Of course, you can order an electric two-wheeler just in a few clicks, but creating it with your own hands will be a real achievement. Besides, we live in times of extremely high gas prices. YourMotoBro.com experts prepared and tested a simple electric motorbike project to let you have fun constructing and save on short commuting. This project may take around 2-3 months and will give you a 70-mph unit with a 10-mile range.
You can boost the range using more capacious batteries, and low-consumption lights. I’d recommend you to buy a quality LED kit as halogens showed to be too power-greedy. You can pick up one from this review of the best LED headlight for Harley Davidson as an option. Let’s take a look at other parts!
Here you can choose literally anything because the components that we selected are easy to fit. For our project, we took a classic 1986 Honda Interceptor for $800, but you can find it even cheaper Its frame is big enough for batteries, it’s cheap enough, easy to find, and also pretty stylish. Any other light model with enough space for battery packs will be ok.
After comparing a dozen of DIYs, we decided to find something faster than 30mph and found a 72V Advanced DC motor. It fits Interceptor’s frame perfectly well and doesn’t require additional constructions.
Batteries and Converter
If you want to make it look sleek, take 6 packs by Top Optima D51. It has excellent reviews on many websites but lets you ride only 10 miles from 1 charge. Six D23 batteries can make 20 miles, but it’s hard to fit them and stick to the style. If your budget for the project is not too tight, you can order a custom battery pack at California’s Custom Power or anywhere else. To connect power plants to the motor, you need a DC/DC converter that matches the output power of the batteries with the input power of the motor. A set of durable fuses is also necessary. To connect everything, you can get colored 12GA wires from any store, cut it, and connect with durable lugs.
If you ordered a solo battery unit, use a charger recommended by the manufacturer as it must match the voltage. If you install D51, 6 3amp Soneil will provide the best balance of speed and power.
Controller and Throttle
Like the batteries, this one depends on your budget. Look for the one that will provide the highest amperage and match the voltage of the system. As for the throttle, don’t waste your time for redesigning the default throttle and get a premade grip throttle with a potentiometer.
Instruments & Extras
If you want to know when the bike is on, you will an E-meter with a Prescaler connected to the ignition via the neutral indicator. Your toolset should also include basic screwdrivers, a socket set, a crimper, metal grinder, voltmeter, electrical tape, and wire wrap.
In our case, construction starts with deconstruction. Remove everything related to the engine, but don’t start until you siphon all the fuel. Download a manual on the Internet and cut out all the unnecessary wires. By the way, we sold the removed parts to get more cash for this YourMotoBro.com EV project. The old Interceptor’s engine and fuel tank gave us an extra $150.
The second step is to make neat mockups for batteries and electronics. Don’t hurry and make sure to create the most compact configuration. Next, you should weld a solid holder for batteries. It must ensure zero gaps between them but make it easy to replace batteries. Now you’re ready to mount the holder and the motor using custom bottom plates. Finally, weld smaller plates for other electronics.
This step was a pleasure, as it was so easy to do after all that planning and welding. However, you should be attentive here to avoid mistakes that can be vital to some of the parts. Here’s a tested step-by-step algorithm that we tested on YourMotoBro.com:
- Connect the charger to the plus and minus of the battery pack.
- Connect the fuse to the plus and a shunt to the minus.
- Take the converter and connect its minus to the shunt and plus to the free end on the fuse.
- Another clamp of the shunt is for the minus of the speed controller. Both minus and plus of the controller go to the motor. Another plus goes to the contractor that must be connected to the fuse with the plus.
- Now you can link the grip throttle with the plus and minus of the speed controller.
- Finally, connect the Prescaler’s plus to the fuse and minus to the shunt to monitor ignition and speed.
Before installing back all the cosmetic parts, make sure that all connections work well is back on its place and tightened. Next, connect a speed controller to a computer to tweak its default program if it’s not smooth or rapid enough. Web’s full of presets and instructions for every existing speed controller. We found a lesson on YouTube.
Now you’re ready to work on cosmetics and accessories. Paint them and install them back on the bike! You are allowed to test the new vehicle on a testing area, but don’t leave it until you pass the inspection. Inspectors are usually picky, but you will pass easily unless you build an uncontrollable monster. We also made insurance for our firm YoutMotoBro.com Interceptor to feel confident.
Feel Free to Modify
This DIY guide is not as detailed as some of you may wish it to be, but that’s because of the large variability of parts and configurations. This project’s purpose is to demonstrate that making a homebrew EV motorcycle, or even a DIY electric car for that matter, is something that you can do, even without any experience. Following the basic rules form the article, you can create your own modifications based on nearly any frame available on the aftermarket. If you have any suggestions and creative ideas, share them in the comments below!
Max Farmer is the editor and founder of YourMotoBro – a website with reviews of the best motorcycle gear. Bruce has been repairing and building his own two-wheelers for over 10 years. He believes that electric units will conquer the entire automotive and motorcycle industries quite soon.