Pedal assist bikes for children (too small for adult-sized bikes) with disabilities

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
Some time ago @Pierre C asked about this, and I said I'd ask the question in a thread of its own, but forgot to do so!

Pierre asked about bikes for children who have breathing issues and thus can't ride a regular bike or trike on this thread:
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/welcome-to-disability-and-ebiking.24613/

Using a kit to electrify a kid's bike was mentioned as a possibility, but it seems rim size might be an issue?

Anyway, having a thread here will help to share ideas, and maybe inspire manufacturers/makers, including companies that make adaptive bikes for children with disabilities.

Thoughts, anyone?
 

Vicy

New Member
I'm also chasing an electric bike for a child with hypotonia. He can balance on a normal bike but doesn't have the strength to ride more than a hundred metres without wearing himself out. He's 125cm's tall and needs a seat height less than 60cm. Currently on a 16in normal bike but looking to progress to a 20in bike or equivalent ebike.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
It would be great if there were a way to do a conversion with the 16" bike, because it's really good for kids to learn on a "too small" bike, where they can put both feet flat on the ground. Have you considered a Bafang conversion as described by @Redrock ? I don't know anything about this, just sharing information. I think having the controller programmed so the bike doesn't move too fast, is a great idea, so having a programmable controller would be great. It makes sense to me that after you tried this on the 16" bike, you could then convert a larger bike, re-using the parts, as your child grows?? You might try calling some companies that do ebike conversions for advice, too. Would you let us know how it goes? It would be great if this thread could be a resource for other families with special needs kids, too. :)
 

Vicy

New Member
Thanks for your reply ebikemom. He definitely needs to go to a 20in, his knees are starting to hit the handle bars on his 16in and he can ride it confidently, just not far.
We’re struggling to find a conversion kit small enough, they all seem to start at 24in. Sales people we’ve spoken to have poo poo’d the idea just because he’s a child. I’m hoping to find someone who has bought a child’s ebike or who has converted one and can offer some advice.
Even someone who’s converted an adult bike and knows of a kit small enough for a child’s bike.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
Vicy, have you tried him on a 24 inch bike? The larger wheels provide more stability when moving and might save some energy.

I'd be very cautious about putting a child on a heavy ebike, especially if they have reduced strength. The last thing you want is him getting fatigued and not being able to keep the bike upright - perhaps staying conventional but running low ( slow) gearing so he doesn't struggle so much? Invest in light ?
 

Vicy

New Member
Yes, weight has definitely been a concern for us. His current bike is 14kg and he does struggle to pull it over curbs etc. Although he can hold it upright without problem.
He does currently use low gearing and we’d be looking to do that again if needed.
We haven’t been able to find a 24in bike with a low enough seat for him. He needs to be able to get both feet close to flat on the ground to help with his balance.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
Vicy, I know you will keep trying. In the meantime, your child is growing. Keep him cycling the short distances he can tolerate as he grows, and if you don't find something for 20", by the time he is ready for 24" an ebike will be ready for him!!!

I also wonder--is there an organization in your area that does adaptive cycling? In ur area there is Outdoors for All. They don't do ebiking, but they have quite a variety of adaptive bikes. You should be able to find themonline

With your son's stamina issues, I wonder if, over time, he might do best with a recumbant ebike? Then, the weight of the bike won't be an issue.
 

Vicy

New Member
I’ve offered him a recumbent or a tricycle but he wants something the same as the other kids.

Unfortunately no one doing adaptive cycles locally but we’ve spoken to some suppliers down south. Just hard when we can’t do a face to face meet.
 

elizilla

Member
On the ebikekit.com website they have a “performance bike kit” that is available in 16” and 20” wheel sizes. It seems like this could be installed on a kid bike with that size wheel. Probably easier to do a front wheel.
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
If the kids bike has a standard bottom bracket, the easiest solution would be the Tongsheng kit, and use the 350 watt, 36V version.

The torque sensor will be more appropriate for a kid, and respond much more like a regular bike, so it'll probably be safer too.

This is also one of the easiest DIY ebike solutions on the market. It's best to use on a single front sprocket ( chain ring) bike, with perhaps 6,7, or 8 speed cassette or freewheel in the rear. A regular bike with this kit will also be lighter weight than any oem ebike you could find to fit him.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I'm not here to burst anyone's bubble, but the reality for children's ebikes at this point, is not looking good from the eyes of law enforcement.

In USA and Canada, many states and provinces require the ebike rider to be minimum 16: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws

Kids ebikes do exist, it was covered in this video as well.

However, something to mention.. looks like the video was taken in British Columbia, Canada, where all ebike riders are required to be at least 16.
From the eyes of law enforcement, they're breaking the law and committing an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia.
This could be a problem if they get into some kind of an accident with pedestrian and police found out that kids were riding an ebike, that might not go well.
Even if they were not at fault, for example vehicle to cyclist accident, the insurance company of the driver may deny the coverage.
Sorry for being so negative, but it's just something to be aware of.

Don't get me wrong, I honestly think kids ebikes are fantastic idea especially when they have disabilities. Making this opportunity illegal does not make sense to me.
It will most definitely open up the possibilities and if I was the kid, I would most definitely try one.

I just think the law needs to be changed. Because whoever came up with the law, probably wasn't really thinking about kids ebikes.
As you can see in the video, those kids aren't being hazards. It's not like they're riding one of those 80cc-100cc kids dirt bike.
 
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