eZEE HUB MOTOR REVIEW

have had my eZee hub motor now for over 3 years so I thought I would write a review on  it. After my bad experiences with BionX and Golden Motors the eZee motor has been reliable and performed relatively well for me. That is until recently. I am having trouble with it so I have replaced it with a different brand. I bought a Tongsheng crank drive motor which is what I have been considering if ever I were to buy another motor. That being said I did not know about the newest Bafang crankdrive motor that now has a torque sensor. I probably would have bought it instead of the Tongsheng if I had known about it sooner. The trouble I am having with the eZee motor system has nothing to do with the motor as far as I know. Personally I think my controller is acting up. I bought my eZee hub motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. I have emailed them several times over the 3 years I have had it requesting their help on a few things. They have replied back but they have never really helped me. Overall the eZee motor has been good but I do want to cover the few things which have not been good. The eZee motor does not have built in torque sensing so a separate external torque sensor which mounts in the bottom bracket must be purchased. It is not cheap. And what they don’t tell you is that in order to install it it requires buying a new crankset … also not cheap … meaning this is all getting rather expensive.

 

I bought the new crankset and paid my LBS to install the torque sensor in the bottom bracket. The torque sensor didn’t work. Grin Technologies then told me that they have had a lot of problems with this particular torque sensor. (It would have been nice if they would have mentioned that upfront and advise against buying it.) They advised me to try a different one which they would send to me at no additional charge. All they asked is that I mail them back the defective one which I had to pay postage on. When I received the new torque sensor I discovered that it required yet a different crankset. My LBS looked but could not find one to order. So for over three years now all I have had is a manual thumb throttle to use. I have not had a torque sensor for pedal assist. All of this mess and expense could have been avoided if only the bicycle industry would standardize the cranksets instead of making various types and sizes.

The rear wheel which the eZee hub motor was laced into did not hold up for me. It cracked open and I had to replace it. This added a lot more expense to my e-trike. I now have a rear wheel which is holding up great. But why doesn’t the supplier of the eZee hub motor provide a rear rim which is better made?

The eZee hub motor requires the older type of rear sprockets known as free wheel. Just recently the free wheel unit has started acting up spinning forward instead of grabbing to propel the trike forward. That’s not good. I went to my LBS and they looked up 9 sprocket free wheel units only to find nothing available like I have now. I would have to sacrifice my lower gearing going from a 34 tooth sprocket to a 30 tooth. My system is just too old and it is hard to find these component parts for it. The industry has gone to 10 and 11 speed. 9 speed has become an antique so to speak. Anyway, they lubricated the free wheel unit and it has been working okay since then. I don’t know for how long though. What I am getting at is it is time to move on. I have the Tongsheng motor kit installed but I am waiting on an extension  cable so I can hook up the speed sensor to get it all working. That cable just arrived in yesterday’s mail so I will be installing it today.

Oh, another thing about the eZee hub motor I don’t care for is that in order to change the nylon gear inside the motor the electrical wiring coming out of the motor has to be cut in two to disassemble it to change the nylon gears. Then all those wires need to be reconnected and resealed when reassembling it. I think they made a change in this in the newer model they are manufacturing. They say the nylon gears inside the motor should last about 9000 miles I think. I had over 40,000 miles on the motor so I ordered a new gear and went to change it when I discovered this about having to cut the wires. I didn’t want to get into that. Even though I had several times more than the 9000 miles on the hub motor the nylon gear inside still looked like new so I simply regreased it and put it all back together. It is still sounding and working the same as it always has so I assume the gear has not worn out yet.

The eZee hub motor is a geared reduction motor meaning that is should be very powerful …   more so than the 350 watt BionX motor I started out with which was a gearless direct drive unit. For some reason unknown to me I have never been able to get any help from Grin Technologies as to why this motor lacks power (torque on demand). It should easily out perform the BionX but just the opposite is true. From a standstill or low speed up to about 12 mph or so the BionX will easily shoot away from my eZee hub motor. Once I am up to 12 mph or so I start gaining on the BionX and pass it by leaving it far behind. It has good top end … 28 plus mph … but on hills I have to assist it as it just does not have the power to climb hills. My BionX would shoot me up and over if I used the hand throttle.

Well, that is my review. Could I recommend it to others? No, not really. If these issues I have described didn’t exist then yes, I would recommend it. But hey, they do exist and as I have stated I have not been able to get any help to resolve them. It is time to move on. I want to get this Tongsheng working and see how it does. It will be great to have a torque sensor and true pedal assist.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

COPENHAGEN WHEEL NO MORE

You are looking at a Copenhagen Wheel … a big ugly red hub. I guess one either likes the look or they don’t. For those unfamiliar with it unlike other electric hub systems which have external components everything is built into it including the battery. That makes it unique. Hey, anyway the manufacturer has announced that the Copenhagen wheel is no longer for sale. There is good news for those who already bought one. They will continue to offer Support. All current Wheel owners will continue to receive support via support@superpedestrian.com

I don’t know anything about this decision that was made. BionX had a top of the line product but they went out of business. It happens obviously.

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

REAR WHEEL DIAMETER … 20 VS 26/700

Frequently the subject of rear wheel size comes up as people want to know which is better or preferable. I don’t think I have ever addressed this in all my many postings. Since it is asked so frequently I figured it is past time to do so.

