Category Archives: e-trikes

E-BIKE BATTERIES AND WATER … A DEFINITE NO-NO

The other day I foolishly rode thru some flood water thinking that it would not be deep enough to be a concern. Boy, was I wrong! I just ordered a new battery as I ruined the one that got wet. I made it thru the flood water okay but just a few feet beyond the electrical power went off. I switched to my second battery and continued on my way. Later that day after I arrived back home I took my wet battery into the house and took it apart. I dried it out and tested it to see if there was power at the terminals when I turned the key switch. All seemed to be okay so I put the charger on it and it seemed to be charging okay. But apparently it wasn’t. The green light came on indicating it was fully charged so I put it back on my trike assuming all was fine. While out on a ride the next day I ran my backup battery all the way down so I switched over to this battery that had got wet. I turned the key switch to power it up but nothing happened. So I had to ride all the way back home under human power only which was quite challenging. I was about 6 miles away from home. I made it but my legs were shouting for relief.

This same battery has gotten wet a few times before but I never experienced any problem with it until now. I may look into seeing if I can raise the battery mount up a little higher as I have it pretty low. My backup battery is up high in a rear rack so there is no concern with it getting submerged in water. I wonder if the power from the battery had been off when it got wet if it would have prevented damaging from happening. Anyway, a new battery is on order. It was an expensive error on my part. I am just glad it was the oldest of my two batteries as it had less natural life left in it than the newest one.

The battery I just ordered is a bit more sophisticated than my first two and yet it is about $100 cheaper. They were just plain batteries but the new one has a LED taillight and a USB outlet built into it. I just hope the taillight can be shut off. I have plenty of taillights so I don’t need to run the e-bike battery down powering a taillight I don’t need on. I like the idea of having it if I want to use it. The USB port could be very handy. This battery comes with a rear rack and a charger. I can use a new rear rack as the one that came with my first battery is broken and needs welding. I stopped using it some time ago and bought another one which is just a plain rack. I fabricated a battery mount to use under it. I will be glad to get back to using this new rack however as it looks nicer than the conglomeration I have now.

I will probably be wondering just how much longer my first battery would have lasted if I had not done a number on it. They say that typically these batteries have 800 to 1000 charging cycles in them. I probably have near 600 or so on this first battery. It is nearly 2.5 years old.

So sports fans … the moral of this story is “don’t be stupid”. Water and electricity still don’t mix. I could have kept on going and enjoyed the ride … avoiding all this expense. If you were nearby I would bend over and let you kick me. 🙂

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

HOW TO ADD SOLAR PANELS TO A TRIKE

Here is a video about adding solar panels to an e-trike to charge the battery. Tadpole rider, Alex Hofvander, shares about his system.

HERE are other videos of Alex.

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TOTAL KNEE JOINT REPLACEMENT – BEFORE & AFTER

As I was out riding today I got to thinking about the subject of knee joint pain and riding. I was never overweight as a child growing up. I weighed 140 pounds when I graduated high school. That being said most of my family is overweight, particularly on my mother’s side. By the time I reached 22 years of age things started to change for me and I started gaining weight. It has been a battleground for me since. I have lost all my excess weight twice but both times put it right back on and even more. I have always been healthy but obesity has been and is my middle name. To add to the abuse to my body I have been a weldor most of my life and have worked down on my hands and knees a whole lot. My dad warned me that I would pay a price for it. Of course, he also included the obesity. And he was right. By the time I reached my mid 40s I was experiencing discomfort in my knee joints. As time passed it got worse and quite painful as my knee joints were “bone on bone” … the cartilage was pretty much gone. Standing and walking became very difficult and painful. I was advised to hold off as long as I could before getting knee joint replacements. Fortunately I could ride my tadpole trike with my knee joint problem as this was not “weight bearing”. That being said as time passed I found that I was only good for about 20 to 25 miles before my knee joints started talking to me. So finally I took the plunge and signed the paperwork to undergo the surgery.

