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Best Electric Conversion Kit for Recumbent Trike or Bike

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Recumbent trikes are becoming increasingly popular, and I can see why. Up until recently, I had never ridden a recumbent, but the first time I had a go on one I was totally hooked!

Due to the extra weight and design, Recumbent trikes (and bikes) are an excellent choice for electric conversion. If you have been thinking about adding E-assist to your recumbent, the great news is most regular conversion kits will fit. In this article I will be reviewing the best electric conversion kits that are suitable for recumbent trikes and bikes.

Ice trike adventure recumbent with shimano di2 alfine 11 and tsdz2 electric conversion kit

So what are the best electric conversion kits for recumbent trikes and bikes?

All of the kits listed in this article have been successfully installed, by myself on a variety of different recumbent trikes and bikes. Although these kits are generally reliable, some will require ongoing maintenance. I have been as honest as possible in my appraisal of each kit. If you have any questions regarding compatibility, please leave a comment below and I will respond within 24 hrs.

Do I need a recumbent specific electric conversion kit?

The simple answer to this question is no. There are some brand-specific kits available like the Terra Trike Bosch boost kit which comes pre-installed in a new boom, but these can be very expensive when compared  to the other options listed in this article.  You will need to take several things into consideration beforehand. If you are fitting a crank motor you will need to check bottom bracket compatibility (see below). If you are fitting a hub motor, you will need to make sure you get the right sized wheel – If you have an internally geared hub fitted (like a Rohloff) a rear hub motor would not be an option.

How much power?

This depends on your own physical ability. If you have a health issue that prevents you from prolonged periods of exertion, or you are recovering from an injury, then it is likely you would need the electric motor to give you a lot of assistance, and maybe even have a throttle fitted to either get you rolling or enable you to have a break from pedalling once in a while.

nazca fuego recumbent bike fitted with a bafang 250w electric hub motor conversion kit

I don’t believe in motors that produce so much power that the need for pedalling becomes redundant as that will cancel out the health benefits of pedalling. But having a motor that complements and enhances your physical abilities enabling you to cycle further for longer and tackle more challenging terrain is a great idea. I know of many fit riders who choose e-assist, not because they’re lazy, but because it enhances the whole recumbent riding experience.

What about Electric bike laws?

The power output you choose will also be important regarding the law in your country. The UK, Europe and Australia for example have a universal 250w power limit and 25 km/h pedal assist limit. In the US, federal law is 750w and 20mph and in Canada it is 500w and 20mph.

All the recumbent’s I have converted so far have been 250w, and I find that provides more than enough assist (and I live in an incredibly hilly area). But my experiences are subjective – I ride between 70-100 miles a week on a road bike, so I am fairly fit.  If you are getting back into cycling using a recumbent after a long illness or injury then 250w may not be enough power. This is why I  believe the law in the UK and Europe needs a serious overhaul.

You cannot exclude people from a potentially life enhancing experience like riding a recumbent or bicycle by limiting the amount of assist they can have. I think a more rational approach would be a 750w  upper limit with a 20mph maximum speed just like in the US.  Most competent road cyclists can comfortably maintain 20-25mph on the flat and hit speeds of over 50mph on long descents!

Is my Recumbent suitable for E-assist conversion?

If you are thinking about adding a crank motor to your recumbent, one of the most important things to consider is your bottom bracket shell. Most recumbent’s I have converted have a standard threaded bottom bracket shell , which is usually 68mm wide with an internal diameter of approximately 33.5mm. This would accommodate a regular square-tapered sealed cartridge bottom bracket or a Shimano Hollowtech II or SRAM GPX BB with external cup bearings.

standard square tapered cartridge bottom bracket on a recumbent trike

An FSA BB30 pressfit bottom bracket on the other hand has an internal diameter of 42mm, so you would need to purchase a BB30 to BSA adaptor shim.

Another important consideration is where to mount the battery pack. Some people prefer to mount the battery on a rear rack, but this can limit space for bags, panniers etc.  One excellent solution is made by Terracycle and is a recumbent-specific battery mounting plate.

terra cycle battery mounting plate for recumbent trike or bike

The two most popular and well-know crank motors – the Bafang BBS and Tongsheng TSDZ2 will fit into a standard bottom bracket shell without any hassles.

tongsheng tsdz2 installed on Ice trike recumbent

Another thing to consider is gearing. The Tongsheng and Bafang utilise a single front chainring . If you have a triple or double crankset up front you will be going from 27-speed down to 9-speed, although with electric assist this becomes much less of a problem.

Best Electric conversion kits for recumbent trikes and bikes

My top 3 favourite kits for recumbent’s are ones that I have personal experience installing. None of these kits are perfect and it is worth remembering that compromises may need to be made, but generally speaking all the kits below have so far served my customers well.That is not to say issues will not occur in future, because unfortunately any mass-produced electrical item will have chinks in its armour!

1. Tongsheng TSDZ2 torque-sensing motor kit

The TSDZ2 has now been around for a good few years, and has (thankfully) been improved over the years. Early models proved troublesome, but thankfully the problems are not as frequent as before.

Watch my video below for a brief overview of the installation process and a nice ride through the Cornish countryside!

The Tongsheng is a great little motor as it uses a torque sensor (along with cadence and speed sensing) to provide electric assist. This provides the rider with very intuitive assistance. Pedal lightly without applying much force and the motor will not give much in the way of assistance, apply more force to the pedals and the motor will give you assistance proportionate to the force you apply. This makes you feel like you have suddenly inherited Chris Froome’s legs!

The transition is very smooth and this is one of the reasons the Tongsheng is a favourite amongst recumbent riders.

Tongsheng TDZ2 250w - 350w - 500w - 7502 36v 48v 52v

This motor is available in 36v 250w / 350w and 500w variants and also 48 v 350w / 500w and 750w versions – there is also a 52v 750w version available.

Why do I think the TSDZ2 is especially suited to recumbent’s?

For starters it is a very small, discreet motor and it isn’t particularly heavy, weighing in at around 3.6kg. There is a threaded hole on the motor, which is important as when you install it you will need to be able to stop the motor from pivoting in the bottom bracket shell. A 38mm stainless steel P-clip is sufficient to secure the motor to the boom of your trike along with a short M8 bolt. This applies to Ice Trikes, as I know other brands will probably have a different diameter on the boom.

close up of torque collar to secure tongsheng tsdz2 to the boom of a recumbent trike

It is incredibly efficient – I managed to squeeze a 120 mile range out of a 36v 13ah battery using mainly ‘ECO’ pedal assist mode. Although this kind of mileage wouldn’t be typical as it would really depend on various different factors.

This motor produces a lot of torque, making short work of hills. But you will need to be mindful of being in the right gear for steep climbs, just as you would on any bike. Climb a steep hill in too higher gear, and you run the risk of placing too much load on the motor and risk damage.

One more important thing to remember when using the Tongsheng,  is before you switch the motor on, make sure you keep you feet off the pedals. Starting the system with your feet resting on the pedals will have a negative effect on the torque sensor calibration. If you do this by accident, just stop riding, turn the motor off, wait for a few seconds and turn the motor on again (making sure you feet are not resting on the pedals).

Reliability Issues

So far I have been lucky with the Tongsheng motor and haven’t had any issues reported to date. Having spent hours trawling Endless-Sphere.com it is obvious that there are several weak points with this motor.

  • The blue nylon primary gear can fail prematurely – a brass version of this gear is available as a replacement.
  • Sprag clutch or one-way bearing can fail – replacements are easy to obtain.
  • Torque sensor – surging or erratic pedal assist can signal problems with the torque sensing system.
  • Faulty display units – seems more of an issue with the VLCD5 display.

Another thing to consider when fitting this motor is the exaggerated q-factor. Particularly the drive side crank arm is about 20mm more offset than the non-drive side. This can be mitigated by fitting either standard Bafang crank arms, that can be purchased in 152mm, 170mm and 175mm lengths or Shimano Steps FC-E8000 crank  arms.

One more thing is to remember to purchase a Tongsheng speed sensor extension cable (110mm) as the standard cable will not reach the speed sensor mounted on the rear chainstay.

Conclusion

The Tongsheng TSDZ2 is a cost effective way to add e-assist to your recumbent, but installation should be carried out by someone who is confident in doing the job correctly. There is also the potential long-term reliability issues that need to be considered. You really need to be a ‘hands-on’ kind of person to fit one of these kits and deal with any potential issues that may arise in future.

Ice Trike Adventure recumbent fitted with a tongsheng tsdz2 electric conversion kit

Most manufacturers now offer e-assist on their recumbent trikes and bikes, but these are comparatively expensive when compare with the DIY kit option. The Bosch, Yamaha and Shimano Steps units are renowned for their reliability over massive distances, but are nigh on impossible to repair should something go wrong. The TSDZ2 on the other hand can be fixed by any DIY enthusiast as the motor itself is easy enough to work on and spare parts are readily available.

The motor performance is, in my opinion on a par with the Bosch Active Plus, it produces plenty of power, especially in ‘Turbo’ mode and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Pedalling with the assist off and the extra weight and slight resistance of the motor becomes evident – not a problem on the flat, but if you run out of battery power with a long climb to tackle you could have some problems.

All in all, i’m giving this motor the thumbs up! It’s great value, it performs well and does the job. Links below on where to purchase this motor.

