheel, with a pedal sensor then used to detect when you’re pedaling.
“The new Swytch kit is an improvement in every way over the previous version of the kit, offering improved performance, design, functionality and significantly reduced size and weight,” says Elannah Boyce of Swytch.
Power and autonomy for your daily journeys
Cycling can play a key role in reducing carbon emissions, but the prospect of cycling to work – or wherever else you might need to go – isn’t always appealing.
Swytch was founded in 2017 by engineers Oliver Montague and Dmitro Khroma, who identified a gap in the market for sustainable electric-assisted urban transport, with the belief that transport should not be excessively expensive.
This new kit, and in particular the size and weight of the battery, is designed to achieve this goal.
The battery is said to weigh 700g and deliver 250 watts of power for up to 15km (9 miles), which Swytch says will be enough for many short city trips.
Swytch also claims that the battery can be charged in an hour and can be removed from the bike when you need to charge it.
There’s a larger battery with a claimed weight of 1100g, which is said to provide a range of 30 km (17 miles).
Both new batteries are lighter than the battery in the previous Swytch kit, which weighed 2 kg.
The new battery is “flight-safe”, meaning you can take it in hand luggage.
By allowing customers to recycle an existing bike and make it electric, Swytch says the kit will help reduce waste, which some riders might find appealing given the relatively high lifecycle emissions of an e-bike compared to unassisted bicycles. .
The brand also claims the kit is around four times cheaper than the price of a new e-bike – although it did not provide BikeRadar with actual prices for the new kit at press time.
How does the Swytch conversion kit work?
Swytch uses a motorized front wheel to convert an unassisted bicycle into an electric bicycle.
The conversion kit includes a battery, battery holder, pedal sensor and drive wheel.
The motor is concealed inside the front hub and powered by the battery, which fits into the bracket and can be attached to various locations on the bike.
The system is pedal-assisted, so it provides power as you pedal. The pedal sensor detects when you’re pedaling and a motor controller in the mount draws battery power for the motor.
This system requires your bike to have a front wheel built with the Swytch motor built in. This is a service offered by Swytch, and it states that the drive wheel can be built to order at any size, including the smaller wheels typically found on folding bikes.
Once you’ve swapped out the front wheel and connected the appropriate bits, Swytch says your bike will be good to go.
The new Swytch conversion kit will launch in May and should be available for pre-order shortly thereafter.
Switch will continue to stock the previous version of the kit until “the end of summer 2022”.
“Customers wishing to get their hands on a Swytch conversion kit without the pre-order wait time associated with ordering the new one are welcome to order [the existing kit] on eBay, Amazon, Swytch’s online store or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability in their area,” says Boyce.
Swytch also says the new battery design is backwards compatible with the motor and pedal sensor from the previous kit. Existing customers will be able to order an “upgrade kit” containing the parts that fit the handlebars – the battery and mount – to pair with the motor and pedal sensor they already own.
A growing market
There’s no doubt that the e-bike market is growing, and Swytch offers a solid case study of that growth.
Since starting operations in 2017, Swytch says it has seen its sales volume grow at a rate of almost 300% per year, and has grown from six employees in 2019 to more than 50 in 2022.
In 2020 Swytch sold over 9,000 conversion kits to the UK market. Based on available data on total e-bike sales from market research firm Mintel, Swytch says its sales are likely to account for more than 5% of the entire UK e-bike market.
The brand now has distribution centers in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, and in March 2022 it opened its first office in New York to serve the American market.
Swytch claims its customers have ridden more than 1.5 million miles on bikes equipped with its kits. Swytch estimates this saved 17,000 tonnes of CO2e, due to the emissions associated with recycling an existing bike compared to buying a new one, plus the emissions saved by cycling instead of driving .
While Swytch started out on Indiegogo, behind that growth is a big chunk of money. Swytch Technology says it recently closed a £3.8 million investment round, which will be used primarily to ramp up production from 20,000 units to 50,000 and then to 100,000 as demand increases.
This investment round follows £800,000 in seed funding in 2018 from angel investors.