Electric bicycles are a great option to explore or commute to work regardless of fitness levels. However, a more stable alternative to a two-wheel bicycle is needed, and this is where a foldable electric trike is ideal. The third wheel adds the required stability that you can no longer fall off if you cannot balance when the bike is moving or at a standstill.
Suppose you are someone looking to enjoy the benefits of cycling or looking for a low-carbon footprint commuting option; the e-trike ticks all your boxes. Follow along below as we cover the different features and components to help you choose the best folding electric trike for your daily needs.
The Type of Motor
Foldable electric trikes typically have a mid-drive motor integrated with the pedals and crank or a front-wheel hub-mounted motor. These motors will monitor how hard you are pedaling and adjust the motor settings accordingly. Mid-drive motors are more suitable for strenuous activities such as climbing steep hills.
However, the more essential factors to consider when choosing the type of motor are the size of the motor and battery. For example, a mid-drive motor that is only 250W and a generic battery will not be as good as a front-wheel motor that is 500W and a big battery.
The Motor Should Provide Enough Output
Folding electric trikes are heavier than average e-bikes; due to the extra wheel and components. Thus it is imperative to ensure that the integrated motor is strong enough to provide the assistance you need. It is also essential to note that most cities have a motor power limit cap of 750W.
When considering motor size, you need to consider what you mainly want to use the e-trike for. A 250W to 500W brushless motor will be more than enough if you plan to commute without carrying or pulling heavy items. If you are looking to move heavy objects with your e-trike, choosing a trike with a 500W or 750W motor will be more suitable.
You will need to note the manufacturer's maximum weight capacity for the model and take into account the weight of the foldable electric trike when making a final decision on the motor size.
Other Features Should assist the Comfort And Safety Of The E-Trike
Added features that can improve overall comfort and user safety of the folded electric trike include:
- Fat tires. For use on unpaved or muddy roads. These tires also provide more significant support for e-trike models with rear-drive motors.
- Monitors and LCD displays. These provide information on battery usage, current speed, and other data that may be useful.
- LED lights. These are necessary for those using their e-trikes during the early morning and night to be visible to others. LED lights can be installed on both the front and rear of the e-trike.
- The type of brakes. Disc brakes are the best for e-trikes as they ensure that braking is easier, possible, and more efficient. Dual front brakes will decrease the stopping distance required, especially on heavier e-trike models or when you are transporting heavy loads.
The Ridding Range Is Appropriate For Intended Use
E-trikes can only cover a certain distance and vary based on how fully charged your battery is, the level of pedal-assistance, the size of the motor, and the user's weight. The minimum range of a pedal-assisted e-trike is 9.3 miles (15kms) and 3.1miles (5kms) for self-pedaling e-trikes.
Pedal-Assisted E-trike Vs. Electric Throttle Activated Motor
Pedal-assisted e-trikes are ideal for those looking to use more human effort peddling than majorly relying on battery power to move. A significant advantage of a pedal-assisted e-trike is the superior milage range they have, as the lithium battery lasts longer as it switches off when not in use. This feature would be ideal for those looking to use their trikes for long-distance traveling.
Electric trikes are more suitable for those looking to cycle with minimal pedaling, a throttle-activated motor, and control travel speed and superior output. Electric trikes have a short travel range as the lithium battery drains faster than the pedal-assisted e-trike, but they can travel more quickly over a shorter distance.
The Battery and Charging Times
The battery type and size are vital components of the e-trike as they provide the power that the motor needs to propel you forwards.
Most batteries that come with the trike are lithium-ion batteries and take 3-5 hours to charge fully. Generally, when considering a battery, the more expensive, the quicker it will charge, the longer it will last, and the lighter the battery will be. Regardless of the price, all lithium-ion batteries degrade over time, with a generic battery needing to be replaced every 3-5 years, or 700-800 charge cycles.
It is recommended to purchase an extra battery hub so that there is a power source in an emergency, or your travel mileage could be doubled.
Ensure That the Price Matches The Features
Before deciding on the foldable e-trike, it is important to understand what you need. If you are looking for an e-trike to tour the country, then a pedal-assisted e-trike with a bigger battery and backup battery may be more suitable than a pedal-free version that uses the battery for only 3 miles.
If you are looking to commute 1 mile down the road to work or the shops the top of the range performance e-trike may be overkill and way more expensive than buying a simpler model that more than meets your needs.
Warranty And Frame Coverage
E-trikes also come with a warranty, with most good-quality trikes coming with long warranty terms (two years plus and five-ten year frame coverage).
Folding electric trikes are an excellent option for a more stable and comfortable ride while commuting or simply enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise. The best way to choose your foldable e-trike is to identify what you would like to use it for and find a local bicycle store that will let you test ride the one you want.
About the author:
Trevor Fenner is the founder of Electric Bike Paradise, the #1 online retailer of electric bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, electric golf caddies, solar kits, and trolling motors. Trevor has been selling bicycles, electric bikes, and electric scooters online since 2010 and eventually established Electric Bike Paradise in late 2013 when he happened to meet a car enthusiast that introduced him to electric bikes. Trevor spent time searching for electric bikes online but couldn't find a website that offered a wide selection of electric bikes, scooters, and informational articles. That is why he decided to start a website where everyone can shop conveniently, browse buying guides, and read educational posts. The website is called Electric Bike Paradise.