Buy the Tongsheng TSDZ2 36v / 48v / 52v

Tongsheng TDZ2 250w - 350w - 500w - 7502 36v 48v 52v
Buy on Aliexpress
Buy on Amazon
Buy on eBay

2. Bafang BBS01 / BBS02 / BBSHD

The Bafang mid-drive motor has been a market leader for over five years, and it continues to be the best selling electric bike conversion kit in its class.

The motor itself is a great little unit, and for the most part seems fairly reliable. I personally used a Bafang BBS02 powered bike for a year, covering nearly 2000 miles without any problems whatsoever.

 

bafang bbs02 mid drive electric bike conversion kit

The Bafang motor is currently available in many different variants: BBS01B 36v 250w / 350w BBS02B 36v 500w, BBS02B 48v 500w / 750w, BBSHD 48v 1000w.

Which model you choose depends on the amount of power you need. As I have mentioned previously, you will need to carefully consider the law in your country.

The tables below show the peak power output of all the Bafang models (with a fully charged battery).

BafangBatteryPeak Power
BBS01 250w 36v36v (42.2v x 15A)
633w
BBS01 350w 36v36v (42.2v x 18A)759w
BafangBatteryPeak Power
BBS02 36v 500w36v (42.2v) x 25A1055w
BBS02 48v 500w48v (54.4v) x 18A
979w
BBS02 48v 500w52v (58.8v) x 18A1058w
BafangBatteryPeak Power
BBS02 750w48v (54.4v) x 25A
1360w
BBS02 750w52v (58.8v) x 25A1470w
BBSHD48v (54.4v) x 30A
1632w
BBSHD52v (58.8v) x 30A1764w
The voltage figures in brackets are for a fully-charged battery. Note: As the voltage drops, so will the power.

 

It is worth noting that the peak power figures do not represent the nominal power output of these motors. The 250w motor for example can peak at over 600w briefly whilst under load, but the ‘keep current’ setting in the controller programming will ramp back the power once pedalling cadence increases.

In my opinion to 250w provides adequate electric assistance, but if you are after some real power the BBSHD is on another level! If you were planning an off-road adventure then the BBSHD would be more than up to the job. I have ridden many bikes powered by this motor and the amount of torque it produces never ceases to put a smile on my face.

bafang bbshd motor

The ‘HD’ stands for heavy duty and I think the point to buying a BBSHD would be in the robust design of the motor. It is very heavy at nearly 5kg, but if you just wanted a super reliable drive unit that could be ridden day in and day out without a care in the world then this is a great bit of kit. And of course, you don’t have to ride it in full power mode. You have 9 power levels to choose from and level 1 is around the 250w mark, so you can still get a workout if you so desire.

The best all-rounder for me is the BBS02B, whether in 36v 500w or 48v 750w guise. Although it doesn’t produce the raw grunt of the HD, it still produces more power than most of us will ever need and it is a bit more affordable.

Riding a Bafang powered recumbent

Unlike the Tongsheng, the Bafang motor uses a much more simple cadence-based pedal assist, which acts like an on/off switch. The way the power ramps up once pedalling begins depends on the way the motor controller is configured, the rpm of the motor will also be limited by the controller settings.

One of the great features of the Bafang is that you can alter these settings easily using a laptop and USB programming lead and free open source software  – you can actually reprogram the motor to produce a very smooth and intuitive level of pedal assist. The best beginners guide to programming the Bafang can be found on Karls Electric bike blog.

Is the Bafang mid-drive motor suitable for a recumbent?

Like the TSDZ2, the Bafang motor wasn’t designed specifically for recumbent’s, but having installed a couple on recumbent bikes myself, it seems to do the job perfectly! It is heavier than the TSDZ2 at around 4kg (4.8kg for the BBSHD) and physically slightly larger.

The short video below shows a recent installation of a Bafang BBS01B 36v 250w on to an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper recumbent bike.

The main criteria for installation is the same as with the Tongsheng. The motor shaft will fit a standard 68mm BSA threaded bottom bracket shell. The one important consideration is to make sure that the motor is secured tightly so it does not pivot in the BB shell. The mounting plate provided by Bafang will go some way to prevent the motor from moving, but you will definitely want to have a Bafang lockring spanner in your toolkit just in case you need to tighten the motor.

As with the Tongsheng, you will need to purchase an additional speed sensor extension cable as the standard cable will not reach the motor.

To mount the display, you will need something like the Minoura accessory mount  (as used on the conversion above). Terracycle also do a mount specifically for recumbent’s.

As with any electric conversion, where you decide to mount your battery is important. You could go for a small compact bottle battery  that would fit into a bottle cage or bag or you could go for a more elegant solution like the Terracycle battery mounting kit as mentioned in the Tongsheng section.

Is the Bafang motor reliable?

Bafang have been the market leaders in DIY mid-drive ebike conversion kits since 2014, and, like Tongsheng were plagued by early reliability issues – these mainly stemmed from poor quality MOSFET’s in the motor controller.

These issues have been resolved, although as with any electric bike motor there are still long-term reliability concerns to think about. I have listed below the main problem areas I have encountered with the Bafang mid-drive:

  • Electrical problems – particularly controller failure on the BBS02 48v 750w. This is less of a problem on the BBSHD and the 36v models.
  • Not 100% waterproof, do not use a pressure washer or fully submerge – persistent riding in heavy rain, can on occasion cause problems.
  • Primary nylon  gear wearing out – this seems less of a problem than on the TSDZ2
  • Hall sensors – sometimes a bad solder, or poor connection at the controller
  • Pedal assist sensor can sometimes fail (although this seems quite rare).

It should be noted, that in my personal experience I have installed well over 100 Bafang mid-drives in the last three years, and I have had one 250w motor fail (after 14 months and 2000 miles), one controller failure on a 36v 500w, three controller failures, and one hall sensor failure on the BBSHD and eight BBS02 48v 750w controller failures. All the controller failures on the 750w version happened on bike’s with 52v batteries fitted.

Conclusion

Despite the above problems, I still think the Bafang is a good motor.  The BBS01B 250w will provide enough assist for most riders, and if you fancy having a bit more power on tap for those really steep climbs the BBS02 is excellent.  The BBSHD is a very strong and efficient motor, and gives you the flexibility of power ranging from 250w all the way up to a potential 1700w. I wouldn’t personally install a BBSHD on a recumbent bike for myself, as I think having all that power available would be too tempting to use and I like to get a decent workout when I go riding.

Below are links on where to buy the the Bafang BBS electric conversion kit, all of the vendors below will also supply the 36v and 48v 500w version.

Buy the Bafang BBS01B 250w

bafang bbs01b 36v 250w electric bike kit
Buy on Aliexpress
Buy on Amazon
Buy on eBay

Buy the Bafang BBS02 750w

bafang bbs02 mid drive electric bike conversion kit
Buy on eBay
Buy on Aliexpress
Buy on Amazon

Buy the Bafang BBSHD 1000w

bafang bbshd 48v 1000w electric bike kit
Buy on Aliexpress
Buy on Amazon
Buy on eBay

Which mid drive motor is best for a recumbent trike or bike?

This really boils down to your preferences. For me the TSDZ2 wins hands down, as it provides an enhanced riding experience and is a very neat installation.  The Tongsheng provides a very fluid and intuitive pedal assist. The Bafang is also great and you have the added benefit of being able to easily configure the controller settings to suit your needs.

A lot of very experienced recumbent riders agree with my verdict on the Tongsheng, the follow testimony is from one of my readers: Glen from Vancouver Island, Canada. Visit Glen’s website: mid-islandadventures.com  – There is a wealth of information on his site for recumbent riders.

For those that are interested I have just taken off my Bafang 36 volt/350 watt Mid Drive from my HP Gekko & replaced it with the TSDZ2 36 volt unit. I have had this TSDZ2 unit sitting in my shop for several months as it had been returned to me in need of a repair. Since I had some free time on my hands I decided to open up the Tongsheng to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Since I had previously serviced this unit with new grease, new Brass primary Gear, I suspected I had missed something or there was something faulty in the unit. It turns out a loose screw at one of the phase wire terminals had come loose & had been sparking inside the motor cover. Some emery cloth for cleaning up the Brass Terminals, a new screw, some Blue Loctite and a little JB Weld & that motor seems to be running well now,

As I had spent some time with the Bafang on my Gekko,  I should be able to make a direct comparison between the two comparably powered motors. Same Trike, same riding conditions, same battery & weight & the same rider.

So here goes – Since my trike is equipped with an Alfine 11 speed out back my ride results may differ slightly to those with a cassette & derailleur.

The first big difference is in the smoothness of the power delivery. The TSDZ2 feels more like stepping on a Gas Pedal where as the Bafang unit feels more like turning on a light switch. The Power is either ON or OFF.

Both units seem acceptably quiet in use & being on a Trike Boom right out in front of you may be something to consider. This being a TSDZ2 with the Brass Gear upgrade as well which some owners have reported as being noisy. I didn’t find it so but I do have a tendency to either grease or oil anything that moves to be on the safe side. Coming from a Chinese factory I would recommend everyone to take off your covers before you have installed your motor kit of any brand & give it a going over. 12 hour shifts 7 days a week can mean some units just don’t get the final love & care they should.

One of my gripes with the Bafang is the time delay from when you stop pedalling & the motor finally stops applying power. In practice this may only be 5 secs but when you stop pedalling to shift gears on an Internal Gear Hub it can feel like 10 secs between shifts. During that time you get the motor trying to bypass the braking or clutch on the IGH resulting in some added noise. With the TSDZ2 unit the Power stops as soon as you stop pedalling. This can of course be eliminated with the use of gearshift sensors on the Bafang but NOT having to add even more cables or possible problem connections to the TSDZ2 is just another bonus.

