BBSHD or Hub Motor?

I just purchased a 2014 Rambler with a Nexus Hub and Patterson front transmission. I am trying to decide between a BBSHD and a geared hub motor such as the MAC 6t. I live in a hilly part of NY State and would like speed and to be able to pedal at speed (30-35 mph with front fairing on the flat ideally.) I have two other BBSHD bikes and certainly there is greater wear on drive train. At the same time, I don't know how well the MAC 6t will climb our hills.

The BBSHD will sacrifice the Patterson and the hub motor will sacrifice the Nexus.

Any feedback you can offer, I appreciate!


  • If you are happy and familiar with BBsHD why change? 30-35 mph might be a little too much for an unsuspended high trike like a Rambler. Better figure on some Big Bens and look carefully at you chainring/cadence combos, particularly w a 20" rear wheel.
  • BBSHD would be pushing it to get up to 30 or 35mph.... The math might work out with a calculator, but reality doesn't always work the same way as the math does.

    A trike is about 2x the weight, with a greater frontal cross section, so drag is increased. Rolling drag from the 3rd wheel is going to reduce speed a bit, too. Takes more energy to reduce that drag.

    You already are familiar with how the BBS series can help you, and the way they work. The advantage is, since you have that familiarity, the learning curve isn't going to be as great as it might be with something else. (Not that there really is a lot of learning to it.) You don't get torque sensing like you would on any other type of system, but you know this already...

    Batteries would be interchangeable, and that's going to be the next big expense. Get the same pack you already have and you are going to have 3x the range with either of the rides you have. (1x for each battery you own, that is.) Just make sure the plugs are the same so you can carry a spare if you feel you need it. Also, expect that you're going to get a little bit less range with the same battery on a trike as you would get with a bike. See the first couple of paragraphs for the reasons why.

    You could even buy a couple of the caddies to mount spare batteries on the trike. Get the battery on a Low Rider Rack from the TT store. (DON'T put it on the rear rack, unless you can handle the ribbing you get when you roll your trike!) Lower CG for mounting the battery packs on with the TT rack. You can put one on each side. I have 2 Shark Packs from Lunacycle mounted on mine. I just need to swap them out when one gets low. (I want someone to come out with a "Y" connector that has a built in diode, so I can use them in parallel, but no one has so far.)

    Wear on the drive train will be less on the trike than on either of the bikes. The chain line is longer, so chain wear should be reduced. (About 3x as long of a chain on a trike over a bike.) Since wear on the chain impacts wear on sprockets and chain rings, it should work out to a higher life cycle for these too.

    You're going to need some cable extensions for things like speedometer, display and power cables. Other than that, it should be exactly the same kit you already have 2 of.

    I run a Nexus-8 with a BBS02 and love it! :) The BBSHD came out over a year after I mounted mine. 20MPH is doable, but not with any kind of incline. (Math says I should be able to do 25+. I can only do that going down a steep hill.)

    IMO, stick with what you know.
  • If you want or need to go that fast, buy an electric scooter. These trikes are not made for that speed.
  • would expect this sorta post the first of april. for those serious on the subject

    unstable 3-wheels, increased frontal area adds to the burden for this kinda stuff, pointless. check out whats run at battle mountain.
  • There is nothing wrong with wanting to ride fast under PEDAL power. I recently started a thread on the Recumbent Trike F.B. page on this subject and there are many riders that pedal only and maintain speeds in the 15 plus mph range and some run in the 20's on flat land. To portray a recumbent trike as only a slow ride hurts the prospective market, not everyone is looking to go slow. There are trike models available that are more then adequate at speed. Personally I think a high seat Rover or Rambler with E-assist is more crash prone then most low seat pedal trikes due to the high C.G. and the speeds the assist provide exceed what the trike was originally designed for speed wise. Obviously if you crash any trike it may hurt but that goes for bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, running, skiing and many other fun things in life.
  • Elrique64, thanks so much for the thorough response! Very helpful coming from you who know the system. And thanks for the Low Rider Rack suggestion, I didn't know about it.
    Thank you to everyone else for the cautions that I might be aiming too high either because it might be unattainable or dangerous. I appreciate the words of caution. This is my first trike and I assumed it would be as safe as a bike at comparable speed. I knew that the lower, faster, more expensive trikes would corner better but I didn't know this one could be dangerous at 35.
  • Any trike could be dangerous at any speed, if you don't know how to handle it. The biggest problem most trike riders face is rolling to the outside of a corner. This happens because the inside wheel lifts up off the roadway, and the trike is now on two wheels. As you become more unstable, it just feeds on itself until you roll.

    This rolling effect can take place at almost any speed. The counter to it is to keep the center of gravity lower, and lean into the turn. Put your head over the wheel inside of the turn, in other words. Get that Low Rider rack! Having the battery low and between the wheels can only add to stability. Best possible place for the extra 5#-10# of dead weight on a trike!

    In many cases, a trike is much safer than a bike. You aren't nearly as likely to be hit riding a trike as you are riding a bike, IMO. People no longer see bikes even though they are EVERYWHERE. They are just part of the road now.

    Trikes are still fairly rare, so people see them and almost fixate on them. Everyone sees a trike. It's out of the ordinary, so it sticks out... And becomes an object drivers and passengers alike what to understand or see more of.

    Glad I could help, in any case.
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