5 BEST RECUMBENT E-TRIKES

I came across this video and found it interesting although I noticed these guys are not doing much pedaling … just using their e-motors to propel them.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

BEST CRANKDRIVE E-MOTOR?

Although this posting is about the Tongsheng TSDZ2, mini 750W crankdrive(or as some call them middrive) e-motor it started out talking about what trike I would buy if I were to get a new trike today and led into what e-motor I would choose today. So it is mostly about this particular e-motor.

I have had my Catrike Trail since 2009 although my current trike is a 2013 frame (original frame was replaced by Catrike under warranty when I discovered a hairline crack alongside of a weld on the underside of the cruciform) and nearly all of the components have been changed at least once and upgraded from what it originally came with. I have a lot of money invested in my trike so it would not be cheap to replace it today. I really love my Trail but truthfully if I were buying a new trike today I think I would get the Eola and customize it some. The newer Trail model does not appeal to me.  I have no use of a folding model nor the adjustable seat back. I much preferred my 2009 model which was the “space frame”.

The Eola has the space frame and really appeals to me. Since I have an e-motor the fact that the Eola is only 11 speed is not a concern to me as I would be motorizing it.

I have always had a hub motor and prefer a hub motor over a crank drive motor. However, if I were to buy a new trike and motorize it I am seriously considering going with a crank drive … something I did not think I would ever do. And I think I would go with a  Tongsheng TSDZ2, mini 750W crankdrive motor. I am certainly not saying it is the very best e-motor in the offering but it is one that has caught my attention.

As you can see it is fairly small in size. It has built in controller with torque sensing. I have read and heard nothing but good reports about this motor. There is one exception, however, and it concerns me greatly. It is said that one must be careful not to overheat this motor as it will get damaged all too easily. It is recommended not to try to use too large (voltage wise) of a battery because of this. 48 volts is the most recommended. Even then the rider dare not ‘hot dog’ with it.

Two chainrings can be used on this motor.

Here is the display unit that comes with it.

Yeppur, it is a very nice looking unit and is fairly low cost … about $400 not including the battery.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

BEST ELECTRIC CONVERSION KITS FOR TRIKES

 

Choices … we have them … what is the best? HERE  is an article about the matter. I see that the one they list as number one choice happens to be my number one choice as well. I will be posting about that soon.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

CRANK DRIVES – A DISASTER FOR TRIKES

I ran across this article and it backs up what I have been saying … why I favor hub motors over crank drive motors on a trike. It does not cover one of my main objections to crank drive but it does cover one important factor I never thought of … the matter of stability. Having all that weight mounted out on the end of the boom effects the handling and stability of the trike. On the other hand a hub drive in the rear wheel makes the trike more stable.

https://www.electricbicycleworld.com/blog/middrives-a-disaster-for-trikes-blind-leading-the-blind/

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

PODRIDE REVISTED

I first wrote about the Podride e-quad vehicle five years ago. It is a cute little thing but I assumed like so many prototype projects out there trying to make it to market it failed and faded away. Just moments ago I was re-reading my article and decided to click on the link to their Facebook page. I expected it to be past history and no longer exist but much to my surprise and delight I found it still very much alive and functioning. And the first thing I saw posted was that their project is still going and getting closer to reality. I would love to see these running around. They are just so cute! HERE is their update. The body has been totally redesigned and now it is even cuter than before.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

U.S. E-BIKE LAWS EXPLAINED

The law defined a low-speed electric bicycle as “A two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.” NCSL

E-bike regulations by state

E-bike laws in the world

Some states have adopted the 3 tier classification of e-bikes …

Class 1 electric bicycle: A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
Class 2 electric bicycle: A bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
Class 3 electric bicycle:      A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour and is equipped with a speedometer.

Sadly … “Any device outside of these definitions is not considered a low-speed electric bicycle that would be regulated as a bicycle.”

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

NOT ALL E-MOTOR BATTERIES ARE CREATED EQUAL

My first two lithium-ion batteries I bought for my trike after returning a BionX system for a refund were identical batteries which performed the same … about 60 miles on a full charge. I ruined my original battery riding thru flood water that got deeper than I anticipated (DUH!) That was a costly mistake.

