The debate rages on, sort of like do you prefer Ford or Chevy. We realize that this may raise the ire of some mid-drive aficionados. Both types will give you the extra power you are looking for. However, we are only concerned about the performance on RECUMBENT TRIKES. We recommend hub motors and we have our reasons…
Direct power to the ground
This is a major advantage of the hub motor. The mid-drive applies power through the drive train of your trike. The average cyclist outputs 100-200 watts. With power assist, that increases to 450-950 watts, or nearly 5 times the power applied to your trike. It is best to apply that power directly to the ground. NOT to your drivetrain. That is, powering your chainring, your chain, over any idler that your trike may have, through your freewheel (or cassette) sprocket, through the freewheel body (or freehub body) and finally through your hub to the ground. Powering through all of these components adds to maintenance.
We have been in the bike business over 30 years. One of the regular maintenance issues is chain stretch. When the chain stretches, it wears the rear cassette. When both have worn, a condition commonly known as “rollover” happens. The chain actually disengages from the teeth, rolls over the cog resulting in a loud and violent “clunk”. The cure is to replace the chain and the cassette together. This condition is amplified when you add e-assist to your trike as these components were not designed for the extra power. You can expect more maintenance for chains, chain tubes, cassettes, idlers and bearings with a mid-drive. This is all avoided with hub motors. To be fair, a geared hub motor may need occasional maintenance. The direct drive hub motor is considered to be nearly maintenance free.
reliability, durability and transferable
The reliability, durability and transferable aspects of the hub motor are all major considerations. With fewer maintenance issues, the hub motor will keep you riding more with less time in the shop. In addition, if you decide to change trikes in the future, there is a good possibility that your motor will transfer to your new ride.
Low risk of catastrophic failure
Triangulation. There is inherent strength in triangles. Mid-drive motors are designed to set at the intersection of triangles on a diamond frame bicycle. Your recumbent trike has a single tube boom that a mid-drive attaches to. With amplified power to the end of the boom with no extra support, you could face snapping the frame. Catastrophic failure. In addition, with a mid-drive applying power to the drive train there is a good chance of breaking a chain while on a ride. E-assist should enhance your riding experience… therefore, we recommend hub motors.
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Address: 605 South 30th Street, Heath Oh