Feasible doing my own trike conversion?

Status
Not open for further replies.

bcsteeve

New Member
Hello. I've been curious about e-bikes for years, but never got past the "just looking" stage. I see from my own profile here that I was posting a bit 6 years ago. Lol, oh how times change.

What hasn't changed is that I still really have no experience with bikes, electric or otherwise.

What has changed is that I got injured last year after getting hit by an inattentive driver while I was walking, and the specialist has advised getting a recumbent bike. Granted, he means a stationary bike, but I know I'd never use it. A bit of googling and I "discover" trikes! Cool! I never knew they existed. After a ton of rehab, my remaining injuries leave me with a foot that hurts when I walk but should be OK pedaling, and sciatic pain if I sit in an upright position.

I'm in Canada, and I've contacted every single shop I can find here, and nobody has a package that checks off all my boxes. I'm wondering how feasible it is to make something custom? Can I start with a non-electric trike and add the powertrain myself and expect to end up with a functioning result?

With regard to "check the boxes", this is what I'm looking for:
  • Ok with a 300lb rider (since my injury, I've gained over 30 pounds :( I'm currently at 297 with clothing)
  • Suitable for a tall rider. I'm 6'4"
  • Off-road capable. I suppose this isn't critical, but what I think I'll find most interesting is exploring the hundreds of km's of mountain bike and hiking trails that are just a 5 minute walk from my house. Quite mountainous with pretty harsh terrain in spots. I'm not looking for speed, but power to go up steep inclines and crawl over rocks and roots would be great. If that's just not doable, then I suppose I'll stick to roads.
  • Quite reclined (preferably adjustably so)

I don't mind doing research, but hoping you knowledgable folks could at least tell me "no, that ain't gonna work" or else give me a nudge in the right direction.

Cheers.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
An off road recumbent trike is going to be a stretch but you can find any number of related posts using the Forum's search function and entering 'recumbent trike'.

Good hunting!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Two wheel in the back trikes are prone to turning over at speeds >maybe 10 mph.
There is another class of trike, the two front wheel type, with the wheels tilting into the turn as the handlebar steers. These should be safer at higher speeds. The motor in the back where the majority of the rider's weight would be is an advantage, also.
There are various articles about these in the cargo bikes section. https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/cargo/ There are number of brands, some in North America. The chances of building one of these yourself is insignificant.
 

bcsteeve

New Member
Hmm, perhaps I'm in the wrong place?

@indianajo - thanks for your input. I wasn't thinking 2 wheels in the back. I didn't even realize that was a thing, because yeah it sounds unstable. I'm looking at things like the Full Fat, Fat Tad, etc on places like Utah Trikes, which appear to be designed for what I'm looking for. The issue, as I thought I stated, is availability. I can get the trikes and I can (separately) get the electronics. My question was on the feasibility of putting the two together with zero experience. I'm not meaning like welding tubes and actually MAKING a bike from scratch.

I did manage to get hold of a guy in Canada who sells eBikes and he's offered me some tips, but he stopped short of helping me build one. He seems to think he knows what I need, but it is counter to his supplier agreements. He mentioned the Bafang BBS02, which he doesn't carry. He also suggested the SunSeeker Fat Tad. I can order A and I can order B... but with so little (none) experience, I'm just not confident I'll end up with a functional unit unless there's some guides I haven't yet been able to find.

I'm also concerned with ongoing maintenance with the BBS02. I've read various sites saying that they are far less reliable and require far more maintenance than a geared hub motor, but the guy that sort of was helping me out says "hub isn't the way to go".
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
The trikes that fall over are designs like Schwinn & Workman. You get low enough, maybe that won't happen.
Cutting the bottom bracket, welding on an adapter for mid drive, taking a 3 piece crank apart are beyond my patience. I tried to replace the crank arms on a pacific quantum MTB because I wore one out (plastic). 6 industrial or automotive pullers later, It wouldn't come off. Scrapped it, bought the bike left from yuba.
Bolting a hub motor in the same width fork, finding double nuts so it won't walk around, making torque arms & reaction brackets, yeah, that is a couple of afternoons project. Making a battery bracket, display mount bracket, & controller mount bracket were another couple of afternoons. Low tech, pretty assured of motive power if your motor & battery aren't trash. I wasted a year pedaling myself because the first two batteries were trash. First hub motor lasted 2 1/2 years, ~4500 miles, cost a whole $221. Replacement Mac12t hub motor was $700 with controller & throttle. 1000 miles on that one. Enjoy your recumbant. I sit up straight like Mary Poppins on the carroussel horse: no back hip or neck problems. Just sore glutes from compression & no fat anymore.
 

bcsteeve

New Member
I have to admit, I'm having a hard time following your post, but thank you nonetheless.

