The low-budget EV conversion vastly improves performance.
Pocket bikes can be more like toys than motorcycles. This one certainly qualifies. Its top speed is approximately walking pace, and its cheap pink bodywork makes it look like Barbie's Dream MotoGP Bike. The guys at Grind Hard Plumbing Co have an idea to unleash this bike's true performance potential, though: replace its tiny gas engine with an electric chainsaw.
Like the bike, the chainsaw is fully functional in stock form. They prove it by cutting down a tree with it before returning to the shop to Frankenstein them together. Obviously, they don't use the chainsaw's original chain, which is designed to cut things up into little pieces, not transfer power from the motor to the back wheel. A chain without sharp blades replaces it, making this project just slightly safer.
Before committing to the project, they test the combination by holding the chainsaw, now without its sharp pointy bits, and seeing how well it will spin the back wheel without the 3-to-1 gear reduction used for the tiny gas engine the bike came with. It works great—a bit too well, as the speeds the bike could reach without the gear reduction would be far higher than it was ever designed to go. They decide to use the gear reduction.
They are amazed at how simple the electric chainsaw is inside. It's simply a motor, speed controller, and a battery. With a little bit of fabrication, they attach the gear reduction to the electric motor. Another test shows that this will bring the back wheel down to a reasonable speed. What they give up in top speed should give the final product some massive torque. Then all they have to do is attach the chainsaw bits to the bike frame. They adapt the original cable throttle to pull the chainsaw's original trigger throttle. The original bodywork even still fits, which makes the bike look pretty much original.
The newfound performance is anything but original, though. Even with the gear reduction, the bike is much faster than it was in its original form. It'll pop wheelies, which it could never have done before. Unfortunately, the wheelies are difficult to control because the electric throttle is pretty much an on/off switch, not a gradual application of power like it should be for a bike. It even goes off-road, at least until the motor shuts off under excessive load and throws the rider over the handlebars. It does awesome donuts in the snow, though, so it's pretty much worth it.
Considering how easy this electric conversion was, I have to think about similar conversions on full-size motorcycles. A company could sell simple kits with various electric motors, batteries, and the circuitry to control everything, plus mounting hardware designed to bolt onto a variety of existing models. With a kit like that, an electric conversion could be as easy as this one, and without the fabrication. There has to be a market for this—if not now, then soon.