Everything Motorcycle Enthusiasts Need to Know About 3-Wheeled Motorcycles
It seems like every year 3-wheeled motorcycles, also known as trikes, get more and more popular. Manufacturers like Harley Davidson, Polaris, Can-Am, and Honda have taken notice and are producing more models with bigger improvements.
Maybe you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about, or maybe you’re considering getting one for yourself. Well, we have just the thing for you! A buyer’s guide for the world of 3-wheeled motorcycles.
What’s The Deal With 3-Wheeled Motorcycles?
We’re glad you ask, Jerry Seinfeld. As much as we love our motorcycles here at TMS, we know they’re not the safest vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycles are involved in 7 times as many accidents as cars.
So how can you enjoy an open-air vehicle while feeling a little safer? A 3-wheeled motorcycle, of course! What exactly does that offer over a traditional motorcycle, though?
- Increased Visibility – This is probably the most important factor. According to The Hurt Report published in 1981, a large portion of motorcycle accidents involve riders who aren’t visible to other vehicles on the highway. Trikes are much wider and larger than traditional bikes, closer to the size of a small car. This makes their visibility much higher to other drivers and riders alike.
- Increased Stability – This is a bit obvious, but worth mentioning. The cause of many accidents are riders who lack control over their vehicles. People lack confidence. They target fixate, counter-steer far too little and end up on the pavement. The stability and traction control also makes it a great choice for older riders who might not have the leg strength to hold up their hog at a red light these days.
- Easier Handling – Counter-steering on a motorcycle is a bit unintuitive for folks who have never ridden before, but is picked up with by muscle memory in less than a week of riding. It’s not the counter-steering that’s difficult, but rather the commitment to the corner, leaning, and looking to where you want to go. Controlling your trike is as easy as pushing your handlebars one way or the other. It’s easy handling for the riders who need it and a fun and comfortable ride for everybody. No matter your experience, less wheel slippage is definitely a good thing.
The Best 3-Wheeled Motorcycles
The world of 3-wheeled motorcycles isn’t always as expensive as their 2-wheeled cousins. But here are some of our favorite hot rod trikes from a few of our favorite manufacturers.
Polaris Slingshot SL
One of the most popular options for trikes and the one you probably see on the road most often is the Slingshot SL. The GM Ecotec 2.4L DOHC 4 Cylinder engine under the hood gives this beauty 173 horsepower at peak performance. The wheelbase at heart 105” gives you all the control you could ever ask for without sacrificing any of the power.
Anti-lock braking systems and traction control both come standard on the Slingshot SL, and all of the lights are LED for maximum visibility. All of this, and you still got all of the luxuries you could want in a personal vehicle like a 7” touch-screen (with glove touch technology of course) and a 200-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system for your favorite tunes.
The Can-Am Ryker is another quality option when looking through available 3-wheeled motorcycles. It has two engine options, the Rotax® 600 ACE™ in-line 2 cylinders, liquid-cooled with electronic fuel injection and electronic throttle control. As well as the Rotax® 900 ACE™ in-line 3 cylinders, liquid-cooled with electronic fuel injection and electronic throttle control, giving 50 HP and 83 HP respectively.
The Ryker is a little more stripped down than the Slingshot. It does not include an audio system and it is built for a single rider. But it has all of the high-tech features you want in the controls. Standard features for the Ryker include anti-lock brakes, traction control systems, and Hill Hold Control. In order to counteract wheel slip on steep inclines.
A new-comer to the world of trikes, the Yamaha Niken is the perfect pick for riders who want safer handing in their bike but don’t want to give up the traditional motorcycle feel. The Nyken has an 847cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder engine and a 6-speed transmission. The most notable feature of this trike is the incredibly unique Leaning Multi-Wheel chassis. The two front wheels lean in unison. This gives you the stability of a trike with the riding style of a standard motorcycle. It allows for better handling and increased stopping power, it’s the perfect trike for seasoned motorcycle riders.
Of course, Yamaha didn’t skip on the awesome electronics. Nikens come with a high-contrast LCD display you can easily see in daylight. It also includes adjustable traction control so you never lose traction, and even a cruise control system.
Excellence on 3 Wheels
3-wheeled motorcycles aren’t for everybody, but it’s a great option to have for folks who can’t ride motorcycles for any given reason. Whether you got bad knees and can’t hold up the hog like you used to, or maybe you’re just getting into the world of open-air vehicles.
No matter the circumstances, 3-wheeled motorcycles (aka trikes) is a great option. If you’ve got a trike-curious person in your life, show them this article, and tell ‘em TMS sent ya!