Advice on DIY Electric Front Wheel Hub for Adult Tricycle

dbaxter3

New Member
Greetings All,

Wife has a generic brand Adult Tricycle that I want to turn into Electric Tricycle. Thinking about the VoilaMart 24"Electric Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit Front Wheel E Bike Cycling Hub 48V1000W I found on Ebay. Has anyone had any experience with this product? Will I need to order any additional parts like front fork bracket, or something else?

Also, any recommendations on what battery to order?

Here are pics of wife's bike, and also a link to the Voilamart Front Wheel Hub on Ebay.
 

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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
For safety you should add torque arms to your install.

I'm not familiar with the VoilaMart kit but I would ask right up front why such a powerful motor for a tricycle? Lots of steep hills? A need for speed? If not, it might be better to go with something in the 500W range for weight, handling, and battery considerations.

The battery is a crucial component, both from a durability and a safety standpoint. The 1KW motor will draw upwards of 20A. For longevity it's generally recommended that the current draw from the battery be limited to 1C where C(in amps) = (battery watt hour rating)/(battery voltage). For a 20A current draw you'd need a 960Wh battery. These are among the largest you'll find and also the heaviest and most expensive. A 480Wh battery would do it for a 500W motor. These are readily available on eBay though quality is often a concern. You may want to spend a few more $ and get a battery from a known quality source like Ping Battery or Grin Tech.

I installed a similar front hub setup on a MTB some years ago while volunteering at the local Bicycle Kitchen. The lead mechnic was concerned with the durability of the front fork and bearing sets. I switched them out to a cromo fork and external BMX bearings. The salvaged parts were free to me as a volunteer. They held up well even with the high torque motor and years of riding.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

dbaxter3

New Member
Great advice, thanks @Sierratim . I am a total noob, so just thought bigger was better. Wife does not have the need for speed, nor are there any "steep" hills in the area. Some mild hills here and there. I will look into something in the 500W range instead. Will also research torque arms.

Thanks again!
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
You could contact Grin for information and products relating to a front motor conversion. They're very knowledgeable and offer a variety of kits that will fit your wife's bike.
They're on the pricy side, but they sell quality stuff.

 

dbaxter3

New Member
The Grin products are to pricey for me. I'm trying to keep the whole build under $700 total including all accessories. Also, I'm not seeing a lot of 24" Conversion kits with 500W. The VoilaMart kit I posted at beginning has two settings. 750W and 1000W. I will use the low setting 750W. For the battery, is this the right one? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089527CDR/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_mNl8FbZ58YH2Y

I'm not that worried about the added weight of battery. And 15 miles roundtrip is the longest distance she will ride at any one time.

Will get the torque arms for sure.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Those are 24" tires on the front, right? And a steel front fork (use a magnet to check).

I think you need a motor that can run smoothly between 8 and 14 mph, because senior trikes tip over with any speed. 500W on 36V is probably more than enough. Try to get one that fits skinny tires so your brakes will fit. Don't be like this guy,

Only two reviews, but this fits a 100mm fork on your trike. Geared motor.

,
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
The Grin products are to pricey for me. I'm trying to keep the whole build under $700 total including all accessories. Also, I'm not seeing a lot of 24" Conversion kits with 500W. The VoilaMart kit I posted at beginning has two settings. 750W and 1000W. I will use the low setting 750W. For the battery, is this the right one? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089527CDR/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_mNl8FbZ58YH2Y

I'm not that worried about the added weight of battery. And 15 miles roundtrip is the longest distance she will ride at any one time.

Will get the torque arms for sure.
The 48V 20Ah battery ($309) is the right rating.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Tricycles, traditional adult style, are EXTREMELY easy to flip at fairly low speeds. Quick cornering is a disaster.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Given you are a n00bie I suggest not getting a super cheap kit. Spend a bit more and have some support!


1609619764463.png
 

dbaxter3

New Member
Greetings all. I ordered the Ricetoo 500W front wheel hub that HarryS suggested. Should arrive in next couple weeks. Also ordered the torque arm.

I'm still confused about the battery numbers, specifially the "ah" at the end. Appreciate SierraTim posts, but the math still eludes me. I ordered the 48V motor, so I know I need a 48V battery. Is the Ah more about the range? Wife will go no more than 8-10 in each direction, so 15-20 miles tops roundtrip on any of our adventures. Also, trying to figure out where to mount this battery. Her trike is pretty basic design. I don't think the downtube battery will fit considering where the water bottle holes are drilled, unless I drill new holes higher up. The seatpost battery definitely won't work. Originally was thinking of the rear rack battery that I could mount in the rear basket of her trike. Any suggestions or advice on where to mount?

As for the battery, I am considering one of these Considering the 48V 13Ah. Will that do the trick? And just drill the new holes higher up on her downtube? (see pics at beginning of post to see the trike)
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
Greetings all. I ordered the Ricetoo 500W front wheel hub that HarryS suggested. Should arrive in next couple weeks. Also ordered the torque arm.

I'm still confused about the battery numbers, specifially the "ah" at the end. Appreciate SierraTim posts, but the math still eludes me. I ordered the 48V motor, so I know I need a 48V battery. Is the Ah more about the range? Wife will go no more than 8-10 in each direction, so 15-20 miles tops roundtrip on any of our adventures. Also, trying to figure out where to mount this battery. Her trike is pretty basic design. I don't think the downtube battery will fit considering where the water bottle holes are drilled, unless I drill new holes higher up. The seatpost battery definitely won't work. Originally was thinking of the rear rack battery that I could mount in the rear basket of her trike. Any suggestions or advice on where to mount?

