Portable Drive Kit for Tricycle?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by myway_1, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. myway_1

    myway_1 New Member


    Edit: I could use a trailer with my bicycle, so the drive can be either front or rear.

    I am looking for drive kit for a tricycle. My budget for the kit is $350. I would need to be able to remove it and carry it with me while doing shopping. I live in an area that is completely flat. I weigh 165 pounds. The maximum weight of any cargo would be 40 pounds. I would like to be able to go 15 mph. I would need a range of at least 15 miles.

    Electric Drive: I have searched the web and this forum for portable electric kits and have not found anything. I am aware of Rubbee and Shareroller. Rubbee appears to be bicycle rear drive only and Shareroller isn't currently for sale. Plus I can't afford the $800+ cost. I could put together my own electric drive so long as it didn't require any fabrication or expensive tools or technical knowledge. Are there any suitable kits or parts lists? I found one part list but it is 6 years old.

    Gas Drive: Gas friction drive motors appear easy to remove. I could leave the roller assembly on the trike but would prefer not to as that would be an additional loss of $150 in case of theft. How long would it take for it to cool down enough to handle? I would carry it in an insulated bag or set it in a shopping cart. Would I have to keep the motor upright while off the bike? Is this practical?

    Any other suggestions?

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016

  2. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    I suggest dropping any idea of having an easily removable motor, do you honestly live in such a bad place where you can't leave it on the bike while shopping? You're more likely to get robbed at gunpoint for the entire bike while riding if you're in that bad of an area.

    You might be over thinking the level of crime, I did that when I first moved to the city.

    Doesn't mean I don't guard against theft, I have a large u-bolt lock, with heavy tow chain. My friends all have those remote locks that you press a button, and just touching the bike will usually set off the loud sirens attracting all the wondering eyes.

    Or just do as you want and lug 30 pounds of oily metal around, have fun discovering your new complicated ritual that will probably take as long to do as it would take you to shop and come back out...
  3. myway_1

    myway_1 New Member

    Bicycle theft is a problem in my area. I don't want to take the risk. I'm willing to put up with some inconvenience.
  4. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Active Member

    I'm afraid I'm with Frankenstein on this one. A battery pack can be removed and carried but is expensive and you need two so one can be charging or to extend range.
    A cheap 2stroke kit has mount bolts that can be double nutted with a plate across between the mount bolts so it takes longer to remove.
    On an upright tricycle it shouldn't be hard to make it look very dorky, uncool and unattractive.
    Perhaps paint the frame pink or pale purple and use uncoated plywood either side of the engine and over the head to allow cooling while taking away the engine's cool factor? :) Ooh and a wicker basket! :D
    I wouldn't wrap the box in cable locks, but a small brightly coloured lock on each wheel and a big one attaching the frame to the rail is pretty off-putting. :)
    You still might want to do something about the fuel though. At least an armoured hose to prevent vandals cutting it, I guess..
    I think I would just find a better place to park! :)
  5. allen

    allen New Member

    Removable power,Interesting thought...Take power unit off someone will just pedal it away,front wheel electric remove 2 nuts and carry the wheel,gee I think the question asked would be to hard to answer,of course there is a solution but certainly not within your stated budget...I personally would unscrew 1 pedal and take that with me...Having built a motored trike and used same for a couple of years,The hardest thing to push is a trike ,one needs very long arms to reach handles to stand and walk beside said trike without taking a hammering from crank..Build it,take it shopping as suggested lock it up ,Hope its still there when you get back..As an aside I have dismantled my Trike as it was trying to injure me,Still have Bike and have almost completed rebuild of Trike into low slung Trike/Semi Recumbent..I dont recall anywhere in these pages of a removable power unit,I think it would have to be friction drive centrifigul clutch,quick release everything..electric you would be leaving behind the most expensive bit the battery..After 3 builds and a lot of trial and error I think your wants will be hard to fulfill,apolagise if this seems negative...Allen
  6. myway_1

    myway_1 New Member

    I edited my original post. I could use a trailer with a bicycle. Upon reaching destination, load the drive in the trailer and use the trailer as a shopping cart by attaching a handle. So I could use either front or rear drive.
  7. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Active Member

    Could you forget the bicycle and the tricycle and the trailer, and
    just motorise a shopping cart ? :D
  8. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    the problem with a budget and electric drive is the cost of the battery which will exceed $400 for a decent long range capacity. if you do go electric drive you can get an electric shifter and replace the bolts with allen wrench bolts. the electric shifter is integrated into the gears of the trike so it will be much harder to remove than a electric hub wheel. and you can disconect the battery and bring it with you while shopping. however, this is going to exceed the $350 limit (350 kit + 400-500 for battery).


