How to Make an Electric Bike With a Starter Motor?

Charles Miller
Charles Miller
Founder at - FlybyWheel

Charles Miller is a veteran bike enthusiast with over 12 years of experience dealing with bikes as a mechanic. Despite immense love and expertise for...

'As the saying goes, 'necessity is the mother of invention', and in today's world of rising gas prices and environmental concerns, you might find yourself in need of a more sustainable and cost-effective way to get around.

Have you ever thought about turning your conventional bike into an electric one using a starter motor? It's not as complicated as you might think, and with some tools, a bit of technical know-how, and a spare starter motor, you could be zipping around town on your self-made electric bike in no time.

While it's not a project for the faint-hearted, the satisfaction from building something with your own two hands is unbeatable.

So, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get started on this exciting project?'

Key Takeaways

  • Electric bikes can be made using a 1.4 kilowatt starter motor, which is cost-effective and versatile.
  • Mounting the starter motor at the back of the bike is necessary for proper functioning.
  • A variable speed control and thumb throttle are essential for smooth rides.
  • A 24-volt battery, preferably using Headway lithium iron phosphate cells, is required to power the electric bike.

Understanding Electric Bikes

While you might think of electric bikes as using complex, specialized components, it's actually possible to use an automotive starter motor as the bike's motor, a method proven successful in an electric drift trike project. By selecting a 1.4 kilowatt starter motor, you're not only choosing an affordable option but also one with potential for EV applications.

Your electric bike modifications will include mounting the starter motor at the back. You'll also need to implement a variable speed control and thumb throttle for smooth rides. Not forgetting the power source, a 24-volt battery will be necessary to keep your bike running.

Designing motor mounts will be your next step. With Fusion 360, you can create precision designs before cutting mounts from quarter-inch aluminum plates. Weld brackets onto the bike frame and fasten the controller using an aluminum flat bar and cable clamps for a secure setup.

The battery of choice? Headway lithium iron phosphate cells, known for their reliability. You'll 3D print battery mounts and address issues with the BMS and overheating through additional cooling mechanisms.

As you follow this process, you'll be part of a community making green transport more accessible.

Required Tools and Materials

Before you embark on your electric bike project, you'll need to gather some specific tools and materials.

Your primary component will be a 1.4 kilowatt automotive starter motor, coupled with a variable speed control and thumb throttle, powered by a 24-volt battery.

For the build and modifications, you'll rely on Fusion 360 for designing the motor and battery mounts, aluminum plates for their construction, and welding equipment and a 3D printer to bring your designs into reality.

Essential Bike Modification Tools

To modify your bike into an electric one, you'll need certain essential bike modification tools and materials. These include an electric drill, welding equipment, Fusion 360 software, a 3D printer, and M3 threaded inserts and screws.

The drill is vital for making precise holes in the bike frame and motor casing. This allows for proper installation and alignment of the electric components.

Welding equipment enables you to securely attach brackets to the frame. This is crucial for ensuring the stability and durability of the electric conversion.

Fusion 360 software allows for designing unique motor and battery mounts to fit your specific bike model. This software provides the flexibility to create custom designs that perfectly integrate with your bike's frame.

With a 3D printer, you can materialize these designs into functional parts, ensuring a custom fit. This technology allows for the creation of complex and intricate shapes that may be difficult to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods.

Finally, M3 threaded inserts and screws are essential for assembling these printed parts. These components provide a reliable and sturdy connection between the various pieces of the electric conversion.

Collectively, these tools and materials make the conversion process seamless and efficient. They enable you to transform your regular bike into an electric one that suits your specific needs and preferences.

Selecting the Starter Motor

Diving into the heart of your electric bike modification, the choice of a starter motor becomes paramount; consider the affordability of a 1.4 kilowatt starter motor for this purpose. When selecting the starter motor, remember:

  • Affordability is key, but don't compromise on quality.
  • Ensure variable speed control and a thumb throttle are included.

You'll also need:

  • Fusion 360 to design motor mounts.
  • Quarter inch aluminum plates to cut them from.
  • Headway lithium iron phosphate cells for the battery.