Consequently I ordered a third battery to replace my first one. I did not order the same battery I already had. I checked to see what all was available and chose one that looked and sounded good. It has some extra features that I liked. It has a built in taillight and a 5 volt USB port. It also has a docking head on the front end so it simply plugs in to make electrical contact/connection. I assumed that it would be the same performance-wise. I was mistaken. It is rated the same … 48 volt 20aH … but it doesn’t provide 60 miles of riding like my first two batteries. Fully charged 37 miles is “as good as it gets”. From 60 down to 37 … that is quite a difference. Very disappointing. I contacted the seller about this but got nowhere. It charges up to where it should so as far as he is concerned there is nothing wrong with it. Needless to say if and when I buy a 4th battery I will likely get another one like the first two I bought. My second battery I bought now has deteriorated to where it only provides about 37 miles of riding. That happens as batteries age. So I will likely have to replace it at some point in the future. A friend who has a BionX system older than mine (the one I use to have) tells me that his battery is no longer performing like it used to. He can get his BionX battery rebuilt and in doing so it should be better than it was when brand new providing more miles on a full charge as it will increase from 11.6aH to 14aH. BionX batteries were very high priced. He can get it rebuilt for 1/3 of what BionX charged for it new … and, like I said, have a better battery. I can buy a brand new battery for less than what it cost to rebuild it. Well, that is the truth of the matter. I learned in all of this that not all batteries are created equal. Of course, I don’t know how one can possibly know unless others share their experiences … which is what I am doing here. We all want the best quality we can get for our money. I need to go online to write up a review and rating of these batteries so that others will know. To my way of thinking I got ripped off when I bought this third battery and since the seller won’t stand behind what he is selling it doesn’t bother me to rate him poorly. Summer is nearly over. I hope you have been able to get out and …

ENJOY THE RIDE

despite this PLANdemic we are dealing with.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

INERTIA OR STORED ENERGY … TORQUE SENSOR

One thing I have noticed since I started using my current hub motor which presently is hand throttle only is that when applying electrical power to the motor it seems to store energy somehow and my trike when I let off the hand throttle will and can coast faster and longer than if I were simply pedaling under human power only. It is considerably noticeable. I am not sure what the term is for this. I titled this post Inertia or Stored Energy but neither one may be correct.

 

I have a new (never installed) torque sensor for the bottom bracket (crankset). I bought one when I bought my e-motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. It required a different crankset than what came on my Catrike so I spent good money to buy one. With my assistance and guidance my LBS installed the torque sensor with this new crankset but the unit was faulty and never worked. Grin Technologies told me that this particular torque sensor has been very troublesome and many have not worked.  Of course, they didn’t tell me this until after I bought it and spent all this extra money to install it. It was a lot of wasted money. Grin Technologies had me send it back to them and they sent me a different torque sensor and, of course, it required yet another crankset. Consequently I never installed this 2nd torque sensor as I just didn’t/haven’t had the money to go thru all of this again. I am considering it now however. I would really like to have true pedal assist and not just a hand throttle. Some hub motors have a torque sensor built into them and are located inside the hub motor. Unfortunately mine does not. I don’t like anything about this “after market” approach as I call it. It is a very poor way to accomplish this. The unit is difficult to install and it is very easily damaged as it has extremely tiny wires which break very easily. That is my story and I am stuck with it as well as sticking to it. I spent the money for a torque sensor initially as I wanted a system that “felt natural” when pedaling. That is still my goal. I need to take the torque sensor into my LBS so they can figure out what is needed in the way of a crankset, discover one and get it ordered. As many of you know having a hand throttle only presents a problem sometimes as it violates some trail rules. Personally I think it is ridiculous but it is the way it is. Remedying this situation will help ensure that I can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

AeeDEA E-TRIKE … INDIA’S FIRST OFFERING INTO THE RECUMBENT TRIKE MARKET

 

The Aeedea Company in India is now offering a tadpole trike. It is available in both a manual version as well as an electric motorized version. My first impression of it is summed up in two words … ugly and crude. But hey, maybe it will grow on me.

HERE is their web page. This trike has a 250 watt motor. The starting price is 113,312 Indian rupee which is currently $1,526.36 US dollars. The top price is 176,750 Indian rupee which is currently $2,380.84 US dollars. There is no further information on their website explaining these prices. My guess is the lower price is for the manual (non-motorized) version while the higher price is for the motorized version. Their website , like their trike, isn’t very professional looking.

As you can see, it has a very wide wheel base. The steering is somewhat unique as to turn the wheels the rider moves the handlebars forwards and backwards vs pivoting them around a central axis. You can see this in the video below. The handlebars are way too high for my liking. I would find them uncomfortable compared to if they were about a foot lower. The seat material looks like it would be quite hot to sit on. I much prefer a mesh seat like most trikes have. Again, this looks like something put together by an amateur builder.

Their website does not provide much useful information such as seat height, seat back angle, turning radius,  wheel base, number of gears, gear inches, tire sizes, included accessories, etc.

Specifications and features:

1. Made of light weight aluminium
2. Highly engineered indirect steering system
3. Digital pedal assist modes 0 to 100%
4. Range varies between 100 to 160 kms on one full charge, varies based on work derived from the motor
5. Maintenance free Brushless DC motor
6. All rain proof
7. 20 amps 36 volts 3c high quality Li-Ion cells, with water proof encasing
8. Comes with a 5amp high speed charger, full charge in 3 to 4 hours
9. All wheels with disc brakes
10. Adjustable seat with recline and position adjustment
11. Adjustable pedal boom to accommodate rider height between 5 ft  6 inch to 6 feet 2 inch
12. Electric variant comes with water proof saddle bags
13. Direct throttle to bypass pedal assist
14. Motor power cut off with 15. Street legal with a 250 watts motor
16. A 5 amp wall plug high speed charger

