- An affordable but simple electric tricycle, it uses a durable Lithium-ion battery pack that is easy to reach and charge on or off the bike but requires the key to stay in when riding
- Lots of utility but also lots of noise given the two Aluminum alloy mesh baskets, the front basket has a lid that could be removed to make it quieter, available in two colors
- Highly adjustable stem and handlebars for improved fit and comfort, the seat cain raise up or down but the collar locking system is cheap and difficult to use, the saddle flips up for easier battery access
- Nice Alumium fenders and plastic chain guard that will keep you dry and clean, low-step frame is easy to mount and control, smaller 20" wheels are strong and reduce the stand over height, optional throttle can be difficult to install
Electric trikes can be great, the motor system enables a heavy but stable product to start and move more easily, bringing freedom back into the life of someone with limited mobility. They may seem ideal for seniors without a lot of money or a driver’s license, but there are always trade-offs to consider. Once you pay for the electric trike, charging it up only costs ~$0.10 and it can go 20+ miles each time, it can be ridden in bike lanes or on sidewalks, and it will enable you to move groceries, pick up laundry, or ride to meet friends and go to church etc. In my mind, it’s one step down from an automobile, which must be ridden in the street at higher speeds, and one step up from a bulky and costly handicap scooter which might not go as fast. The downsides however, are that many electric trikes, such as the Revolve Steady Eddie, do not offer reverse and are not always as safe or steady as the name suggests. If you put your feed down for stability when turning or stopping and the trike hasn’t fully stopped, your feet can get pushed forward, scraped, or even run over by the rear portion of the bike. Apparently this happened to my friend Sam’s mother and she fell and broke her hip. If you turn hard while riding faster than 3-5 mph, the trike can tip onto two wheels or completely over onto its side. I don’t mean to be alarmist here, it’s just important to go in knowing how to slow down and make turns safely. Apparently, this electric trike can go ~20 mph and there’s no speedometer built in, so you’ll have to feel it out and be extra safe when turning. Sam owns and runs the Electric Bicycle Center in Fullerton, California and is the only shop I have visited which carries this particular e-trike. He told me that similar designs abound online, and that he carries it because of the lower price point. He talked about the importance of keeping feet up, waiting to turn it on and off until you’re fully situated and stable. Depending on how you get this product, transport and assembly can be difficult because it weighs ~81 lbs and is fairly wide. Sam told me that the trike did not come with the trigger throttle installed initially and that it took his trained staff over an hour to do the complete setup, it sounded like they struggled to run the wire from the controller box up to the throttle and that they hadn’t finished zip tying all of the wires before we shot this review so it looked a little messy. In my experience (and Sam’s) most trike riders depend almost completely on the throttle to get started and ride without pedaling because the body position is more upright and cadence sensors (which this trike uses) aren’t as responsive as torque or multi-sensors. The price point on the Steady Eddie is low, but some of the systems and components are simply more basic. The seat clamp was difficult to tighten and seemed to be stripping on one side, the plastic pedals weren’t especially stiff or grippy, the display didn’t show precise battery level or speed readouts. My favorite features of the bike were its upgraded Lithium-ion battery pack, which will last longer and weighs less than a Sealed Lead Acid pack, and the integrated lights and cargo bins… even though they rattled and made a lot of noise during my test ride. Being able to remove the front basket lid to make it quieter and also remove the battery when parked so you can charge it on or off the bike fantastic. The fact that this battery runs the lights in addition to the motor just makes it safer and more convenient for year-round use when the daylight periods become more limited. I found a lot to like about this electric trike overall but agree that an in-person trailing or help from a relative with setup and maintenance could be a big deal. Imagine trying to change a flat tire on your own or running out of battery with such a heavy product, pedaling in that sort of situation could be difficult and some shops will teach you how to keep the tires filled or even provide discounted ongoing service so you can avoid difficult situations.
