There is no denying that electric bikes have revolutionized personal transportation and the way people move from point A to point B. Cycling is a fun activity and appeals to many people.
However, some people find it challenging to ride a bike due to their lack of core strength and coordination, especially when they get older.
This is where 3-wheel design electric bikes come in!
Generally, most people associate trikes with kids; the third extra tire and a basket naturally get your mind thinking about your days as a young lad learning how to ride. However, trikes are not only for children but are a great way of transportation for grown-ups as well, and suitable especially for those with physical limitations.
So, with so many options available on the market; how do you choose the best model for you? In this post, we review the best electric trikes so that you can decide on the best one for you!
What is an Electric Trike?
While traditional bicycles have two wheels; trikes integrate a third additional wheel at the back to make balancing easier for the rider. There’s also a basket, usually located at the back, a cool feature to carry items around such as groceries.
Generally, they make a great option for children, adults, and seniors looking for an independent way to move around. Unfortunately, they suffer a particular shortcoming in the form of weight. The third tire on a trike makes them pretty heavy compared to regular bikes, and this poses a great challenge when riding on inclined roads.
This is why slapping the trike with an electric motor makes all the sense! The extra boost of power takes the strain out of riding a tricycle, enabling you to ride more comfortably and longer.
Typically, most electric tricycles will provide you with an option to ride with assisted pedaling or without pedaling at all. Just like electric bikes, e-trikes also come with a PAS system and throttle to let you decide how you want to ride.
This results in an effortless and natural riding experience, even when the basket at the back is full of shopping.
Best Electric Trike Buying Guide
What Should I Consider When Shopping for an Electric Trike?
Several features prove crucial when it comes to selecting an electric trike. These features are what make the difference in quality and the overall riding experience. So, be sure to consider the following aspects when you in the market for a high-quality electric tricycle:
The battery is one of the most essential features of an electric trike. This is usually mounted behind the seat and determines how long your ride will last. The battery capacity varies from one model to the other; some e-trikes offer a range of up to 32km on a single charge while others stretch the ride to over 72km.
Depending on how often and which mode you plan to ride the bike, you should always look at the capacity of the battery to find one that will serve your needs. Riding on the pedal-assist mode will get you considerably more time on the road than on throttle mode!
The motor goes a long way to determine the top speed, as well as the ability of the bike to take on sloping terrain. Most electric tricycles are equipped with 200W to 500W motors.
Typically, the motors are brushless to provide a stealthier and more efficient performance compared to brushed motors. These will also give you a top speed of between 16 and 25km/hr.
Another aspect to consider is your planned use of the electric tricycle. If you expect to run daily errands like going to market and store with your trike, then you’ll need sufficient storage space to carry groceries and other shopping items.
The same is true if you’ll be using the trike for outdoor adventures and short journeys. Storage will need to be maximized to accommodate all the supplies and luggage you may want to bring along.
LCDs on an electric tricycle provide the rider with handy information. From the battery usage and speed of the bike to the distance covered; all very useful data that allows you to manage the ride.
For instance, the remaining battery displayed ensures that you don’t get stranded in the middle of your journey. Having the battery running out on you when you are far away from home can end up being a nightmare of an experience.
Different accessories on a tricycle help to enhance its overall practicality, especially those that are designed to be used in an urban setup alongside other vehicles and pedestrians. The inclusion of LED lights, reflectors, mirrors, horns, etc. goes a long way to enhance your safety on the road.
Other useful extra features that you may want to look out for include bottle cage mounts, fenders, and racks.
Electric Step-Through Trike
This is a great option for recreational trike riders looking for a practical vehicle to cruise around on whenever they want to explore the outdoors. The step-through offers a nice combination of the latest trike technology features and comfort to give you the best riding experience you can get.
An easy to mount step-through frame with a low 12.5-inch step over height makes it easy for old and heavyweight people to get on the trike. This is paired with a large and comfortable seat that may be raised or lowered with the help of a front quick release to achieve an upright riding geometry.
Powering the trike is a frame-integrated 500W Dapu mid-drive that not only makes for a seamless design but also propels you to a top speed of 20mph. This also delivers a powerful 95Nm torque that will see you scale climbing trails more effortlessly, although the 55-pound frame of the trike can feel a little bit too weighty.
A built-in torque sensor, as well as adjustable assist levels, deliver a smooth Pedal-Assist mode to offer you just the optimal amount of electric boost. In addition there is a throttle-on demand for when you want to enjoy a pure electric performance on your trike.
The easy-to-operate thumb-throttle also gives you a head start you need to reach that cruising speed. Backing the motor is a 48V Lithium-ion battery that offers between 15 and 30 miles of range depending on the assist mode you use. However, you’ll need 3.3 hours to fully recharge once the power is drained.
