Electric bicycles have become a popular form of transportation for many in cities across the world. As a green alternative to cars and public transit, ebikes offer many other advantages due to their small size, lack of insurance or license requirements, free parking and low operating costs. However as convenient as ebikes are, it’s the high sticker price that usually keeps people from enjoying their benefits. Now a custom ebike builder is trying to change that. Micah Toll, from southwest Florida, has been building ebikes for years and teaching classes to help beginners learn to convert their own bicycles to electric drive. Toll has now written a book, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide, which is the culmination of his years of experience working with ebikes.
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“To me it has always been a shame that many people are turned off by electric bikes because of how expensive retail ebikes have become,” he says. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. Retail ebikes are so expensive because you are paying for all of the overhead that goes into selling them.” Instead, Toll buys the same parts used in those ebikes and then converts standard pedal bicycles into new electric bicycles.
“I’ve gotten good at sourcing the same parts used in retail ebikes, and now I can usually build a comparable ebike with similar or identical parts for between a third to a quarter of what the retail ebikes cost”.
“My goal has always been to show people how easy it is to convert their own bicycle into an ebike, and by doing so have a serious impact on the way we travel around our cities,” says Toll. If he succeeds, we may be seeing more electric bicycles and fewer cars on our roads in the future.