Bicycle Man. Pedal assist recumbent trike

The Best Electric Trike Bikes For Adults And Seniors

With their speed, ease of use, and fantastic convenience, Electric Trikes are rising in popularity for adults and seniors as a mode of transportation. The numerous advantages they offer, including their environmentally friendly approach to transport, cost-effectiveness, and electric operation, encourage people to choose them over traditional bicycles and tricycles. In this article, we’ll discuss the best electric trikes for both adults and seniors and what you need to consider when choosing one.

What Exactly Is An Electric Tricycle?

A traditional tricycle consists of two rear wheels and one front wheel. They make balancing easier compared to a bicycle, they usually offer a basket on the back to make travel convenience easier, and they are a prime choice for children, adults, and seniors as an independent and flexible mode of transport. While these qualities are what make a regular tricycle a favoured choice, there are still the unfortunate cons that come with using one. The most significant difficulty with tricycles is pedaling with their substantially heavyweight, thus making climbing hills and using leg power alone very challenging. To combat this, electric tricycles offer an added electric motor to the drivetrain. With each pedal, the motor kicks in to provide a boost to your speed. This way, you can enjoy a more comfortable and less exhausting experience as opposed to a regular tricycle. Just like an electric scooter, most tricycles will also offer the ability to ride without pedaling at all, which is where the motor does all of the work for you. The versatility lets you choose how you want to ride. Adults and seniors find electric tricycles remarkably easy to get exactly where they need to be so that even if the basket is filled with shopping bags or other possessions, the journey will feel essentially effortless. Most are often worried about how electric tricycles will feel when they pedal. Rest assured, the riding feels quite natural. You won’t feel forcefully pulled forward by the motor, but instead, you will be cruising along at a faster speed than usual. The natural feeling, effortless transportation, and electric assistance are the major reasons electric tricycles are being chosen over traditional ones today.

When Choosing One, What Should I Consider?

Let’s go over what is most important to consider when purchasing an electric trike. The expense is something that is initially troubling, so it’s crucial to know what you’re getting with each trike. Once you understand what comprises one, you’ll get a better idea of why the cost is worth it.

Storage Space

Consider how you plan to use your electric tricycle. Picture your day-to-day life and activities, work, leisure, sports, pet interaction. All of these lifestyle considerations are important. With that in mind, do you believe you’ll need plenty of storage space when traveling? If you want to be able to pedal easier with a large load on the back, such as groceries or other gear, then you should determine if you need a larger storage space or more than one. This can make a significant difference in how you experience traveling via electric trike if you are someone that requires additional storage space.

Motor

The motor size on electric trikes is the main determinant of their top speed. Most e-tricycles have a 200 to 250W brushless motor. These are particularly quiet and more efficient than older brushed motors and can reach a top speed of 16-25 kilometres per hour!

Battery

This is perhaps the most important quality to consider. The batteries on most e-trikes are attached directly behind the seat, and this does give them the freedom to go large. However, battery life can still be limiting depending on the distance required per ride. Some e-trikes only offer up to 32 kilometres on a single charge in the pedal-assist mode, while others can stretch to 72 kilometres in the same mode. How you choose to ride your electric trikes, such as in full-electric mode or pedal-assist mode, will greatly impact how much battery you spend. Pedal-assist will use up considerably less battery time than if you have it on full-electric mode for the entire duration of the ride.

Display

LCD screen displays can be found on most high-end electric trikes which offer handy information including speed, battery usage, distance covered, and remaining battery life to its user. This is quite beneficial for monitoring how much mileage you have left, but it’s not something that is necessary. This will depend entirely on personal preference.

The Best Electric Tricycles For Adults Seniors

It’s time to get to the good part! Here, we’ll go over our top picks for electric tricycles and, we’ll provide a breakdown of each.

