E-bike for disabled adult

sarahlaughed

New Member
Region
USA
I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder. It’s degenerative, so I have to take into account potential future loss of function for all purchases. It mostly affected my legs in past decades, but has hit my hands recently, such that my thumbs frequently dislocate.

I still have to get around, though, so I’m looking for a motor assist for my wheelchair, and a cargo e-trike (maybe e-bike, but I think I wouldn’t be able to use a bike as long as something I can stay upright on even if one of my leg joints fail). I can’t afford gas, insurance, and such for a van or car, and am happy enough strapping my wheelchair to the back of a motorcycle, so why not?

I can operate throttles, and I very much enjoy pedaling; pedaling just isn’t a reliable power source for me, since I sometimes find that one leg suddenly doesn’t work. I find recumbent cycles easier to do for long periods than conventional cycles (and I need to be able to go at least 20 miles without a lengthy break), and with the amount of pain my disability generates, every bit of comfort is a plus.

I live in a busy city — lots of traffic, and cyclists often have to hop up a 2-inch curb and leave the road for brief stretches. I’m thinking maybe a fat tire trike, with steering/throttle located closer to my waist, rather than conventional bicycle handlebar, would be easier for my shoulders (which are also loose. All of my joints are loose).

I’m really hoping to find something for $5k or less, but doubt that’s realistic. I’m bracing to swallow my pride and try a GoFundMe for whatever budget is necessary to make it possible for me to get to medical appointments and continue to live independently. An e-bike or e-trike seems perfect, especially since I aspired to Olympic cycling, before my knees blew, and I miss the feel of the wind in my face!

I’m thinking I might need a cargo fat tire trike. Does that sound right? Any recommendations?
 
Last edited:

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I have Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder. It’s degenerative, so I have to take into account potential future loss of function for all purchases. It mostly affected my legs in past decades, but has hit my hands recently, such that my thumbs frequently dislocate.

I still have to get around, though, so I’m looking for a motor assist for my wheelchair, and a cargo e-trike (maybe e-bike, but I think I wouldn’t be able to use a bike as long as something I can stay upright on even if one of my leg joints fail). I can’t afford gas, insurance, and such for a van or car, and am happy enough strapping my wheelchair to the back of a motorcycle, so why not?

I can operate throttles, and I very much enjoy pedaling; pedaling just isn’t a reliable power source for me, since I sometimes find that one leg suddenly doesn’t work. I find recumbent cycles easier to do for long periods than conventional cycles (and I need to be able to go at least 20 miles without a lengthy break), and with the amount of pain my disability generates, every bit of comfort is a plus.

I live in a busy city — lots of traffic, and cyclists often have to hop up a 2-inch curb and leave the road for brief stretches. I’m thinking maybe a fat tire trike, with steering/throttle located closer to my waist, rather than conventional bicycle handlebar, would be easier for my shoulders (which are also loose. All of my joints are loose).

I’m really hoping to find something for $5k or less, but doubt that’s realistic. I’m bracing to swallow my pride and try a GoFundMe for whatever budget is necessary to make it possible for me to get to medical appointments and continue to live independently. An e-bike or e-trike seems perfect, especially since I aspired to Olympic cycling, before my knees blew, and I miss the feel of the wind in my face!

I’m thinking I might need a cargo fat tire trike. Does that sound right? Any recommendations?
Just saw this thread. We have a subforum on ebikes and disability here . https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/disability/
And at least one builder who does a lot of ebikes for special needs @PedalUma . Check that thread and maybe post there if you aren't getting any help here. And welcome to EBR!
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Are you familiar with the HiFive foundation? They may be able to help out. There are several companies doing exciting things with e assist disabled cycling. One that really impresses me is Bowhead Corporation.

There are so many levels of diasability to deal with that each persons needs and how to address them is specific to their injury. Which means custom and that means $$.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Are you familiar with the HiFive foundation? They may be able to help out. There are several companies doing exciting things with e assist disabled cycling. One that really impresses me is Bowhead Corporation.

There are so many levels of diasability to deal with that each persons needs and how to address them is specific to their injury. Which means custom and that means $$.
And probably $$$ ... well spent if it helps you get around.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Welcome. I am not advocating for this particular website, merely giving one example. An idea. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08239G6FY/ref=twister_dp_update?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true
This is an affordable adult trike with a lightweight aluminum frame and seven speeds. It is a must to upgrade to mountain brake pads. A local bike person can assemble it out of the box and put in the motor, sold separately, between the pedals. It will be able to go up low curbs. You will want to immediately upgrade to something such as Marathon Plus green guard eBike tires. I like small light motors that are smooth, not the heavy speed demon ones. Tastes differ. You wont want to ride a wheelie on your trike! It does not need to be expensive. In fact it will cost much less then bikes at bike shops and will preform about the same or better.
 
Last edited:

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You might like to try to test ride different types of trikes to determine which layout you feel most comfortable controlling. Delta trikes have the two wheels in back, Tadpole trikes have the two wheels in front. Upright trikes are a bit more prone to tipping in turns, whereas recumbent trikes have a lower center of gravity but as I say try to test ride as many different types until you find a style that works for you.

As for suggestions, Some recumbents including ICE trike, Catrike, Hase, are all very expensive. Maybe as you want to hop curbs consider converting a lightweight recumbent trike with an aluminum frame from Greenspeed or TerraTrike, @PedalUma could advise about custom trike conversions.
 
Last edited:

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Some reviews here ...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
You might like to try to test ride different types of trikes to determine which layout you feel most comfortable controlling. Delta trikes have the two wheels in back, Tadpole trikes have the two wheels in front. Upright trikes are a bit more prone to tipping in turns, whereas recumbent trikes have a lower center of gravity but as I say try to test ride as many different types until you find a style that works for you.

As for suggestions, Some recumbents including ICE trike, Catrike, Hase, are all very expensive. Maybe as y want to hop curbs consider converting a lightweight recumbent trike with an aluminum frame from Greenspeed or TerraTrike, @PedalUma could advise about custom trike conversions.
Great reply. Be careful about the really upright trikes and tipping of course, but there's a lot more going on, like hand throttle position when you use throttle all the time, and mount and dismount .
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
there's a lot more going on, like…mount and dismount .
Good point, I am fortunate to have a specialist recumbent trike/bike store Bikes@Vienna in my area to be able to try out a variety of different types, some recumbents can be too low for me to comfortably get up from. If you can find a specialist trike dealer in your area I encourage the OP test ride as many models as she can.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
When you first try a trike do a bunch of figure eights slowly in a safe place. Do tight ones and larger ones. When you feel comfortable then you can test ride it. Many have only one drive side wheel. Without a differential the dynamics are different for left than right turns. Walmart had or has some that fold. That is a great way to store it or to lock it. These ones will fit through a standard door and are under $500. The tires, grips, and saddles are junk. So are the chains, cassettes, derailleurs and brake pads. But the heart is the frame. Everything else can easily be upgraded.
 

Kerrith

New Member
Region
USA
Test drive several times before buying. Each brand has different features. It's a bummer to discover you don't have a "parking brake" as others have. Important for us seniors, one brand has a lower step-through to mount. I find that emails signed "Regards" etc., instead of the email responder's name communicates lots when it comes to responsible, trackable, service.