Both units come with an LCD Control that seems pretty similar in function & information displayed. The Bafang unit seemed to be a nicer quality than the T unit but the T unit was more adjustable having a nice tilt feature should you be getting glare or the sun reflecting in your eyes. Another plus for the T unit is it’s light weight & compact size weighing about 2 lbs less than the Bafang. It also installs without doing any damage to the Bottom Bracket Shell which does result in indentations from the locking ring with the Bafang.

So which is the better unit? For me it would still be a Geared Hub Motor as my first choice since the Power is more direct to the road & not losing efficiency through your chain, back gears & then finally to the road. If I had to choose between the Bafang & The TSDZ2 it would be the TSDZ2 with 500 watts.

Screenshot of Mid-Island Adventures – click on the photo to be taken to the website.

Electric rear hub motor conversion for recumbent trikes or bike.

A geared hub motor is one of the easiest ways to add electric assist to your recumbent. Not only are these motors very reliable, but there is no increase in pedalling resistance with the assist switched off (unlike the TSDZ2 and Bafang BBS).

Hub motors are also generally cheaper than mid-drives, plus you don’t need to loose your front crankset. Below is a video of an Ice Trike fitted with e-assist using a Bafang 36v 250w rear hub motor conversion kit.

Will a rear hub motor fit my recumbent?

This really depends on a number of factors. If you have an internally geared rear hub like a Shimano Alfine or Rohloff then then the answer would be no, unless you were willing to revert back to derailleur gears.

The other thing to consider is the size of your rear wheel and the width of your dropouts.  Most hub motor kits are available in 20″ / 26″ / 28″ wheel sizes, but are nearly always made to fit the standard bicycle dropout width of 135mm. A slight variation on this should not pose too much of a problem, but if your rear dropout is substantially narrower, you would need to think about a crank motor. If you do not know the width of your rear dropout, remove your rear wheel and take the measurement using a tape measure of vernier caliper.

bafang 250w front rear hub motor electric bike kit

Pedal sensor compatibility can be an issue. Most of these kits come as standard for fitting on the right hand side of a square tapered sealed cartridge bottom bracket. If you have a Hollowtech II, SRAM GPX or BB30 Pressfit bottom bracket you will need to order a compatible pedal sensor.

It is also likely that you may need to extend the cable going from the pedal sensor on the crank to the controller box / bag.

The Benefits of fitting an electric hub motor to a recumbent

  • Ease of installation – you just need to swap out your rear wheel, fit the pedal sensor, battery, motor controller and display.
  • Cost – hub motor conversion kits are nearly always cheaper
  • Simplicity – If hub motors do go wrong (which is quite rare) they are easy and cheap to repair or replace.
  • If you use derailleur gears you get to keep your full range of gears – e.g triple on front 8/9 speed at the rear.

Negatives to fitting a rear hub motor

  • Rear hub motors do not produce as much torque as crank motors (40Nm vs 80Nm).
  • Repairing rear wheel punctures can be time consuming – fit Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.
  • Not compatible with all recumbent dropouts
  • Hub motors are not as efficient as crank motors – reduced battery range.

Riding a recumbent fitted with a rear hub motor

I have installed a couple of Bafang rear hub motors on a recumbent bike and trike and I think they work great. It’s true that they don’t produce the torque you get with a crank motor, but nonetheless the assist is more than adequate in my opinion. I live at the bottom of a 0.2 miles 8-10% hill and my personal best on my road bike (unassisted) is 1 min 20 secs,  on a 250w Bafang powered Ice Trike I did the same climb in 1 min 13 secs, and that was without getting too out of breath!

Riding a bafang hub motor powered recumbent trike

Most of the rear hub motor kits available use cadence based pedal assist, much like the Bafang mid drive motor. There are hub drive systems available which use a torque sensing pedal assist to produce a smoother more efficient level of assistance much like the Tongsheng motor.

36v 350w torque sensing rear hub electric bike kit

The main issue with fitting a torque sensing hub motor kit, is you will need to remove your existing bottom bracket to replace it with the torque sensing one. You will also need to drill a hole in your bottom bracket shell to thread through the connector lead to the controller – it is very important that you fit a rubber grommet into this hole beforehand because if you don’t it is very likely you will damage the connector lead when threading through the hole. You will also need to get a compatible extension lead for the torque sensor connector as the one supplied with the kit is not long enough for a recumbent.

Conclusion

The  age old question of is a hub motor better than a mid-drive or visa-versa really boils down to your own expectations of what you want from electric assist. For me personally I think hub motors are great, they lack the torque and efficiency of a crank motor, but they still do the job of providing electric assist very well. The other plus point is the lack of drag at the wheel (and crank) when pedalling with the assist switched off.

bafang hub motor fitted to an ice trike recumbent

The main selling point of any hub motor would be its long-term reliability. I have installed a lot of geared hub motors over the last three years, and I haven’t had one single reported motor or controller failure. I have had some minor problems like pedal assist sensors playing up and occasional issues with the display. But apart from that, the motors themselves are excellent.

I wouldn’t hesitate taking a hub motor powered recumbent on a 1000 mile tour!

Product Links 

Rear wheel electric hub motor kits
36v 350w Rear hub motor with torque sensor - Global Shipping
24v / 36v / 48v 250w rear wheel hub motor kit - Global Shipping
36v 500w rear hub motor kit with battery - Global Shipping
36v 350w rear wheel conversion kit - Global Shipping
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon France
Amazon Italia
Amazon Deutschland
Useful Links for Recumbent Trikes and Bikes
Recumbent Trikes for Sale
Massive selection of high quality electric bike batteries
Recumbent parts and accessories
Terracycle Battery mounting kit
TerraTrike 20" Evo electric hub motor kit
TerraTrike Bosch Booster Kit for Catrike

 

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86 thoughts on “Best Electric Conversion Kit for Recumbent Trike or Bike

    • December 30, 2020 at 10:33 am
      Permalink

      You’re welcome👍

      Reply
  • December 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm
    Permalink

    Good morning. I currently have a ICE Adventure RS/26 that I have installed a BBSHD/52v system on Jan.2020. I have ridden this trike for 4000 miles this year. I have installed two 52v batteries which typically in PAS levels 3 – 4 will give me 60 plus miles on one 17.5Ah battery. What I would like to do in my initial research is to convert my 08 ICE Trice T/NT to a rear hub motor system so I can retain its triple chainring and cassette. I have reached out to Bafang asking about the new H640 rear hub. I am wanting to retain the 52v battery system (so I don’t have to buy more in a different voltage), as well as set the Trice with dual battery mounts. Not sure about controllers (need water resistance) here in the Pacific NW and was also thinking of using the smaller 500c display along with T-Cycles accessories for mounting. I build my own wheels and want to leave the Trice in the 20″ rear wheel (non-fat) configuration. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated as I start down this path.

    Reply
    • December 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Kit,

      As far as I know, any 48v Bafang hub motor will be able to handle a 52v battery. I have installed a few 48v 500w CST rear hub motors and run them with 52v batteries without any long-term issues.

      The new H640 looks like a great hub motor, but I’m having trouble finding a supplier in the US, Europe or Aliexpress – it’s quite possible it will only be available to the trade. I would go with a regular 48v Bafang CST motor, these have been proven to be quite durable up to about 1500w max. Regarding waterproof controllers, I’m not aware of any that are specifically waterproof. Maybe showerproof to an extent, but not for a prolonged amount of time. I would get a controller that uses the circular higo connectors and maybe get a waterproof bag or controller box. Most KT series and other controllers that are rated at 48v will comfortably handle a 52v battery fully charged. I would go with a 48v 22A controller that way your peak power draw will be 1293w (58.8v x 22A) which is well within the safety parameters of the CST motor.

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
      • December 28, 2020 at 10:41 pm
        Permalink

        Tony,
        Thanks. I delved into the internet and what a confusing bunch of motors, kits, etc. Is there a specific link to the 48v Bafang CST hub motor with cassette? Found most were for fat tire setups, which I do not need. Likewise a recommended link to controllers. What other parts would be necessary for this conversion? I’ve seen several mentions of torque sensor bottom bracket attachments which require drilling into the bottom bracket as well as sensor attachments to the bottom bracket.
        Thanks for helping as I head into this adventure.

        Reply
      • December 29, 2020 at 8:12 pm
        Permalink

        Thanks Tony
        As I keep delving into this little project, I had previously reached out to Greenergia concerning the 48v system and using 52v batteries. Here is some of their responses which are a bit contrary to both your observations as well as BafangUSA and another e-bike forum:

        New message from: greenergia-motor Top Rated Seller(270Turquoise Star)
        Hello,however if you use the battery over voltage than the motor, it will hurt the controller. We don’t suggest to do that.
        Reply
        Your previous message

        Thank you for your quick response. As I looked over the ad again, I see that all of the displays have the user defined option of using 48, 50 or 60v in setting up the displays.
        greenergia-motor:

        No,the 48V motor should use with the 48V battery.
        Your previous message

        I currently have 52V shark batteries with the newer 5 prong base. Will this system as a 48v be compatible with my current shark batteries and mounts.

        Reply
        • December 29, 2020 at 11:47 pm
          Permalink

          Hi Kit,

          I’ve used Greenergia a couple of times in the past without any issues. I think they may have a fulfilment warehouse in the US as well.

