Electric Recumbent Bicycles

If you liked our post about bikes and skates with weed whacker engines but want more power and more challenge, we have good news. We’ve found some great instructions on adding motors to recumbent bicycles, which we’ll take you through after the break.

The first project we found is the E-cumbent by [Matt Shumaker] . [Shumaker]’s ongoing project uses a power unit he constructed out of RC airplane electronics: the motor, the controller, a servo tester, and a battery eliminator circuit connected to 14 lithium polymer cells plus several CNC milled parts. The power drive connects to a sprocket mounted on the left side of the rear wheel. The bike is constructed with two reduction stages; the second stage has a freewheel that allows the rider to pedal while the motor idles, use the motor and pedal power combined, or use motor power alone. [Shumaker] also built a display console onto the handlebars, which shows trip information, MPH, and information on battery usage.

[Warren Beauchamp] designed a somewhat more simple electric recumbent he calls the Cuda-E. This design uses a 450 watt motor from a Mongoose pedal/electric motocross bike. It doesn’t just take the motor, though: it uses the entire rear subframe. The recumbent uses the motocross bike’s single pivot rear suspension, which attaches the rear and front subframes with a pivot and and a shock absorber. The motor is powered by a 24V lithium phosphate battery pack, but like the last project, [Beauchamp]’s recumbent can use any combination of pedaling and motor power.

A third project we found is by [Dana Barlow], and it really whet our appetite for more detail. [Barlow] chose to use parts from the same kind of motocross bike [Beauchamp] did, but unlike him, [Barlow] did not leave the motor in its original place on the rear subframe. Instead, he moved it to just above the freewheel, freeing up the space for a larger wheel to be used. [Barlow]’s bike is also distinct from the last two in that it uses remote steering: the handlebars and the suspension fork are on two different shafts. Unfortunately, very little information on the process was in the write-up.

All of these projects were found on Recumbents.com, which is a great one-stop resource for information on buying, building, riding, and racing recumbent bicycles.

6 thoughts on “Electric Recumbent Bicycles

  1. I have yet to come across any Recumbent Electric Bicycles in production. I did note the schwin is now manufacturing a model called a “Tailwind” that was shown in September at Interbike. It looks like it is straight out of the 70’s. I had the opportunity to test ride a Chrysler Electric Bicycle a few years back. It weighed about 60lbs. It was a dog to pedal around without power assist. The battery was good for about 10 miles in the flat. The biggest problem however was trying to change a tire as the design made that very difficult. I’d love to see someone design a viable commercial recumbent with electric assist that wasn’t a beast in the weight department.

  2. Wearing black leather and riding huge Harleys, a motorcycle gang thunders through northern Georgia as if en route to a rumble. But the only rumble for this gang–the Atlanta Harley Owners Group (HOG)–is the one in their stomachs. It’s another Sunday ride in the country for the group, and as usual it ends with a feast. “We live to ride, and we ride to eat,” says club assistant director B.K. Ellis, a systems analyst.

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