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Old 01-31-10, 09:12 PM   #1
jeanw
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what needed to convert trike

I bought new this year the Trek PURE trike. It has three speed.
I would love to have it motorized or assist. I am not sure of which. I just know its not that easy to pedal esp on small hills.
Saw the HOME POWER magazine issue 134 Dec 2009 issue.article where a guy used a 1 HP Scott motor on his mothers trike.
I still have my little folding Sun bicycle for backup. I dont feel as secure riding it as I get older.
Any and all suggestions please
Thanks
Jean w
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Old 01-31-10, 10:02 PM   #2
wernmax
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Any and all suggestions please
Thanks
Jean w
Of course it's very dependent on your mechanical skill levels as to how "easy" any modification is, but to me the way to go would be an electric front hub motor kit, maybe from Electric Rider http://www.electricrider.com/, or Goldenmotor http://www.goldenmotor.com/, or a number of others.

http://www.utahtrikes.com/ has every kind of trike and motor set up, but that's starting from square one again. Setting up rear drive gas or electric trike gets complicated fast, but it can be done.

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Old 01-31-10, 10:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jeanw View Post
I bought new this year the Trek PURE trike. It has three speed.
I would love to have it motorized or assist. I am not sure of which. I just know its not that easy to pedal esp on small hills.
Saw the HOME POWER magazine issue 134 Dec 2009 issue.article where a guy used a 1 HP Scott motor on his mothers trike.
I still have my little folding Sun bicycle for backup. I dont feel as secure riding it as I get older.
Any and all suggestions please
Thanks
Jean w
Jean,

Welcome, that's a nice trike that you bought. You could buy a conversion kit or design your own system using individual parts. You have a steel fork so you could use a hub motor, which is laced into a bicycle wheel, on your front wheel. (It's a no-no to mount a hub motor, the kind of motor that's laced into the bicycle wheel, on a an aluminum fork--their dropouts are cast and subject to failure due to the torque of the motor.) You'd need to use torque arms for safety.

You also could use a non-hub motor. Non-hub motors tend to have greater torque, which is needed if you live in a hilly area. I retired to northwest Montana, west of Glacier National Park. There are very few flat areas here and many of the hills are very steep. My knees were bothering me enough when I cycled that I found I wasn't riding very much. I added the Currie conversion kit, which is a non-hub motor kit, to my bike last summer and love it. I've put more miles on my bicycle than my truck since installing the kit.

There are many affordable hub motor kits. You can get a decent hub motor kit and is wired and ready to connect to the included controller, throttle and e-brakes for around $400. You can get non-hub motor kits for around the same price. You will still need to get batteries. Although you may have sticker shock shopping for LIFEPO4 batteries (they may cost almost as much as a conversion kit, if not more, depending on the power specs), they do provide stable power and have a very good life cycle that's much longer than SLAs (sealed lead acid). LIFEPO4s are lithium batteries that have a safer cathode (Iron Phosphate) than other lithium batteries and aren't subject to exploding or catching fire. If you buy a battery that is already built, rather than build your own, you will need to know the specs of your controller to ensure that the battery management system that is wired to protect the LIFEPO4 battery from being over charged or too deeply discharged is compatible and won't cut off when you hit the throttle.

Since you're just beginning your research, I'd suggest that you check out endless-sphere.com/forums. The forums there focus on electric vehicles and battery technology. The only bikes they discuss are electric bikes and they have a lot of information on hub motors and non-hub motors.

Take your time and you'll find the right system that meets your needs at a price you're comfortable with. Good luck.
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Old 01-31-10, 10:40 PM   #4
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It's seems unfortunate that anyone wanting to do anything in the way of powering up their bike or trike has this enormous learning curve to wade through.

Be nice to standardize it down to, how far and how fast do you want to go?.....buy this.

Here's a video of a gas powered trike just for fun.

http://www.utahtrikes.com/playvideo-30.html
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Old 02-01-10, 02:07 PM   #5
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It's seems unfortunate that anyone wanting to do anything in the way of powering up their bike or trike has this enormous learning curve to wade through.

Be nice to standardize it down to, how far and how fast do you want to go?.....buy this.

Here's a video of a gas powered trike just for fun.

http://www.utahtrikes.com/playvideo-30.html
Actually, the old saying "caveat emptor" will always be relevant. An informed consumer is more likely to be a happy consumer. Actually, I don't think it's hard to understand the basic design and functionality of hub and non-hub motor systems. It's also a good thing to know if you want to tackle your own basic repairs or even just have a sense that repairs proposed by a shop are reasonable and that they're not trying to rip you off. For owners of brushless hub motors, it's a good thing to understand Hall Sensors and learn to replace them yourself since they are subject to failure due to heat. Of course, some people don't like to tackle hands on projects. In that case, they may want to make sure they choose a system that is less likely to break down in the conditions they ride in (each type of motor has pros and cons). As for battery technology, well if you're buying after market LIFEPO4 packs with a BMS you have to know what power demands are made by your controller to make sure the BMS specs are adequate. Otherwise, you run the risk of buying an underpowered pack where the BMS will constantly shut the system down to prevent over-discharge.
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