The Adult Tricycle: Is it For You?

The Adult Tricycle: Is it For You?

Remember being a little tyke and enjoying the fun and stability that came with riding a tricycle? Adult trikes have been around forever but they’re getting more and more popular – maybe because they’re so much fun to ride! If you’ve been thinking about getting an adult trike to call your own, this guide should help. Not only will we go over some of the most popular adult tricycles, we’ll also provide some useful tips for choosing a trike that suits your lifestyle.

Why Ride an Adult Tricycle?

There are a few different reasons to ride adult trikes. Most of the time, the decision to ride a tricycle comes down to stability. Just like 3-wheeled motorcycles, tricycles for adults are less likely to tip over in most situations. Here are a few more reasons to ride a trike:

Tricycles are easy to ride.

Riding an adult tricycle is a great way to get some low-impact aerobic exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

No need to try to balance at stop signs.

More comfortable than the average bicycle.

Good gas-saving, economical choice for commuting and running errands in certain areas / situations; you can add a large basket or even a trailer for carrying groceries, etc.

Most trikes can carry more weight than the average bike, which is great for heavier people.

Challenges when Riding Adult Tricycles

In weighing the pros and cons of riding an adult trike, it’s important to recognize that there might be some challenges depending on where and when you ride.

Trikes don’t always fit in bike lanes.

Trikes can be difficult to park in standard bike racks; this isn’t a huge issue but it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re thinking about commuter bike parking.

Tricycles require more storage space in general.

There are lots of tricycle models to choose from including traditional three wheel bikes for seniors and others who prefer riding upright, plus recumbent trikes for adults who want to move at a faster pace.

Choosing a Tricycle for Adults: What’s Best for You?

If you’ve already begun your search, then you know that there are lots of choices out there! Finding the best one depends on your unique needs including where you plan to ride, how fast you’d like to go, whether you’d like to carry anything with you, and more.

Adult Tricycle Styles

There are two main tricycle types: Tadpole and Delta. The Delta type features a traditional configuration with two wheels in the back and one wheel on the front. Tadpole adult trikes have two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back.

Delta Tricycles

Delta tricycles can be about the same height as an average bike, or they can be low to the ground, with recumbent-style seats. Taller, more traditional versions have prominently placed handlebars that call for the rider to extend his or her arms. Some are equipped with gears, and most have hand-operated brakes. If you’re looking for an adult tricycle with a basket, you’ll find that the majority fall into this category.

Most recumbent tricycles are delta-style, with the rider’s weight comfortably positioned over two stable rear wheels. The handlebars are positioned so that the rider’s arms can rest along their sides, with vertical grips and hand brakes. Many recumbent trikes have gears, and most of them are capable of achieving high speeds. If you’re looking for a commuter trike and you have a lot of ground to cover, this style might be ideal. At the same time (and speaking of ground!) you’re positioned very low on one of these recumbent tricycles, and getting accustomed to nearby traffic can feel like a challenge. If you have difficulty getting down into a crouched position and getting up again, then you’re probably better off with a tall tricycle.

Tadpole Tricycles

Most tadpole tricycles are recumbents, with two front wheels and one rear wheel. These can be fun to ride, but just like their close cousins, they put you close to the ground. This means less distance to fall in the unlikely event that you’ll come off your trike, but it also means that some people will find this body style to be less accessible.

Tadpole tricycles have less cargo space on the rear, although it is possible to add panniers like those used on bicycles.  

Semi-Recumbent Tricycles

A semi-recumbent trike is a hybrid design that pairs comfortable features like a backrest and pedal-forward design with the height of a standard delta trike. This style makes an outstanding three wheel bike for seniors or anyone else who wants something that’s very easy to pedal.

Folding Tricycles

Folding trikes take less storage space than the average adult tricycle, plus they’re easier to transport. You can find different folding tricycle styles including folding recumbent trikes and folding delta trikes. There are even folding electric tricycles!

Electric Tricycles

Electric tricycles operate on the same principle as electric bikes do: They have small electric motors that can help you keep moving when you need to take a break or climb a hill. Some require you to keep pedaling while the motor provides assistance, and others let you stop pedaling while the motor takes over completely. As you might have guessed, electric trikes are usually a bit more expensive than their human-powered cousins.

Fat Tire Tricycles

If you’re carrying some extra weight or if you want to ride on a softer surface, a fat-tire trike might be ideal. These tricycles can be a little harder to steer than their counterparts but not so much so that it makes a big difference. Once you’re accustomed to the feel of a fat tire tricycle, you’ll find that it’s a lot of fun to ride.

3 Wheel Bikes for Adults with Gears

Geared adult tricycles are getting easier to find as demand increases. You can find adult trikes with gears in various configurations, making it easier to choose the best adult tricycle for the terrain you ride on.

Where to Buy an Adult Trike

We’d love it if local bike shops carried a good selection of adult tricycles but in most cases, you’ve got to do your shopping online. If you’re looking for a recumbent, you might have some luck shopping locally, but like with most things, you’ll probably find more variety when you search the web. At the same time, we’re huge supporters of local businesses and we encourage you to support a bike shop if they have what you’re looking for! Good luck with your shopping and have fun riding!