Category Archives: electric motorized trikes

HUB MOTOR VS MID DRIVE MOTOR


HUB MOTOR VS MID DRIVE MOTOR … yes, the argument goes on. Some say Mid Drive is the only way to go while others say Hub Motors are the only way to go. Hey, they both go and like with most everything there is good and bad & pros and cons concerning each. HERE is a well written and informative article about the subject. I think I made the right decision. I like hub motors. Mid Drive just doesn’t appeal to me. They are hard on the drive train and if the drive trail fails while you are out riding you are done for as the motor can’t help you. With a hub motor you can still go on down the road/trail since it doesn’t rely on the drive train. My thinking and position lines up with the conclusion of this article and this company has worked with them both and speak from experience and hands on knowledge.

Although this following video (and nearly all others I have seen on this subject) is about bicycles it does a good job of covering the topic.

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ELECTRIC TADPOLE TRIKE ON SNOW SKIS


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.

ELECTRIC HUB MOTOR SYSTEM … ROUND TWO


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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

FROZEN LAKE DRIFTING WITH ELECTRIC TRIKE


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

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


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

WHAT, A STAND UP TADPOLE TRIKE?


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

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

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

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

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

Here is a newer prototype …

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

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

 

 

E-MOTOR BATTERY MOUNTS FROM TERRACYCLE


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

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

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

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

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

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

SUNSEEKER FAT TAD ELECTRIC TADPOLE TRIKE


 

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

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

ELECTRIC TRIKE 3500w 40+MPH


THE JOY OF RIDING A PEDAL ASSIST MOTORIZED TRIKE


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.

GIVING UP ON BIONX & GETTING REFUND


Many of you know what all has happened since early last summer when I bought my 350 watt hub motor kit from BionX. At first I loved it even though it topped out at 19 mph instead of the 20 mph they advertise. I did have a problem of the battery not lasting nearly as long as I needed it to, but BionX was good enough to replace the battery with a larger capacity battery free of charge. All was fine for awhile, but then the “pedal assist” mode stopped working and all I had was the hand throttle which was not only a pain to use holding the button on as I rode, but it drained the battery down much quicker than using the pedal assist mode. BionX sent a new replacement motor under warranty, but they sent the wrong motor. This replacement motor lacked the torque (power) the original motor had. It would go 20 mph though which I liked. I complained about the low power, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears thanks to the BionX dealer telling BionX that my unit works properly. I didn’t appreciate that as I know how it worked when I first got it. This dealer didn’t know what he was talking about and wouldn’t listen to me. I talked to both the dealer and BionX about getting a full refund. The dealer said that I would have to pursue that with BionX and BionX said I would have to pursue it with the dealer. After some weeks past I emailed BionX about all of this, but it seemed to fall of deaf ears. I mailed a letter to the CEO/President of BionX explaining everything to him. I asked for his help and told him if BionX continues to ignore me I will have no choice but to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. BionX never responded back to me so I filed the complaint. BionX had so many days to respond to the BBB about the complaint, but they were silent. Being past the alloted days the BBB contacted BionX again and shortly after I got a phone call from BionX in which I was told BionX wants to resolve this to my satisfaction. I had been saying all along that this replacement motor is not the same motor I had originally, but I was ignored. As far as the dealer was concerned it was the same motor and it worked the way it was suppose to. The phone call from BionX finally got the truth out of them as they admitted that they had sent out the wrong motor … one which was not as powerful. So they sent out what was suppose to be the correct motor and I took my trike back to the dealer for the motors to be exchanged. While at the dealer I took the trike for a test ride and came back very disappointed. It still didn’t have the power of my original motor and the top speed was only 17 mph instead of 20 mph claimed by BionX. A few weeks past by and nothing changed so I emailed BionX requesting a full refund. I received an email reply today saying that the refund is being processed. Once I have the refund in hand and they have their hub motor kit back I will look into getting a different brand as I am sold on having a hub motor with torque sensing pedal assist and manual hand throttle. I will keep you informed of how that goes. Hopefully it will be better than my experience has been with BionX. It is a shame as I really liked the BionX unit. I will miss their display console and handlebar mounted control. They are probably the best of all those in use for e-bikes. I know many people have had no complaints with their BionX systems. I don’t know why I have had all these problems. I sure would have liked for it to work out otherwise. With my expensive but very nice BionX system I was hoping to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

update Jan. 16, 2018:  I took the BionX system back to the dealer and got the full refund. Now I am looking to see what I will try next. I am definitely sold on having the electric pedal assist system. I loved having it and am anxious to replace it. BTW, getting a different system can be done for half the cost (or even less) of the BionX unit and it will involve a larger size (power) hub motor and a larger capacity battery.

BIONX UPDATE


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.

to BionX

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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.

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/

 

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.