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What You Need to Know About 3 Wheel Bikes for Adults

Are you considering taking the exciting leap and buying a three-wheel bike to hit the roads and trails for errands and adventures? If you've never owned, ridden, or heard of these bikes before, you naturally want to learn as much as possible to make such an important investment for your health and mode of transportation.

The first thing to remember is that 3-wheel bikes, also called trikes or tricycles, are quickly gaining popularity. In October 2021, Globe Newswire via Fortune Business Insights reported that the global trike market should increase in demand because of the three-wheel bicycle's comfort and convenience for riders of all ages. Even better, many tricycles have the option of adding a battery and running on electricity, making them electric tricycles or e-trikes. However, we'll primarily focus on the traditional, human-powered, non-motorized trikes.

Let's learn what you need to know about 3 wheel bikes for adults, why one might be the perfect fit for you, and your riding needs and goals.

What Are Three-Wheel Bikes?

A three-wheel bike is an adult tricycle. You might have had a tricycle when you were a child or toddler, or maybe you had a neighborhood friend or acquaintance who did. Tricycles are a safe gateway into the cycling world for young and inexperienced riders who want to go out and play in the driveway or on the sidewalk.

In some ways, the reasoning isn't so different for adults who want to ride trikes. Suppose you don't want to do long-distance road cycling, off-road mountain biking, or anything especially high-paced in your bicycling adventures. Why not consider something with a premier focus on comfort, utility, and convenience?

And best of all, you don't have to sacrifice the joys of riding a bike when you own a trike. You can ride easily with excellent stability to boost you confidence during every ride, especially if you are transporting groceries or precious cargo like your children or pets in a rear basket.

Who Is Buying Adult Tricycles and Why? 

In May 2022, Sarah Robertson at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reinforced the growing popularity of adult tricycles, reporting that more adults of various ages want more stability and cargo space when heading out for a bicycle ride, whether for pleasure, errands, or work commutes. The article notes that U.S. bicycle sales increased to $5.3 billion in 2021, a 60% increase over the years preceding the pandemic.

These sturdy, stabilizing bicycles allow riders to enjoy cycling in a safer way, especially if they plan to transport anything of substance. As a huge benefit, it also allows people with mobility issues to get out and exercise without worrying about the risk of injury.

Here are a few people who most commonly decide to invest in an adult tricycle:

Busy Adults

Busy adults who want to bicycle to work and do daily errands without using their bike as a primary mode of fitness, although fitness is a natural part of the experience. However, it isn't intended for fitness-specific goals, such as training for cycling races or mixed terrain events, such as mountain biking. It's the perfect way to get simple, daily exercise and take care of daily business.

Senior Citizens

Senior citizens who want to get out and exercise. Elderly citizens might sometimes suffer from poor or declining balance and can benefit from the natural stability of a 3-wheel bike. They can mix up their exercise sessions between daily walks and leisurely tricycle rides with friends and loved ones. Seniors don't need to feel left out of family gatherings that involve bicycle rides, thanks to having three secure wheels.

Adults with Injuries or Balance-Related Challenges

Adults who are no longer able to ride two-wheeled bicycles for any reason and per their healthcare provider's recommendation, might prefer a adult tricycle. Whether someone has incurred a lasting injury or suffers from a condition that interferes with their sense of balance, such as mild but ongoing vertigo, they can still enjoy going out on and enjoying the open road with safety and confidence.

Adults with Disabilities or Physical Challenges

Some trikes on the market can help disabled riders enjoy cycling. Trikes geared toward adults in this specific category might feature handlebars with steering set directly in front of the rider to allow for more control while the seat leans forward more, allowing for a lower center of balance, letting gravity do more work. There are several adaptive bike and trike designs available for adults with physical challenges who want to ride.

A Brief History of 3 Wheel Bikes for Adults

Some people might think adult three-wheel bikes are relatively new to the cycling market, but they've been around since the late 19th century. During the 1870s and 1880s, the Tiller & Treadle Adult Tricycle was designed, produced, and sold as one of the earliest forms of human-powered transportation, predating the bicycle. It was the first successful cycling machine made from the early 1850s and forward.

Once known as velocipedes, three wheel bicycles featured wooden spokes and wheels and iron-strapped tires, inspired by the materials used to manufacture the wheel sets of horse-drawn carriages. As you might imagine, these weren't the lightweight cycles that we know today; hence the primary riders of these wood and iron cycles were mainly athletic young men. They definitely weren't the comfort-focused machines we're so grateful for today. These tricycles often featured higher rear wheels or a higher front wheel, which further compounded the difficulties of riding one. You certainly wouldn't have seen senior citizens or women riding them out of anything other than desperation.

In 1881, the Salvo tricycle was developed and bestowed to Queen Victoria, who never rode the hand-steered tricycle because it was still a machine not ready to provide safe and comfortable passage for those other than healthy men.

