If you're looking to bump up the performance of your boring old bike then this is the place to be. Pedaling a bike is over rated and takes way too much work. After biking to school in the excruciating Georgia heat, I knew something needed to change.
In this DIY Instructable, I will show you how I built a super fast electric bike on a budget. My goal was to make an bike that I could easily commute to college with, be relatively fast compared to other vehicles on the road, and implement my own design that looks cool.
Electric vehicles have taken the world by storm in the recent years. Everyone is trying to reduce their carbon footprint and acquire something electric to replace their gas powered vehicles. One of the biggest issues I've found is the price. E-bikes specifically can reach upwards of $10K depending on the brand and power levels desired. Don't get me wrong. They are very well built and extremely fast but I believe I can build one for less than half of that.
My build will consist of a 3000W motor/controller, fat tire bike frame, and custom batteries and a custom battery box.
- Donor bicycle
Note: This can be any bike you want but I bought a fat tire Mongoose dolomite (for the looks).
- E-bike motor and controller kit
- Sheet metal to make a battery box
- Sheet metal working tools: cutting wheel, welder, drill, drill bits, step bits, PPE
- Battery packs (Check out my other instructable that explains how to make your own battery)
- Headlights and tail lights
- On/Off switch to cut off power to the battery for charging
- Primer and Spray paint
- Electrical connectors (XT60 connectors, solder/head shrink, charging plugs, etc.)
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Step 1: Getting a Bicycle for the Base
Bicycles come in all shapes, sizes and styles. If you don't already have a bicycle then you are going to want to buy a new one. You can use any style bike you want but there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when picking a bike out. First, you want a steel framed bike. Our battery box will be made out of sheet metal so we need something we can weld easily. If you go with an aluminum or composite frame then it will be harder to secure a battery box. Also, bikes that are not steel tend to be much more expensive. Our next requirement is that you need a frame that has room for the batteries. I custom built a battery to specifically fit in my bike frame (you can do this too if you check out my battery build here).
Since this is a budget ebike, I ended up buying a cheap donor bike from a department store. The bike I used is called the Mongoose Hitch/Dolomite. I DO NOT recommend this if you have money to spend on a quality bike or already have a good bike to start with. This bike is not meant to handle all the stress and strain of a motor that will go 50 MPH. I will be beefing up parts of the bike that I can identify as a weak points, but it is still cheaply produced. I will also always be wearing safety gear in case of an accident.
A little bit about the Dolomite:
I have always loved the looks of a fat tire bike. They have a very rugged and badass look to them. Out of all the fat tire bikes I was able to find online, the dolomite seemed like the best option with a relatively cheap price. Overall it is well built bike and Mongoose is a reputable company. This does not mean the bike is ready to handle all the extra power and torque of the electric motor. The Dolomite has a 26" x 4" tire which is massive compared to your average road/mountain bike. It is also fitted with disk brakes which is a necessity. If we plan to go fast then we need to have the stopping power to back it up. Overall, the bike looks amazing and is a decent platform to build off of.
On the extreme budget:
If you are really looking for a budget option then I would suggest checking out used bikes on FB marketplace or maybe even craigslist. You would be surprised the kinds of deals you will find on there. Some of those bikes might need a little work like new tires or inner tubes, but they can be very solid. Even if the paint is bad then its not super important since we will be painting the bike in the end. As long as it's not completely rusted out then it will be fine. You would have to do a little more research for this option but you would save a lot of money and have a great bike. In hindsight, I wish I would have looked for a used bike first instead of buying brand new.