A full-color TFT LCD in the middle of the frame displays important telemetry data, including the trike speed, distance covered, and remaining battery to help you stay in control of the ride. Meanwhile, a pair of DSK-400 mechanical disc brakes allow for strong braking performance you require at high speeds.
Overall, this is a practical and urban-friendly trike, thanks to the basket at the back and fenders for when the weather gets rainy. You also get front and rear lights to enhance your safety when riding in the dark.
Electric Fat Trike
This electric fat-tire trike will come in handy when you want to venture into the off-road terrains. It features a trio of free-rolling 24/20 x 4-inch tires to make light work of rough and bumpy backcountry trails. Your comfort on the trike is guaranteed by the integration of a front suspension fork, as well as a suspension seat post.
The 750-1000W motor fitted on the electric fat trike gives you a punchy 84Nm torque on steep climbs while delivering a top speed of 26mph. For the electric boost, you can either choose between a pedal-assist mode and an easy-to-use wrist throttle to get you into cruising mode.
This is something you can control via the segment display in the middle of the frame. The back-lit screen and large texts used allow for clear reading of useful ride information such as the speed, trip distance, battery meter, and top speed limit.
A 33-liter high-capacity dry bag at the rear offers convenient storage for all the gear you’ll be carrying during the off-road adventure. The 48V 11-6Ah battery delivers a decent range of between 12-26 miles on a single charge cycle but requires up to 5.8 hours of recharging. This can end up being an eternal wait, even for the most patient riders.
Overall, the aluminum alloy frame tries to tame the weight of the trike, but the three fat wheels still push the overall weight to 88lbs, which can be impossible to manage without electric assistance. Finally, this trike doesn’t come cheap; so you should be prepared to dig deep in your pockets.
If you are looking for something more compact that you can easily fold and transport in the back of your truck, the Liberty Trike will come in quite handy. It is a go-to option for adults and seniors who want to get around on 3 wheels, thanks to a great mix of practical features.
The first selling point of the Liberty Trike is its conveniently portable design. It collapses effortlessly into a small frame that will fit most car trunks. This also means that you’ll save plenty of space during storage when you have no use for the trike. The combination of a padded seat with backrest and a low-rise handlebar with ergonomic rubber grips makes for a comfortable riding experience.
A heavy-duty 750W hub motor fitted on the trike offers a punchy torque to propel you up an 18% gradient with relative ease. This will also let you achieve a modest 12mph top speed with the help of the twist throttle. A unique reverse feature on the throttle will prove useful when you want to back into a tight parking spot.
The battery can deliver between 8 and 20 miles of riding, depending on the pedal-assist mode you’re using. Also, it only requires 3 hours to fully recharge, which significantly reduces the wait. You can tweak the ride settings on the easy-to-read color LCD, which displays various useful trike information.
Additionally, you get to switch between 5 top speed levels for a more customized riding experience. The trike’s frame is predominantly made out of high tensile steel, allowing it to carry up to 400lbs of payload. This leaves you with adequate cargo-carrying capacity on the back basket.
Finally, mechanical disc brakes are used to deliver decent braking performance. However, there are no lights on the Liberty trike, plus you only get a fender on the front wheel. As such, you may not want to ride the trike in dark situations and when it rains for your safety and convenience.
Electric EZ-3 USX HD
If you want a unique riding experience on a recumbent trike, the EZ-3 USX HD is a reliabl brand. It boasts a heavy-duty construction that can easily accommodate 400lbs of load capacity. It is generally the perfect choice for larger riders searching for a thrilling triking adventure.
The HD features a powerful 500-720W Direct-drive motor that will get you to a top speed of 18mph. Furthermore, it can deliver 31Nm of torque, which you’ll find very useful on steep climbs. A pair of mechanical disc brakes serve to stop your ride on a dime at top speeds, helping to provide the desired rider confidence on tricky surfaces.
There are three different battery options to choose from, including 48V 9Ah, 48V 10Ah, and 48V 20Ah for a personalized feel while riding. Overall, these will provide between 10 and 44 miles of range, which is enough to enjoy your outdoor escapade. The battery also requires just over 3 hours of recharging to get back to full capacity.
A clear and precise LCD mounted on the frame provides you with important ride information, ensuring that you manage the ride more effectively. On the downside, there is no basket on the HD, meaning it will be tricky to carry substantial cargo while riding.
Electric tricycles are carving a niche inside the booming electric bike market. If you have balance issues that keep you from comfortably riding a bicycle, then you should seriously consider an electric trike!
Whether you want to ride recreationally or to have a great workout, the models reviewed above are some of the best electric trikes the market has to offer.