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Monday, July 1, 2019

Gone Electric

Picking up trike from Rev-Bikes
Near my Mum and Dad's place, I visited them on the way home from picking up the trike. Original front wheel is in the back storage area.
Diagram showing the electric bits.

Handlebars, left to right: brake lever with sensor, throttle, bell, display, pedelec control, brake lever with sensor, gear changer (obscured)
On the road: Midwinter and 12 degrees C so fire danger is low! Anyway, this is assist level 2,

and this is assist level 1, the minimum amount.
Shopping trip.....

in Anglesea.
Airies Inlet

Airies Inlet


After about 30 years making my own bikes run purely by human power, I have lashed out and had one of my trikes converted to electric motor assist.  The cost was about $1800, which I am justifying by considering this as being savings from decades of servicing my own cycles. Recently I have been writing an article about electric bikes for a conference and the time just felt right I guess.

Anyway, I asked around a bit and Nell from Wecycle works at Rev Ebikes, and Dale S from the Be-Spon ride group recommended them as well so after a discussion over the phone I dropped my trike at Rev the next day. Rev E-bikes are right next to Nunawading station, so it was easy to get there with my trike.

And 2 days later it was ready to pick up.  I rode it home from Nunawading and was impressed.  Basically you just set an assist level from 1 to 5 and the motor and controller combine to provide you with a corresponding level of assistance.  From riding on it a few times, level 1 gives you about 50w, 2 gives 100w, 3 150w etc.  I never really felt the need for more than level 3 of assistance, and used the motor  mostly up hills. Pedalling is usually required for electric assistance , so when the sensor on the bottom bracket knows you are pedalling and a power level is set at 1 - 5 the motor goes. The brake levers give a signal to the motor too, and when brakes are applied the motor cuts out.

The kit fits in well with my black bike steerer, and at first glance it might be hard to see the electric bits on the trike.  It fits in well with the bike's handling as well.  The basic drive design is very simple but it means you can't pedal while steering. But now you can electric motor!  Anyway, will report more a bit later.  Thanks to Rev-Becca, Chris and Chris for installing the kit.

Although this post mostly describes the electric kit, some readers might be new to this style of trike so here is a bit of recent background:

The trike was being modified to take a Zzipper fairing. To make the trike electric, I swapped the Zzipper trike out for another one, so the trike shown in this older post is now the electric trike.  But as well as removing any fairing paraphenalia, I swapped out the seat for  a new seat / tailbox combination. This post describes making the box, while this one describes finishing it off with some corflute panels and a corflute lid.

Moving forward, I feature the trike in this blog post which includes Cad pics by solar and electric car advocate, John Bird. John's pics include some proposed advanced version of the trike, and the link includes details of some research I wrote which includes my electric trike.


Steve Nurse

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