Category Archives: electric motorized trikes
HUB MOTOR VS MID DRIVE MOTOR … yes, the argument goes on. Some say Mid Drive is the only way to go while others say Hub Motors are the only way to go. Hey, they both go and like with most everything there is good and bad & pros and cons concerning each. HERE is a well written and informative article about the subject. I think I made the right decision. I like hub motors. Mid Drive just doesn’t appeal to me. They are hard on the drive train and if the drive trail fails while you are out riding you are done for as the motor can’t help you. With a hub motor you can still go on down the road/trail since it doesn’t rely on the drive train. My thinking and position lines up with the conclusion of this article and this company has worked with them both and speak from experience and hands on knowledge.
Although this following video (and nearly all others I have seen on this subject) is about bicycles it does a good job of covering the topic.
This is an interesting trike. I have a hard time understanding some of this man’s English, but the trike is pretty neat. If nothing else, seeing how he has mounted the skis on the front wheels might give others an idea of how put skis on their trikes, myself included. I have thought about it.
Anyone who has been following this blog knows I had a BionX hub motor system installed on my trike and that I experienced various problems with it that BionX never got resolved to my satisfaction. Consequently I requested a full refund and got it. Dispite the problems I experienced I really liked having the hub motor system on my trike and I really miss it now that I am without it. It has always been my intention to replace it with some other brand. I have spent a whole lot of hours researching to learn what is available in order to make a decision I am hopeful is the right one for me. I have listened to the counsel of others and considered the options.
I ruled out mid-drive systems as they just don’t appeal to me. If for no other reason I don’t like the idea of putting all the strain and wear and tear on my drive train. Also most mid-drive motors I have heard while watching videos of them were loud and I found that objectionable. I don’t like the idea of having a motor hanging on the end of my boom and I am not willing to give up two of my chain rings up front in order to have a motor placed there. I have 27 speeds and I want to keep them.
I like hub motors even though I know it makes dealing with a flat tire more complicated and difficult. But I usually run Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and don’t get flats so that isn’t much of a concern. There are two basic types of hub motors … brushless gearless and brushless geared. As with most things there are pros and cons to both. After much studying I made the decision I wanted to stick with the brushless gearless type which is what BionX is. Hub motors with gears inside of them require replacing the gears periodically as they wear out. I didn’t want to get into that. Also brushless geared hub motors are usually noticeably louder that the brushless gearless type. I like my motor to be quiet. I mean … I may want to sneak up on somebody. 🙂 Seriously, I just like keeping a low profile. I would rather not draw attention to myself and my trike by having it produce noise others hear. Besides it is both annoying and embarrassing.
In my research I found that it is extremely easy to find hub motor kits for 26 inch wheels (and larger). However, finding them for 20 inch wheels is somewhat challenging. The lead mechanic at a local bike shop was also looking for a hub motor system for me and said the same thing. He found it difficult finding a hub motor kit for a 20 inch wheel. But with a lot of time and perseverence I did find a few. Within these “few” I had to select one and that can be difficult. I read all I could about the different ones. Only a few of the few had much of anything written about them so that narrowed it down some as I didn’t want to go into this blindly.
There are various sizes of motors available. My BionX was 350 watts. I have seen 250, 350, 400, 500, 600, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, 5000, 10000, 15000 and even higher. I am sure riding a trike with a large motor would be exhilirating. However, I am pretty sure I would end up wrapped around some tree or worse. Besides the larger the motor the more battery power it requires and uses. The bottom line is one only needs enough power to do the job. My 350 watt BionX motor was pretty decent power-wise so 500 watts should be about perfect and sensible. BTW, here in the U.S. the legal limit for road use is 750 watts. In Canada is it 500 watts and in Europe it is only 250 watts. (I sure am glad I don’t live in Europe.) 250 watts is ridiculous. That won’t even climb many hills.
Most of the hub motors have the wires coming out of the end of the axle. That absolutely turns me off so I didn’t consider any of them. I don’t like the idea of their vunerabilty of getting damaged. So with this criteria the candidates were narrowed down considerably.
I am not going to name brands here for fear of offending someone who happens to have one of those brands. I may or may not have something against any of them. I am not here to put any other brands down or to advise others what I think they should buy. I am only concerned about what I think will be the best choice for me.
