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11 Advantages and 8 Disadvantages of Tricycles

Written by James Jordan
Last Update: August 16, 2023

Adult tricycles are a boon for the aged and physically challenged individuals. The market has so many variations to offer that there is no doubt a number of people are after them.

But are these three-wheeled bikes all sunshine and rainbows? Is there anything you should be concerned about?

Yes, there are! We’ve shared the pros and cons of adult trikes so you can easily make an informed buying decision and get the most out of your investment.

Tricycle Advantages and Disadvantages

Tricycle Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of tricycles

1. Easy to ride

They are easier to ride than a bicycle since their three wheels give more stability and there’s no complexity of balancing as you ride or stay stationary.

2. Can carry heavy weights

The sturdy frame and three wheeled body helps in carrying more weight. You can take your trike to the grocery and carry your stuff back home with ease.

3. Wide range of variety

Different types of tricycles with different features are available today, which gives you the ability to choose one according to your personal requirements and style.

Here’s a quick look at some of them:

a) Foldable

They work like a traditional tricycle but can be folded to a smaller size to save space and for easy carrying.

b) Recumbent, semi-recumbent, and upright

Recumbent: They are built in such a way that you can lean back and stretch your legs forward being parallel to your seat while riding. They put less strain on muscles and joints than the other types

Semi recumbent: They are a mixture of the recumbent and upright positions. The pedals are placed in front of the seat angled down at around 45-60 degrees

Upright: The handlebars of an upright tricycle are closer to the body and the seat is higher, which keeps the body vertical and stacked.

c) Tadpole

Tadpoles are the ones that have two front wheels and one rear wheel. The two front wheels make cornering slightly better.

d) Hand-powered tricycles

Those who can’t pedal by legs due to physical challenges can try this type that’s designed to pedal through hands.

e) Cargo

They are usually used by businesses to carry heavy weight while some traditional trikes come with cargo baskets for carrying more things.

f) Electric

Since everything is turning electric these days, why should trikes be left behind? Electric tricycles are now common and many owners add conversion kits for a more custom experience.

4. Good for children

Trikes are a great way for kids to step into cycling because they gradually learn how to steer and pedal at the same time.The fear of accidents is much less as the three wheel setup provides great stability.

5. Suitable for the elderly and physically disabled persons

The lower seating position and the pedals placed in front makes trikes easier for the old people to ride. They also come with different facilities that a physically handicapped person might need.

6. Prevents injuries

More stability and better balance results in a safer vehicle although cornering at high speeds still poses a risk.

7. Improves physical and mental health

Cycling has a number of health benefits, including improved heart health and muscle strength, better posture and coordination, reduced fat levels and stress, and many more.

Also, when riding in nature, the presence of fresh air and the scenic beauty around will help with your mental wellbeing.

8. Comfortable

People choose tricycles mainly for comfort, and they do offer comfort, especially the high-end ones. The design allows for a comfortable seating position and some seats even come with back support.

Other comfort features include low step through design, different seating positions, pedals forwarded from the seat for reduced knee strain, and more.

9. Easy to ride in hilly areas

If the forward momentum isn’t maintained in a bike, it will lose balance when climbing uphill.

But tricycles don’t depend on the forward momentum to keep balance, allowing you to select a low gear and pedal up with less strain on your legs.

10. Weather protection

Some trikes even come with canopies to protect the rider from sunlight, rain, and other weather elements.

11. You can sit on a tricycle when you don’t cycle

If you’re tired of cycling and want to wind up for some time, you can do that sitting on your trike; which is not possible with a bike since it’s not self-balancing.

Disadvantages of tricycles

1. Possibility of toppling over when cornering at high speed

You may tip your trike over, roll it or lift a wheel, especially when cornering. This is a serious concern but this happens because of the geometry of the vehicle.

However, you need not worry much because you will soon understand how to ride safely after a few tries.

2. Heavier than bicycles

A bigger frame and more wheels make tricycles heavier than bikes that old and physically weak people will find somewhat challenging.

3. Comparatively slower than other bikes

Tricycles aren’t made to go as fast as a regular bike. Their design and heavy weight makes them slower though electric motors can be added for more speed.

4. Maintenance is tricky

Unlike bike components, the different parts of a trike are not widely available, which makes them harder to repair if broken.

5. Storage can be a challenge

Due to their bigger size, storing is a big problem if you have limited space at home.

6. Visibility can be an issue

Since recumbent tricycles have very low ground clearance, it will be tougher to see what’s coming.  Lack of proper visibility can cause accidents because this restricts you from riding trikes in busy streets.

Drivers in other vehicles may have difficulties seeing them on the road. Many recumbent riders use flags to make them more visible to others.

7. Often a hassle to use on the sidewalk

They occupy more space than bikes and may create problems for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk.

8. Hard to carry and move around

Due to their large frame and heavy weight, you’ll be in trouble if you’re planning to take one with you on a vacation, while bicycles can be carried very easily.

Should you get a tricycle?

The pros outweigh the cons in your case, you can definitely go for a quality tricycle. They are the ultimate choice for kids, elders, and people with physical disabilities.

However, be careful when deciding on the type of tricycle. They are not really that cheap and you don’t want to end up with a wrong choice and miss out on the amazing experience that a tricycle can give you if chosen right.

About the author

James Jordan

As a kid I inherited the love for mountain bikes from my father who used to ride for weeks through the Colorado trail in the city of Denver. He had his gang, and I followed pretty much the same track.

Later on, my interest in biking grew more after joining the Enduro race back in 2013. My buddies and I also participated in the Downhill racing for the third consecutive year, and it’s been an amazing experience.

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