Driving this electric tricycle is a modest 350 watt internally geared hub motor, built into the front wheel, from an unknown manufacturer. These types of motors tend to be very reliable and are common on less expensive electric bikes because they don’t require a lot of frame modification to implement. It worked well getting me up to speed and then accelerating smooth and steady, but it did produce some whirring noise. I noticed that the power cable leading up to the motor was exposed on the right side of the fork… which is not uncommon, but you should take care not to kick or snag this cable because it could disable the motor. There’s enough power here to get going, but the torque wasn’t especially high and because it’s a front-wheel-drive setup, there may be situations where the wheel slips or spins compared to a rear-wheel-drive design. This is especially true if you have the rear basket loaded up with heavy gear and you’re sitting back and upright. You can help the bike by pedaling along but only the rear left wheel turns as you do this, you get three gears to switch through in order to make climbing and starting easier and I love that the trike uses an internally geared hub vs. a derailleur because it should stay cleaner and require less maintenance over time. Internally geared hubs can be shifted at standstill which makes starting a lot easier if you forgot to shift down before stopping. Imagine riding at 10 mph up a slight incline but then having to stop at a traffic signal, at this point you could switch down to gear 1 and use the trigger throttle to help you get moving again as you pedal. Part of me feels that they could have geared this motor for higher torque and limited the top speed to 15 mph vs. 20 mph but on the other hand, it did move Sam (who weighs well over 200 lbs) and the hub motor does already benefit from a mechanical advantage because it’s spoked into a smaller 20″ wheel vs. more traditional 24″ or 26″ wheels. These smaller wheels also lower the stand-over height of the trike and make it easier to load up with supplies. Balancing out power is stopping strength, and the v-brake up front and band brake in the rear are pretty basic in my opinion. I didn’t get to use them a lot but did notice that both levers have motor inhibitors for sending a “stop” signal to the motor whenever activated. They also have parking locks installed, so you can keep the trike from rolling away once you do stop. Before my test ride, one of the brake levers was locked and the throttle wouldn’t work as a result… it’s a good system that can help you avoid accidental starts and make mounting/dismounting safer. However, it could also be confusing at moments like this where you’re thinking “why isn’t the throttle working?!” so keep that in mind ;)
Powering the bike and its integrated headlight and backlight is a standard sized 36 volt 10 amp hour Silver Fish style battery pack. Sam communicated that this sort of battery design is more generic and widespread, making it easier to find and replace even if the company that made this trike, Revolve Electric Vehicles, discontinues the model or goes out of business. The battery slides along a metal rail, resting just behind the seat tube. It felt sturdy and was easy to access because it wasn’t low and hidden under the rear basket and it has a handle built into the top for easy lifting. If I can, I tend to leave batteries on my electric bikes and then plug them in directly, and that’s possible here, but you can extend the life of the cells by storing them in a cool dry location. If you live somewhere with extreme cold and heat, you might want to keep the bike in a shed or garage and then move the battery someplace else to charge it up. If you keep it from getting cold, the cells will help you go further on each ride. And, if you plan on storing the bike for several months (perhaps in the winter) you can keep the battery pack at ~50% to avoid stressing the cells and it will last longer. In conclusion, I feel like the battery mounts securely, is protected by extra frame tubing, is positioned to keep weight centered and balanced and is easy to access. My one complaint would be that the key must be inserted and turned to on for the battery to be active. This is a good safety and security measure but other ebikes allow you to completely remove the key AND keep the battery locked. Imagine having a keychain connected to the bike key which could get snagged or jingle around, and the flip side of this is a single lone key which could get misplaced easier. There’s a reason why none of the major ebike brands require you to leave the key in while riding but the Silverfish is a more basic part that hasn’t been changed for many years. It’s sold in bulk and used mainly on cheaper products like this.