Step 2: Picking Out a Electric Motor and Controller
Picking out the Motor and controller is essentially the heart and brain of the bike. They are very important and should be looked at carefully. If this is your first electric vehicle build then I would highly suggest buying a kit (like I did). They piece everything together for you so there is no guessing on which controller will work with which motor. Also, buying a kit is not that much more expensive than buying the components separately (In certain cases but this depends on brands and power levels). Name brand ebike companies will charge an arm and leg for parts but this is unnecessary. All the needed components can be bought from places like eBay, Ali express, or Amazon. A common misconception with these websites is that the parts are cheap and unreliable. Truth is, some of the parts are hit and miss. You just need to determine what parts are worth buying. A general rule of thumb to me is buy mid range price levels. That will be your best bet to get decent parts. There is a little truth in the saying "you get what you pay for." I have made this mistake and trust me when I say never go with the cheapest thing out there. It will most likely be junk and not work very long. Hint: most name brand suppliers resell cheap eBay parts just with their name on it (they are essentially the same parts).
I went with a kit as opposed to piecing it together for this project since I was doing a higher wattage build and didn't want to risk blowing anything up. The kit I purchased was from a vendor called "Theebikemotor" on amazon (can be seen here). The kit was around $600 dollars which seemed like a fair price to me. It also came with everything I needed and also included a nice LCD display that could display speeds and power levels.
If you do not go with a kit then these are the main parts you will need:
- Hub motor (if you buy just a motor then you will need to re-lace your wheel)
- Motor controller - The motor and controller will need to have matching voltages (unless you're planning to over volt and over amp but please do not do this on your first build)
- Pedal Assist system (if you go with a lower wattage motor)
- LCD display (looks cool)
The options of companies and parts to buy are endless, so I just recommend browsing and researching before you buy anything. A great sign is positive reviews on the product. Do a quick google search on the company and see what other people are saying about the product. Chances are that someone out there has bought the same kit and posted their experience on an online forum somewhere.
Step 3: Getting a Battery Pack
There are two options for getting a battery pack: buy one or build your own.
Building your own:
Check out my other Instructable here to see how I built my battery.
The are a few main things you want to look at when buying a prebuilt battery pack. What cells are in it? How many volts in the pack putting out? What are the amp hours of the pack? And, What is the shape of the pack?
You can use a variety of different cells but I recommend 18650 cells. They are the most widely used cells for hobbies like this. They have been tested and work very well in ebike applications. Next you want to find a battery pack that puts out the required voltage recommended on the motor and controller (these should all match). If you have a 48V motor, then your controller should be 48V and you should have a 48V pack. The amp hours are the only part of the pack that isn't super detrimental (don't get this confused with how many amps the pack can put out). This just means how many cells are in parallel there are and how long will the pack run until it is out of juice. If you are concerned with space on the bike then get a lower Ah battery. You will just need to anticipate more charging and the packs will die out faster. The last thing you will want to consider is the shape of the battery. Ask yourself, where will this be going on the bike? You don't want to buy an overly big battery that will not fit easy. It's better to be too small in this case. You can always add more batteries later if you want and have the room.
I highly suggest building your own battery. You can save money ,it is guaranteed to fit in the frame, and you can stand behind your work and say you built everything from scratch. You have so much more control over building your own battery pack instead of purchasing one online.
Step 4: Getting a Rough Outline Design
Assuming you already have your battery built then you are ready to start planning the battery box.
Some tools and materials I recommend:
- box cutter and exacto knife
- cardboard or crafting foam
- packing tape
- measuring tape
- straight edge
Building a battery box could be done a few different ways. You could either map it out with cardboard, model it on a CAD software, or wing it. I highly suggest the cardboard idea. It's an old car trick I've learned over the years. You take the cardboard, cut a little bit at a time, continuously try to fit it on the bike, and tape it into place once you get it to the shape you want. It basically mimics how the metal will fit when its all said and done. This is great because you are able to start over if you mess something up or think of something better. The best part is when you finally get the design you want, you can pull of the cardboard and use it as a stencil on the metal.