          I understand where they’re coming from regarding the max voltage capacity of the controllers. It’s more to cover themselves against potential returns. The only motor I’ve noticed a decrease in reliability by using a 52v battery is the Bafang BBS02 48v 750w. I’ve fitted about a dozen Bafang 48v CST hub motors with 48v 22A KT series controllers and 52v batteries without any problems, but I would imagine other brands of controller may not have the tolerances the the slightly higher voltage. In my experience the KT seems to be one of the more dependable controllers on the market.

          Regarding a torque sensor, there is a company on Aliexpress who I’ve dealt with before called Eunorau – here is a link to one of their products. I believe the hub motors they use are either MXUS or Shengyi – which are both of similar design and quality to Bafang.

          Fitting a torque sensing bottom bracket can be a bit tricky, the main thing to remember is to insert a rubber grommet into the hole drilled for the wiring (in the BB shell. The wiring used has a very poor coating and it’s easy to damage this when threading the lead through the hole in the BB. It might be worth contacting California ebikes as they used to sell a whole range of torque-sensing bottom brackets.

          I don’t see any problem using the 5-pronged battery as the power lead will usually be the same positive/negative with either an Anderson, XT90 or male/female bullet connector.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
          • January 5, 2021 at 7:32 pm
            Permalink

            Tony,
            Thanks so much for your input. I’ve ordered a 500w CST which should be here within the week and will lace it up to a new rim. Just received an answer from ICE Trikes when I inquired about the frame offset as well as mentioned the CST. They responded that their frames are only designed to handle 250 motors and anything larger could have a long term impact on the rear section and potential failure. Not sure if this is more of a manufacturer concern re: potential failure or a reality factor. Also, in talking with Greenergia, they have a sourcing for the new BaFang H640 motor and am waiting for pricing.
            Kit

          • January 6, 2021 at 12:10 am
            Permalink

            Hi Kit,

            No worries, glad to have helped. Regarding Ice Trikes response, I think it must be more of a ‘potential failure’ concern. One of my customers purchased a used Ice from eBay and that had a very heavy 1500w direct drive rear hub motor fitted – previous owner claimed to have covered several thousand miles on it without issue. As far as the extra weight factor is concerned, the 48v CST motor is only marginally heavier than the 36v 250w Bafang hub motor.

            Let me know how the conversion goes, and if you have any further questions, give me a shout.

            Cheers,
            Tony

          • January 7, 2021 at 3:17 pm
            Permalink

            Good morning. Reached out to Greenergia and they advise the H640 is going to be available in the near future and will keep me posted about the pricing. I had also reached out to ICE Trikes and asked about the frame offset (for wheel building) and mentioned mounting a hub drive.
            They responded that their trikes (all models) were designed only for 250 hub motors. I am guessing both from a manufacturers CYA as well as that most if not all models have aluminum rear sections.
            Also finally located a waterproof 30amp controller (EBIKELING) on Amazon which is equipped with BaFang connectors. Price was very reasonable @ 49.99 and thought this might be a bit better for the 52v batteries instead of the 22amp. Thoughts?
            Thanks again for this forum, its really helped in both your answers and reviewing all the past comments, advice given.
            Kit

          • January 7, 2021 at 10:02 pm
            Permalink

            Hi Kit,

            Ebikeling kit is usually good quality. I believe they’re based in Illinois and their customer service is decent. The only potential issues I can see is that if you run the motor at full power with a 52v battery, you’ll be pulling about 1560w at peak (or 1764w at a full charge of 58.8v). As long as you don’t use it in full power mode for a prolonged amount of time you should be just fine.

            I can confirm the Ice has an alloy rear sub-frame, still a bit confused about whether they mean the dropout spacing or the actual power stress. In my experience, most hub motors are 135mm rear spacing and there’s not a massive difference in weight between the 36v (250w) and 48v Bafang motors. If anything the H640 will be marginally lighter than current/older motors.

            All the best,
            Tony

  • December 17, 2020 at 7:05 pm
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    Hi Tony. Great info on ebike conversions.
    I am 69, an occasional rider, and want to do the conversion not so much for speed, but to help me and my aging knees get up the hills and ride farther and longer.
    I have a 2013 HP Velotechnik Gekko FX 20 (folding) and would like to add a ebike conversion kit.
    My budget is $1,500.00, and I want to be able to fold my trike (seat back forward and down, rear wheel up and down over seat btw grips) with the conversion installed. I would prefer a hub motor conversion kit w/battery, and the space btw my rear dropouts is 130mm.
    What do you think of the HP VELOTECHNIK GEKKO CONVERSION SYSTEM Product Code: GEKKO-GR20-8-489 hub motor w/battery kit from ebikekit.com? It calls for 135mm btw dropouts, but 1 reviewer on the site says he installed it and runs it on his Gekko FX 26 by stretching the dropouts to open the space from 131mm to 135mm. Do you think I could do the same successfully?
    Do you have other hub motor kits you like more? Or, do you think I need to go with a mid-drive kit; and if so, which do you recommend?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • December 17, 2020 at 10:56 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Pam,

      Looking at the specification of the conversion kit on their website, it looks like they’ve used a decent motor / battery combination. Of the hub motor conversions I’ve performed on Ice recumbents, they have always been geared motors so they offer no increase in pedalling resistance / friction when the e-assist is not in use. You shouldn’t have any problems with the dropouts, all the rear hub motors I’ve come across use the standard 135mm spacing, and I have fitted these motors to vintage road bikes and also a Nazca Fuego recumbent and I’m fairly sure that had 130mm dropouts. In my experience, hub motors are generally more reliable than mid-drives in the long term.

      Mid-drives are more efficient, but the retro-fit kits like Bafang and Tongsheng can be problematic from time to time, plus you will be limited to a single front chainring. The other problem is there is noticeable resistance when the assist is switched off. Having said that all the Tongsheng motors I’ve installed to date on Ice Trikes are still going strong – it seems to be the electric motor of choice for a lot of the recumbent riders here in the UK.

      If you have any more questions, please let me know.

      Kind regards,
      Tony

      Reply
      • December 18, 2020 at 1:05 am
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        Okay. Thanks, Tony. Rear hub motor it will be. A couple of questions, though.
        (1) In your January response to Barbara, you stated “the Bafang 48v 500w rear hub motor would be best suited” to her Gekko FX 26. I assume the dropouts on her FX 26 with 26″ wheel and my FX 20 with 20″ wheel are the same 130mm. The Bafang motor in a kit through Amazon USA calls for 138mm dropouts. Should I be able to stretch my 130mm rear dropout with a 20″ wheel to the 138mm required?
        (2) Do you think I will be able to fold my trike with the Bafang hub motor kit installed?

        Reply
      • December 18, 2020 at 4:00 am
        Permalink

        Re the BAFANG Bike Conversion Kit 48V 500W Rear Hub Motor for Bicycle 20″ 26″ 27.5″ 700C Rear Wheel Kit with PAS LCD Display Ebike Battery and Charger on Amazon US, it states
        “Only compatible with the disc brake”. Does this mean the kit will not work replacing my HP Gekko FX 20″ back wheel, which has no disc brake, came with no brake at all? Though recently, I added a V-brake parking brake.

        Reply
        • December 18, 2020 at 1:22 pm
          Permalink

          The Bafang kit in question has a disc-specific rim which doesn’t have a flat, machined braking surface. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re just using a parking V-brake. Regarding the dropout measurements, all the Bafang motors I have installed (on regular bikes and recumbents) have a 135mm axle width. Most alloy and steel frames will have maybe 5mm of flex each side, there are usually spacers included with these hub motors which you can remove or add. I find that occasionally the clearance on the drive side may put the small cog (on the cassette) and chain too close to the frame and a 2mm spacer needs to be added. I haven’t converted an HP Velotechnik before, but have converted several Ice trikes and folding hasn’t been a problem – where the battery is mounted will be a more important consideration. Ideally, you will want either a T-cycle battery mount or find a way of mounting on the pannier rack (if you have one fitted).

          Another thing to consider is the type of bottom bracket your trike uses – most generic e-bike conversion kits have a standard pedal sensor which is only suitable for a squared-tapered sealed cartridge bottom bracket. If your trike has a Hollowtech II or SRAM GXP BB then you will need a sensor specific for that arrangement. You will may also need to get an extension for the PAS sensor, depending on where you mount the motor controller box.

          Let me know if you have any more questions.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
          • December 21, 2020 at 5:54 pm
            Permalink

            Thanks again, Tony. You have been such a help. The Bafang hub motor conversion kit, a battery, and a torque arm have been ordered and should arrive in January. My HPV Gekko FX20 has a square bottom bracket; so pedal sensor should work. When all is assembled, I will post details of the conversion to possibly help others going down this road.

          • December 21, 2020 at 6:58 pm
            Permalink

            Hi Pam,

            Much appreciated, let me know how it goes and if you need any further help or advice, give me a shout.

