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Mopar Trikke: Exercising on Electric Cycle

By Arv Voss, September 19th, 2015

For performance fans who don't want to spend the bucks to own a fully restored, collectable Dodge Charger, Superbird, or HEMI 'Cuda, Mopar has got a deal for you. Okay, there's really no comparison, but the 2015 Mopar Pon-e Electric Trikke is totally cool and fun to ride.

This Mopar Trikke also provides the rider with exercise and the ability to execute musclecar-style burnouts (with the front wheel, rather than the rear). Besides all that, it's way more affordable.

The Trikke is an electric three-wheeled stand-up ride that could be the perfect pit vehicle at race events, as an urban commuter, or as a body toner to ready one's self for the ski season -- water or snow. Major features include a folding frame for easy transport, adjustable handlebar height, a quick-swap lithium-ion battery with key ignition and a locking feature, a dual speed switch with Econo and Express modes, and dual parking brakes.

In addition to propulsion caused by a cambering, carving motion of rider, additional motive force is delivered by the Trikke's 48-volt 350-watt brushless geared hub motor with a free-wheel clutch and a PWM 48V-17A controller. Energy comes from a 48-volt 11250mAh 540Wh Lithium-Ion battery, rechargeable by either a 54.5-volt 3.5-amp or 54.5V 2A charger that delivers a complete charge in either 3 or 5 hours respectively.

Speed is governed by a right-hand Twist Grip throttle that features a state-of-charge indicator operated by a switch selecting between two speeds: Econo or Express. The top Econo speed is 12 mph with a range capability of 22 miles, while the Express mode allows for up to 16 mph and a range of 16 miles.

Speed and range in either mode are, of course, obviously dictated by rider weight, topography, wind, and riding style, as well as tire type and proper inflation. Listed ranges are based on an average with a rider weighing 200 pounds.

The Mopar Trikke EV comes folded but is essentially pre-assembled, requiring only the mounting of the handlebar assembly and setting it to a comfortable height adjustment. The angle of the brake handles may also be adjusted.

Be sure to wear a helmet, and it's a good idea to also wear protective knee and elbow pads. It's suggested that riders start off in the Econo mode and practice slow, large arc turns on a flat, smooth, dry surface free of other vehicles. As a safety feature, steering stops will prevent turning the front wheel too far in either direction. And, there's a sidestand for added stationary stability.

The Mopar Trikke has a base price of $2,799.95 and currently comes only in Black with White Mopar graphics. Available accessories include a helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, a headlight, a blinking light, an anti-theft cable lock, a bag holder, a glove box, a towing trailer, a spare battery, spare battery charger, a 12-volt DC car charger, and an LCD display.

Riding the Mopar Trikke is not at all like riding other standup vehicles, such as a Segway. Direction is determined by the proper use of the handlebars and how to push them to the right or to the left; the front wheel is designed to trail the front fork, and the handlebar has a tendency to turn in the direction that the Trikke is tilted. While a bicycle tends to follow a straight line, with the Trikke, the front wheel actually accentuates the turn.

The Trikke requires that riders keep both hands be on the handlebars at all times, and avoid sudden sharp turns. Turning too quickly can cause the Trikke to "jack-knife," which may throw the rider off and cause injury. It is better to think more in terms of leaning and less than turning. The motion and trajectory of large "S" turns are best for Trikke beginners.

Weight distribution is key in the smooth, efficient, and safe operation of the Mopar Trikke. Beginners should practice on a level surface to perfect their skills before tackling a climbing exercise or steep descent.

When riding downhill, it's best to control speed through a series of turning maneuvers rather than through continued use of brakes, which can shorten brake pad and rear tire life expectancy. Downhill travel requires careful of management of speed, which increases stopping distances along with the risks of falls.

The Mopar Trikke takes practice to gain confidence and to master control skills. The acceleration rate is highly sensitive even in the Eco no mode, and even more so in the Express mode, so careful application of the throttle is required to avoid spinning the front tire, since the hub motor is located on the front wheel. Once a comfort zone is achieved through practice, the Mopar Trikke is a ton of fun to ride. Plus, it actually adds the benefit of exercise, unlike a Segway. Now, if it only came in a Dodge Sublime finish.

The Mopar Trikke is manufactured by Trikke Tech, Inc. in Buelton, Calif., and is licensed as a genuine Mopar accessory, which is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA).

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