    I like the friction drive after trying in frame motors. It seems very simple, however you are not going to feasibly remove the motor and carry it with you inside. there are a number of wires and tubes going into the motor and it will be nasty and frustrating to remove them.

    I think if you brain storm you can find bolts with a weird pattern and replace the mounting bolts with those. i mean you can also try to run a cable/chain from motor to bike frame. but, i like the idea of weird bolt patterns such as an allen wrench or that star pattern i see.

    just some thoughts.
  9. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    Buy a car! Bike thieves don't steal cars! Car thieves steal cars.

    I'll mention bicycle theft is an issue here too, I know at least 3 people who've had their bikes stolen, not including myself, person had to climb a 6 foot pointy cast iron fence, go to the back of the yard, bring a bike to the fence, throw it over and climbed back over to steal the one I had, luckily my motorized bicycle, which Sat 2 feet from the very same fence is 50ish pounds and was locked to to pipe railing with my heavy theft deterrent lock/chains.

    Just remember that nothing is theft proof, just theft deterrent. I could lock my bike in a steel box with walls 8 feet thick, alarmed, and guarded with a swat team, if somebody honestly found it more valuable to take the risk to get to the bike than the probable death/jail time then they would simply make it happen.

    Obviously a motorized bicycle with at least a thousand dollars in parts alone isn't worth attempting to cut through a towing chain and heavy u-lock in public, if it was I'd be down a motorized bicycle.

    Toss in a couple alarms and it's basically a no go. Big time thieves thrive on schedules, they scope out what they want and how to get it. The petty thief (your average bicycle stealing thief) is nearly 100% an opportunistic thief, they waltz around looking for a bike or other item of value to steal, if the object in question is just too difficult to acquire quickly and easily without high risk of being caught then they move on to the next opportunity.

    Bike thieves don't usually commit burglary and vice versa.

    Seriously don't over think the situation. Put a good heavy lock on it, and put an alarmed lock system on board. If it moves it screams, and that's just from trying to touch it, let alone it blaring away as a person is trying to cut steel chains, if they bother. Again thieves are cowards, hence they take the lowest risk possible, steal the least locked bike to not get caught, or rob the house when they are sure nobody is home, or stick up helpless people with a gun.

    No cheap locks, small chains are broken easily, small locks even easier, cheap cable locks can be twisted off, I had a bike in my back yard I had locked with a very cheap cable lock, came with the bike. Forgot the code and I used a hammer and a brick, 2 swings and it just snapped the cheap cast metal housing open. Meanwhile I had to use my not-cheap u-lock as a hammer to repair my motor when I was in a pinch, it actually performed very well as a hammer, and to this day, after rain, snow, ice, salt, dirt, and whatever else lives outside, is still my primary lock and shows no signs of lacking in its original security.

    Sorry I just can't say it enough, don't worry about the bike being stolen, I'll also side with the other poster, trikes are just so... Tacky? It's almost a deterrent in itself to being a victim of theft because it just looks... Ew. Stick a big lock on it and it just going to scream stay away, thieves also know that if reported to the police a motorized tricycle is going to be way too easy to spot, it would be like a car thief deciding between a white van or a neon yellow punch buggy.. You get what I mean? It's too big to simply hide with easily, it's big, gawky, and if the person isn't even used to starting a motorized bike and riding a trike it's going to be just even more strange and less likely they will want anything to do with it.

    I also have a simple deterrent system, if I don't want to lock my bike up, just going inside for a few minutes, I loosen the 2 bolts on the stem attachment, you know the part that you loosen to adjust the way the front wheel faces with the handlebars straight, well I loosen them on my bike, turn the front wheel sideways so it's parallel with my handlebars, and retighten the bolts, this way it can't be ridden at all, only walked, and a couple minutes just doesn't worry me since no person could get very far with it like that, I also leave the lights on with the turn signal blinking, it's like I homing Beacon in the dark, and for everyone else who thinks of touching it it just seems too odd to bother with since they have no idea what to do with it and how to make it less obvious it isn't their's, meanwhile lights turned on and turn signal blinking almost says I'll be right back.

    Sorry for the rather extensive post, just my experiences with bikes, thieves, and theft protection tends to be well... Rather extensive.
    myway_1 and FurryOnTheInside like this.
  10. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    Rap a chain around the hole thing .drill holes in the fins to padlock. Best one a personal alarm when you pull a rope it go off so put the alarm on the bike frame and the rope to the wheel when it gets moved the most horrible sound comes out and everyone runs lol
  11. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    Hey that's a great idea actually, never thought about using those as alarms, so simple and the sizes they come in can make it almost impossible to notice, I'd go with a smallish one and stick it under my seat or on the front fork or something, too many choices for this, then attach one of those carabiner clips to the pull end, Mount it so I have a place to keep it "disengaged" while riding, think key loop zip tied to frame, and when I want to use it as an alarm just clip it to the spokes or frame (if using fork as my mount, so turning wheel yanks the alarm) and there you go, moving the bike forward or back will throw te alarm and it doesn't shut off untill the peg is put back.

