- Versitile electric bike kit specifically designed for trikes, available in a wide range of wheel sizes
- Offered with multiple battery types and sizes including Sealed Lead-Acid, Lithium-ion or with no battery
- Designed to go in the front wheel of a tricycle style bike, has forward and reverse mode, relatively easy to install
- Heavy 12 pound motor (direct drive only), smaller wheels can spin if you floor it, LED console is very basic
E-BikeKit has been offering electric bike conversion kits since 2008 and has more options than almost any other brand I know. Their support is good, the website works well and the warranty is solid (unless you get the Sealed Lead-Acid battery which isn’t covered). This isn’t the fanciest kit around, they’re striving for best value, but in my experience it works well and is easy to install. This kit is designed specifically for trikes; it goes a bit slower than the others and doesn’t include a fancy LCD display but does offer reverse and costs a bit less. Basically, if you’ve got a three wheeled bicycle (a model with one wheel in the front and two in the rear) you just swap your front wheel, add a few zip ties, the brake lever and throttle and put the battery pack in your basket.
The motor for all of these kits is the same. It’s a 500 watt direct drive (gearless) front-wheel mounted design that weighs 12 pounds. It’s durable, operates quietly and smoothly and provides good power but does add some rolling resistance to your trike in the form of “cogging”. This basically means that when you aren’t using the system, the front wheel won’t coast as easily because the magnets inside are repelling the stater. I show this in the video review but it’s really not the end of the world, most direct drive motors demonstrate this quality. By watching the LED power indicator you can avoid getting stranded with an empty battery pack and a heavy, slow trike to pedal home.
Speaking of heavy, depending on the battery option you get this thing can add 20 to 30 pounds to your trike. The battery I tested in the video review is a 36 volt 9 amp hour Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) pack that’s the most affordable but also one of the most heavy. Compared with the Lithium-ion options, this pack will get fewer charge cycles before wearing out and is bulkier. For a trike, this isn’t a big deal because there’s plenty of room in the basket and stability from the three wheel design. I love that E-BikeKit sells batteries separately so you can upgrade or get replacement parts later without issue. To make your pack last try to charge it after every ride and avoid extreme heat and cold. Also, keep the battery bag zipped up to keep water and dust out. The bag will also reduce some vibration and this will extend battery life by keeping the chemistry inside the pack from crumbling over time.
The cockpit on your trike may look different than the setup I used but you basically get two brake levers, the LED console and the twist throttle to work with. To make the throttle work with your existing grips you may have to cut one in half and the remaining end piece may become prone to spinning or sliding off. Consider grips that have locking ends like the Ergon GP1 which is also more comfortable to ride with. While it’s nice to have a display included with this kit (some only include a throttle or button to activate the motor) this one is pretty basic. It’s essentially a voltmeter that measures the voltage of your battery pack and provides a general idea of how much juice is left. There are some extra features listed on the display (like lights) that aren’t applicable to this kit but all things considered it’s small, water resistant and functional.
At the end of the day, if you’ve got the option of purchasing a fully built electric trike or building one of your own it may come down to cost or use of a pre-existing non-electric trike that you already own. If you’re handy and interested in doing projects then one of these kits could be a great option. It’s not too tricky to assemble, requiring only basic tools like wrenches and screw drivers. The cons of no no pedal assist, simplistic display and limited top speed actually work in favor of this application because trikes can be less stable and most don’t offer gears to pedal with anyway. I love that the system offers reverse because this could be useful for unloading groceries or parking and retrieving the trike. The availability of replacement parts and the responsive customer service that E-BikeKit offers makes this a great option for people interested in a DIY project.
- Available with Sealed Lead-Acid, Lithium-ion or no battery option at different price points
- Powerful 500 watt direct drive motor is smooth, relatively quiet and very durable
- One of the only electric bike kits I know of that features reverse
- Different mounting options depending on which battery you choose, included bag keeps pack clean and dry
- Great two year motor warranty, solid battery warranty depending on which pack you get (Sealed Lead-Acid has a six month warranty)
- Solid track record with responsive customer support, E-BikeKit has been around since 2008
- Designed, assembled and partially manufactured in the us, packaging is recyclable and does not use styrofoam
- Twist throttle offers variable power output vs. some basic kits that only have an on/off drive button
- Available in a wide range of wheel sizes that don’t cost extra including 20″, 24″, 26″ and 700c / 29er
- Brake levers have a locking clip to keep trikes from rolling away when parked which is nice
- No pedal assist options, kit comes with a half-grip twist throttle only
- Limited top speed of 11 to 15 miles per hour (depending on wheel size), done purposely for safety on trikes
- Basic LED display panel, uses a voltmeter to approximate battery, no speed or distance readouts
- Smaller sized wheels like the 20″ option get more torque but can spin out if you floor it and this will wear the tread down
- Direct drive motors don’t freewheel so you can experience some drag or “cogging” when the system is off
- Official Site: http://www.ebikekit.com/electric-tricycle-conversion-kits/
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/MH6ob3mzRwa1vs2Y9