Monthly Archives: January 2018

ELECTRIC HUB MOTOR SYSTEM … ROUND TWO

Anyone who has been following this blog knows I had a BionX hub motor system installed on my trike and that I experienced various problems with it that BionX never got resolved to my satisfaction. Consequently I requested a full refund and got it. Dispite the problems I experienced I really liked having the hub motor system on my trike and I really miss it now that I am without it. It has always been my intention to replace it with some other brand. I have spent a whole lot of hours researching to learn what is available in order to make a decision I am hopeful is the right one for me. I have listened to the counsel of others and considered the options.

I ruled out mid-drive systems as they just don’t appeal to me. If for no other reason I don’t like the idea of putting all the strain and wear and tear on my drive train. Also most mid-drive motors I have heard while watching videos of them were loud and I found that objectionable. I don’t like the idea of having a motor hanging on the end of my boom and I am not willing to give up two of my chain rings up front in order to have a motor placed there. I have 27 speeds and I want to keep them.

I like hub motors even though I know it makes dealing with a flat tire more complicated and difficult. But I usually run Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and don’t get flats so that isn’t much of a concern. There are two basic types of hub motors … brushless gearless and brushless geared. As with most things there are pros and cons to both. After much studying I made the decision I wanted to stick with the brushless gearless type which is what BionX is. Hub motors with gears inside of them require replacing the gears periodically as they wear out. I didn’t want to get into that. Also brushless geared hub motors are usually noticeably louder that the brushless gearless type. I like my motor to be quiet. I mean … I may want to sneak up on somebody. 🙂 Seriously, I just like keeping a low profile. I would rather not draw attention to myself and my trike by having it produce noise others hear. Besides it is both annoying and embarrassing.

In my research I found that it is extremely easy to find hub motor kits for 26 inch wheels (and larger). However, finding them for 20 inch wheels is somewhat challenging. The lead mechanic at a local bike shop was also looking for a hub motor system for me and said the same thing. He found it difficult finding a hub motor kit for a 20 inch wheel. But with a lot of time and perseverence I did find a few. Within these “few” I had to select one and that can be difficult. I read all I could about the different ones. Only a few of the few had much of anything written about them so that narrowed it down some as I didn’t want to go into this blindly.

There are various sizes of motors available. My BionX was 350 watts. I have seen 250, 350, 400, 500, 600, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, 5000, 10000, 15000 and even higher. I am sure riding a trike with a large motor would be exhilirating. However, I am pretty sure I would end up wrapped around some tree or worse. Besides the larger the motor the more battery power it requires and uses. The bottom line is one only needs enough power to do the job. My 350 watt BionX motor was pretty decent power-wise so 500 watts should be about perfect and sensible. BTW, here in the U.S. the legal limit for road use is 750 watts. In Canada is it 500 watts and in Europe it is only 250 watts. (I sure am glad I don’t live in Europe.) 250 watts is ridiculous. That won’t even climb many hills.

Most of the hub motors have the wires coming out of the end of the axle. That absolutely turns me off so I didn’t consider any of them. I don’t like the idea of their vunerabilty of getting damaged. So with this criteria the candidates were narrowed down considerably.

I am not going to name brands here for fear of offending someone who happens to have one of those brands. I may or may not have something against any of them. I am not here to put any other brands down or to advise others what I think they should buy. I am only concerned about what I think will be the best choice for me.

After a lot of deliberation i chose the Golden Motor Canada Magic Pie Edge hub motor. It is not the cheapest by far, but it is still reasonably priced. I bought my battery, charger and rear rack for the battery seperately as Golden Motors didn’t have what I was looking for. The total cost for the hub motor kit with the extra options I selected was $781.50. The battery, charger and rear rack was $560.49. Altogether it comes to about $1350. The BionX system I just had was nearly $2500 so you can see there is quite a difference is cost. As I said earlier the BionX was a 350 watt motor. This new one is 500 watts. The BionX battery was only 11.6 aH (the largest they offer). This new one is 20aH. I have seen as high as 50aH. I based my decision on this 20aH battery on what I experienced with the 350 watt motor and the 11.6aH battery. The range I got out of that combination was not very impressive … only about 35 miles on a good day. In colder weather it drops way off. The replacement cost of the BionX battery is over a thousand dollars. I can replace this battery for less than $400 (at least that is what I see currently looking at batteries). I would probably opt to spend more however and get a lithium-polymer battery next time instead of lithium-ion. They are still far less money than the BionX battery costs and are a much more powerful and higher quality battery than the BionX battery. I wanted to get a lithium-polymer battery at this time, but I also wanted to hold the cost down so I opted for the lithium-ion.