In 1888, Matthew A. Cherry created patents for new inventions and additions to the velocipede that allowed the cycle to carry up to three people. These trikes were lower to the ground than previous versions, such as high-wheelers, making it easier for women wearing long, flowing dresses to hop on and ride.

Today's 3 Wheel Bikes for Adults

Over the past nearly 150 years, cycling designers have continued to work to refine adult trikes. They were reasonably popular in the 1970s and 1980s with some housewives and senior citizens who wanted to enjoy outdoor time safely and securely. While they never disappeared, they have gained a great deal of popularity over the past five-to-10 years, especially as bicycle developers and sellers like SixThreeZero have worked diligently to refine these cycles to bring out and refine their best qualities to serve an underserved population of passionate cyclists.

Today's 3 wheel bikes for adults are designed to sit closer to the ground and feature what are known as dropdown frames. These frames make it easier to get on and off a trike, even if you have a limited range of motion.

The balance differential between a traditional bicycle and an adult trike is terrific. Thanks to the additional wheel, you can ride without worrying about balance, making it ideal for seniors—or adults of any age—who need extra support in that area. And that's true even when you come to a complete stop on your adult tricycle. You don't have to wobble as you try to stop at a stop sign or when you reach your destination.

If you can believe it, you'll find it easier to climb hills on a tricycle since you won't need to maintain the same forward motion necessary to climb hills on a two-wheel bike. Modern adult trikes are designed and built with state-of-the-art gears that make hill climbing a breeze.

Finally, you can experience peak comfort on an adult tricycle since the seats help distribute each rider's weight equally, reducing pain, pressure, and discomfort you, as many of us, have experienced when riding a traditional bicycle.

How Can You Use an Adult Three Wheel Bicycle?

Although many still think of tricycles as only being fit for young children learning the ropes, adult trikes offer you a world of fun, freedom, and fitness with plenty of security and stability. You can use your adult trike for recreational bike rides and for a more comfortable and affordable means of daily transportation. And everyone is looking for a way to save money today, especially at the gas pump. That means you can save money, get things done, and get fit simultaneously.

Some more sporting trikes, known as drifting trikes, aren't intended for daily use, comfort, or commuting. These bikes do slide and drift and are more commonly found in adrenaline-based sports, so unless that's your goal, you're most likely looking for a standard adult three-wheel bike.

Are There Health Benefits Associated with Riding an Adult Three-Wheel Bike?

We've discussed all the ways you can use your adult trike, but you might wonder about the specific health benefits you can enjoy or whether you'll sacrifice health and fitness perks for comfort and stability. While you won't be setting any speed records on your trike, you'll reap many of the same health benefits that you can from leisure cycling, including:

  • Experience a good, heart-pumping cardio workout for optimal heart health, especially when you tackle some hills and push yourself during interval sessions.
  • Take advantage of the lung-boosting properties of tricycling, which increase your lung capacity and power to help you tackle daily stair climbs and strenuous hikes more easily. 
  • The brain-enhancing benefits associated with any cycling adventure are many and powerful. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, or anxiety or are trying to ward off dementia, a good adult trike ride can boost endorphins and improve your mood. People who exercise regularly report a better sense of well-being, and if you can get it done on a highly stable adult trike, all the better. 
  • Adult tricycles offer people who might not have cycling opportunities on traditional bikes a chance to enjoy optimal health too. The stability of 3 wheel bikes allows people of all health levels and abilities to enjoy the great outdoors on human-powered wheels.

What Should You Look for in an Adult 3 Wheel Bicycle?

If you have started shopping for your 3 wheel bicycle, you might have noticed that there are a lot of options. Therefore, you might not know how or where to start shopping. We wanted to give you an idea of what is available and what to consider as you search for your adult tricycle, so please take a look at the following features and considerations:

  • Speeds. You can choose a single-speed tricycle or one with multiple speeds, featuring several gears you can select. Remember that the extra gears make hill climbing more bearable, while single-speed bikes require less maintenance.
  • Wheel Size. The available wheel sizes for adult trikes are 20, 24, and 26 inches. If your stature is smaller, you will need smaller wheels to ensure optimal comfort. The same is true for your height, no matter how tall, which makes custom fitting and one-year warranties vital.
  • Saddle. Comfort is king on your adult trike, and the saddle is the seat of power. Fortunately, most adult trikes come with well-padded saddles. If you would like more support, search for one that features a backrest. 
  • Front or Rear Basket. A massive benefit of riding a three-wheel bike is that you can safely transport groceries and other items, so you need a front or rear basket or both.

Our BodyEase Tricycle Is the Perfect Fit for the Peak Comfort Cycling Experience 

At SixThreeZero, we want to ensure you find the perfect fit for your cycling experience, and we believe our adult tricycles fit the bill. Our team can help you determine the right features and specifications, down to the color and basket choice.

Contact our knowledgeable and enthusiastic cycling service team to learn more about our BodyEase tricycle to see if it's the right 3 wheel bike for you and how you can customize yours. 


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