Eurowheel Electric Folding Trike Bike

L et’s start the list with the newest addition, the Eurowheel Electric Folding Trike Bike. This 3-wheel electric trike is sure to give convenience to a new meaning, with its awesome features. It’s foldable, making it compact and easy to carry anywhere. This e-trike bike is also equipped with fat tyres, making your ride more comfortable and stable. The bewildering e-trike is equipped with a 244.0 front tyre, and 204.0 rear tyres, all from Kenda. It has a maximum power speed of 25km/h and comes with a 48V 16AH LG lithium battery. One of its features is an LCD display which shows its rider its average speed, and distance traveled. The electric motor trike also has 5 Pedal Assist Modes, all of which can be set according to your preference. This electric trike is designed not only for adults but for seniors as well. Its three wheels are perfect for those who are not that comfortable in riding 2-wheel e-bikes. With that being said, we believe that this e-trike is much easier to use, especially for those with errands to run almost every day. Besides its wheels, this e-trike also carries a front basket and a rear carrier pack. Worry not about where to put your things or your bags of groceries!

Vamos Papa Grande Electric Trike Bike

  • Light Aluminium Alloy Frame
  • Mozo Suspension Front Fork
  • Big Stone LCD C300S Display
  • Wheels: F 24 inch x 4 inch, R 20 inch x 4 inch
  • Chaoyang Tires
  • F/R Aluminium Fender Mudguards
  • F/R Carriage Systems
  • F/R Integrated Lights
  • Maximum rider weight: 120kg
  • Rear Carrier: 40cm long x 50cm wide x 25 tall with removable padded inner bag. Can handle 50KG in cargo.
  • Promax Suspension Saddle Post Seat
  • SHIMANO Acera Derailleur
  • F/R Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • 36V/48V 15.6AH Samsung Cell Lithium Battery
  • Middle Axle Torque Sensor
  • 2 keys
  • Motor Size Throttle Type: 36V/15.6Ah 200W Bafang brushless gear twist throttle with on/off switch (40km range) or 48v/15.6ah 500W Bafang brushless gear twist throttle (42km range)
  • Rear Carrier: 40cm Long x 50cm wide x 25 tall
  • Weight: 45kg
  • Handle bars height: 1070mm
  • seat goes down to 830mm

Progear E-Free 24 Electric Trike Bike

Commute and ride with ease using Progear’s E-Free 24 Electric Trike Bike. Fitted with a 250-watt DC brushless front wheel hub drive motor, this e-trike eliminates the difficulties associated with pedalling traditional tricycles. especially concerning uphill struggles.

The pedal assistance system provides a seamless experience through amplifying the pedalling process, as seen in the previously mentioned models.

An included LCD display shows you your speed, trip statistics, current power assist, and battery charge level. The power levels can be adjusted from 1 to 5. the higher the number, the more assistance provided with your pedalling.

The 36V lithium-ion battery offers excellent battery life and performance so you can keep going throughout the day. This has been neatly tucked in behind the seat discreetly out of the way.

You can change gears swiftly with the Shimano RevoShifter 7-speed easy shift. A simple twist up or down during motion will make a quick upshift or downshift, respectively. This makes for a great travelling experience on streets or in urban settings.

The front alloy V-brakes and reliable rear Disc brakes are robust for a safe, enjoyable journey. regardless of whether it’s a scenic or work ride.

A spacious 59 x 49 cm (LxW) basket is positioned at the rear to hold your belongings, shopping bags, and more. Everything about the Progear’s E-Free 24 Electric Trike complies with legal road and safety rules.

Superior comfort with adjustable seat/handlebars

Thinner wheels/tyres than previous 1 2

250-watt motor with pedal assist

Electric Bike Kits

Thinking about an electric assist for your recumbent trike or bike? Here at the Bicycleman we have been installing electric assists on recumbents since 2008. There are a lot of options and conflicting opinions about electric kits so we wanted to provide an introduction to help you get started.

Electric Bike (eBike) Conversion Kits

The reasons you might consider an electric assist are many:

  • you or your mate may need help keeping up with others
  • you would like some help on the hills
  • you commute to work and don’t want to arrive hot and sweaty
  • you worry about not having enough stamina to get back home

The most common problem we hear is the “I can’t keep up with my husband/wife”, closely followed by “the hills seem to have gotten bigger while I wasn’t looking”. Electric assists can help solve all these problems.

Type of conversion kit:

There are three basic styles of electric conversions. A hub motor, a mid drive motor and a “pusher” style motor. We’ve installed all of them and I’ll give you an idea of how they work. The hub style consists of a controller, a battery and a motor that replaces either the front or the rear wheel axle with an electric hub motor which “drives” the wheel. These are the simplest and most common kits available. Most of them retain the original drive train and just need the wheel installed and a way to mount the battery figured out and a throttle and/or control center wired up.

