Just about any trike can be an electric-assisted trike by using a conversion kit. Quality and level of support will vary, though. For a review of conversion kits and their limitations, see our electric assist page. You get what you pay for. The electronics in them often aren’t as simple and bombproof as we’d hope.
Like it or not, electric assist is a whole different ball of wax. Adding an electric assist is a self-fulfilling prophesy — once the weight of the system is added you will find yourself using it to compensate for the weight it adds. E-motor parts aren’t repairable the way many bike parts are. We can’t really fix any of it, but we can troubleshoot problems and replace hardware. We can also reprogram system parameters and update firmware.
Only recently has a major trike maker offered a factory-made electric assisted trike. They show up with hardware set up for carrying the battery and motor parameters pre-programmed for the trike: the TerraTrike Rambler EVO. Even so, the EVO is still basically a conversion at this point — a regular Rambler with stuff attached to it. The greatest benefit of a factory-built e-trike is price. The EVO cost about $500-1000 less than taking a similar conversion kit and putting it on a Rambler. Another great benefit is reliability. Much more can go wrong on an assisted trike. When they are all getting stamped out on a production line there will be more uniformity, a more experienced and skilled installer, and a ready supply of spare parts.
Two of our suppliers, ICE Trikes and AZUB, now offer factory Emotor conversions on all their products. This gives you the benefit of a kit installed at the source, often with specially made parts and nice details like cables routed through the frame. ICE only offers Emotor conversion parts on new trikes, so you cannot convert an ICE you already own. AZUB will supply the special parts needed to mount their motor systems, and we can do conversion work on your AZUB. At the time of writing this we know that Catrike is up to something, but nothing has been released yet.
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