            Cheers,
            Tony

  • November 15, 2020 at 1:21 pm
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    Hi Tony
    Thanks for a great website with so much useful information.
    I have been riding a recumbent trike (ICE Q) for over fourteen years and covered thousands of miles including tours such as LEJOG, C2C and trips to France to do come of the iconic cols. Fantastic fun on a trike! Recently, as old age and dodgy back (the initial reason for a recumbent) mean slower rides and shorter distances (and less smiling) brought me to the conclusion that I needed an electric upgrade, but the cost of a new electric trike seemed prohibitive. Reading all you info. on fitting an electric motor myself has filled me with excitement for this project. I’d like to go for a “mid drive unit” rather than hub motor as I’ve cycled two wheel electric hybrids with mid drive on holiday and enjoy the fact that you still need to put in some effort. Also a bit worried about the extra weight as my trike is already 20Kg so the Tongsheng unit seems a good bet.
    The only problem I have with the mid drive motor is the loss of gears from my existing set up. I currently ride a 52/36/26 chainwheel with a 9 speed 12-36 cassette. Going to the Tongsheng with 42T would lose me a couple of gears off the top but almost 4 gears off the bottom end. Do you think I could cope with that bearing in mind the extra weight of motor, battery etc as well, even though I now have electric assist?
    What size (and make) of battery would you recommend? Most of my local cycling is 20-30 miles with a few long drags of 6% and a few short sharp hills of 10% (even in Essex!) but I would like the opportunity to do the odd tour of maybe 50miles a day for a week in other more hilly parts of the country – I do know what you mean about Cornwall in that its either up or down with nothing in between.
    One other question. Apart from the extra length lead for the speed sensor (although I could probably mount that on the front wheel and therefore not require the extension?), would I need extra length connections for the battery to motor if I mount the battery behind the seat as you show in your video.
    Thanks again for all your hints and reviews.
    You definitely need to treat yourself to a trike – they are great fun (especially downhill!) and so comfortable, no more sore bum!
    Cheers
    Steve

    Reply
    • November 15, 2020 at 5:53 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Steve,

      One way around it would be to fit a Sunrace 11-40 9-speed cassette, you will need a Shimano Deore M592 or Shimano Alivio RD-M4000. Both of those rear derailleurs will handle the 40t low with a couple of turns of the ‘b’ screw. A more expensive option would be to upgrade to SRAM NX 11-speed, you can fit an 11-speed MTB cassette on a regular 9/10 speed freehub. Sunrace do an 11-46 cassette which works perfectly with the SRAM derailleur. I use the SRAM set-up on my ebike and it works flawlessly, my only concern fitting it to the ICE, would possibly be limited ground clearance from the cage (when it’s on the 46t rear).

      Regarding the battery, you will definitely need to extend the cable, I use similar-sized corresponding red and black wires and then solder and heat shrink the joins. Not too sure about mounting the speed sensor on the front though, it’s not something I’ve tried before. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work as long as there’s enough gap between the sensor and magnet (usually 4-5mm).

      Glad you like the article, I’m still saving for a trike – hopefully next Spring, I’ll pop down to ICE’s headquarters in Falmouth to see if they’ll let me try the Shimano Steps version. I’ve got a Shimano Steps on my ebike and it’s a great motor – I can squeeze over 100 miles out of a single charge (using only ECO mode).

      If you have any further questions, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • November 2, 2020 at 12:53 am
    Permalink

    Hi Tony,
    Fantastic and very helpful article. I have an ICE Adventure, and I’m considering doing the same Tonsheng TSDZ2 conversion.

    You mentioned in one comment about the resistance pedaling when the motor is off, or out of juice. How tough is it too drive without any power? Is there less resistance with the hub drive, than with the mid-drive?

    Also, my neck is fused, so I can’t bend my head down. This is part of the reason for the Adventure, because if it’s upright seat. I’ll need to mount the controller as high as possible. Any ideas on ways to extend the controller mount?

    Thanks much!

    Reply
    • November 2, 2020 at 8:58 am
      Permalink

      Hi Ted,

      I would say the resistance is minimal, the main problem is the limited gear range. If you fit a geared rear hub motor the resistance is practically non-existent, but more importantly you get to keep the triple crankset which will give you a nice low gear for getting up hills. The Tongsheng is supplied with a 42t single, and although you could swap this out for something smaller, it does limit your gear range.

      Regarding a suitable mount for the display, TerraCycle in Portland do some quite long accessory mounts which may be suitable for your requirements. Here is their link: https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • November 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm
        Permalink

        Thanks, Tony for the quick reply! I like the sound of the TSDZ2 driving experience (versus the Bafang). However, you raise a great point about losing the front triple crankset. You’ve given me much to think about! I assume your recommendation for a rear hub motor would be the Bafang 48v 5002 setup for the ICE Adventure?
        Cheers,
        Ted

        Reply
        • November 2, 2020 at 5:29 pm
          Permalink

          Hi Ted,

          Yes, I’ve fitted the Bafang rear hub motor to a couple of Ice trikes, and it’s always proven to be a reliable motor. Another good hub motor is the MXUS. If you’re not too bothered about top speed, a TSDZ2 with a 36t front chainring and 11-36 rear cassette will give you that low 1:1 gear ratio for climbing, but you’re pedalling cadence at 25mph will be in the high 90’s. The Tongsheng will take any 5-bolt 110 BCD chainring.

          Cheers,
          Tony

          Reply
          • November 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm
            Permalink

            Thanks, Tony! You’ve given me much to consider. Top speed is not a big issue. I typically try to pedal at 15 mph, though with the boost, maybe I’d go faster. Thanks, again!

          • November 3, 2020 at 7:15 pm
            Permalink

            You’re welcome.

      • November 2, 2020 at 9:32 pm
        Permalink

        Hello Tony,
        I love your dedication to getting e-assist info out to all of us. Just wanted to say that I just bought a TSDZ2 kit from eco-ebike.com in Tennessee, USA and they have double and triple adapters in both 104BCD and 110BCD. They also sell 110BCD 34/42/52 rings but do not sell 104BCD rings. You have to use a Fatbike front derailleur to cover a triple. I had a nice 22/32/42 triple on the cargo bike I am converting. The adapter does not have a 64bcd granny carrier so 32T is as low as you can go. I bought a 104BCD adapter but at this point all I have done is mount the motor with the stock 42T ring in place. Lines up perfectly with the FD in the middle gear position.

        Reply
        • November 2, 2020 at 10:36 pm
          Permalink

          Hi Howard,

          Thanks for sharing. I know a couple of Ice Trike owners who’ve used the TSDZ2 double chainring without any issues, it would be good to see if a triple set-up can work well. From what I’ve been told, front shifting works best when the assist is in the lowest setting. Let me know how thing’s go.

          Cheers,
          Tony

          Reply
  • September 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Tony,
    I know i have read this somewhere, but for the life of me cannot find the spot.
    My wife has an Ice Adventure which I was thinking of converting to a Bafang BBS01B, 36v 250W motor as we are in the UK. Personally I would like to fit the BBS 02, but we are where we are.
    My questions is over the correct teeth size for the Chainwheel. Most of these kits are for 2 wheelers and cover differences between road riding and mountain biking. Any advise on what the best size is? The standard kit comes with a 46 teeth wheel.
    My wife is 64 and we have a few reasonable hills around here that she struggles up, unless I save her blushes and push.
    Also is a gear sensor necessary or beneficial?

    Cheers

    Maurice Still

    Reply
    • September 21, 2020 at 7:12 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Maurice,

      The Bafang BB01B 250w can be tweaked a little using a USB lead and software – typically you can raise the maximum current to 18A and increase the ‘keep current’ up to ‘100’, although I usually set it to ’80’. This will give the motor more power, but you can still keep the assisted maximum speed to 15mph. Here is a link to a really good programming guide for the Bafang – although it’s written with the BBS02 in mind, the parameters also apply to the BBS01.

      Regarding chainring size, I would go with an aftermarket 36t Lekkie Bling ring – this will keep the gearing sufficiently low for a recumbent trike. They can be purchased in the UK from Brighton ebikes.

      A gearshift sensor isn’t really necessary with the BBS01B, I only usually fit them on 500w conversions and above.

      It might be worth considering the Tongsheng TSDZ2 – I have converted quite a few Ice Trikes over the last couple of years and have always fitted the 250w version – no reports of any issues so far from any of the customers. Also, you can fit a regular 110 BCD 5-bolt chainring.

      If you have any more questions relating to the above, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • September 19, 2020 at 4:33 am
    Permalink

    I just purchased a brand new Catrike Villager August 2020 for my wife who is 70+ and has some physical limitations. I am researching electric motors. I am trying to decide which one would be the best for her. The bike will not be off road and mostly ridden on concrete or paved roads. The dealer where I purchased the bike suggests the bosch electric motor at a price of $3k + (US) I am looking at the bafang and want to make the best decision. Reading your articles I am now aware of front install and rear hub install. I am a mechanic by trade and although I have never installed an e motor on a bike I am confident that “DIY” is most certainly an option. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Be Safe God Bless Chuck C- Arizona USA

    Reply
    • September 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Chuck,

      My personal favourite for recumbent trikes is the Tongsheng TSDZ2 – I’ve installed more of these motors on recumbents than anything else. The Bafang BBS02B is a great motor, but adds a fair bit of weight up front at 9.25 lbs vs 7.93 lbs for the TSDZ.

      For simplicity and reliability, rear hub motors work really well. I’m not familiar with the rear drop-out width on the Catrike, but assuming it’s 135mm then most rear hub motors will fit. I couldn’t find the rear wheel size, but I assume it’s 20″ – 26″. You could either buy the motor on its own (with controller, pedal assist sensor and display) and have it laced into your existing rim or get one already laced into an appropriate wheel size. Another thing you will need to consider is rear cassette compatibility. Some motors will only take a screw-on freewheel, and others have a freehub for a cassette.