As for the battery, I am considering one of these Considering the 48V 13Ah. Will that do the trick? And just drill the new holes higher up on her downtube? (see pics at beginning of post to see the trike)
Ah = amp-hours. A 13Ah rated battery should be able to deliver 13 amps of current for an hour, 1 amp for 13 hours, etc. It's an indication of the battery's max energy storage where energy = voltage x amp-hours. A 48V, 13Ah rated battery would then have a storage capacity of 48V x 13Ah = 624 watt-hours, also expressed as 624Wh. This is a good indicator of the range you could expect from a single charge.

For a 48V, 500W rated motor the 48V, 13Ah battery is a good match for your range goals and battery longevity.

As far as range for your trike conversion, it will depend on riding style (how fast you ride and how much effort you add), terrain (steepness of hills, number of hills, trail surfaces, etc), and conditions (head wind, total weight, maintenance level, tire inflation, etc).

For me I use ~16Wh of energy per mile ridden on our very steep local roads, riding fairly fast with groceries, etc. With a 624Wh battery this would power me for 39 miles. It's best not to fully discharge the battery so figure 80% of this range or 31 miles max. Others report substantially less Wh/mile on flatter ground, etc. Either way, it seems like plenty of range for your anticipated needs.

Have fun with your conversion!
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Some people do ride around with a six pound battery held by two bottle screws and are surprised when it falls off.

Downtube packs work best on a straight downtube so the cradle fits against it., with 3 or 4 secure fasteners. If the tube is curved, you can mount the battery cradle on a steel bar, and use your ingenuity to attach the bar securely to the tube. You can drill/tap steel, but I suggest avoiding it on alloy frames. I've attached hose clamps to the front/middle ends of my battery cradles to avoid drilling alloy frames.

I also agree that 12AH-15AH is enough battery for 30 miles of triking.
 

plochez

New Member
Region
USA
Greetings All,

Wife has a generic brand Adult Tricycle that I want to turn into Electric Tricycle. Thinking about the VoilaMart 24"Electric Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit Front Wheel E Bike Cycling Hub 48V1000W I found on Ebay. Has anyone had any experience with this product? Will I need to order any additional parts like front fork bracket, or something else?

Also, any recommendations on what battery to order?

Here are pics of wife's bike, and also a link to the Voilamart Front Wheel Hub on Ebay.
Hi, one recommendation for you is to consider the right controller package for the Voilamart hub. I personally prefer the controller that supports an LCD that provides the PAS (power assist levels) and a thumb throttle, vs. the cheaper package that only offers a hand throttle with a small screen and little info. It's very easy for an inexperienced user to pull back the hand throttle and lurch the bike forward. I started with the cheaper hand throttles and now am changing to the LCD and thumb throttle options.
 

dbaxter3

New Member
Greetings All,

I received the RICETOO front wheel hub from Amazon this week. Got the battery a month ago and going to start the build this weekend. Need to run to electrical supply tomorrow to figure out how to connect the controller to the battery since the connections are different (see pic). Any suggestions welcome, but pretty sure I can figure that one out.

The big question for this round is how necessary is the PAS system for this setup? Do I even need it? Reminder this is a heavy/clunky tricycle conversion and wife will mainly be using the thumb throttle and electric propulsion and pretty sure she will barely even pedal at all.
 

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harryS

Well-Known Member
The LED displays tend to have abrupt PAS with only three levels, and it's a pain in the to install PAS systems anyway. They never fit as designed.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I suggest you crimp on insulated terminals, so the battery doesn't short. The round one is .157" bullet, the other one looks like .250" flag. Both are available from dorman in insulated versions at auto supplies. I shop at oreillys. Pull test terminals after crimping. I put female on red & male on black so I don't plug in backwards by mistake.
I hated the PAS on my ebikeling kit, minimum speed 11 mph PAS1 minimum acceleration 500 w. When I moved the kit to another bike I didn't move the PAS pickup. 11 mph could turn a 3 wheeler right over in a turn.
Good you didn't buy the voilamart DD kit. Poor acceleration until they get up to 20 mph, and use too many watthours on grades. Geared hub motor as you bought is a much better for traffic, stop & go. DD motors are cheap, useful mainly for long fast commutes with few stops on level ground.
 

dbaxter3

New Member
Hi Everyone and thanks again for all the input and direction. Finished this conversion about a week or so ago. Just got the trike back from bicycle shop to service all the brakes, and wife and I took it out yesterday for a 6 mile roundtrip ride. Of course the whole point of this conversion was so wife could keep up with my on my 21-speed bicycle, and now I can't keep up with her :(

Overall the conversion was a success. Attaching pics of finished tricycle. Again, we bought the trike off amazon a year ago when we moved to small beach town in So. California last year. Wife is not a cyclist and wanted three wheels. I told her to get the 7-speeds, but it was still too heavy for her and she would tire out within a mile or two, and hills were a struggle for her. Tricycle and all bells and whistles cost about $550 including having it assembled at a local bike shop.

Ordered the Ricetoo 48V/500W 24" front hub on Amazon for $275
Ordered the Unit Pack Power 48V 13AH Battery on Amazon for $280.
Torque Arms approx. $20
Controller box approx. $20.
Misc. Hardware approx $20-$25.

Install was pretty easy. Hardest thing was getting the wheel in the forks as there are a couple of washers and spacers that make it a tight fit. Everything else like attaching the brake handles, throttle, etc. was easy. I feel like I could have finessed the battery installation on rear basket a little more, but it's fine for now. May try to build some sort of cage around it, so I don't have to worry about it so much when we park it for short times. If it will be out of sight for more than an hour, we will take the battery with us.

Did not attach/install the pedal assist ring on crankset. Fine without it for the purpose of this tricycle.

If I could do the whole thing over again, would mainly just buy a better tricycle like the Sun, and also think one speed would be fine because my wife is not much of a pedaler and she uses the throttle basically the whole time anyway.
 

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