My new trike project will be a screamer!

Discussion in 'Motorized Trikes' started by slickdude, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    I have decided since giving the old hilltopper setup away to someone needy to build a brand new e-trike but better and faster.

    In this case I am going to use a brand new Schwinn Meridian adult trike in blue for the candidate. It seems pretty sturdy and most reviews seem to favor it. One of my main concerns though are the forks as my understanding is I will be dealing with aluminum here. That aside, I am considering a Papamotors 1000 Watt 48 volt kit. The reason for that decision is it is withing just a few hundred bucks of a geared 350watt motor with a bottle battery and to date my experience with this system has been phenomenally good. I have also found Papamotors to be pretty honest people and their service top notch, so for those reasons and factors this appears how I will be going.

    The trike is heavier than a two wheeler and my full frame also adds to that so I am expecting top speeds probably around 24 though I realize the trike cannot be ridden fast except for straight runs. On turns it must be brought way down in speed. But because of the cost differences and that the 48 volt system when ridden slower can yield distances of around 30 miles before recharging, this makes the best sense to me.

    Other items to be added to the bike a big gel seat, speedometer (helps me ride it below legal maximum speed of 20mph since I don't really like going all that fast) lights, a front basket for extra capacity since the battery and controller will rob some of the main capacity at the get go.

    Papamotors has informed me they will require the torque bars for the front hub motor setup which is fine. They do also supply upon request a speed limiter controller that helps max out the 1000 watt motor to a maximum of around 19 mph which I probably will opt for here. I need to check with them first on this. That way it should mostly pass muster but supply enough power to move the heavier trike as opposed to a two wheeler.

    I have also ordered a cheap 28 dollar DBCam for quick decent movies so you guys can share my rides to the park. I can't tell all of you how much of a blast it has been but the Papamotors kit has made riding lots of fun again.

    Anyhow here are some of the components I shall be gathering in the next four weeks. It will be quite nice to finally have a trike I can throttle the variable speed on as opposed to that dreadful Hilltopper Kit on the last one.

    The base bike to make up...

    That big fat Gel seat I already have.

    Extra Cargo Capacity...

    To know how far and how fast I am going.

    Attached Files:

  2. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well everything on order. I am expecting this project will actually go pretty fast. With the big basket in back I'll have plenty of room for the battery and controller and switch too. Opted for the 1000 48 setup. By the time I added up a 500 watt 36 volt system with a 20amp batt it was within about 35 bucks. I am projecting the max speed at probably 25 maybe 26 because of the weight of the trike. I am going to use their thumb throttle this time. What is nice you can throttle the speed unlike CR's Hilltopper kit, so I probably will ride it actually at around 10 to 15mph the majority of the time or slower as required. Anyhow I'll keep you guys and gals all posted as it progresses. I am estimating with shipping about 3 to 4 weeks to complete this. I also mentioned I got a cheapo FBcam which straps on the helmet. In the coming weeks I'll get footage on my other ebike the ezip on trails and the bike path so you can see what it is like. You guys cannot imagine the blast I have enjoyed when I am up to it and weather permits. Anyhow stay good and have fun, keep an eye here...
  3. Tanstaafl

    Tanstaafl Member

    The front forks on the Meridian are steel, aft of where the frame bolts together is also steel. (you can test to confirm this with a magnet)

    If not already purchased, Walmart is fair place to consider. Bought one online from them for $260.00, free shipping to their nearest store, and once there they also assembled it for free. The assembled trike then fit into back of our Ford Explorer with no problem by laying on it's side.

    I have installed a Staton gearbox/chain drive with the Honda GX35 and road tested it, but want to do several other things to trike before calling it completed.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  4. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Okay thanks. Got everything on order. Papamotors is sending me the controller with what they call a Limiter on it. That makes it so the maxed out speed is no more than twenty which is fine with me. Most of the usage of this will be to the local supermarket or subway for food and groceries. I also want a friend to have the extra ride if she needs to ;)
  5. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Schwinn Meridian assembled, high quality trike. Waiting on the ebike hub and batt kit to arrive, more to follow when it does.
  6. Tanstaafl

    Tanstaafl Member

    Sounds like you are well on your way and will be riding inder power soon.
  7. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well received the kit less the battery. Papamotors makes two shipments as the battery and charger comes from Ping Battery. So got the main kit in and with time permitting and health I might add, got to work on it. Here are pics and comments. You can glimpse the base trike factory stock above.