Color options :

1. Matt Fluorescent yellow and Matt Black
with Blue and Black upholstery

2. Matt white and Matt black
with White and Black upholstery

That definitely looks like a very high boom yet with a rider seated onboard it doesn’t look all that high.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BEST CRANKDRIVE E-MOTORS

have a hub motor on my trike and quite frankly I am not a fan of crank drive systems for various reasons. However, certainly crank drive systems are quite popular. Probably the name we hear the most is Bafang. I am sure it is a good system and lower cost than most others making it an attractive option. One can spend more money … much more … and do better. Recently I visited the website of Victory Cycles in Kokomo, Indiana. I have dealt with them several times. I bought my first e-motor from them, a 350 watt BionX unit. As many know BionX went out of business leaving their dealers caught off guard. Victory Cycle sold lots of BionX units so when BionX went belly up they found themselves in a predicament. They had lots of customers who want an e-motor on their trike. Having lost BionX they had to come up with something. They started looking at what all is available. Since BionX is a hub motor system they hoped to remain with a hub motor. They tried one well known brand (which I won’t mention by name) but ran into lots of issues so they said goodbye to that company and continued their search. They looked at Bafang but decided against it. You can read about this HERE. The bottom line is they objected to Bafang saying that it is not smooth. So their search continued and led to the two systems they are selling today. Both are crank drive. You can read about these two systems by clicking on the same link above.

One is the TONGSHENG TSDZ2 750 Watt mid drive system which they sell for $1800 installed on most tadpole trikes.

The other e-motor they sell and highly recommend for Catrike is the Bosch E-Cat system which they sell installed for $2600 on a new Catrike you buy from them or you can have them install it on an existing Catrike for $2750.

I am sure that the Bosch E-Cat system is a very good system, but I personally don’t think I would want it for two main reasons. First it is only 250 watts … which just isn’t enough in my opinion. Secondly, it is e-assist only. No hand throttle is available. That is a real turnoff for me. That being said, I am sure many will love it and not have an issue.

The Bosch Active Line Plus electric-assist system features four power assist levels: Eco – 40%, Tour – 100%, Sport – 180% and Turbo – 270%. Each level also features a maximum drive torque to ensure smooth, gentle acceleration. The Bosch Active Line Plus delivers assist up to 20 mph and a cadence of 105.

That is the straight skinny from this dealer. This is what they recommend and sell to their customers. I ponder over the question of “would I consider going with a crank drive system” if i were wanting to buy a new e-motor for my trike. Right now if I had to answer that I think I would say no, I will stick to a hub motor system. But again, that’s me. Many like the crank drive system. If you are interested in why I prefer hub drive you can read about it HERE.

Having an e-motor on a trike most definitely helps us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

(especially when climbing a hill.)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

RIDING IN AN OVEN (HEAT)

Much of the nation (United States) has been rather hot lately and being out there riding is like riding in an oven.  It reminds me of my motorcycling days. Once it gets into the 90s F (30s C) it doesn’t seem to help riding fast as all you feel is very hot air. Having e-assist I normally ride much faster than I can and do ride without it. And normally riding fast … I am talking about 16 to 23 mph … means I feel a lot of air movement which usually feels really good. But when the air temperature is in the 90s it doesn’t matter how fast I ride it just feels miserable. Going fast just doesn’t help. I am not a fan of heat so riding in it is not very enjoyable for me. I don’t know how long this hot weather is going to last but looking at the extended weather forecast isn’t encouraging. That being said I am most thankful for the e-assist and my canopy as they help immensely. I still get rather warm but nothing at all like I would be without them. Before I had them I was one of many who chose to start riding early in the morning (6 to 7 AM) when it was at its coolest part of the day and be done riding by 11 AM or so when it was starting to feel pretty warm. There are things a person can do to help stay a bit cooler. I am always amazed when I see people out in hot weather dressed in black or other dark clothing as there is nothing more miserable one could wear than black when it comes to absorbing the sun’s rays. I always try to wear white or other light colored clothing which reflect most of the sun’s rays. I also see people wear hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up in this hot weather. I mean, what’s up with that? I think perhaps they have some elevator issues … as in … their elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor. Wearing hats, helmets and such traps heat from leaving one’s head. With a canopy I don’t wear anything on my head but if I ride without my canopy I wear a visor type hat that is open in the top. I would be super miserable wearing a regular hat which keeps all that heat trapped. One could also wear self-wicking clothing or special clothing designed to be wet and help cool our bodies. There is a hat being advertised on TV lately that does this. Of course, one can always pour water over themselves to cool off. That definitely works. Hey, whatever it takes to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO ADD SOLAR PANELS TO A TRIKE

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

HERE are other videos of Alex.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

TOTAL KNEE JOINT REPLACEMENT – BEFORE & AFTER

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

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

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ICE FULL FAT E-TRIKE REVIEW & TEST RIDES

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

FREE GIFT awaits you!

eZEE … HAS BEEN A WINNER

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

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

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

ENJOYING THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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