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Electro Cycle E-4 Kit for Recumbent Bikes: X3 Installation Instructions
Intro E-Trikes

The three-wheeled X3 SX Trike (pictured) is a popular recumbent trike largely due to its excellent reputation and low price. Although this model has been replaced by the EZ-3 Classic (similar to the original EZ-3 SX but with round bottom tube, not square). This one includes the optional basket, battery deck, fenders and mirror - with E-4 kit installed.

Prepare for installation by removing the idler wheel assembly and chain guide (long black tube) from the trike frame.

Start by inserting the 1/4" x 3" bolt through the motor-mount plate and the forward seat-clamp hole. Use one or more washers on this side, and the remainder on the other side before finishing with the split washer and cap nut. (See overhead view below.) For now, just tighten with fingers. Next, insert from the other side of the plate a 1/4" x 2.5" screw through a flat washer and then through the (idler wheel) standoff, 5 flat washers (which act as an 8mm spacer) and the plate itself; finish with a flat washer and 1/4" Nylock nut. Again, just finger tighten. [Note: this photo is somewhat misleading, so check the close-up photo below for the correct details.

Insert the tip of the hoseclamp through the slot, under and around the frame and back into the screw mechanism.
IMPORTANT: be sure the hoseclamp passes between the frame and the two cable housings (or your rear brake and shifter won't work).

After tightening the hoseclamp so that an inch of the tip sticks out, use a screw driver to push the tip through the slot. As you tighten further, ensure that the top edge of the plate is parallel to the top edge of the frame. Finish tightening the hoseclamp around the frame. Now, go back and tighten the other two bolts to secure the plate.

Quality Assurance: place a level against the mounting plate to ensure that it is plumb (straight up and down like a wall). If not, you can add or subtract "spacer washers" on the 2.5" bolt.

Install the motor from the backside with the wires pointing toward the rear and a nut (acting as a spacer) on each stud. Complete with flat washers and M6 Nylock nuts on this side. Rotate the freewheel assembly clockwise a bit while placing onto the drive shaft of the motor assembly. Screw the bolt into the end of the shaft (through a split washer and fender washer), and tighten (right photo).

Next, to resize the chain for the rear loop, break the chain using a chain tool to push a connecting pin nearly out (it will be needed to re-join the chain). At the handlebar, shift the rear derailleur into 1st gear. Then, route the chain through the derailleur, over 1st gear (the big one), around the 14T track cog on the motor drive shaft (the black gear closest to the motor), and back to the start of the chain. Pull the chain tight, loosen by adding two links (1 inch), and break the chain again.

Standard gearing is 14T for the inner gear (track cog) and 16T for the outer gear (freewheel).

Before re-joining the rear chain ends, install the chain guard as shown in the photo (right) to prevent the chain from rubbing the chain stay. Feed the chain through the chain guard, over the motor drive gear, back to the other end of the chain, and connect by pressing the connecting pin back in.
If the chain is too long, the extra slack may cause problems; if too short, you won't be able to use 1st (lowest) gear.

These photos show the four zip-ties that secure the chain guard to the trike frame. Doing so prevents the chain guard from sliding forward in the motor drive gear during pedaling/motoring, and from slipping backward into the cassetted gears when backing up. The first zip-tie goes around the chain guard tightly an holds the second small zip-tie in place. The third zip-tie goes through the second and around the chain stay. The fourth zip-tie goes through the third and around the frame to prevent the third from moving too far forward or back.

The left photo is looking up and forward from the rear of the trike. The right photo is looking up and back from the right side of the trike.

Install the chain tensioner (derailleur) to the mounting plate (as pictured) using the 3/8" bolts, split washers, and stand-off. Tighten securely. Next, install the front chain loop like you did the rear. Start by adding the included chain links to the remaining chain (using the retained connecting pin). Route the chain through the derailleur, over the freewheel gear, around the big chainring and back to the start of the chain. Pull tight, loosen by two links (1 inch), and connec the ends using the included Missing Link (master link) to get the proper length.

Notice that the hose clamp goes under the cable housing to avoid crunching it so it doesn't work (left). Connect the throttle and battery wires as shown to keep the wires close to the frame and out of trouble (right).

Notice that the front chain goes through the chain tensioner in a straight line to the freewheel on the motor-drive shaft. Accomplish this by using one of the two derailleur "stop" screws to hold the derailleur in the right position.

Notice that the rear chain is angled back to 1st gear. If you back up the trike in 1st gear, the chain will jump off the track cog. By putting the rear derailleur in 3rd or 4th gear before backing up, you can avoid this nuisance.

These photos show that the chain angle and derailleur position change between 1st gear (left) and 7th gear (right).

With the E-4's unique mid-drive motor assist, all 21 gears are available (with no drag) when the rider wants to pedal without (or with) the motor assist. The double sprocket on the motor shaft includes the necessary free-wheel mechanism to allow motor-only drive, pedal-only drive and combined drive.

The Electro Cycle E-4 kit comes with a 1.5A 24-volt chager with industry-standard XLR connector. Also available are motor cut-off brakes which, when squeezed, immediately shut off the motor. Although these are required in some jurisdictions and desired for individuals who might not release the throttle in a panic stop, most owners elect not to use them. The stock brakes that come with the X3 work easier with the E-4 throttle. If the cut-off brakes are used, you may want to extend the stock handlebar on the right side using a pair of short aluminum tubes - one 2.5" long that's the same diameter as the handlebar and a 5" piece to fit inside the handlebar and the short extension. With installation of the motor assembly, the X3 idler wheel (left photo, upper right corner) is no longer needed.

These photos show the stock brake levers. On the X3, the left brake lever includes a button that locks the brake - a handy feature that keeps the bike from rolling away when it's parked. The right photo shows the E-4's variable-speed thumb throttle with on/off switch and battery level indicator.

One method of mounting the battery on the X3 is vertically, attached to the seat supports. The Velcro straps (indicated by the white arrows) make it easy to mount both vertically and horizontally. The E-4 kit also includes a keyed switch (2 keys) and charging port.

[Editor's Note: When you get off your bike, plug the charger into the charging port; your batteries will last longer when promptly charged after each ride.]

The battery pack can be placed in a rear basket, mounted on the rear rack, or tied to the seat supports with bungee cords as shown here. The 37" rubber bungee cord hooks to the seat support (as shown by the arrow) and supports most of the battery weight. The rest is supported by the Velcro straps that are part of the battery pack. Instead of using a 19" bungee around the battery pack and seat supports (as shown here), a Velcro strap from the hardware store might work better. For the X3 SX, a custom battery deck is available.

Click here for ideas on customizing your betterbike.

Return to E-4 description and pricing.

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