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​Adding Electric Assist to your tadpole trike is a remarkably simple and painless process.

Adding Electric Assist to your tadpole trike is a remarkably simple and painless process.

Download PDF of this article.

Download Falco eBike Systems Owners Manual

Adding Electric Assist to Your Recumbent

Abstract: This article presents a step by step guide to adding electric assist to your trike. Adding electric assist to your trike is a remarkably simple and painless process. Let us review what does it involve.

Introduction: In the year 2013, Falco eBike systems were launched in the US. Since that time, our eBike systems have gone through remarkable changes in all aspects of design and performance. Our goal has always been to make the systems more fun, versatile, and robust. However, the target at the beginning was not trikes but bicycles. As we discovered over time, bicycle conversion had challenges because of a vast variety of brands available.

Falco Recumbent Compatibility Chart
Falco Recumbent Compatibility Chart - Falco eBike Systems are universally compatible with most of the brands such as HP Velotechnik, Catrikes, Ice Trikes, Terra Trikes, Green Speed, Azub, Bachetta, Easy Rider, Rans etc.

On the other hand, we discovered that tadpole trikes were amazingly simple to convert. Bikes have a lot less space than trikes. Also, they may have disc brakes. Both add more complexity to a bike conversion. The main challenge in a tadpole Trike conversion, on the other hand, is installing the battery. Another surprising fact is that a Falco system is compatible with all brands of trikes - Catrikes, Icetrikes, HP Velotechnik, Green Speed, Terra Trike , etc.

Falco Tandem Compatibility Chart
Falco Tandem Compatibility Chart - Falco eBike Systems are universally compatible with most of the brands such as Santana, Da Vinci, Co Motion, Cannondale etc

What and How to order: Falco systems can be categorized into two: e series and f series. The e series is limited to 500W whereas the f series is limited to 750W. 

Comparison of Falco Simplicity vs Regular Systems
Within e and f series, are two categories - simplicity vs. regular. Simplicity systems do not have the wireless LCD console included. Regular systems do.

Comparison of Falco e Series vs f Series
Differences between e and f series, are highlighted above. Apart from the obvious difference of power, there is also the difference in range and top speed.

Various e Series Models from Falco

Falco f Series Models

For the US market, one must answer the following questions to decide on a system: Questions to Consider before Purchase

1. How far: How far do you want to go? Check out the 150-mile ride by Weston Thompson recently.

2. How fast: How fast do you want to go?

3. How much: What is your budget?

Let us look at the decision table below:

How Far? (miles per day) How Fast? (miles per hour) How Much? (USD)
< 15 - 60 choose e series < 12-15 mph choose e series < $1700 to 2000 choose e model
>50-90 choose f series > 15-28 mph choose f series > $2000 - $2300 choose f series model

Decision Tree - How Far do I go?

Decision Tree - How far do I go?

Decision Tree - How much do I want to spend?

While ordering you will need to know the following info:

Options to Consider while making a purchase

1. Wheel Size: What is your wheel size. It ranges from 20” to 700C;

2. Speed Limit: What is the required speed limit. It is 20mph in most of the US. Some exceptions exist for operation beyond 20mph;

3. Cogs: You can use your own gears and ask us to add some to your order;

4. Throttle: A Thumb throttle is included in all systems. You can choose not to use it. European systems don’t have a throttle;

5. Frame Drop-Outs : Frame drop-outs for 99% of the trikes are vertical. However, there are some exceptions. Catrikes, Icetrikes, and HPVelotechnik are all vertical. Terra trikes are mostly vertical. Verify drop-out before ordering;

6. Spoke Color: We build the wheels in the US. Therefore, you can choose to have silver or black spokes;

7. Spoke Hole Count : Our standard spoke holes are 32. However, you can choose, 36 or 48 or custom spoke holes.

8. OLD (Over the locknut Dimension) : 99% of the trikes have 135mm OLD. However, we do have other options available as well.

