Is A Trike a Motorcycle?

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Is a Trike a Motorcycle?

The word “trike” used to conjure images of the wackiest ‘70s customs, with luxuriant polychrome glitter paint and thousands of lights. Moustaches, tassels, and tragic belly-shirts. And airbrushing, lots and lots of airbrushing. They were a crazy mutant of the motorcycle family, with maybe a touch of dune buggy DNA, but still part of the family. They were usually built off of a motorcycle platform, with some fiberglass kit parts and a cast-off Beetle axle. They were bad in both senses of the word. Trikes disappeared for a while, but they’re coming back.  This time, though, they’re the production kind, not so much the custom kind.

Tri-Glide
Tri-Glide

A few years ago, Harley brought out the Tri-Glide, a touring trike that can’t help looking a little like a geriatric version of the Electra Glide. What could have more biker DNA that a Harley touring machine?  Still, it’s like H-D themselves were copping to the stereotype of being an old man’s machine. When you see someone on a Tri-Glide, you want to say, “Good for you!” with a friendly but unintentionally condescending tilt of the head.

CanAm’s Spyder
CanAm’s Spyder

CanAm’s Spyder trikes certainly have a sportier look. It’s a machine that may feel a little safer or easier to control than a two-wheeled bike, but it seems to be going after a younger target audience. (Whether it actually is safer or not, that perception may be unimportant to their target buyer.) Still, their advertising indicates they’re trying to go for biker credibility. In its 2012 ad, the couples on a CanAm outing stop at a stereotypical biker roadhouse. At around the 0:10 mark, there is a tough-looking “real” biker in the background, complete with patch-festooned vest, giving the CanAm an approving nod. At the 0:20 mark, they exchange biker waves with a group of oncoming cruisers. This little piece of fantasy is just the validation they’re looking for.

 

Soon, the Polaris Slingshot will join the trike genus, but this is a bit of a different animal. With its side-by-side bucket seats and steering wheel, this has less claim, and maybe less aspiration, to be grouped with the bikes. This is more of a radical sport buggy — a three-wheeled open car, rather than a bike.  Closer to a Talon or even a Morgan than a Harley.

Since for some reason it is always important to decide who is in or out, what is “authentic” or not, we cannot help but ask: is a trike a motorcycle?

I think we can say right off that steering wheels and side-by-side seating are disqualifiers.  It may be a great machine, but not even the manufacturer would call it a bike.

Polaris Slingshot
Polaris Slingshot

For the Spyder and the Tri-Glide, there is something quintessential that they lack: they do not lean.  Leaning is so fundamental to the experience of riding, to what separates riding from driving, that any machine that doesn’t lean cannot be considered a motorcycle. How you lean is one of the major factors that defines who you are as a biker. It is really how you express yourself and how you get your thrills.  Leaning is what makes riding physical and visceral. Leaning is everything.

The Piaggio MP3 leans, so we can be liberal enough to give that little guy a pass. As for the others, they may be fun, comfy, and quick, but, sorry, they aren’t motorcycles.

Do you agree? Is leaning what separates the boys from the men?

  • Michael Howard

    Leaning ‒ and countersteering ‒ are what defines “motorcycle” to me. Even if it has paired wheels front and/or rear, if you have to countersteer to lean and have to lean into the corner to turn, it’s a motorcycle.

    • http://www.eastwestbrothersgarage.com/ East-West Brothers Garage

      I have to agree here. The idea of a trike is to remove the element of danger of leaning, which is a defining characteristic of riding a motorcycle. If you are riding a trike, you might as well drive a convertible. Of course, riding a trike seems like an image play to try to add that element of rebelliousness that driving a convertible does not seem to provide.

  • HyperLemon

    What about sidecars? At least those that don’t have a lean mechanism… would you say a Ural is a motorcycle or not?
    Personally I don’t call a trike a motorcycle (I call them trike), but to me the Tri-Glide and the Spyder belong to the same group (which I define by controls and seating position) and I’d greet them just as well if I were to see them on the road.

    • DC

      I give the Ural and other sidecars a pass since they’re usually derivatives of two-wheelers with some (relatively) minor changes. Not really the case with the Tri-Glide and CanAm…or the Chevy S10 with an HD front end I saw on craigslist.

    • Justin McClintock

      I would definitely consider a sidecar to still be a motorcycle. For one, you can usually quickly detach the sidecar and ride it solo. But even more importantly, it’s got its own set of dynamics. And you can always fly the chair.