    The Schwinn comes in a narrow long box and yes, you have to assemble everything on it. I did that and then left it for the Papamotors kit to come in.

    "Bells and Throttles..."

    That's the throttle and below a nice loud clanging bell for those that need too know I am on the bike path approaching.

    Most important is securing the wiring. No need to have it end up caught up in the chain ;)

    Plastic ties can do wonders so if you do an EBike project double or triple up on the plastic wire ties and multiple size packs too.

    Plastic ties are a poor choice for securing the controller module. Instead I went with 5 inch hose clamps. Screw them down and it is rock-solid secure no matters how many bumps you take while writing. This comes from experience...

    The controller ties into everything and the manufacturer stresses the connectors must remain dry. Best bet is to wrap everything with electrical taping, and then tie them together. This ensures you will not be stranded when riding through water or if a light rain falls.

    The front wheel hub motor is critical to the project and requires securing the wiring as well as the torque bars to prevent the forks from cracking.

    A better view of the Torque Bars on this project.

    If all goes well and you got it installed, then you have a cherry ride indeed. Here are a few views of this ETrike conversion.

    The almost final ride...

    Dang that looks sweet, can't wait for the battery to come in, get charged and finally be secured, then the real fun begins and perhaps a video for all of you to enjoy.

    A few notes. Since trikes have a very high tip-over rate on turns with speed, that speed is not essential here. Though a 48volt controller, it has the optional from factory "Limiter" wiring that when plugged in, limits top speed to around 19mph. The first test ride will of course be unplugged but from there on since this is more a shopping and utilities trike it will be plugged in.
  8. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    This project is nailed! Took it out two days ago with new charged up battery. Speed with no limitor is about 29mph though I suspect it could go faster. With Limiter it is about 19.8mph. I chose to leave the Limiter option plugged in. The battery bag is secured by a seven inch hose clamp to the basket which helps prevent it from being stolen. I asked Papamotors if having the Limiter plugged in extends the range, after all, one would think by limiting the speed there would be extra energy.

    I opted as the pics show above for the Thumb Throttle. With the Limiter at half way depressing the thumb throttle I get about 12 to 15 mph.

    I also opted not to add the pedal assist feature. In this case the thumb throttle is fine. Anyhow I just wanted you guys to know the Papamotors folks have been great...thanks Julie and Mr. Ping for your help.

    The Ping Battery is the way to go. Works like a charm. I recommend you consider the optional 5 amp charger which cuts charging times by around 45% or more.
  9. slickdude

    slickdude Member

  10. slickdude

    slickdude Member


    Well the Papamotors kit and Ping battery are rock solid. I use the trike for everything from shopping at the local grocery store to shopping trips across the valley.

    Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the Schwinn. It has a manufacturers design defect and one that can be costly to correct as I opted to do. The right rear driver wheel has a tendency to break spokes as I found out one day and I googled this and lo and behold it has happened to many other fine folks too. It is mainly the quality and thin spokes they used. To correct this, I pulled both rear wheels and brought them in for a 100 plus bucks for a respoke at the local bike store with higher quality spokes. I had hoped they could use a stronger gauge or thicker spoke but alas, the holes on that right hub cannot handle them as there isn't enough hub I was informed to install anything else. So far it has also been a truing issue. They were not able to true the right rear wheel which has a wobble still. Even when fully tightened. I am thinking a small wheel truing kit for that axle and then taking some time to do it myself.

    That aside, the Schwinn frame is strong and I have had many people inquiring where they can buy one of these. It seems that when they see me riding and they slow in their cars, open their windows and ask where they can get one. My answer is always "Home made!"

    The trike has a 29.95 mile distance on battery power at about 15 to 18mph. Faster speeds diminish the distance and over time and with age the batteries will diminish as well. The bike requires you to slow greatly to within around 8mph or slower to initiate safe turns as trikes have a tendency to tip over so riding technique is a must. On straights I have managed on a windless day and level ground to hit about 32mph. I did this only once to see how fast it can go with the limitor unplugged. The limitor plugged in maxes your top speed at around 20mph but unfortunately it also cuts your distance down by about a third.

