As innovation continues to drive the recumbent world, electric assist recumbents are in higher demand than ever before. Having an electric system on your recumbent can be beneficial to any rider, whether you're into commuting, touring, or climbing hills. With the electric assist option you can ditch the car and start commuting to work on your trike; you can live healthier and be eco-friendly. In this article we’ll cover some of the most popular systems, how they work, and which one is best for your riding style.
Falco E-Motors is one of the most popular and reliable hub-motor systems on the market today, and for good reason. With an elegant design, no-hassle performance, and patented 5-phase technology, the Falco system is a great option for any trike. Key components of the Falco system are the hub motor and throttle, the battery and the HXD console.
The hub is built in to your rear wheel. The level of assist is controlled through the wireless console. If at any point you want to override your console settings, feel free to simply use the thumb throttle. The battery is typically mounted to the frame of your trike or situated on a rack. It locks into place so you don't have to worry about losing it. The 48V battery also includes a USB charger so you can plug in a phone or other electronics.
For those of you doing a lot of touring or commuting, the Falco system will likely be one of your favorites. The wireless console allows you to dial in the level of assist. Options range from -5 to +5. From -5 to -1 you're in regenerative mode. This is mostly for downhill riding. The regenerative braking will control the speed of your descent and recharge the battery at the same time. 0 is no assist, so you'll be putting in all the work. +1 to +5 is your pedal assist. You get to decide how much the motor aids your pedaling.
How long will it last on a single charge? That depends on how you use it. If you're only using your recumbent as a small go kart and aren't pedaling at all, you're likely to go between 8-10 miles before needing to recharge your battery. If, on the other hand, you use it only when you need it (when climbing hills, for expamle) than you'll ride around 35-40 miles on one charge.
How is it for climbing? The hub motor does a great job. How many times do you come to a steep incline and immediately dread the slow-going, painful process of getting to the top? With the pedal assist you can still put in the work but you’ll get up those inclines a lot faster. However, if you're doing a lot of climbing up steep grades, you may want to look into a mid drive.
Is there a warranty? Absolutely. Falco offers a 5-year warranty on all of their hubs provided that the hub is used with a Falco battery, a 2-year warranty on battery packs, and a 1-year warranty on all other products. You can read the details here.
How fast can I ride? Typically you'll be able to cruise between 25-30 mph. This makes commuting a breeze! Cut your travel time down significantly and appreciate the wind in your hair!
Ecospeed Mid Drive
Thinking about getting a Fat Tad or a KMX Kart? The EcoSpeed Mid Drive is available for the KMX lineup and our Fat trikes and man, does it pack a punch! The 1000W motor delivers power to the drivetrain, propelling your trike forward at impressive speeds. A recumbent trike with a 26-inch rear wheel can reach speeds up to 40-45 mph! For those of you constantly climbing hills, this is the system for you.
A particularly unique feature of the Ecospeed Mid Drive is the Velociraptor control box. The controller box allows EcoSpeed to program systems with software that helps performance in any given application, and it monitors the motor and battery for reliability and safety. It has a switch that allows you to toggle between 750 or 1300 Watt output. The Mid Drive and control box paired with the Falco 48V lithium ion battery will let you stay on the road for miles.
Another advantage to the Ecospeed Mid Drive vs. the hub motor is the overall feeling of balance that it gives the trike. Hub motors place a lot of weight in the rear wheel while the mid drive sits on the center of the frame, right behind the seat.
How far can I go on a single charge? Like the Falco system, duration of the charge depends on how you're using it. On average a single charge will last 30-40 miles.
How is it for climbing? The Ecospeed is a well-oiled machine! Rather than having a motor that drives the rear wheel, the mid drive actually drives, well, your drivetrain! And it's capable of using all your trike's gears. Is there a warranty? Yes. There's a 2-year warranty on the battery and a 5-year warranty on the mid drive and velociraptor control box.
Is it fast? One of the fastest systems we carry. Like you read before, we've had trikes with 26-inch rear wheels cruising at 40-45 mph. That's fast.
Bafang BBS02 Mid Drive
Let's not forget the Bafang Electric Mid Drive. This is a great option for those of you who are really into off-roading or for those who always seem to be climbing steep hills. The Bafang is a surprisingly quiet mid drive option that will add a lot of power to your ride. This is a great set up for those of you with a single chainring on your front crankset. If you're looking into getting a Fat Tad, a Quad, or even a KMX Tornado or Typhoon, this mid drive could be exactly what you need.
Something that everybody raves about with the Bafang is that it's incredibly quiet. Nobody likes hearing a humming electric bike/trike while they're out for a peaceful ride. The Bafang practically goes unnoticed on the road, except that you feel like a super-human as you pedal. It is capable of climbing any hill. There are even videos of Bafang-equipped bikes climbing stair cases! It's a powerful system that will get you where you need to go no matter what the obstacles may be.
How far can I go on a single charge? With the 48V battery and normal usage of the system you can go between 30-35 miles. If you're using the throttle only you can travel an impressive 18-25 miles!
How does it handle hills? Incredibly well. Like was mentioned, it can climb stair cases! Similar to the Ecospeed, the Bafang can use your trike's entire gear range. You can be in your lowest gears for hill climbing and it will still be able to aid in your climb without over heating. How fast can I go? Cruising speeds are between 20-25 miles an hour, while max speeds average 30 mph.
Whether you're commuting, touring, climbing, or simply enjoying a ride around your neighborhood, choose to electrify your trike! Save money on gas, climb those steep inclines, or kick your feet up and relax while your motor does the work. It's a decision you certainly won't regret.