After a lot of deliberation i chose the Golden Motor Canada Magic Pie Edge hub motor. It is not the cheapest by far, but it is still reasonably priced. I bought my battery, charger and rear rack for the battery seperately as Golden Motors didn’t have what I was looking for. The total cost for the hub motor kit with the extra options I selected was $781.50. The battery, charger and rear rack was $560.49. Altogether it comes to about $1350. The BionX system I just had was nearly $2500 so you can see there is quite a difference is cost. As I said earlier the BionX was a 350 watt motor. This new one is 500 watts. The BionX battery was only 11.6 aH (the largest they offer). This new one is 20aH. I have seen as high as 50aH. I based my decision on this 20aH battery on what I experienced with the 350 watt motor and the 11.6aH battery. The range I got out of that combination was not very impressive … only about 35 miles on a good day. In colder weather it drops way off. The replacement cost of the BionX battery is over a thousand dollars. I can replace this battery for less than $400 (at least that is what I see currently looking at batteries). I would probably opt to spend more however and get a lithium-polymer battery next time instead of lithium-ion. They are still far less money than the BionX battery costs and are a much more powerful and higher quality battery than the BionX battery. I wanted to get a lithium-polymer battery at this time, but I also wanted to hold the cost down so I opted for the lithium-ion.
One thing I want to address here is the matter of the pedal assist mode and torque sensing being built into the circuitry inside of the hub motor. BionX does this. It is great until something happens to it like what happened to mine. My pedal assist feature stopped working. Fortunately it was under warranty so BionX replaced the hub motor. Unfortunately the motor they sent to replace it was the wrong motor … much less power than the one I had that went bad. This new motor I ordered does not have pedal assist or torque sensing built into the circuitry inside of the hub motor. It is a seperate external component which costs about $145 or so extra as it is optional. At first I was upset about this, but after thinking it over I changed my tune. If something were to happen to the torque sensing unit and it quit working it is a far easeir repair (for me) than BionX repair would be. Warranties don’t last all that long and then we are on our own. Repairs are out of pocket at that point. I don’t know what BionX charges for a new printed circuit board, but I would much rather replace the external torque sensor than have to open up the hub motor and replace the printed circuit board inside.
Lastly, this new motor has a few features BionX doesn’t have. It offers a reverse feature so one can use the motor to back up. It can be programmed offering three different selections of the rider’s choice as to how much power the motor is delivering. Typically one programs it to have a low power choice, a medium power choice and a high power choice. These can be selected as one is riding. By law here in the U.S. an e-bike (e-trike) can’t go any faster than 20 mph on roads when being powered by the motor. It seems so silly when there are riders who can obtain 40 mph or so thru pedaling. Many motors are capable of propelling the bike/trike faster than 20 mph, but by law they must be limited to a top speed of 20 mph. With this motor being programmable one could choose full power as one of the 3 available selections. That would propel the cycle much faster than the 20 mph top speed allowed. I tell you what … I won’t tell if you won’t. 😉 I am sure there are many who would choose to have full power available as one of the selections. It not only would provide the highest top speed obtainable, but it would provide maximum acceleration and performance. Anyone up for a drag race? Am I getting too old for that?
Well, that’s my story thus far. It is all on order. And yes, I am very anxious to get it and get it installed and working. And then I hope to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I will keep readers updated. BTW, as stated, this is round two and hopefully it will be the final round.
If you can handle the weather this looks like it would be fun …
Utah Trikes is known for their customization services. Here is one of their projects. With 1600 watts there is plenty of power. Along with all that power is plenty of noise … something I find quite objectionable. I guess it doesn’t bother some people.
What will they think of next? We talk about the extreme comfort of a recumbent tadpole trike comparing it to a recliner chair and then somebody comes along and undoes all that has been accomplished in creating such a dream machine. I am talking about standing up while riding a tadpole trike. Yes, you heard (read) me right! Hard to believe, huh? The picture up above is just a drawing, but this thing really exists. Actually the inventor/builder has had several prototype models thus far … with the goal of improving it with each new design build. Obviously the appeal of this machine would probably be only those who are into skate boarding, snow boarding and surf boarding. That leaves me and a whole lot of other people out. I guess I am thankful I was born when (and where) I was as there are just many things younger people do that I am so glad were not around when (where) I grew up.
See? I told you so. It doesn’t appear to be human powered, only electric hub motor powered so there is no exercise involved in riding it. And that is one big hub motor so I assume it is fairly powerful. I found this video which explains several things about this machine.
