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Help with thoughts on electric trike/tricycle

Old 11-28-12, 01:20 AM
  #1  
sclieu
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Help with thoughts on electric trike/tricycle

Hello,
Unfortunately, my wife was diagnosed with severe RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) a few years ago. She loves the beach, and has small puppies that she adores, which are truly her companions and keeps her sane, more than I do. He mobility has been progressively getting worse. She can no longer ride a bike as the peddling would be too painful for her. Her balance is also an issue, for which we don't have an exact diagnosis. We are only in our 40s, but are struggling with this disease.

I have been looking to get her an electric tricycle but don't know anything about them. We live pretty far from the beach, but hope to move back to the OC in the next year or so (God willing). I would love to get her an electric trike so she can cruise on the beach with her puppies, and I. The style I'm looking at would be something similar to this:

https://www.truebicycles.com/contents...Tricycles.html

However, I don't know much about brands, features, and reliability. What I'm hoping for is basically an electric tricycle that could be folded so it can be transported easily to the beach, and for which will last a day of on-and-off riding....less than 10 miles.

I'm hoping someone can help with their experience or recommendations. I'm also hoping someone can point me to a local shop that specializes in electric bikes/trikes so we can test and ensure it's comfortable for her.

Sorry this is such a long post, but I thought I would also introduce myself and a bit of background on my wife and I. Thx in advance.
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Old 11-28-12, 01:28 AM
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sclieu
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Sorry, forgot to add that "local" for me means Huntington Beach or the surrounding areas.
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Old 11-28-12, 06:53 AM
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Welcome to the Bike Forums sclieu, I can't personally recommend any Huntington Beach "e-bike" shops due the fact that I don't live in the area. However, I suggest that you start by reading through the "Sticky thread for batteries" section at the top of the Electric Bikes page. You might also read through Greg_d's "An Introduction to Electric Bikes" primer for prospective e-bike buyers: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...lectric-Bikes?


Below are some basic issues that you'll want to research:

1. The advantages and disadvantages of "Delta" and "Tadpole" tricycle designs.

2. The advantages and disadvantages of "lead acid" and "Lifepo4" batteries. Most lead acid batteries must be recharged immediately after they've been discharged to a certain degree (this greatly extends the useful life of batteries). Lead acid batteries are also very heavy in comparison to Lifepo4 batteries.

3. The local rules and regulations regarding the use of electric/motorized bicycles/tricycles/vehicles on the paths and/or roads that you want to use your e-trike on.


Good luck, and please let us know how we might further help you and your wife.
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Old 11-28-12, 03:07 PM
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Creakyknees
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See my post here where I bought the Worksman portatrike from Amazon for my elderly dad:

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post14987018
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Old 11-28-12, 05:13 PM
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Cool For her,,


The upgraded new model:
https://www.sunbicycles.com/product_d...&cl1=RECUMBENT

On this trike when she gets tired she will just sit there, In the saddle, resting, very very comfortably
On this trike she will only have to lift one leg over the center bar, make shure she can do this,,,,,,
On this trike she will be sitting upright and able to see clearly, and have handlebar mounted mirrors,

This center drive motor allows her to still use her gears for less battery drain and more speed options,

NOTE: A hub drive motor has no gearing options, It's only option is wheel size,
They can and do overheat on Larger wheels and give only very limited speeds with smaller wheels..
Also their optimum efficiant operational speeds are very limited. No gearing options, remember .....

On a Tadpole I don't think she will like climbing out of it and they are very low,
personaly I would fear a Tadpole if I had to ride anywhere near cars...

https://www.electric-bikes.com/betterbikes/index.html

https://www.recumbents.com/wisil/e-bent/default.htm

https://electric-bikes.com/

https://abc.eznettools.net/D300013/X300109/ebike1.html


FYI
My wife has CP and rides the one pictured at the top and below,,the red delta, she loves it.



The comfort of leaning back in the 'Easy Chair' that these mesh cool back seats are
cannot be described. You simply must sit 'IN' one for only a second, then you will know..

Last edited by osco53; 11-29-16 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 11-29-12, 03:13 AM
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Thx, all for the very quick response.

FMB42, I don't think that link applies as it mainly talks about bikes, not trikes. However, you did raise some good questions regarding design, battery type, and local rules... I've sent HB city hall a question about using electric tricycles on the pathways... seems like I may need to get some sort of permit..assuming they approve it.