Certainly it is no fun to recover from the surgery but I did very well and soon I was back riding. During the rehab I pedaled the recumbent bike at 120 rpm cadence. They stopped me as they didn’t want me doing that. I probably have pedaled anywhere near that fast since I was a teenager. My knee joints are pretty much pain free although I can’t stand very long nor walk very far before they cry out for relief. They don’t hurt as before when I was bone on bone but now it is a different hurt. Again, it is weight bearing that is the problem. I would imagine that if I weighed what I should it would make all the difference. I probably would not have any problem. But alas the battle of the bulge continues and I haven’t taken back any ground. I can ride my tadpole trike for hours and a long distance without any problem with my knee joints.

However, there is a problem. I am not able to pedal very long or very far under “human power” as ever since I had the surgery I just don’t seem to have the strength in my knee joint area I used to have. Riding became drudgery and I slowed down to such a slow pace that it was no longer enjoyable.  Climbing hills was extremely difficult. Because of all this I made the plunge and bought e-assist for my trike. It has been a “god-send”. My riding experience has been turned around, rejuvenated … and now I am lovin’ riding again just like I did when I first started. In fact, I would have to say I am enjoying riding even more so as I can ride like I did when I was in my 20s. I am 73 now and truly enjoying myself buzzing along out there. Well, that is my story and I am sticking with it. Besides I seem to be stuck with it. Here is hoping we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ICE FULL FAT E-TRIKE REVIEW & TEST RIDES

Here is a well made video sharing lots of information and covering lots of facets about riding a tadpole trike.

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120 SPEED, 1000 WATT PEDAL/ELECTRIC HYBRID QUAD

Utah Trikes continues to come up with some pretty amazing custom made offerings. Here is their RevolUTion eQuad FS XL …

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YUMI, SIDE BY SIDE TANDEM QUAD

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ICE ADVENTURE FS HD BAFANG

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THE JOY OF RIDING A MOTORIZED TRIKE

Here is a video of a tadpole trike rider describing his e-trike and his riding it.

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eZEE … HAS BEEN A WINNER

It has been just over two years since I bought and installed an eZee hub motor on my trike. I am writing about it now as a sort of a review. I am pleased to say that I have been very well satisfied with this motor. It has performed flawlessly. It is a geared motor which means that the nylon gears are suppose to be changed every 8000 miles or so. I have new gears on hand to do so as I am well past the 8000 mile point as I usually average about 8000 miles  or more a year. Last summer I opened up the motor with the intention of changing the gears but I found the gears inside still looked like brand new so I closed the motor back up and just kept riding. I was impressed. Being a geared motor it is a little bit noisier than I would like. My first motor, a BionX, was gearless and ran quieter so that spoiled me. One thing I like about this motor is that is weighs so little compared to some hub motors. The second hub motor I had, a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge, was a whopping 19 pounds and was a monster to lift. This eZee hub motor weighs only 8 and a third pounds. With gears it can be made smaller diameter too which I like. Although it is rated at 1000 watts it is not the fastest or most powerful but it does a good job of moving me along. It is geared and designed to top out at 28 mph and that is what it does. I have had it up to 30 mph a few times on declines. My BionX motor was suppose to go 20 mph but it topped out at 17 mph. Oh, it would be fun to have a motor capable of propelling the trike along at 50 mph, but I would probably end up wrapping it around a tree or losing control and wrecking. So I am happy enough with what I have. At 73 years old I don’t need to live dangerously taking chances like that.

I feel that I should mention that I was not impressed with the aluminum rim that came with this e-motor kit. Of course, I have to say the same thing about the rims that came from Catrike. None of them have held up for me. I had to replace all of them with heavier duty BMX rims. They have held up great so far.

I have purposely withheld from making suggestions/recommendations to others when asked what brand of electric motor to purchase. Part of my reason for doing so is to is I simply don’t want to have someone buy a motor on my recommendation and then not be happy with it. I have not changed my position on this. However, I will readily say that I am very pleased with the eZee hub motor. It is my third brand of hub motor I have had after bad experiences with the first two. I have not missed out on any riding due to any problem with this motor. As I stated, it has been flawless. I am truly blessed and am …

ENJOYING THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

For those who are interested I have written/posted numerous articles about e-motors in the past. Click HERE to view them.

