Swytch Technology has announced a new conversion kit that will turn any bike into an electric bike, with a hub motor, pedal sensor and battery.
Based in London, Swytch first debuted a conversion kit in 2017, raising $500,000 on Indiegogo.
Officially launching in May, Swytch’s latest conversion kit tops this claim with a “pocket-sized” battery said to be around the same size as a smartphone and with a claimed weight of 700g.
This battery powers the hub-based 250W motor built into the front wheel, with a pedal sensor then used to detect when you are pedalling.
“The new Swytch kit is an improvement in every way on the previous version of the kit, offering improved performance, design, functionality and significantly reduced size and weight,” says Swytch’s Elannah Boyce.
Power and range for your daily commute
Swytch was founded in 2017 by engineers Oliver Montague and Dmitro Khroma, who identified a gap in the market for power-assisted, sustainable city transportation, with the belief that transport shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.
This new kit, and particularly the battery’s size and weight, is designed to achieve that goal.
The battery is said to weigh 700g and provide 250 watts of power for up to 15km (9 miles), which Swytch says will be enough for many short urban commutes.
Swytch also claims the battery can be charged in an hour, and it can be removed from the bike when you need to charge it.
There is a larger battery with a claimed 1,100g weight, which is said to provide 30km (17 miles) of range.
Both new batteries are lighter than the previous Swytch kit’s battery, which weighed a claimed 2kg.
The new battery is ‘flight-safe’, meaning you can take it in carry-on hand luggage.
By allowing customers to up-cycle an existing bike and make it electric, Swytch says the kit will help to reduce waste, something some riders might find appealing considering the comparatively high life-cycle emissions of an electric bike when compared to non-assisted bikes.
The brand also says the kit costs around four times less than the price of a new electric bike – although it hasn’t provided BikeRadar with actual prices for the new kit at the time of publication.
How does the Swytch conversion kit work?
Swytch uses a powered front wheel to convert a non-assisted bike into an electric bike.
The conversion kit comprises of a battery pack, battery mount, pedal sensor and motor wheel.
The motor is concealed inside the front hub and powered by the battery pack, which fits into the mount and can be fixed to different locations on the bike.
The system is pedal-assist, so it provides power as you pedal. The pedal sensor detects when you are pedalling and a motor controller in the mount draws power from the battery for the motor.
This system does require your bike to have a front wheel built with the integrated Swytch motor. This is a service offered by Swytch, and it says the motor wheel can be built to order to any size, including the smaller wheels typically found on folding bikes.
Once you’ve swapped in the front wheel and connected the relevant bits, Swytch says your bike will be ready to go.
The new Swytch conversion kit will launch in May and is expected to be available for pre-order soon after.
Switch will continue to stock the previous version of the kit until “late summer 2022”.
“Customers wanting to get their hands on a Swytch conversion kit without the pre-order wait time associated with ordering the new one are advised to order [the existing kit] from Swytch’s eBay, Amazon, web store, or contact email@example.com to check availability in their region,” 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’ that contains the parts that fit to the handlebar – the battery and mount – to pair with the motor and pedal sensor they already have.
Latest deals on previous Swytch eBike Conversion Kit
A growing market
There’s no doubt the electric bike market is expanding and Swytch offers a strong case study of that growth.
Since it began operating in 2017, Swytch says it has seen sales volume grow at a rate of nearly 300 per cent per year and that it has grown from six employees in 2019 to more than 50 in 2022.
In 2020, Swytch sold more than 9,000 conversion kits to the UK market. Based on available data for total electric bike sales from market research company Mintel, Swytch says its sales are likely to represent over 5 per cent of the entire UK electric bike market.
The brand now has distribution centres in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, and in March 2022 it opened its first office in New York to service the US market.
Swytch says its customers have ridden more than 1.5 million miles on bikes fitted with its kits. Swytch estimates this has saved 17,000 tonnes of C02e, as a result of the emissions associated with up-cycling an existing bike compared to purchasing a new one, plus the emissions saved by cycling instead of driving.
While Swytch started on Indiegogo, behind this growth lies some serious money. Swytch Technology says it recently closed a £3.8 million investment round, which will be used primarily to increase production from 20,000 units to 50,000 and then to 100,000 as demand increases.
This investment round follows £800,000 of seed funding in 2018 from angel investors.