The mid drive style consists of a motor mounted in a special bracket that usually attaches near the crank or in the bottom bracket area and propels the recumbent by applying power to the chain. That’s a great way to do it because the gears can multiply the force the motor and the rider are providing in a very efficient way. The downside is that they are more complicated to install and often need some modifications to get everything playing nice together. Sometimes there is a secondary chain linking the motor to the crank which can be fairly noisy and hard to align.

The “pusher” style is a motor and battery mounted in a pull behind trailer that “pushes” the recumbent by having the trailer wheels supply the power to the road and push on the back of the bike at the rear axle. The good thing about this style is the ease of use and the ability to remove it easily for transport or if you forgot to charge the battery but still want to ride. The bad is that the tires can spin in loose dirt or gravel and that the unit works best as a short term boost up a big hill than as an all day assist.

Controls:

Another important difference when choosing an assist is in how you control it. The motors can be controlled in a couple of ways. Some have either a twist throttle (like a motorcycle) or a thumb throttle (like a snowmobile). Others are controlled by a torque sensor and a control display that allows the rider to set how much assistance they would like from the motor as they pedal. I think this distinction is an important one to understand.

The throttle controlled versions turn your recumbent into a car surrogate. Twist the throttle and it goes-with or without your help.

The torque sensor style is assisting you while you pedal. When you coast it shuts off, when you begin to pedal again it senses how hard you are working and multiplies your effort by the percent you set it to.

Some companies are combining the two types of controls. This seems the best approach to me. In the combined style, the assist can be overridden by the hand throttle (like the cruise control in a car) when you need a burst of speed in traffic or more power climbing a hill.

Price:

When you start looking into the kits it can be shocking how much can vary. I want to give you some idea of what makes up the difference between cheap and worth it. I asked some of the manufacturers to explain and it seems to come down to three main things.

The first was the batteries. Most use some type of lithium battery and I believe most of us think there isn’t much difference between them. What separates the men from the boys is where they come from and how much thought went into making up the battery packs. Rakesh from Falco emotors explained it this way: Falco uses batteries from Panasonic that are the same age and the same batch to build up their battery packs in a facility near to the Panasonic factory. He believes they will charge and discharge more uniformly because chemically they are as identical as can be and will respond like an organic whole. He said that some other companies mix ages and batches from cheaper battery manufacturers and each individual cell responds differently to repeated charging and discharging. There can be a big difference in how well soldered together the cells are that make up the whole battery and how much thought went into protecting the battery from overheating while charging.

Another difference between cheap and worthy is in the quality of build between brands. From the outside motors look pretty much alike, inside is what counts. Some manufacturers use a similar looking motor but upgrade the bearings, wiring and insulation on the ones that they sell so that they are more reliable and then back them up with customer service and “how to” information that others just don’t do.

The third difference is in what each company brings to the table. The higher end folks are looking for ways to improve their products and differentiate themselves from the competition, not just make the cheapest kit out there. Sometimes it’s improvements in software for controlling the motor with a Smart phone app, other times liquid cooling for high wattage motors under heavy use to keep them running cool. Those kind of improvements cost money and improve your experience and enjoyment by working without hassles.

Summary:

Hopefully this introduction has helped you get a basic understanding of electric assists and the differences between the different styles. I believe they are a benefit for our customers who would keep riding if they could just get a little help.

Danish Startup Creates Full Suspension 400-Mile Range Electric Tadpole Trike, The VELOKS MK3

This is by far the most extreme range I have heard of on a bike. My own long-wheelbase with a 1 kWh Li-polymer battery has a range of about 100 miles at 20 mph, but the VELOKS MK3 can be fitted with a 4 kWh battery pack, thus extending the range to an insane 400 miles! That’s my own daily commute for 10 days straight without charging!

In an article in Ingeniøren I learned that engineer Lars Oksbjerre had made the bold decision to bring a novel design of a fully electric trike (3-wheeled bike) to production. A few iterations of the tadpole style design has resulted in a bike capable of extreme long-range electric assisted trips on any surface and under any condition. The low center of gravity, full suspension, and large fat tires, along with the comfortable padded seat, proves for a pleasant ride — for hours. I reached out to Lars to learn more.

