e-bike to e-trike conversion?

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
Hello-
I'm new to e-bikes but my city is offering vouchers which makes the idea of using an e-bike very tempting! I live near downtown and a lot of my driving is short distances.

I really want a 3-wheel trike for carrying capability and for stability. I'm a nervous and novice biker. I also regularly carry bulky items, like gallons of water.

Right now there's only one 3 wheel trike being sold by the shops that have joined the program and it's the Pedego trike. It's far from my first choice because it seems to be pretty low power and the cargo area isn't as big as I'd like.

I think that the Ride1 Up Cafe Cruiser or one of the RadPower bikes are my top choices based on price and power.

I contacted one of the bike shops because I found a trike conversion kit but they said it would be too difficult to adapt. I think because it is a rear conversion kit. (https://www.tricycleconversionkit.com/)

It seems like a reverse trike conversion might be an easier option when starting with an e-bike? I found the TReGo but I'm not sure if they'll ship to the US. (https://trego-trolley.com/home.) I asked AddBike if they're shipping to the US now. https://add-bike.com/en/carry-box/#read I also found this: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256803904078860.html?. I can definitely get it shipped to the US but who knows about quality. I'd have to figure out how to attach a platform or something for cargo capability but I'm sure I could figure that out.

Are there other options that I'm missing? Googling reverse trike gave me mostly motorcycle related links even when excluding motorcycle.

Anything else I should know/consider?

Thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:

sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
I had a trike for a short while. A BUZZ brand. Trikes are an unique riding experience. A friend, who can ride 2 wheels just fine, got the BUZZ trike from me and LOVES the thing. I have no idea why. But I would be wary of converting a non-trike ebike into a trike. Just buy a trike. The BUZZ had plenty of kick for just being a 350watt mid-drive. Build quality was good as well. Friend has over 1000 miles on it so far with no electrical or motor issues.
 

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
I had a trike for a short while. A BUZZ brand. Trikes are an unique riding experience. A friend, who can ride 2 wheels just fine, got the BUZZ trike from me and LOVES the thing. I have no idea why. But I would be wary of converting a non-trike ebike into a trike. Just buy a trike. The BUZZ had plenty of kick for just being a 350watt mid-drive. Build quality was good as well. Friend has over 1000 miles on it so far with no electrical or motor issues.
My only option for a trike with the rebate is the Pedego trike. It's a 350 hub motor, I believe. It's a lot more than the BUZZ trike which is a bummer.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
There are definitely good bike options for carrying a load. Not trying to talk you out of a trike, but whats the main concern with some sort of cargo bike? Something like a radwagon would seem perfect for you.

The industry experts on trikes are Utah Trikes. They carry pretty much everything. I know you can't buy from them and get your rebate, but their website is a good place to browse and see whats available. Conventional trikes can be converted with a mid drive conversion kit with minor modifications. The Tongsheng TSDZ2 is popular for this (one of the few mid drive conversions that is torque sensing). Eco Cycles sells a trike conversion kit.

Note that trikes come in two configurations. Delta (one wheel in front, two in back) and tadpoles (two in front, one in back). Tadpoles are much more stable at speed. They tend to have a more recumbent riding position (laying more horizontal, like sitting in a recliner).

I think the main issue with trikes is that equivalent quality bikes are just waaaaay less expensive. Trikes are niche, low production items and just tend to be expensive.

I have a (non electric) trike. I inherited it from a friend who passed away. Its fun to ride. My main issue is its really unwieldy to carry around and transport, and mine is about as light and small as trikes get (2009 Catrike Speed). Trikes are physically large and tend to be heavier than a bike.

Hh5Hga5l.jpg
 

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
There are definitely good bike options for carrying a load. Not trying to talk you out of a trike, but whats the main concern with some sort of cargo bike? Something like a radwagon would seem perfect for you.

The industry experts on trikes are Utah Trikes. They carry pretty much everything. I know you can't buy from them and get your rebate, but their website is a good place to browse and see whats available. Conventional trikes can be converted with a mid drive conversion kit with minor modifications. The Tongsheng TSDZ2 is popular for this (one of the few mid drive conversions that is torque sensing). Eco Cycles sells a trike conversion kit.

Note that trikes come in two configurations. Delta (one wheel in front, two in back) and tadpoles (two in front, one in back). Tadpoles are much more stable at speed. They tend to have a more recumbent riding position (laying more horizontal, like sitting in a recliner).

