26 mph (42 kph)(Adjustable Speed, PAS Sensitivity, Current)
The T3 CX Electric Trike is a conversion by Electric Bike Technologies using a Sun Seeker platform. This is their top of the line model with higher top speeds and a more performance oriented geometry. You sit low, leaned back and the tires are narrow and efficient with higher PSI. Weighing in at 66 lbs, this is one of the lighter tadpole electric trikes I’ve tested but it doesn’t skimp on utility. There’s a solid rack with pannier guards on either side and the battery sandwiched between platforms. While this does position weight high and towards the back (along with the motor), I found the steering to be tight and responsive… there are better designs out there such as the BionX frame mounted battery on the HP Velotechnik Scorpion but it costs about three times as much. What you don’t get with the Sun Seeker T3 CX E-Trike is suspension, lights, fenders or regenerative braking. Instead, you get acceptable mechanical disc brakes, a decent 24 speed SRAM drivetrain and a highly adjustable frame (the boom extends and the seat slides and pivots). You can set it up like a race car if you’d like or turn down the top speed and bring the seat to a more upright position for relaxed neighborhood use and grocery getting.
Driving the T3CX is a 500 watt nominal geared hub motor spoked into the rear wheel. Notice the thicker spokes with reinforcement eyelets and nipples… check out the oversized torque arm on the left side of the frame. They went above and beyond here because the motor can peak at 1,000 watts transporting you up to 26 miles per hour. Since the battery is also positioned above the rear wheel, it’s good that things are overbuilt, especially if you bring along a trunk bag or panniers. In the video, you can hear the motor whirring a bit and that’s common with geared designs which tend to be more compact and lighter than gearless. Be careful with the cable leading into the axle if you’re transporting the trike or tipping it onto one side for transport, this is one area that’s vulnerable on many electric bikes. I hear from some owners that a small trailer works well for transporting it behind your car vs. inside (something you’d find at Harbor Freight). None of the wheels offer quick release so consider adding extra tools to your bag and an inner tube or two for flats and check the tire pressure before each ride.
Powering the motor and display panel is a 48 volt 10 amp hour battery pack that’s housed in a generic Aluminum alloy box. It felt sturdy to me, slid into the rack easily and offers on or off-bike charging with a port under the flip-up handle. The only thing I dislike about the design is that the key must be left in for operation. It’s not a huge deal as the ignition slot is out of the way for riding (to the lower left of the rider’s back) but if you’ve got a keychain, it might jingle… and when it comes time to take the battery off, you’ll have to pull the key out because it collides with the rack tubing. Be delicate with this, bending or breaking the key could damage the battery and compromise security. One thing that’s cool about the more “generic” design of the battery is that they can be repacked more easily or even replaced down the line using a third party product. Electric Bike Technologies uses more open source systems so you can rest assured that there will always be a way to keep your bike on the road even if they change designs. They even offer the battery, motor and control system as an aftermarket kit so you could convert a standard Sun Seeker T3 CX on your own :)
I’ve already started on this topic but powering the bike on is a two-step process with the keyed ignition followed by a press and hold of the “M” button on the control pad near the left grip. From here, the display flickers to life showing battery capacity, speed, assist level and some other ride stats (press M repeatedly to cycle through). I love that the system offers pedal assist as well as throttle mode but was a bit disappointed that throttle power and top speed are limited by the five levels of assist. I prefer that the throttle override at full power since the lever is on a spring and offers variable output on its own. This is handy for passing other riders or climbing a hill without reaching down to the control pad to click up, up, up. And while we’re on this subject, I feel that the control pad is difficult to reach and mounted in a hazardous spot on the Sun Seeker T3CX. The handlebars are vertical and very close to the wheels so there’s not a lot of room to reach around. Be extra wary after braking hard too because the disc brake rotors can heat up and are also near the grips and control pad. On the right bar, where the throttle is, there are a few options for how and where to mount the trigger but the default I was shown kind of interfered with shifting. Both grips have twist shifters and the cockpit feels a little crowded with the button pad, trigger throttle and longer brake levers all packed in. And on that topic, I would much prefer hydraulic disc brakes here but appreciate that the levers they chose have motor inhibitors and a parking brake latch to keep the trike stable when mounting and parking. It’s a cheaper, less elegant setup all around (brakes, throttle, control pad) but it works well enough and the price tag reflects all of the compromises you have to make. This is a three-wheeled ebike after all so things remain stable even if you’re distracted for a moment with the drive systems. The display panel is another mixed area for me with this e-trike. It’s large and thin but not removable, the bracket they use is flexible, allowing for some minor bumps without letting it crack or break, but it just doesn’t feel as solid as some others. You can angle the screen forward and back to reduce glare and turn the backlighting on or off using the button pad, which is great for those who dislike the view-obstruction and distraction of bright lights in your face at night. In closing, I like how open the system is, it lets you adjust more things like battery discharge curve, top speed, current or even assist sensitivity.