Well, like most everything else there are pros and cons involved. I have had both a 26 inch rear wheel as well as a 20 inch rear wheel. Personally I didn’t notice all that much difference. Never the less I will cover the good, the bad and the ugly of the matter. Don’t ask me why I said that. All I can say in response is that it happens to be the movie playing on GRIT TV as I am composing this.

Let’s start out by covering the obvious … or at least what should be obvious. Having three 20 inch wheels on a trike means that you only need to deal with one size when it comes to spare inner tubes and spare tires to carry along with you.

What may not be obvious is in the realm of performance and handling as well as weight carrying capacity. That is something to consider if you plan on touring and loading the trike down with gear.

A smaller diameter tire will accelerate faster than a larger diameter wheel. That being said a larger diameter wheel will result in a higher top speed than a smaller one. Of course, I am talking about having stock gearing and not messing with the gear ratios. Once one starts changing the gear ratios all of this can and does change. One can accomplish the same things with existing wheel diameter by changing the sprockets diameters in use.

A larger diameter wheel will roll over objects easier than a smaller diameter wheel which means that a larger diameter wheel yields a smoother ride than a smaller diameter wheel.

A smaller diameter wheel is stronger than a larger diameter wheel so it will carry more weight and handle better. A larger diameter wheel has more flex to it than a smaller diameter wheel so it is noticeable in cornering.

A smaller diameter wheel is usually less costly than a larger diameter wheel when it comes to tires to install on it. That being said 26 inch is a very common size with lots of tire choices available. So one might very well come across some good prices on tires.

A smaller diameter wheel requires a smaller trike frame. That may or may not make any difference to people. It is just something I wanted to be sure to point out.

When it comes to folding a trike again obviously a smaller diameter rear wheel folds smaller than a larger diameter wheel.

I have mainly been talking about 20 and 26 inch wheels. I only mentioned 700. Another popular size is 24 inch. They have their advantages but know that 24 inch tires are not as common as 26 inch so the selection won’t be as good.

Changing from one size to another may be problematic as the trike is designed for a certain size. The frame may not be built so that a larger diameter wheel and tire will fit. Also making a change in the rear wheel size will effect the trike’s handling and it may not be as safe. Raising the rear of the trike with a larger diameter wheel/tire will result in lowering the front end of the trike. This will bring one’s feet closer to the ground and cause more of a concern in the matter of “leg suck” and injury.

Anyone considering a hub motor a larger diameter wheel provides more room for a motor to be installed. That means there are more choices of hub motors and with more space available a more powerful motor can be installed than what will fit on a smaller diameter wheel.

Personally I prefer a 20 inch wheel over a larger diameter. It comes down to a personal choice. With either choice one can …

ENJOY THE RIDE

FREE GIFT awaits you!

GOING HEAVY DUTY IN THE WHEEL DEPT.

bought new front wheels from Catrike in 2018 to replace my original 2009 wheels that had gone the course. They were in bad shape. I was so thrilled to have new wheels on my trike but the thrill was short lived as the new wheels were in worse shape than my old ones in only about a month’s time. In fact, I have been using one of my old wheels for months now as it is in better condition than the newer one. The local streets and trails are in such bad shape that the bumps and holes are destroying my rims. My rear rim that came with my electric hub motor was also destroyed and had to be replaced. I bought a much heavier duty BMX rim to replace the rear rim. I am pleased to report that it has been holding up quite well. So now I am buying two more BMX rims and having my Catrike hubs laced into them. They are the Sun Ringle Envy (rear) rims and are black in color not white as pictured below.

 

They are considerably wider than the Catrike rims which gives them considerably more strength. Truthfully they probably are not what I would have selected as I like the extra structural pieces available in some other rims I have looked at. The picture below illustrates what I am talking about.

My local bike shop suggested these Envy rims to me and I trusted in their expertise. They assure me that they will be quite strong. Still I would be more comfortable with rims like the one I pictured above as I know they would be stronger.

I am also installing Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires in place of my beloved Marathon Plus tires.

I am going with heavy duty inner tubes in the Big Ben Plus tires hoping that they will help in preventing flats … externally caused as well as internally caused. They are 5 times thicker than a standard inner tube. I used them once before but they are just too big and difficult to install in smaller sized tires, especially Marathon Plus which are more difficult to install than other tires.

I am still using baby powder inside of my tires and on my inner tubes. The Big Ben Plus do offer some flat protection but they are 40 % less effective than the Marathon Plus tires … meaning that I am concerned about getting flats. I am hoping all goes well and these balloon tires provide enough cushioning to ensure the new rims hold up okay.

I know I will miss certain factors about the Marathon Plus tires. Probably the biggest factor is the incredible mileage I get out of them. I know that these Big Ben Plus tires will wear out much quicker. That means that they will be more expensive to use. I understand that they are suppose to provide fairly decent rolling resistance performance so that is good. Of course, having e-assist helps eliminate some of the concern over this. I may only use them until they wear out and go back to Marathon Plus. I will just have to wait and see. Meanwhile I plan on …

ENJOYING THE RIDE.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

UPDATE 10-19-2019 … I installed the new wheels with the Big Ben Plus tires today and went for a long ride. I am quite impressed with the tires thus far. They ride nice, roll very good and handle extremely well. Time will tell as to their flat protection and mileage.