Once the battery has been charged and mounted properly, and you turn the key to on, you’re ready to mount the bike. If you forgot to turn the battery on first, you might have to get off and bend down to do this step, which can be annoying. Bending down and twisting to get to the key could cause some instability or discomfort for riders so I recommend getting completely off. Before unlocking the brakes and pressing the power switch on the little plastic control pad, located near the left grip, Sam suggested that you put your feet up onto the pedals and hold the grips as if you were about to ride. This ensures that when you do turn on the display, if the throttle gets activated, you won’t have your feet in a vulnerable position. The display pad is pretty simple, there’s an on/off button, lights button (which turns the headlight and backlight on), and a mode button (which cycles through low, medium, and high power). Definitely use the low power mode at first to get used to pedaling, the 5-magnet cadence sensor isn’t super responsive and even though the motor starts up smoothly, it’s something you want to get used to. In some ways, I wish this ebike had a zero mode so you wouldn’t have to worry about moving the pedals and getting a burst of power unexpectedly when relying mostly on the throttle. It would also be nice to have a more precise battery indicator vs. the four dot 25% readout which could leave you feeling uneasy as the capacity drops to just one dot… does it mean you have 25% left or are you getting really close to zero?! Again, the trike is heavy and walking it could be difficult and unpleasant. There’s no speedometer, so it’s really more of a guess that you can reach 20 mph, and there’s no odometer, trip meter, timer, or other fancy readout. I don’t mean to be overly critical on this display because there are many older electric bikes that were similar, it’s a way to save money and I just want to be clear about the trade-offs. The trigger throttle is positioned on the left, in front of the display, and had more of a forward motion vs. down. I’m more used to having a throttle on the right side of the bars but that’s not possible here without pushing it way out (making it difficult to reach) because of the three-speed grip shifter there. Where it’s at, the throttle works fine, but it does push out the control pad a bit so you might have to stop and pull your hand off the grip before interacting with different power levels or the lights to be extra safe.
I think there’s a lot of value for the money with this electric trike, and that could be the determining factor for customers with limited and fixed incomes. Once you learn how to handle it, riding feels stable and can be very empowering. Sam told me that his oldest customer for an electric trike like this was 98 years old! That’s incredible to me, and also warms my heart. Yes, you could be exposing yourself or your loved one to a bit of risk, but you are also getting a lot of freedom. While my feelings on the pedal assist modes and motor choice are mixed, the throttle operation does great and I like that there’s tubing surrounding both of the rear wheels to protect the sharp axle end and keep the fenders in good shape. Do be careful when mounting the trike to avoid stepping on the plastic chain cover and get your shop to help fit and adjust the seat height and handlebar position well and then lock them in so they don’t get loose or require screwing around on your own down the line. The baskets seemed very useful but did produce some noise, and even the zipping of the motor could be a drawback compared to fancier e-trikes, but this thing gets the job done and can be had in either black or white frame color. I might choose white for myself, just to be more visible to automobiles at night. I’ve included many more thoughts in the pros and cons section below and invite you to share stories and feedback here. I’d like to thank Sam again for sharing his time and allowing me to test ride some of the products he carries. Ride safe!
- Electric trikes like this are great because they offer a ton of hauling utility with both a front and rear basket, but they are also stable for loading and riding compared to many two-wheeled electric bikes
- The weight of this e-trike is pretty well distributed with the hub motor in the front wheel and the battery pack at the middle (just behind the seat tube) and that frees up the rear rack area to be lower because many other electric trikes put the battery in or below the rear rack
- Excellent water protection thanks to Aluminum alloy fenders and a plastic chain cover, these should keep your pant legs or dress/skirt clean even in wet riding conditions
- All three wheels use the same inner tube size and tire type so you can rotate them or get replacements more easily, the thicker 13 gauge spokes and smaller 20″ diameter wheels improve strength and bring the trike and baskets closer to the ground for easy loading
- The quill stem can be raised or lowered and the adjustable angle stem and taller mid-rise bars can tilt to make reaching and steering more comfortable for different sized cyclists
