Monthly Archives: February 2018
Those who have followed my trek concerning electric motor pedal assist on my tadpole trike know about my experiences with BionX. After returning the 3 BionX hub motor and components for a full refund I ordered a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge hub motor conversion kit. Right off the bat I experienced problems and regretting buying it. The rim was different than any other I have ever had and my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire was extremely difficult to mount on it. After getting it on the rim it was even more difficult to get it “concentric” on the rim. As difficult as it was to work with in a shop atmosphere I can’t imagine trying to change a flat tire while out riding. Then when I tried to install it on my trike the width was too wide to fit between my dropouts. All 3 of the BionX wheels I had went right into place like any other typical wheel. I didn’t want to, but I ended up spreading my rear stays to gain some width in order to get the wheel into place. Once I got it into place and hooked things up I test rode it and discovered that even though it had very good torque it only had a top speed of 14 mph … and that is only with a fully charged battery. It dropped off down into th 13 and 12 mph range within a couple of miles of riding. It should have been capable of at least 20 mph. It turned out that it had a faulty controller (which like BionX is built into the rear hub). The dealer would have sent me another controller that I would have had to install. That is not something I cared to get into. Then he offered to send me an entire new wheel assembly, but it would have been the same nightmare I ran into with the first one so I said no, I just want to return it for a refund. Unfortunately this dealer won’t refund the shipping charges either direction so I am out a good size chunk of money. I am not happy about it, but there is nothing I can do about it. I returned it and am waiting for a refund.
Another factor that helped me decide to return it was that there in no place near the rear wheel where the wiring can be disconnected if one needs to remove the rear wheel. I would have to cut a bunch of plastic cable ties and turn my trike over on its side in order to get at all the wiring tucked up underneath the seat to access the nearest plug connection to get it apart. That is ridiculous and I wanted no part of it.
Meanwhile I ordered yet another hub motor conversion kit. This time I ordered an eZee brand (http://www.ebikes.ca/shop/electric-bicycle-kits/ezee/ezee-rear-kit-advanced-pas.html). It is the 350 rpm version which is what the 20 inch wheel size requires so that the speed is about the same as a larger diameter wheel has. The 26 inch and larger diameter wheels use 250 rpm motors. According to what I have read about e-bike motors higher rpm is better than lower rpm. Up until now the 4 hub motors (3 BionX and 1 Golden Motor) were all direct drive (gearless), but this eZee is one with gears. It is slightly louder, but not all that bad. Upon installing it and trying it out in the street in front of my house it accelerated up to 27.5 mph. They only claim a top speed of about 20 mph so I was a happy camper to discover it goes faster. I took it out for a longer ride and so far I really like it. It doesn’t have the torque that the first BionX motor had nor the Golden Motor so I am a little disappointed in that regard, but overall I like it quite well. I expected the torque to be equal to or greater than the direct drive motors since it has a 1:5 gear reduction and the motor is rated at 1000 watts at 48 volts. I discovered that the top speed I obtained of 27.5 mph dwindles down as the voltage of the battery goes down. Only when I had voltage in the low 50s could I obtain the higher speed. As the voltage dropped down into the high 40s my speed fell off to about 25 mph where it stayed for quite some time. By the time my battery voltage fell off down into the mid 40s my top speed reduced down to about 23 mph. I am plenty satisfied with that.
Between this hub motor kit and the battery, battery charge and rear rack the battery mounts in the cost was less than $1800 and I am not locked into a proprietary system like BionX where they charge 2.5 to 3 times as much for a replacement battery as I can buy one for now. And I can get a far more powerful battery for less money. BionX doesn’t even offer such a battery.
As to the physical size of this eZee hub motor it is about the same as the 350 watt BionX hub motor. One thing I don’t care for with this eZee hub motor is that the wiring comes out of the end of the axle rather than out of the side plate of the hub motor like BionX and Golden Motor did. I think that is just plain stupid, but a lot of hub motors are made this way. In fact, most of them are.
Yes, I could have bought a cheaper hub motor kit, but I don’t think I would have been satisfied with it. I did a lot of research and reading about various hub motors before making my decisions. Unfortunately my choice of the Golden Motor turned out to be a bad choice and it was an expensive lesson. Now only time will tell if my last choice was a really good one. Right now I am a happy camper. I don’t yet have the torque sensor installed and working so I am only using the hand throttle. I am waiting on a new crankset to arrive as the torque sensor is the wrong spline size for my existing crankarms. Having to replace my perfectly good crankset is an additional expense I was not counting on, but if I want the torque sensor to work I have no choice. And I do want the torque sensor installed and working so it will be a true “pedal assist” unit.
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Just letting you know that the Tadpole Rider group on Facebook is closed. It is suppose to be totally deleted, but something went wrong in the process and it is still up … just stuck in limbo. I have attempted to contact Facebook for their help, but that is next to impossible the way they have things set up. I know my decision to shut down the Facebook group disappoints many people, but I just had to do it as I just got worn out. Between the Facebook group and this Tadpole Rider blog I was consumed and it was taking its toll on me. It needed to end. It is something I have thought about for quite some time. Now that I have closed down the Facebook group I feel so relieved and am enjoying not being tied down to it. I apologize for the abruptness of it. I purposely did not announce it as I knew it would lead to some folks getting downright nasty and ugly in what they have to say. I wanted to avoid that. I truly appreciate the following and the interest the Facebook group had. I thank all of those who joined as members for your loyalty and contribution. The group grew to over 1200 members in a year. I wanted to post this notice here on this blog so it would help some of you know what has happened to the Tadpole Rider Facebook group.
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HUB MOTOR VS MID DRIVE MOTOR … yes, the argument goes on. Some say Mid Drive is the only way to go while others say Hub Motors are the only way to go. Hey, they both go and like with most everything there is good and bad & pros and cons concerning each. HERE is a well written and informative article about the subject. I think I made the right decision. I like hub motors. Mid Drive just doesn’t appeal to me. They are hard on the drive train and if the drive trail fails while you are out riding you are done for as the motor can’t help you. With a hub motor you can still go on down the road/trail since it doesn’t rely on the drive train. My thinking and position lines up with the conclusion of this article and this company has worked with them both and speak from experience and hands on knowledge.
Although this following video (and nearly all others I have seen on this subject) is about bicycles it does a good job of covering the topic.
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There are several trike work stands available as well as lots of homemade DIY ones. I have written about them before. I recently came across one I haven’t seen before until now so I thought I would feature it here. It is the “TRIKETABLE REPAIR STAND” manufactured and sold by Carriage House. I like the looks of it … simple, practical, low to the ground so it is smaller in size than most others. It is designed to be used on the ground/floor or set up onto something to raise the trike up higher if desired.
Designed to fit every make and model of recumbent trike on the market. This bench mounted recumbent trike repair stand quickly adjusts to cradle your trike and hold it firmly in place. Rugged enough for shop use, simple and effective design for the casual or enthusiast rider.
It sells for $225 with free shipping to the continental U.S.
It is quick and easy to adjust to accommodate various trikes. I like the use of the V shaped rubber rollers to cradle the frame holding it securely without messing up the paint job of the frame.
Sooner or later all trikes require work to be done on them. Having a workstand makes the task far easier and pleasant than trying to work on them without one. If you have the “moola” (money) and don’t mind spending it you might want to consider this TrikeTable Repair Stand.
Keeping your trike properly maintained and repaired will enable you to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
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This is an interesting trike. I have a hard time understanding some of this man’s English, but the trike is pretty neat. If nothing else, seeing how he has mounted the skis on the front wheels might give others an idea of how put skis on their trikes, myself included. I have thought about it.
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