Creakyknees, this is exactly the type of trike I was looking at. I'm glad it worked out for you. Can you find out a bit more about how it's running since you got it? How fast it goes, how many miles does it lasts, etc... Also, in the amazon picture, it has a back basket, and something is in the middle of the basket. Is this the battery?? If so, that kind of sucks, since you would not be able to use the basket for much else. Does your dad have the heavy lead battery? Can it be upgraded to lithium ion? W/o the battery power, is it easy to ride it, or is it too heavy to be realistically using it w/o the battery help? I love the fact that it's foldable. The price is a few hundred more than some other web sites, but if it's made here, I think I'm better off than with some knock off from China...unless someone else has a china made one, and can vouch for it based on their experience.

osco53,
It does not look like that type of trike is foldable, and I don't think I would be able to transport it easily from home to beach, so don't think it's for me. Also, you mention needing to climb out of it, and that will be a problem for her. I'll check out those links you provided for other possible options.


Thx all... I'll update you on whether I end up buying it.
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Old 11-29-12, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sclieu View Post
Creakyknees, this is exactly the type of trike I was looking at. I'm glad it worked out for you. Can you find out a bit more about how it's running since you got it? How fast it goes, how many miles does it lasts, etc... Also, in the amazon picture, it has a back basket, and something is in the middle of the basket. Is this the battery?? If so, that kind of sucks, since you would not be able to use the basket for much else. Does your dad have the heavy lead battery? Can it be upgraded to lithium ion? W/o the battery power, is it easy to ride it, or is it too heavy to be realistically using it w/o the battery help? I love the fact that it's foldable. The price is a few hundred more than some other web sites, but if it's made here, I think I'm better off than with some knock off from China...unless someone else has a china made one, and can vouch for it based on their experience.
It's running fine so far, he's only had it a few days... still on the first battery charge.
Just from messing around in the parking lot I'd guess it goes 15-20 mph - which is plenty fast enough as it does get "tippy" if turned much at all.
Yes, the battery and power unit really have no good place to mount them, which I agree is a bit of a PITA. With a bit of time and zipties we could probably figure something out though. Yes, it's the heavy / lead battery. Have not looked into alternatives since I expect he'll use it only lightly.

He did comment that it's very easy to pedal, and I agree. Low gearing helps. You won't go very fast but you can roll it along faster than walking without too much effort.
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Old 11-30-12, 04:26 PM
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Upright / delta Trike, motor goes in the front wheel.. since most only chain drive 1 rear wheel

Tadpole, you then have 1 rear wheel.. then the motor goes in that one..
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Old 11-30-12, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by sclieu View Post
FMB42, I don't think that link applies as it mainly talks about bikes, not trikes.
I posted the link because the basic electric power systems used on the vast majority of trikes are pretty much the same as found on many e-bikes. Again, I strongly suggest that you research Delta tricycles and the pros and cons of their inherent handling characteristics before you make your purchase.
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Old 11-30-12, 08:24 PM
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I would strongly suggest that you DO NOT purchase the Workmans Electric Port-o-Trike that comes with the electric drive system from the factory. The price difference is about $700-$800 extra for their electric version compared to the non-electric version and the electric system they are using is not worth that much if you were to buy it separately. If it were a high quality system it would be worth it but it is not. Its a cheapo 350W or 500W (depending on production date) china junk front hub motor. Bottom of the barrel stuff with heavy low end cheapo sealed lead acid batteries.

You would be better off buying the non-electric trike and putting a Papa Motors 1,000W front wheel kit on it. Even better off with other potential options by very carefully selecting your components. After researching the system they are using online I'm very disappointed with Workmans choice of electric power components they chose for their electric version, I would expect more from that company.

I would also suggest you look into your areas local rules as far as personal mobility units for the handicapped (motorized wheel chair rules) since they may be far more lenient then the rules for electric assisted bikes and if so I would classify the finished product as a home-built personal mobility assist unit complete with making stickers for it classifying and identifying it as such (design your own bumper-sticker outfits online are great for making professional looking custom labels for projects).

