Some things are constant in the universe. Entropy always tends towards disorder. Taxes always come around. And any article I write about electric trikes invariably draws out all the armchair automotive engineers who chime in with the well-practiced “they should just put the two wheels in the front because it’s more stable!” comments.
Well here you go, everyone. The bicycle company Sixthreezero has done it. Meet the creatively named Sixthreezero Two Front Wheel Electric Bike.
To the incessant trike commentators’ credit, they’re not wrong. Two wheels in the front (known as a “tadpole” trike layout or a reverse trike) is actually more stable. It’s less tippy in the turns and results in a more comfortable ride. Regular (also known as “delta” layout) trikes are usually still fine as long as you don’t try to make sharp turns at high speed. But Tadpole trikes help the three-wheeler format really shine.
The issue is that moving one wheel from the rear to the front isn’t as simple as just a cut-and-paste operation. There’s some significantly more complicated steering linkage that has to be designed, manufactured, and implemented.
That gets expensive quickly. But Sixthreezero has managed to do it without the price skyrocketing – and they’ve even added in a leaning mechanism, too! That means the trike actually leans into turns, making it even more stable because it feels more like a bike than a trike.
At just $1,999, this new leaning electric trike is a compelling addition to the current options on market. Oh, and it also folds up for easy transportation in a vehicle or storage in cramped quarters.
The design uses a pair of 16″ wheels up front to keep the center of gravity lower, and what looks to be a 20″ wheel in the rear. The rear wheel also houses a 750W motor, providing rear-wheel drive that marks another major improvement over typically front-wheel drive electric trikes. With a top speed of 16 mph (25.7 km/h), the trike is also slightly faster than several other leading e-trikes on the market.
A thumb throttle and pedal-assist offer two different ways to engage that motor, which draws its power from a 48V battery with 500 Wh of capacity.
The company claims that the battery offers enough juice for up to 40 miles (64 km) on low-power pedal assist, though bumping up the power level to ride faster drops the range quickly.
The trike is currently available on pre-order, with shipping slated to begin in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, the company shared a short test video of a rider trying out the new trike, shown below.
For shoppers on a budget, there are definitely cheaper e-trikes out there. But $2k for a leaning tadpole e-trike is actually a really good price, believe it or not. I wasn’t kidding when I said the front ends on these things are expensive to design and manufacture. A typical budget e-trike is just an e-bike with a rear axle bolted into the dropouts in place of a rear wheel. But a tadpole trike must be designed for this specific role from the ground up.
I’ve tested a couple of other Sixthreezero bikes lately, including the company’s Rickshaw Trike (review coming soon, but spoiler alert: it’s AWESOME). And so, based on how the company has impressed me so far, I expect big things for this new tadpole trike even without having tested one myself.
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