One of the biggest challenges was fitting everything into the battery box. I not only wanted the batteries in there, but I also wanted it to contain all my wiring, controller, and a converter for the lights. When I built my batteries, I also had this in mind so I have been planning from the beginning. I finally found an orientation I was happy with so I decided to build around that. (see pics)
I went through so many different designs until I figured out what I wanted. This is a great time to plan out wiring paths, switches, and other additional things you may choose. Once you cut the metal then it will be really hard to fix and you may have to start over. I also suggest making sure it will fit your batteries easily while its still made out of cardboard.
After you have the box fully built out of cardboard and taped into the bike then I suggest sitting on it and making sure its comfortable between your legs. My box is very wide so I was concerned with the metal digging into my leg. I ended up making some adjustments which made it more comfortable and also made it look cooler. In the pictures you will be able to see how I designed my box.
Note: This will already be a very heavy bike, so I suggest building your battery box as slim as possible. Try to make the box fit around the batteries and controller tightly. Extra room means more weight in metal and allows the batteries to bounce around while riding.
Step 5: Hub Motor Install
This was by far the worst part of the build and was completely unanticipated. Also take notes if you decide to go with this particular kit.
When I received this kit, it came with a motor and rim combo (everything was already mounted and ready to go). Oddly enough, the rim width was a different size than dolomite rim. The rim width on the website did not match what I received in the mail. It was almost an inch thinner than it was supposed to be. This might have been a mistake on the company but I did not want to deal with the return process. My solution was to just use the dolomite wheel. The wheel that came in the kit was also a different color than the dolomite one so in the end it working out (matte vs gloss).
Step one was to unlace the rim that came in the kit. *Take pictures of both rims before hand so you know lace and motor orientation*. Keep track of everything so you can put it back together the exact same way. To take apart the rim, its as simple as removing the nipples from the spokes. You can just take a flat-head screwdriver and turn them out. Do this to both rims and keep track of both sets of spokes and nipples. The Dolomite will also have the tire, tire liner, and inner tube installed so remove those as well. After you take all the spokes out you should be left with two bare rims, a motor, and a spool with gears.
This is where things started to get difficult. The holes for the nipples on the Dolomite were too small for the ebike kit nipples. This meant that I had to drill out the holes on the Dolomite. This was not a huge deal until I took the fully assembled wheel to get balanced. The shop told me it was not safe enough to ride and they would not balance it for legal reasons. Their fear was that the spokes would pull right out of the rim from the torque. I then decided to install washers around the rim to give the nipples more surface area to grip onto (they are also steel so it should be more rigid than the aluminum rim). FYI: I have been riding my bike for a few months now and the wheel is holding up great.
Take the dolomite rim and motor and begin lacing. Make sure you review the orientation of the lace from the pictures you took. I found it easiest to lie the rim and motor on their side to get the first spokes started. When installing the nipples, do not tighten them down all the way. You only need to get the first threads on so it holds in place. The motor should be loose until you get all the spokes installed. Once you get the first few spokes in, you can stand the rim up and start working your way around. I would suggest working around the rim like a clock. Start at 12 and move to 3, then to 6 and finally 9. This will keep the motor tension even around all the sided and help keep it centered on the rim. This is not necessary but if you don't then the motor will rock around a lot and make it more difficult to install.
At this point you should have a fully assembled rim with the motor in the middle. Lightly snug down all the nipples so it will be ready to be balanced. *I highly recommend taking it to a professional to get it balanced*. Spend the money and get it done right the first time. I already knew how to do it and my school also has a wheel balance stand that I was able to use for free. I will not go over it in this tutorial because its not very beneficial to read about (you should watch a video). If you do decide you want to try it yourself, please do your research and see how to do it properly.
After you get the rim balanced then you're almost done! The ebike kit I bought came with a brake rotor installed on the motor but I switched it out with the one from the Dolomite rim so I would have matching rotors between the front and back. Next you will want to install the tire liner, tube, and tire. Pump up the tire to the specified pressure and you're ready to go. Now you can test fit the rim on the bike to make sure everything fits as it should and is not out of balance.
You now have a reinforced rim that can handle the power of the electric motor!
