Black trike is standing on the light street

Several Tips on Safely Transitioning from a Motorcycle to a Trike

Have you thought of switching from riding a motorcycle to a trike? Trikes are incredibly cool vehicles that are becoming more popular by the minute. There are many out there who would like to pick up this new, adventurous hobby, but a problem occurs when people try to shift from motorcycle riding to trike riding, as these the latter is a completely different animal. Numerous instructors in the country claim that they have no problem teaching people who have never ridden a motorcycle.

A trike standing on the road with rider

However, when it comes to people who are experienced motorcycle riders, adapting to the ways of the trike takes much more time. Actually, this is one of those rare examples where experience is not only worthless, but it makes things even more difficult. If you are planning on switching from a motorcycle to a trike, there are a few things you need to know beforehand.

Driving Style Modification – Motorcycle to Trike

There are crucial differences that people coming from the motorcycle world struggle with. The first major difference between a trike and a traditional motorcycle is the width of the vehicle. The rear part of a trike is much wider than on a regular motorcycle. The best way to get accustomed to the size of the trike is to spread your arms out when seated.

Another important difference that people struggle adapting to is the fact that, you cannot lean while turning on a trike. The handlebars are the only thing that you can maneuver with when you want to make a turn. Leaning in will do literally nothing. So, it is very important to appropriately adjust your speed before making a turn.


Braking Differences – Motorcycle vs Trike

Man in black on bike, play stunt with bike, front wheel on the ground, rear wheel in the air

It is very important to know that there are certain differences in the braking force, based on the fact that there are two wheels at the rear of a trike. This causes much higher friction from the rear wheels. The motorcycle’s rear wheel is only responsible for 30% of the overall braking power, whereas with trikes, this percentage is much higher. Even though there is a difference in braking power distribution, the best way to brake with a trike is actually rather similar to motorcycles.

That is, of course, by using the front and rear brakes simultaneously. Another thing about the brakes is that, after you park a trike, it is necessary to use a hand brake. This is the only thing that will keep it in place while it’s turned off. This is one of the points a majority of ex-motorcycle riders keep forgetting about and it sometimes leads to problems.

Trike Maintenance

Man maintaining his trike engine

After talking about the differences between motorcycles and trikes, we have to mention that the maintenance tasks are practically the same. Making your trike reliable on the road is pretty easy. The main focus should be checking the overall state of the engine and whether it has enough oil. This can be checked fairly easily with an oil dipstick.

It is also important to check the brake discs on a regular basis. The ultimate stability of the trike, like with all vehicles, depends on the state of the tires. Luckily, with the popularization of smartphone use and the fact that technology is invading various areas of our lives, checking the air the pressure in your tires is a pretty easy task nowadays.


The FOBO Bike for Trike is an interesting tire pressure monitoring system. It contains three sensors that are placed on the tire valves, which constantly measure tire pressure. What makes this system practical is the fact that the sensors also send data via Bluetooth to your smartphone, allowing you to monitor your tire air pressure at any given moment.

These are the main differences between motorcycles and trikes that experienced motorcyclists should know about. Like with many things, it is going to take some time to adapt, but by following these tips, you will quickly get used to driving a trike properly. There’s also one important thing to mention in the end – remember to never lower your feet to the ground. Now, have fun conquering the road with these awesome three-wheel machines.

Please leave your comments on your experiences on switching from motorcycle to trike. I am happy to hear your story and experience. 🙂

 


4 comments

  • Thanks for explaining some of the differences between motorcycle and trikes! I ride a little ninja 250 and tried riding a family member’s trike a while back. I only rode it for about a minute or two, but the switch was so difficult. I almost couldn’t figure out how to make it turn because it felt so unnatural to actually use the handles to turn instead of leaning. That’s cool to know that maintenance is pretty much the same between the two though!

  • Always had trouble explaining to the Mrs. difference between motorcycle and trikes, your article clears that up a lot! Thanks

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