Three-wheel bicycles – A Guide to Everything You Need to Know

Riding a tricycle or three-wheel bicycle has many benefits – you get more stability and your back gets more support. 

But are tricycles a good option for you? Are they safe to ride? Do they have any drawbacks? We’ll find the answers to all these questions and more in this article.  

So once you go over this article, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when purchasing your next bicycle. 

Key takeaway:

A three-wheel bicycle has an extra wheel at the rear, making it more stable and easier to ride than a regular bicycle. And while it is more suitable for seniors and children, anyone can ride one. A trike also keeps your position upright and provides sufficient cargo space, making it a good option for daily commute. 

What is a three-wheel bicycle?

three-wheel bicycles

A trike, tricycle, or three-wheel bicycle is basically a bicycle with an extra wheel at the rear, so there’s one wheel at the front and two wheels at the back.

Tricycles are available in various designs, but most of them are quite similar to 2-wheel bicycles, with slight modifications to the frame to accommodate the third wheel. 

There’s another kind of 3-wheel bike known as a recumbent bicycle, and it’s designed to have a chair-like seat where the rider can sit. Compared to traditional bicycles, these three-wheel bicycles are closer to the ground.

But the biggest benefit of 3-wheel bicycles is that they’re much easier to ride and provide added stability compared to 2-wheel bikes.

Who are 3-wheel bicycles most suitable for?

While most people think that 3-wheel bicycles are more suitable for older adults and younger children, they’re actually a great option for everyone. 

Children and seniors find tricycles easier than a regular bike because of the two rear wheels that provide added stability. 

Plus, you don’t need extra skills to be able to ride the bike. Even if you have the worst balance, you don’t need to worry about falling as long as you stay upright on the 3-wheel bike. This is why you’re less likely to fall off a tricycle than a regular bicycle.

In addition to that, tricycles are a great option for larger adults. Individuals who weigh more might find it difficult and uncomfortable to sit on a normal bicycle. However, three-wheel bikes can handle more weight and make it easier for heavier individuals to balance themselves.

It is safe to ride three-wheel bicycles?

As long as you keep in mind a few safety tips, you don’t need to worry about anything. Since 3-wheel bikes are extra stable, there’s less chance of you falling off the bike. But you should still keep these tips in mind:

Don’t take quick or rash turns

The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that tricycles aren’t speeding machines. Considering their design and size, they’re only great for casual bike rides and daily commute. However, recumbent bikes can go a little fast because they have a low profile. 

This is why you should be very careful when making a turn on a tricycle. While the extra wheel helps provide stability, it’s not the best option if you want to take sharp turns at a high speed. If you do so, you’re more likely going to flip the bike because it has a wider turning radius than a regular bike.

The best option for you is to start on turns slowly and go faster once you have more confidence and a better understanding of your tricycle. 

Remember your bike’s rear is big

When riding a three-wheel bike, don’t forget that your bike’s rear is much bigger than the front. So while the front can fit through a small gap (such as in traffic), the rear can get stuck and cause a crash.

As you take more rides on your tricycle, you’ll get a better idea of all the spaces where it can and cannot fit through. 

Wear a helmet

A helmet is necessary, even if you’re on a recumbent trike. Of course, the chance of falling or crashing on a 3-wheel bike is really low, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

What are the benefits of a three-wheel bicycle?

three wheel bikes

There are a number of factors that make a three-wheel bicycle better than a traditional one. These include:


Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of 3-wheel bicycles is their stability. Thanks to the extra rear wheel, riding the bike is very easy, and the rider doesn’t have to worry about maintaining balance. 

Moreover, a rider must maintain some minimum speed on a traditional bicycle; otherwise, it will tip over. However, in the case of a 3-wheel bicycle, you don’t need to worry about it falling over even if you’re riding at the lowest speed possible.  

And even if you’ve never ridden a regular bicycle before, you’ll find it much easier to pedal a recumbent trike. 

Climbing uphill

When it comes to going up the hill, it’s much easier to do so on a 3-wheel recumbent trike than a regular one. One reason for this is that you can go up very slowly without worrying about the trike tipping. So you can put into low gear and make your way up slowly.

However, a trike weighs more than a normal bike, so you’ll have to put in more pedaling power to make it climb uphill.

Sufficient cargo space

You’ll often find a cage or basket on a 3-wheel bicycle. It can be either at the front or at the back, making it ideal for carrying around things while pedaling. And you can greatly benefit from it if you plan on using a tricycle as your primary mode of transportation. 

And because a 3-wheel bike has a wider base, you can carry heavy items without worrying about losing stability. 

If you have a recumbent bike, you might not have a cargo cage or basket, but you can install one easily.

Your position

In most cases, you can maintain an upright position and keep your back straight on a tricycle. In comparison, when it comes to a road bike, the rider must lean over and firmly hold the handlebars.

So those who often suffer from back pain can benefit from a trike.

Are there any drawbacks to three-wheel bicycles?

3 wheels bike for adults

If this is your first time buying a three-wheel bicycle, it’s important that you know both the pros and cons before you make the investment. And while tricycles have numerous benefits, they have some drawbacks, too. These include:


Three-wheel bicycles are bigger than regular bicycles, making them harder to fit in narrow spaces. This also means you can’t squeeze it through traffic. However, we can’t deny that the large size makes it easier for others like drivers to spot the bike.


It’s a little tricky to turn a recumbent trike because of the wide rear. This is why it needs more space to make a turn, while a normal bicycle has a relatively smaller turning radius.

Are there different kinds of 3-wheel bikes?

In addition to recumbent tricycles discussed earlier, there are other kinds of bikes, too, including:

Single-speed tricycles:

As the name suggests, single-speed tricycles have only one speed, which means they have one gear only so you can’t change the gears. As a result, they are more suitable for riding on level ground. So if you live in a hilly area, it’s best to avoid them.

They’re also easy to use and maintain, making them ideal for beginners since they don’t need to worry about the gears.

Multi-speed tricycles

As you might have guessed, there are multiple gears in multi-speed tricycles, making them easy to ride in different kinds of terrain. So with a lower gear, they can easily climb steep hills and use a higher gear to ride through flat terrains. 

The number of gears can vary from 3 to more than 8 gears.

Electric tricycles

Such tricycles feature a rechargeable battery and an electric motor. They also have a throttle for assistance while pedaling. As a result, you can use a tricycle to travel for longer distances and even climb hills easily. 

And while they are great for everyone, they’re particularly suited for handicapped individuals. The only problem is that they can take a while to charge fully.

Folding tricycles

You can also find some folding tricycles that are easy to store and carry around. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are three-wheel bicycles a good option for seniors?

Yes, three-wheel bicycles are a great option for seniors. Since they have three wheels, they’re designed to provide enhanced stability. As a result, they’re much safer for elders and senior citizens. 

In fact, three-wheel bicycles are considered to be one of the best accessories that aid with mobility. And you can keep cycling on them even if your balance is very poor. 

It is good exercise to ride 3-wheel bicycles?

Using a three-wheel bicycle is more like an aerobic activity since the heart rate increases and stays that way for a minimum of twenty minutes. 


In addition to that, riding a bike is also a great way to build your stamina and strength. So overall, it’s a good exercise and the difficulty level is up to you.

Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Daniel White