The T3CX Electric Trike is sporty, fast and much lighter and less expensive than alternatives. If you ride on mostly smooth streets, the trike will feel great. I love the tadpole design for many reasons… it allows for a rack, reduces weight steering and it feels sporty. However, it can be more difficult to mount (requiring you to squat down). The folks at ElectricTrike.com offer many recumbent options and this is their high-end sport model. It’s not perfect and you will have to pay $350 additional for shipping unless you can drive to Croydon Pennsylvania but it’s one of the few options out there at all right now and I trust the company. these guys have been around for several years doing kits under the name E-BikeKit. They have a warehouse with several employees and a solid one year warranty with good phone support. While it may not look as sleek as a purpose built e-trike, it offers a lot more customizability. Aside from how it rides and adjusting my own fit and body position, I would definitely look into some lights and maybe even a flag pole to stay visible. The battery rack keeps the rooster tail down but the mesh seat might leak and there are no fenders up front so perhaps that’s another area for some creative aftermarket solutions. Front fenders can rattle on recumbents and I think the rear is really the most important to address for this model.
This thing is fast, smooth rolling and efficient with narrow tires and the seat and steering is all kept low to the ground, it corners well and is one of the sportiest electric recumbent trikes I’ve tested
I appreciate the platform and pannier guards on the rear rack, it would easily fit a trunk bag on top and clip-on panniers for either side which is perfect for commuting… don’t forget to clip a light on or maybe add a flag pole for safety
The Sun Seeker T3 CX offers 24 speeds (three up front and eight in the rear), that’s nice to have on a speed pedelec so you can find a more comfortable pedal cadence, it’s also handy for starting and climbing since this trike weighs more than a standard two wheel ebike
At just 66 lbs I feel like the T3CX is reasonable, many of the other recumbents weigh a lot more and even though it’s rear heavy, the bike is very stable due to the three-wheel design and the battery rack feels sturdy
Highly adjustable frame and seat allow you to dial in the leg reach and ride in a more upright or aerodynamic way-back body position, it’s fun to experiment with and easy to change
The motor and battery combine for zippy performance but don’t add as much weight as a gearless design, I love that the charger is encased in an Aluminum box for protection and that it isn’t too large or heavy (I’d consider bringing it along on trips in case you decide to ride further)
I’m a big fan of pedal assist plus throttle mode because it allows you to ride efficiently with bursts of energy and I also like starting out with the pedal so as not to strain my knees… though I wish the throttle mode here would offer full power regardless of assist mode chosen (as it is, you are limited in power and speed which means more button pressing to go faster or a constant use of high power which drains the battery)
Being a recumbent trike with rear-mount motor, the front wheels are light and easy to steer, I like the steering setup because my arms go naturally down and stay out of the way… it keeps weight low and opens the view
The wheels uses thicker spokes and have eyelets and nipples to help strengthen the rim, this is especially nice for the rear wheel given how powerful the motor is (peak 1,000 watt output and 45 Newton meters) as well as the weight of the battery and rack overhead
You can charge the battery on or off the frame, it’s easy to plug in and very easy to remove and carry thanks to a plastic handle… the only thing I dislike is that you need to leave the key in while operating it and that can cause some jingling (it’s way out of the way for pedaling, just be careful for bags)
I love the parking brake design (both levers cut power to the motor and one has a latch so the trike won’t roll away), the brake also stabilizes the trike for getting on and off more safely
Decent disc brakes, one on each wheel, let you corner sharper and stop the trike quickly, they aren’t hydraulic but they worked well enough for me
The folks at Electric Bike Technologies have optimized their controller for the specific battery in use on each model, that means your battery gauge should be more accurate… and they left the system open so you can dial in your own top speeds (lower for stability if you’d like or for legal purposes in some countries) and experiment current output, pedal assist sensitivity or even swap out the battery and use a different third-party option, it’s just more open
I really like how the display backlight can be manually turned on or off because sometimes the automatic ones can be distracting and too bright