The Process of Conversion: Let us analyze the components of a Falco eBike System:

Description Picture Comments
Wheel and Accessories
Wheel (20” to 700C)

The wheel is shipped with a rim tape but without a tube and tire. The controls and sensors are embedded inside the motor.
Wireless Module

The wireless module connects to the wheel. This module is capable of talking to your smartphone or the wireless Console.
Throttle

This throttle allows the trike to be ridden without pedaling. This feature is also known as POD or Power on Demand.
Torque Arms

Torque arms offer additional support to the frame to hold the axle of the wheel.
Battery and Accessories
Battery + Battery Holder + Keys

This picture shows the Li3 (36V, 400Wh) battery. We also have Li 1 (36V, 400Wh), Li 7 (48V, 672 Wh), Li 9 (48V, 672 Wh) and Li11 (48V, 500Wh) batteries available for different mounting configurations and extended range.
Battery Charger

The battery charger is included in all of our systems.
Console and Accessories
Console

The wireless Console is included on non-simplicity systems. This allows controlling the different assist as well as regen levels.
Console Plus Minus

The plus-minus hooks up to the wireless Console.
Console Charger

This USB charging cord is provided 

Let us look at the steps involved below:

Step 1: Add Tube and Tyre You will need to add the tube and tire to the wheel. See this great video from Park Tools

Step 2: Install the Wheel Installing the wheel is relatively easy. However, while installing, particular attention should be paid to the axle orientation. Please see this video of installing a 20" wheel on a steel frame (example Terra Trike Rambler). However, Most frames require installation of torque arms to the frame as well: 
Step 3: Add torque arms and torque down. Unless you have a steel frame, you will need to install the torque arms. All the nuts should be torqued to a specified level to avoid the wheel from becoming loose in the frame. Here is a video of showing torque arms can be installed. 
Step 4: Install the Battery Installing the battery requires some thoughtfulness. You may or may not need a battery mount. Some dealers have found innovative ways to fix the batteries without a mount. If you are not a dealer, please look at some of the available mounts. Remember that the battery cable and motor cables are approximately 18" and 6" long. Therefore, your distance cannot be more than 23" without adding cable extensions. Here is a video of how to mount the battery. 
Step 5: Install the throttle and the Console. Throttle and Console can pose a challenge to install on the handlebar. So it does require some thoughtfulness. The throttle should be installed for ease of operation. The Console should be installed for ease of action as well as visibility of the LCD screen. Here is a video showing how the consoles and throttle have been installed: 
Step 6: Install the Wireless Module and Make the connections. The wheel has three cables exiting out of it. One for the battery (2-pin), One for the wireless module (6-pin) and another for throttle (4-pin). Connect the 2-pin to 2-pin, 4-pin to 4-pin and 6-pin to 6-pin. You will need to add zip-ties to tie down the wires to make everything look clean and well arranged.
Step 7: Pair the Console Turn the battery ON, wait for 10 seconds and hold the MODE button for 10 seconds (or until MOT flashes). The Console will show the battery voltage once paired.
Step 8: Start Riding Falco systems are ready to roll right from the start. Just sit back, relax, and start riding.

For more adventurous souls, there is a lot more a Falco system can offer. Have a look below:

Optional Accessories
Junction Box

A junction box is offered as an additional accessory. This helps to charge the Console from the motor directly.
Wired Plus Minus - All in One (WPM-AIO)

This can be used in place of the Console. This offers integrated throttle, regenerative braking, three levels of assist, and three levels of regeneration. This is included in the Simplicity systems.
Twist Throttle

Twist throttle is available as an optional accessory and can be used in place of the thumb throttle.
Extension Cables (Power)

The power extension cable is available in 15" lengths approximately
Throttle Extension Cable (4-pin)

The throttle extension cable is available in 12" lengths
6-Pin Extension Cable

This is used mainly to extend the wired plus minus accessory.
ANT+ USB

ANT+ USB is required to interface with eBike Lab software available for Windows and Apple computers.
eBike Lab Software

This software is available for Windows and Apple computers. It can be used for controlling, monitoring, diagnosing, and customization of electric assist functions.
Falco Flash App

Falco Flash App is available for Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad). This app can be used to control, monitor, diagnose, and customize the electric assist functions.
Motor Troubleshooter

Motor troubleshooter is available for the dealers to troubleshoot any motor related issues.
Motor Programmer

A programmer is available for bike enthusiasts who wish to experiment with different programs of the motor.

Download PDF of this article.

Download Falco eBike Systems Owners Manual