I’ve added an Ecospeed electric motor to my Lightning Phantom after selling our second car. Ecospeed makes mounts for specific recumbent bike models and can also make custom mounts. I used the Easy Racers Javelin mount which fit the two inch main tube exactly. My local bike shop was able to install the motor.
My commute is 18 miles roundtrip with the only elevation change over a freeway overpass. Without the motor it takes 36 to 45 minutes one way. With the motor (moderate usage), the time is 28-30 minutes. I’m lucky that in my rural town I have several public transportation options I’ve used for heavy fog or rain. I’ve ordered a fast charger to keep at work, but I can make it to work and back easily on one charge.
The Ecospeed motor drives the rear cassette, and the gear you select determines your speed. Choose a low gear (26 to 34 tooth) for hills and to accelerate quickly and top out at 15 to 18 miles per hour. With the highest gears (and maybe some legwork) you can reach 28-30 mph. The thumb throttle gives you full control over the amount of assist you want.
An electric option is particularly helpful for recumbents at stoplights, intersections, and in traffic. With the motor and extra weight I now use the front small chainring to start, and switch to the middle ring for cruising. You have many options for gearing the motor when purchasing, for hills or heavy loads, or for speed.
You should consider front suspension for higher speeds. My other Lightning Voyager has a front shock fork, and on the Phantom without suspension I’ve hit road holes that are jarring at 20 mph but wouldn’t have been too bad at 13-14 mph.
I’ve sold the car shown in my previous gallery listing (click here). The Ecospeed motors, mounts, and batteries may be the most expensive options for an electric bike, but I’ve never lost ten pounds driving my car before.
- Very, very fun
- Use and select your own tires and wheels
- Gearing selection determines speed and torque for climbing or speed
- Can change tires, wheels, and fix flats normally
- Rides well without battery assist
- Very expensive
By the way, I hold Alan personally responsible and am thankful for our car-light decision. —Larry