SPECBIKE TECHNICS

SPECBIKE TECHNICS is a German company which manufactures tadpole trikes in  Latvia. HERE is their Facebook page. The frames are made of steel. They offer  galvanized coating inside and outside of the frame for corrosion protection. The frame is powder coated. All models but one have full suspension. The company guarantees their prices to be the lowest. Their base model for adults starts at about $1544 but it has no suspension but it does fold. It also has three 20 inch wheels instead of a 26 inch on the rear. Before you get overly excited know that shipping to the United States costs from nearly $700 to nearly $1000 and takes about one week. Please note that import taxes may apply.

To make matters worse I just read on their Facebook page that they have increased their prices by quite a bit … they say due to demand … which makes no sense to me. If sales are good I would think they should be able to maintain or even lower their prices instead of raise them.

 

The model shown above is full suspension with a 250 watt 36 volt Shimano Steps electric crank drive motor for about $4576. It is 27 speed. The seat height is about 12 inches. The shock absorbers are adjustable and various springs are available to accommodate the weight of the rider.

They offer a 2 year warranty on the frame. The seat is adjustable for angle and has a built in adjustable headrest. A built in rear rack comes on all models. Brakes are installed on all three wheels. All models are available with folding frames as an option for additional cost of about $331. The same is true of hydraulic brakes (a $221 option). Three fenders come on all models. 20 inch wheels come on the front with Schwalbe Crazy Bob 20 x 2.10 tires. With the exception of their base model on all other models the rear wheel is 26 inch with a Schwalbe Crazy Bob tire 26 x 2.35. Shimano components are mostly used thruout the trikes.

The electric motor can be added to any model for about $1764 additional charge.

I find their website somewhat confusing. They show a model I was looking at as having a folding frame and then a little ways down the web page they show it as an option for additional cost. Another problem I found on their website that makes no sense is they show a model without the motor for 2145 Euro and with the motor for 4150 Euro. That is a difference of 2005 Euro. Yet they state that a motor can be added to any trike for 1600 Euro. That is 405 Euro more. Something is very wrong in this.

 

The company’s email address is specbiketechnics@gmail.com

They also show sales@specbiketechnics.com as a contact email address.

BTW, Specbikes Technics also offers children’s tadpole trikes which list for about $921. I assume the price has gone up on these as well but thus far the website does not show the price increases … only their Facebook page stated it.

Specbike also has a store on Amazon.

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RECUMBENT TRIKES – THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE

Recumbent Trikes – The Essential Guide (2019 Edition)

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TRIKEXPLOR … some interesting offerings

                                                      TRIKEXPLOR

I have written about one or more of the trikes/quads offered by this company before but as time goes by they keep coming out with more offerings. They always look interesting. I won’t elaborate on them as I really don’t know much about them as far as their quality and customer service.

Chinese made trikes have, of course, been around for awhile. And they are known for low cost. Again, I have written about them previously. And HERE is another past posting on them.

TrikExplor is a Chinese company which is something which personally bothers me as I don’t believe we as Americans should be buying all the products we do from China. In doing so we build them up while greatly damaging our own country. Besides that they are a Communist country and I think it is morally wrong for us to do business with them. Please understand I have nothing against the people of China. It is the Chinese government I have an issue with. Furthermore the Chinese are well known for totally ignoring the law and manufacturing copies of well known products selling them at a much lower price.

I truly wish we had such products being offered right here in our own country … made in the U.S.A. … and at a competitive price. I suppose however that the market is lacking for that to happen. Even some of these Chinese offerings are quite expensive … over $7000.

Right now as far as I know such products are not being offered here in the U.S. with the exception of certain offerings from Utah Trikes. I guess only time will tell as to whether or not these somewhat special trikes and quads will catch on and be sold in sufficient numbers for other manufacturers to offer them.

Whatever we choose to ride may we all …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

LOW COST FULL SUSPENSION TRIKE/e-TRIKE/e-FAT QUAD

Utah Trikes continues to offer their custom models and once again they just may have a winner. I am talking about a full suspension trike (or quad) with or without electric motor assist at a low price. They call it the Revolution Defiance FS. The starting price for the trike version is $2999 but it is currently on sale as I write this for $2599.

