Should I buy a trike? This is a typical question of many buyers who are trying to decide between a trike and a motorcycle. Are you concerned about this as well? If so, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of trikes in order to make an informed decision:
- Greater Comfort
- Greater security
- More space
- Great for seniors and disabled riders
- Stands out in a crowd
- Higher purchase price
- Higher maintenance costs
- Bulkier dimensions
- Storage and parking issues
- Different riding experience
If you would like to learn more about these factors, you are at the right place.
For your convenience, we at PowerSportsGuide have gathered the main pros and cons of trikes under one roof!
Pros of Trike Motorcycles
There is no question that the biggest advantage of tikes is the amount of comfort they provide.
They are completely stable, so you don’t need any physical effort to ride them. Therefore, riding a trike is always less tiring than a 2-wheel motorcycle. This means you can cover many more miles before you get tired.
If you like touring, riding a heavy 2-wheel motorcycle with luggage and a passenger can be exhausting. Even if you use saddle bags to keep the center of gravity low, a passenger and luggage can make the ride too stressful.
In contrast, trikes are not only stable under a heavy load, but also offer a very comfortable seat and riding position. What’s more, you are typically more protected from the wind on a trike.
All of these make trikes great machines for touring!
Moreover, trikes also do a good job in traffic since continuous stops don’t tire you out.
When it comes to riding on public roads, security is always the main focus of many riders. One of the key advantages of trikes is that they offer greater security than 2-wheel motorcycles.
Let’s see what the main factors are that make trikes safer:
- Trikes are wider, more grounded, and heavier than motorcycles. This results in more stability.
- Larger dimensions make them more visible in traffic and offer more protection.
- Riders have a better view of the traffic.
- Trikes can easily go over dirt/gravel roads and metal grated bridges.
- They are more comfortable, so there is less risk that the driver’s attention will fade.
- Trikes are easier to ride, in fact it’s safe to say that trikes offer an ATV-like riding experience.
Another interesting fact is that 2-wheel motorcycles can’t trip the sensors at traffic lights in many cities. It may not seem like a big deal, but it can be annoying having to wait before you can legally go through the intersection.
Unlike motorcycles, trikes are heavy enough to activate the sensors at red lights.
Trikes are typically built for touring, which means they offer more comfortable seats for the driver and passenger as well.
And when it comes to touring, riders are prone to carrying a lot of luggage. This is when the trike’s large storage capacity comes in handy! Thanks to their bigger rear end, trikes are typically equipped with enclosed trunks that offer a remarkable 20-50 gallons of storage capacity.
This amount of storage can also accommodate a full-faced helmet and a 12V power source to charge your electronic devices.
Great for Seniors and Disabled Riders
Let’s face it, riding is not just for young people!
But instead of thrilling adrenaline rushes, senior riders are looking for more stability and comfort for health reasons.
They typically have back and joint problems, which makes riding a 2-wheel motorcycle difficult. That’s why many senior riders prefer trikes over motorcycles! Trikes are not only easier to handle, but more “joint friendly,” which leads to longer rides and less pain in the saddle.
Additionally, climbing up onto the saddle is also much easier on a trike, since it features a large stable platform.
Besides veterans, don’t forget that riders with disabilities can also continue riding if they switch to a trike.
So, if you feel you can’t handle a heavy 800-pound bike anymore, you should buy a trike.
You can extend your riding career by many years if you switch from two wheels to three. There are a few who consider this as a failure, but they are wrong.
At the end of the day, it’s still better to ride on a trike than not ride at all!
Stands Out in a Crowd
If you want to be an individual and stand out in a crowd, then trikes are for you.
Since there are much fewer of them on the road than motorcycles, these 3-wheel machines can still turn many heads.
They are not only much bigger than regular bikes, but also look totally different. Therefore, they typically get a second look on the road. Additionally, trike owners also have to be prepared for many questions when they stop.
If you love to talk about your machine, you will probably enjoy these conversations. On the other hand, if you don’t like attention, after a while it can become frustrating.
Cons of Trike Motorcycles
Higher Purchase Prices
One of the biggest cons of trikes is their significantly higher purchase price.
For example, the prices of factory-made Harley-Davidson trikes range from $28,000 up to $50,000. In contrast, the prices of 2-wheel Harleys start from $8,000.
If you are looking for something more affordable, you can find 3-wheel scooters or even electric trikes on the market.
Your other option is to turn a 2-wheel motorcycle into a trike by installing a conversion kit. The cost of these “trike kits” is about $4,000-$20,000 depending on the make and model.
So finally, buying or building a trike requires a significant initial investment.
Higher Maintenance Costs
Trikes are not only more expensive to buy, but their maintenance also costs you more. If you are considering buying a trike, you have to be prepared for higher registration fees and insurance costs.
The higher weight results in poor gas mileage, and you also have to replace three tires instead of two.
On top of that, keep in mind that trike kits feature custom braking and lighting systems, suspensions, 12V outlets, and many other parts that require attention and maintenance.
If you are new to trikes, the wider rear wheels can cause many headaches, especially at first.
You need to be especially careful if you move from a motorcycle. If you forget your extra wheels, you can easily bump into the island at a toll gate or gas station.
The larger dimensions and extra weight also make the trike harder to maneuver in tight places. The situation is even worse if the trike lacks an electric reverse.
Yes, it’s good to know that not every trike kit features a reverse system! Therefore, if you don’t want to push your trike around by hand, it’s highly recommended that you purchase a trike kit that comes with electric reverse.
Storage and Parking Issues
Another common problem of trike motorcycles is that they are much harder to store in your garage.
Unlike their 2-wheel siblings, trikes take up almost as much space as a car! This can especially be an issue if you have a smaller garage.
Parking on the street is also different with a trike. Since they are much wider, they can occupy two bays in a motorcycle parking bay. To stay legal and avoid parking tickets, best practice is for you to check local regulations before you park your trike on the street.
Also, you have to get the trike in gear when it’s parked to make sure it won’t roll away.
Different Riding Experience
When it comes to the trike vs. motorcycle debate, many riders say that the biggest drawback of trikes is their completely different riding experience.
It’s safe to say that a trike turns more like a car, which can surprise newbie trike owners.
This means you can’t maneuver the machine with counter-steering! If you want to turn, you can only use direct steering without shifting your body weight or leaning into the turn.
It’s also very important that you not put your feet on the ground at the stops. If you put your feet down, you risk the rear wheels accidentally running over them.
Conclusion – Should I Buy a Trike?
Trikes are gaining popularity among riders, and with good reason.
As you can see, there are many advantages of trikes like their greater stability, more comfort, and larger storage space. That’s why more and more senior riders are considering converting their motorcycles to trikes.
On the other hand, you can’t forget the disadvantages either. Trike kits come with hefty price tags and you also have to face higher running costs.
It’s also good to know that a trike offers a completely different riding experience than its 2-wheel siblings. We can’t say that it’s less enjoyable, but a ride on a trike is vastly different!
Additionally, the bigger dimensions can be a problem when it comes to parking and storage.
If you are a senior rider who already finds handling a heavy motorcycle tiring and stressful, you definitely should buy a trike. It’s safer, more comfortable, and much more relaxing than riding on 2 wheels. All good points especially on longer trips! As a final word, the main point of owning a trike is that it can significantly extend your riding career!