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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a 3 Wheel Electric Bike

On any sunny day, you can probably look down the street and see one – an adult riding a bike with three wheels. It’s also possible that this adult trike is more than meets the eye.

Consumers are looking for a better way to travel to work, school, and even on vacation. That is leading to an increase in electric bikes and trikes.

Statista reports that the electric bike industry is expected to see an annual growth rate of 12.27 between 2022 and 2027. People are becoming environmentally conscious and worrying about their health. Owning an electric bike is the best of both worlds. They can help the planet by driving gas-powered cars less and getting more exercise at the same time.

A three-wheel electric bike offers an elegant solution to those not comfortable or interested in riding a traditional two-wheel. It’s all the fun of bike riding but with less risk. You need to know some things before you buy your electric three-wheel bike, though.

What Is a Tricycle?

If you are considering a three-wheel electric bike, you should know more about why they are fantastic. An adult e-trike is similar to the three-wheeler you might have ridden as a child, just bigger. It is the same size as a traditional bike but has two wheels in the back instead of one.

The goal of an adult three-wheel bike isn’t that different than the tiny ones, either. It’s all about balance. To ride a two-wheel bike, you must be able to balance it while you climb on, pedal, stop and get off. That is a big ask for some people; others just don’t want the hassle.

A three-wheel bike is a perfect solution because it removes balance from the equation. You don’t have to tilt the bike to get on it or jump off the seat when you stop at a light. The three-wheel design ensures it stays balanced and stable without your help.

Why Get An Electric Three-Wheel Bike?

I think the better question is, why not get an electric one? If you are going to invest in a new adult trike, why not get the one that offers you the most? The motor and battery pack that comes with an electric bike means you have a little assistance when you:

  • Climb hills
  • Ride against the wind
  • Get tired

It means you can ride your adult trike further and not worry about whether you have the stamina to get home. Electric bikes typically comes with two distinct modes: pedal-assist and full motor or throttle.

The pedal-assist mode is precisely what it sounds like – the motor kicks on as you pedal to give you extra support. You can control when the motor helps and when it doesn’t. Some people use the motor throughout their ride. They still get the physical benefits of bike riding, but it is more comfortable.

Full throttle means you can ride the e-trike without pedaling. It works similarly to a moped. It is good to have when the ride is a little harder than expected. The electric three-wheel electric will get you back home safe and sound if you are too tired to do it yourself.

Purchasing an electric three-wheel bike is a considerable investment. It’s not something you want to do on impulse. Take your time and find the right e-trike for your needs. There are some things you should know before you start shopping.

How Electric Three-Wheel Bikes Work

An electric three-wheel bike utilizes two unique sensors: torque and speed. When you pedal, a sensor signals the motor when you reach the right pace. Then, it will kick on and power the pedals as you move them.

The torque sensor matches your pedal speed. If you pedal faster, the motor picks up to match your effort. The engine controls the torque based on the pedal-assist mode setting. A low setting means it offers less assistance. A high setting means you get more. If you turn the throttle, you don’t have to pedal on some trikes.

Motor Location

You don’t see the motor on an electric trike like you would a lawnmower, for instance. Generally, it is located in one of three places:

  • Rear-hub
  • Mid-drive, which sits near the pedals
  • Front-hub

A hub is the center of the wheel where it connects with the bike. The location of the motor isn’t as important as where the battery sits.

Getting Power

Electric bikes and trikes come with a rechargeable battery. The battery can be removable or integrated into the frame. For three-wheel bikes, you’ll likely find the battery near the seat. It may be located under it, attached behind or in front of the bar.

The motor draws power from this rechargeable battery. You recharge it the same way you do most batteries. Then, you plug it into a charging station connected to an electric outlet. Some batteries are solar-powered, too, although those are less common.

Six Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Three-Wheel Electric Bike

Finding the right three-wheel electric bike takes a little research. However, here are some things you should consider as you shop.

1. Two-wheel E-Bike vs.Three-Wheel E-Trike

It is easy to mentally lump these two designs into one category because they are both electric. The fact is the different frame styles mean they are not the same. A three-wheel bike will feel very different as your ride. Everything from mounting and dismounting to turning will feel different for you.

Turns are an excellent example. If you are riding a two-wheel bike, you simply adjust the handlebars and ride through the turn. A three-wheeler will feel different during that turn because it has a unique center of gravity. You need momentum to turn, like a two-wheel bike, but it’s different. The momentum of a classic two-wheeler comes from speed. On an e-trike, the momentum is you leaning into the turn.

