Electric Bicycle Hack Is Hilariously Simple

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but limited resources give birth to some of the best hacks. [joejoeboom’s] 5-minute electric bike conversion probably can’t drive you into the next town, but it can scoot you around your neighborhood.

[jojoeboom] found a cordless drill at a local hardware store for $15, which he simply zip-tied to the bicycle’s frame. He positioned the drill so the chuck pressed firmly against the side of the bicycle’s rear wheel, creating a simple friction drive system. To create a throttle, [joejoeboom] strapped a spare hand brake to the handlebar and wrapped the brake’s cable around the drill’s trigger. Several carefully placed zip ties hold everything in place and allow the cable to tug at the trigger when the hand brake is squeezed.

Watch the bike poking around in a video below, and for some extreme contrast check out the 102-mph bicycle build from earlier this summer.

40 thoughts on “Electric Bicycle Hack Is Hilariously Simple

        1. “They are highly powered, they go 40-50km/h,” I’m pretty sure you can manage 50km/h on a normal road bike if you pushed (which is what you’d be doing if you were trying to run) Should regular bikes be licensed then?.

          1. Indeed. I can do 35 kph on my mountain bike on a flat road without a tail wind and with my backpack weighing at least 10kgs. I drive along in a 50 zone and i see road bikes keeping up with me. If they fell over, i’m sure they’d be dead or very seriously injured given they don’t wear much in the way of protection other than their helmets.

          2. My Dad (A bike fanatic in his mid 50’s) has hit about 80Kph on a pushbike.
            I don’t think bikes should be licensed, but kids need to learn to ware a f**king helmet and use lights.
            This happened at what, 9pm? With no lights?
            This could have happened on any bike, not just an electric one.

          3. I managed 25mph (40km/h) on a flat on a mountain bike and I am hardly a fit cycle nut, I however had a helmet although in this scenario I am doubtful a helmet would have saved his life

          4. It’s damn hard to sustain 40-50 kph on a regular bike even when you’re an adult and in good shape. A 14 year old kid can’t reach those speeds without some serious effort.

            A powered bike essentially doubles your sustainable power. 200 Watts is like another person pedaling your bike. That’s why the EU regulations mandate that the motor must shut off above 25 kph. After all, bikes are allowed on public paths and sidewalks with pedestrians and the collisions there would become deadly if people could comfortably ride their bikes as fast as mopeds, which many would if they could.

          1. Right, it’s all the police’s fault that the kid obtained an motorized bike without his parent’s consent, ignored the police’s order to stop the bike and pull over because he was breaking the law by not wearing a helmet and not having lights on it while riding said bike, they weren’t even chasing him, they just turned on their warning devices to get his attention in order to speak to him, and the kid took off… Some police officers may be bad apples and they may sometimes do things they shouldn’t that puts the public in danger, but this isn’t one of those cases… It was 100% the kid’s fault for obtaining the bike, not obeying the law, fleeing from police when told to stop, and ultimately getting killed in the process, they have no one to blame but the kid in this case…The police did absolutely nothing wrong, take your head out of your ass.

    1. Gotta love modern society and “parenting”
      -Kid takes ebike without permission, at night
      -Kid runs from cops on it
      -Kid gets killed running from cops
      Dad’s solution? The government should take away the ebikes because heaven forbid it be a parent’s job to teach their child good judgement and maintain supervision.

      Surrender your freedom of choice! We’re from the government and we’re here to help you, we can make decisions better than you can so you don’t deserve to make them!

      1. Still, might be better to use a small rubber wheel with the axle driven by the drill, rather than just using the chuck’s housing to deliver the friction. Since the chuck wasn’t designed for that, either. And with a little wheel you’d be able to choose a suitable diameter for speed and torque.

        For something built with basically no hardware this is pretty neat, but a simple change or two could make it much better.

        1. OOOH, BUUUURRRNN!
          Seriously people, even if some dude makes groundless claims and ignores years of tried and true testing it doesn’t mean we have to insult him.
          This is hackaday. not youtube.
          I, of one, know Styrofoam helmets work, because I’ve seen one after someone crashed when wearing, and I know for sure if he wasn’t he’d be very badly injured.
          But he walked off with nothing more then a few scars.

        1. But do they HAVE to look so penile? I’ve gotta think the small aerodynamic gain is outweighed by the plans of snickering helmet designers to see how many bike riders they can turn into 6 foot dongs.

      1. That about sums up the array of the overly protective P.C. lot when it comes to these useless helmets. I can only laugh at these droves of raving loons, thinking that addressing non-existent problems with a solutions that does not work is better than doing nothing. The bicycle helmet is a bad thing for several reasons.
        The first is the false sense of security it gives you. The marginal benefit of head protection is heavily outweighed` by the perception of safety and the subsequent added risk that is taken. It does not even protect from the most common forms of injury which are neck and various joints. Most people who fall tend to protect their heads as a reflex and do a pretty good job of it.
        Secondly, the hassle of necessitating helmets puts off a lot of people from riding a bike. The number of people who would stop riding bikes is calculated to have such a negative health impact, due to less exercise, that it puts injury and death from non wearing helmets in the shade.
        Lastly, It is a poor solution to the real problem in some countries, namely Bike awareness. This does not only mean motorists, but bicyclists as well. One does not cultivate a sensible bike environment by strapping on a useless piece of plastic.
        Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark show this to be true.

        This non-sense pampering ultra protective culture has to go. Rubber mats on playgrounds, ban on tree-climbing and helmets is creating generations of people with skewed senses of security and an inability do do risk assessment. A whole generation od weak armed inexperienced risk avoiders is something we don’t need.

  1. Reminds me of the situation my dad described to me from my Grandfathers business: He ran a boatworks on the Columbia River, making and repairing grain barges. The building inside which they had their dry dock had a moving gantry ./ crane platform suspended near the ceiling. This was an old building, so originally the gantry was hand cranked with a real low gear reduction. Would take the guy up there in the gantry forever to move from one end of a barge to the other. One day my grandpa took pity on his employees, and removed the crank handle, replacing it with an old electric drill and enough extension cords to reach.
    It still took forever to get back and forth, but at least they weren’t tiring themselves out to do it. No word if anyone ever unplugged the cord as a joke while someone was stuck in the middle :3

  2. A $15 drill will only have a few N of torque and the batteries will not hold much charge, so I first of all don’t see it propel anything but a super-lightweight carbonfiber frame, and only if nobody is on it, and secondly for about 20 minutes tops.
    Even the poor performance in the video is doubtful with a $15 one.

    1. It was a kid tinkering around. Good for him! many impractical hacks are still worth doing for fun and education. Besides, the way he set up the hand brake cable to control the trigger of the drill was clever.

      Next, he can probably get one of those little electric cars for kids at a yard sale cheap, and figure out how to do something more practical. Stronger motor, bigger battery pack, and possibly variable speed.

  3. Recycled laptop batteries as a power booster to charge the main pack, switch between them as they empty.
    Also worth mentioning is that many “dead” drills have good motors and controllers, its normally the chuck that seizes up or the battery goes bad.

    I did have a thought about using a magnetic coupler on the hub, consisting of an outer and inner plate with neodymium hard disk magnets glued to each.
    Would be lower friction and by adjusting the distance it could control the power transfer.

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