Extreme range

This is by far the most extreme range I have heard of on a bike. My own long-wheelbase with a 1 kWh Li-polymer battery has a range of about 100 miles at 20 mph, but the VELOKS MK3 can be fitted with a 4 kWh battery pack, thus extending the range to an insane 400 miles! That’s my own daily commute for 10 days straight without charging!

When I was in the e-bike business, people would often ask me about the range of the bikes, and I would often ask back: “how long till you get a sore behind?” Because that’s actually my biggest problem with e-bikes these days — the pain kicks in long before the range anxiety. But on a trike you virtually lie down.

At a base price of €5,340 you get version 3 (MK3) of VELOKS’ full suspension electric trike with a 100-mile range. The motor will assist up to near 16 mph using a torque sensor measuring the rider’s pedaling effort. The bike weighs in at 38 kg with the standard 1 kWh battery. To get the full 400-mile range you’ll need the 4 kWh battery which adds 10.8 kg and €970 to the package.

This 3rd generation design (MK3) is based upon Lars’ own experience of riding more than 10,000 miles on previous designs. The reclined seat, the suspension on all three wheels, the motor support, is all optimized for a comfortable, easy, and safe ride.

What about regulations?

Another thing that people often ask is whether an e-bike can go faster than 16 mph. I knew that this had to be an issue for Lars too, because his bike screams speed! So I asked him his thoughts on the regulations in general, and how he was dealing with it:

Bicycle rules are much too limited. The rule of pedal assist limit of 16 mph should be removed. In effect a 250 Watt continuous power from the motor would result in cruising speed of about 20 mph. As a speed pedelec with a speed limit of 30 mph the bike is perfect and I don’t think riding on bike lanes would be a problem outside the towns and cities. Racing bikes go even faster. Everyone has to pay attention to traffic as a general rule. You could choose to apply speed limits for all bikes in city traffic. Today we have no speed limits for regular bikes, other than the general limits, and that’s ok, but those rules should apply to e-bikes too. The motor power should only be limited if you don’t have a driver’s licence. If you have a driver’s license there should be no power limit. Cars don’t have power limits.

I guess there some logic in that, as long as the hardware is capable of steering and braking at more power and speed.

Speaking of safety, when I ride my long-wheelbase bike I sit very low, but on a trike you sit even lower, so I asked Lars about this and whether he used a flag pole on the bike:

The low ride height is not a problem. I used a flag the first year, but since it made no difference I stopped using it. You have to pay special attention to cars and trucks turning right, but the risk involved is no different from a normal bike.

Indeed. Those right-turn accidents are brutal. I cannot stress this enough: whatever bike you ride, please pay attention to vehicles making turns in front of you. On a bike you are tiny-looking and easy to miss.

bicycle, pedal, assist, recumbent, trike

A trike born to be electric

I have done a lot of e-bike conversions over the years, and one thing that’s always a tricky issue is the torque sensor, that is, if it has to be a street legal e-bike in most of the EU. It would be easy enough to just mount a thumb or wrist throttle, but that makes it a motorbike and regulations and required approvals go off the charts.

The torque sensor measures the force you apply to the pedals and feeds electric power to the motor accordingly. When this works smoothly you feel the powertrain as an extension of your own body. When it does not work in a perfect manner it can be the most annoying thing. Not to be confused with a crank motion sensor that just detects motion but not force and thus not very smooth. than once I have given up on adjusting torque sensors and just put a throttle on the handlebar. Quality is key.

bicycle, pedal, assist, recumbent, trike

The trike is designed bottom-up for electric drive, and supports long distance rides in any weather on any road, therefore all components have to be rugged and durable. The torque sensor in this setup is cleverly built into the crank and as such is shielded from water and dust.

