Exploring all facets of recumbent bikes and trikes, those not moved by strictly human power can’t be ignored. With so much emphasis on cheaper, carbon free, more organic forms of transportation, consider the following as some of those alternatives.
Fully electric or fully human power too
The first thing to consider is whether or not you want to take part in moving your trike. Quite simply, do you want to pedal if you’re out of electrical current? This is what you look at when purchasing an electric recumbent trike. You’ll have options on most that come with pedals to move you, and others that do not move without the engine launching you down the road or trail. Which is the right option for you? Is part of your objective to also get some exercise? A combination setup would be fairly common since a battery could run down and you’d be stuck otherwise. However it should be kept in mind that’s something which can change the overall price tag. More expensive options focus on just the motorized components, where as inexpensive models can heave a manual override so that you can use your feet to get moving forward.
There are many options to choose from, such as adding to the battery pack to provide more power for a longer period of time. For most models, to stay within the classification of a bike and avoid licensing, 20 MPH is the max. speed allowable, so you won’t be blasting down the road. Still there are those that extend the distance based on how much pedaling is done. So there are trade-offs to be considered.
The Price Tag
OK, so now the big question. How big is your budget? The average trike in this category can start at around $1000 and adding accessories upwards of $1800 or more, and this is at the low end of the mix. That means that you’ll need to carefully weigh your overall budget. Decide if it is about the cost, or what the electric component means to you and your riding. Or do you want to test out a solution that is a bit less overall like adding a kit to convert a trike to electric? Surprisingly there are many choices to get you moving in the right direction, especially when it comes to electric options. So just keep in mind cost can range from $1000-$15,000! And you thought this was different from what?
This is not just about riding around the block on Memorial Day or the 4th of July. Electric Recumbent Trikes go beyond just recreational outings, even though many may choose one for that exact purpose. Consider the overall upkeep, as at some point those batteries need replacements, and they are not cheap.
How do you intend to use it
Are you commuting to work on a regular basis or intend to do so? Want to flatten out these hills on your commute or riding? Will you be wanting to transport kids, groceries, miscellaneous other items that will add weight? How about that RAG, or RAAM event you’ve been anxious to do? This may be just the ticket you decide to punch with an electric ride. There is little doubt that a combo electric and pedal option offer the best of both worlds. The potential is there for your riding purpose.
The Reviews Still Matter
Even though the above tips seem simple enough, reviews are something that you should not ignore. It’s going to take some time and effort to read the various reports and watch the many videos available. Like anything else, the less you know the greater your chances for regret. Take the time online to search out as much information as you can. That way you avoid the emotional element when sitting on the seat of one at the factory or shop.
It’s easy to spend a bundle on one of these trikes…
Look for reviews on any electric recumbent trike that you want to buy. There are several good resources at http://www.electric-bikes.com/trikes/trikes.html, and http://electricbikereport.com/electric-recumbent-trikes/. Great for starters but there are more. There is really no way to figure out if one will meet your needs, if you don’t know what they are before hand. It’s easy to spend a bundle on one of these trikes, and find out that it is too difficult to navigate, complicated to use in general, and worst of all the electric component isn’t what you expected. However, there are some that are simple to drive and override the electric motor manually, which is why reviews are important to help you learn.
Road concept Raht Racer by Rich Kronfeld. Top speeds of 90-100 MPH.
Velomobile concept of one of a kind by Leonardo Leuci of Italy. Built around a recumbent trike chassis. Not in production…yet!
Drymer Basic Tilt Wheel with pedal assist electronic.
Here’s another good reason to follow the various reports and reviews. There are many cool concept designs, and others looking for crowd sourcing to bring their trikes to market. If you’re not ready now but could be in the near future, then you want to know about what’s coming.