      One more thing you will need (if you’re going to be fitting pedal assist) is an extension to the sensor lead, as they are generic and made for regular bikes.

      If you decide to go for a rear hub motor, the Bafang 48v 500w is probably the best option, as it produces around 750w peak power and has enough grunt to get up most hills. Plus it’s generally very reliable.

      The Bosch motor is an excellent bit of kit and usually comes with a 2-year manufacturers warranty – I would imagine they supply the modified boom with the motor pre-installed and separate battery. Good motor, but if they do go wrong out of warranty Bosch don’t like to supply DIY enthusiasts with replacement parts so you’d have to take it to a registered dealer for repair.

      I hope this helps, if you need any more advice let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • September 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Tony, great page with lots of info, thanks. I purchased 2 Sun Baja Adult Trikes a couple of years ago. My wife and I absolutley love them. We pack them up in the back of my van and transport them where ever we want to go and enjoy them quite a bit. I have decided to buy a couple of ebike kits. I have ordered 2 front hub motors (48 V, 1000 W) with disc brakes and 2 batteries (48 V, 17 AH). The reason I went big was, these trikes are pretty heavy and I myself weigh in at 320 + lbs. I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos and fortunately I work at a bike shop. I’m not the mechanic but I am mechanical. I figure whatever I can’t do our real mechanic can assist me on. My 3 concerns are the disc brake alligning with my current disc brake housing , the controller, 26A max sine-wave controller not being beefy enough, and is this enough power to pull my fat butt? What do you think? I might add that I just turned 69 and I am hoping this extends our bike riding experience for mant years to come. We live in the USA.
    Thanks and keep up the great website.

    Reply
    • September 7, 2020 at 7:19 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Greg,

      The only problem I can see regarding the disc brake, is if you’ve purchased direct drive hub motors, then there will be very limited clearance (if any) between the inner brake caliper and hub motor housing. I’ve encountered this problem several times when fitting a big hub motor to the front of a bike with disc brakes. You might be fine with the existing calipers, but I depends on how wide they are. I’ve used hydraulic brakes with a slimmer profile in the past to remedy the problem and some mechanical calipers will fit. Looking at the spec sheet of your trikes they use Promax as standard – if they rub you may need to try Shimano or Tektro equivalents.

      Regarding the power output, I’d say you should be okay with a 26A – that equates to roughly 1250 watts nominal peak output with a 48v battery. I used to use a 1000w direct drive hub motor fitted to an old steel framed MTB and it hauled me up 15% gradients near where I live, but I still had to put in a bit of effort. If you’re going to be tackling long, steep climbs then I would be inclined to go up to a 30A-35A controller and use a ceramic block connector rated to at least 50A to connect the motor phase wires (green, blue, yellow) to the controller. It would also be wise to mount the controller on a heat sink as opposed to in a bag, as they can get hot quickly on long climbs.

      I hope this info helps, if you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 15, 2020 at 7:37 am
    Permalink

    Hi,
    I have a Volae Tour recumbent bicycle and I live in San Francisco. It has no problem on the flat and minor inclines but the hills here can be stressful. I’d like to modify the bike to include a rear assist or motor. What are your suggestions and why?

    Reply
    • August 17, 2020 at 10:47 am
      Permalink

      Hi Sean,

      If your bike has the 26″ rear wheel it should be easy to source a complete rear wheel conversion kit. The one I usually recommend for US riders is the ebikeling 500w rear hub motor kit (shipped from Chicago) – here is a link to the kit on eBay. You will also require a suitable mounting point for a battery, if you can fit a rack, that’s a good place to start. Terracycle up in Portland specialise in recumbent battery mounting solutions.

      The other option would be a crank motor like the Tongsheng TSDZ2, these are very popular with recumbent riders here in the UK and I’ve installed quite a few over the last couple of years, but long-term reliability is questionable and there is a noticeable increase in pedalling resistance when the motor is switched off (or runs out of battery power). The small geared hub motor from ebikeling is lightweight, easy to install and there is very little (if any) pedalling resistance when the motor is off. They are also much more reliable over the long-term.

      I hope this helps, if you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 7, 2020 at 8:31 pm
    Permalink

    I have a question
    If I go too long and the battery dies, is it hard to peddle the mid drive through the motor?

    Reply
    • August 8, 2020 at 6:44 pm
      Permalink

      Hi,
      Yes, with both the Bafang and TSDZ2 there is a small, but noticeable increase in pedalling resistance with the motor switched off. You can still pedal on the flat and moderate climbs, but it’s definitely noticeable on steeper hills.

      Reply
  • August 6, 2020 at 2:29 am
    Permalink

    Hi Tony
    I have an opportunity to buy a used Mobo Triton Shift Cruiser for $120 and wondering if a motor can be installed on it. If so Any info you can provide would be much appreciated Thanks Paul

    Reply
    • August 6, 2020 at 10:40 am
      Permalink

      Hi Paul,

      Looking at the design of the trike on their website, the only e-assist system that might work is a friction drive system. I’ve never installed one of these systems before, but I know someone that uses one of these and it does the job. If you can find a suitable way to mount it next to the front wheel, I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. Here is a link to one of these systems sold on eBay (US). I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • August 2, 2020 at 5:59 pm
    Permalink

    Will the ICE Chain Ring Guard still fit on the trike with the Tongsheng TSDZ2 motor installed on the ICE Adventure FS trike? Looking for protection if the motor.

    Reply
    • August 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Robert,

      I haven’t encountered one of these on any of the TSDZ2 Ice trike conversions I’ve done, so can’t say for sure if it would fit or not. Looking on the Ice website it looks like the guard clamps around the existing external Hollowtech BB cup bearing. It looks like the clamping area is at least 5-10mm thick so there may be just enough space to mount it between the motor and BB shell – bear in mind the motor will fit up to a maximum 73mm bottom bracket, so it gives you around 5mm to play with. The outer diameter of the motor shaft is approximately 33.5mm, not sure if you will need a shim of some kind to fit the clamp around this. I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • July 9, 2020 at 6:41 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Tony,do you have any information or opinion s on the Coppenhegen wheel?
    I Have a2018 Catrike Dumont
    Lee

    Reply
    • July 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Lee,

      I haven’t any personal experience with the Copenhagen wheel, it’s a great idea to have everything integrated into a single unit, and all the information I could find online seems to point to it being a good system. The simplicity of having everything in the wheel and connectivity via a mobile app is appealing, my only concern would be the weight of the wheel which is around 7kg. I would imagine it would be very easy to swap back to a regular wheel if you didn’t need the e-assist. I’ll have to try and get my hands on one to review.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • July 1, 2020 at 8:34 pm
    Permalink

    What would be a good choice for a Catrike 700? It has 700c rear tires and 16 inch front tires.

    Reply
    • July 2, 2020 at 8:55 am
      Permalink

      I would personally go for a either a TSDZ2 crank motor or a good quality rear hub motor like the 48v Bafang unit. You can buy the hub motor as a kit already laced into a 700c rim. The only alteration you would need to make is to extend the pedal assist sensor lead. If you decide on the TSDZ2 you will need an additional speed sensor extension lead (100mm-110mm) and a steel P-Clip 38mm+ depending on the diameter of your boom. For battery mounting options the TerraCycle mount is one of the best for Recumbent’s.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 19, 2020 at 4:52 pm
    Permalink

    Which conversion kit will work on a Teratrike Maverick 8I?

    Reply
    • June 19, 2020 at 8:57 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Ken,

      Since your trike has an 8-speed IGH a Tongsheng TSDZ2 crank motor would be the best option. The TSDZ2 crank motor will require a steel P-clip to secure the motor – I usually use a 38mm on an Ice trike, but the boom diameter maybe different on the Terratrike. You can go up to 750w (legally), there is a 48v 500w and 48v 750w version available. The best battery mounting solution is the Terracycle battery mount. Here is a link for compatible batteries. You will also need a speed sensor extension cable – here is a link for the correct one.

      There are quite a few videos on YouTube to help with installation (on recumbent trikes). If you have any more questions, let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 11, 2020 at 12:40 am
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    I’m thinking about a Bafang BBSHD, Tong Sheng Tsz2, or falco direct drive ANT+ kit for a Linear LWB. I’m used to the smooth Bosch active line 350 watt on my Treks. I think the Tong Sheng might be similar with the torque sensor. In concerned that the direct drive Falco would not have enough hill climbing power. But the hub motor would leave most of the Drivetrain intact. The BBSHD has the most raw power, but all reviews like the Tong Sheng for the torque sensor.

    Reply
    • June 11, 2020 at 11:34 am
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      Hi Jonathan,

      Going by previous experiences, I would say the Tongsheng TSDZ2 is probably the way to go. I’ve ridden a few different Bosch-powered e-bikes and although the Tongsheng definitely isn’t quite as refined (in terms of smoothness and quietness) it is nonetheless as close to a Bosch unit you will get for a retro-fit mid-drive motor. My only concern with the TSDZ2 is long-term reliability and if you decided to go down this route I would definitely recommend either buying a spare blue gear (or brass replacement) and sprag clutch (one-way bearing) and possibly a torque sensor.

      None of the units I have installed on recumbent’s have failed yet, despite some covering quite high mileages, although I regularly get emails from people looking for advice and diagnostics with motor issues.

      If you do decide on a Tongsheng, I would be inclined to go with the 48v 500w (or 750w) version as it will be drawing less current for the same power (as the 36v variant).