Be prepared for potential overheating issues. You can combat this by drilling holes in the motor casing for cooling and considering additional cooling mechanisms for continuous use. Remember, belonging to the e-bike community means understanding the technical side and being diligent in your build.

Sourcing Necessary Materials

Having selected your starter motor, you'll need to gather the necessary tools and materials for your electric bike project. Sourcing necessary materials begins with securing a 1.4-kilowatt starter motor. You'll require welding and cutting tools, along with a 24-volt battery. Consider machining new end plates with bearings for sustained use and adding cooling mechanisms.

Look into Headway lithium iron phosphate cells for your battery, and check out Battery Hookup for additional components. You're advised to design and 3D print battery mounts with Fusion 360. M3 threaded inserts and screws will be useful for assembly.

Selecting the Right Starter Motor

When you're ready to select the right starter motor for your electric bike, it's crucial to consider factors such as power requirement, voltage compatibility, weight, size, durability, build quality, spare parts availability, and cooling requirements.

It's not just about picking any motor, it's about selecting the right starter motor that will suit your needs and give you the best experience.

Here's a detailed analysis:

  • Power and voltage:
  • Power requirement: The motor should have enough power to propel your bike efficiently.
  • Voltage compatibility: Ensure the motor can function optimally with the power supply from your bike's battery.
  • Weight, size, and durability:
  • Weight and size: The motor should fit snugly in your bike's frame without adding unnecessary bulk.
  • Durability: The motor should withstand continuous use, and its build quality should be top-notch.
  • Spare parts and cooling requirements:
  • Spare parts availability: Check if there's aftermarket support for the motor for future maintenance and upgrades.
  • Cooling requirements: The motor should have good thermal management to prevent overheating during extended use.

Preparing Your Bike

bike maintenance and care

Before you can install the starter motor, you'll need to prepare your bike by removing any unnecessary components such as the existing rear wheel and superfluous parts, creating ample room for the new motor and other essential modifications. This step ensures that you have a clean slate to start the engine project, minimizing any potential interference.

Next, turn your attention to the bike's frame. It must be sturdy and capable of supporting the weight and torque of the motor. Reinforce weak spots and, if needed, weld additional support. This fortification will ensure your bike stays intact under the new demands.

Your bike's braking system is another crucial aspect. With the increased speed and weight of the electric bike, you may need to upgrade to disc brakes. This enhancement provides the necessary stopping power.

Installing the Starter Motor

Now, let's dive into the installation of the starter motor, which requires you to first securely mount it to the back of the bike, ensuring perfect alignment and stability. This is a crucial step in your journey to convert your regular bike into an impressive electric one.

Let's breakdown the process:

  • Mounting the Starter Motor
  • Ensure the motor is perfectly aligned with the bike's frame.
  • Secure it tightly to maintain stability even during high-speed rides.

Installing the Control System

  • Install a variable speed control and thumb throttle for smooth control over the bike's speed and acceleration.

Next, you'll need to wire up a 24 volt battery, which is the minimum voltage requirement for the starter motor. The solenoid, a component in the starter motor typically used to engage an engine's flywheel, can be bypassed as it's no longer necessary in this setup.

Lastly, consider machining new end plates with bearings. This step will enhance the starter motor's durability, ensuring its readiness for continuous use.

Wiring and Battery Setup

electrical system installation and configuration

Now, let's focus on the wiring and battery setup.

You'll need to connect the starter motor to the battery with heavy-duty wires, incorporating a fuse or circuit breaker for system protection.

Additionally, installing a power switch and a compatible throttle will provide you with control over the motor's speed and power flow.

Battery Connection Process

Kickstart your battery connection process by linking the positive terminal of the battery to the controller's main power input using a thick gauge wire, ideal for high current flow. Opt for lithium batteries, renowned for their longevity and high amp hours.

Ensure a proper connection:

  • Attach the negative terminal of the battery to the controller's ground input, completing the circuit.
  • Be vigilant about secure insulation to prevent short circuits.

Additional steps:

  • Install a fuse between the battery's positive terminal and the controller input for protection against overcurrent.
  • Double-check all connections for security and insulation.