Here is a look at the front suspension. And below is a look at the rear suspension.

And below is the 3 speed internal hub along with the external cogs … 8 is stock or 10 as an option.

With a single chainring up forward and 24  (3×8) or 30 (3×10)  speed back aft the rider has a pretty fair selection of gearing. Other internal hubs are available as options.

For those who prefer 4 wheels …

The Revolution e-Quad currently sells for $5999. It has FAT tires, hydraulic brakes and a 1000 watt motor. It also has various upgrade options. In stock format it is not full suspension however … only rear suspension. But hey, with FAT tires who needs suspension? Front suspension is available as a $200 option. Various motor options are available as well. They are all 1000 watt but the top speed ranges from 12.5 mph for the stock motor and increases to 15, 20, 25 and 30 mph respectfully … the top one being the most costly as a $200 option. This is achieved by the rpm and gearing of the motor. All the motors offer a reverse … something very practical on a quad.

Looks inviting, huh? I mean one just might be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

on one of these.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

JUST DRIFTING ALONG

I am just drifting along singing my song all the day long. Well, not really but this guy is definitely doing some drifting and I am envious as it looks like fun.

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RIDEKICK TRAILERS ARE COMING BACK

If you don’t want a motor on your trike but would like some help that an electric motor can offer there is an option. It is a trailer you pull behind your trike which has a motor and battery inside of it. It is not “pedal assist” but merely a hand throttle which the rider uses to have the motor operating to push the trike. The trailer can also be used to haul stuff in. It has a locking lid. The trailer has a built-in LED taillight.

This trailer known as Ridekick is not new. It has been around for several years but they stopped production awhile back. Now they are going back into production once again and should make their appearance next Spring the company says.

Three different models are available. They are all the same except the battery size. Their lowest cost model is $799 and comes with a lead acid battery good for only 8 to 10 miles. The middle model sells for $1418 and has a 20aH Lithium battery good for 25 to 30 miles. Their top model comes with a 30aH Lithium battery and sells for $1644.  Even their most powerful battery, a 30 aH, gets poor performance. 35 to 40 miles is a very small number compared to most smaller batteries used with crankdrive and hub motors. My 20aH battery provides about 55 miles of riding and I weigh a whole lot more than the weight of the rider they show for their test purpose. I don’t baby my motor but use it hard much of the time. I am sure if I were to try I could increase my mileage number on up to 70 or more. I also carry a lot of weight on my trike and I ride dealing with hills which they don’t in their testing.

Inside the Ridekick trailer is a rechargable battery that’s used to power the electric motor which provides a push to assist the rider in propelling the trike.

Here is their top model with the 30aH battery:

Ridekick power trailer LR30
$1,644.00

This Ridekick power trailer gives a boost for 35 – 40 miles on a charge. With about 1000 charge cycles, this battery affords the rider about 40,000 miles of support over the life of the battery.

Every Ridekick power trailer system comes complete with trailer, electric motor, controller, throttle and hitch plate, charger and the battery of your choice. It comes ready to assemble (10 minutes), install on your bike/trike (10 minutes) and hit the roads!

Like BionX this company takes advantage of people by charging very high prices for their batteries. The 30 aH battery costs $945. That is 2 to 3 times as much as it should cost. It always saddens me when these companies take advantage of their customers charging such high prices. It is just my opinion but I think this was the demise of BionX. They had a very good product but they charged way too much for it.

HERE is a review of the Ridekick trailer. It provides lots of detail specifications and information which you can read.

Personally I am not a fan of pulling a trailer with any kind of vehicle. I would much rather have everything ON my trike. However, I am sure that there are those who would like this option and will look into it.

There were at least two other entities which attempted to produce a similar product. Neither of them were successful. One was Wheezy which I  wrote an article about on this blog. The other was Brouhaha which I also mention in the same article.

It will be interesting to see how this company fairs in the marketplace.

So if you like the idea of not modifying your trike but instead pulling a trailer and having a “tailwind” behind you this might be an option for you.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ELECTRIC MOTOR ASSIST — THERE ARE CHOICES

Electric motor assist has become quite popular and more and more offerings are showing up. There are two basic ways to go … 1) a hub motor in the rear wheel … and 2) a crank drive motor some incorrectly call a mid drive motor. There are pros and cons to both types. I have written about this previously. Click HERE to read it. And HERE is a similar posting to this one.  In this posting I am not writing about electric motor assist. I am merely posting videos about them. If you want to read any or all of the several postings of the past about electric motor assist click HERE. The videos below will give you some idea of the various options available to motorize your trike. Some are trikes which come with motors while others are motors which can be added to an existing trike. And yes, any trike can be motorized. It is not necessary to buy a new trike.

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BTW … below is a picture of a true MID drive motor setup …

As you can see the motor is located in the middle between the pedals and the rear wheel … thus it is called mid drive. Motors that are mounted in the bottom bracket of a bicycle or tadpole trike are technically CRANK drive not mid drive.

ELECTRIC TRIKE OWNERS FACEBOOK GROUP

While looking for tadpole trike groups on Facebook I found this one … Electric Trike Owners. I requested to join and invite you to do the same if you have an electric motor on your trike.

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E-ASSIST … SOME DON’T GET IT

Frequently the subject of the use of electric motor assistance on a trike comes up on a Facebook group discussion. And sadly there are always some folks who attack and criticize and pass judgement on anyone who dares to use e-assist. In doing so they usually boast about themselves being able to ride their trikes unassisted. It gets old even though I would rather imagine those same people have heard/read others say that with the use of e-assist they are able to ride further, faster and with no or greatly reduced discomfort while getting far more exercise than they can possibly get trying to ride without the help of a motor. And they greatly enjoy riding thanks to their e-assist. I know from personal experience that all of what I am saying is true. Having e-assist has made a huge difference in my life.

Anybody who has been following me thru the years and reading what I have written about motorizing a trike knows that I am against it if one doesn’t need it. That hasn’t changed one iota.  Motorizing a trike defeats the purpose of a human powered vehicle … namely getting exercise. I rode for as long as I could pedaling along and as time passed I suffered more and more in pain and discomfort. Many others have the same testimony.

Those that pass judgement on those of us who have turned to e-assist need to be thankful that they are still able to ride “unassisted”. I just hope that if ever they come to the point where they too need to turn to e-assist they will wake up and understand just how wrong they have been in their stance against those who use e-assist. Hopefully they will REPENT. And may we all just …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

CATRIKE E-CAT MAKING ITS DEBUT

Electric motor assist has become quite popular and several trike manufacturers already offer models with e-assist. I have noticed over the years that Catrike is consistently slow in coming out with models to compete with other manufacturer products. For instance, they still don’t offer a FAT tire trike which seems strange to me since FAT tire trikes are quite popular.  I have also noticed that when they do eventually come out with new products they are always superb. That is not true of all trike manufacturers. As I write this there is very little information available about the E-Cat. In fact, the only thing I can find about the E-Cat is on Facebook. Two different entities have posted on Facebook about the debut of the E-Cat. For fear of getting in trouble copying and pasting what they have to say I will simply supply a LINK to one of the articles. (They both read the same other than the time and location of their events.)

Here is what Catrike has released at this point:

“At the heart of the E-Cat line is the latest in electric assist systems. The result is a Catrike with the perfect combination of maximum efficiency, comfort and riding enjoyment. The efficient and versatile electric assist drive provides dynamic performance – guaranteeing an authentic riding sensation with minimal pedaling resistance. It delivers active and sporty acceleration even at low cadences, offering powerful assistance as soon as you step on the pedals. In addition, the system’s multi-sensor technology and fast information processing ensure optimum interaction between you and your E-Cat.

Featuring E-Cat specific graphics, the E-Cat line will be available in all eight of Catrike’s signature colors: Moon Rock Silver, Liquid Black, Eon Green, Firefly Yellow, Atomic Orange, Lava Red, Candy Purple and of course Electric Blue.”

