TONGSHENG E-MOTOR … MY 1ST IMPRESSIONS

For over 4 years now I have been using a rear hub motor. Recently I bought and installed a Tongsheng crank drive motor and have been riding it now for about a week. I have found it interesting as well as challenging and somewhat disappointing making the switch from hub drive to crank drive.

First of all, I NEED MOTOR ASSIST. My knee joints are not capable of doing the job all under human power. Riding under my own power I ride along at about 2 to 3 mph. Walkers pass me. It is embarrassing! I ride in pain and it is misery … not fun.

I had both knee joints replaced a few years ago as both were bone on bone and I was in misery. With new man made knee joints “installed” I am doing better but I still suffer much knee joint discomfort. With motor assist I can and do ride much faster and it makes the riding fun again. I am still getting plenty of exercise but it is fun again. I can’t turn back the clock. I don’t have a time machine to step into. Having motor assist is the next best thing. I enjoy my daily rides. Oh, I am still in some pain, but I am not in misery like I am riding without a motor to assist me.

A few weeks ago my hub motor system developed a problem. The electrical power keeps shutting off and restarting when ever I try to use the motor. I have tried unsuccessfully to find the cause. I have sought help from others including the company I bought it from … all without success. I don’t have the component parts just sitting on a shelf to try hoping it would fix the problem. They are expensive to buy and a bit risky as far as whether or not replacing that particular part would fix the problem. So rather than gamble on whether on not buying an expensive part would fix it I decided to just buy another motor. Yes, it costs more than the parts would have but I wanted true pedal assist … something I don’t have with my hub motor as it is not “built into” the hub motor like some brands offer.  All I have ever had with this hub motor is a manual thumb throttle to use.

I have had my eye upon the Tongsheng crank drive motor system for awhile now so it was what I bought. So now after using it for about a week here is the good, the bad and the ugly concerning it. As e-motor kits go it is one of the lowest in cost. That’s good … that’s very good! The pedal assist works great and I am really enjoying having it. The motor is not nearly powerful enough. I left my hub motor installed as I have found that I can use it with the power level turned down to about 40 % or less. It usually stays on with the lower power setting. Going from a 30/42/52 triple chainring set to a single 42 tooth chainring has been lousy. I lost my gear range. No more granny gear for when I truly need it and a much lower top speed as I spin out at 15 mph instead of 22 mph. I hate that! One thing I really do like about this new motor is the economy … how long the battery charge lasts compared to the hub motors I have had. Another good thing about the Tongsheng motor is that it is super quiet. The speedometer/odometer/tripometer is not accurate. Tongsheng does not provide the ability to enter the tire circumference number during setup. All that is offered is choosing tire size … 16,20, 24, 26, 700. Selecting 20 inch is apparently based on a 1.5″ width. If you use a smaller or larger tire the accuracy is off. I don’t like this. It probably would not bother some people but I like having accuracy in my computer.

I switched my hub motor controls over to the right hand side so I could have my Tongsheng controls mounted on the left hand side. Anyway, now I have thumb throttles on both sides and I can use both motors at the same time which is really nice when climbing a hill or going across a busy street. Even with both motors it is no rocket in speed or power.

I have my disappointments with this Tongsheng motor but overall I reckon I am glad I bought it. Would I do it all over again? No, probably not. I think I would buy the Bafang with torque sensing. I did not know about the Bafang with torque sensing when I bought this Tongsheng. It is said to be considerably more powerful than the Tongsheng. As a teenager and young man I had a few high performance cars including a 327 c.i. 365 hp Corvette, 383 Plymouth police interceptor with dual 4 bll. carbs and 426 555 hp Hemi Dodge Charger R/T so I got used to having power to use. This Tongsheng is like driving an American Motors Rambler or maybe a Yugo. I am sure that is quite sufficient for some folks. I will survive, I reckon. Certainly it is helping me to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

Hey, speaking of Yugos … did you hear about the man who walked up to the parts counter at a car parts store and said to the employee behind the counter … “I’d like a rear view mirror for my Yugo”. The store employee was silent for a few seconds and then replied back … “You just might be able to make a deal like that”.

NOT ALL E-MOTOR BATTERIES ARE CREATED EQUAL

My first two lithium-ion batteries I bought for my trike after returning a BionX system for a refund were identical batteries which performed the same … about 60 miles on a full charge. I ruined my original battery riding thru flood water that got deeper than I anticipated (DUH!) That was a costly mistake.