Step 6: Remove All Components on the Bike
In this step you will be removing all the components on the bike and breaking it down to the frame. I recommend doing this to avoid accidentally scratching or cutting something you're not supposed to while you're building the battery box. It would not be a fun day if you drop a tool and scrape the nice rims or accidentally cut the brake cable.
I would personally remove everything you can to avoid interference when building the box. This includes: brake assembly, all cables, handle bars, wheels, pedal assembly w/ crank, seat, and even the stickers.
This is where thing get kind of tricky. My battery box is going to be very wide so I have to remove my pedals. I will also not have much of a use for them since my motor will be so powerful anyway. Anything under 1000W would need the pedals since you can use the pedal assist to get up hills. 3000W is plenty of power to get you everywhere you need to go with ease. One thing to note and you will have to check are the bicycle laws in your state. When you remove the pedals from your bicycle, it is not technically considered a bicycle anymore (it is now an electric motorcycle). If your state considers it an electric motorcycle then you might have to get it registered to ride it on the road.
This is something you might want to look into so you can avoid any unnecessary fines or your bike being impounded. Most cops probably won't care if you are obeying the law but it is up to their discretion if it should legally be on the road or not. If you do need to get your bike registered then you will have to add a headlight, taillights, and blinkers. In my area it should not be a problem but if I get a warning then I will proceed with the registration process.
Step 7: Build a Battery Box
In this section we will focus on making a battery box to contain the batteries, controller, wires, and any other goodies we plan install. If you go back a few steps then you will remember when you made a template out of cardboard. That template is the most important part of the build (assuming you have the cardboard the exact way you want your box to turn out).
Our box will be made out of steel so I can weld it to frame easily with a standard flux core welder. You can buy any gauge steel you would like but I recommend getting something that does not flex easily. During welding, the metal will want to warp and change shape. I used some left over scrap metal that was about 1/8th inch thick. This is the perfect thickness in my opinion because its thin enough to keep the bike relatively light, and thick enough to withstand the heat of welding. Plus, a thicker piece of metal will be more robust and hold up over time.
Take this part one piece at a time. Do NOT try to cut them all out at once. Everyone makes mistakes and you don't want to cut everything out and it not fit right. Cut one piece and then fit it up to the bike. If something doesn't fit right then you can make small adjustments or cut more if needed. I worked on each piece quite a bit to make sure it fit exactly like I wanted. I traced the template, measured the lines to make sure it was accurate, and then cut it out with a cutting wheel.
There are many better ways to cut this out. If you have access to a plasma cutter or water jet then definitely use that route. You will get much straighter lines and it will look a lot better in the end. I have had a lot of experience cutting with a grinder so I did not have too many issues.
NOTE: Please use a straight edge when cutting stuff out. It will ensure you have straight lines and save you the time of guessing if something is straight. I would also advise using a scribe instead of a marker. Scribes create small thin lines that are easy to see and cut out.
A battery box can be either extremely simple or complicated depending on what kind of design you settle on. I had some very tricky geometry and I ended up having to make a lot of adjustments halfway through my build. There is not much you can do about this but take your time. Measure twice and cut once. The bottom and back of the battery box were easy. It was the top and sides that gave me the most trouble. The top of my box had some hard angles that I had to work with, and it also contained buttons/gauges that needed to be cut out. This is where the straight edge and square is your best friend.
Once all of the metal pieces have been cut out then you are ready to begin welding them together. If you do not have a welder then I recommend trying to find a friend that would let you borrow one or take it to a professional that could weld it up for you (some places might also be willing to rent out one). Before you start welding, make sure all the metal is clean and sanded down. Any paint or rust on the metal will cause imperfections in the welds and could inhibit the metal from forming completely or create "good looking" welds. I used a 60 grit sanding disk on a grinder to remove all of the paint and surface rust without removing to much material, and then wiped down all the metal with alcohol and a microfiber towel. After everything is clean, you are ready to weld stuff together.
