As e-bikes become more and more popular, it’s becoming more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Just like cars and smartphones, there are plenty of ways that you can make your e-bike unique to you! Whether you want to ‘bling it up’ or tone it down with a minimalist look, let’s explore some cool customizations that anyone can do with no (or minimal) mechanical knowledge.
We will explore:
- Purely cosmetic customizations that don’t affect how your e-bike works
- Functional customizations- accessories that change how your e-bike looks and functions, like adding baskets and racks
- And both together- such as colored handlebar grips
Let’s explore what wild customization options we can apply to our electric bikes!
Purely Cosmetic Customizations
This is the fun part! For changing the look of our e-bike in subtle or dramatic ways, there are a ton of options available. Some of these options require some preparation, such as stripping down the bike and cleaning it before applying vinyl wrapping. This is a mandatory step in order to bond the vinyl securely to the bike frame to stop it peeling off and ruining the look.
Removing Stickers and Decals
I’ll start with a free one! I love providing free tips. If you like the minimalist look as much as I do, consider removing the manufacturer logos, decals, stickers, model name, and so on. This is similar to ‘debadging’ a car in the modified car scene, where logos, model names, brand logos, etc. are removed to provide an understated, minimalist look to the vehicle.
There are endless types of vinyl wrap (Amazon link) designs available for sale online (eBay link). You’re not limited to any particular color or style, because they’re practically endless! As you can see in the video above, the results can be pretty spectacular 🙂
Also, don’t feel that you need to buy vinyl specifically designed for bicycles, as any hard-wearing vinyl, especially products designed for the automotive industry will also work perfectly with your electric bike. Don’t feel limited only to vinyl wrapping your bike frame – you could also wrap your handlebars, seat post, even your battery!
Some designs and colors to think about:
- Carbon fiber look
- High gloss look in vibrant colors
- Luminous colors
- Camouflage pattern- in traditional woodland, subtle greys and blacks, or even digital
- Matte look for a “flat” color aesthetic
I should mention the safety aspect of been seen at night. It’s ok to give your e-bike a new look, even if that makes it less vibrant and more difficult to see the frame (like a matte finish), but of course, you should never change the look of reflectors, lights, or cover them over, to ensure car drivers can see you at night.
Where to get inspiration and ideas for designs and colors:
- Look at e-bike magazines for stylish, high-end bikes. Use their patterns and colors for cool ideas
- Look at car magazines or websites for inspiration, use cool paint jobs for ideas
Stickers and Decals
Using stickers is possibly the quickest, easiest way to change the look of your e-bike. These range from small, humorous “bumper sticker” type slogans, to larger designs that can overhaul the look of your battery or frame.
Here are some interesting, funny and unique ones that I’ve come across online:
- “E-Bike Because I’m Old” (Redbubble link). This amusing sticker could be placed on a rear basket, to delight those you pass going uphill!
- “Oooooooohhh, Easy” (Redbubble link). Another one to delight other cyclists as you tear past them going uphill
- “Yes it has a Battery, Yes it has a motor, Yes it’s Cheating, Yes I just passed you”
- You can view much more e-bike sticker designs here (Redbubble link)
- A patterned battery cover sticker, (Etsy link) to completely change the look of your battery!
- A highly reflective sticker, (Amazon link) which you can insert on the frame or even in the wheel rim! You will transform the look of your e-bike at dusk and nighttime with these simple, easy-to-apply stickers.
Paint the Frame!
Ok, so this one is a bit more tricky. However, this will provide the most drastic overhaul to the look of your e-bike. If your e-bike is particularly tired and worn-looking, it may be worth it to simply bite the bullet and completely spray paint the entire frame in a fresh coat of paint.
Depending on your particular e-bike, you may even be able to really let your imagination go wild and paint the wheels, baskets, racks etc.! Let your imagination go wild.
Both Cosmetic and Functional Customisations
Let’s explore some parts and accessories that will be change the look of your e-bike, but are also functional – things like LED wheel lights to create a unique effect, but also add visibility at night, and handlebar grips in different colors which are also more comfortable than the default factory grips.
Just like vinyl wraps, there are a mind-boggling array of bike lights available to create a unique look at night. Think beyond the basic front and back lights, and have a look at this list of wild and wacky ideas. No one will miss you with these:
- Under bike lighting (Amazon link), a similar concept to under-car lighting. Creates a “hover” effect for your e-bike at night
- Spoke lights (Amazon link) these LEDs fitted in your wheels create endless colors and even unique patterns in your wheel as you cycle along. You’ll definitely stand out from the crowd with these installed
- Turbojet exhaust style rear light – this high-intensity rear light looks like the exhaust of a fighter jet or the exhaust from the Batmobile!
Similar to lights, a saddle is something that can change the look of your e-bike but also provide a functional upgrade. Having a comfortable saddle is particular important, as being uncomfortable on your e-bike is a huge reason to not use it!
Here’s a nice video that explains more details about a saddle than you possibly need 🙂 Did you know that there are saddles made specifically for electric bikes? They’re designed specifically for the quirks of e-bikes or e-MTBs. There’s also different saddles designed for men or women, which is quite important for your long-term health and comfort!
Handlebar Grips and Tape
Here’s a video on replacing grips on an e-bike. You can see the aesthetic of the e-bike is changed quite a bit from the existing leather grips to the newer orange and black plastic grips:
Not only can you choose a new color to suit your taste, you can also choose a different shape of grip which will be more comfortable. For example, you may find a new grip that fits your palm better, and has an angled end on the grip for resting your hands during longer e-bike tours.
E-bike factory grips are often a bit of a neglected area, so you can give your a major comfort and ergonomic upgrade by getting a better grip.
E-bike pedals come in all sorts of different shapes, colors and materials- aluminum and plastic, with clips and without. Here’s a video explanation on how to install pedals on an e-bike (spoiler – mechanical knowledge and some tools are required):
If this all seems too much, give a call to your local bike shop to handle this particular task.
Front Cargo Holder Rack
A front rack adds a utilitarian look to your e-bike, not to mention adding useful carrying capacity over the front wheel. It’s useful for city bikes and for touring bikes in particular, where you can tie extra cargo with bungee cords to the rack. This video shows how a typical front rack looks, including how the installation works:
If your e-bike didn’t arrive with factory-fitted mudguards, I highly recommend adding them. Commuting or touring is not very pleasant and not as feasible year-round when you have water and mud splashing you for half the year! Your e-bike will also get dirty quicker, and if there’s salt on winter roads in your area, your e-bike parts will be threatened by corrosion as well.
Here’s a video on choosing mudguards, which are like most bike parts, available in a variety of styles:
Don’t forget about other visible cycling accessories– these can be customized too! Think about adding stickers to your helmet, lights to your helmet, you could add decals to your cycling jacket, bags, and more! Again, it comes down to your personal taste and style.
There are limitless possibilities for customizing the look of your e-bike. Many of the techniques discussed here, such as adding decals, unusual lights, different saddles or grips, are fairly straightforward and can drastically alter the look of your e-bike. There are some other mods like painting and adding vinyl which are more involved, but look for guidance from your local bike shop.
I hope you got inspiration and new ideas from this article, happy riding!