A tricycle with pedal assistance helps to stay mobile, especially for adults. With the help of the electric motor, the user can withstand more significant height differences or stronger winds even with physical complications.
A motorized tricycle is an electric bike with three wheels that are equipped with an electric motor. It is easy to build because all you need is a bike in good working order, a conversion kit, and a battery. The use of conversion kits makes the process of building fast and straightforward.
What Are The Steps in Building a Motorized Tricycle?
There are many ways in building a motorized tricycle. For this article, the motorized tricycle will start from scratch. It will teach the readers to build a motorized tricycle from a standard bicycle or adult tricycle.
Converting a Bicycle into a Tricycle
For starters, the easiest way to convert a bicycle into a tricycle is to get three well-used bikes. Get tools like an on-hand hacksaw, a rotary drill, and a power drill. In turning a bicycle into a tricycle, here are the steps:
Use the front of an existing bike.
Using the front of an existing bike preserves the steering and the front brake designed on the original bike. Cutting off the seat post is optional as long as the frame is still intact.
Pair the rear sections with the same frame size.
The rear section of the tricycle will be made from paired rear triangles of the other two bikes with the same frame size. Hacksaw the frame forward of the seat post and cut the seat post down to where it meets the frame.
A set of U-clamps and a power drill will come handy to screw the rear triangles, ride side up, into the base. Use a U-clamp to extend the lower rear fork of the bike onto the bottom as far as the front of the rear triangles.
Combine chains to set the gearing of the bike.
A chain tool is needed to set the gearing. It is to combine the chains of the two bikes to create a longer chain than the regular bicycle. Buying a new chain is also optional if the old ones are already worn.
The chain will connect to the front crank on the forward bike to a jackshaft that will run between the two rear triangles. Using a pipe will serve as a jackshaft. Adding a cog to the jackshaft from the remains of the front bikes will allow the chain to transfer power from the crank.
Add the second cog on the right side of the jackshaft and use the double chain on the right-side rear wheel to connect to the cassette. Please take note that the distribution of power is only to one wheel, so it may not offer the best handling in case of wet or slick roads.
Link the brakes to the caliper for higher quality of braking.
Reconnect one rear brake by running a brake cable from the rear brake handle on the front bike to the caliper brake on either of the rear brakes. For finer braking overall, go for a brake lever that will clamp down the brakes on the rear wheels all at once.
Choose the most comfortable seat for the bike.
The best choice is to get the seat of the other bikes to provide the best tricycle experience.
Turning the Standard Tricycle into an Electric One
After converting the bicycle into a tricycle, it is now time to make the standard tricycle into an electric one.
Get an electric bicycle conversion kit.
Having a conversion kit makes the process more comfortable because the kit already includes a throttle, speed controller, and a wheel with a hub motor. Make sure that the kit comes with a wheel that is the same size as the tricycle. In most cases, the kit also comes with gauges, displays, and brake levers. However, the battery does not go with it.
It is best to buy the battery from the same manufacturer of the conversion kit. Also, choose a kit which the hub motor is on the front wheel.
Pick a 36- or 48- volt battery with a capacity of 20Ah.
Ensure that the battery is designed for use on an electric tricycle. It is easy to charge and to install. Furthermore, make sure that the battery voltage and the battery capacity is compatible with the conversion kit. Getting a higher voltage is more powerful to allow for speed and comfort.
Remove the wheel that is needed to be replaced.
Open the rim brake by using the lever. If the tricycle has disc brakes, detach the retaining or cotter pin that holds the pads in place. In removing the front wheel, turn over the tricycle, so its sitting on the handlebars, and flip the quick-release to the more open position. After doing so, lift the front wheel off the bike.
To remove the back wheels, hold the frame and pull the derailed backwards. Then lift the bike frame and unhook the chain.
Transfer the new wheel to the tire and inner tube
Deflate the old tire and use a tire lever to detach the tire from the wheel. Also, pull off both the tire and inner tube to make the transfer easier. Counter the process to install the new tire and inner tube from the conversion kit.
Place the wheel with the electric hub on the tricycle and connect the brake components.
Ensure to adjust the chain so it will fit appropriately in case of replacing the back wheel. Only reverse the process in removing the wheel to reinstall it. Close the rim or cantilever brakes over the new wheel using the lever. In case of disc brakes, put the pads in place and secure them.
Make sure only to adjust the brakes as needed by aligning the calipers or pumping the brake lever.
Add the other electric parts in the kit.
Attach the speed controller and the throttle to the tricycle. Use the bolts in the conversion kit to secure the speed controller. Afterwards, attach the speed controller to the frame of the tricycle above the chain. After that, connect the throttle to the handlebars.
Plug the connector on the speed controller
Connect the battery to the speed controller and repeat the process for the throttle. Make sure to avoid touching the battery wires together.
Set the battery onto the tricycle.
Most electric batteries are designed to fit on the frame of the tricycle. The ideal placement of the battery is on the rear side to keep the centre of gravity low. The conversion kit has hardware included to attach the battery to the frame.
Ensure that there are no loose cables.
Secure the cables using zip-ties and attach them to the frame of the tricycle. Always keep safety in mind to avoid being caught by the wires while riding the tricycles.
Charge the bike when needed.
The battery comes with a charger to make the process simpler. The conversion kit has instructions in connecting the battery to the charger. Plug the charger into a compatible outlet.
Building a motorized tricycle is quite an achievement. It is quite cheaper and makes the owner express their style. It is satisfying to plan and see the project come to life. After all, using the motorized tricycle has several advantages for the user. Along with the fact that cycling is healthy, it is environment friendly.