You also have to get adjusted to the weight of the three-wheel bike, which is why it is smart to shop for an electric model. The trike will accelerate slower because you are pushing more weight. A three wheel electric bike will weigh more than a two wheel electric bike. The weight can make going downhill tricky if you fail to manage the forward momentum. Just ensure you use the brakes properly when coasting downhills. Don't wait until the last minute to engage the brakes when going downhill on a 3 wheel ebike, keep them slightly engaged the whole way down the hill to ensure a safe descent.

The point is there will be a learning curve when riding an electric three-wheel bike. This is true in general for any ebike, but maybe more so if you are used to a two-wheeler. If you get on a 3 wheel bike for the first and it feels uncomfortable or confusing, don't worry, that is not uncommon. Take your time and practice in an open space like a parking lot. Start slow and as you get comfortable on 3 wheels increase your speed. A few hours of riding and you'll have the hang out if.

2. Battery Size

It is normal to give the size of the motor more attention than the battery. The engine controls how fast you can go in each mode. The battery is critical because it determines how far you can go on a single charge.

Battery power is typically measured in watt-hours or Wh. The larger the Wh number, the longer the bike will go between charges. You might want a larger battery to ride long distances or plan to commute with your new e-trike. If you are going to ride recreationally, then a smaller one is likely okay.

Also, consider the type of battery. Is it removable or integrated? A removable battery is the best option, especially for e-trikes that are heavier than a two-wheeler. If the battery is integrated, you must park the bike near a recharging station, like in the garage. If it is removable, you can store the e-trike and take the battery inside to charge it.

A removable battery also gives you some security. Most of these batteries are locked into the frame. You need a key to remove them, but that doesn’t mean someone determined to steal yours won’t figure out a way. The battery size you need will depend on the type of riding you plan to do on your electric tricycle. Since the size of the battery is going to have a big impact on the price of the etrike you buy, it's important to match the size of the battery with your riding habits. If you buy an unnecessarily big battery then you'll be over paying for your 3 wheel ebike.

If you plan to mostly ride on flat ground around a community or neighborhood a 10.4ah battery will be just fine. The range on this size battery will be up to 50miles depending on how you use the pedal assist and throttle. Also, the amount of hills on your route will have a big impact on the range you get from your ebike battery. If you are planning to carry very heavy loads in your baskets or even passengers on your electric tricycle then you'll want a larger lithium ion battery. If you plan to ride on some hills and carry about 15lbs of cargo on average then a battery of at least 14ah up to 18ah will be best. When riding hills and carrying extra cargo you'll drain the battery quicker on your trike. Increasing the battery size will ensure you'll still get 50 miles of range your rides.

If you are interested in a fat tire etrike or an electric rickshaw bike that can carry passengers, you'll want to get one of the biggest etrike batteries possible. A battery of at least 21ah will be the best option for this type of three wheel electric bike riding. Fat tires on a tricycle are going to drain the battery faster than thinner tires. They have a lot of rubber that is contacting the road thus meaning more work the motor has to do to keep the tricycle rolling. This will cause the battery to drain quicker and the reason why a larger battery is necessary. Ebike rickshaws that can take passengers will need the largest battery. Adding extra passengers just means more juice the motor will need for power. Generally as you increase the size of the battery on your tricycle the price will increase also. If you want to minimize the price you pay for your e tricycle, buy one with a battery on the smaller size. Start riding and get familiar with how much you drain your battery on typical rides. If you ultimately decide you need more range, you can always buy a second battery to take with you on rides.

3. Motor Efficiency

You also want to consider the motor size, especially if you plan on carrying cargo around, like grandchildren or pets. A bigger motor is a better choice for heavy loads.

The battery and motor work together, too. So, it’s not a good idea to match a large motor with a small battery. The larger the motor, the more energy it uses and the faster it will drain the battery. If you anticipate using the motor a lot, look for an engine that matches battery size. Some electric bikes accommodate a backup batter, as well. Look at that option if you think you’ll go through battery power quickly. For the average rider, that won’t be necessary, though.

You might want to consider where the motor is located, too. The location of the motor determines how it works. A mid-drive motor turns the crank on the pedals instead of one of the wheels. That makes it more powerful.