Begin with small tack welds to hold everything together. Try to assemble the whole box with tack welds and then go back and weld it up fully, Tack welds do not produce a lot of heat and will help the metal keep its original shape instead of warping (it will still try to warp during actual welding but the tacks should hold its shape). When welding up the box I realized that I did not need full length welds along the box and frame. Instead I did "stitch" welds along the entire box. This will give the box more than enough strength to hold up to rough riding.
If all the pieces are welded together then you are ready to move onto the next step.
There were a few final touches that I added that I would like to share with you all. One extra thing that I added that was not necessary was silicone between the frame and metal box. This was my method of creating a smooth transition between the round tube frame and the flat piece of metal (it also covered up my ugly welds). I bought a paintable silicone from Lowe's that was meant for this purpose. I believe it made the final product look so much better and created a natural flow look between the metal. The second I did was round all the edges. I did not want to have sharp metal corners that I could potentially cut myself on. I just used a grinder, small file, and sandpaper to round the edges to my liking. Take your time and spend equal attention on all edges. This is mainly to make sure the edge radius is equal around the whole bike. If you rush one edge then it will be noticeable after the paint stage and will be a huge hassle to go back and fix.
The box should be fully finished now. All edges are clean, all gauges have cut outs in the metal, the welds are complete, and you are satisfied with your work. You are now ready to move the frame to paint.
Step 8: Making Torque Arms
Torque arms are designed to hold the wheels in place and make sure the axles do not spin in the frame. This is something you will have to deal with if you have a lot of torque. The slots in the frame that hold the stock bike wheel are not meant for large amounts of power. If you do not have torque arms then you risk the axle shaft falling out or you could break the frame. Torque arms are there to bolt to the frame and beef up the supports so they can handle the extra power.
To make the torque arms, I drew a simple outline of the design I wanted onto a piece of paper. You can design this however you would like as long as it is able to fit over the axle shaft and has enough room for two bolts to attach to the frame (see pictures to observe how I designed mine). On the back of most frames, there is a point where it turns from round tubing to a flat piece of metal. The flat part is where you will put the torque arm. The thing to concentrate on when designing torque arms is to make sure it has a tight fit over the axle shaft. This is crucial for the structure to be extremely rigid. Once you have your designs traced out on paper then you are ready to transfer it to some metal. I had a large piece of 1/2 in aluminum lying around so I decided to use that. I took the drawing, cut it out, and used a glue stick to the metal. I found this method to be extremely simple and the glue is water soluble to it is easy to clean off the metal. From here you can cut it out in any method you choose. A band saw would be easiest but I just used a cutting wheel. If you take a look at the axle shaft on the bike, you can see that it has a cylindrical shape that was shaved down on two sides. To cut this shape out I took small drill bits and drilled along the outside of the drawn hole, punched the piece out, and then filled down the sides. This was the easiest method for me with my limited amount of tools. The last thing you need are two holes on each piece to attach it to the frame. I marked out two holes, drilled them through the aluminum, transferred the holes onto the bike frame, and tapped the frame. You have now created a torque arm that will hold up to anything you throw at it. From here you can just clean up the metal and make the torque arms look nice (clean up edges and paint).
Step 9: Assemble Handle Bars
This part is extremely simple.
Remove the brakes and grips from the stock handle bars and install the components that were provided to you in the kit.
You should have new grips, a throttle, display screen, and toggle for the display. Take your time and make sure everything lines up and is comfortable for you before you tighten it down. This is also a good time to start worrying about wire management. You will have a wire from the throttle, two wires from the brakes (shutoff for the motor), the wire between the toggle and display, headlight wires, and the wire from the display. I would organize your handlebar components with the wire path planned ahead. Use some zip ties to hold the wires into place and make it look clean.
