Trikke Test Drive – Part 4 – Pon-e’s Unplugged

For Part 4 of my “Trikke Test Drive” series, I am going to tackle something a little different.  I have a few Pon-e’s on loan from Trikke Virginia, and I recently had an opportunity to do an unusual comparison drive on them; I carved each of them for 1.85 miles on body power alone.

Pon-e Lite 36V (orange) vs. Pon-e 48V (white)
The ability to propel these Trikkes manually is one of their virtues over heavier electric vehicles like the Segway.  You can keep going on a Trikke Pon-e even if the battery runs out of juice, or if you just desire a good workout.  This alternative mode of operation is what gives them their status as hybrid vehicles.
I found a flat route through a quiet neighborhood for this test drive, so that each Trikke could be ridden under identical conditions.  I brought a Pon-e 48V and a Pon-e Lite 36V, representing both ends of the electric product line.  I also brought my non-electric T8 Sport to provide a baseline for comparison.
Both Pon-e’s are based on the same aluminum frame as the T8 Sport, so the riding stance and carving technique were very familiar to me.  The T8 weighs in at 27 pounds, while the Pon-e Lite tips the scales at 38 pounds.  The extra weight comes from the battery and the motor mounted in the hub of the front wheel.  The Pon-e 48V is a real beast at 46 pounds, which is double the weight of the T78 Deluxe I first learned to ride on.
Look Ma, no motor!!
While both Pon-e’s took more effort to carve than my T8, the Pon-e Lite was without a doubt the easier one to ride.  It uses the same 8” rear fitness tires as the T8 Sport, but upgrades to a similar 10” front tire.  These 2” wide tires make for a reasonably pleasant carving experience, although I had to work harder than I would on my T8.  I can’t complain though; it makes for some good exercise.  The feeling is much like walking with a light set of weights in your hands and strapped around your ankles.
The Pon-e 48V is a different animal, as I really had to work at making it go.  It rides atop a 10” heavy-duty “motorcycle grade” tire in the front and two 9 ½” heavy-duty tires in the rear.  The 2 ½” width of these mean it takes a lot more muscle to keep them rolling.  This surely adds up to an even better workout, but it would take a really fit and determined rider to go more than a few miles this way.  Picture yourself walking with a bowling ball or two in your hands.
The times and speeds for these identical  1.85 mile test drives really paint a clear picture of the increased challenge of carving manually on electric Trikkes:
Average Speed
T8 Sport
27 lbs.
7.3 mph
Pon-e Lite 36V
38 lbs.
6.5 mph
Pon-e 48V
46 lbs.
5.5 mph
I will write about riding these Pon-e’s in their more conventional electric mode in a future article, but when I considered that manual carving might be part of the decision-making process for an electric Trikke, I felt it was worth addressing.  If I was buying one of these two Pon-e’s and felt that I was going to want to carve manually on a regular basis, the Pon-e Lite 36V would be my clear-cut choice.
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