Electric Trikes

I was quite excited about doing a review on an e-trike, having seen a good few in Hawkes Bay and the fact that they seemed to be a good option for mobility impaired riders. The trike in question looked nice in red (reminded me of the trike that I had as a child and my kids did too) and was nicely appointed with a big cage on the rear and a smaller basket up front.

Wheeling it out of the shop was a bit of a challenge as the wheel wanted to run over my foot. Then I realised that it needed to be parked on the level as there is no park brake and you can’t lean it up against a wall. It has a reverse setting too so you can manouever a bit.

However when I tried to actually ride it, I struggled. Firstly it wanted to run over my foot if I had one on the ground (bicyclist habits die hard). But worst was that it wanted to veer off to either side, really strongly. This is the problem if there is any camber at all on your road or path. I tried on a flat car park and didn’t feel much better. I nearly rode into a few parked cars. I felt powerless to resist the pull to either side.

100m later, I returned the trike to the shop. “I’m not riding that thing, it’s too dangerous”. Disappointed nods from the shop staff, but they kinda agreed that it was sketchy.

Conclusion: I’m not going to lie, I have to say that this was the most disappointing test ride ever, because it was over within minutes. If you thinking about buying an etrike for yourself or a relative, please try one first. Your terrain, trike’s geometry and mileage may vary, but for me it’s a “don’t buy”. You might just be better off with a purpose-made mobility scooter.

This would be a good place to insert the Top Gear episode where Jeremy drove a Reliant Robin. It is how I felt, and the same geometry problems.



  • I have just bought a second hand Etrike and am wondering if I park it outside the Dairy how do I stop someone from stealing it !!

  • I bought a Wattwheels LS XT from Trikes NZ (in Levin) after a very thorough test drive (over an hour, but all on the flat). I love it! Riding techniques are definitely different from riding a bike. You have to learn to actively steer against the camber. Also when doing tight turns, instead of leaning into the turn like you would on a bike or motorbike, you have to lean out against the turn, like a yachtie over the side of their boat. Once these techniques are learned, it’s a breeze. NB My trike has not one but two parking brakes (but no reverse).

    As someone with a dodgy ankle who feels unsafe doing emergency stops on a bike (I can’t risk the ankle folding when i put my foot down), the trike has been brilliant. You just need to learn proper technique – it’s a trike not a bike.

  • Was it an etrike with a single wheel in front ant two at te rear? Those are notoriously unstable. There are also etrikes where the one wheel at the rear, with the pair in front; these are much more stable and easy to ride.

  • Be great if you could continue testing e-trikes. They would get me out of using my car as a shopping trolley.

  • I have been using an electric trike for the past 3 years, following a major brain surgery that left me physically disabled/paralysed leg and with major fatigue. I previously enjoyed cycling for recreation. My e-trike is a godsend. Once I overcame my initial anxiety and got used to the e-function, (only took me a couple of trials) I was away! It has a brake, so have never had an issue with it running over my foot! I added a strap to stop my paralysed foot slipping off the pedal. I can free pedal, pedal and use throttle, or just throttle. Good for going up hills, not so good if it’s wet. No reverse but it’s manageable. I use on both footpaths and sometimes on quiet roads.

  • That’s interesting, what brand was it? I kinda think that Longabike might be worth a try as the rear suspension can be unlocked to perform independently.

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