I'm not looking to weld or cut or jimmy or rig anything. I was hoping to bolt motor X onto frame Y and have an electic-assist recumbent trike. You're not making that feel feasible. But then what are places like Utah Trikes doing? It sure sounds like they're taking off-the-shelf trikes and adding on an electric kit. Are they fabricating brackets to get to the final product? Quite possibly.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I made an electric trike for a disabled physicist to carry his satellite equipment on campus and to use on his ranch. It does not tip and rides much higher than a recumbent which cars cannot see. I have photos from before the conversion. He went with a 750W TSDZ2 (look this up) which has a thumb throttle, and is limited to 20 MPH. We put on Marathon Plus Speed Rated tires and a Selle Royal Gel Freetime saddle. You will require an extra-long and strong seat post. Have a local bike shop that works on ebikes do the conversion for you. Garrett loves his eTrike. We looked at expensive Trikes and went with a $289 from Walmart with free shipping because he will not use the high-end features of an expensive build.
 

Attachments

  • DSCF7114.JPG
    DSCF7114.JPG
    196.9 KB · Views: 22
  • DSCF7144.JPG
    DSCF7144.JPG
    29.5 KB · Views: 24
  • DSCF7153.JPG
    DSCF7153.JPG
    43.1 KB · Views: 22
  • DSCF7158.JPG
    DSCF7158.JPG
    57.7 KB · Views: 21
  • DSCF7183.jpg
    DSCF7183.jpg
    3.1 MB · Views: 25

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Hello. I've been curious about e-bikes for years, but never got past the "just looking" stage. I see from my own profile here that I was posting a bit 6 years ago. Lol, oh how times change.

What hasn't changed is that I still really have no experience with bikes, electric or otherwise.

What has changed is that I got injured last year after getting hit by an inattentive driver while I was walking, and the specialist has advised getting a recumbent bike. Granted, he means a stationary bike, but I know I'd never use it. A bit of googling and I "discover" trikes! Cool! I never knew they existed. After a ton of rehab, my remaining injuries leave me with a foot that hurts when I walk but should be OK pedaling, and sciatic pain if I sit in an upright position.

I'm in Canada, and I've contacted every single shop I can find here, and nobody has a package that checks off all my boxes. I'm wondering how feasible it is to make something custom? Can I start with a non-electric trike and add the powertrain myself and expect to end up with a functioning result?

With regard to "check the boxes", this is what I'm looking for:
  • Ok with a 300lb rider (since my injury, I've gained over 30 pounds :( I'm currently at 297 with clothing)
  • Suitable for a tall rider. I'm 6'4"
  • Off-road capable. I suppose this isn't critical, but what I think I'll find most interesting is exploring the hundreds of km's of mountain bike and hiking trails that are just a 5 minute walk from my house. Quite mountainous with pretty harsh terrain in spots. I'm not looking for speed, but power to go up steep inclines and crawl over rocks and roots would be great. If that's just not doable, then I suppose I'll stick to roads.
  • Quite reclined (preferably adjustably so)

I don't mind doing research, but hoping you knowledgable folks could at least tell me "no, that ain't gonna work" or else give me a nudge in the right direction.

Cheers.
1615238143412.png


I've not done a trike conversion but ecocycles sells a trike version of the TSDZ2

They list it as out of stock but send them an email. In my limited experience they answer questions same day.