They’ve installed a massive torque arm at the rear drop out (on the left side) to distribute force and keep the frame in tact given the more powerful motor
Shipping costs a lot extra, you’ll have to pay $350 if you live in the contiguous USA or drive to Pennsylvania and pick it up for free, the nice thing is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to go (they even try to set it up based on your height if you ask)
I feel like they should work in some lights that could run off the main battery pack, one up front and one in the back for safer riding, maybe also upgrade to reflective tires since the trike is so low and you can go faster on it than some of the others
Since this is more of a kit build, the controller box and wires aren’t internally routed like some others… it keeps the price down but doesn’t look as nice and might not be as durable (easier to snag while riding or moving)
None of the wheels have quick release so bring some tools and an extra tire tube because the high-pressure narrow tires get flats easier (make sure you check their PSI before each ride or at least squeeze them, low tires get snake-bite flats easier), I hear that some people buy cheap trailers from Harbor Freight to load their trikes onto
Unfortunately, due to the fancier seat design on the SunSeeker T3CX you don’t get bottle cage bosses… consider a trunk bag with integrated holster like this
The display mount on this trike felt less sturdy than on some of the other ElectricTrike.com conversions, it was flexible and I like how the screen could angle but you cannot remove it easily (which is nice when parking in public spaces for protection)
Since this trike has grip shifters on both handle bars, they get a little crowded and the throttle mounting position isn’t perfect (they sandwiched it between the grip and shifter for me which felt cramped)
With narrower tires that require high pressure and the lack of suspension, you tend to feel the bumps more, the mesh seat helps a little :)
Mounting this trike requires a bit more balance and leg strength, it’s super low which is awesome for handling while riding but you have to squat to get on/off (I usually step over the boom, rest a hand on the top of one tire or handlebar arm then ease myself in)
The cadence sensor is a bit exposed at the left crank arm, be careful not to accidentally kick it (and if you do, take a moment to straighten it out again for best performance)
Much like the throttle position (sort of crowded and awkward) the control pad is positioned in such a way that you have to take your hand off to change assist levels and the tire is very close so be careful with your hands and fingers while riding
When putting the battery on or taking it off the key must be removed or it will collide with the rack tubing, be careful not to force it and accidentally bend the key
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Mike Stone5 years ago
Hello, I do not have a ‘comment’ per se, though I have to say that your T3CX bike is quite impressive. Actually, I have a question(s). I am looking for a contact person that can answer my questions regarding finding the right recumbent trike for me. Can you connect me with such a person. I am 66 years old and am a life long walker. I have developed arthritis and want to ‘save’ my knees (which hurt when I walk the long distances I typically walk. I am thinking a recumbent trike is the answer for me but I have quite a few questions. I will want to get the bike that ‘fits’ my specific needs/desires. And so, if you could connect me with someone who could answer my questions, I would much appreciate that! MikeReply
court5 years ago
Hi Mike, I enjoyed our quick phone chat this morning. I hope that the reviews I have created here for the recumbent electric bikes section helps and the recumbent ebike forum so that others might chime in. I haven’t reviewed a recumbent for a while now, but will continue seeking them out. I agree that there is a big market for this type of product and I welcome you to post what you eventually decide on and how you like it :)Reply
Ray2 years ago
As I am getting older I am thinking about trading in my ebike for an etrike for the comfort. The battery appears large in size but the 10-Ah output is just too low for such a heavy bike. The distance would suffer. Wound be nice if there is an upgrade available. Noted that it is an older model and a lot of changes in battery technology have occurred in the last three years according to my friends working at Tesla.Reply
Court2 years ago
I feel you, Ray… and I’m only in my mid-30’s here! It seems that many electric trikes are using heavier batteries (because they are less expensive). Perhaps some of the newest builds are switching over to the higher capacity cells. I haven’t looked at this particular e-trike for a while now. Do visit their official site to learn more, you can visit ElectricTrike.com to see this and similar models.Reply