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Your Guide In Choosing Electric Trikes

Posted by Dina Llabore on

Electric trikes are growing in popularity - their ease of use and convenience proving to be irresistible for riders. As you prepare to choose your own e-trike, you might be wondering if your purchase will be legal or safe.

With the right battery, motor, and safety features, you will be minutes away from enjoying the wind in your hair as your ride off into the sunset. To help you make an educated decision, here is a guide on how to choose the best e-trike for your needs.

Are Electric Tricycles Street Legal?

If you are gearing up to purchase your very first e-trike, you might be wondering if your new toy is legal for cruising the highways. In short, the answer is yes. The key is to operate your e-trike with caution. Here are a few facts about operating your 3-wheeled cycle legally:

  • This style of trike is appropriate for sidewalks, bike lanes, both walking and paved bike paths, and roads
  • You can ride over any compact, hard, or flat natural surface - grass, dirt, gravel, and sand for example
  • They are not suitable roads or highways with a speed limit higher than 30 MPH if there is no bike lane
  • Electric trikes do not need insurance, DMV registration, or a driver’s license to operate in areas where bikes are allowed

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Electric Trike 

1. Range & Riding Distance

While having as much battery life as possible is not a bad idea, you only need enough to serve your individual purpose. Having a battery with a long lifespan if you plan on riding short distances is unnecessary.  Be sure that your e-trike has enough charge to serve its purpose, whether a quick ride around the block or riding for hours on the scenic route. 

A longer battery life will also help your e-trike pull more weight, handle tougher terrain, and allow you to ride while pedaling less. Here are a few tips on how to decide on the type of battery you will need: 

  • There are several main factors that impact how far your trike will be able to go. Examples include:
    • Weight
    • Battery capacity
    • Terrain
    • Pedal input
    • Speed
    • Temperature
  • If you will simply use your device for daily activities like getting back and forth to work, you will not need much battery power for your riding range. 
  • If you want to travel long distances without having to worry about pedaling, you need a longer battery life for further riding. 
  • As you pedal more, you will extend your battery life.
  • Note that your riding range will be less if your path includes many inclines. 

2. Weight

The weight of your new three-wheeled cycle will have a lot to do with how fast you are able to learn to ride it. Also, keep in mind if you plan on using a cargo e-bike or e-trike, you should definitely consider going for a lightweight model. For example, the PFIFF 20/26 Cargo Carrier Electric Bicycle is foldable, sturdy, and has a large platform for easy loading and movement. 

If you want to use it for grocery shopping, you will also need a strong motor paired with a mid to long range battery. This is true if you want to use full motor mode for your entire trip as well. Keep in mind if you plan on going over several inclines or hills, you will need the same setup. Remember the following points: 

  • Too much weight is only an issue if your trike does not have enough power
  • Consider options that are suitable for extra weight if you want to use your e-trike for any of the following: 
    • Comfort riding
    • Travelling with heavy items 
    • Riding with passengers
    • Long commutes 

3. Motor

The typical electric trike for adults is heavyweight, which is why you have to pay attention to the style of motor that is included. In most cities, the maximum power limit is set at 750W. Luckily, if you plan to only use your trike for quick commuting, you can get away with using a 500W motor. You can even opt for a 250W brushless motor since they are efficient and silent. Here is a little more information on motor size: 

  • E-trikes are a favorite among senior citizens because they are stable and easily operated. Elderly persons can get around with a 14 to 16 MPH top speed motor. (These models tend to be a bit cheaper, but they still provide quality riding.) 
  • If you plan to haul heavy items on a consistent basis, you need to be sure that you have a motor that is capable of handling high output.
  • For example, if the weight capacity is a maximum of 400 pounds, you will need a 500-750W motor. 
  • The manufacturer includes the correct motor size suitable for the equipment’s weight limit in most cases.  

4. Safety & Overall Comfort

Your safety and comfortability will become the two most important factors to impact your ride. Here are some points about safety and comfort that will help you choose the perfect model: 

  • Trikes with fat tires are perfect for a smooth ride through unpaved roads and muddy areas. 
  • Fat tires are also great for supporting motors that use rear-drive.
  • If you enjoy riding in the evening or the early hours of the morning, a bright LED light will be a big help. 
  • For your safety, try to purchase a model that includes an LCD display or a monitor. This way, you can see how fast you are going at all times with no hassle. You can also see how much battery life you have remaining on your ride. 
  • Consider making yourself seen with front and rear lights for optimal safety. 
  • Disc brakes are the safest type of brake to use. They are known for excelling with quick braking for an abrupt stop without jerking around. 

5. Features Over Pricing

Be sure that you stay away from buying a model simply because it is expensive. If you only plan on riding around the neighborhood for a breath of fresh air, you will not need a fancy, high-end model unless it is your preference.

Instead of focusing on the price, take a look at the features that you will need most. For example, if you are more concerned about comfort, you should focus on the seat style and handlebar position. Also, try to consider how long you can ride before you feel any discomfort. If capacity is more of your concern, opt for an option that is designed for heavyweight. Looking to travel long distances? Focus on your battery power and motor. 

The Bottom Line

Choosing between electric trikes is as simple as knowing your own personal preferences. Consider range and riding distance first. This way, whether you head to the store for a few items, or choose to take the scenic route, you will have plenty of battery power. With the perfect motor, you can ride solo or with your favorite pal in tow with no worries. Fat tires and bright lights will lead to smooth, effortless evening rides with safety at the forefront.

Remember to make your choice based on features and not pricing so that you love every minute of every commute. Begin relishing in the joys of owning your own e-trike. To explore beautiful flora and fauna with options like the PFIFF 20/26 Cargo Carrier Electric Bicycle, or an e-trike, contact the cycle experts at eBikeJOY today. 

Looking for an electric trike? Checkout our large selection of brand names at the lowest prices!

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