Step 10: Remove All the Old Paint
The next step in our journey is to prepare the bike for paint. Even though we stripped of a lot of the paint to weld the box into place, there is still a lot of paint that needs to be taken off. I did this because I didn't want my bike to rust while I was not working on it.
You can remove the paint in multiple different ways. You could hand sand it, use paint stripper, or getting a sanding disk for a grinder (best method). Hand sanding takes way too long and consumes a lot of sand paper. I do not recommend this route unless you love spending hours on sanding. Paint stripper is a good idea and works very well but can be a big mess. You would need the required safety gloves, mask, and glasses before applying any of the chemicals. It goes on with a paint brush and literally eats the paint away. Downsides include its super messy (paint chips get everywhere), it burns when it touches you, and it can be costly depending on what materials you already have. Using a grinder with a sanding attachment is by far the fastest and easiest way to remove the most paint. It only takes one pass to take the paint to bare metal. I just took my time, worked my way around the bike, and removed as much paint as I could. There are some areas on the bike that have really small crevices that the grinder will not reach. You can hand sand these if you want but I did not care that much so I left them and painted over it.
When painting you want to make sure the surface is smooth and even over the whole frame. Any imperfections you make during the prep process will show up in the paint. It will be very noticeable.
Note: This also applies to surface rust on the bare metal. Any surface rust will need to be removed before paint.
Once you have sanded off all the old paint then you need to take a shop towel (or microfiber) with some mineral spirits/alcohol and wipe off all the dust and dirt. This ensures a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. At this point the prep is done.
Note: Any changes or fixes to the design need to be made during this step. Once you start painting then it will be hard to alter anything without destroying the paint or smudging it.
Step 11: Paint the Bike to the Desired Color
I am by no means a expert at painting or anything, but I do have the basics down. If you are looking for a high quality paint job then I would look into getting it powder coated or painted by a professional shop. Painting on your own is not hard at all though. Prep work plays the biggest role in how the paint will turn out so as long as you took your time there then the paint should turn out fine.
The first thing you need to do is pick out a paint and primer. I used just regular spray paint that you can buy from any auto parts or hardware store. You just want to make sure its an enamel type of paint (this is mainly used for metal and outside objects). As for the primer, I suggest a filler type if its available to hide any small scratches that the sander may have made. Paint also comes in various textures so you will need to just see what you like and pick from there. The caps on the top of spray paint bottles typically show the color and texture.
The brand of paint is very important when choosing what to go with. Do not cheap out on this part. Buy a quality paint that will last and look good. Cheap paint almost never works well for anyone. It will look good for the first week but then it might start to flake off or fade. Rustoleum is a very well trusted brand and can be found almost anywhere. I also suggest using the same brand for both primer, paint, and clear coat.
*Use a filter mask so you are not inhaling fumes*
Now you need to find an appropriate place to paint. I would not do this inside a closed garage with other things nearby. You can potentially get over spray on things (it is hard to get off and a huge hassle). If you do paint in a closed area then make sure you cover everything with a tarp or blanket. This also goes along with spraying outside on a windy day. Make sure whatever is down wind is covered up. The main thing you want to consider is how you want to paint the bike. If you set the frame directly on a box then you wont get paint on the bottom side and will have to go back to paint this afterwards. If possible then hang the frame from the ceiling with thin safety wire. You can thread it through any small hole on the frame and hang it up . This enables you to walk around the whole frame and get all the sides and crevices. I used a engine hoist with a chain and lifted the frame in the air.
Now you are ready to start painting. Make sure the metal is cleaned off and wiped down with alcohol if it is not already. I suggest reading the can and following the directions on there. The people in the paint factory worked really hard fine tuning those directions so don't let their pain and suffering go in vain. Note the temperature you should be painting at (this is very important), Distance you should hold the can, and time between each coat. Go light on each coat and make sure you let it dry before the next one. If you apply to much paint will run and create lines in your paint. It will end up looking like a dried droplet in the final product if you let it run. Make sure you start with the primer first and fully cover the entire frame. Once you are done with the primer then move on to your paint.
