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Electric-powered Verrado puts trike drifting on the level


April 3, 2014

A pledge of US$1,560 will put you in line for a Verrado, with Local Motors hoping to begin shipping in June

A pledge of US$1,560 will put you in line for a Verrado, with Local Motors hoping to begin shipping in June

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Since originating in New Zealand in 2009, the sport of trike drifting has slowly but surely spread to hilly regions all around the globe. From the United States to Puerto Rico, adrenaline junkies are mounting customized three-wheeled machines to drift and spin their way along switchbacks and steep downhill descents. Now, Arizona-based Local Motors has developed an electric-powered drift trike dubbed Verrado, which aims to extend this form of recreation to residents in flatter parts of the globe ... or just make it easier to get back to the top of the hill.

A conventional drift trike could be described as an extreme tricycle for adults. The front forks usually harbor a BMX wheel with either pedals or stunt pegs protruding from the axle, while two smaller go-kart wheels bring up the rear. As the trike turns and the rider shifts his or her weight, sleeves fixed around the rear wheels, generally made from either PVC or polyethylene, create a loss of traction and set the drift in motion.

While there's clearly plenty of good times to be had riding a drift trike, when downhills and the forces of gravity are removed from the picture their value becomes questionable at best. But the team of engineers from Local Motors, inspired by the horizontal planes of the Arizona desert, have set about motorizing the fast-growing extreme sport.

The Verrado incorporates a MagicPie 3-hub brushless motor and a lithium cobalt manganese battery to power its 20-inch front wheel. The two five-inch steel rear wheels are fitted with 10-inch karting tires and wrapped in PVC sleeves almost an inch thick, while disc brakes with regenerative braking bring the trike to a stop.

The company says the trike can be charged in around three hours, with each charge providing 45 minutes or 12 miles (19.3 km) worth of riding, though this will vary depending on how many are spent traveling sideways, if you catch our drift.

The steel frame sports a cushioned seat and is powder-coated in either black, white, red or silver.

Local Motors has turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for refining the brake caliper mounting system, finalize the battery mounting and ultimately take Verrado to market. A pledge of US$1,560 will put you in line for one of the electric trikes with Local Motors hoping to begin shipping in June.

You can see the Verrado taken for a spin in the video below.

Source: Local Motors

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

This is a thing? Like "the Fast and the Not So Furious"?


Leaving shredded PVC all over the ground is not cool at all.

Brian Atchley

Pretty wimpy with the bicycle motor. There are several other brands of these on the market now where they use motor scooter motors and brakes for more power and better traction. ZEV Electric motors with 4 kw are in a bunch of them so they can scoot back up the hills and the big fat 5 inch across front tire lets just the back end get loose.

Darus Zehrbach

Oh, yeah! I had one of these when I was a little kid (along with most of the kids in the neighborhood). Except ours were all pedal-powered and we called them "Big Wheels". (If you haven't seen one of them, do a Google search.)

Steve Montgomery


I did this 40 years ago on my "Big Wheel" trike.... those cheap,hard plastic wheels REALLY slid on concrete!

We didn't call it drifting,though.... and they weren't $1,500+ dollars!


Remember the Green Machine? That was a big wheel designed for drifting. The front wheel was fixed and it steered using a pivoting rear axle and two levers the rider pushed and pulled like old style tank steering levers.

Gregg Eshelman

Well to be fair, this drift trike is powered unlike the "Big Wheels." I happen to like the electric ones over the gas powered ones I have been on. I've also tried the Verrado. It's a lot of fun. The PVC makes drifting a breeze, and it doesn't leave shredded pieces all over the ground either.

Jamie Hobbs
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