What is a trike motorcycle?

A trike is built on a motorcycle chassis with three wheels rather than two. The standard trike has one wheel in front and two in the back, like a three-wheeled bicycle. A reverse trike has two wheels in the front and one in the back. Trikes started as aftermarket customizations of standard motorcycles, but many new models blur the line between motorcycle and car.

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Why buy a trike motorcycle?

Trikes initially gained popularity as a way for bikers who could no longer manage a traditional motorcycle to keep riding. They're still a great fit for seniors, veterans with chronic injuries, disabled riders, or anyone who's afraid of falling on a two-wheeled motorcycle but wants to ride.

For touring long distances, a trike's extra storage capacity and low-fatigue riding style make them a great option. For bikers who like having a distinctive ride, trikes are eye-catching and look like custom bikes. Some conversion kits allow you to change your bike to a trike set-up without making permanent changes (like drilling holes), so you can switch back.

Pros and cons of trike motorcycles

Trike motorcycle pros

There are three pros that trike motorcycles offer over more common types of motorcycles. Trike motorcycles are more stable and resist tipping over. Depending on the axle's width between the paired wheels, they can stand up independently. Due to the increased size, they typically have more storage space than a comparable two-wheeler. They are less tiring to ride than standard motorcycles since they don't require as much — or in many cases, any — work to balance.

Trike motorcycle cons

There are three cons to buying a trike motorcycle. Trike motorcycles often cost more than a comparable two-wheeled motorcycle. They're also physically larger, making them tougher to park, especially in dedicated motorcycle parking. The biggest drawback for motorcycle enthusiasts is that they feel different than riding a two-wheeler.

Reverse trike models now exist with tilting wheels in the front, allowing the rider to lean more as they would with a typical motorcycle.

Is a trike safer than a motorcycle?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), two-wheeled motorcycles accounted for 91 percent of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes in 2019. However, two-wheeled motorcycles are still much more common than trikes, so it's hard to say definitively.

Trikes certainly reduce some of the risks of riding a motorcycle. For example, a trike is harder to drop or roll than a motorcycle, especially for trikes with a two-in-front configuration. That increased stability can make it easier to navigate bad weather or uneven road surfaces. Because of their more prominent profile, trikes can be more visible, which can also improve safety.

Before you hit the road, protect yourself and your trike with motorcycle insurance and learn about the available motorcycle insurance coverages. See why nearly one in three insured motorcycle riders choose Progressive. Whether you ride a trike, touring, or custom bike, we have you covered.

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