Trike bicycles, also known as tricycles or adult tricycles, are a unique alternative to traditional bicycles that provide increased stability, comfort, and versatility. While traditional bikes are designed for speed and maneuverability, trikes prioritize stability and balance, making them an ideal choice for those who want a safer, more relaxed, and comfortable ride. Trikes come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, with different features, builds, and brands available to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood, a reliable mode of transportation for commuting, or a fun and adventurous way to explore the outdoors, there’s a trike out there for you.
In this long-form article, we’ll delve into a wide range of topics related to trike bicycles, providing you with a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right trike for your needs. We’ll cover the differences between brands, builds, and styles, as well as the pros and cons of owning a trike. We’ll also discuss the typical gear you’ll need to get started, such as helmets, safety gear, and accessories that can enhance your riding experience. Along the way, we’ll provide links to specific articles that go into more detail on each topic, so you can explore the aspects of trikes that interest you the most. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, this guide will help you navigate the world of trike bicycles and find the perfect ride for you.
There are two main types of trikes: tadpole and delta. The primary difference between these two designs is the placement of the wheels. Tadpole trikes have two wheels at the front and one at the back, while delta trikes have two wheels at the back and one at the front. Tadpole trikes are known for their lower center of gravity and aerodynamic design, which often results in greater speed and maneuverability compared to delta trikes. They’re an ideal choice for riders who want a stable and comfortable ride, especially those who may have limited mobility or balance. On the other hand, Delta trikes are generally easier to ride and offer a more upright sitting position, making them an excellent choice for riders who want a more relaxed and comfortable ride. Additionally, the placement of the two wheels at the back of a Delta trike provides more weight on the back axis, making it easier to transport heavier items.
When it comes to trikes, 20-inch wheels are the most common choice. These wheels provide a good balance of stability, speed, and maneuverability, making them ideal for most riders. One rotation of a 20-inch wheel covers a distance of roughly 1.5 meters, making it easy to calculate your speed and distance traveled.
However, some tadpole trikes feature larger wheels, typically 26 inches in diameter, on the rear of the bike. These larger wheels cover a distance of roughly 2 meters with one turn, making them an excellent choice for riders who want to go faster or cover greater distances with each pedal stroke.
While larger wheels may offer some benefits in terms of speed and efficiency, they also come with some drawbacks. Larger wheels may make the trike heavier and harder to maneuver, especially when turning or navigating tight spaces. Additionally, larger wheels may require a higher pedal effort to get started, making them less suitable for riders with limited mobility or strength.
Ultimately, the size of the wheels you choose will depend on your personal preferences and needs. If you’re looking for a comfortable, stable ride, 20-inch wheels may be the best choice for you. If you’re an experienced rider who wants to go faster or cover greater distances, larger wheels may be worth considering. Regardless of the size of the wheels, it’s essential to choose high-quality tires and ensure they’re properly inflated to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
When it comes to brakes for trikes, it’s important to consider the fact that trikes are typically heavier than standard road bikes, and their aerodynamic design may require more stopping power. As such, it’s essential to have well-calibrated brakes that can handle these increased demands. Disc brakes are a popular choice for trikes, as they offer superior stopping power compared to other types of brakes. Disc brakes work by squeezing a rotor attached to the wheel, which helps to slow down or stop the trike more quickly and efficiently. With disc brakes, you can expect reliable performance in all types of weather conditions, and they require less maintenance than other brake types. Overall, choosing high-quality disc brakes is a crucial step in ensuring a safe and comfortable ride on your trike, and it’s important to have them properly installed and calibrated by a professional.
Electric motors are becoming increasingly popular for trikes, as they offer a convenient and efficient way to travel longer distances with less effort. Because trikes have more wheels and are typically heavier than standard bicycles, it’s important to choose a motor that can handle the added weight and provide sufficient power. Most trike manufacturers try to stay within legal limits when it comes to electric motors, which in the EU means a maximum assisted speed of 25 km/h (but usually a bit more than that due to tolerance) and 250 Watts of continuous power (but can go higher than that for short periods of time). In the US and Canada, the threshold is higher, at 32 km/h, making electric-assisted trikes faster and more comfortable. In Japan, the limit is just 24 km/h.
When it comes to electric motors for trikes, some of the main manufacturers include Bosch, Honda, Shimano, and newcomers like Bafang. These companies offer a range of motors that vary in terms of efficiency, power output, and battery capacity. A more efficient motor can help to extend the range of your trike, while a higher-capacity battery can provide more power and allow you to travel longer distances without recharging. Ultimately, the choice of electric motor will depend on your individual needs and preferences, as well as your budget. It’s important to choose a motor that can provide the power and performance you need, while also ensuring that it’s properly installed and maintained for optimal performance and safety.
When it comes to trike brands and manufacturers, there are a variety of options to choose from. Some of the best-known brands include ICE from the UK and HP from Germany. Many trikes feature core components from Germany, such as Bosch motors and Shimano drivetrains, as well as other high-quality parts from Japan. However, it’s worth noting that many trike frames are produced in China, which can result in longer delivery times to Europe and other parts of the world.
There are also many other trike manufacturers around the world, offering a wide range of styles, features, and price points. Some companies specialize in high-performance racing trikes, while others focus on more affordable and practical models for commuting or recreational riding. Ultimately, the choice of brand and manufacturer will depend on your individual needs and preferences, as well as your budget. It’s important to do your research and choose a reputable company with a proven track record of quality and reliability, as well as good customer support and service.
When it comes to gear for trikes, the possibilities are nearly endless. Since trikes are generally larger and have more space to work with, there are many different accessories and add-ons that can enhance your riding experience. For example, some riders opt for flags or other visibility aids to help make their trike more visible to others on the road. Others may choose to add bags or panniers to their trike for carrying extra gear or supplies. There are also many different seat options available for trikes, ranging from basic to high-end models with added padding and support. Additionally, many riders like to build out their cockpit with a range of different control tools and gadgets, such as GPS units, wireless communication systems, and more. If you plan to use your trike for longer rides or tours, you may also want to consider adding a second battery or upgrading your battery charger for faster charging times. Ultimately, the specific gear and accessories you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences, as well as your budget.
Check out our pages on the best trike gear.
Trike tours are a great way to explore the world on three wheels. With their stable and comfortable design, trikes are ideal for longer rides and tours, and can provide a unique and enjoyable way to see new places. One potential area for trike tours is the Rhine valley in Germany, which offers a range of well-established bike lanes and scenic routes for riders to explore. Whether you’re interested in historical landmarks, natural beauty, or simply enjoying the thrill of the ride, a trike tour can be a memorable and rewarding experience.
Taipei Cycle is one of the largest cycling trade shows in the world and a must-attend event for anyone interested in trikes and other cycling gear. Held annually in Taipei, Taiwan, the event attracts exhibitors and visitors from around the globe and showcases the latest innovations and trends in the cycling industry. In addition to Taipei Cycle, there are several other notable conferences and meet-ups for trike enthusiasts. For example, Recumbent Cycle Con in the United States is a popular event for recumbent and trike enthusiasts, and takes place each fall in Nashville, Tennessee. In Europe, the Spezi show in Germany is another top event for trike and recumbent fans, held each spring in the city of Germersheim. These events offer a great opportunity to connect with fellow trike lovers, check out the latest gear and technology, and learn more about this exciting and growing segment of the cycling world.