    That aside, I tried the snazzy bike turn cygnals which turned out to be high priced junk. A shame nobody has really made quality front and rear bicycle signals that work at least to my knowledge. Perhaps you know of some? I got an mp3 player in a speaker pouch for it. Playing works fine but you must tape the mp3 player which plugs into a standard usb plug otherwise it can be jarred loose while riding.

    If you are going to build a trike there may be better candidates worth investigating out there besides the Schwinn. What is key is their quality especially their wheels. As for Papamotors 1000/48 system and the Ping Battery, they have worked flawlessly. One recommendation is to spend a bit extra and get the 5amp charger. It cuts charging time in half. I keep the 2amp free charger as a back up only. That aside, the electric trike is a blast, a head turner and most everyone thinks it is a very cool ride.
  11. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Went to Walmart got solid tubes for the rear tires. Installed them, guaranteed no flats. Still can hit 29mph. It does drag a bit till past 24mph then it pulls fine after that. The distance varies with speed, but I suspect I am getting about two miles less distance. Tradeoff is that the rear tires can never go flat, no tubes. The tubes are made by "Bell" and are like riding at around 45 pounds pressure in 65 pounds pressure tires. Still, not bad for what it is.

    Also you must have the rear wheels respoked on the Schwinn Meridian especially the right rear driver wheel. Quality stainless spoked should fix it. Will update this as I continue. Have ridden 1230 miles to date on the Papamotors kit on the trike and no issues.
  12. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well that right rear wheel just disintegrated at 20mph today, almost got killed. The spokes went flying, so much for stainless steel spokes. The problem all over the net on the Schwinn Meridian is that rear right wheel or the driver wheel. So for now, back to the drawing board. If I can fix what the manufacturer ignored then it will be worth it.
  13. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    look at how the rear wheels and axles are set up on the worksman trikes.. keep in mind these Schwinns are not intended to do 20mph
  14. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    A local bike shop had installed and re-spoked with stronger spokes. The inherent problem lies in the hub design. First it is too small to drill for thicker spokes. Remember also that this hub is the driver wheel too. I am wondering if there is an after market trike back axel and hub option I can bolt in place. Otherwise maybe replace the axle with one that accepts a regular rear wheel. No pedaling anymore but it wouldn't break so fast. BTW, the left rear wheel is fine, no issues. If you check out this trike on amazon all one stars because of this one problem. It is now all over the web about it and appears a safety issue besides a manufacturers defect. Schwinn to date has never fixed this. A damned shame cause the rest of the trike actually is pretty nice.
  15. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    IMGP0007.jpg IMGP0006.jpg IMGP0012.jpg IMGP0010.jpg

    so make your own
  16. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Well, I know that the axle is a 1/2 inch axle. Like I stated, the left non driver wheel has been fine, handled weight and speeds of 34mph no issues. The right wheel though, what Schwinn did was make it a half round axle with a cheaper wheel. I already spent at a redundant shop about 100 bucks to get that right wheel re-spoked, but I am wondering though. I did look at the worksman trikes. What I would need is a 26 model and the front forks must be at least 100mm to take the front electric wheel. It is expensive though, we are talking 900 bucks on average. Existing electric trikes are out there at 1100 and up and those would already be built heavier too, so it leaves a lot of questions opened.

    Since I want something for cargo, I might entertain transferring the electric kit to a two wheeled model and then get hitches for my bikes and buy a standard cargo carrier. I have thought about this for a while. But you do bring to mind something interesting. My neighbor is an ex bicycle store owner and he also has a heli arch welder too.
  17. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    workman is made to haul few 100# of cargo that E trike is not now what do you think is made stronger?
  18. Leroybrown420

    Leroybrown420 Member

    Looks like fun. I love my Trike
    20131001_163755.jpg 20131021_153745.jpg
  19. Leroybrown420

    Leroybrown420 Member

  20. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    thats a purdy trike :)

    would love to hack up that rear axle and insert a dif, personally...

    the 2nd last pic...something looks different...the rear sprocket on a jackshaft or something?

    ill ignore the different pipe in each pic :)

    cus, boy, id love to make a pipe for that one!