I don't know if the folding Workmans trike (Port-o-Trike) and similar trikes on the market have a drive system that drives only one or both rear wheels via the pedals. If it were me doing this project and the personal mobility unit rules were much more open then the electric bike rules which I strongly suspect is the case I would try to find one that the chain drive ran both rear wheels and then put in a cyclone drive motor behind the seat down tube and shorten the chain loop to just attach to that motor and completely remove the pedal assembly and put in a nice platform instead for her to rest her feet on. If I couldn't find a trike that had a solid or differential axle in the rear with both rear wheels driving then I would put in a big high torque hub motor in the front wheel. Probably a 1,000W motor maybe down to an 750W if it was a motor wound for torque instead of speed like the Crystalite "Brute" motors but no less then that. I would build my own pack from LiFePO4 prismatic LFP-G20 cells both to reduce costs and to have the highest quality battery pack and split the pack into three or four removable drop in 4S 12.8V units for easy 12V charging and because since portability is an issue with this build having three or four batteries that weight 7 pounds each is a lot easier to handle then one big battery weighing over 20 pounds assuming that for ease of transport one would remove the battery units from the trike to reduce its weight in order to lift the trike in the trunk of the car and then lift the batteries in to the trunk separately and vis-a-versa for unloading. Basically having the batteries separate lift out units.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:24 AM
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Hi there! I'm also searching for an electric Trike due to MS. So far I'm in love with the diblasi R34. The only US retailer I have found is Bikemania.biz in new jersey. The price is high, 2,999.00 but once you see how it works/ folds...you are sucked in! There are several YouTube videos to see it. Good luck!
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Old 01-03-13, 06:28 PM
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the electric trike just north of three hundred dollars looks good to me. I spent more than that to rebuild an old miami tricycle. Before you purchase obviously make sure the shipping is reasonable. also that you are comfortable with making the final assembly. last, make sure the tires are suitable for the beach. Don't over spend for a first electric bike. remember salt water's effects on the bike as well. Wish you and your wife all goodness in the future.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:43 AM
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A couple things.

In Huntington Beach you have a couple very good options for retailers.

Fresch Electric and Myrons. There is also the Pedego Store and REI.

Fresch and Myrons both carrie Currie products and the new eZip Tri Ride may be something to look at,
it retails less than $1400, complete bike with 500 watt front hub motor.

Both of the Currie dealers are specialty electric bicycle stores, so they would be in tune with other possibilities.

In the case of ebikes, there are only a few companies which have been around awhile, have a robust platform which is proven and can also back up the products with parts service and support. Buying from a retailer can provide a certain piece of mind when dealing with ebikes.
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Old 06-18-22, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sclieu View Post
Hello,
Unfortunately, my wife was diagnosed with severe RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) Thx in advance.
Couple things...
1. If she has a handicapped permit, that would take prescedence over pretty much any objections.
2. As well as trikes, there are also quad bicycles. Havnt found a folding trike thats light yet.
3. Check out area bike shops for both bike suggestions and places to ride.
4. Cali has a bunch of bike laws. I wouldnt bother getting one with a throttle. Throttle (no pedaling needed ) would be confined to street riding. (In spite of handicapped sticker)
Last week I bought a TerraCycle Rambler, and the shop also ordered me the power unit.
Cant say how I like it, havnt been able to pick it up yet due to work.
Best of luck.
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Old 06-18-22, 05:22 PM
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If you haven't already made a decision, I am VERY happy with my tadpole trike and e-assist. I had to move from 2 wheels to 3 for medical reasons as well. I've been riding everywhere and loving it! Mine is a Trident Spike. The seat is a little higher than most tadpoles so easier for folks with limited mobility to get in and out. The Catrike Villager is also a nice tadpole with a higher seat. Depending on where you live now, there may be an adaptive cycling center or group - search for it. There is one where I live and I was able to try out a variety of different trike to see what worked best for me. There are racks make to easily attach a tadpole trike to a car, and ramps if you have a van. i ride in Bay Area traffic all the time, and I have to say drivers give me WAAAY more room than they did when I rode my 2 wheeler bike. They are so much more careful around the trike, it's amazing. As to one person's comment about throttle, I find it invaluable. There are times that either my disease makes it hard for me to pedal or I'm on an incline or I want to get out of traffic quickly and having a throttle to just goose the bike until the pedal assist kicks in is a huge benefit. Also it makes it easy to drive up my steep driveway to the garage lol.

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Old 06-18-22, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Krashdragon View Post
Couple things...
1. If she has a handicapped permit, that would take prescedence over pretty much any objections.
2. As well as trikes, there are also quad bicycles. Havnt found a folding trike thats light yet.
3. Check out area bike shops for both bike suggestions and places to ride.
4. Cali has a bunch of bike laws. I wouldnt bother getting one with a throttle. Throttle (no pedaling needed ) would be confined to street riding. (In spite of handicapped sticker)
Last week I bought a TerraCycle Rambler, and the shop also ordered me the power unit.
Cant say how I like it, havnt been able to pick it up yet due to work.
Best of luck.
My Trident Spike folds and is 38lbs before e-assist was installed.
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Old 06-18-22, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeShine View Post
Hi there! I'm also searching for an electric Trike due to MS. So far I'm in love with the diblasi R34. The only US retailer I have found is Bikemania.biz in new jersey. The price is high, 2,999.00 but once you see how it works/ folds...you are sucked in! There are several YouTube videos to see it. Good luck!
I considered the Diblasi, but found reviews from Europe that were not at all positive. Make sure you do a lot of research.
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Old 06-25-22, 12:29 PM
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Heads up to all: this is a 10-year old thread! Not that...
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