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Scarab Trike Conversion

Scarab Trike with Monocule Pusher and Givi Removable Trunk.

How about a real alternative to driving a car for your daily needs? This power-assisted vehicle has been my daily transportation since 2005. I have ridden over 15,000 miles on it. I typically travel between 120 and 160 miles per week on it, averaging slightly over 20 mph in light to heavy traffic. For 30-50 minute trips in traffic, I usually arrive within a few minutes of what it would have taken to travel in a car. The Zipper fairing, Coroplast panniers and wheelcovers (not shown) and removable Givi scooter trunk provide much better aerodynamics than the trike has without them and offer a very reasonable amount of storage space for daily cargo needs.

The vehicle aerodynamics, power-assist configuration and excellent Scarab trike allow me to accellerate quickly and often achieve up to 40mph speeds on flat ground using less than 750W of input power. Typical cruising speeds are around 26-30mph, with much of that provided by over 5 years of possibly some of the best daily commute muscle training available.

"But isn't that cheating?" I am asked this question a lot, in one form or another. My answer is "How far can you pedal your car?" This vehicle is intended to replace a car for most personal transportation yet retain the best parts of the cycling experience, and it truly works for me. I also ride road bikes for commuting and recreation, so for comparison, I recently rode two trips of 100+ miles each way (434 miles total) on my Bacchetta Corsa and this power-assisted trike. I travelled almost identical routes within a few weeks of each other under very similar conditions. On the first leg of the trip I averaged almost 21mph on the Corsa travelling about as light as possible and averaged just over 23mph on the trike carrying about 25 lbs of cargo. My flat-ground and downhill speeds were almost identical. I believe I exerted about the same level of effort (or possibly greater) on the trike vs. the bike, but the difference in average speed was due to climbing 'stress' without the power-assist. The power-assist allowed me to climb at a faster rate and not fall too far off my output pace as compared to the Corsa. In addition, I was able to carry much more personal stuff and also delivered supplies to one of my dealers. If offering almost the same experience as a bike but allowing me to carry a lot more cargo and be much more self-sufficient is cheating, I can gladly live with that.

"Is that really Power-Assist or are you just using the motor?" I believe this is the Ultimate Spin Trainer. While most ebikes fundamentally remove 'cycling' from the experience, this truly allows you to choose how much or little assist you really want. It is great at removing the physical stress typically associated with cycling yet maximizing the physical conditioning. I can pedal this vehicle with the power-assist turned off (yes, towing it along) at 16-20mph on flat ground carrying light cargo. I cruise at 105-115 rpm and top out around 150rpm when accelerating from a stop. It's a great vehicle for developing muscle and endurance and is about as much fun as a small sports car to scoot around in. Good thing this didn't exist when I was 12 years old. I would have given almost everything to have one.

"You mean I can actually develop cycling power faster with Power-Assist?" Most likely, yes. Power-Assisted training can allow your muscles to operate for long periods of time near their anaerobic threshold, resulting in rapid muscle development. Interval training is the standard way of accomplishing this, as you really can't remain near your anaerobic threshold for long without some sort of assist. And yes, you can still do interval training, but you can even do it during your normal commute in traffic without undue stress or even slowing down.

Power-Assisted training also allows you to train your muscles to operate at speed for longer periods of time. No matter how many base miles you put in, you can't develop speed without going fast. Just use assist to help achieve your desired training speed and then lower the assist level to what you need. As you encounter stress, you can roll in or out just enough assist to allow you to maintain that speed over long distances.

Assisted Distance Travelling - Range Information

I used to have information regarding my first real trip on this rig. That education and experience is old hat now, so I figure it's time to move on. Yes, I do have a 120 mile per charge range averaging over 20mph on rolling terrain. One of these days hopefully I'll manage a double century with a mid-day recharge. I get a little bored travelling by myself for more than 100 miles at a time. Want to ride along?

See Using a Power Meter for more information on this topic.

(The Monocule Pusher uses a hub motor and is not intended for carrying heavy items.)

Trunk ConversionScarab Tadpole Trike
with Zzipper fairing, Monocule pusher and removable Givi trunk
Trunk ConversionScarab Tadpole Trike
with Zzipper fairing, Monocule pusher and removable Givi trunk
Removable Givi TrunkScarab Tadpole Trike
showing Givi Trunk mount
Aero boxes and Givi trunkScarab Tadpole Trike
with Coroplast tailboxes and removable Givi scooter Trunk (about 4Wh/m reduction at 25mph)

May 23, 2013