Consequently I ordered a third battery to replace my first one. I did not order the same battery I already had. I checked to see what all was available and chose one that looked and sounded good. It has some extra features that I liked. It has a built in taillight and a 5 volt USB port. It also has a docking head on the front end so it simply plugs in to make electrical contact/connection. I assumed that it would be the same performance-wise. I was mistaken. It is rated the same … 48 volt 20aH … but it doesn’t provide 60 miles of riding like my first two batteries. Fully charged 37 miles is “as good as it gets”. From 60 down to 37 … that is quite a difference. Very disappointing. I contacted the seller about this but got nowhere. It charges up to where it should so as far as he is concerned there is nothing wrong with it. Needless to say if and when I buy a 4th battery I will likely get another one like the first two I bought. My second battery I bought now has deteriorated to where it only provides about 37 miles of riding. That happens as batteries age. So I will likely have to replace it at some point in the future. A friend who has a BionX system older than mine (the one I use to have) tells me that his battery is no longer performing like it used to. He can get his BionX battery rebuilt and in doing so it should be better than it was when brand new providing more miles on a full charge as it will increase from 11.6aH to 14aH. BionX batteries were very high priced. He can get it rebuilt for 1/3 of what BionX charged for it new … and, like I said, have a better battery. I can buy a brand new battery for less than what it cost to rebuild it. Well, that is the truth of the matter. I learned in all of this that not all batteries are created equal. Of course, I don’t know how one can possibly know unless others share their experiences … which is what I am doing here. We all want the best quality we can get for our money. I need to go online to write up a review and rating of these batteries so that others will know. To my way of thinking I got ripped off when I bought this third battery and since the seller won’t stand behind what he is selling it doesn’t bother me to rate him poorly. Summer is nearly over. I hope you have been able to get out and …

ENJOY THE RIDE

despite this PLANdemic we are dealing with.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

INERTIA OR STORED ENERGY … TORQUE SENSOR

One thing I have noticed since I started using my current hub motor which presently is hand throttle only is that when applying electrical power to the motor it seems to store energy somehow and my trike when I let off the hand throttle will and can coast faster and longer than if I were simply pedaling under human power only. It is considerably noticeable. I am not sure what the term is for this. I titled this post Inertia or Stored Energy but neither one may be correct.

 

I have a new (never installed) torque sensor for the bottom bracket (crankset). I bought one when I bought my e-motor conversion kit from Grin Technologies. It required a different crankset than what came on my Catrike so I spent good money to buy one. With my assistance and guidance my LBS installed the torque sensor with this new crankset but the unit was faulty and never worked. Grin Technologies told me that this particular torque sensor has been very troublesome and many have not worked.  Of course, they didn’t tell me this until after I bought it and spent all this extra money to install it. It was a lot of wasted money. Grin Technologies had me send it back to them and they sent me a different torque sensor and, of course, it required yet another crankset. Consequently I never installed this 2nd torque sensor as I just didn’t/haven’t had the money to go thru all of this again. I am considering it now however. I would really like to have true pedal assist and not just a hand throttle. Some hub motors have a torque sensor built into them and are located inside the hub motor. Unfortunately mine does not. I don’t like anything about this “after market” approach as I call it. It is a very poor way to accomplish this. The unit is difficult to install and it is very easily damaged as it has extremely tiny wires which break very easily. That is my story and I am stuck with it as well as sticking to it. I spent the money for a torque sensor initially as I wanted a system that “felt natural” when pedaling. That is still my goal. I need to take the torque sensor into my LBS so they can figure out what is needed in the way of a crankset, discover one and get it ordered. As many of you know having a hand throttle only presents a problem sometimes as it violates some trail rules. Personally I think it is ridiculous but it is the way it is. Remedying this situation will help ensure that I can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ELECTRIC TRIKE OWNERS FACEBOOK GROUP

While looking for tadpole trike groups on Facebook I found this one … Electric Trike Owners. I requested to join and invite you to do the same if you have an electric motor on your trike.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

E-ASSIST … A LOOK AT WHAT ALL IS AVAILABLE

E-assist … becoming more and more popular is something which ideally should involve some research before making the plunge. HERE is a webpage which offers help.

It is a comparison of the different electric bike motor systems to help you determine which configuration is best for your riding needs.

In this article by Electric Bike Report.com there are the pros and cons of each system: the hub motors (front and rear), the mid drive motor, the friction drive motor, and the rocket drive! (I wonder why it is named that. Do you suppose it is super fast compared to the others? Just FYI, rocket drive has nothing to do with electric motor assist. It is as the name implies … a rocket engine mounted on a bike. I assumed that somebody has already made a rocket engine propelled recumbent trike, but when I searched online for such an animal I came up empty.)

So if you are considering motorizing your tadpole trike this may be of help to you in doing your homework. 🙂

I took the plunge about a year and a half ago and have no regrets. I really love having the e-assist even though I had some problems finding a system that worked out okay for me. I have a few different articles I wrote about all I went thru with the three different companies I have dealt with thus far. HERE is one of them. HERE is another. And HERE is another.  And anotherHERE is an article I wrote on hub motors vs mid drive motors. The hub motor I have now is serving me well and I am very pleased with it. Most definitely e-assist can help us …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!