Trike motorcycles are a unique but popular alternative vehicle. They run on 3 wheels hence the ‘tri’ part of the name. Trike motorcycles (or Trike’s for short) come in 2 formats mostly. 2 wheels at the back (known as the delta configuration) with 1 wheel at the front. Or 2 wheels at the front and one at the back, which is known as the Tadpole design.
The tadpole design are less common trike motorcycle for sale and harder to engineer. Due to the centrifugal forces when turning they don’t tend to be balanced well either, so it is normally professional companies which tackle that design. Delta style is much more popular for home built custom trikes.
A home built trike traditionally has a motorcycle front end (motorcycle forks, 1 wheel, 1 headlamp, fork suspension) and a custom rear end often modified from a small car chassis, to include 2 rear wheels, bench style seat and appropriate suspension.
A trike motorcycle does not have a roof (like a Reliant Robin) and is not a motorcycle with a sidecar. There is often confusion in defining 3 wheeled vehicles, but you usually recognize a trike when you see one as the are quite different to other 3 wheeled vehicles.
Trikes are not sold in mass numbers because they have a fair amount of negative points about them. Both compared to a car and a motorcycle. Motorcycles are out in the open, which feels nice, but leaves the rider vulnerable compared to a car where you are protected inside a large metal box. A trike is similar to a motorcycle in this respect. Because they do not lean to turn like a motorcycle they are usually a bit more stable though so often riders will not have a motorcycle helmet riding them. Cars have a disadvantage of being large and therefore can not squeeze through traffic jams like a motorcycle. Because of one half of a trike having a 2 wheeled base, they also sport this disadvantage.
Nobody can deny the rush and freedom that comes over one while riding a motorcycle. It is an unmatched freedom. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing or able to ride a motorcycle. That is when the flexibility of a trike comes into the equation. There are many advantages to owning and riding a trike. Lets analyze what some of those advantages are.
As we mentioned earlier, the ability to enjoy the open air and the freedom of the open road rank high on the list. Without a trike, there are many that would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience, or continue experiencing this. A trike may be operated in many states with an endorsement specific to three wheel or side car vehicles. This allows a rider that does not have the physical ability, or desire to carry the motorcycle endorsement, to still enjoy the benefits of riding.
The stability of the trike is a huge advantage to the rider. While you may sacrifice some manuverability, the added stability is welcomed by many. The handling of the trike has improved tremendously due to technology. With new style suspensions, and adjustments to manufacturers specifications, the trikes of today handle quite well.
When it comes to traveling, we all know you can not be too prepared. Many times that means having all types of gear for any weather conditions that you might encounter along your travels. The trike offers added storage capacity over the motorcycle. Most trikes have a large trunk in the rear that allow for additional storage and cargo capacity. In addition to the added storage capacity of the trike, the stability allows the rider to pull a travel trailer quite well also.
As we have discussed, there are many advantages to owning and riding a trike. The most important part of the equation is to be comfortable with the vehicle you choose. Hopefully you will see that even if the motorcycle isn’t for you, or if those days have since passed, you can still enjoy the beauty and freedoms that all motorcycle enthusiast cherish. Stay safe, ride often, and keep enjoying this awesome land with the wind in your face.