No electric car, motorcycle or rocket compares in terms of efficiency as a bicycle for transport. That's great for the environment but what about convenience? I'm not sweating much now, but if I pedal up that hill it will take a long time and I'll be hot and sweaty the entire time. In the US, we think bicycles ( and trikes) are "toys". Americans do not consider pedal power to be an "adult" form of transportation contrary to the entire rest of the planet.
In recent years, advances in battery technology have made electric more common place including bicycles. Electric bikes caught on in Europe almost five years ago because business people (those pesky adults) did not want soil their work clothes with sweat on their morning ride to work. Many seniors adopted e-bikes also because they did not want their recreational riding to be limited by their body as it aged. In short, electric assistance became an equalizer for many older recreational cyclist. Don't feel as peppy as you would like to climb that hill, crank up the electric assistance to get over it and get home or the pub for a cool drink.
In the US, many trike riders have opted for electric assistance. Prices for quality electric assistance packages are approximately $2000 for a trike. Since this is often close the price of a trike, many will not even consider experiencing it.
Why does the author have electric assistance or e-assist on his trike?
- When I get "hangry" (that's a angry and hungry after I've already eaten all the food I brought along for the uninformed) I want to find food/liquid now...not later.
- When riding and see an ominous dark storm heading my way, I want to find shelter now...not later.
- When riding and its almost dark but I'm still far away from my stop for the night, I want to get to camp now...not later.
- When riding up a hill and some huge SUV/truck is honking and driving around me, I want to be over the hill now...not later.
Electric assistance on my trike is not a crutch or a pass. I still work the same amount because electric assist does not work unless you are pedaling on your trike. I have electric assist on my trike because I want to be safe. Moreover, it vastly improves my riding experience. Few material things in life improve the life experience. Even fewer material things improve your health. Electric assistance on my trike provides me the freedom to explore further than I would ever be able on my own.
People always want to know, "How much further can I ride with electric assistance?" Because everyone weighs different and many other factors a good rule of thumb is electric assistance will extend the reach of your typical ride by 20 miles. Naturally this can vary depending on terrain, level of assistance selected and battery capacity.
There are two times to purchase electric assistance for your trike: 1) during a new trike purchase or 2) retrofit an existing trike. Much like a house, adding the features you want before construction is always better: its cheaper, easier to build and easier to match with the rest of the house. Once you build the house, your choices are always limited by size.
For new trike builds, we suggest
- Shimano Steps - CANNOT BE RETROFITTED LATER!
- Copenhagen Wheel
For retrofitting e-assistance to an existing trike, we suggest
- Copenhagen Wheel