BEST CRANKDRIVE E-MOTORS

have a hub motor on my trike and quite frankly I am not a fan of crank drive systems for various reasons. However, certainly crank drive systems are quite popular. Probably the name we hear the most is Bafang. I am sure it is a good system and lower cost than most others making it an attractive option. One can spend more money … much more … and do better. Recently I visited the website of Victory Cycles in Kokomo, Indiana. I have dealt with them several times. I bought my first e-motor from them, a 350 watt BionX unit. As many know BionX went out of business leaving their dealers caught off guard. Victory Cycle sold lots of BionX units so when BionX went belly up they found themselves in a predicament. They had lots of customers who want an e-motor on their trike. Having lost BionX they had to come up with something. They started looking at what all is available. Since BionX is a hub motor system they hoped to remain with a hub motor. They tried one well known brand (which I won’t mention by name) but ran into lots of issues so they said goodbye to that company and continued their search. They looked at Bafang but decided against it. You can read about this HERE. The bottom line is they objected to Bafang saying that it is not smooth. So their search continued and led to the two systems they are selling today. Both are crank drive. You can read about these two systems by clicking on the same link above.

One is the TONGSHENG TSDZ2 750 Watt mid drive system which they sell for $1800 installed on most tadpole trikes.

The other e-motor they sell and highly recommend for Catrike is the Bosch E-Cat system which they sell installed for $2600 on a new Catrike you buy from them or you can have them install it on an existing Catrike for $2750.

I am sure that the Bosch E-Cat system is a very good system, but I personally don’t think I would want it for two main reasons. First it is only 250 watts … which just isn’t enough in my opinion. Secondly, it is e-assist only. No hand throttle is available. That is a real turnoff for me. That being said, I am sure many will love it and not have an issue.

The Bosch Active Line Plus electric-assist system features four power assist levels: Eco – 40%, Tour – 100%, Sport – 180% and Turbo – 270%. Each level also features a maximum drive torque to ensure smooth, gentle acceleration. The Bosch Active Line Plus delivers assist up to 20 mph and a cadence of 105.

That is the straight skinny from this dealer. This is what they recommend and sell to their customers. I ponder over the question of “would I consider going with a crank drive system” if i were wanting to buy a new e-motor for my trike. Right now if I had to answer that I think I would say no, I will stick to a hub motor system. But again, that’s me. Many like the crank drive system. If you are interested in why I prefer hub drive you can read about it HERE.

Having an e-motor on a trike most definitely helps us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE

(especially when climbing a hill.)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ELECTRIC BIKE OUTFITTERS

Are you considering adding an electric motor onto your tadpole trike? Anyone who has looked into doing so will surely notice that there are lots of motors out there. However the vast majority are pretty much intended for conventional bicycles with 26 inch wheels. If your trike has a 20 inch rear wheel there are not nearly as many choices. With BionX out of the picture there are even fewer main players. Some that do exist are not very well known. I personally have an eZee hub motor. Most people have probably never heard of it. I have pretty much made the decision not to recommend any brand over another brand and let the trike owner research their options and choose whatever they want. Quite frankly I don’t want anyone upset with me over the choice they made.

I have written several articles in the past about e-motors and shared about my own personal experiences with hub motors on my trike.

One of the companies offering e-motors for trikes is EBO … Electric Bike Outfitters. EBO offers several different packages of hub motors as well as a mid-drive motor. Their packages are complete and ready to install. Motor, controller, display console, throttle, e-brake levers, pedal assist, and battery … it’s all there.

Their batteries are limited to 11 aH however as seems to be the case with many suppliers. 11 aH is fine if you don’t ride all that far, but just not large enough for those who ride greater distances. Nobody likes hauling around more weight than they have to so having two batteries is not something most people want to do. They are not only heavy, but they are bulky as well. And, of course, they are the costliest part of the components. Still this company is offering their wares and I simply want to make others aware of them.

Looking thru their offerings THIS ONE would be my pick as it is 750 watt. The total price was $1528 for the various selections I made. Most of their motors are 350 watt including their mid-drive. 350 watts is sufficient for most unless one does a lot of steep long hills. The 350 watt BionX hub motor I had was quite sufficient for my riding needs.

Here is the 500 watt hub motor.

Whatever you decide on may you …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH E-MOTORS THUS FAR

Some of you know I have had 3 different brands of e-motor conversion kits installed on my trike. I can only speak from my experience with these three motors.

