The Etek motor is a brushed 25-pound pancake shaped motor that puts out enormous power for its weight. Depending on amperage and voltage the Etek can easily provide between 15-horsepower and 30-horsepower reliably and consistently (11-kW / 22-kW). A perfect platform for a powerful electric bike if you do not mind the weight. Although brushless motors are considered more modern, a brushed motor like the Etek allows the builder to use very affordable controllers.
It was invented by Cedric-Lynch (read story here) and the technology was sold to Briggs and Stratton which made the Etek at a somewhat affordable price (around $600). In the late 90’s early 2000’s it was the way to go for a high-power / light-weight electric vehicle. Many small E-vehicle records were set using the Etek motor. Finally, we had a relatively lightweight and powerful electric motor available to the masses.
In essence, the Etek invented the hot rod electric bike. Before the Etek very few people had ever achieved 50mph on an electric bike. Even today, Etek motors (and newer incarnations of the Etek motor) are used to make some super fast electric bikes…and in the case of Liveforphysics, the fastest E-bikes ever. Liveforphysics used a newer version of the Etek (the Agni motor), to achieve speeds of over 70mph, and dominate a recent hill-climb event.
Check out our list of the top 10 fastest electric bikes on the planet here.
Every Etek I have ever ridden has been characterized by brutal off-the-line acceleration, usually to a point where you have to apply the throttle very carefully or get thrown off.
Check out this video of the Lifeforphysics Agni-powered bike for an example of this phenomenon:
[hdvideo id=18 ]
However, it is possible to run an Etek at a lower voltage or lower amperage and have a very manageable, safe, and sane electric bike that will guaranteed not burn out on you, no matter what size of hill.
This is a photo tribute to the Etek motor and the original electric bike hot rodders: