Category Archives: electric motorized trikes

TERRATRIKE RAMBLER E.V.O.


few tadpole trike manufacturers are offering electric motorized  models. One of them is TerraTrike. I applaud this as having a BionX unit installed on my Catrike I really love having it. I have a friend I ride with who has a BionX unit installed on his TerraTrike Rambler. The BionX unit is a great unit as long as everything works right (mine doesn’t), but it is expensive. This E.V.O. model is far less money although feature-wise I much prefer the BionX unit. That being said, this Falco unit is 750 watt vs. the BionX 350 watt and it offers a 2 mph reverse as well as a crawl forward from a standstill. BionX has neither. Of course, the thing about this deal which is a real turn off for me is the fact that it is a TerraTrike trike. I just am not impressed with them as I think they are poorly designed and built. I would  much rather spend  $500 more and get a high quality well designed trike such as Catrike. So many TT owners admit that they regret not buying a better quality trike. For me personally there is absolutely nothing about the Rambler that appeals to me. It would have been a good candidate for a book entitled “unsafe at any speed”.

From here on everything which appears in this article is someone else’s writings and not mine.

$3,499.00 … 750 watt Falco hubmotor with 2 mph reverse and crawl forward from a dead stop feature
website:  http://www.terratrike.com/evo.php
article:  https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/terratrike-adds-750w-electric-assist-its-rambler-recumbent-trike.html

Specification Description:
Drive System Derailleur, Falco 750W 5 Phase Motor
Battery Type/Weight Li-Ion / 36V / 11.6 Ah / 417 Wh
Max. Assisted Speed 20 mph
Range 97 km (60 miles)/Charge
Frame Chromoly steel
Rims/Wheels TerraTrike Black Double Wall
Tires Schwalbe Energizer 20 X 1.75
Crankset Driveline Durabi 400 170mm
Chainrings 52/42/30
Bottom Bracket RPM Sealed Square Taper
Chain KMC Z72 8-speed
Front Derailleur MicroSHIFT Triple
Rear Derailleur MicroShift 8-speed
Cassette/Rear Cogs SRAM PG-830 11-30, 8-speed
Shifters Microshift Mezzo Trigger
Brake Levers Promax Linear Pull, Locking
Brakes Avid BB7 Mechanical
Pedals Comfort Pedal
(subject to change without notice)

TerraTrike’s Electric Vehicle Option (or “E.V.O.” for short) will transform the way you ride and will increase your range by degrees of magnitude. It will allow you to climb hills that were previously daunting, it will keep you spinning through rolling terrain. The Rambler E.V.O. is not intended to be an electric trike. The E.V.O. was designed to help you along your journey while you still get the cardio benefits of trike riding. You will hear and feel the motor turning on and off as it senses your need for assistance. You will still be shifting the trike as you normally would; as the hills get steeper or as you come to a stop.
With a generous range of up to 60 miles per charge, you will have nearly limitless potential. The lithium ion battery can be charged overnight with the included “smart” charger. Simply plug the charger into a nearby outlet, or the battery can be easily removed from its case for charging in a different location.

 

TerraTrike figured out the ideal torque sensor setting and assist level so that it is very predictable and optimized for assistance and range. The top speed is governed at 20 mph. The Rambler E.V.O. motor control accessories available are ‘Wired Plus Minus (WPM)’ ‘Wired Console’ and ‘Wireless Console with Plus Minus’. The trike will still be limited to 20 mph, but you will be able to adjust the level of assist (low, medium, or high) or you can put it into one of three regenerative modes which actually charges the battery on long descents.

 

The optional Wired Plus Minus (WPM) switch also adds a reverse gear. You will need to back pedal while it is backing up due to the drivetrain of the trike. But don’t worry, max speed in reverse is 2 mph. The WPM accessory can also help climb hills by providing a “crawl” feature. It too is limited to 2 mph and is merely intended to get the trike rolling so that you can begin your pedal stroke. After the trike starts to move and you start to pedal you can let go of the plus button and the motor assist will kick in as appropriate.

– Electric Assist Hub: The E.V.O. is available in a traditional deraillured system external hub with electric assist
– Direct steering: Horizontal handlebar position provides responsive leverage to steering inputs, and provides a tight turning radius
– Steering stack with bushing/bearing combination for smoother steering
– Chromoly steel frame is lightweight, smooth riding, and capable of supporting up to 300 pounds
– Comfort mesh seat for extra lateral support
– Simple operation, seamless experience
– Powerful 750W direct-drive hub motor
– No pedal resistance when battery isn’t used
– 5 phase motor provides more torque & power
– Up to 1000 recharge cycles per battery
– Industry-leading 5 year motor warranty

Although the following is not a very recent article it is still helpful …
https://electricbikereport.com/electric-recumbent-trikes/

 

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4 WHEEL DRIVE REAR SUSPENSION ELECTRIC MOTOR ASSIST FAT TIRE QUAD


What more could you want in an off road human powered vehicle? This beauty is nearly unstoppable. It is an L Trike  or Camel Trike made in China and sold from China thru ZZMERCK (Zhengzhou Merck). I find their media coverage a bit confusing. One place they call it an L Trike and another place they call it a Camel Trike. It is not even a trike so I don’t know why they would call it either one. Googling “L Trike” turns up nothing, but Googling “camel trike” gets results. It doesn’t come cheap … $7500-$8500. It looks nice, but I don’t trust the quality of Chinese products. Hopefully this is well made. I will say though that this trike is definitely complex in its design which translates into … “there is a whole lot of stuff that could go wrong and cause problems”.

I said it is rear suspension and it is, but at first I thought it was full suspension, but after taking a closer look at it I guess it is not.This quad weighs approximately 110 pounds (50kg) so it is not light. The wheels are laced rather uniquely. Although I have seen this before I don’t think it is all that common. They are laced only on the inside of the rim. No spokes attach to the other side. This is covered in one of the videos further below.

The one thing I noticed is that the cables are hanging way down low where they could easily snag of lots of stuff riding off road. They created lots of road clearance only to place the cables way down low. That makes no sense! I see it all the time on people’s trikes. Some people just don’t seem to care about such things even if you point it out to them. I wonder if they would change their tune if a drooping cable ruined their day causing a bad wreck. At the very least it could cause serious damage to the cable and possibly other things.

4×4 Fat Tire Recumbent Quad

Model/Price: Model: MF426E, Price: US $7,500-8,500

Website: http://zzmerck.com/products/recumbenttrike/2017-09-28/398.html

Brief description: four-wheel drive system, aluminum alloy 6061 frame, Vee 26×4.8 tire, DNM air spring suspension, SRAM11 speed, 500w mid drive motor, 48v 20ah lithium battery, climbing angle more than 35 degrees. For All Challenging Terrain!

SPECS:
Transmission system     
Front derailleur: Sram NX11
Rear derailleur: Sram NX11

Drive system   
Crankset: Flywheel crankset
Flywheel: Sram NX11 11 speed 11-42T
Chain: Miche 11 speed
Chain tube: Nylon
Pedal: Exustar clipless pedals
Novatec bearing secondary drive hub
Customs Aluminum alloy 7075 secondary drive
Fouriers chainring
Customs power divider
Customs shaft, hub, shaft hub, cardan

Brake system    
Front brake: Avid E3 hydraulic disc brake
Rear brake: BB7 disc brake

Wheel system 
Rim: Alloy
Spokes: 304 stainless steel
Tires: Vee 26-4.8 foldable tires
Front hub: Novatec customs hub
Rear hub: Customs shaft hub

Suspension system
DNM air spring suspension (double chamber)

Electric system
48v 500w mid drive motor
48v 20ah lithium battery

Light system
Led headlight

Frame: Aluminum alloy 6061 T6
Seat: Nylon mesh

No way could I do this on my tadpole trike. I would find myself in a real predicament. This quad goes right up it …

 

The next video definitely demonstrates that it is all wheel drive …

This next video is suppose to be a demonstration of the quad riding thru snow, but there is very little snow on the ground so it isn’t much of a test. A standard trike with standard tires could go thru most of the snow shown, but probably not all the uneven ground, etc. as there would be traction problems  …

The next 4 videos are about the design and bulld of the quad. You may have to pause them to read the English captions in order to follow what is being said.

That is a lot of money to lay down to attempt some off road fun, but hey, if you have it to spend you might as well go for it. You can’t take the money with you when life is over. BTW, you can’t take the trike with you either. We can only enjoy them here in this life … so do your best to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

BIONX … THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THIS ONE


This is an update — Many of you know that I purchased a 350 watt hub motor kit from Bionx. Everything was fine at first with the exception of not getting many miles out of the battery. I was truly disappointed in that factor as I found myself having to stop during my daily rides to plug in somewhere and recharge my battery. That was no fun. I wanted to be riding not sitting around waiting on a wee bit of charge to go back into my battery. One hour of charging was then used up in ten minutes or less. I shared my disappointment with the  Bionx dealer and they told me to bring my trike in and they would check things out. It is a 2 hour drive to the dealer so I am not crazy about having to drive down there any more than I have to. I went down and they checked everything out saying it is all normal. That being said, Bionx was good enough to send the larger battery free of charge to replace the medium size battery I had purchased which was rated at 65 miles. I was getting about 27 at best. The larger battery is rated at 80 miles. One of my friends has this battery with his 350 watt hub motor. He gets far more miles per charge out of his battery than I was … probably twice or more miles. While waiting on the larger battery to arrive my pedal assist mode quit working. All I had available to use was the hand throttle which uses up the battery even quicker. Again, I had to take my trike back to the Bionx dealer. Bionx determined that the problem was in the hub motor so they sent a replacement under warranty. Once it arrived I, of course, had to make another trip down to the Bionx dealer to get the new motor and the new battery installed. The pedal assist worked again, but now this larger battery didn’t perform as well as the smaller battery. I only got about 22 miles out of it before it was used up. And when charging it it got extremely hot as did the charger. So another trip back to the Bionx dealer was needed. They tested everything out and said that it all checks out okay (normal). They did however, replace the 2 day old battery installation with another battery. This one doesn’t overheat, but it still takes way too long to charge and two out of the three times I have charged it thus far it never showed that it was charged up. The green light never came on. Bionx states that their batteries should charge up in 4 to 5.5 hours, but I have been dealing with batteries that sometimes take as much as 11 hours to charge. As I said, the battery I have now most of the time never shows a green light indicating it is charged. It just remains red. BTW, they state in their manual that it first shows red indicating it needs charging and then when the charging begins it changes to amber and finally to green when it is charged. Well with 3 batteries it has never had an amber light … only red and green. My friend says he has never seen an amber light either. With this new battery and over inflating my tires 5 psi I finally got about 40 miles out of the battery charge. I am happy enough with that, but I sure am not with the matter of charging the battery taking so long and not showing it is charged after such a long time.

I also complained about the hand throttle not working right with this new motor and battery. They test rode it and said it works fine. They don’t know what they are talking about. It has no power when applied. Before when it worked right using the hand throttle was like having JATO assist. The trike really took off. I could shoot across a road getting out of the way of traffic or I could zip up a hill. Now I have to pedal up the hill as the hand throttle does next to nothing. My two friends who have this same setup both have hand throttles that work like mine used to. I could not believe that the dealer claimed that the hand throttle works the way it is supposed to.

So …. I have emailed Bionx and shared with them what is going on. I am hopeful that they will do whatever it takes to get me a system that works right and stays working right. I am not a happy camper at this time. I told them that if they can’t get me a system that works right I want my money back. I am waiting to see what happens. I will let you know.

From what I have seen I think Bionx has a serious problem with quality control. I sure hope they get their act together. I really like their system, but I sure can’t recommend it as things stand now. I mean … I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

(and not driving back and forth to the Bionx dealer.)

Update – My battery problems seem to be doing much better now. I can ride much further on a charge and the battery seems to be charging normally now. Bionx instructed me to run the battery completely down so that the sensor would refresh and reset itself properly. That seemed to work. Now if they can just get the hand throttle working right I will be a happy camper.

verdict is in

Update – As instructed to took my trike back to the dealer (which is about 150 miles round trip) as BionX was supposed to resolve the hand throttle issue. It was a wasted trip as they accomplished nothing and said that there is nothing they can do to get it working like it used to. So I am stuck with an expensive system that doesn’t work right and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. I am considering requesting my money back. I have no idea what would happen if I were to do that. I have also considered attempting to file some sort of a consumer complaint against BionX which is a Canadian company. I have no idea how to go about that. Needless to say I am not a happy camper and as a result of all of this the jury is in and I give BionX and thumb down. It truly saddens me as for the most part I really like this system. I think they have a serious problem with quality control, but this is to be expected when one is dealing with Chinese made products. Advanced western nations never should have got involved in getting any products made in foreign countries with cheap labor. We should only make our own and thereby benefit our own people.

BIONX HAS PROBLEMS

HP VELOTECHNIK, A TRIKE TO BE RECKONED WITH


HP Velotechnik is a well known and respected German manufacturer of tadpole trikes. Their two main models … the Scorpion and Gekko continue to grow in popularity. Recently while visiting a trike dealer in Kokomo, Indiana they were assembling a brand new Gekko for a customer. It is a nice looking trike.

I am sure some would say that the Scorpion fs26 is the ultimate in comfort among trikes. The fs stands for full suspension. It is also available with a 500 watt pedal assist electric motor. One would have to be independently wealthy or on good terms with a banker to buy one of them as they are pretty much at the top of list cost wise … like around $8000. That is a lot of money for a tadpole trike. They are a large trike and are heavier than most all other trikes so this may be a challenge for some folks if lifting it is involved.

Here is an interesting video showing a Scorpion on a bob sled track. I am sure that ride is exhilarating.

HP Velotechnik has some good reading available on their website.  Sometimes it is more interesting than other times.

Here is a good video. However it is in German so you may not understand anything being said.

Yes, HP is a trike to be reckoned with. Most would compare them, especially their top of the line model, the Scorpion, with a Caddilac, or a Mercedes, or a Rolls Royce among tadpole trikes. In other words … TOP DOG! But hey, whether you are riding a top dog or a Rover … ENJOY THE RIDE and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CHINESE KNOCKOFFS


chinese-catrike-knockoff
Would you buy a brand new “Catrike”
like this for about half price?
China has long been known for blatantly illegally copying products of others and selling them … often on the black market … at least many years ago. But today they are so bold as to even display a picture of the real McCoy with manufacturer’s name clearly displayed on it. Those who don’t know any better might be deceived and go ahead purchasing the item thinking they are getting a really great deal. Of course, what they get is altogether different. It may look somewhat the same externally, but the components used are el cheapo. And I am pretty sure that even externally there would be some obvious differences in the trike you would receive. Here is an example of what I am talking about. I think this is a picture of an older model (2012 or earlier) Catrike Trail trike. It is the non-folding “space frame” design (my favorite). As you can see it has the Catrike name shown clearly on it. I think sells for about $1200, but I am not sure of that as they don’t show the prices on their website. I have emailed them to ask what the price is, but they haven’t answered back. Anyway, that is less than half price of what Catrike sells their trike for today. I would think that the Chinese businesses involved in this illegal knockoff production would at least take a couple of minutes with a photo editing program and remove the manufacturer’s name from the picture they use. Better yet, why not just use a picture of the trike they are building and selling? Here is the Chinese website (one of them) where this is found:
http://www.made-in-china.com/…/hot-chi…/Recumbent_Trike.html
And here is the specific trike’s webpage:
http://www.made-in-china.com/…/China-New-Design-Hot-Sale-Re…
I know Catrike is aware of this, if for no other reason than the fact that I emailed them about it several years ago when I first discovered it.
ice-fat-trike
Does this not look like an ICE FULLFAT trike? It is another Chinese knockoff they are selling. No doubt it would probably look a lot like the ICE FULLFAT trike. Again, they don’t show any prices so I have no idea what they are charging for it. I am sure it is quite cheap especially when compared to the cost of a real ICE FULLFAT trike (about $5000 for the base model).
Chinese FAT tire trike 2
I wrote an article about another Chinese FAT trike. It is shown in the picture above. As far as I know it is not a knockoff though. It is a “mini-fat” … that is it has 20 inch FAT tires all the way around instead of 26 inch. It certainly is cheap … $1,460.93 total which includes shipping ($950 for trike & $510.93 for shipping).
Alibaba is another well known Chinese website selling lots of different Chinese made products. They show the prices and as far as I know are legitimate … they just sell cheaply made trikes like the FAT trike I wrote about and linked to above. I have not seen any advertised that I identified as a knockoff.
The prices are definitely cheap, but the shipping costs are pretty high so the total cost isn’t as attractive as it starts out.
So … back to my original question … would you buy one of these Chinese knockoffs to save money? I don’t think I could do it. I could probably buy one of the other Chinese trikes though. It is just the knockoffs that I don’t think I could deal with. Well, I don’t have any money to buy any of them anyway so I won’t concern myself with it. I am happy I was able to get the real McCoy and it continues to serve me well year after year. I do really miss my 2009 space frame though. I always …
ENJOY THE RIDE!

PODRIDE VELOCAR


Another new velocar is attempting to be birthed into the market place. It’s a cute little thing called a Podride. HERE is their website. Both a 3 wheel version and a 4 wheel version are planned. It will be available with or without electric pedal assist.

They have a StartUp Campaign and a YouTube Channel.

Their website states that they hope to have their product available in Canada and the United States by late 2017 … first in a non-motorized quad and soon to follow a motorized trike.

2 wheel drive above, single wheel drive below

eGO – AN INTERESTING CONCEPT IN TRIKES


eGo … not to be confused with EGO which is an ultralight trike aircraft … nor is it the electric scooter of the same name … nor is it the velocar of the same name. I sure think they should have and would have picked a different name so that people don’t have to deal with all this confusion.

It is powered by electric motor hub only. There is no chain or sprockets. However there is a crankset and it is used to pedal to charge the battery. They used an existing TW-Bents tadpole trike to create their electric trike. The frames looks the same for both the Trident and Artifice models TW-Bents offers.

HERE is an article on this trike.  HERE is another article.

There is very little information available I can find about it. The one article says that they hope and plan on building more prototypes and work to promote the trike.

PROS & CONS OF ELECTRIC MOTOR PEDAL ASSIST


Those who have been following my writings from the git go  probably know that I got my start in this writing articles about tadpole trikes on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog. One of my earliest articles (To Motorize Or Not To Motorize, That Is The Question which was posted on April 5, 2013) was on the subject of motorizing a tadpole trike and I made it pretty clear that I was against it. I made an exception for those who truly needed it Never the less I ruffled some feathers and caught some flak for writing the article. I have to admit that when I wrote it I didn’t know much about the subject of motorizing a trike. I don’t recall whether or not I was even aware of “pedal assist”. Anyway, since that time I have gotten myself a bit more educated about pedal assist. I also finally reached the point I felt I would benefit from having electric motor pedal assist. I have had one on my trike now for awhile so I have experience with using it and feel I am qualified to write about it. I am loving it. Anyway, I am reposting the early article I wrote so you can read it here in this posting. You will find it at the bottom of this article I am now writing. As you read thru it you should be able to pick up that I was thinking that this subject matter is about propulsion by a motor and not pedal assist.

Recently a fellow triker brought up the matter of a tadpole trike being a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) … that is to say, they are suppose to be. Hey, that is exactly the position I used to hold so I know where he is coming from. We are all familiar with the terms “Pros & Cons” … stating those things in support or favor of and those things which are not if support or favor of. After having a motorized pedal assist trike and riding it quite a lot already I though it would be good to try to write an unbiased opinion and report on the pros and cons of having a pedal assist motor enhancement. Of course, now I speak only of “PEDAL ASSIST”. I like the description … “it’s like having a built in tail wind”. I am still against a motor propelling a trike where the rider is not required to pedal.

I will state the things that come to mind as pros as well as those things which come to mind as cons. I will say upfront that the list will be considerably lop sided as I have been giving thought to this matter and have to say that there is very little I can come up with to put on the cons list while there is a whole lot that comes to mind to place on the pros list. This certainly is not an exhaustive list. As I think of more I will add them to the lists.

THE PROS

1) It makes pedaling easier not requiring nearly as much pressure to be exerted on the pedals. This greatly helps in hill climbing and those with knee joint problems, pain and weakness.

2) The rider can go considerably faster even though they are exerting the same amount of pressure on the pedals and using the same amount of energy as they did previously. For instance, climbing a hill that used to slow me down to 2 to 4 mph I can now ride up at 14-16 mph if I want to.

3) If the rider tires out during a ride the motor assist helps them to get back to wherever they started from or need to get to.

4) If riding has become a chore rather than the fun it once was then pedal assist can make it fun again.

5) It enables a rider to ride at a faster pace so that being able to ride with faster riders is now possible. You still won’t be able to keep up with a lot of the roadies however as they really go. Funny thing is they are allowed on bike trails and some bike trails ban pedal assist bikes and trikes. It is not right.

6) It is a real blessing to have when you need to zip across a busy street when a break in traffic finally comes along. It can propel you across fast and out of any danger.

7) When you need to make good time to get some place faster than you normally could again the motor is such a blessing.

8) Having the ability to accelerate  quickly and go fast can be a big help in getting away from a dog or person you might be concerned about as far as your personal safety. Of course, most dogs can run faster than 20 mph.

9) Because you are still pedaling, but pedaling easier you actually get more exercise. You can pedal at a faster cadence which is a very good thing as many of pedal way too slowly anyway. And because it is easier to pedal you can ride longer.

10) Someone who has had problems with hernias and are concerned about overexerting them self and causing serious problems can greatly benefit from having pedal assist.

11) Having electric motor pedal assist does not mean that you have to use it. You can ride with it turned off just like it wasn’t there. And quite honestly most of the time I can’t tell the difference between riding my trike as it came from the factory and riding it now with the motor and battery installed but not turned on.

12) If you have long downhill grades you can set the controls to generate rather than use power and in doing this you  recharge the battery. You can also just ride along recharging the battery if you are strong enough to pedal with the resistance involved. Or if you are up to the task even on level ground you can pedal along recharging the battery if you are physically up to it. Please note that the charging rate in this mode is very little so it would take a lot of time and travel to put much of a charge back into the battery.

13) You can play with the minds of the road bike riders  by being able to ride their speed and maybe even pass them. Some of them however ride much faster than a motorized pedal assist can go (legally).

14) When riding off road the pedal assist is great to have. It makes such adventure so much easier and enjoyable and even safer as one doesn’t always have the strength to pedal in/over/thru some places.

15) It reduces the stress being placed on the drive system (pedals, crankset, chain & sprockets) as the motor is helping to turn the rear wheel.

16) If you are riding with others and you have to stop or slow down and they keep going having the pedal assist motor makes it much easier to catch back up with them.

17) It is great when riding into a headwind. Other than feeling the wind you can truly say “what wind?”.

THE CONS

1) The motor and battery add weight to the trike. It has added over 20 pounds to my trike and all on the back. That being said, much to my surprise and delight the only time I can tell there is additional weight is when I lift it. When I ride I can’t tell it at all.

2) Being able to go faster is fun, but it also adds a measure of danger and concern that didn’t exist riding slower. You may tend to go into curves faster than you should. If you are not used to handling a trike at higher speeds you could crash.

3) It is expensive to add a motor to a trike and the battery only lasts so long before it needs to be replaced at considerable cost. My conversion kit costs about $2500 and the replacement battery costs about $900 to $1000. There is always the chance that the manufacturer will either go out of business or simply not offer a replacement battery later on if they opt to make some changes in their product offerings.

4) Some trails don’t allow the use of any motors on  them. I personally don’t think that this should apply to pedal assist systems and I would hope that trails which say no to them will reconsider and change their position on this.

5) Motorizing a tadpole trike adds to the value making it more of a target for a thief.

6) Motorizing a trike makes it so much fun to ride that your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend will want to ride it and cut you out of the picture. 😉

********************

TO MOTORIZE OR NOT TO MOTORIZE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

I am getting into something here which I will state upfront I am very opinionated about. I”M ‘AGIN’ IT! To my way of thinking motorizing any type of human powered vehicle is defeating the whole concept of the thing … exercise. I mean, come on … if you want a motorized open air vehicle buy a motorcycle for crying out loud. I rode them for over 50 years of my life until I finally decided I would give it up for strictly pedaling around. I was also riding a bicycle all those years so I still got some exercise … just not nearly as much as I do now.

I am sure that there are some folks who are not able to pedal to get around … perhaps can’t use their arms and hands to propel a vehicle either and so they may NEED something in the way of a motorized trike. But there are a whole lot of folks out there who are perfectly capable of pedaling who really don’t NEED to go this route.

That being said, I know it has become pretty popular. The man I sold my homemade tadpole trike to told me he planned on motorizing it. There is lots of information out there on the subject. And I am sure riding a motorized tadpole trike is a lot of fun even though it could lead to an added element of danger. And there may be some folks who just need help pedaling up hills as just maybe their bodies can’t deliver what it takes.

Obviously there are two main ways to go … electric motor or gas engine. Those who oppose gas engines because they “pollute” would no doubt only consider the electric motor route. But I AM STILL AGIN IT!

Here are some pictures of various setups:

KMX trike motorized

KMX trike motorized

gas engine motorized trike

gas engine motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

ecospeed motor on boom

ecospeed motor on boom 2

And I say to ya’ll …

KEEP ON PEDALIN’

(We all need the exercise!)

By the way,  one needs to be aware that there are trails where it is against the rules to ride a motorized bike or trike. Our local trails here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area do not allow them. Only motorized wheelchairs are permitted. When it comes to “pedal assist” it is not fair to ban them. They are as much as a human powered vehicle as the roadies out there zooming by at 25 plus mph while my top speed is only 20 mph with pedal assist. HERE is a good article on the subject.

AND AWAY WE GO! (WITH BIONX)


It took several years, but I have finally succumbed to the concept of my using electric motor pedal assist. It is a matter of aging I think and finding it a bit more challenging climbing hills. I can still climb them, but oh so slow and if I am riding with others I just watch them ride on away from me as I can’t begin to keep up. So I bit the bullet and got myself some help. Now I can shoot up those hills and don’t have any problem keeping up with my friends should I choose to ride with them.

HERE is a webpage about Bionx products. And HERE is another one.

The electronics are quite sophisticated and pretty well thought out. The reviews of Bionx are extremely favorable. Pretty much everybody say they have the best system going. The company is out of Canada.

They have 3 different size batteries. They are all 48 volts, but their power in amperage varies providing a choice of 50 miles, 65 miles or 80 miles between charges. At least that is their claim. In reality the distance is far less like maybe half. The battery pictured below which fits under their rack is the middle one. The largest battery mounts down low behind the seat alongside of the frame.

Although with this battery mounted up under their rack means the weight is carried up high effecting the trike’s center of gravity and handling it also means that the battery is positioned so that it doesn’t get nearly as messed up from water, mud and other crud being splashed up on it like would happen if it were mounted down lower alongside the frame. Also having it higher makes it much easier to get at to charge it or remove it.

Their controller (shown above) has been upgraded as have their display console.

This display unit (shown below) has replaced the larger combination display controller they had previously.

This next video features an older version of the console and controller which has been replaced with the ones shown above. I offer it here as it still is helpful in understanding some factors of the Bionx system.

The new electronics also offers a  Bluetooth connection to their free smartphone app which among other things is a tracking and reporting info of the route,  ride and even pulse of the rider. The Bluetooth module sells for $175.

They offer 250, 350 and 500 watt hub motors. I understand that Bionx limits the top speed of 20 mph for all units shipped to the United States to comply with the law.

If your trike has a 20 inch rear wheel you are limited to the 350 watt hub motor as the 500 watt is too large in diameter to be laced into a 20 inch rim. If you have a larger diameter rear wheel such as a 26 inch or 700 the larger 500 watt hub motor is available for them although the larger motor may not be needed. The bike shop dealer told me that unless one lives someplace with a lot of steep hills to climb the 350 is more than enough power to use on a trike.

Having a FAT trike with electric motor pedal assist sounds like a very helpful addition for off road riding. It might require someone skilled at wheel lacing to come up with a wheel laced to a hub motor.

It is my understanding that the batteries can be charged approximately 1000 times. Replacement batteries cost between $900 and $1000 so they ain’t cheap.

The bike shop I am involved with is a Bionx dealer. He told me about the high tech system Bionx has in place making trouble shooting and repair easy for the dealers. They simply plug the unit into a computer with Bionx software installed on it and it connects with Bionx while running diagnostics on the system. The dealer gives permission for Bionx to remotely do various things while connected to your unit over the internet and they can remedy most problems or at least know what is wrong so it can be remedied. With this system the dealers don’t have to learn and know a lot about the Bionx system yet they can take care of the customer.

Here is the Bionx installation video. It shows the older system however.

In closing I want to mention that there are more powerful hub motors made and available which can propel a trike much faster (not legally mind you) and even at 70 years old there is still a part of me that is attracted to riding along at 45 plus mph on my trike, but I am wise enough to know that when you play with fire you are likely to get burnt. I would probably wrap myself around some tree or telephone pole. Nope, I best stick with the 20 mph option. That is plenty fast enough.

With the use of electric motor pedal assist it can help us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE & kEEP ON TRIKIN’

Update (5/3/17) – I now have the Bionx hub motor system installed on my trike and I am loving it. I haven’t been able to ride it much as it has been raining for 3 days straight. I took some pictures of my trike with this unit installed. I remounted the controller from where the bike shop had located it. I like it much better now as I can see it much better and get at it much handier. I probably should paint the blue piece of steel tubing I used to place on my mirror where I mounted the controller. I need to paint it black so it is not so conspicuous. 🙂 Anyway, riding with this motor assist is amazing. For the same effort I used to exert to ride 5-7 mph I can now ride about 14-16 mph. And for the same effort it took to ride 10-12 mph I can now ride 19 mph. The battery has a built in LED taillight which is extremely bright. Above the taillight is a large red reflector. As I said, I haven’t been able to ride it much yet, but hopefully I soon will be. And it surely looks like I will most definitely …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

SPEED TRIKE


came across a blog about the design and construction of electric powered tadpole trikes. It is named tadpoletrikeman. The owner of the blog has built a homemade electric assist powered tadpole trike he calls Speed Trike. Here is a photo of it.

speed-trike-1

Although he made the frame he has used a TerraTrike seat and front wheels on it so if you don’t look carefully one may think at first glance it is a TerraTrike.

speed-trike-12

At this point in time he only has this one trike featured. Hopefully other material will be offered on the blog in the future.

speed-trike-4

As you can see in these pictures he has done a very nice job building the trike. It looks great.

speed-trike-2

speed-trike-10

speed-trike-8

As you can see he used a bolt for the front axles. That is the same thing I did when I built my tadpole trike.  It is quite common and works quite well. Just be sure it is strong enough (hardened grade 5 or 8 and 5/8 inch diameter if my memory serves me right).

speed-trike-11

Underseat indirect steering was employed.

speed-trike-5

speed-trike-9

The rear view mirror is mounted on the steering head.

I encourage you to check out this blog.  And by all means …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

MOVING RIGHT ALONG


Various things come to mind I am tempted to say here in response to these videos, but I will stifle myself and let others think what they want. I have never been a smoker, but I remember in Navy boot camp the words “smokem’ if you’ve gottem”. That seems to apply here but it has nothing to do with cigarettes.

Most definitely at 45 mph or so this rider is moving right along.

Certainly not getting any exercise …

Continuing to move right along …

Another one with money to burn …

Keep in mind that here is the United States 750 watts is the maximum power allowed on the streets by law.

WINTER PLAYTIME or FUN ON 3 WHEELS


Having an electric motor pedal assist tadpole trike does have its good points … like playing on the snow covered roads, etc. You could not do most of this shown in these videos without a motor. Just so one avoids smashing into trees, telephone poles, parked cars, etc. 🙂

I am not sure what I am hearing on this next one. That can’t be the actual sound of this trike. It has to be added sound effects. What do you think?

It’s just not the same without an electric motor, but you can still have fun …

And I would think that 4 wheels would even be more fun than 3 … especially when FAT tires are involved.

Even with a motor I would not want to try this. It is definitely winter, but it doesn’t look like fun at all.

So whether you are motorized or a “plain Jane” always do your best to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

and be safe!

You might want to avoid riding at the north or south pole though.

CHEAP ELECTRIC TADPOLE TRIKES


Chinese motorized trikes

It is said that “you get what you pay for”. That is usually true. I hope it isn’t the case when it comes to cheap trikes that come from China. They certainly offer some low prices. Of course, shipping isn’t cheap ($500 – $700) so the price increases considerably over the list price of the trike alone.  The fairly well known website, aliexpress.com, has gobs of tadpole trikes listed for sale. Among them are electric pedal assist trikes. They come with either 250 watt or 500 watt Bafang brushless rear hub motors.

As you can see in the pictures the batteries are positioned up high under the rear rack. They are handy to get at there, but it also means that adding that weight at that height affects the center of gravity and handling suffers. The higher the center of gravity the easier a trike can tip over.

As to quality they do skimp on components using brands which are not among the more common names we usually see on trikes. So be aware that should the cheaper components fail sooner than later you might be laying out some money to buy better quality components. If that happens, then I would say that there was no real savings realized in buying these lower cost trikes. And the components may not perform to one’s liking in comparison to brand name components.

red 250 watt

Their 250 watt model with no suspension (shown above) sells for $1,818.76 including shipping to the U.S.

rear suspension 250 watt

Their 250 watt rear suspension model (shown above) sells for $1,818.76. That is the same price as the no suspension model. “Go figure” as they say.

silver rear suspension 500 watt

Their 500 watt rear suspension model (shown above) sells for $2,265.76 which includes shipping to the U.S.

Delivery time to the U.S. is said to be 11 to 19 days.

Their trikes come with:  high carbon steel frame, choice of 26 or 20 rear wheel, fenders, neck rest, rear rack, mirrors and a flag pole. They also come with a rear V-brake for parking which can be replaced with a disc brake if preferred. The mesh seat can be exchanged for a fiberglass seat.

They say they can custom make a trike if a customer is too heavy for their stock trike (which has a weight capacity of about 264 pounds). The same is true for customers who are too short or too tall for their standard trikes.

Chinese motorized trike components

I would not care for the electronic digital display to be mounted vertically. That is quite impractical trying to view it. I am assuming that the battery pack has an integrated taillight of some sort although I have not read anything about it.

As to top speed and battery power endurance these trikes don’t measure up to some of the more expensive motorized trikes out there we normally read/hear about. They won’t go as fast nor as far using battery and motor power. They do have 5 levels of power including a button to push which will give full motor propulsion which does not require pedaling.

Being made of high carbon steel rather than chrome-moly steel or aluminum they will be heavier. One plus is that should there be frame breakage high carbon steel can be readily repair welded successfully by a qualified skilled weldor. Although high carbon steel offers more flexibility than aluminum is doesn’t flex as much as chrome-moly steel does.

They also sell kits to motorize trikes which, of course, is a much cheaper way to go if you already have a trike. Installing it would require considerable mechanical ability.

BTW, they also offer lots of tadpole trikes which are not motorized which are, of course, cheaper yet. And they offer at least one FAT tire trike which I will be writing about quite soon.

In closing I am going to throw this out for what it is worth. In my nearly 70 years of life on this earth and most all of those years involved in various sorts of mechanical things including a career as a weldor and metal fabricator since age 12 I have a lot of experience with metal objects. I have a lifetime of repairing them when they break. I would be very concerned about the quality of these trikes and probably would not spend my money on one myself. My gut feeling is that I would regret it and wish I would have just spent a bit more. Then I would know I bought quality and would have the assurance of a company and dealers who stand behind the products. Buying something from China pretty much leaves the buyer on their own should problems arise. Even if there is some support dealing with a company on the other side of the world doesn’t appeal to me.

WHEEZY ELECTRIC MOTOR ASSIST


wheezy electric wheel 5

Onboard electric drives are not the only means available to assist riders in their pedaling. The Ridekick has been around for awhile and the Brouhaha trailer attempted to make it to market, but was unsuccessful in their Kickstarter campaign. Now this new comer, Wheezy, is trying to make it to market. The key word there is “trying” as this has also been in the Kickstarter campaign. According to their Kickstarter page it has been cancelled as of Oct. 24th. I am not sure what that means as far as whether or not the product will ever make it to market.

Here is some of what they have to say about this product designed in the UK:

“Wheezy turns any bike into an e-bike in a click. No special adjustments necessary simply connect Wheezy to your existing wheel and you’re good to go!

The 1.5 amp battery charger is built into Wheezy’s frame so you can charge the 166 Wh battery pack easily in the office, at home or anywhere you like. . Pull its cord out to plug it into the wall for charging. Fold it back into the frame when the charge is complete.  A full charge can take anywhere from 2.4 to 4 hours, depending on the battery capacity. You can travel 12-31 miles (20-50 km) per charge with Wheezy, depending on the rider’s weight, the air pressure of the bicycle tires, riding conditions and the model’s battery capacity (Wh). Three models are being offered:

Wheezy 3 models 2

Originally the company hoped to start shipping this product by the middle of next May. I don’t know where things stand now since the Kickstarter campaign did not go well. They offered lower prices ($400, $490 & $740) on the product to backers, but didn’t get much response. All I can say is … if those are lower prices I would hate to see what their normal price will be. I think those prices are plenty high.

wheezy electric wheel 4

Wheezy is an electric auxiliary all-terrain wheel. It operates on a brushless wheel hub motor that is entirely enclosed, protected from erosion. This means high efficiency, reliability, no noise, no maintenance and a long lifetime.

Wheezy runs on a small lightweight NiMH battery pack used for hybrid vehicles. NiMH is much safer and lasts longer than the lithium (Li-ion) batteries used for standard e-bikes.

It comes with a smart microcontroller, creating for smooth operation and utmost battery efficiency.

Wheezy is encased in a lightweight steel chassis, a frame and running gear, making it much stronger and durable than its aluminum counterparts. Its zinc coating even prevents rusting.”

Setup is fast and easy …  Generally, you need to do 3 simple things;

1) Replace the left rear wheel nut. 2) Add install Pedal Assist Systems (PAS) or Hand Throttles. 3) Connect Wheezy.

Wheezy axle attachment

Here are various items available for use with this product:

Wheezy parts

Wheezy videos on YouTube.

The Wheezy unit weighs about 26 pounds (12 kg). It can be wheeled easily using the tongue to hold onto so that it doesn’t have to be carried. A key-based power switch and battery lock system adds security. The unit can be operated as a pedal assist system or manually with a thumb throttle.

Wheezy pedal assist system

Obviously this is designed for a bicycle. However, with some adaptive ingenuity I would rather imagine that it could be made to work on a tadpole trike. Of course, first it would have to come to market. We’ll see what happens.

48V 750W 8fun Bafang Mid Drive Motor Electric Bike Conversion Kit


Bafang electric motor installed on ICE trike

Are you mechanically inclined? If so, here is a DIY (do it yourself) project to motorize your tadpole trike. If you have money to burn you could hire a bicycle shop/independent mechanic to install this for you. This is a 750 watt brushless electric motor. That is the maximum size allowed by law for bicycles in the United States. Like so many electric motors designed for bicycles it doesn’t come with a battery so the battery must be purchased separately. Batteries are not cheap. One can expect to shell out about $1500 total for this kit with a battery. This is both a pedal assist and motor only rig so it pretty much fits the bill. Probably the one main “con” is the fact that it doesn’t sense shifting gears meaning that it will maintain power resulting in mashing gears. That is not a good thing. Of course, one can get around this by simply  turning the power way down/off while shifting.

Bafang electric motor kit

Bafang electric motor kit 2

Bafang electric motor kit 3

In this next video a KMX trike is shown. I want to include the video description here as it contains some information about this rig. Note the top speed claimed in this vs. the speed obtained on a bicycle equipped with this which was shown in an earlier video. Notice I said “obtained” as there was no mention of top speed. If I remember correctly the fastest I saw on the display was 22 mph.

“48V 750W BBS02 MAX Speed 32 MPH. 1. LCD Panel with FULL features: Speed, distance, 9 levels PAS, FULLY programmable without any patch cables, All done on screen. Motor with built Controller. Full set of new Bottom bracket mounting parts for bikes with 68mm BB Plus Chain ring (will work with 73 mm BB with longer hardware and spacers). Full instructions for installation and LCD set up and programming instruction book. Full set of quick release Wire harness with E-brake levers, throttle, PAS wires, etc. 6. Awesome acceleration, Hill climbing, Top speed of approx. 32 MPH. In the USA is classified as a fully legal 750 Watt Nominal motor by regulations. Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico shipping fee is $100.00.”

Bafang electric motor inside

Here is a video showing and explaining how to install this on a DF bicycle. It would be quite similar installing it on a tadpole trike.

Bafang electric motor 8fun bbs02- display panel

Click HERE for YouTube video search results of the electric motor kit.

Bafang electric motor installed on KMX trike 2

 

Electric Bike Review

Amazon sells the kit with a battery for less than $1200 including shipping.

Ebay sells the kits. They also offer one that comes with a battery. I just discovered something while looking at these on Ebay. You have to be careful as there is tricky selling going on. I saw one of these shown as only costing $70. I thought “WOW!” … and wondered how that could possibly be. Then I scrolled down further and discovered that the seller is charging $410 shipping … bringing the total up to what most of the others are selling for.

Alibaba also sells the kits and is probably the lowest priced. They also sell other wattage models. And they too sell the kit with a battery.

From Alibaba website:

Motor

1) Has small current, high efficiency and long riding distance;

2) Light, energy-saving and protective for the battery;

3) Free of maintenance and has a long service life;

4) Produces small noise and is of soft start-up;

5) Has great output power, quick starting and powerful climbing capacity;

6) Gears are made of high strength and abrasion resistant high temperature nylon

7) Reasonably structured and durable in use.
Battery

For the 48v 750w motor, we recommend:

48v11.6ah (samsungcell 18650 2900mah,13s4p) dolphin battery

Bafang electric motor installed on KMX trike

Notice that on the KMX trike the motor is up on top of the boom and behind the crankset while on the ICE trike shown further above the motor is out in front of the crankset and boom. With this unit the front derailleur is not used. The front derailleur mounting tube on the ICE prevents the motor from being placed like it is on the KMX.  One could remove the tubing and position the motor on top of the boom, but if you ever wanted to go back to using a front derailleur a new boom would be required.

BRITT ELECTRIC PEDALS


As the saying goes … “What will they think of next?”  … E-Pedals!

Britt Pedals E-Drive

Britt Pedals are an invention of a British man named Stephen Britt. Although not a very powerful motor nor a very long lasting battery power these are a quick and rather inexpensive means of motorizing a bicycle or in our case a tricycle. Costing about $300 it is just a matter of removing the existing pedals and installing these in their place. I don’t know much about them and apparently not much is being said as to just how they work. An engineer I am not, but it would seem to me that this is not a very efficient way to go about motorizing a bike. For sure it is truly pedal assist. There is no denying that.

They are not yet in production and available to purchase. They have come a ways though from their beginning as you can see in this picture of what they looked like in their early development.

Fast Forward electric pedal

Here is a video of Stephen Britt talking about his invention. As you can see the name was orginally Fast Forward.

Here is the company statement about the product:

“These replace your standard pedals and provide you with assistance to get you up hills, or carry heavy loads. Each pedal incorporates a motor, gearbox, Li-po batteries and a control board. As you pedal the sensors detect your effort and provide assistance. To pedal without assistance, simply flip the pedals over. They unclip and slot into a charger for charging, much like with a power tool. When fully developed they will provide a range of 10 miles and peak power of 200W. They will retail for around £200 (approximately $300).”

And there have been several articles written about these. The following are just a few of them:

http://electricbikereview.com/community/threads/the-britt-pedal-very-different.341/
http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/news/stephen-britt-talks-pedelecs-electric-pedal-invention/
http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/25/fast-forward-electric-pedals-could-make-your-bike-power-itself/
http://www.greenoptimistic.com/fast-forward-powered-pedals-20100720/#.VVNIdVTd9kX
http://www.electric-bicycle-guide.com/FastForward.html

Obviously they offer no protection for the concern of leg suck so using these on a tadpole trike could be risky. And I don’t see any simple solution to this concern.

Britt Pedal installed on crankarm

With only a ten mile range it is good that the pedals can be flipped over so that the battery power can be saved for when you really need it. 200 Watts is considered to be an entry level motor (not very powerful) so I would not expect them to climb much of a hill. I could be wrong and hope that I am. Maybe these would surprise me. I have no experience with electric motors on bikes. I am only going by what I have read. But hey, if these do make it into production and they offer enough assistance they might very well be just the ticket for some to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

OUTRIDER HORIZON – ALL ELECTRIC ALL TERRAIN TADPOLE TRIKE


Horizon all electric all terrain tadpole trike 2

One mean machine as they say. “Truly one of a kind. For the Horizon we blended an all terrain, full suspension chassis with the our industry leading electric drive system – but that’s just the beginning. By making it modular, adding in a host of adaptive features, and refining the design with real-world feedback from around the globe, we’ve created a trike that offers the freedom and thrill of all terrain cycling to an unprecedented range of physical abilities / disabilities.”

http://www.outriderusa.com/Adaptive-All-Terrain-Horizon-Trike-s/1940.htm

The trike is made in Fletcher, NC and comes with a 2 year limited warranty. It weighs 84 pounds and up … depending upon options/configuration ordered. It has an optional roll bar to keep the rider safe in unstable riding conditions. The starting price is $9995.00 USD and can increase dramatically depending on options … as much as$8050 additional according to website. Battery size options can be quite expensive … as much as $4500 additional.

This video was made for the kickstarter campaign (which has ended quite successfully) …

FEATURES:
Modular adaptations for varying physical abilities – Handcycle Option, Foot Rest Option, Rising Seat Option, Tri-Pin Hand Control Option
Explore your world with fully adjustable front and rear air-shock suspension
Reliable American Made Drive-Train
3 Ways to Ride: Pedal only, Electric only, Pedal-Electric together
Fast Recharging – Spend more time riding and less time waiting
Electronic Pedal Shifting – Easy to use and ultra fast gear shifting

The motor powering the Horizon is a bit different from the other Outrider recumbent trikes like the 422 Alpha. This one uses a 2,000 watt geared hub motor capable of high torque output that makes starting from rest, even on steep inclines, possible.

Front Tires: Maxxis Maxx Daddy’s (20″, 20″)

Rear Tires: Maxxis Holy Roller (26″)

Wheels (Standard): Steel J-Bend

Wheels (Optional): Aluminum straight-pull (industry 9)

Shifter: SRAM X.0 Grip Shifter

Derailleur: SRAM X.7 9 Speed

Suspension: Independent A-Arm Front, Rear Shock

Motor: American Made Brushless 93% Efficient

Max Weight: Rider plus gear = 250

Battery Chemistry: Lithium Polymer

Battery Capacity: 1-4kW

Brakes: Dual Shimano Hydraulic 180 mm Disc Brakes

Frame: Chromolly / Aluminum

Charger: 900 Watt 110V Charger (220 Available upon request)

HERE is an article on this trike.  And HERE is their kickstarter website which, as I said, is over and was quite successful. And HERE is their website. And HERE is a review of the trike.

Horizon all electric all terrain tadpole trike

Horizon all electric all terrain tadpole trike 3

Here is a look at the front suspension.

Horizon all electric all terrain tadpole trike 4

And here is the rear suspension as well as the battery box and switch.

Horizon rear suspension

Hmmm, that looks like my trike often looks as far as the mud. And I rarely ride off road.

Well, it ain’t cheap, but it sure looks like it would “get ur dun” as far as off road riding goes. Of course, the main purpose of this trike is for those who have physical handicaps. With such a rig as this they too can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

ELECTRIC ASSIST MOTORIZED “VELOCARS”


TRIKE TO THE FUTURE

It must be something in the water … seems everybody and their brother is getting into making electric assist motorized “velocars” (technically they are velomobiles) built upon a tadpole trike. Here are 3 of them … the ELF, the e-Fox and the Tripod. The concept is great. The problem I have with every design I have seen thus far is the fact that they make them too difficult to get in and out of. I mean, why not just put a door in the side like a regular car or truck has? Someone who is elderly, overweight and out of shape, or has various physical problems could not possibly deal with the design of these. I don’t understand the mentality here and I certainly don’t agree with it. It is flawed from the git go. If I were going to design one of these that would be one of the top priorities … easy entry and exit. I understand that the strongest body is one piece and that a door takes away from that. However, for me it is not an option. A door is essential. The designer just simply has to work with that. Well, I spun my wheels on that one. On with these 3 designs.

****************

The ELF made by Organic Transit is probably the best known of the 3 at this point in time so I will start off with it. One might say it has an “elfin” quality (pun intended). At 160 pounds it weighs considerably less than your more common family car (if you have a family car). BTW – I have seen the weight listed as 132 and 150 also, but their website shows 160 so that is what I am going with. It has a 350 pound payload. The electric motor is 750 Watt. It has a 15 mile range on a full charge. It takes 2.5 hours to charge plugged into a 110 volt wall outlet or about 7 hours using the solar panel on a sunny day. They offer 3 models.

ELF Bike

One thing I noticed about the ELF is that there is no floor in it. It is open to the ground. I see good and bad in this. The good is that one doesn’t have to worry about the floor being strong enough to put one’s weight on. In hot weather having air coming up thru the floor area would probably be a God-send. With no floor there is nothing to get messed up tracking all sorts of debris from one’s shoes. The bad is that one’s feet and legs could get injured if they go down and make contact with the ground while the trike is moving. Another bad aspect is that water and other “stuff” could and would come up on the rider. With no floor there is not anyway to carry stuff around that you might prefer to simply toss on the floor if there were one. In cold weather cold air would come up thru there. Hmmm, can’t seem to win for losing. No doubt being able to place one’s feet on the ground is the means of the “reverse gear” to back the velocar up.

ELF e-trike interior

ELF e-trike description

They offer a bunch of accessories. Check them out HERE. Doors (pictured below) can be added for about $200.

ELF e-trike doors

I mentioned that they offer 3 models. They are the basic model which is what I have shown in pictures thus far. The second model is a 2 seater. Actually I just discovered that they have a 3 seater as well.

ELF e-trike 2 seater

And the 3 rd model is … well, most of us wouldn’t qualify for it … it is for the police. Actually I am only kidding. I think anyone could buy this model. It has some extra features such as stronger motor and battery pack with higher speed and range on motor/battery only. It is even a traditonal police black and white vehicle … cute. Actually it is not just for police. Here is what they say … “community policing, events management, corporate and academic campus maintenance and grounds, and any situation where you need to all-day performance with heavy payload capabilities, comfort, visibility and more.” This model is heavier duty in most areas. It is also about 45 pounds or so heavier. Some of that extra weight is due to it having dual battery packs. We are talking a whopping 1000 watt electric motor and double battery pack enabling the trike to go 28 mph and 45 mile range on battery & motor only.

ELF e-trike police

HERE are the various models and features that can be ordered.

****************

Next let’s look at the e-Fox made by Nu Way 2 Commute out of North Carolina. It is built on a TerraTrike Rover.

Update Bulletin: I just read that the kickstarter fund raising for this e-trike was unsuccessful.

The Nu Wa y 2 Commute company website is no longer available.

So this project is dead in the water. Consequently I am not

going to spend much time and effort writing about it.

 e-fox

132 pounds, 36 volt 15 amp hour battery, 500 Watt hub motor, 30 miles per charge with upgrades available.

 

http://www.gizmag.com/e-fox-velomobile/29531/

****************

Lastly let’s look at the Tripod. It is made in Portland, Oregon by Columbia Cycle Works. The operator sits higher and more upright than most tadpole trikes. This helps not only to see better while traveling along, but it also helps others to see the operator of the vehicle and the vehicle better. It comes with a retractable battery-charging cord, lights, horn, and windshield wiper. The top part is removable. The windows open as does the sun roof. The top lifts up aided by gas filled struts so that one can get in and out of it. It has a 500 Watt hub motor which will propel the 110* (without a battery) pound vehicle up to the maximum legal speed allowed of 20 mph. Any faster than that you will probably find yourself dealing with the police. The Tripod doesn’t come with a battery so that means that the buyer has to come up with his own battery. The 110* pound weight I mentioned does not include a battery. An exterior keyed lock, locks the hatch when not in use. All 3 wheels have disc brakes. The Tripod comes in three bright colors: lime green, tangerine orange and canary yellow. The cost of a Tripod is US$7,450. Because Tripods are made to order, completion usually takes two to three weeks from the time of order. Also, because they are made to order a one-half purchase price non-refundable deposit must be received with the order. The remaining balance is due at the time of shipment. All purchases are handled by certified check or through Paypal.

tripod velomobile left side view

tripod velomobile front view

GIZMAG article

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Of the three of them it looks to me like the ELF would be the easiest to get in and out of although I would say even it would be a bit challenging for many folks. And the ELF is by far the cheapest base price. At least for far less money than the Tripod which doesn’t even come with a battery.  Batteries are not cheap so add that onto the price of the Tripod and you are definitely talking about some money. I really don’t understand the considerable difference in the price of these two machines. The Tripod is half again as much as the ELF, and did I mention that you still need to buy a battery?

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While I am at it I will mention one other brand that is out there … the HORNET. It is Canadian and is pretty much a velomobile built around a 350 Watt electric motor.  It is a little bit more than the ELF in cost, but far less than the Tripod. And it comes with a battery. There is no top for it however so the rider is exposed to the weather. This is a bare bones model. Lights and turn signals are extra cost accessories. A larger motor is also available as is a 26 inch rear wheel. Overall I am not impressed with this offering although I will say that is is one of the lowest cost velomobiles I have seen and it even comes with an electric motor. It is just not in the same category of these “velocars”.

Hornet velomobile

Gizmag article

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Well, that is it as far as these 3 offerings. What do you think? Are these “trikes to the future”? Hold on … next week there will probably be some other new offering. Everybody and his brother is getting into this. You knew that, right? It will be interesting to see if these trikes succeed and the companies can stay in business.

ELECTRIC MOTORIZED E-TRIKE WITH REVERSE


Go-Hub … is a kit which can be purchased to motorize a tadpole trike. What is unique about it is that it offers “REVERSE”. That’s something we talk about, but this is the first I have actually heard of it. You can check it out in more detail HERE.

gohubkit700

  • Brushless Crystalyte motors are silent, powerful and more efficient; no brushes to replace and 750 peak (500 continuous) watts of power move you over virtually any terrain
  • No external connectors to fail, all connections are internal
  • Gearless motors have no gears to make noise or wear out
  • Bicycle kit carries up to a 250# rider, Trike kit carries up to a 300# rider)
  • Trike kit includes reverse
  • Tool kit included
  • Your choice of twist throttle (motorcycle style), or thumb throttle 
  • Throttle mounted power gauge tells you how much charge is left in the batteries
  • Motor delivers power from a dead stop – other brands require you to pedal first
  • Uses 3 (included) model BP1212 top quality B+B brand batteries for 12ah capacity at 36 volts (Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Top quality Soneil brand 2-amp charger provides fast charges while protecting batteries for extended battery life
  • Battery bags include key switch to prevent unauthorized use
  • Choice of small or large battery bag.  Large bag provides room to store the charger on-board
  • Super durable double-wall alloy rim with stainless steel spokes, and “Slime” filled self-sealing tube ensures you’re never left stranded due to tire or wheel failures
  • Optional safety brake levers automatically turn off motor when you hit the brakes
  • Available in 24″ or 26″ configurations
  • Requires 3.75″ width between front axle mounting holes, 3″ width between forks for motor to fit and .4″ (10mm) diameter axle mounting holes in the forks

Now that I am looking into this I just found another one which claims to offer reverse. HERE is a link to it.

And then I found … How to make a hub motor reverse.

How to install an e-trike kit.

So far what I am finding it all DIY approaches. So I am wondering … does anyone manufacture an e-trike with reverse? I will let you know if I find out anything. If you know anything about the matter please let me and others know by commenting or emailing me. Thanks.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

ARCTRIKE … A NEW ELECTRIC MOTORIZED TADPOLE TRIKE


Note (added later after this article was written): It appears as though

this trike’s manufacture and marketing situation has come to an end

and at best is in limbo. The website has been taken down.

With the growing popularity of tadpole trikes comes new companies offering various products. One of them is Arctrike. They make a nice looking and sporty trike. The really great aspect of their trikes is that the trike is built as an electric motorized trike … not taking a tadpole trike and motorizing it. That means it is built heavier duty to hold up to the extra demands and stresses put on it. Arctrike is headquartered in London, Ontario (Canada).

Here is a statement found on their website:

“The Arctrike. Our promotional video, showing some of the attributes of one of the best designed, coolest looking, and baddest handling Electric Recumbent trikes on the market.”

They presently offer 3 models ranging in price from $5300 to $5700 to $6250. With each model the range of travel on a battery charge and top speed increase as does the price. All models are 7 speed. Hey, with a motor you don’t need 30 or whatever. All models have front suspension. For $6250 you can “fly” 75 kph (46.6 mph). Compare that to the 28 mph top speed of an $8000 German competitor which will go unnamed.

Arctrike left side

Arctrike right side

Arctrike battery panel

Arctrike front suspension

Arctrike 3 speed switch

Arctrike front suspension 2

Arctrike rear hub

Arctrike rear rack

From their Kickstarter webpage:

Specifications

Length: 82 inches

Track: 34.5

Frame: Aluminum

Weight 93-99 lbs

Volts: 48 Phase 1/ 60 Phase 2/ 72 Phase 3

Brakes: BB7 for Phase 1 and 2 Hydraulic Phase 3

3 Speed switch: Phase 2 and Phase 3

Quick release seat: All models

Regenerative braking Optional on Phase 2 and Phase 3

A high powered headlight and taillight will come with the trike as will a headrest. Phase 3 model will come with a rear rack.

There is a 3 year warranty on the frame and frame components. There is a one year warranty on the batteries and motor. The quality of the frame and components as well as the electronics gives us the confidence to say that you probably would never need to use it!

The batteries are Lithium Ion. They are composed of Headway Cells. 3.3 volts and 15 amps per cell. They are top quality and are the latest in battery technology. The have a lifespan of proximately 2000 charges after which they are reduced to 80% capacity and then they will go another 1000 charges!!!. They can also be charged in a quick 2.5 hours from totally exhausted.

The rear motor is the famous Crystalyte HS3540 rear hub motor. This motor is used extensively by high end bikes such as the Stealth fighter and the Picycle. It is reliable and robust. We are using the non sensored version for ultimate reliability. Combined with the specially modified Lyen Controller it only requires a fraction of an inch of movement before the throttle kicks in.

Arctrike offers the following colors: purple, orange, red, yellow, green, white & black.

If you like watching videos HERE is a playlist of the YouTube videos the designer/builder has posted.

Who knows what will be coming out next in the tadpole trike industry. I reckon I will stick with pedalin’. I need the exercise. Besides, I would probably wrap myself around a tree piloting something like this. 🙂  I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

NOTE: The manufacturer has been providing additional information via comments so I highly recommend  that you read  the comments.