It is a tadpole trike, but it certainly isn’t recumbent. It is just the opposite of recumbent as the word recumbent means “prone position” or “lying down” … no , it doesn’t mean “feet forward out in front”. There are a whole lot of tadpole trikes being sold labled as recumbent and they really are not recumbent at all. I read that there is a seat kit available for this trike so I reckon it may be able to transform (morph) into a recumbent trike of some sort. 🙂
I look at this and it just screams UNSAFE. But then that is what I think of skate boarding too … insane! It is like tempting fate. I can’t imagine trying to make a panic stop on/with this trike.
Riders of conventional tadpole trikes can ride on a 100 mile ride all day long in great comfort. One sure couldn’t do that on one of these. Oh well, different strokes for different folks. I don’t understand it, but that is okay I guess.
Here is a newer prototype …
Here the inventor/builder takes the trike for a ride around his city …
I wonder how many of these he will sell. Hey, in this crazy world we might be surprised. Hey, if they can ENJOY THE RIDE more power to them. Too bad they aren’t getting any exercise in the process.
For those on a tight budget here is an option available for a fairly reasonable price. One can also get the same trike without the FAT tires and wheels for a lesser amount. And, of course, one can also get the same trike without the electric motor system.
And Utah Trikes offers the same trike with a Bafang motor mounted on the end of the boom. This particular one is customized for the customer. It has dual cargo racks on the sides and dual batteries mounted undernearth the cargo racks.
I came across this video and thought it would be a good one to share with others. This man rides a HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS26 Pedelec trike which is a factory made electric motorized trike rather than an after market add on kit.
Dec. 16, 2017
NOTE: Today I sent an email to BionX requesting a full refund. The new hub motor they sent still has the issue of not being able to obtain the advertised top speed of 20 mph. It also does not have as much torque as the first motor I originally had. As much as I like their designed system I am tired of all the problems and not getting anywhere getting them to resolve them. I will buy a different hub motor system later on after I get the refund.
Nov. 21, 2017
NOTE: I just got off the phone a few mintures ago. A man from BionX called me to discuss my issues. They admitted that they had sent me the wrong motor as replacement under warranty and this is why I have been having this issue with the hand throttle. They will be sending out the correct motor which has considerably more torque. This has made my day. Below is what I had written for this posting which will be published Nov. 24th. I am leaving it here so readers will know what has transpired prior to this phone call I just received. Needless to say, if they get my problems/complaints all resolved I will gladly change the thumbs down to a thumbs up as I really do love the BionX system on my trike.
As many of you know I have been having problems with my BionX hub motor kit I purchased last summer. Although BionX has taken care of some of the problems I am still dealing with the hand throttle problem and BionX is not doing anything further to help me on this despite my pleading, attempting to reason with them and even threatening them. I eventually filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau hoping they would be concerned about having that on record against them, but it hasn’t made any difference. They didn’t even bother to respond to the complaint. I don’t know what is going on, but I have pretty much written them off as a company that business dealings should be avoided. I had told BionX I would be filing a complaint if they continued to ignore me and refuse to resolve this issue. I truly don’t understand why any legitimate business would not want to address this complaint and satisfy their customer rather than receive a bunch of bad publicity. They don’t seem to take this seriously nor take me seriously, but I am most serious. I paid a lot of money for this hub motor kit and I want and expect it to work right like it did when I first bought it. I don’t think that this is asking or expecting too much. It is looking more and more like I have ran out of options and won’t get this made right by BionX. They don’t seem to care. And so as a result of all I have been dealing with and continue to deal with I can not recommend BionX to anyone. They get a big thumbs down from me.
Remember – they finally contacted me and say they will take care of me and get this resolved to my satisfaction. If they do as they say I will be most happy to give them a thumbs up.
By the way, just as a side note … I have noticed that battery performance is only about 50 % in cold weather of what it is in warm weather. My friend who has an identical setup as mine says the same thing.
A 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
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
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 …
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
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!
Front derailleur: Sram NX11
Rear derailleur: Sram NX11
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
Customs power divider
Customs shaft, hub, shaft hub, cardan
Front brake: Avid E3 hydraulic disc brake
Rear brake: BB7 disc brake
Spokes: 304 stainless steel
Tires: Vee 26-4.8 foldable tires
Front hub: Novatec customs hub
Rear hub: Customs shaft hub
DNM air spring suspension (double chamber)
48v 500w mid drive motor
48v 20ah lithium battery
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’
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’
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.
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.
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 … 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.
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.