I think the main issue with trikes is that equivalent quality bikes are just waaaaay less expensive. Trikes are niche, low production items and just tend to be expensive.

I have a (non electric) trike. I inherited it from a friend who passed away. Its fun to ride. My main issue is its really unwieldy to carry around and transport, and mine is about as light and small as trikes get (2009 Catrike Speed). Trikes are physically large and tend to be heavier than a bike.

Hh5Hga5l.jpg

I don't know. I think because it seems more 'car like' than a regular bike style. The cargo space on the back of the Radwagon with the big basket looks to be a good size and would probably be enough space. :)

I'll call UtahTrikes in the morning and see if they have any suggestions.

To a newbie, the Ride1Up and the Radpower look pretty similar to me. Is there a reason you'd suggest the Rad over Ride1Up?

Thank you so much!!
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
I don't know. I think because it seems more 'car like' than a regular bike style. The cargo space on the back of the Radwagon with the big basket looks to be a good size and would probably be enough space. :)

I'll call UtahTrikes in the morning and see if they have any suggestions.

To a newbie, the Ride1Up and the Radpower look pretty similar to me. Is there a reason you'd suggest the Rad over Ride1Up?

Thank you so much!!

The Radwagon is their cargo bike. Not sure what sorts of loads you generally want to carry. Cargo bikes have an elongated rear triangle to lengthen the cargo space. I only commented on Rad because I think they are the least expensive electric cargo bike, and I've known a few people who had them and were generally happy with them. 1up has a good reputation too. Rad has a bunch of options for that rear deck (including a seat if you want to schlep another person around).

Any normal city bike (like the Cafe Cruiser or RadCity) with a front and rear rack can comfortably carry a lot of stuff though. Cargo bikes make sense when your load gets heavy. Are you thinking grocery runs, or something heavier/bulkier than that?

The thing to keep in mind with trikes is they are unweildy. They are difficult to transport (don't fit on standard bike racks, are difficult to stuff in your average sedan, etc). They sometimes don't fit between bollards at the entrance to bike paths. They can be hard to get through doors. Car-like can be an apt description. Could be a non-issue if you have a garage you'll ride out of. If you live in a third floor apartment, might be a problem. Upside, they are stable. At lights and stop signs you can just sit there without needing to put a foot down. The recumbent style ones are very comfortable, and put zero pressure on your wrist and shoulders (which can be great if you have issues with those joints). You feel cornering forces which is fun! Its like riding a go-cart.

If you really want something that can carry a load, you can look into the bakfiets style cargo bikes. Like the Yuba Supercargo. There are other options out there too.
 

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
The Radwagon is their cargo bike. Not sure what sorts of loads you generally want to carry. Cargo bikes have an elongated rear triangle to lengthen the cargo space. I only commented on Rad because I think they are the least expensive electric cargo bike, and I've known a few people who had them and were generally happy with them. 1up has a good reputation too. Rad has a bunch of options for that rear deck (including a seat if you want to schlep another person around).

Any normal city bike (like the Cafe Cruiser or RadCity) with a front and rear rack can comfortably carry a lot of stuff though. Cargo bikes make sense when your load gets heavy. Are you thinking grocery runs, or something heavier/bulkier than that?

The thing to keep in mind with trikes is they are unweildy. They are difficult to transport (don't fit on standard bike racks, are difficult to stuff in your average sedan, etc). They sometimes don't fit between bollards at the entrance to bike paths. They can be hard to get through doors. Car-like can be an apt description. Could be a non-issue if you have a garage you'll ride out of. If you live in a third floor apartment, might be a problem. Upside, they are stable. At lights and stop signs you can just sit there without needing to put a foot down. The recumbent style ones are very comfortable, and put zero pressure on your wrist and shoulders (which can be great if you have issues with those joints). You feel cornering forces which is fun! Its like riding a go-cart.

If you really want something that can carry a load, you can look into the bakfiets style cargo bikes. Like the Yuba Supercargo. There are other options out there too.

