I have a Catrike Villager tadpole recumbent with a single lever to operate the two disc brakes on the front wheels.

I want to put a direct-drive hub motor on the rear and utilize regenerative braking. I realize that rear-wheel braking on a tadpole is not usually very effective, but it may be more so with the heavy motor/battery on the back. Does anyone have any experience trying this arrangement, i.e., discs on the front and regen on the rear?

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles. It's a bit nebulous what you're asking here. You are encouraged to ask specific questions that have definite answers as opposed to questions that instead lead to discussion; you might want to read How to Ask. What specifically do you want to know?
    – DavidW
    Oct 21, 2022 at 20:17
  • Do you not have a brake on the rear wheel at this time ? Is there only a single brake lever on the whole trike ?
    – Criggie
    Oct 21, 2022 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


You could fit your rear-wheel hub motor just like it was a regular bike, and leave the front brakes totally alone. That would be the best of both words (decent fast braking in an emergency on the front brakes, and slow regenerative braking on the motor using either a dedicated brake lever/button, or connect the wiring to the same brake lever that controls the rear brake.

Regen braking doesn't do much if you hard-stop. Instead, regen braking gets more energy back as you brake slowly and calmly drop your speed with the rear wheel only. As long as you avoid skidding, this will get the most energy back into the battery and extend its life.

Remember that batteries don't charge immediately and dumping a spike of power at them as you fast-brake is worse than slowly feeding them power from an extended braking duration.

For emergency braking you still have your front brakes like normal.

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