      As far as the BBSHD is concerned, it is a great motor and very reliable. My only concern fitting it to a recumbent would be the considerable weight (4.8kg vs 3.6kg for the TSDZ2). You can reprogram the pedal assist on the BBSHD to be very smooth and progressive on the uptake, it also seems tp be very efficient when used in lower power modes, while still producing bags of torque.

      If you wanted to preserve your drivetrain maybe look at a Bafang 48v 500w rear hub motor – these are good because they can be pedalled normally without any drag or resistance in the motor, they also produce greater torque than direct drive motors due to the internal planetary gear system.

      I hope this helps. If you need any more advice let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 10, 2020 at 1:47 pm
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    Hi,

    Awesome site, thanks for being so kind and generous with your advice.

    I’m building a Christiana-style cargo trike for a friend. She has an autistic son who loves to ride in things, but she doesn’t drive so we figured a trike would be an option.

    I’d like to explore the possibility of adding some electric assistance.

    It needs to be cheap and reliable. Low speeds, but the vehicle will be quite heavy. Range can be quite small.

    I’m attracted to a bottom bracket conversion as that could work through the existing gearing, but put off by the expense, and it would also need some cutting and welding to fit into the bottom bracket.

    I like the idea of a cheap direct drive hub because it’s cheap, but if anything breaks down I believe it will be harder to cycle home.

    Doesn’t need to be a bike-specific battery because it will be fitted in the front cargo box under the seat.

    I’m quite practical, but not a bike expert.

    Reply
    • June 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm
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      Hi Rich,

      I reckon you would be best with a small geared hub motor. Depending on the diameter of your rear wheel, there is usually a reasonable choice available. A geared hub motor will be smaller, lighter and more efficient than a direct drive, and also produce proportionately higher torque (for the power output). Here is a link to the seller I have used many times before on eBay, they also have cheap batteries available. Their motors are very reliable, I haven’t had one reported failure in 3 years of dealing with them.

      I hope this helps. If you need any more information, please let me know.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • May 23, 2020 at 5:13 am
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    Great information Tony, thank you.
    I have a Greenspeed trike with 16” 349 tyres. I think the ability to pedal without resistance means the geared hub is the way to go. Do you know if a Bafang 350W 36V could lace into a 349? Greenspeed put a 9speed, 9-26 Capreo and discs on the back – the capreo though only works with the capreo freehub I believe. Would you have any thoughts on how the Bafang Could work?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • May 23, 2020 at 10:10 am
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      Hi Rob,

      Having looked on Shimano’s website the Capreo freehub body is not available separately and is sold only as a complete hub unit. You could lace a Bafang hub motor into a 36H 16″ rim, but these hub motors are usually fitted with standard Shimano 8-10 speed freehub body’s. Whether you could remove the Capreo freehub and install it on the Bafang hub motor, I wouldn’t like to say as it’s something I’ve not tried yet. To change the freehub body on a Bafang motor you need to remove the motor assembly from the housing, which is fairly straightforward for a competent DIY mechanic. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use the standard freehub that comes with the motor as the Capreo comes with standard 135mm spacing, but you would need something like a Sora short cage rear derailleur and 11-25 cassette. I’m not sure if this would have a detrimental effect to the shifting quality though.

      I hope this information is help, and if you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
      • May 23, 2020 at 1:23 pm
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        Thanks so much for responding Tony!
        You have helped immensely. I think the way for me is probably going to standard cassette and a new derailleur. I didn’t know the Sora short cage so I’ll have a look at it – I don’t mind changing from 9-26 to 11, but I was worried about the derailleur.
        Ebike.ca seems to have the 349 rim available in 16 to lace it to, and can wind the G310 v.fast for the 16” tyres so that seems good. Thank you very much for your help and advice.

        Reply
        • May 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm
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          Hi Rob,

          No worries, glad to help. Let me know how the build goes.

          Cheers,
          Tony

          Reply
  • May 12, 2020 at 4:30 am
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    Hi Tony –

    I have a Rans Screamer XL recumbent tandem that sits in my garage gathering dust. We like the bike, but it’s not convenient to ride when hills are part of the ride. so, these days we just ride our road bikes. The Tandem is a great flat road ride, but when climbing hills it’s a slow grind and a bit nerve-racking on narrow roads with the bike moving very slowly. I was wondering if you’ve run into options to convert this type of tandem bike to an eBike. I like the idea of pedal assist, but I’m open to any option.

    Thanks,

    – Doug

    Reply
    • May 12, 2020 at 4:22 pm
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      Hi Doug,

      Looking at the photographs it looks the the crankset is on the left hand side, which would rule out a crank motor like the Bafang or Tongsheng. But I don’t see any reason why a rear wheel hub motor conversion kit wouldn’t fit.

      Pedal assist would work, but you would need to extend the lead, which is fairly straightforward – most pedal assist sensors have 3 wires: Live, earth and signal. You would need to fabricate a battery mounting solution and looking at the frame there should be a few options on where to fit it. You would need to mount the motor controller unit centrally so the motor lead, pedal assist lead and display lead would reach. There would also be the option of throttle control (with most DIY kits).

      I couldn’t find the wheel size on the website, but I’m assuming it’s 26″ or 24″ – most of are available already laced into a wheel, but another option is to buy the hub motor kit without a wheel and have it laced into a 36H rim of your choice.

      If you need more advice, email me at cycletek@outlook.com, send me your phone number and I can give you a call to discuss further options.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
      • May 14, 2020 at 2:59 am
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        Thank you Tony. Appreciate the info. It helps me in my investigation.

        Reply
  • April 14, 2020 at 2:22 am
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    I have an ICE trike with 9 speed rear cassette, I like to keep it that way. what rear hub motor kit can I get to fit in the rear forks space is 135mm? Most kits that I have been looking at do not show this in the specification.
    Thank you, Tony

    Reply
    • April 14, 2020 at 8:24 am
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      Hi Claudio,

      The Bafang rear hub motor fits the standard 135mm rear dropout. Here is a link to a kit on Amazon US that has the option of 26″ rear wheel with cassette and choice of display.

      You will need to extend the lead on the pedal assist sensor, and if you have a Hollowtech II external cup bearing bottom bracket fitted you will need a specific type of sensor – there should be a link in the article.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 9, 2020 at 4:22 am
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    Hello Tony. I have a 8 year old Catrike Villager. I have replaced the 20 inch rear wheel with a 26 inch wheel. I have changed the front sprocket so it is now a 27 speed. I know if I choose a mid motor assist I will have to go back to 9 speeds but I feel with electric assist that should not be a problem. I am 77 years old with hills in our Del Webb community and I need help conquering them. I think my choice would be a mid motor assist over a rear hub assist. What system would you recommend? I am very handy and I should be able handle the installation myself. One question, are there any special tools I would need to complete the installation? Thank you Tony.

    Reply
    • April 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm
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      Hi Tom,
      I have installed both the Bafang and Tongsheng mid-drive motors on recumbent’s and my personal favourite is the Tongsheng TSDZ2. The Tongsheng kit comes complete with a special lockring spanner. The only other tools you will need relate to removing the cranks and bottom bracket. You will also require a speed sensor extension cable, and a steel P-clip – the size will depend on the diameter of your boom (on an Ice Trike it’s 38mm).

      I would personally go for the 48v 500w version of the TSDZ2, which should provide you with plenty of assist for the steeper climbs, there is also a 52v 750w version available. The Bafang BBS02B 500w / 750w is also a good motor, it produces significantly more peak power and uses cadence-based pedal assist, but it weighs about 1lb more.

      My only criticism of the TSDZ2 is the blue nylon primary gear can be prone to premature failure – I have only experienced this once with over 30 installations, but it’s something to be aware of before making a decision. The Bafang motors are generally reliable but can be prone to electrical faults (particularly the controller and hall sensors).

      Here is a link to a really good Tongsheng TSDZ2 installation video from Tims Trike Trips.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 1, 2020 at 1:57 am
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    Love your article as I’m new to recumbent trikes … Recently purchased a used Catrike “Road” hard-tail and would like your thoughts on converting to an e-Trike? There are no bike shops where I live, so reliability is “key!” Don’t know what more to say until my trike is actually in my hands. I do though appreciate any help and advice I can get. Thanx again Gord

    Reply
    • April 1, 2020 at 5:14 pm
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      Hi Gord,

      I would say for reliability go for a Bafang 500w rear hub motor. Looking at the spec of the Catrike it’s got a 20″ rear wheel with a 9-speed cassette. The main things to consider is you will to extend the pedal sensor lead (fairly simple 3-wires pos/neg/signal) and if your particular model has the Hollowtech II or SRAM GPX bottom bracket, you will need a specific pedal sensor for that set-up. You will also need a place to mount the battery. If you don’t want to mount the battery on a rack the Terracycles battery mount is made specifically for recumbent’s. Here is a link for the Bafang kit on Amazon.ca – you would need to select the cassette gear 20″ rear wheel option and battery (if required). It might be worth trying Mid-Island Adventures in Vancouver Island, he does lots of trike conversions and might have some kits in stock.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
    • June 1, 2020 at 2:06 pm
      Permalink

      Catrike does not like a mid drive on the end of a aluminum boom, stress. They are making a new ebike with a special boom. Should a chain break with a mid drive you are stuck. Check out ebike.ca, new front hub motor called Grin All Axle

      Reply
  • February 20, 2020 at 2:50 pm
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    Thank you for the advice Tony.
    I am going to look at these links right away and start getting ready for warm weather.
    Mark

    Reply
    • February 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm
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      You’re welcome. If you need any more advice, give me a shout.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • February 18, 2020 at 8:17 pm
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    Tony,
    I should also have stated that the trike is a 27 speed and also equipped with Sturmey Archer drum brakes.
    Mark

    Reply
    • February 19, 2020 at 11:48 pm
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      Hi Mark,

      There is a 48v 500w Bafang rear hub motor kit available from Amazon.com, that is available in a 20″ rear wheel option. The kit comes with an optional battery pack – for maximum range I would go for the 48v 17.5ah battery. Suitability would really depend on how far you plan on travelling on a single charge. This battery pack would give you a potential assisted range of between 50-70 miles depending on the level of assist used. If you were planning on 100+ miles on one charge you would need something substantially more powerful like a 48v 30Ah battery. I have installed loads of Bafang rear hub motors on recumbent’s and other bikes without any long-term reliability issues reported.

