What to consider when buying a Trike

When looking to get your hands on a trike there are quite a lot of considerations.

Two Main Types

The most obvious difference is that some have been made from cars and some made from motorcycles. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Car derived trikes always have a reverse gear. Bike derived trikes are generally smaller and more agile.

Reverse Gear

Motorcycle derived trikes often don't have a reverse gear. If they were originally designed to have a reverse gear then you can fit one, that is if they do not already have one. However retrofitting reverse gear is sometimes a problem where there isn't enough room to fit the mechanism. A few solo bikes come with a reverse gear. The Goldwing has an electric reverse running off the starter motor. This system on the bike is OK however I have seen trike owners trying to reverse Goldwing trikes backwards uphill with the passenger still sitting on it. The system cannot take the load. It does help when the engine is running and charging the battery at the same time but only if the hill is not too steep. Some electric reverse gears use a car starter motor perhaps even with a seperate battery. This works quite well but they are inclined to lerch and start going backwards at a pace that is not that controllable and can be surprisingly fast. Some big harleys have an accessory reverse gear that fits inside the normal forward moving gearbox. I have not seen any problems with these on trikes. It's controllable via the throttle and the clutch.

The last option is the separate reverse gearbox. These have gears and oil inside and have an input shaft and an output shaft, and are mounted in the drive shaft system in front of the differential. This option seems generally good. Some trikes are using a reverse gearbox from a quad bike. I really do not know how robust these are so I would be gentle with these going forwards and backwards, just in case. The reason being that most trikes are heavier than most quad bikes so the mechanism will be under more stress.

Factory or Home Build

Another important consideration when buying a trike is to know whether it is factory made or a home build. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with a home built trike they often have areas that an experienced builder has been able to foresee and avoid the situations that are disappointing or that could have been better.

It must also be said that trike building factories usually consist of 2 or 3 workers. When all is said and done these are still hand built individual machines and you won't get the fineness of a mass production factory trike like a CanAm.

Heavy/light steering

An important consideration that is always coming up from feedback from customers is how heavy the steering is. For a young fit person this isn't really an issue however many trike riders are not in this group.

With bigger trikes and only as a general rule to get light steering you need an 'Ez Steer' kit (if available for the model being considered) or leading link front suspension also starting a smaller machine helps, a trike with a narrow track helps, wider handlebars also help.

Engine type

In addition to the considerations mentioned above, there are several other factors to keep in mind when looking to buy a trike. One important consideration is the type of engine and transmission. Trikes can be powered by a range of engines, including two-stroke, four-stroke, diesel, and electric. Similarly, they can have manual or automatic transmissions, and some models may offer a combination of both.

Rear suspension

Another important consideration is the type of suspension system. Trikes can have front, rear, or independent suspension systems, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It's important to choose a suspension system that offers a smooth and comfortable ride, particularly if you plan to use your trike for long-distance touring.

Weight of the trike

The size and weight of the trike are also important considerations. Larger and heavier trikes may be more stable and comfortable on long rides, but they may also be more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. Similarly, smaller and lighter trikes may be more agile and easier to handle, but they may not be as comfortable for long rides.

Spare Parts

Finally, it's important to consider the availability of spare parts and support services for the trike you are considering. Trikes from established manufacturers are generally easier to service and repair, as they are more likely to have a network of dealers and service centers. Home-built or custom-built trikes may be more difficult to service and repair, particularly if they use non-standard or custom-made parts.

We offer a wide range of Trikes for sale, please contact us for more details or with any questions which you may have. Call David 07808 572709 or e-mail info@trikeandsidecarexchange.co.uk.

David Evans

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