A front hub motor pulls the e-trike forward by turning the front wheel. A rear hub motor pushes the frame forward by powering the chain and gears in the back. For some, a rear hub motor feels more natural. The front hub can slip, especially if carrying a lot of weight.

The most important piece of motor advice is to try and match the motor size with the type of terrain you'll be riding on, the weight and load, and the amount of hills on the routes. There are three most commonly used motor sizes on e trikes, 250w, 500w, and 750w. It's possible to have each of the motor sizes as either a front, mid, or rear mounted motor. 250w electric tricycle motors are good for mostly flat ground riding with some hills. This size motor isn't going to give you an aggressive amount of power but it will be enough power to make rides a lot easier. This size motor is great if you don't want to be startled or scared by the amount of acceleration but you would definitely benefit from have assistance when pedaling. The 250w is also enough to use just throttle and give your legs a break on rides. With throttle only on this size e tricycle you'll be able to achieve top speeds of approximately 15mph. This size motor is a common choice of senior riders because it's just enough power to assist in riding but not too much to compromise the safety of the tricycle. Many seniors looking for a 3 wheel bike still want to get some exercise and prefer to pedal. With a little big of pedal assist they can keep their legs moving while getting assistance from the 250w motor at needed points of the ride. A 250 watt e three wheeler bike is a safe option for beginning trike riders or those that want to cruise.

Stepping up from the 250w motor is a 500w motor. This is a very common size of motor on an electric three wheeler bike. This size motor can handle larger hills and and heavier loads. If you are a rider over 200lbs and plan to ride medium size hills frequently, a 500w motor may be your best choice. This size ebike motor is going to give you more torque, which will be better for climbing hills and carry heavier loads. This size motor will be great if you plan to ride hilly terrain and anticipate needing assistance up the hills. If you are also someone that likes to go fast on your trike, than this is a good option. 500 watt e tricycles will accelerate fast to a top speed of either 16mph or 20mph. Most tricycles are limited in their top speed for safety reasons. Using a the throttle on a 500 watt can be a lot of fun, with either the twist of the wrist or push of the thumb the throttle on a 500 watt can have you zipping around with no effort. When using the throttle with this motor size the three wheel bike will really take off, in a good way, and you'll just enjoy the ride. The benefit of a motor this size is even if you don't want to use all of the power, you can always keep the assist level in one of two. The power is there if you need it but it's ok to stay in the lower power levels.

A 750 watt motor is the most powerful etrike motor that is still street legal in the US. Any motor size on an ebike above 750 is not allowed to be ridden on public streets or bike paths. This size electric tricycle motor is best for riders over 200lbs and also riders that ride routes with frequent hills. This size motor will come with the highest price tag generally but it will also come with the most power. A 750 watt motor will feel powerful and getting up hills will be easy. Using just the throttle will be enough to propel riders up large hills. Top speeds of 20mph and more are achievable with this size three wheel ebike. If you are looking to purchase an etrike that can carry heavy loads or multiple passengers you will need this size motor. If you just want the extra power to go fast, that is an option too. But keep in mind the faster you go and the more hills you ride the quicker the battery dies. This why electric trikes with a 750 watt motor need a big battery, thus driving the price up.

4. Modes

Some models of electric three-wheel bikes offer pedal-assist modes only. They may have several pedal-assist levels, but the trike will not run on motor power only. Think carefully about whether this makes sense for you.

It is a judgment call, but the more you can get from your e-trike, the better. Even if you don’t think you would use the throttle-only mode, you might wish you had it. There is no going back if you only buy a model with pedal assist.

The other consideration is how many modes you need. The different levels of pedal assist give you options for the support you want. If you are just getting back into exercise and bike riding, you might start with the higher pedal-assist mode. Then, as you get stronger, you can go for lower methods and use the motor when needed.

That doesn’t mean you need seven or eight pedal-assist modes, though. Modes are a little like speeds on a traditional bike. You might use two or three and never touch the rest. With that said it will be nice to have a high level of pedal assist for hills, even if you only use it as you encounter hilly terrain.

Commonly there are five levels of pedal assist on ebikes but three levels is also common. Level one provides the least amount of power while you pedal and level five provides the most amount of power. With three levels of assist the same idea holds true, level one provides the least amount of assistance and three provides the most. The levels of pedal assist will sometimes also dictate how much power the throttle provides but not always. Often times the throttle operates independently of the pedal assist levels, meaning the throttle will function like a gas pedal, the harder you press it the more power you'll get.