I have installed the Tongsheng on two different Dahon folding bikes. One required frame modification so that part wasn't the easiest but it wasn't difficult either. The other bike required no modification and for that bike it was a very quick and easy procedure.
 

legsofbeer

Active Member
He also suggested the SunSeeker Fat Tad. I can order A and I can order B... but with so little (none) experience, I'm just not confident I'll end up with a functional unit unless there's some guides I haven't yet been able to find.
I don't think you'll find any bolt-it-together options for a recumbent fat tire electric trike. If your budget can cover it I'd go with a Utah Trike model (didn't know you could even buy an off the shelf recumbent electric trike). Their prices aren't bad for what you're getting, and you'd probably spend more than that on blind alleys if you tried to do it yourself.
 

bcsteeve

New Member
I would simply order from Utah, but they don't seem to ship to Canada. I can get the trike and I can get the motor kit... but I have no idea if I can successfully marry the two. Considering Utah sells the same trike and (optionally) with the same drivetrain... it must be possible. But I have no idea if they're doing a bunch of custom fabrication work.

Sun Seeker actually sells the Fat Tad with a factory electric option, and that is available to me apparently... BUT, I've read in several places that hub motors are a bad idea for trikes, particularly if going offroad (slow, steep). The factory one is a hub motor. Hub has an advantage w.r.t reliability and maintenance though.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
You said you're in Canada.

Have you contacted Grin Technologies? They're in British Columbia. www.ebikes.ca

They have this motor called All Axle, it's very light weight and good for recumbent trike.


There's also GMAC, but I think All Axle is more well suited for recumbent trike.

 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Wow, now that looks interesting! I hadn't come across that, thank you
You're welcome.

Grin Technologies is world's renown ebike tuner. They're very well known in ebike world.
They're well known for Satiator charger, Phaserunner controller, Cycle Analyst display, GMAC motor (though, I'd recommend All Axle Motor for your application), and many more.

I'd definitely check them out.
 

bcsteeve

New Member
You're welcome.

Grin Technologies is world's renown ebike tuner. They're very well known in ebike world.
They're well known for Satiator charger, Phaserunner controller, Cycle Analyst display, GMAC motor (though, I'd recommend All Axle Motor for your application), and many more.

I'd definitely check them out.
Will do! And they are practically in my back yard. Lots of reading to do in the AM :)
 

bcsteeve

New Member
@Timpo I had a busy day but spent the last hour or so going through the fantastic information at ebikes.ca. I'm shocked in all my searching I never found this place! But I am still confused. Or maybe "concerned" is a better word.

Primarily it is this page on "Why Hub Motors" where it says:

Where do BBSxx and similar mid-drives shine?​

There are a certain areas where bottom bracket middrive motors are hands down better suited than hub motors. Offroad mountain biking is one great example.
Ok, so that pretty much describes my scenario. The wording can be used relatively though. Should I take that as mid-drive is absolutely the way I should go (I've been told that by a couple of shops so far), or just that mid-drive might offer certain benefits but aren't critical? Do you think these all-axle hubs can handle my weight and use-case? Specifically low-speed trogging through relatively rough terrain, or perhaps snow.

I very much appreciate the benefits of the hub system listed on that page! But is all that negated by that quoted passage, or am I just reading too much into that?
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
@Timpo I had a busy day but spent the last hour or so going through the fantastic information at ebikes.ca. I'm shocked in all my searching I never found this place! But I am still confused. Or maybe "concerned" is a better word.

Primarily it is this page on "Why Hub Motors" where it says:

Ok, so that pretty much describes my scenario. The wording can be used relatively though. Should I take that as mid-drive is absolutely the way I should go (I've been told that by a couple of shops so far), or just that mid-drive might offer certain benefits but aren't critical? Do you think these all-axle hubs can handle my weight and use-case? Specifically low-speed trogging through relatively rough terrain, or perhaps snow.

I very much appreciate the benefits of the hub system listed on that page! But is all that negated by that quoted passage, or am I just reading too much into that?
I don't know about trike, but on bicycle, yes mid drive does have advantage because of better balance.

I am not sure about your specific scenario?
Do you have any pictures of relatively rough terrain?

You will be using dual motor right? That's quite a bit of power.. I don't think it will be a problem but I think the easiest way is to ask Grin.

Sorry I'm not really answering your questions :confused:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.