I asked Lars a bit more about the hardware, since he must have had durability as a priority for such a powerful machine:

The motor is a brushless type at 3000W, 60V, 50A, from Cyclone, with peak torque at 100 Nm. It has up to 90%. efficiency and a planetary reduction gear ratio of 1:6. Motor weighs 4.1 kg, has 13 teeth on the shaft, and 21 teeth on the 26 inch rear wheel. Gearing is designed for a top speed of 40 mph at 60V. Motor controller is an upgraded BAC Ne 800 from Accelerated Systems Inc.

bicycle, pedal, assist, recumbent, trike

All electronics are built into the waterproof battery box that can be swapped in 5 seconds. Apart from the 18650 Panasonic lithium cells it contains the BMS, motor controller, DC-DC converter (12V and 5V for lights and phone charger). Remote controlled on/off, motion sensor, geofence alarm, speed alarm, real-time tracking, power setting). The battery is designed to supply 12kW of continuous power.

The “rider” drivetrain can be configured with all types of gearing like standard external gears, internal Nuvinci CVT, Shimano Alfine, Rohloff, etc.

This trike was designed as an e-bike from the ground up. Battery and motor components are mounted as low as possible to ensure maximum stability. The frame and steering are designed to accommodate battery capacity up to 4 kWh and motor power up to 3kW.

I only tried an electric trike once, and even though it was a conversion from a trike that was born as a muscle machine only, it was a ton of fun. Lars offers test drives. If you have a chance, try it. You won’t regret it!

All images by Lars Oksbjerre.

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Electric Assist for Recumbent Bikes and Trikes

Talk to us to find out which Electric Assist best suits your needs.

Recumbent E-Kit FAQ

Definitely!! Talk to us to find out which kit is best for you!

No. As air transport of lithium batteries is expensive and difficult, an original equipment e-trike is price prohibitive in our region.

Yes. We can supply and fit an E-kit as part of your trike assembly.

No. Common kits are arranged for the standard upright bicycle, and the parts and wiring, in the main, do not just “bolt on” to a recumbent!

Typically, you will need extension cables, and be prepared to cut and splice longer wiring, make or source special brackets to mount the battery, keypad and display.

Depending on the type, A Standard kit has all the essentials: either a new wheel and motor or crankset and motor, battery, display/keypad, electronic control module, and assorted wiring. Optional extras include brake sensors, gear change sensors, and various extension leads.

Depending on battery and kit style, from 1200. 1600.

Around 900 to install a kit, including battery and display mounts.

A Hub Motor is a motor built into a wheel.A Mid-Drive motor is built into the bottom bracket and crankset, and uses the bikes chain and gear systems to drive the wheel.

We presently use Bafang mid drives.

Electric Assist bicycles in Australia are limited to 200 watt power, unless the bike complies with European directive EN15194 and is certified as complying. (Commonly termed a Pedelec, 250 watt max.) Queensland further limits all electric assist bikes to 25kmh with power assistance. This rules out any DIY kit from complying with the 250 watt requirement as the certification applies to the whole bike.

Queensland law limits motor only speed to 6kmh or less. Our installations come with a “walk assist” option only.

Electric assist kits weigh around 6kg including battery.

Difficult to say, much depends on riding style, terrain, weight, bike style, and how much assistance is used. Typical installations return 40 – 60 kilometers using moderate assist.

The preferred position on a trike is on the main frame, behind and below the seat.

Where possible we try to locate the control pad on one handle bar. On the Bafang mid drives this often means separating the display from the keypad and splicing in a long wire to suit. We have several standard locations for the display: on an accessory post, on the front derailleur housing, or on the main frame forward of the seat.

Hub Motor E-Kit

We are unable to provide Hub Motors at this time.

A Hub Motor is a motor built into a wheel.

The wheel is replaced with the same sized wheel containig a Hub Motor. In a Delta trike, this can only be done with the single front wheel, with a Tadpole, only the single rear wheel.The Controler is usually fitted to the handlebar and the display is mounted in the appropriate places. eg. the grab handle.

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bicycle, pedal, assist, recumbent, trike

Recumbent Mid Drive E-Kit

A Mid-Drive motor is built into the bottom bracket and crankset, and uses the bikes chain and gear systems to drive the wheel.

As a guide, supply and fit of a mid-drive electric assist is around 2000, depending on the spec of the kit and the battery chosen.

The Mid-drive motor and crankset replace the existing crankset. The controller is usually fitted to the left handlebar, replacing the gearshift for the front derailleur which is removed. (Other installation options are available.)

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Info about Electric Assist

A hackers guide to programming the bbs02 by electricbike-blog.com

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