Here is Catrike’s new graphic for the E-Cat:

The E-Cat will be shown at the Pacific TrikeFest in Portland, OR on October 5 and then at the Recumbent Cycle Con in Nashville, TN Oct. 11-13.  .

It will be interesting to see what Catrike is offering. The article states that there won’t be any new models for the E-Cat. Instead they are simply using existing models and motorizing them. We can only hope that Catrike will sell a conversion kit so that anyone with a non motorized model can upgrade to the e-assist on their current trike. I have just read that they wii starting next Spring. Here is what the Bosch crank drive motor looks like …

 

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WHAT I THINK I KNOW ABOUT BATTERY CHARGING

I purposely titled this “what I THINK I know about battery charging” for good reason. I only know what I have read and experienced thus far. I am certainly no expert and I readily admit that at times I have found what I have read a bit confusing and perhaps even contradictory. I have had 4 batteries thus far … all lithium ion and all 48 volts. What has been different about them is their capacity or power rating. I started out with a 6.6 aH Bionx battery that fit in a rear rack. I found that it was way too small. I ran out of battery power long before I was done riding each day. I used to carry the charger with me to recharge the battery while I was out riding … taking valuable time stopped to do this. Below is a picture of my trike stopped in a city park recharging the Bionx battery.

Bionx was good enough to allow me to return the battery to the dealer and get their largest battery … which is only 11.6aH … still not very powerful. I had problems with my Bionx system so I ended up returning everything for a refund as they either couldn’t or wouldn’t fix the issue I was experiencing. Next I got a 20aH battery which also mounted in a rear rack. Later I bought a second one and have one available as an extra battery if I need it or want to have it along with me although I usually only have one along with me.

In charging these batteries they each take a certain length of time based on two factors: 1) How far down in their charge level they are and 2) the charger being used to recharge them. BTW, a lithium ion battery should never be used beyond 80 % of its capacity. 20 % charge should remain in the battery. Naturally the larger the battery rating the longer it takes to recharge it unless one uses a more powerful charger. Lithium Ion batteries are best charged slowly. In fact, fast charging can harm them and reduce their life span. My 20aH batteries came with a 2 amp charger. That is a pretty small charger as far as chargers go. Yet there is a reason why the company selling them supplies this size charger. In short, it is to get maximum life out of the battery. There are lithium ion batteries out there that recharge in only 1 hour. That is because they are being charged fast. At 2 amps my 20aH batteries take about 10 hours to recharge (20 divided by 2 equals 10).

I recently bought a 5 amp charger after reading about this subject. 5 amps is as large as I dare go for fear of damaging the batteries. Even at 5 amps I am a bit concerned. I started using it and immediately was alarmed at the result as I thought I had already damaged the battery. I noticed that it did not charge up quite as much as it always had when using the 2 amp charger. I also noticed that as I started riding using it it seemed to run down quicker than it always had before. I decided to use the 2 amp charger again and much to my relief everything returned to normal … I had a fuller charge and once more was able to get the same distance out of the battery charge as I was getting before. WHEW! My battery is okay … at least as far as I can tell. After using the 2 amp charger again for about 3 days I went back to the 5 amp charger.

It usually takes about 5 hours to recharge the battery using the 5 amp charger. Doing the same math … 20 divided by 5 … one would think that it would take 4 hours. Again, I am no expert on this but I think the math comes out differently because in the recharging process the circuitry has built into it a slow down toward the final part of the process. Lithium ion batteries are a bit complicated and the charging process is also complicated. It is all very high tech and the circuitry has safeguards built into it. The same is true of the motor controller. Without this damage can and would occur. And fire is also a great concern. It is important that we always use proper equipment made for our e-system. BTW, even though I am back using the 5 amp charger I do not know at this time if I am shortening the life of my battery. I know I would be best off using the 2 amp charger most all of the time and only use the 5 amp charger if I am in a hurry.

E-assist has become extremely popular and with more and more trike riders getting it we need to know about our batteries and charging them. We need to be safe. We certainly don’t want to prematurely age our battery’s life nor have our earthly possessions going up in flame. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!