Pedaling an electric tricycle without electric assist may be challenging depending on the terrain. Riding up hill on a 3 wheel ebike without any assist may provide impossible for some. Flat ground it will be doable but it may become tiresome on your legs over time.

Most riders will want to leave their tricycle in pedal assist level one or two throughout their ride. These pedal assist modes provide just enough power to make the ride enjoyable. You'll notice the assistance but you will still need to pedal yourself. It will make the ride just easy enough so it's enjoyable and fun. If you decide you want to start and go fast on some open straight aways you'll want to press your assist level up to four or above. At these modes, you are getting max assistance from the motor and you'll definitely feel it. With this amount of assistance the motor is doing most of the work and you won't feel much strain on your legs at all. An important thing to remember is you'll drain the battery quicker when you are in modes four and five. It's simple, the motor is providing more power, thus it needs more energy from the battery, which will cause the battery to die quicker. This is why it's important to use your levels of assist wisely. Doing your entire ride in level five will drain the battery very quickly and may not leave juice for the ride home.

Riding up hill on a three wheel electric bike will be no ride in the park, this is why you want to save level five for this. Depending on the size of the hills it may be necessary to be in at least level four or five to traverse the hill. Having three wheels on the pavement is going to make climbing hills challenging, that's why the pedal assist is so helpful. Keep in mind riding up a big hill in pedal assist five is going to drain the battery very quickly. It's important to use your assist strategically to ensure you'll have the appropriate amount of battery life for all aspects of your ride.

As you get used to riding your electric tricycle for adults, you'll start to figure out how to affectively use your different pedal assist modes on rides. You will also start to figure out the range you will get on your trike based on the routes you ride. After a few rides you'll be a pro and you'll fully understand what pedal assist mode you need for what parts of your ride.

5. Tires

Speaking of terrain, that brings up another critical consideration – tires. Fat tires are perfect for rough terrain or heavy weights. For instance, if you are looking at an e-trike with a passenger seat, you want fat tires to hold the extra cargo. Fat tires are essential if you plan on riding off-road, too. A smaller tire diameter is fine if you want to do commuting or recreational riding. There are both positives and negatives of all of the tire sizes.

Fat tire etrikes usually have a tire width of 4" and the diameter can range from 20" to 26". The positive to fat tires on your tricycle are that they provide a very soft cushy ride. The tires will absorb all of the bumps on your rides, dispersing the vibration through the rubber so it doesn't hit your body. Also, fat tires will be great for going off road on trails or gravel. The big bulky tires can easily take on rugged terrain.

Another upside of the fat tires is balance. A wider tire means more rubber on the road thus providing more balance to the trike. The opinion of some is that a 3 wheel ebike with fat tires is more stable than others. But there are other factors that play into the stability of a tricycle, including the geometry and the weight distribution.

The downside to having fat tires your e trike are that they will drain your battery much quicker than thinner tires. As a result, most tricycles with fat tires have larger batteries, driving up the cost. Without a larger battery fat tire electric tricycles would drain their batteries very quickly. Especially if you plan to ride up hills with your e tricycle. The battery on an fat tire electric tricycle will drain very quickly if rode up hill. The resistance of the tires on the pavement and the incline of the hill will great affect the life of the battery.

In addition to draining the battery quicker, fat tire 3 wheel ebikes will be very difficult to pedal without using the pedal assist. If riding without the electric assist is something you'd be interested in doing, a fat tire electric tricycle may not be the right choice for you. With the amount of rubber contacting the road and the weight of the tires pedaling is very difficult. Pedaling up hills without the electric assist would be nearly impossible. This is another reason why the battery will drain quickly on a tricycle with fat tires, because most riders will have the electric assist on at all times.

Small tires on your 3 wheel bike will have the benefit of being more efficient. They will be easier to pedal and also will be less drag on the motor, meaning longer battery life. Also with a small diameter tire like 16" or 20" the trike will be set lower to the ground, making mounting and dismounting easy. This will generally allow for a low step over frame riders can easily lift their leg over and then slide onto the seat. The smaller tires will also keep the frame lower to the ground, keeping the 3 wheel bike more stable. Being higher off the ground can make the trike more susceptible to the rider shifting their weight. With the wheels lower to the ground the tricycle is more connected to the ground and less likely to tip. Finding the right tire size for your three wheel ebike is a personal choice, you'll need to weight the pros and cons of all sizes to find the perfect size for you.

