Rob lives in Portland, Oregon, USA and works as a raw-vegan chef. He is also a big fan of recumbent trikes and tech geek who tuned-up his AZUB T-Tris recumbent trike to an extreme level. The trike is equipped with Bafang e-assisist now and also a solar trailer to charge his battery. We had to ask him few questions about this amazing conversion.
Note 1: There are so many recommandations from Rob, that linking them all would be quite difficult and some of the links would be out-dated soon. So please, use Google to find more information about the product of your interest.
Note 2: You may want to see the video here under first 🙂
Why did you choose the AZUB T-Tris?
I chose the T-Tris because I didn’t feel the need for suspension. I get all I need out of the Schwalbe BigApple PLUS tires. If I were to go with full suspension, I would have certainly chose the beautiful Ti-Fly. I’m not sure, but I think you loose some pedal efficiency (not sure how that plays into electric assist) when you have suspension..?
Why did you upgraded it to the Rohloff hub and how do you like it?
I love the Rohloff hub. I originally chose the SRAM Dual Drive with 3×9 gears. I loved it also, but it is solid axle and I needed a skewer (quick release). The Surly TED trailer has a proprietary skewer to connect it. And there was no way around having the skewer.
What kind of motor and which capacity of battery do you have installed on the trike?
I have the Bafang 48v 750w mid-drive (for torque on hills). People are under the impression that a 750w motor is constantly consuming 750w.. I average from 0 while coasting 170-200w on level to 500-600w in short burst on steep climbs.
I have 2@ 52v 17.5ah (NCR18650GA cells) batteries that fully charge at 58.8v. My Genasun GVB-8-li-56.8 WP Boost Charge Controller is intended for a 48v system. But I chose it because it only charges my 52v batteries to about 85%. (This allows for more charge cycles and preserve the batteries)
What is overall weight of the trike? And the trailer?
I don’t know how much the T-Tris weighs. But the Bafang motor kit weights 22 lbs (10 kg), + 2 downtube batteries. I won’t lie, it feels heavy to me. Haven’t weighed it..
What is the average range you can do with this set-up considering you also tow the trailer?
52v X 17.5 = 910wh divided by average watt consumption 200w (Watt consumption, flat vs climb) about 4.55 hours ride X 14mph = range of 63 miles per 17ah battery. So trike alone, with 2 batteries, I have conservatively a range of 100 miles.
By adding the 170w SunPower® solar panel, it makes up for the weight and drag of the trailer.
The trailer just eliminates the extra energy consumption needed to tow a heavy trailer.
Why did you start to use the solar panels as well? Which one do you use?
I was inspired by AZUB’s contribution to the Sun Trip. I consulted with T-Cycle and RoseCityRecumbentCycles to build an aluminum racking system to support the SunPower® 170w 29.4v SPR-E-FLEX 170w (6×8) panel. They have the Maxeon cells with a 25% efficiency rating. Then I called Sun Powered Yachts in Hawaii to order the panel. Lyall is an authorized dealer. I called Ryan at Genasun to match up my system to the correct boost charge controller (which boost the 29v to 56.8v to trickle charge the batteries while I ride). Extended range was the ultimate goal.
How much the range increased after you have installed the solar panel?
If the trailer is completely empty, I actually gain a volt over a couple hours in direct sun. Ie: 54v increases to 55v over about 2 hours. If the trailer is packed with camping gear, it allows me to only drop a couple volts over that 2 hour period.
You have quite some accessories mounted. Which one you like most?
I’m an accessory addict.. LOL. The safety equipment is the most important, I use a Delta AirZound horn, and Xeccon Guinea III in front and the Guinea rear red light. And Bontrager strobes front and back. I also carry BEAR MACE SPRAY.. Oregon/Washington is bear/cougar country.
I have a Safety flag mounted with a chaintube zip tied horizontally to the back of the seat to insert the pole off to the left (traffic side) to push cars away.
I use T-Cycle Mini Cockpit T’s to mount the Bafang 700c display that gives me a wattage consumption reading. This helps me maximize the range by adjusting the assist level to the gear ratio on the Rohloff hub. (I watch the Watts consumption on the 700c display). Would like to get a Grin Cycle Analyst to more accurately monitor the solar system and watts consumption (maybe later). Most of my mounts are from t-cycle.com.
I have a Garmin Edge Touring Plus, a Minoura iPod touch holder for music and a JBL Charg3 with a wire because Bluetooth drains the iPod too fast. I have A 80k ah solar battery pack mounted to the rear handlebar with Topeak bottle cage mount and EIS dual flow bracket (via velcro) for keeping the GoPro HERO7 Black and the other accessories charged.
I also replaced the rear rack with the Surly Nitto rack. I have the Arkel Orca30 panniers. With soft cooler to keep produce fresh. And lots of bottle cages to keep hydrated. I got a Hydropack from t-cycle.com for liquid. And I used Tobin Custom StuffSacs made here in Portland. He made me a custom bike pump bag for my bontrager pump. I also carry patch kitts and co2 chargers.
I highly recommend the Schwalbe BigApple PLUS tires for puncture resistant touring. Thanks to AZUB, I now have the Tektro M-525 hydraulic brakes with single leaver pull on the right and Rear hydraulic brake on the Rohloff hub. This allows me to get stopped with a loaded trailer. I highly recommend 3 brakes when towing a trailer for safety.
What are the handlebars on the back of the rack for?
The handlebars assist me in steering it down a narrow hallway. If you push down on the right the trike steers left and vice versa. It also gives me a place on the back for lifting around tight corners.
Do you have any bigger plans for cross-country rides or so?
Yes..! Do you want to join me..? 🙂 I am looking for cyclist to do overnight camping trips. And later, once everything is proven to be reliable, (I’m using the best of the best so I’m really confident) I want to head from Portland to California.
How do you use the trike and where do you ride most?
Great question. I sold my car years ago. So I use it for everything. I bought my first trike a Catrike Expedition in 2015. And 2016 I upgraded to the AZUB T-Tris with a stiffer frame. It is solid and handles better.
This is the best investment I’ve ever made. No licensing, Tabs, Registration fees, No parking fees, I save about $300+ each month. I found great Ebike Insurance at Velosurance. Everything is covered for about $40 a month, includes $25k in liability and roadside assistance.
I ride about 25-50 miles a day. I ride 8 miles just for lunch everyday.
I ride out to Gresham (35 miles roundtrip) via the SpringWater trail. I ride to Sauvie Island. (About 50 miles roundtrip) Starting to explore more. My friend Sylvia Halpern and I are starting to hang out, hopefully we will get to ride more trials together. She rides all over the world. This summer, there is a recumbent ride out to Astoria Oregon (about 100 miles each way).
Thank you for the interview!
Name: Rob K. Youtube channel
Year of birth: 1965
Place of living: Portland, Oregon USA
Job: raw-vegan chef
Bikes: My beautiful T-Tris