Honda Goldwing Trike

Is a Trike Really Considered a Motorcycle? We Uncover the Truth

Motorcycle riders travelling up and down many roads encounter all different types of motorcycles.  Motorcycles range from brand new models riden right from the showroom floor still covered in all the safety stickers to old beaters which amaze you that they are still road worthy.  But like all motorcycle riders we differ from our car driving counterparts.  We don’t wear seat belts, no roof, wind protection and no air conditioning or heaters(We know heated vests and grips but is this really a heater like a car?)

The real question is how do Trikes fit into the motorcycle world?  When you see most Trikes they sometimes resemble what once was a motorcycle.  After some heavy customization thesemotorcycles morph into a three wheelers.  You also find purpose built Trikes like the T-Rex or the Can-Am Spyder.  So these trikes are nothing more than customized motorcycles with three wheels?  Well I beg to defer and so does Wikipedia.

The defeinition of a motorcycle according to Wikipedia is “A motorcycle (also called a motorbikebike, or cycle) is a single-track, engine-powered,[1] two-wheeled[2] motor vehicle.”  No where in this definition do I see Trike or three wheels mentioned do you?

Do the differences stop just in the definition of course not.  The handling between a motorcycle and a Trike is vastly different.  Motorcycles lean through corners and create a gyro effect keeping the motorcycle upright while the trike goes around a corners like car.  Though some companies are trying to create Trikes that lean around corners but it requires a ton of mechanical engineering to create the same results but still not the same.  Some would argue that Trikes are actually more dangerous than standard motorcycles due to the fact if you turn to deeply into a corner it could high-side the trike more easily than 2 wheels.  That being said a poor rider on 2 wheels can easily high-side or low-side if they make a mistake in the same corner.  Whatever the case I would much rather want a 2 wheel motorcycle to land on top of me rather than a huge trike.

So you ask why do riders choose three wheels instead of the standard two?  The reasons are varied from you dont need a motorcycle license to operate one(depending where you are located), some claim they are safer, no helmetsrequired,people intimated by 2 wheels, and some just genuinely love Trikes and would have it no other way.  Trikes are believed to have an origin either from either side car motorcycles or from three wheeled vehicles from Asia like the Tuk Tuk or rickshaw.  Whatever the root origin the Trikes have taken on a scene on their own as owners use anything from Volkswagon buggy rear ends to 100% custom creations with no motorcycle being safe from the Trike builders.

Trikes just like motorcycles share the road with us and the evil car drivers that never seem to see us.  So no matter how much you ignore or don’t wave to the Trike riders they will most probably be the first non-motorcycle to stop and lend a hand.  So next time you see a Trike rider think twice about not waving.

Let us know what you think of the difference between Trikes and motorcycles in the comment section below.  Tell us your thoughts on the matter.

4 thoughts on “Is a Trike Really Considered a Motorcycle? We Uncover the Truth”

  1. Trikes are ridden for different reasons; disabled persons, older persons which have difficult to ride a motorcycle on 2 wheels but the most people like to ride a trike because of the comfort. Your article pointed the motorcycle-trikes but there are also custom trikes (half car/half motorcycle). I ride one and love the ability to drive 500 miles without having pain in the knees or back. Also I can have 300 liters of luggage AND a passenger with me without noticing it. Making a long trip makes a real difference comparing 2 and 3 wheels. So it’s mostly the comfort on touring but also the fun you get because people always smile when they see a custom trike. Even a lot of cars wave to us! Riding a Harley is a lifestyle. Riding a trike is that also, on another wider level. Most trikers are bikers who switched to a trike. Not much people buy a trike without having ridden a motorcycle before. So that’s good to know if you wave to a triker; 99% of them have been bikers and still are that in their soul!
    Regards, Pierre – Belgium / Europe

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