    Oh and I also forgot to mention my double pull brake is actually for a scooter I think, it has a brake light switch in it, but the point of mentioning is it also has a parking brake button, it's basically the same exact idea as the stock clutch lever that comes with the kit, you squeeze the lever and push the button, that prevents it from rolling untill you squeeze the brake and release. Since I use that to prevent the nasty parked bike crawl (you know, moves untill front wheel turns, then falls over) it also helps prevent people from trying to roll it anywhere.

    I would think if you used a modified hasp or decent sized padlock you could squeeze your brake lever, and lock the lever against the handlebars, this prevents any rolling around by a thief, if your using a lock on the wheel you can roll the bike wheels till they are tight on the lock, making manipulation difficult, then lock the brakes, so it's a sitting duck that only can sit. Only way around that is cutting the lock, which would prove a bit harder to do on a tight fitted handle, or cutting the brakes, which is probably not a good idea, and still keeps the throttle assembly locked hard in place, so no motorized fun, just pedaling without brakes.

    I know all these "solutions" are not what you wanted, but your hopes at an easily removable motor is just too far out of reach, mostly because the security options are so plentiful and cheap enough that you just don't need to be able to remove the engine to protect your assets.. And bicycle motors are not easily removable by a long shot. In my case it involves removing the head of my engine first, then removing about 10 bolts from the various parts before I can struggle with 2 brackets and then the part of removing the actual motor, and that's with special or modified tools to make the job easier. But I have a jackshaft so... Yeah.

    Put alarms on it, throw a beefy lock on it, and get a quick release front wheel, when you go shopping, pull the front wheel off, put locks on and alarm it, it won't go anywhere unless it sits for a week straight, then maybe the police will remove it for being parked on technically private property.

    I would also think a motor that can be removed easily is actually not a solid motor, easily removable sounds like loose bolts or connections that will wear or break with the vibration from the engine, even of it was a friction mounted motor it would still have to be loose, because tight snug fitting connections have a tendency to bite into eachother, and become very hard to remove, I have this issue with my jackshaft bearings, the shaft and bearing surface is very snug, brand new they just slip together, after a day they are practically glued together, a week and I don't bother removing the bearing from the shaft, I remove the retaining clip and slide the assembly out. Anyone who's rebuilt a bottom end of one of these motors knows what it's like to try to remove the bearings at times. It's like trying to push an elephant through an eye of a needle. Not cool.

    OK off topic a bit I know, just pointing out that it's not the motor you have to prevent thieves from stealing, it's the motorized bicycle, the most I had stolen from any properly locked bike was a loose fitting seat cover, after that I ran steel cable through the lanyard path and tightened on then used cable stops to prevent any removal of the cover unless they used a knife to cut the fabric, but that would leave them with a piece of garbage and a dull knife depending on their method. Again it takes too long and looks strange to onlookers so I've never had that problem again. Same with steel cables on the seat to the frame, discourages someone from trying to pull my seat, if they even notice the cable at all, helps to replace the seat bolts with standard wrench type instead of leaving a quick release if that's what it has. My seat post is quick release but the tube itself is crimped from my jackshaft brackets, anytime I want to remove my seat I need a 15mm wrench and 10 minutes to loosen the nuts, tight squeeze, then pliers and a screwdriver to take the cable off.

    Yeah, bicycle related theft is an issue here, but not for me (except that one time, could have been prevented, a neighbor told me a few days before it was stolen they saw some kid trying to climb my fence, yelled at them and they left)

    Generally speaking, of its going to take more than a couple minutes for a person to disable the security in public it's going to get looked over, if it starts crying for everyone to look at it when touched then it's going to be left alone as soon as it starts pointing fingers.

    Seriously, heavy lock and chain, alarm, and try giving the brake locking method a go, that's just too much for a person to work with in a public place unless they wave a gun around, but then that's just inviting more trouble to their doorstep.
    myway_1 and FurryOnTheInside like this.
  12. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    also, the last thing is I am not sure how you will put a friction drive on a trike. take a look at the kits. i think if you could mount it on one of the rear wheel the power balance would be kinda weird and possible dangerous. the other option is the front wheel but it would not provide as much power as a rear mounted one.
  13. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Active Member

    It's a pedicab brake, so customers can get on easily. :)
    I'm going to get a single pull left Sturmey Archer one as a clutch lever. Might get two as I'm going with cable disc rear brake. :)
    The lever locks sold for motorcycles might not be perfect as they expect you to have ball end levers, but might work especially if you can bend the tip of the lever forward.

