What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called? Motorcycle trike

What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called? Just as two-wheel motorcycles are usually called “bikes”, three-wheel versions tend to be called “trikes”. The term refers to the positioning of the wheels that gives them their instantly recognizable Y configuration and describes the unique format of these motorized vehicles that lie somewhere between a bike and a motorcar. Some refer directly to a Can-Am Spyder or Can-Am Ryker.

What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called?

Motorcycles with 3 wheels are most commonly called trikes or trike motorcycles. These vehicles are very similar to motorcycles, but the main difference is that they run on three wheels.

They are usually powered by a gasoline engine, but you can also find electric trikes on the market.

What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called

There are basically four different types of 3-wheel motorcycles:

  • Regular trikes: These vehicles are also known as “wheels back trikes” as they have two rear wheels and a single wheel in front. It’s safe to say that the majority of trikes in the U.S. are designed in this style. Besides the factory-built trikes, you can find plenty of trike kits on the market. These affordable kits can turn a regular 2-wheel motorcycle into a trike.
  • Reverse trikes: These days, reverse or “wheels front trikes” are becoming more popular. As their name implies they come with two front wheels and a single driven rear wheel. There are two main types of these machines, the “rigid” as well as the “leaning” reverse trike. The latter can lean into the turns just like any other ordinary motorcycle. That’s why this design has been gaining in popularity!
  • Sidecar motorcycles: A sidecar motorcycle consists of two main parts, a regular motorcycle with a 1-wheeled sidecar. This device is connected to the side of the motorcycle and can hold a passenger or some gear. In the past these vehicles were more prevalent, but now you rarely see them on the road.
  • Outrigger trikes: It might be confusing at first glance but outrigger “trikes” actually feature four wheels instead of three. This is because these vehicles have been converted from regular motorcycles without removing the rear wheel. Instead, they are equipped with a 2-wheel assembly surrounding the original rear wheel of the motorcycle. Finally, these wheels work like the training wheels on children’s bicycles.
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Trikes are also categorized as trike scooters and trike motorcycles based on their design.

The majority of trike motorcycles are powered with 600-1,400cc engines, which produce 50-120 HP depending on the make and model. In contrast, trike scooters typically feature smaller, 50-500cc engines and automatic (CVT) transmissions.

In Asian countries, these smaller trikes (called tuk-tuks) are very popular and used as commercial vehicles to transport people or cargo.

Who invented the trike?

Although it’s hard to say who invented the trike, the first trike in history that was mass produced was the De Dion-Bouton tricycle.

This vintage trike motorcycle was built in France and hit the market in 1896. During the following five years, this vehicle was the most successful motorized vehicle on the European market.

The De Dion-Bouton 3-wheel motorcycle was actually a tricycle that was supported by a small 211cc engine that produced 1.5 HP. The total weight of the vehicle was less than 176 pounds and was only 36 inches wide.

This model remained in production for many years, but the latest models got a more powerful 955cc, 8 HP engine. Finally, 15,000 units were sold before the model was discontinued in 1904.

It’s a fun fact that the registered top speed record of the De Dion-Bouton trikes is no less than 67.8 mph!

Do they make automatic trikes?

Yes, the good news is that you can find many automatic trikes on the market. As a rule of thumb, all trike scooters are equipped with an automatic transmission. But if you are looking for more power, keep in mind that Can-Am trikes also feature a semi-automatic transmission.

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What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called

What’s more, the iconic Honda GoldWing is available with a 7-speed automatic (DCT) transmission. So, if you are looking for an automatic trike, you can convert a new GoldWing into a trike with an aftermarket trike kit.

Do you need a motorcycle license for a trike?

Most states require a 2-wheel motorcycle endorsement or a 3-wheel motorcycle endorsement in order to ride a trike motorcycle.

In many cases, you’ll be able to operate a 3-wheel motorcycle if you hold a standard 2-wheel motorcycle license. However, if you take the skills test on a 3-wheel motorcycle, you will typically be restricted to ONLY operating trikes.

The following states allow you to ride a trike with a standard driver’s license:

  • California.
  • Nevada.
  • South Carolina.

Regardless of whether you need a motorcycle license to operate a trike, it is still important to learn about the basic operation and build the skills necessary to be a safe rider.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a basic rider course for 3-wheel motorcycles. Successful completion of this course may satisfy the written knowledge exam and skills test requirements for your state DMV.


Are trikes safer than motorcycles?

Trikes are safer than two wheeled motorcycles in just about every way, but neither offers the safety features that you’ll enjoy in most automobiles.

Are trike motorcycles hard to ride?

A trike motorcycle is much easier! All you need is to tilt the handlebars in the direction you want to go and voila – you are turning. It’s the same process as you use when driving your car, which makes it easier to learn.

Do I need a helmet on a trike?

Helmets are only compulsory for motorcycles, not Trikes. However, it is highly recommended that you wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of an accident. It also protects you from the elements and debris getting flicked up by other road users.

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Do motorcycle trikes have a reverse gear?

To operate the reverse simply have the ignition on, put the trike in neutral, lift the lever on the left side of the trike to engage the motor, and push the horn button on the Harley models or the added button on others to back up.

Above is information about What is a 3 wheel motorcycle called? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of Do you need a motorcycle license for a trike? Thank you for reading our post.

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