ADDING LOW COST E-ASSIST TO YOUR TRIKE

Anybody who has followed me thru the years know that I have had several e-motors on my trike over the years. I started out with BionX and then gave GoldenMotors a try. Then I went to eZee which I really liked. Next I tried Tongsheng which I had heard (read) such good things about but I found very disappointing. And now I have NBPower which I like quite well. In fact, I have a second brand new NBPower hub motor sitting on the floor next to me. I bought it as a spare at a better price than I paid for the first one. I have purposely steered clear of recommending e-motor conversion kits to others but I have been so pleased with this one that I have decided to recommend it.

Most hub motor kits I have found to be 135 mm width which may be a problem on some trikes. I have a Catrike and I had to spread my rear dropout slightly to get the second hub motor (GoldenMotors) to fit. Since then the eZee and NBPower  hub motors slide right into the dropouts okay. I am not advising anyone to spread apart the rear dropouts, especially if you trike is still under  frame warranty as it is likely to void the warranty.

I do want to disclose one important thing. This hub motor wheel comes with a 7 speed freewheel sprocket which means you must give up whatever your trike presently has … 9, 10 or 11 speed. It is a bummer, but not the end of the world. I bought and changed my 7 speed freewheel for different sprockets as I did not like the gearing that came on the hub motor wheel. You can order the 11-34 freewheel HERE. And, some say that a 9 speed chain won’t work with a 7 speed sprocket, but so far it is working well for me. I can’t say if your current setup is 10 or even 11 speed. And for what it is worth, I am not a fan of freewheels vs the newer cassettes. I have found them to be cheaply made and not hold up as well as cassettes.

I purchased it on Amazon. HERE is a link to it. The 20 inch wheel currently sells for $439. It does not come with a battery so that has to be ordered separately. I recommend a 72 volt battery if you can afford it. I already have 48 volt batteries so I am using them thus far. I hope to get a 72 volt someday and take advantage of the power offered by this motor. With 72 volts it should reach about 44 mph. With 48 volts my top speed is only about 23 mph on a fully charged battery.

Even settling for a 48 volt battery the total cost is about $800 to $900. That is a lot better than $2500 or even more many people are paying for Bosch and similar high dollar systems. And this thing is a rocket compared to the underpowered Bosch system like Catrike uses. You can spend more than a thousand dollars on some 72 volt batteries, but that is still more than $1000 cheaper than a Bosch system which will wear out your drive train much sooner adding to your operational expense as sprockets are not cheap nor is the new chain. Crank drive systems are notorious for wearing out drive trains prematurely. When I had the Tonsheng crank drive system installed on my trike it wore out (completely destroyed) my expensive TerraCycle idler pulleys in only about a month.

Yes, I am well pleased with this setup and so I am recommending it. The only thing negative I can speak of is it lacks torque sensing. It does have PAS sensing. I have a fairly recent article about PAS vs Torque Sensing  for those who are not familiar with the subject.

I will say this … the assembly and setup instructions supplied with the hub motor wheel kit leave something to be desired. That being said help can be found online. And I am willing to help in anyway I can. I had to look it up online to find what I needed to get the job accomplished. BTW, the PAS parts won’t install on the crankset of a Catrike. One must use a workaround in order to have a functioning PAS. There are different ways to accomplish this.

The kit comes with a hand throttle however unless specifically requested a twist throttle is provided vs. a thumb throttle. I personally much prefer a thumb throttle as a twist throttle is very tiring on the hand and wrist to use. So if you want a thumb throttle it is necessary to request one when the order is placed. (The seller is very helpful and will work with you on any issues you may have.) If they can’t furnish you will the thumb throttle you may have to order it separately. Make sure you get the one with the longer wiring as it has to reach from your handlebar to the controller which I assume you would mount somewhere behind the seat. You can order the thumb throttle HERE.

HERE is the setup instructions for the display console. Dealing with e-motors thru the years has been and continues to be a learning experience. One thing I learned is that when my trike did not have any speed or power upon completion of the installation it was because I did not have the PAS number selection turned up. It was on only 1 of 5 … actually 1 of 6 as it starts at 0 if I remember correctly. 0 is power to motor is turned off. 1 is the lowest power setting and 5 is the highest. So if you install this motor kit and find it doesn’t seem to have any power or speed (maybe 2 or 3 mph) be sure to check the PAS setting. You can readily change it using the 3 button switch. The middle button turns the power on or off. The left button turns the power (PAS) down until it reaches the lowest setting 0 (zero. The right hand button turns the power (PAS) up until it reaches 5 … it’s highest setting. The PAS number is located on the bottom left of the display console.

I have found that as with all “graph” type battery power level indicators it is not very accurate. I can ride about 60 % of the miles I normally get out of a full battery charge before it drops off of the full charge display. It has 5 bars that make up the battery power display.

The picture above is from when I had the eZee hub motor and its display console. I am posting it here so you can see the way (place) where the display console mounts.

If your trike does not already have a mounting bar for the display console to mount on you may need to purchase and install one. TerraCycle sells them. Actually what I use is a combination of the top part from TerraCycle and the bottom part (called a mirror mount) from Catrike. This is what you see in the picture above. You can buy it for either the left side or the right side. If you would want to mount the display console sideways you would not need the T part on top from TerraCycle. Or you might save money by jerry rigging something out of PVC or whatever.

I wrote about a 20 inch rear wheel but this kit is also available in 26 and 700 sizes for slightly more money. The size can be selected on the same page the link to the 20 inch goes tol

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I am always willing to help in any way that I can.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

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Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (@gmail.com)

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