One thing I want to address here is the matter of the pedal assist mode and torque sensing being built into the circuitry inside of the hub motor. BionX does this. It is great until something happens to it like what happened to mine. My pedal assist feature stopped working. Fortunately it was under warranty so BionX replaced the hub motor. Unfortunately the motor they sent to replace it was the wrong motor … much less power than the one I had that went bad. This new motor I ordered does not have pedal assist or torque sensing built into the circuitry inside of the hub motor. It is a seperate external component which costs about $145 or so extra as it is optional. At first I was upset about this, but after thinking it over I changed my tune. If something were to happen to the torque sensing unit and it quit working it is a far easeir repair (for me) than BionX repair would be. Warranties don’t last all that long and then we are on our own. Repairs are out of pocket at that point. I don’t know what BionX charges for a new printed circuit board, but I would much rather replace the external torque sensor than have to open up the hub motor and replace the printed circuit board inside.

Lastly, this new motor has a few features BionX doesn’t have. It offers a reverse feature so one can use the motor to back up. It can be programmed offering three different selections of the rider’s choice as to how much power the motor is delivering. Typically one programs it to have a low power choice, a medium power choice and a high  power choice. These can be selected as one is riding. By law here in the U.S. an e-bike (e-trike) can’t go any faster than 20 mph on roads when being powered by the motor. It seems so silly when there are riders who can obtain 40 mph or so thru pedaling. Many motors are capable of propelling the bike/trike faster than 20 mph, but by law they must be limited to a top speed of 20 mph. With this motor being programmable one could choose full power as one of the 3 available selections. That would propel the cycle much faster than the 20 mph top speed allowed. I tell you what … I won’t tell if you won’t. 😉 I am sure there are many who would choose to have full power available as one of the selections. It not only would provide the highest top speed obtainable, but it would provide maximum acceleration and performance. Anyone up for a drag race? Am I getting too old for that?

Well, that’s my story thus far. It is all on order. And yes, I am very anxious to get it and get it installed and working. And then I hope to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I will keep readers updated. BTW, as stated, this is round two and hopefully it will be the final round.

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FROZEN LAKE DRIFTING WITH ELECTRIC TRIKE

If you can handle the weather this looks like it would be fun …

UTAH TRIKES CUSTOM SUNSEEKER ECO QUAD WITH 1600 WATT MID DRIVE MOTOR

Utah Trikes is known for their customization services. Here is one of their projects. With 1600 watts there is plenty of power. Along with all that power is plenty of noise … something I find quite objectionable. I guess it doesn’t bother some people.

WHAT, A STAND UP TADPOLE TRIKE?

What will they think of next? We talk about the extreme comfort of a recumbent tadpole trike comparing it to a recliner chair and then somebody comes along and undoes all that has been accomplished in creating such a dream machine. I am talking about standing up while riding a tadpole trike. Yes, you heard (read) me right! Hard to believe, huh? The picture up above is just a drawing, but this thing really exists. Actually the inventor/builder has had several prototype models thus far … with the goal of improving it with each new design build. Obviously the appeal of this machine would probably be only those who are into skate boarding, snow boarding and surf boarding. That leaves me and a whole lot of other people out. I guess I am thankful I was born when (and where)  I was as there are just many things younger people do that I am so glad were not around when (where) I grew up.

See? I told you so. It doesn’t appear to be human powered, only electric hub motor powered so there is no exercise involved in riding it. And that is one big hub motor so I assume it is fairly powerful. I found this video which explains several things about this machine.

It is a tadpole trike, but it certainly isn’t recumbent. It is just the opposite of recumbent as the word recumbent means “prone position” or “lying down” … no , it doesn’t mean “feet forward out in front”. There are a whole lot of tadpole trikes being sold labled as recumbent and they really are not recumbent at all. I read that there is a seat kit available for this trike so I reckon it may be able to transform (morph) into a recumbent trike of some sort. 🙂

I look at this and it just screams UNSAFE. But then that is what I think of skate boarding too … insane! It is like tempting fate. I can’t imagine trying to make a panic stop on/with this trike.

Riders of conventional tadpole trikes can ride on a 100 mile ride all day long in great comfort.  One sure couldn’t do that on one of these. Oh well, different strokes for different folks. I don’t understand it, but that is okay I guess.

Here is a newer prototype …

Here the inventor/builder takes the trike for a ride around his city …

I wonder how many of these he will sell. Hey, in this crazy world we might be surprised. Hey, if they can ENJOY THE RIDE more power to them. Too bad they aren’t getting any exercise in the process.

