Gallery: Larry’s Lightning Phantom with Ecospeed Motor

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Noisy

By the way, I hold Alan personally responsible and am thankful for our car-light decision. —Larry

6 Responses to “Gallery: Larry’s Lightning Phantom with Ecospeed Motor”

  • Perry says:

    Nice!

  • bongobike says:

    Now this has to be proof positive that the government has gone green. The Blue Angels have switched from fighter jets to recumbent bicycles!!! I understand it’s a little more difficult doing loop-the-loops on a recumbent, but not impossible …

  • Duncan Watson says:

    One day I will do the same to a velomobile. I currently commute about 6 miles/day on my recumbent, with some days going to 60 miles (longer training route), but for foul weather I would love an electrified velo.

  • Croupier says:

    The EcoSpeed kit is so well built and undeniably powerful but have you had any problems with the battery yet? Are you finding it is as capable of holding a charge as when you first got it?

  • Larry Guevara says:

    @ Croupier
    I put in almost 1,000 miles in April and May riding everyday with no apparent decrease in battery capability. But at the end of May the battery suddenly developed a bad cell (I’m not sure why), and Ecospeed replaced it under warranty. I also ordered a second, slightly higher power battery.

    Also, Ecospeed states on their website “If you want to choose a battery from somewhere else, or even put together your own, we will support you in doing that.”

    Larry

  • Andrew Churchill says:

    Larry,

    It looks like you’ve had your system for a couple of years now. Are you still using the Ecospeed on the Phantom and if so how reliable has it been/

    I am considering getting a Catrike Speed and putting an Ecospeed motor on it. I have about a 50 mile commute one way and I’m considering driving 1/2 way with the car and commuting the other 1/2. Do you think this is doable?

    Thanks,
    Andrew Churchill

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™