We covered the Swytch e-bike system back in November, when it was funding on indiegogo. That crowdfunding campaign raised over $460k and now the system is shipping to backers. We've got hold of one too, so we've been fitting it to our donor bike (A Giant Dash hybrid) to see how easy it is to get your bike electrified.
One of Swytch's major claims for the system is that you can fit it to just about anything, and they've had penny farthings, scooters, bamboo bikes and more running the system, as well as standard city bikes. So fitting it to a bog-standard hybrid shouldn't be a problem, right?
To be fair, it was pretty easy. The system comprises a bag containing the battery and an LCD display, and a hub motor. There's a cadence sensor that you fit to the cranks, and brake sensors that cut the motor when you brake. We ended up not fitting these, as you can see in the video, because it would have meant re-cabling the brakes, and in reality we don't see masses of point in them anyway. When we fitted the Panda M-Drive mid motor to this same bike we didn't fit the cut-off brakes for that system either, and it works perfectly well without.
The other issue that we ran inot was the lack of space for the cadence sensor, which looks like it would be a problem on any frame that's not thin-tubed with plenty of room around the bottom bracket. It's fixable – in our case with a hobby knife and some Sugru – but it's worth noting. The front dropouts needed a bit of work with the metal file to accept the hub axle, too, but at least it's a nice tight fit.
Anyway, the system is on now and ready for testing, so we'll report back in a few weeks to let you know how we got on!