These days, advancement of technology and globalization has increased awareness among people, which makes them switch to a digital version of things for everyday use. Just like that, people often choose an electric tricycle or convert their trike from manual to electric settings while using several ways, which are mostly done in either bike shops or can be done at home as well with several steps.
It is preferable that the trike is taken for a visit to a bike store while the professional makes the relevant changes which can also be made at home; however, it is necessary to have professional knowledge of the types of trikes, use of a conversion kit with battery and electric motor kit for the trike and other essential terms. There are several steps that can be used for switching.
- How to Convert Manual Tricycle to Electric? – Detailed Guide
- Steps for Conversion from Manual to Electric Tricycle
- Other Components while Converting from Manual to Electric Trike
- Concluding Manual to Electric Trike Conversion Guide
How to Convert Manual Tricycle to Electric? – Detailed Guide
Before conversion, it is important to know about an electric trike. What affects the purchase of it is the country laws regarding power; for example, in the UK, Europe, and Australia, the power limit is 250w power limit, and 25km/h is pedal assist, and in the US, the power limit is 750w and 20 mph while in Canada it is 500w and 20mph.
Most competent bikers or road cyclists keep their maximum speed on smooth surfaces around 20 mph, but for long descents, their speed is almost 50 mph which is why speed laws should be reconsidered.
If you read the history of tricycles, you will realize that tricycle market was never new in the US, but recently there has been a massive surge in demand for electric trikes, and the market segment has exploded in the past two years, so this, in particular, has allowed. The price of these conversion kits is almost $350 – $1200, and the main component is understanding your Trike in relation to available kits.
Steps for Conversion from Manual to Electric Tricycle
Step# 1. Remove Old Parts of Manual Tricycle
This whole switch’s first step is removing the old gear hub wheel, shifter, cabling, chain, and crank. These elements of the Trike that made it manual rather than automatic are going to be changed.
Step# 2. Installation of a crank
Secondly, a new crank will be installed, which can be a double or a triple crank. There are many advantages of triple chainset or triple crank like there is a wide range of lower gears to choose from.
Also, it helps the bike to go up on hilly terrain. The most common chainring configuration is 50/39/30, 30 being the innermost one which helps provide the emergency bailout option and makes it easy to climb up. It is also known as the granny gear.
Step# 3. Installing front derailleur bracket
The third step is to install the front derailleur bracket. The purpose of it is to support the chain movement moving from one chain ring to the other chain ring. It moves from side to side as you click your front shift lever, so the chain is carried along with the help of the bracket where the chain ring change is taking place.
Step# 4. Installing shifters, cables and derailleur
The fourth step is to install the front derailleur, shifter, and cable, and then after the front, the next step is to put the rear derailleur bracket and the rear derailleur shifter and cable. Then comes an important step: installing the external gear rear wheel and then installing the chain idler bracket and idler(s).
Lastly, measure for the new chain; this procedure will allow a terra trike recumbent tricycle to be converted into an electric trike.
Other Components while Converting from Manual to Electric Trike
1. Wheel Size
The first thing that is seen is the wheel size since it directly affects the motors that are installed in the Trike because the diameter of the wheel plays a crucial part in determining the size of the engine. It is important to know the wheel diameter and the tire combination. A trike’s wheel size is 26 inches, which is also the diameter of the wheel from one tire tread to the other tire tread.
The second component is the brake which is an important consideration factor, considering that it is lifesaving at times of emergency and also, failed brakes can result in crucial injuries. For converting a manual trike to an electric one, it is vital to use disc brakes, which are considered efficient for conversion. There can be different types of brakes; for the front wheel, there can be V-breaks, and for the rear wheels, there can be band breaks.
For such a pair of brakes, the conversion kit used will be different from other kits, and if a different pair of brakes were to be used, then the kit would be different. It is important for the brakes to have enough stopping power, which is dependent on the PEV; for example, a 36V motor would keep the Trike near the limits of braking capability.
It is not essential for the brakes to be potent and surpass the biker’s pedaling power, but what matters more is that the rider’s power is sustained and simulated for a longer period of time.
3. Brake Handles
After the brakes, it is the brake handles that are important. The structure of the Trike handles is essential. At times kits come with Hall sensors which are already attached to the existing brake handles when installing the e-bike kit.
With the help of the hall sensors, the motor is cut off, and the bike stops, so when the brakes are being pulled, the hall sensors send a signal that cuts off the motor. Another kit will have handles with extra built-in sensors during conversion to the e-kit. Still, it is necessary to understand whether the sensors will work with brake handles or whether the grips with built-in components are used.
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4. Handlebar Real Estate
Then comes the handlebar real estate. That is not exactly a crucial component in terms of the e-conversion kit, but it is important which accessory is attached to the Trike itself. The accessory space helps in adding new features like a display or throttle (new or different).
These accessories can be purchased from many online and retail stores like Amazon or Ali Baba. One example of the accessory could be a twisting Revoshift Shifter for the rear derailleur.
5. Battery and Controller Placement
Investigate possible locations for storing controllers, motors (if running), and batteries. This Trike is a poor candidate for a mid-drive motor. Adding a motor significantly reduces ground clearance under the bottom bracket.
There is a lot of storage space in the rear basket area and under the basket of a tricycle, but it is not ideal for taking up useful space. The installation must not overload the available space or the structural integrity of the tricycle.
6. The Kit
The kit is often purchased based on the speed and terrain conditions on which the Trike will be driven; the pedaling speed and the purpose of the drive can also affect the e-conversion kit. For example, if someone is driving for leisure at a regular or slower pace, then the kit will vary from a biker who is biking with a trike professionally.
For example, if someone is new to biking and biking in the PEV arena and is biking at 20 mph at most, then the kit will vary. If the location has a fat terrain like Florida, the stress of extreme vertical inclines is minimal to non-existent. Also have a look at best tricycles for heavy adults.
Another important and probably the most crucial factor is the cost of the kit. If we see a less than $1000 trike (including component cost), then a 36V Electric bicycle with 26 inches front wheel conversion kit can be used as an example.
The battery is small and housed in the impeller/motor/hub itself, so it does not take up much space. This kit has an average mileage of approximately 12 miles and a maximum unassisted speed of 15 mph. Fender mounting locations may need to be removed depending on desired mounting location or angle of the battery side of the wheel. If fenders are required after installation, the fender mounts will be modified.
You may also be interested to read about best folding tricycles for adults.
Concluding Manual to Electric Trike Conversion Guide
In conclusion, it is observed that there are procedures by which a trike can be converted from manual to electric by e-conversion kit. There are several steps that involve different parts of the Trike, like the old gear hub wheel, shifter, cabling, chain and crank in the first step, derailleur bracket shifter and cable, and idler bracket and idler(s).
Later there are other parts of the trike like brakes, wheel size, brake handles, handlebar real estate, battery, controller placement, and the kit changes when e-conversion takes place in the Trike. It is best if the trike is converted through a professional since it includes many complicated elements and procedures. Still, it is indeed possible to do it in your garage as well.
Hi, My name is Ruth Winder, founder of Tricycle Hub. I am a salesman by profession and cycling enthusiast by passion. I have been riding trikes for more than 5 years. On TricycleHub, I share everything related to tricycles and other gadgets I use for daily commuting and other outdoor activities on tricycles.
Learn About Me to know how and why I switched from bicycling to tricycling.