I am looking for a matte finish on my paint so I will not be applying a clear coat, but if you do want a shiny finish then you may apply it. It is just a clear layer that goes over the paint and gives it a shine while also protecting the paint. After all the paint is applied then you should give it time to dry and set. To get the best finish possible, make sure you let the paint dry in a dry area with little dust (any contaminants in the air will stick to the paint and show up in the final product).
After the paint is dry then you can worry about touch ups. If there are any small areas that did not get paint or scratches then you can spray some paint into a cup and use a paint brush to paint it onto the bike. Note: This is only for small mistakes or small areas. If you have massive amounts of drip marks or bubbling in the paint then you should consider sanding the bike down again and starting from scratch. There are some tips online about fixing paint with wet sanding and blending if it comes down to it.
Step 12: Assemble the Bike
After the paint is dry and everything looks good then you are ready to assemble the bike. I would start by attaching the wheels and torquing them down to the correct specifications (Don't forget the torque arms!!). Then put the fully assembled handle bars on and tighten them down. The bike should now be able to roll around which should make it easier to work on.
Now go ahead and install the brakes. I would do this early because the bike will be light, and you need to pick up the bike to rotate the wheels to make sure the brakes are dialed in correctly. Brakes are one of the most crucial parts of the bike so make sure you look up videos on how to do it correctly. Stopping on a 3000W bike is very important (if you will be going fast).
The next step is to install the batteries and connect everything together. When installing everything, consider wire management as you work. There are a decent amount of wires and it will get very complicated very quickly. Just take your time and install one wire at a time. Attach your batteries to the motor controller and make sure that you don't touch the two leads together. Then connect the motor to the controller (should be three large gauge wires and a connector). The box is a tight fit so try to find an optimal way to connect everything that will be easy to access at a later time. Before you put the sides on the battery box, make sure everything works as it should and maybe take it for a short test ride.
Step 13: Add Lights and Decoration
Adding lights is optional but highly recommended to enhance the visibility of the bike at night and make things safer. I bought a small set of lights off of amazon that have a built in converter to accept the 60V batteries (you can check them out here). The motor controller I used had a connector that was specifically meant for a headlight so it was extremely easy. If your controller doesn't have a connector then you will have to tap into the battery leads to connect the lights. I also recommend adding some tail lights to the back so people will be able to see you night. I just used a pair of LED strips I had lying around and a voltage converter to bring the voltage down to a manageable 12 volts. I also added a voltage indicator to both batteries and on/off switches to ensure the batteries are completely shut off when not being used.
Other than headlights and taillights, this is really where you can let the imagination flow. You can pretty much add anything to the bike you want. I've seen under glow lights in the frame, lights in the spokes of the tires, and even laser engraved side panels. I chose not to do much to the looks because I prefer a clean, simple look.
Step 14: Buy Quality Riding Gear
This section has nothing to do with the actual bike build but its something that I highly recommend looking into before you start riding on the road with traffic. Riding gear is by far one of the most important and overlooked things when preparing to ride. It ensures rider safety and is essential when riding with other cars on the roads.
The first thing you will want to get is a good quality helmet. DO NOT cheap out on this part. A helmet could save your life and you want one that will preform well if it comes down to it. I also recommend getting a motorcycle helmet for the additional safety. You will want to look for helmets that are DOT rated so they comply with road and safety regulations. A few additional items you could look into are gloves and a riding jacket if you would like. They are not as necessary as the helmet but would help reduce road rash.
When riding the bike, just remember to always wear long pants and closed toe shoes (its an unspoken but smart rule to follow).
Step 15: Enjoy the Ride!
Do a final check over the bike and then get it on the road for some fun!
I want to give a special thanks to the Invention Studio at the Georgia Institute of Technology to helping me with this project and supporting me through every step. I really enjoyed this build and hope others follow this guide to build their own electric vehicles.