2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Barak brings the voltage to any bike

By

August 11, 2014

The Barak kit allows pretty much any bicycle to be made electric

The Barak kit allows pretty much any bicycle to be made electric

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While electric bicycles are certainly becoming a popular new form of transportation, they're still generally much more expensive than their human-powered counterparts. Some people attempt to cut costs by converting existing bikes to electrics themselves, although doing so usually involves a fair bit of technical know-how. Mechanical engineer Micah Toll now hopes to open up that conversion process to everyone, with his Barak Electric Bicycle Kit.

Barak can reportedly be installed on almost any bicycle, and consists of a lithium-ion battery, a controller, a thumb throttle, and a front wheel with a hub motor. The wheel replaces the bike's existing front wheel; the battery/controller mounts on either the seatpost, in a bag on the frame or in place of a water bottle (depending on the model); and the throttle goes on the handlebar. According to Micah, the whole system can be installed without any special tools or expertise, within about 15 minutes.

The kit consists of a lithium-ion battery, a controller, a thumb throttle, and a front whe...

A Barak-equipped bike should have a range of 20 to 30 miles (32 to 49 km) per three-hour charge, and be capable of a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).

Unlike pedal-assist e-bikes that augment the rider's own pedal strokes, Barak is more like a scooter – you just press down the throttle, and it goes. You still can pedal while motoring, though, helping to prolong the battery life while also expending less physical effort. That said, Toll informs us that the controller is designed for the addition of a proper pedal-assist system that electronically senses and responds to each pedal stroke, which he may offer down the line.

The whole setup weighs 12 lb (5.4 kg), is being made in 350- and 500-watt versions, and will also come with either a 20- or 26-inch wheel.

Unlike pedal-assist e-bikes that augment the rider's own pedal strokes, Barak is more like...

When it comes to electrifying regular bikes, the Copenhagen Wheel and the FlyKly may seem like simpler alternatives. In both cases, users just replace their back wheel with one that contains a battery pack and pedal-assist motor, and is controlled by a smartphone app. Micah tells us, however, that Barak offers much more in the way of battery capacity (up to 36-volts/10 amp-hours), and more powerful motors that deliver considerably more torque.

He's currently raising production funds for the kit, on Kickstarter. Pledge amounts range from US$585 for the 350-watt 20-inch version to $655 for the 500-watt 26er. More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
7 Comments

This is a standard e-bike kit, they have been around for many years and you can buy hundreds of almost identical kits from anywhere that sells E-bike kits.

Gary Bonney
11th August, 2014 @ 04:19 pm PDT

Is this article an undeclared advertisement? This is a routine product, nothing new here.

T N Args
11th August, 2014 @ 06:24 pm PDT

Old idea- you can find these all over. Given the current state of the Union- you couldn't have picked a Worse name for it. I wouldn't buy it just because of the name...

Robert Volk
12th August, 2014 @ 08:55 am PDT

For $350 you can buy a 1kw kit with regenerative braking. This is a joke plus the name sucks majeure.

Kirk McLoren
12th August, 2014 @ 11:33 am PDT

NO!!!!!Not another scary front wheel drive ebike kit. Never, ever convert a two wheel vehicle to front wheel drive unless you want to taste and feel gravel. We won't even get into forks breaking and lack of brake cut off switches that plague these types of kits. Oh yeah, the 15 minute installation lie. Rear wheel drive may be "difficult" but safer rarely is easier.

jthmi
12th August, 2014 @ 05:17 pm PDT

My name is Jason Kraft and I am the CEO of Electric Bike Technologies; we make the E-BikeKit™ and E-TrikeKit™ conversion systems.

There is nothing new here with regard to the product. Directly competing products can be found with a Google search for "Hill Topper". Toll is using KS and the media connections he established on three previous KS campaigns, to sell something that already exists. Not only do inexpensive 24 volt kits like this already exist, but they are much better quality than what he is attempting to sell.

Mr. Toll is late to the kit business; he has chosen the wrong time and the wrong avenue to enter the business.

Toll's KS campaign proves he doesn't have the business savvy to succeed if funded. To set the funding goal of $12k is either an indication of his inexperience, or it is deliberate, and his real goal is cheap publicity (or both). Either way it's a slap in the face to prospective KS "investors/pre-buyers". Twelve thousand dollars is not nearly enough to produce quality kits, provide solid customer service or fund a sustainable business.

ebiketech
12th August, 2014 @ 07:16 pm PDT

Actually a front hub motor is only a problem with larger power motors. I've got an ebike with a 350 watt front hub motor and it's great because it nicely balances the weight. Motor up front, battery in back. At these low power levels you aren't tasting and feeling gravel. Thats like 1000 watts.

Mick Hart
13th August, 2014 @ 12:07 pm PDT
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