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Buying an Electric Trike

How Will You Be Using Your Electric Trike?

Did you know that electric trikes for adults and seniors are designed for different people and have a range of practical uses? It is worth taking the time to determine which model of electric trike has the features that will best suit your needs when it comes to making your first purchase.

If mobility and comfort is important, then a trike with a lower step through frame and smaller wheels might be most suitable. If you have a lot of distance to cover than pairing your electric trike with a powerful 500 watt brushless motor and large capacity lithium-ion battery will give you the power and range to get you where you need to go. If you live and ride in a hilly area requiring a lot of either pedal or motor power, then a mid drive motor of 350 watts or higher or a higher torque 500 watt front hub motor would best suit the local terrain. If you plan to use your electric trike for work, or in a commercial or industrial setting, then a dual battery setup with extra cargo capacity and extra rugged frame and fat tires would do the job. If storage space is an issue, or you need to fit your electric trike into the back of a car or SUV, then a foldable frame might be a good option. While a foldable frame does not offer the same stability of a rigid frame being able to fold down can have its advantages.

Understanding your own personal requirements and how you plan to use your electric trike for adults will make it easier to choose the key features that will benefit you most.

Take A Test Ride If You Can

Let’s take a minute to look back at the last time you rode a trike, let alone an electric trike. For most of us it has probably been quite a while! This makes it even more important to take a test ride if it is an option, to get a feel for what model will be best suited to your needs.

Riding an electric trike is quite different from riding a standard electric bike. For starters, you feel like you want to lean into corners like you are used to, or throw a leg up and over the seat to climb on your ride, or speed into a corner hoping to bank it like a pro. All of these two wheel riding habits risk getting you into difficulties when you apply them to riding on three wheels.


The expert and knowledgeable team at eTrikes Canada will make sure to give you all the tips and tricks needed to have the best experience on your electric trike and run you through a great tutorial as you take your first test ride, so you don’t feel totally awkward when you start rolling around on three wheels for the first (or second) time. 

Taking time to test out the different models available to purchase will ensure you get the trike that is best suited to your day to day riding needs. A great example of this just happened here where we had a customer looking at the foldable eTc Compact electric trike for seniors. When they had a chance to test ride both the etc Compact and the eTc Cargo they quickly realized that the Cargo was much more suitable for them. They walked away much more confident with their purchase.

Buy Local

You often hear people say to buy local when you can, especially since you will have lots of questions when it comes to purchasing an electric trike. Then there is warranty, while not always needed, there are times when parts fail or something stops working on any electric bike or electric trike. If you are buying from overseas then just these first two points will make it more difficult, especially when it comes time to make a warranty or support claim. Waiting on replacement parts from overseas can take weeks and sometimes even months. Want to speak to someone on the telephone about your electric trike? Time zone differences and language barriers are another thing to consider when making the decision to buy local.

While purchasing from overseas may appear cheaper at first, from our experience this is often not the case. You might see a price advertised for $X, but this will not often include shipping, any customs or import duty, local taxes and delivery. So that ‘cheap’ price you saw quickly increases. If you need to have anything replaced or make claims against warranty then you will have the added cost and time to ship parts back overseas, wait for the supplier to receive and then return anything back to you.

When you buy local you won’t have to worry about any of these issues and your support assures that your local electric trike experts will be there when you need them.

Front Wheel or Mid Drive Motor

When it comes to pedal assist electric trikes, there are two main types of motors. A front wheel hub mounted motor or a mid drive motor that is mounted with the crank and pedals. All pedal assist motors continually monitor how hard you are pedaling and, depending on your motor speed settings, apply the motor as necessary.

Generally speaking, a mid drive motor electric trike with a 350 watt or larger motor is more suited for climbing steep hills than a front wheel motor. However, something like the eTc Cargo with its powerful 500 watt motor, will handle riding up even the steepest hills. Motor and battery size are still important factors when deciding on a front or mid mounted motor.

Battery

Quality is important! Most electric bikes come with lithium-ion batteries, so it is not surprising to see that electric trikes for adults are also powered by them. Typically, the more you spend on a battery the lighter it will be,  the more quickly it will charge, and the longer it will last. All lithium-ion electric trike batteries will degrade slowly over time, reducing the amount of charge they can hold over time. Brand name batteries like Panasonic or Samsung are both reputable brands and can be found in our electric trikes.

The life expectancy of a lithium-ion battery is commonly said to be between 700-800 charge cycles. That equates to about three years of daily commuting on your electric trike, if you were charging daily. If your commute is not long enough and you pedal more so that you don’t have to charge your battery every day, then the battery life expectancy will be even longer, with anywhere up to 2000 shorter charge cycles possible.

Range

How far do you want to go on your electric trike? The achievable range an electric trike for seniors will go on a single charge varies, but is probably one of the most important specs and commonly asked questions when looking at an electric trike. Range will depend on the battery size, motor size, your weight, your commute and the pedal assist level that you set the motor to (how much you pedal vs the motor doing the work)

It is important that you pair the battery and motor properly so that you get the best range possible. Having a powerful 500 watt motor and a small 36 volt battery will not give you enough charge to get as far as if you paired that same motor with a 48 volt battery. Rule of thumb is the bigger the motor, the bigger your battery should be.

You Get What You Pay For

Whether you are looking at an electric trike for adults or an electric trike for seniors, quality does not come cheap. You can cut costs and buy a basic model with a small motor & battery and lighter weight frame, less cargo options and component accessories, but is it going to give you what you need? And more importantly how long will it last if you are riding it regularly. A higher priced electric trike will be better quality and last longer than a cheaper one.

Now you know what to look for when it comes to buying an electric trike, it is time to choose one that is right for you. Check out our selection online at etrikescanada.com and get on our mailing list so you don’t miss out on special deals, latest model arrivals, demonstration events near you and anything to do with electric trikes.
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