 

 

E-MOTOR BATTERY MOUNTS FROM TERRACYCLE

TerraCycle makes some great products for our trikes. With the ever increasing popularity of electric motorized trikes having a way to mount the battery is crucial. It is not desirable to mount a heavy battery up high on a trike as it raises the trike’s center of gravity considerably and effects the handling and therefore safety of the trike. Keeping the battery mounted down low and out of the way is important. TerraCycle offers some solutions … some specifically made for certain trike and battery brands and others which aremore less generic. Actually as far as I can tell from their webpage they only have kits for Catrike and ICE (rigid rear) and (suspended models) at this time.

They do offer a highly configurable mount so chances are pretty good they can help a guy (or gal) out with their battery mounting problem. When ordering one needs to specify what trike (brand and model) as well as e-motor system and battery they have so TerraCycle can send the correct spacers needed for the specific kits or to help them in getting you a mounting bracket which will work on your trke.

I said that keeping the battery mounted down low is important as far as the trike’s center of gravity. This is quite true, however, the downside of mounting the battery down low is that it is then very vulnerable to getting water, mud, slush and whatever else flung up on it. I presently have my battery down low, but I am seriously considering mounting it up on the rear luggage rack somehow as my battery is getting so messed up for all kinds of stuff being flung up on it. I don’t like that. When I first got my electric motor pedal assist kit I had the battery located in the rear rack and I didn’t have any issues with handling. The battery certainly stayed a whole lot cleaner up there and it was a lot handier to get to it. Some manufacturers of e-motors offer a special rear luggage rack designed to hold their battery. Unfortunately most of these rack mounted batteries are not very powerful so the cruising range they offer is limited.

A larger battery can be mounted on top of a rear luggage rack, but then the luggage rack can’t be used for a trunk bag. Panniers can still be used. I sure will miss my trunk bag if I end up mounting my battery on top of the rear rack.

The battery can also be mounted on the boom. However, that is a lot of weight sitting on the boom and the boom was never intended to carry weight like this so I don’t know how wise it is to do this. I am not saying that it won’t hold it okay. I just don’t know.

The Beatles said it all in one of their songs … “we can work it out” … and when we do it will most certainly help us to … ENJOY THE RIDE & KEEP ON TRIKIN’

HOW TO MAKE A TADPOLE TRIKE GROW

No, you don’t plant ii in dirt, expose it to sunshine and add water. I am talking about the HP Velotechnik Gekko FXS tadpole trike … the first expandable trike designed to accommodate short people (kids and smaller adults) and grow as they grow (well the kids anyway). In the case of short adults this trike is just as happy to remain one size all of its days.

What is differnet about this trike is not only does the boom telescope in and out for adjustment like most other trikes, but the frame itself adjusts telescoping in and out up to 2.7 inches (7 cm). All of this and it folds too!

The seat is also high tech in that it has various adjustments available including adding/removing and moving around foam pieces to accommodate the rider as they grow and their bodies change.

HERE is the Operator’s Manual.

HP also offers some special features as options for those who have children with special needs. They have a harness system to help hold the child safely in the seat. They also have straps to securely hold the child’s feet onto the pedals.

In addition to the above mentioned features they have an assistnace pole attached to the steering head with a brake lever in case the child is not capable of safely handling everything themselves.

Yep, this trike is designed to meet the need of your child from a youngster to adulthood … growing as they grow … and without the feed and water your child requires. And having a trike that grows as your child grows will help keep a smile on their face because they will be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKN’

MOM ON A TADPOLE TRIKE

This isn’t my mom, but it reminds me of my mom. If she were still alive at an age when she was still able like this mom, I am quite sure I could be making a video like this one of my mom riding my trike. She rode bicycleS and motorcycles for many years and really enjoyed it. i occasionaly rode with her many years ago. Lots of fond memories filled with fun are mine these many years later. I am pretty sure my mom would be a tadpole rider today if she lived her life in a different time span. And she too would be wearing the infamous “recumbent smile”.

SUNSEEKER FAT TAD ELECTRIC TADPOLE TRIKE

 

For those on a tight budget here is an option available for a fairly reasonable price. One can also get the same trike without the FAT tires and wheels for a lesser amount. And, of course, one can also get the same trike without the electric motor system.

And Utah Trikes offers the same trike with a Bafang motor mounted on the end of the boom. This particular one is customized for the customer. It has dual cargo racks on the sides and dual batteries mounted undernearth the cargo racks.

ELECTRIC TRIKE 3500w 40+MPH