6. Features

What is on the e-trike is almost as important as the model bike. Features provide enhanced safety and comfort. They make your ride more efficient and practical, so choose them wisely.

Storage Space

Storage space is an excellent place to start when deciding what features you need and which ones are unnecessary. Of course, many buyers will automatically look for that large cargo basket in the back. Dig deeper, though.

For example, how much weight can the basket hold? What about the size? Is it large enough to carry what you like to travel with? Will it hold a backpack? How about a lunch basket? Run through all the scenarios of the things you might want to put in the basket to ensure it fits your needs.

Maybe a basket doesn’t quite work for you in the back. If so, there are other options. Some e-trikes are rickshaw models. That means they have a passenger seat in the back. The seats might fit an adult and a child or several children. They could be big enough for a pet kennel. Again, consider what you might use the seat for and decide if it works.

Finally, how many baskets are too many? Only you know for sure. Some e-trikes have multiple baskets. Usually, that means a large one in the back and a small one in the front.


The technology that drives the e-trike is important, too. These bikes come with everything from the most basic display to something that connects to the internet. A basic display would show you what pedal-assist mode you are using, and that’s about it.

LCDs may go further and show metrics like bike speed and battery power. Advanced displays may have Bluetooth capacity, connecting to an app on your phone. That allows you to record how far you ride and map your route using GPS.

The display type is a matter of choice. If you like the high-tech options, you can expect to pay more. Many riders find a happy medium that has an LCD display that measures speed and battery power. If you are not worried about tech, then the most basic display will be enough for you. The display won't impact the performance, it's merely a way to see the stats of your ride and electronics. If you can save a few dollars on the purchase of your e tricycle by choosing a smaller, less sophisticated display then it might be worth it.


The right saddle or seat makes a huge difference in comfort. Ideally, you want a wide saddle that comes with lots of cushioning. Many riders also prefer a seat with a backrest that provides lower back support on rides. If you want maximum comfort when riding your three wheel bicycle, finding a backrest is a great idea. It will add weight to the trike, but probably not enough to have an impact on the difficulty of pedaling. Seats are easily changeable on electric tricycles, so you can try as many as you like until you find the perfect one.

Honorable Mentions

If you focus on these six things, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what you want from your e-trike. Other things matter, too, though, such as cost. Figure out what your budget is for your new e-bikes and stick to it. It is easy to get lulled by all the bells and whistles of some trikes, but they add to the overall cost, and chances are you don’t need some of them.

Weight is another thing to keep in mind. By definition, three-wheel bikes are heavier than classic two-wheel, with or without the motor. That can be a significant factor. Also, a heavier bike is harder to ride and store unless you can roll it into a garage or shed. If you are going upstairs, though, weight is essential.

Finally, make the brand a priority. If all you look at is the price and features, you might buy an electric three-wheel bike from a company with a bad reputation. Most manufacturers offer enough models of electric tricycles that you can find one that fits your needs and know you got it from a reputable brand.

The brand also comes into play on more expensive three-wheelers. However, just because a manufacturer tacks a high price tag on the trike doesn’t mean it isn’t made cheap. If you are someone who equates quality with high prices, it’s time to break that habit.

Do your research on brands first. Look at customer reviews of their bikes and see what kind of customer service they offer. For example, if you are ordering online, how hard are their bikes to assemble, and what assistance do they offer?

Once you find a brand that makes sense, look at the model electric three-wheel bikes they offer. For example, sixthreezero is one of the top bike manufacturers on the market right now. We have three models of electric bikes, each unique.

Our EVRYjourney 250W electric tricycle is our flagship model. It will take you up to 50 miles of cruising at 16 MPH. We built this trike for comfort. It has an ergonomic step-through frame for stability during mounting and dismounting.

We are excited to offer our EVRYjouney three-wheel electric bike as a rickshaw design. It has many of the same features as the EVRYjourney 250W, but we replaced the cargo basket with a passenger seat.

We also have the Easy Transit 750W folding electric bike if weight and storage are critical factors. All the full in a smaller, compact size perfect for the commuter or apartment dweller.

Our customers rave about the customer support we offer before and after you buy. So, if you are in the market for a three-wheel electric bike, put the brand first and check out the sixthreezero website today!


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