      You will need to select the 20″ rear wheel option that takes a cassette (as opposed to a freewheel). There is also a choice of displays – if you want something fancy, the C18 is the nicest display, but for plain old functionality the black and white C965 unit is dependable. Here is a link to the listing on Amazon.com – this motor should fit your rear drop-outs, I have installed four Bafang motors on Ice Trikes and it’s usually a fairly straightforward job. You may need to extend the pedal sensor lead, as it might not reach the motor controller. The pedal sensor supplied with the kit is only suitable for use with a sealed cartridge-type bottom bracket, if your trike has a Hollowtech ll type bottom bracket. You will need to get a compatible sensor as the one supplied with the kit will not fit. Here is a link to a sensor with a compatible magnetic sensor ring.

      For the battery mounting system, I usually use the TerraCycle battery mount (based in Portland). Its quite pricey, but it makes for a very neat installation. Here is a link to their website.

      For mounting the display on the handlebar, I have used the Minoura Bike Accessory mount for recumbent’s in the past.

      I think I’ve covered everything, if you need any more help please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • February 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm
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    Tony.
    What rear hub kit would you reccomend for a 2012 Ice Sprint FS trike with 20″ tires?
    I want long distances and smooth assist. High speed is not a priority.
    Health reasons put me on a trike.
    Please include needed and upgrade items. Battery mount options would also be nice.
    Thank You
    Mark

    Reply
    • February 19, 2020 at 11:19 am
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      Hi Mark,
      I will check price and availability with some of my preferred suppliers and get back to you later today with a list of links to the components you require.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • January 13, 2020 at 3:03 am
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    Hi. Thank you for an excellent article on conversion kits for recumbents trikes! I really enjoy my HP Velotechnik Gekko 26 that I’ve had for about a year and a half, but one of my knees does not like the hills. What kit would you recommend? Since I am not a DIY-type, the reliability of the rear hub motor conversion kits appeals to me. If that is your recommendation, would you happen to know the dropout for the Gekko 26? Thank you so much for your time.

    Reply
    • January 13, 2020 at 10:26 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your compliments, glad you like the article.

      I’ve had a good look over the HP Velotechnik website, and looked at the catalogue and spec sheet for the Gekko, and couldn’t find the rear dropout measurements anywhere. Most of the recumbent trikes I have converted using a hub motor have been Ice Trikes, and they all had standard 130-135mm dropouts.

      It would be worth removing the rear wheel and taking a measurement – Here is a link from Sheldon Brown on the correct way to take this measurement.

      Most of the retro-fit rear hub motor kits are for 135mm dropouts. For battery mounting kits and other accessories, it is worth checking out Electric Spokes in NJ – https://www.electricspokes.com/

      In my experience, hub motors are generally more reliable and less hassle than mid-drives like the TSDZ2 and Bafang. You will need to consider a pedal assist sensor extension lead, and also a suitable mounting bracket for the display on your handlebar.The Bafang 48v 500w rear hub motor would be best suited to your needs, but you would need to make sure you purchased one that could take an 8-speed rear cassette (as fitted to your trike) – Here is a link to a suitable conversion kit, that has the option of a 26″ rear wheel motor with gear cassette freehub.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • December 22, 2019 at 10:10 pm
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    Hi . I have a Schwinn Regular Adult Tricyle, can you advise what kind of electric motor conversion kit is suitable? Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • December 23, 2019 at 11:33 am
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      Hi,

      Assuming your Schwinn tricycle has a 24″ front wheel, then a front wheel hub motor kit will be the easiest option. You can get a complete kit including battery off Amazon – Here is the link. If that kit is too expensive then this kit is cheaper, and you will need to purchase an additional battery – here is a link for a suitable 36v battery.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 2:21 am
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    I have an ICE Adventure with a 20″ rear wheel and rear suspension. Can I use a hub motor on the rear? What about the ICE offset wheel spacing? Will the suspension be a problem?

    Reply
    • October 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Andrew,

      I fitted a 20″ 250w rear wheel hub motor to an earlier model Ice Adventure in the past, and as far as I can remember the installation was fairly straightforward. I needed to extend the PAS sensor lead, and placed the controller in a bag behind the seat. The suspension didn’t pose any problems. I have a photo of it somewhere, if I can find it, I will email it to you.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 10:00 am
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    Brilliant article. Thank you. My dad has an ice adventure which he rides on a regular basis. As he nears 75 he’s found he struggles to keep up with the group. After reading this I’m going to get the bafang 250 rear hub motor but I’m not sure the best place to buy it from. I’ve found it on eBay via China. Could you recommend a seller to purchase from please. In your experience will I need a pedal sensor extension. Thanks.

    Reply
    • October 8, 2019 at 4:40 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Paddy,

      I used to get my Bafang 250w rear hub motor kits from a supplier in Germany, but they no longer sell them, so I usually buy the kits from Aliexpress. Here is the link to the supplier I use. If you purchase from eBay, YosePower ebike hub motor kits are excellent. I’ve fitted loads of their kits in the past and they are as good as the Bafang motor (and a bit cheaper).

      For the pedal sensor extension lead, you can use a generic 3-pin higo connector extension (male one side, female the other). Here is a link to them on eBay.

      If you want to go down the route of a Terracycles battery mounting kit, they are quite expensive, but will make mounting the battery a lot easier. there should be a link or two in the article. I believe you will need the 1.75″ diameter clamp version.

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 5:23 am
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    I am just learning about assist and your article has been most helpful. Thank you.
    I am thinking of adding a hub assist to my 2018 dumont. I looked at your recommendations and went to amazon through a link on your page to bafang 500 w. I also noticed a couple of other brands that were considerably lower in price. Do you have any experience with any of these? Are any of them worth considering?

    I am at a loss as to what exactly I need to order to fit my bike and any additional components i might need to ensure the kit will work on my bike. Would it be much of an imposition if you could tell me what i need to order along with any additional items i might need to complete the installation.

    Kindest regards,

    Reply
    • October 8, 2019 at 11:46 am
      Permalink

      Hi Liz,

      Most of the sub $200 kits on Amazon use direct drive hub motors, which are generally very reliable, but they are heavy and inefficient. They can also make it harder to pedal with the motor switched off.

      I think the best value rear hub motor kit available from Amazon would be the Ebikeling 26″ rear wheel 36v 500w hub motor kit. They are shipped from Illinois, so delivery would be fairly quick. I haven’t any personal experience with these motors but they have 5 star reviews from customers and the design is identical to the Bafang hub motor.

      For a battery, a decent 36v 17.5ah battery will give you a good range with a hub motor – 40-60 miles depending on how much you use the pedal assist.

      Your Trike uses an FSA MegaExo bottom bracket so you would need to purchase a separate pedal assist sensor (that fits on the crankset side). You can purchase a Terracycle battery mounting kit and a Catrike handlebar accessory mount (for the display) from Electric Spokes in New Jersey – they specialize in Catrike parts and accessories

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • September 5, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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    Hey, I’d love that info too, thinking of converting my ICE trike also! great page, and information!

    Reply
    • September 6, 2019 at 7:21 am
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      Thanks for your positive feedback, I’ve converted quite a few Ice Trikes. If you need any advice, let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • September 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm
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    Hi Tony,
    I have an ICE Q Trike with rear suspension which I am thinking about converting with the Tongsheng TSDZ2 kit.
    Firstly, It would need to be a 36V UK legal version.
    Which battery would I require to purchase please to make it compatible with this kit as the write up does not specify one, only for the Baffang?
    How reliable is the motor (have you had any reported issues), as I would have thought using nylon gearing would wear out quickly bearing in mind how much torque needs to be applied whilst riding a Trike?
    You say that a Brass variant is available, is it advisable to purchase this at the same time as the kit or are you talking about years to wear out etc?
    Is the conversion an easy task to install?
    I am ok mechanical wise so would find this not a problem providing all the right bits were first purchased.
    The Control display would be fitted to the Right hand side steering handle, are there suitable brackets available to do this?
    Lastly the battery mount. Looking at your excellent video and instructions, is this ok to be mounted on the frame under the seat before the swinging arm of the suspension?
    Do you have a list of equipment associated with the Tongsheng conversion kit. This would ensure that the correct items are purchased?
    Sorry to bombard you with the above questions, it is a big purchase that needs to be done right first time.

    Reply
    • September 2, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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      Hi Dean,

      I will send you a detailed response with all the relevant information you require via email later this evening.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply

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