I've never ridden a cargo bike so I'm not sure if you need to balance the cargo, prevent it from shifting, etc.. I thought it would be easier to be able to throw everything in the trike. (I don't imagine things will be super heavy. A good chunk of my driving is for volunteering (feed/water community cats which is why I need the gallons of water) and small tools for home/appliance repair. And groceries too but that won't be as heavy. I'm really into TReGo since it seems like the best of both worlds. It can be a bike or a trike with the removable option.

Thanks for chatting with me! I'm excited to get an e-bike. It makes a lot of sense for my life since a lot of what I do is within 3 miles of my house.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Gotcha! Another option to consider is a normal utility ebike of some sort and then add a cargo trailer. A Radcity/Ride1up Cafe Cruiser plus something like a Burley Flatbed would give you a lot of carrying capacity, and the weight is on the trailer which has two wheels and can't tip. Plus you have the versatility of being able to leave the trailer at home when you just want to ride or do light errands. And the combination isn't that expensive.
 

sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
I've seen some serious hauling done with Rad Power RadWagons. Look into one of them if your on the fence and if they qualify for this rebate thing you mention. Nice affordable entrance to cargo bikes and easy to resell if you upgrade or loose interest. Pedego sells a decent cargo bike as well. Plus side to the Pedego is if you have a dealer nearby you get local support.
 

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
Gotcha! Another option to consider is a normal utility ebike of some sort and then add a cargo trailer. A Radcity/Ride1up Cafe Cruiser plus something like a Burley Flatbed would give you a lot of carrying capacity, and the weight is on the trailer which has two wheels and can't tip. Plus you have the versatility of being able to leave the trailer at home when you just want to ride or do light errands. And the combination isn't that expensive.
That trailer looks like it could handle a Costco shopping trip! :) Thanks for the tip!
 

wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
I've seen some serious hauling done with Rad Power RadWagons. Look into one of them if your on the fence and if they qualify for this rebate thing you mention. Nice affordable entrance to cargo bikes and easy to resell if you upgrade or loose interest. Pedego sells a decent cargo bike as well. Plus side to the Pedego is if you have a dealer nearby you get local support.
We just got a Rad Power store and they're part of the program. We have 2 Pedego stores and a Ride1Up dealer too.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Petaluma, CA
Ridding an eTrike takes practice. It is a two dimensional object. Flat. Typically only one wheel is driven. That makes left turns different than right turns. You need to practice figure eights in all sizes and speeds. Then do the same on a slope from every angle. A mid-drive cargo bike would be far preferable. Here are some of mine.
 

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wineandcatgal_74

New Member
Region
USA
Gotcha! Another option to consider is a normal utility ebike of some sort and then add a cargo trailer. A Radcity/Ride1up Cafe Cruiser plus something like a Burley Flatbed would give you a lot of carrying capacity, and the weight is on the trailer which has two wheels and can't tip. Plus you have the versatility of being able to leave the trailer at home when you just want to ride or do light errands. And the combination isn't that expensive.

Here's a great trailer on a Rad: https://i.redd.it/upkfxmjgqhb91.jpg
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
There are 3 different 3 wheel bikes designs. Tad pole with 2 wheels in front recumbent riding position, traditional with 2 wheels in back, and delta with 2 wheels in back in a recumbent riding position. Traditionals usually are detuned because with the very high center of gravity, they tip over very easily in a turn. There are those trying to design leaning trikes that overcome the instability of an upright design. 2 wheels in front. Making a DIY converted eBike will almost be making a death machine unless you are really loose in the seat and learn to really move your body around to keep the center of gravity much lower. But leaning your body way over and continuing to pedal is a young man's game.
 

kevinmccune

Active Member
Region
USA
I had a trike for a short while. A BUZZ brand. Trikes are an unique riding experience. A friend, who can ride 2 wheels just fine, got the BUZZ trike from me and LOVES the thing. I have no idea why. But I would be wary of converting a non-trike ebike into a trike. Just buy a trike. The BUZZ had plenty of kick for just being a 350watt mid-drive. Build quality was good as well. Friend has over 1000 miles on it so far with no electrical or motor issues.
That is good to know.
 

Rudy Pekau

New Member
Region
Canada
That is good to know.
Ebikebc in Vancouver Canada has a nice one, looks pretty sturdy ,it is foldable and costs about US $ 2400.I bought several conversion
kits from them and they all worked fine.I just converted a Schwinn trike to electric with their kit, costs about US $ 1200 and it worked fine.
Rudy, Calgary , Alberta, Canada