- Some tricycles only have one gear but the Revolve Steady Eddie has a three-speed internally geared hub which provides just enough range to help you start and go faster while also keeping it simple and cheap, internal hubs tend to be more durable and can be shifted at standstill
- I like how the frame tubing surrounds the rear basket and keeps the wheels and fenders protected from walls and other obstacles, I was amazed that the bike can just fit through most regular 36″ wide doors, but Sam told me he has to tip the trike in order to fit through some other doors, the handlebar can turn almost 90-degrees so the bike is easy to maneuver in tight spaces
- I think it’s great that you can charge the battery on or off the frame because you can extend the life of Lithium-ion cells by keeping them in a cool, dry location and then storing at ~50% full for longer periods, if you don’t take the battery off, at least it’s easy to reach where it’s mounted vs. some other designs that put the battery beneath the rear basket
- It’s great that the frame comes in two colors, the black is nice for blending the wires and cables but I might choose white to be extra visible in dark riding conditions
- The lights on this bike are pretty good, the headlight points where you steer and uses two LEDs, it’s mounted beneath the basket so it won’t get blocked, the rear light also uses two LEDs and has a big reflective area, both lights run off of the main battery pack and are operated with the main control pad, they won’t get stolen as easily, left on accidentally, or waste disposable cells like many cheaper lights
- Priced at $1,200 USD, this is one of the more affordable electric trikes on the market, especially with the Lithium-ion battery pack, lights, and fenders
- The front wheel drive unit makes a lot of sense because it pulls the bike evenly vs. a hub motor in one of the two rear wheels or some complex two wheel rear-drive system… but it doesn’t get as much traction as a rear wheel because trikes tend to be rear-heavy, there are times when the front wheel might spin
- There were lots of wires strewn about near the fork and downtube because of the control pad and extra motor stop switches from the brake levers, they just weren’t as organized as they could have been on the demo bike but there is a nice gathering loop near the basket and some internal routing going on, just be careful not to snag the wires when turning or riding if they are not zip tied properly
- I like that the saddle can tilt up to allow for easy access to the battery but the seat tube collar is very tricky to use and I had a difficult time securing the seat post and saddle, a standard quick release mechanism would be much nicer in my opinion
- Normally, I’m not a fan of plastic pedals like this which can flex and be slippery when wet… but they also won’t cut your shins up and that could be good for an older rider with sensitive skin or Hemophilia, if you do want bigger gripper pedals then consider these
- The pedal assist sensor on this e-bike is very basic (just 5 magnets vs. 12 on many others) which could take longer to start and stop, for such a heavy bike it would be nice to have a more responsive system but at least there’s a trigger throttle for power on demand… although Sam said he had to install it himself and that it was difficult
- Considering how heavy this electric bike is, the motor isn’t especially powerful (though it does get a mechanical advantage being in a smaller wheel) and the brakes are kind of basic, just a rim brake up front and a band brake in the rear, but I love that the brake levers have a parking lock and motor inhibitors that cut power to the motor when pulled for added control and safety
- Minor consideration here, pedaling only turns the rear left wheel vs. both wheels and this could impact steering and wear on the tires differently over time, many trikes do this to reduce complexity
- The battery pack requires you to leave the keys inserted and turned to “on” for the bike to be operational, this means the keys can get bent or snagged easier and will jingle around if you have a keychain attached
- Sam made a great point that tricycles can be dangerous if you put your feet down before stopping, this makes it possible to run over your foot… so always come to a complete stop before putting feet down! Note also that it can be dangerous to turn at higher speeds, Sam recommended 3 to 5 mph turns to keep the trike on all three wheels vs. tipping over, it’s not such a big deal with pedal-powered trikes but this electric trike can hit 20 mph so be careful!
- The power cable that connects on the right side of the front wheel (to run the motor) seems a bit exposed and delicate, many hub motors have this vulnerability so just be careful not to snag or bend it because that would ruin the motor
- The display is very basic, it gives you 25% battery capacity dots which aren’t very precise, there’s no speedometer, odometer, or trip distance menus, and the throttle is always active unless you pull the brake levers… so just be careful if you install the throttle to only turn the bike on once you are ready to ride and then turn it off when you are finished for safety
- The front basket is very noisy if it has the lid attachment, I think the bike is going to be louder (like a shopping cart) no matter what because of the mesh baskets… and the motor produces an audible zippy noise as well