The first was a 350 watt BionX conversion kit. While it worked properly I loved it. Admittedly I didn’t love the price nor the replacement cost for the battery. Also I was not impressed that the largest battery BionX offers is only 11.6aH … only good for about 30 to 35 miles. The motor was a brushless gearless direct drive type which was relatively small yet quite powerful. It had a lot of torque for such a small motor. BionX is a proprietary system which was what I believe caused their downfall. They filed bankruptcy last February 27th. It is all such a shame as they really did have an excellent system. Everything fit and installed normally and easily.

The second hub motor I tried was a Golden Motor Magic Pie Edge. It was large and very heavy (19 pounds). It too was a brushless gearless direct drive type. It had quite a bit of torque, but far more resistance to pedaling with the power off due to the magnets. According to the dealer I bought it from it apparently had a bad controller built into the hub as the voltage from it was too low and the motor would only propel me at 14 mph top speed and that was only for a short time when the battery was fully charged. It ended up down around 12 mph once the battery power started dropping off. The motor was too large in diameter to properly fit in a 20 inch wheel. There was very little room left between the motor and the valve stem so removing the valve core and working with some tools/gauges was impaired and difficult. When I went to install my tire on the rim I found it most challenging and difficult. I had to resort to using tire levers to accomplish it. Once the tire was on the rim it would not easily center up concentric. I had a terrible time trying to get it centered and inflated. I have never had any of these issues with any other rims. When I went to install the wheel in the rear stays I discovered that the axle assembly was too wide and would not go in. (I had previously had 3 different BionX wheels and they all slipped into place quite easily.) I ended up having to spread my rear stays apart in order to get this Golden Motor wheel installed. I read that some of the e-bike wheels are made for a maximum of 7 cogs in the rear cassette. At 7 cogs they are suppose to be 135 mm. If one installs 8, 9 or 10 cogs the width increases and so the wheel won’t fit in a 135 mm space. Again, I didn’t have that problem with the BionX. Lastly, I noticed that the disconnect for the various wiring cables from the axle were far from the rear wheel meaning that when I needed to remove the rear wheel I would have to tear the wiring all apart to get to a place where I could disconnect it. That is ridiculous! It would involve cutting plastic cable ties, removing Velcro wraps, turning my trike over on its side in order to get at this wiring. With BionX and with my 3rd and current motor the disconnects are provided right near the rear wheel. I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to repair a flat tire while out riding. It was a nightmare to work with it in a shop where I had all the tools I might need as well as a means of suspending my trike up in the air off of the floor. Overall I was not impressed with much of anything about this Golden Motor and could not recommend it to anyone.

The third and current hub motor conversion kit I bought and installed is an eZee 350 rpm. As far as I know that is the only identifying information to set it apart from their other motor offering which is a 250 rpm motor. The difference is the 350 rpm is designed for 20 inch wheels while the 250 rpm motors are designed for 26 inch, 700 and similar diameter wheels. The 350 rpm means that it can propel the smaller diameter wheels about the same speed as the 250 rpm motors propel the larger diameter wheels. Unlike the BionX and Golden Motor the eZee motor is geared which means it is suppose to have more torque at low speed but less top speed. That is what I have read. However, my experience is far different. I have found just the opposite to be true. This hub motor lacks the torque the BionX and Golden Motor had, but I have a far higher top speed. The physical size of this eZee hub motor is slightly smaller that the BionX unit. It only weighs about 8.34 pounds so it is much lighter than most hub motors. I am disappointed with its lack of torque for climbing hills. The other motors would “shoot me” up a hill while this eZee motor lacks the ability by itself to climb much of a grade without my pedaling to assist it. Never the less, I am enjoying it immensely and thus far have no regrets about buying it. I would recommend it to others.

I like the fact that I am no longer tied into a proprietary system  like BionX. The battery I have now is a 20aH and it costs about 40% or less than what BionX was charging for their 11.6aH battery. With BionX being in bankruptcy I don’t know what the future holds for BionX customers. Right now they have shut down operations and let their 80 employees go. They are looking for an investor/new ownership. I wish them success as I would hate to see all their many customers left with a hub motor system with no support nor parts to keep them operating. I have a couple of friends who have BionX.  At this point in time I am just glad I returned my BionX unit and got a full refund. I am not faced with this concern like my friends are. Perhaps someone will start rebuilding BionX batteries and selling them … if that is permitted. If only BionX could survive and get away from this proprietary nonsense which got them into this trouble.

FREE GIFT awaits you!