Why Electric Assist?
The key word is “assist”. Electric motor systems added to a pedal powered cycle with the electronic sensors of today allow the motor to “add to” the human power going into the pedal. It isn't simply a moped. The rider still has to exert energy into the cycle for it to be powered. This allows the rider to go on a longer ride with the same energy as a shorter ride without the assist. It also increases the average speed of a ride, making a commute in a shorter amount of time. Climbing hills is also much easier as the rider can maintain a higher speed. Lastly, the assist helps a slower rider to keep up with a faster rider, thereby allowing both to get as much exercise as wanted while staying together.
Studies have shown that cyclists with electric assist will get as much exercise as cyclists without the assist. This is basically because the rider is motivated to rider further (getting more exercise) with the confidence to be able to return "home" with the help of the Electric Assist.
What Cycles Can Have the Assist?
Almost all Bicycles and Trikes can add Electric Assist. Many manufacturers are adding assist directly from the factory, but one need not purchase the assist at the same time as the Cycle. An Electric Assist can be added at any time, whether along with the purchase of the Cycle, or at a later date.
Our Experience Installing and Servicing Electric Assist Units
We have sold electric scooters starting around 2005. Bicycles with electric assist from the factory (OEM) have been sold since also around that year. We began adding electric assist kits to Bikes and Trikes in large numbers in 2015. We now have trained experience with over a half-dozen manufacturers. Some manufacturers are requiring yearly service training in order to maintain certification.
Determining the Right Assist for You
A few factors help determine how to proceed. The rider determines the priority. The main factors are:
1. Price 2. Motor size and speed 3. Range 4. Throttle over-ride (Yes or No), and 5. Battery Placement
We assist in determining the basic system, whether it be OEM or added on. It is our experience that it is best to find the right Cycle to begin with, then determine which Electric is best suited for our needs and wants. The Cycle may have an available OEM motor; if not, one can be added either at the time of purchase or at a later date.
Good Electric assist systems range in price from around $1400 to $2500 or more. The higher priced systems usually have a longer range, better quality components, and more options.
Motor power sizes range from a low of 250 watts to 750 watts (generally, the maximum legal power in most localities). Larger motors allow the rider to carry more weight, and they climb hills easier. Speeds are generally governed to 20 mph maximum to fall within local municipality laws.
Motor Mounting Options
There are three main mounting options, but not every make and model of Bike or Trike frame allows for a motor.
1. Rear wheel systems are available for a Bike or Tadpole Trike with standard derailleur gearing. 2. Front wheel systems work well with Bikes that have internal hub gearing or Delta style Trikes. 3. Mid-drive systems work on almost any Bike or Trike. The frame of the Trike or Bike may need to be specially designed for some manufacturers such as Shimano and Bosch.
On some Trikes, an available option that has been popular is that of auto-shift. This makes the Trike basically like an automobile with an automatic transmission. The rider can also choose to shift with a push of a button (electronic shifting).
This is determined by 1. Battery capacity 2. Motor efficiency 3. Assist level 4. Weight of rider and Cycle 5. Amount of climb
Expected range can vary from 20 miles to over 100 miles per charge.