Business bicycle + towing

chillyphilly

New Member
Hello all, been browsing this and other sites on e bikes. I've ridden bicycles off and on most of my life (now 30yo), but never owned an ebike. We currently run a mobile business and travel anywhere from 10-35 miles in a day. Currently our vehicle hauls 300-400 pounds worth of tools and equipment. I'd like to haul this around on a bicycle with a trailer, and have been eyeing the Bikes for Work trailers. I don't mind pedaling throughout the day, but also need to conserve energy to an extent as the work is somewhat physical. Typically I work 6-8 hours and each stop the bike would be sitting for an hour, so I have considered a solar set up for down the road, as it would have plenty of time to charge. Our terrain here in Boise is fairly flat, no extreme mountains to climb.

I've considered a mt bike or cx frame with a 1000 watt BBHSD motor and one or two heavy duty batteries. Also toyed around with getting a Rohloff hub, but that may be overkill. Would rather stay away from full suspension even though at speed its recommended...I've just ridden full susp most of the time and would like something different. My main concern at this point is towing heavy loads without burning up motors and having enough torque.

That said, what would the more experienced forum members here recommend for towing something like this day in and day out? This would be for the biz, so it would ease taxes...so in the end I wouldn't mind paying for quality, but at the same time still needs to be justified.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
I have a small cargo trailer (70lb max) I use on my 200 watt nominal rear drive Turbo X. It doesn't even feel like it is there until I try to stop. I can't imagine stopping at e-bike speeds with 400 pounds behind me—even with hydraulic disc brakes. With a mid-drive on a bike with substantial low-end gears, stress probably wouldn't be that bad. It would probably be really rough on your drive train and certainly your brakes, tho. Will be interested to see if you come up with a good plan. I'm all for hauling stuff via bike when possible.

Too bad they don't sell the Carla Cargo Trailer in the US.

 

chillyphilly

New Member
Thanks for the reply James. I had seen those Carla Cargo trailers too. Seems like they haul a good bit, albeit probably fairly slowly. I too regularly haul a trailer (on my non electric bike). It's an Avenir two child trailer, loaded with a 2 yo and a 5 yo, along with a couple gallons of water, food, and the day's necessities, and we regularly bike 10-15 miles when we're out, usually about twice a week. It easily weighs over 100 pounds. I just pull it around on an old carbon forked (front and rear) Pro Flex with rim brakes. It's really not bad at all, I just have no experience with 300-400 lbs and ebike motors, though I am capable of building a bike with one.

On a side note, I did email Bikes For Work, and Jim emailed back and told me when he hauled newspapers with the trailers, he would regularly haul 400+ lbs. He stated handling wasn't bad, but he also mentioned he was operating at lower speeds than what an ebike would achieve.

I think you're right though, with the proper gearing and motor, I think it would be okay. I'm curious of the longevity of the motor's life, realistically speaking (obviously based much on how much assist is used). I'd also want to avoid overheating issues hauling weight, as I can't neccesarily stop and let it cool all the time.
 

Berry78

Active Member
You haven't mentioned how far you usually travel between stops.

But, since you are on the flat, I bet a 750w motor will probably do what you need it to as long as the distances aren't excessive. Plan on only going 10mph though.

Maybe contact a couple companies to get ideas from the manufacturers themselves. I'd talk to Juiced, Pedego, OHM, and Xtra cycle.

Google luck!
 

chillyphilly

New Member
Stops really vary per day. Sometimes it's a block, other times it's a handful of miles in between.

Just picked up a project to work with for hauling. A Catrike Villager...different than what I originally had in mind, but I've looked at trikes off and on for 4+ years and finally decided to get one. It will be better for year round work here in snowy Idaho. Supposedly only about 500 miles on this one along with a handful of upgrades...nabbed it for $750.

Long term I'd like to velo it, but for now I need to build/buy an enclosed trailer.

Originally I thought a rear hub motor would be best, but now I'm thinking setting it up in the front wheels for simplicity and AWD. Anyone have experience or know anyone who has a tadpole trike who has motors up front? I'm wondering if it will pull to one side if I only use one wheel motor..? I think two would be overkill, and possibly come with more complications..but it would be cool.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
Stops really vary per day. Sometimes it's a block, other times it's a handful of miles in between.

Just picked up a project to work with for hauling. A Catrike Villager...different than what I originally had in mind, but I've looked at trikes off and on for 4+ years and finally decided to get one. It will be better for year round work here in snowy Idaho. Supposedly only about 500 miles on this one along with a handful of upgrades...nabbed it for $750.

Long term I'd like to velo it, but for now I need to build/buy an enclosed trailer.

Originally I thought a rear hub motor would be best, but now I'm thinking setting it up in the front wheels for simplicity and AWD. Anyone have experience or know anyone who has a tadpole trike who has motors up front? I'm wondering if it will pull to one side if I only use one wheel motor..? I think two would be overkill, and possibly come with more complications..but it would be cool.

Interesting. Falco claimes 500lb towing capacity for the newest big motor. As noted the drivetrain is going to wear quickly. The heavy duty E bike specific chain and steel sprockets would be must haves I think.
I would think the biggest problem being the "tongue weight" of the trailer at the attachment point of the trike. No trike (Cats are Aluminum!) rear end is built for those kind of twisting forces (around corners). I would corner very very slowly if you want to keep that together. Brakes on the trailer would probably be a must. JMO
Rohloff and other internal hubs 'used" to have pretty restrictive (ie Weak) torque ratings (couldn't handle much power/weight) That may have changed but i'd do some reading before goign that way.
I've seen it said that existing hub motors cant' be built into the front wheels of tadpole trikes. (Offset maybe?)
I have a 500w Falco on the rear of my Catrike Expedition. Love it! Falco is awesome.
 
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