Motor Wiring Techniques

Diving into motor wiring techniques, it's crucial to wire the starter motor to the battery correctly to ensure efficient power transfer. Make sure to connect the speed controller and bypass the solenoid for direct wiring to your electric bike. The key is to avoid overheating and power loss.

Here's a quick guide:

Step Component Action
1 Starter Motor Connect directly to the battery
2 Speed Controller Wire to the Starter Motor
3 24-volt Battery Connect to the Starter Motor
4 Solenoid Bypass for direct wiring

Testing Your Electric Bike

Once you've assembled your electric bike, it's crucial to test it thoroughly to ensure optimal performance and safety. Here, let's walk through the steps you need to take to ensure your bike is ready to hit the road.

  • Test the Starter Motor

First, check your starter motor's operation while the bike's stationary. Listen for any unusual sounds that could indicate a problem. Also, pay close attention to how quickly it drains batteries. Rapid drainage could suggest a fault in the motor or wiring.

Next, get your bike moving. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed. Monitor how the starter motor performs as you reach your bike's top speed. It should deliver a smooth, steady power output without straining.

  • Test the Bike's Electrical System

Examine the wiring and connections. Look for any signs of wear or damage that could cause a short circuit or power loss.

Test the bike's controls. The throttle and brakes should respond instantly and accurately. Any lag could signal a problem.

Maintenance Tips and Safety Measures

maintenance and safety guidelines

Now that you've tested your electric bike thoroughly, it's essential to focus on maintaining its performance and adhering to safety measures. To ensure your bike's longevity and your safety, follow these maintenance tips and safety measures.

Regularly inspect your motor for signs of overheating or unusual noises. This could indicate a potential problem that needs immediate attention. Keep all wiring and connections secure and insulated to prevent electrical hazards.

Maintenance Tips Safety Measures
Check the motor regularly Always wear a helmet
Secure and insulate all wiring Wear protective clothing
Keep the motor and battery clean Regularly inspect the bike components
Avoid letting debris accumulate Ensure safety gear is in good condition
Regularly replace worn-out parts Adhere to traffic rules

The area around the motor and battery should be clean and free of debris to prevent overheating and damage. Also, inspect the frame, mounts, and other components for signs of wear or damage.

Always remember, your safety is paramount. Wear a helmet and protective clothing whenever you're riding. Familiarize yourself with traffic rules and respect them. Your electric bike is not just a vehicle; it's a reflection of your responsibility towards safe and sustainable transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Starter Motor for a Bike?

Yes, you can utilize a starter motor for a bike. However, it's crucial to consider motor efficiency. With modifications for mounting, voltage adjustments, and cooling, it's feasible but requires careful planning and execution.

Can You Use a Starter Motor as a Motor?

Absolutely, you can use a starter motor as a motor. However, you'll need to consider motor efficiency. It's not as efficient or durable as purpose-built electric bike motors, but it's a workable solution.

How to Make Electric Bike at Home Easy?

You'll need a bike, an electric bike conversion kit, and some basic tools. Follow the kit's instructions to electrify your bike. It's not too hard, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment once you've done it.

How Fast Is 1000w in Mph?

Ever wondered about speed conversion? A 1000w motor can propel you roughly 28 mph on flat terrain under ideal conditions. Remember, factors like weight and wind resistance can affect this speed, so it's not guaranteed.


Well, there you have it, folks. You've done it! You've turned that old jalopy of a bike into a whirring, electric beast.

Remember, keep an eye on the temperature, the last thing you need is your backside brandishing a 'well done' stamp.

Now, strap on your helmet, thumb that throttle, and ride off into the sunset.

Just remember, you and your electric steed are now the envy of the neighborhood. Enjoy the green-eyed stares and cheers of admiration.

Happy pedaling!

Charles Miller is a veteran bike enthusiast with over 12 years of experience dealing with bikes as a mechanic. Despite immense love and expertise for his Tacoma, he rides his Trek Ebike more. Anytime you meet him, you’ll either hear him talking about Bikes, or writing about all things bikes and cars on this blog. 

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