Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christiania goes electric!

I was chatting to Peter from PSbikes and received some information on the new e-trike now available direct from him. Christiania has come to the electric bike party and can now supply cargo trikes (and two wheelers) with a small geared hub motor in the rear coupled with a 9 amp hour Panasonic Li-ION battery integrated into a rear carrier rack -

It utilises a pedal assist sensor (common in Europe) that applies power automatically as you ride. The power level can be varied from none to low to high through a controller on the handlebars. Power is cut when you stop pedalling or your speed reaches 25km/h and I believe this is the European legal standard for e-bikes. I actually have a 25km/h cut off on my trike as well because if I am travelling faster then this I am probably going down hill and don't need the motor on!

The rear hub gears standard on a normal Christiania are replaced by a seven speed derailleur system and the rear coaster brake is replaced by a hydraulic disc brake. It all looks very good. Throw some panniers on the rear rack and you would have no idea it was electric!

Nice to see Christiana copying my idea for a geared hub motor in the rear! These bikes really need a geared motor with the extra torque it provides to get up hills - especially when you have substantial weight in the cargo box. Peter tells me some people in Australia have them already and are happily riding around hilly areas loaded up with the kids and groceries!

17 comments:

  1. Wow, that's great news! I'll have to visit PSBikes and try it out. I like my converted Christiania, but it isn't quite ready to be implemented by those who aren't boffins like me!

    - David

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  2. Yes would not mind trying one out for myself also! Hey what did you end up going with to electrify your trike?

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  3. hi! very interesting blog! when you write about hills...how are these hills. I plan to buy an electric christiania... does it work if i have to bike from 400meter (at sealevel) to 650 meters. 250m difference? with two kids. thanks for the feedback!

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  4. Unfortunately I am yet to try out the factory fitted electric Christiania! In general though it would depend on over what distance you cover the 250 metres (ie how steep) and the weight of the kids. The motor is 'geared' so it should provide a fair amount of torque to get up hills. It is likely if it works like my setup that you will be able to get up hills faster then you would otherwise as long as you keep pedalling! I know from Peter (at PSBikes) there are some electric Christiania out there in the community so he may be able to put you in touch with someone who has some first hand experience with them. Good luck!

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  5. Hi, I have an electric assist Christiania, which I use 5/6/7 days a week for everything from running errands,trips to the park, and the school and nursery run etc.(I have an almost 3yr old and a 5.5yr old). Where I live is quite hilly, with some hills being quite steep. I have no trouble getting up the steeper hills at a good pace. So it is a bike would thoroughly recommend - we call it our flintstone car! :0)

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  6. Glad to hear the factory fitted motor works so well!

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  7. Great blog about your Christiania trike!

    I have one myself, I've written a bit about it here

    Wondering were you found that Promax locking dual brake handle? I've done some googling, but haven't been able to find anybody who sells one.

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  8. Hi Northmark. Your blog looks good. Your trike may have been offroad a bit more often then mine!

    The dual locking brake came via my local bike shop from memory. Next time I am up there I'll get the info. In the interim I noticed that the Gaerlan bike shop has a couple of them listed on their site under the brake section. The link is on the side of my page.

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  9. Thanks, Aaron!
    Though not an ideal off-road contraption, it holds up surprisingly well! Says a good deal about the craftmanship.

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  10. Hi Aaron. Thanks for your blog. Ie read it from start to now and I am so excited to see there is an option that allows all I want- factory fit!!!
    Thank you!!
    We have 1.2km of BIG hill to kindy so this post is THE most exciting one for me so far!
    Thanks! I've lived readin them all tho.

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  11. Hi Steph. Glad you like the blog. Good luck with a motorised version. They really are a great way to tackle the hills. Mine is still going strong despite my lack of posts lately!

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  12. Hehe! I've really enjoyed the effort u have put in to recording this for our benefit. Plus I have learned so much!!!!
    There are a few relatively new mummies all with the trike bug now! Apparently the enthusiasm is very infectious!! :)

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  13. Pardon the pun- but when "weighing" up electric vs low range gear option when it occurred to me that as u purchased your trike several years ago it may not be the same super lightweight aluminum "Christiania Light" (31kg) version I'm considering.....
    If so- how would u anticipate a lighter (31kg) trike perform compared to a heavier (~45kg bakfiets.nl)? The bakfiets was nicer to ride with the owner in the box as my cargo. Is a lighter trike going to be yukkier to ride empty?
    Can we get away with trying the 21t cog or is it worth simply taking a deep breath and parting with the extra cash at the outset? It's 1.2km straight run of big hill. (This hill kills cars! Takes bit longer than the stretch from home to kindy for the cars to meet their doom- but u get the idea. HILL!)
    I still need to breathe and function once we get to playgroup! Buuuuut if I leave early enough and gear low enough and pedal fast enough- anything is possible right???
    What are your thoughts? Also how will the trike perform downhill on the way home? What about brakes?
    Sorry for the essay- but u have been there and done that on so many of my questions I feel I have to ask! Thanks again.

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  14. Hey Steph. My trike has aluminium frame and from memory was about 35kg unloaded when I first bought it. I actually find the ride a bit better with some weight in the front compared to when I ride empty but not really sure how the bakfiets compares to that as I have never seen one in real life.

    Lower gears are an option - I have some stuff about that on the blog prior to when I got the motor installed. The thing about very low gears (like I have with the Mountain Drive) is you can go up any hill you like as long as you don't mind travelling at walking speed! It is also not really that tiring as you are just spinning the pedals (a lot) to go very slow. Of course with the motor you can go up hills quicker and pedal in a much higher gear to keep up. Plus I enjoy overtaking guys in lycra as I do this just for the expression on their faces!

    Going downhill is easy! Yes brakes need to be good but I am sure current models are more then adequate. I use the rim brakes on my rear wheel to take the speed off going down hills and save the front disc brakes for when I actually need to stop in a hurry. Works great. I find 30km/h is about the fastest I like to go downhills or on the flats.

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  15. Thanks again Aaron! The devastated Lycra looks alone may be worth the $$ for the motor. I am leaning towards just doing it but it does seem a bit extravagant.... But I want it..... I'm sure u know how that internal dialogue goes.
    The bakfiets was "nicer" to ride with the passenger. Seemed more "grounded" if that makes sense. Guess its about stability. I only plodded around the carpark to get the hang of steering a trike vs bike before my cargo climbed in so I can't really say how it rides empty.
    I really hope to see Peter soon. I've been bitten by the bug and I've got to get one!

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