    I really like the personal alarm idea! :) It could be great for panniers too! I always worry about them when I am queuing in the shop to buy food on a bicycle tour.
  14. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    Nice to see someone likes my crazy ideas
  15. JGH122

    JGH122 Member

    Beginning to sound like PEEWEE Herman's Big Adventure:)
  16. allen

    allen New Member

    Must admit been keeping up with this , leave the trike with some locking prevention that's It.....If you dismantle bits ,you leave behind a Thing, and possibly the local authority could just think it is abandoned and just cart it away... build it and They Will Come!!!!!!!!
  17. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    Well I'm doubtful that the police/land owner will discover the bike, decide it's abandoned, then cut the locks and take it away in the time a shopping trip would occur, in fact it might even be illegal to make that kind of decision in that little time, not enough reasonable cause to do so. If they could verify it was sitting for 24 hours or longer then I'd say it would be RC...

    191943529722 is the item number on eBay of the alarm I'm talking about that's over sensitive, the one my friend has will go off if somebody walks on the sidewalk next to it, seriously, just walking too close. Wow.

    It locks on the disk brakes or locks to the spokes, front wheel is ideal, it usually moves the most, add a second one to the rear wheel, hell you got 3 wheels put one on each, tapping the bike will probably be as irritating as a police siren. Best part is because it locks to disk brakes or spokes it can be impossible (disk brakes) or at least very difficult (spokes) to move the bike anywhere, if the lock interferes with movement, so disk brakes lock it completely, spokes will have it possibly hitting frame or front forks. This alone is pretty preventative as long as a pair people couldn't pick up the bike quickly and drop it in the back of a truck. A secondary lock used to secure the bike to an object would be perfect.

    I remember reading Philly and new York were like the 2 worst places for bike theft, I'm smack dab in the middle of the 2 places in a large tri-city town, we somehow have a perfect blend of the 2 places, along with plenty of jersey, and a dash of Puerto Rico for flavor. Not only did we inherit the food, ridiculously bad drivers (let's double park on a one way road only big enough for 1 vehicle next to 2 open parking spots) we also inherited the crime rates, at least theft wise. They be breaking into dollar trees in the rather very nice parts of the suburbs and gas stations that only sell soda, potato chips, and gas.

    Sorry for that, Uhm yeah... Theft is a major issue around these parts, so I have the experience with loss prevention.
  18. myway_1

    myway_1 New Member

    Thanks everyone for your input. You've given me several good ideas to mull over. I may go with an electric front hub motor with quick release wheel and carry that and the battery with me. For when it's not practical to carry them I'll use alarms, a chain and u-lock.
  19. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    I coudd see that working but to be honest if you u-bolt the front hub motor to the frame and it is just a trip into the store for groceries and if you lock up the bike (with another u-bolt) in front of the store I think that is enough and you don't have to take in the entire wheel with you. But, if you were inclined to do that than this is the best option to do something like that. Also, did you read my post about cost. I know you had a 350 limit and with electric it is going to be substantially beyond that. it is 200 for the kit and 400-500 for the battery. a lipo battery is relatively light weight at ~10 - 15 lbs so there should be no problem carrying that in the shopping cart.
  20. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Active Member

    I do second this idea, if you must go with electric, then lock the wheel to the frame and lock the frame to a post close to the front. Like I said towing chain is a very good option, locking up in front of a store is just better, putting a motion alarm is best. Pull the battery pack and take it with you since it's so light, and often easy to remove if you use the right mounts, I'd say use those click type buckles like in this image plastic-single-adjust-side-release-buckle-group-standard-rev-34-inch-replacement-10-5-13.jpg
    These can be tightened, adjusted, removed and reattached super quickly but also have good strength, and can be replaced cheaply and easily if it fails.

    These will let you mount a battery basically anywhere on a bike very securely while in travel, and if you add matching clips to your backpack if you have one you can snap the battery to the backpack for easy transport without stuffing or playing with zippers.

    Personally I'm a gas engine guy, but in your particular case it might be that electric is the best option.

    On a side note they have some interesting GPS trackers available now that function in the USA, you can hide one up in the bike, and it can be found anywhere in the world. This is something I'm looking towards getting, it's the cost of the tracker, and then pay monthly for the cell service so it can send data out to the world. No this is no good without cell service but around here there is no place for 60 miles that won't have cell service, I even get reception in Amish County so that's saying something.

    Any way, that's a peace of mind I can't see going back from, it's like having mirrors and then taking them off, or getting used to always having a helmet while riding and then once and a while riding without one.