How to ride a trike                



Learning to ride a  trike is not as easy as it looks.

If you haven't ridden a motorcycle trike or been involved with motorcycle trikes, you are really missing something! I am sure you have seen these awesome machines riding down the road and you have turned your head to get a look.  Adding a third wheel to your motorcycle creates an amazing riding experience, has certain safety benefits, and gets bunches of attention.

There are tricks to riding a motorcycle trike. When I first rode a trike  it scared the "poop" out of me and I almost wrecked it.  Seriously!!....LOL.  So let me help the newcomers to trike riding before you scare yourself to death and decide that a trike isn't for you which was my initial impression.

Riding a trike is easy once you grasp onto the concept. However, it's totally different from riding a motorcycle. Leaning is not of consequence on a trike...not really...whereas that is how you turn a motorcycle in normal curves...through leaning. Ok, so we now know that leaning is not how to turn. How do we turn a motorcycletrike? The trike is turned by pushing your handlebar either to the left or to the right...much like a riding lawnmower or an atv. The turning is done carefully...NO SUDDEN MOVEMENTS. A small movement of the handlebar will do a lot; the trike is very responsive to the moves in the handlebars. So, start out your test ride very slowly and remember this...the faster you go, the less cumbersome the trike becomes. It will feel heavy and it's a handfull while riding slowly but when you're at cruising speeds, the trike lightens up and is truly a pleasure to ride.

Some of the advantages of a trike in this rider's opinion are as follows. You can stop at a stoplight and not worry about your footing or retaining your balance. This can be a big deal on a wet road or if you're getting older and having trouble balancing your motorcycle at a stop or perhaps if you have a medical condition such as a bad knee, etc but love to ride. That is why you often see many riders of advanced age riding a trike. A trike can give you better control in wet weather and wet roads. A motorcycle trike can offer much in terms of luggage capacity and rider comfort and if you tow a trailer with it the luggage capacity is almost as good a car.

You can buy a completed trike new or as a used machine  or you can convert your own motorcycle to a motorcycle trike . (like I did) There are several known quality brands; Lehman, Motortrike, California Side Car, Champion....just to name a few and in no particular order. There is even one brand that supposedly you can switch back and forth from a trike to a motorcycle without that much effort. There are many other brands that are high quality that I didn't mention. If you're handy mechanically, you can probably do the conversion yourself using your own motorcycle and tools. Cost of the kits vary in price depending on the options, etc.  If do not have the skills it takes to convert or build your own trike have the work done by a qualified person. 

Some motorcycle "purists" would contend that a motorcycle trike is not motorcycling; that it is not acceptable to a "real" biker. A REAL biker respects other bikers and their machines, even if different from theirs. Many people who have certain medical conditions that love to ride motorcycles but are physically unable to are able to stay with the sport as now they can ride without having to worry about balance or the weight of the machine being too much for them. Folks, whatever a person rides, respect him or her for the fact that they are brethren in that we are all motorcycle riders, regardless of the shape or size of their ride.

Enjoy riding your trike but if you're shy, I don't recommend getting one as you'll be causing head-turning everywhere you go and they'll be looking AT YOU.




Learning to ride a motorcycle trike is not as easy as it looks. Here are some pointers to get you going as a triker.

  1. 1.   The motorcycle trike controls are exactly the same as on a motorcycle. However, the steering is different and you need to get used to it.
  3. 2.   Start out driving the trike in a parking lot with your right hand in your back pocket. Leave the trike in first gear, steer it around the lot and do some figure-8s. Get used to the long pushes to turn corners.
  5. 3.   You steer a trike much like a car. You will find it easiest to use a push-pull steering technique. That is, when you want to turn right, pull the right grip toward you while pushing the left grip away from you. Similarly, for a left turn, pull the left grip toward you while pushing the right grip away from you. This technique is especially useful making turns on twisties. You will find it much easier to pull the grip on a hard turn than trying to only push the grip.
  7. 4.   You need to spend some time getting familiar with steering and evasive maneuvers. Your mind will keep telling you that you are on a bike. Train yourself to steer, not countersteer.
  9. 5.   Don't try to put your foot down when you stop. The rear wheel will run over it.
  11. 6.   Remember that the trike is wide and you have to compensate when you pull in next to a gasoline island or a toll plaza.
  13. 7.   Drive the trike in a traffic lane positioned much like a car.
  15. 8.   Turning long sweepers will be easy. Doing twisties will take some technique and a certain amount of muscle.
  17. 9.   Trikes can be altered to have more rake. This makes steering easier but judgment mistakes are easier to make too.
  19. 10. Tight turns or decreasing radius turns on entrance and exit ramps are noticeably more difficult and require steady pressure.


  1. Do not assume that since you've been riding motorcycles for 30 years, that you already know how to ride a trike. You may find yourself in the ditch.