    • Jeremy

      My sentiments, exactly. If it’s got motorcycle controls and seating, it’s still a trike. If it has a steering wheel, it’s a car, minus one wheel. I have been curious however, about trikes, specifically reverse trikes. I think one set up properly, would be INSANELY fun. I’ve got a buddy with a yard full of wrecked UJM’s, volkswagens, and is a huge trike nut. I’ve been trying to entice him to the idea of a “drift trike”. The can-am is a neat starting point to a “performance 3-wheeler”, but I think the idea can be tweaked a bit, to be a bit more hooligan-ish.

      • Piglet2010

        The problem with the Can-Am is the seat is too high – for a true performance multi-track trike you want a much lower recumbent seat, such as you find in an open-wheel race car.

        • Jeremy

          Aye, that was something I was looking at as well. My thoughts on it were more about getting the center lower, yet still allow you to hang off, and keep that weight to the inside front wheel, help keep it from lifting in a corner. It’s just an idea I’ve been stuck on for a little while. It would be something one-off, I’m not interested in cutting up a vehicle I’d need to finance, when I have access to tools and parts.

          • Piglet2010

            A much lighter, single-seat version of the T-Rex would be fun.

            http://i.gzn.jp/img/2009/10/22/trex_tms2009/trex_000.jpg

            • Jeremy

              But set up like a morgan, with the engine up front, and a miata gearbox. If not that, then motorcycle controls, and yeah, single seat.

              • Piglet2010

                A ZX-14R engine and transmission would be my choice,

  • Sjef

    In the Netherlands you don’t need a motorcycle license to ride/drive them. Seems pretty clear to me that way. Not a motorcycle.

    • Kemal Kautsar

      so, what license do i need to ride trikes in Netherlands?

      • nick2ny

        Tricycle license-sicle.

        • Scott Vogt

          ya in Canada (British Columbia) they are not considered motorcycles either. If you do your testing on a trike or a scooter (under 50cc) you get an asterisk by your licence that says you cant ride a big boy bike. We have to do a parking lot cone test here as well and when I did mine there was a goldwing trike and one of those bombardier spyders. Considering the test is to check your clutch control and low speed balance it kinda makes sense.

      • http://moppedfahren.wordpress.com/ moppedfahren

        Until 2013 you needed a car license, as in the rest of Europe. Which made the answer to the ‘is a trike a bike’ question kind of obvious. Now you’ll need a motorcycle license for trikes and the like, due to changed EU legislation.

        • Sjef

          that’s new to me, not a bad choice. How about helmets,are they mandatory too now?

          • http://moppedfahren.wordpress.com/ moppedfahren

            As far as I know, you’re exempt from wearing a helmet, if your ‘motorcycle’ has a seatbelt (and you are using it). I have no idea, if seatbelts are common on trikes, so far I think this is a custom-tailored rule for BMW C1s

  • Aaron

    You drive a trike, you ride a bike. That said a trike is hard as balls to drive for any period of time. Leaning and counter stearing are fun AND more efficient. With a trike you have to push and pull the bars to turn, without a steering damper you get jarred by every bump. My dad has one, he doesn’t like riding it either.

  • eddi

    The defining element to me is you ride these machines. The Slingshot is firmly in sports car or at least sporty car territory. Trikes require the same survival skills as any motorcycle. Situational awareness and safety gear are vital. And add a different set of riding skills.

  • Koczk

    ‘Tricycle’ and ‘motorcycle’ are not by definition, the same thing. So no, the second you add a third wheel, you are not riding a motorcycle.

    Sidecars being the only exception. It’s just that simple.

    And the guy who said “Trikes require the same survival skills as any motorcycle,’ needs to get his head checked, or just say away from two-wheeled vehicles. I don’t even know where to start in refuting that ridiculous statement.

    Please, stop watering down the skill and risk real riders take every single day.

  • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

    No, no, no, a thousand times NO! The only reason to excuse the existence of a conventional trike is lack of front suspension knowledge or capability. At least reverse layout three wheelers (two up front, one drive wheel) are dynamically sound on the road. Conventional trikes are an abomination and one of the stupidest concepts in motoring. http://ericrshelton.com/2013/07/10/i-just-dont-understand-trikes/

  • Cody

    The only way a trike is a bike is if you have a have a hook for a hand—then I’ll let it slide.

  • William Connor

    No.

    • Mykola

      No!

  • Steven Mansour

    [Full disclosure: I am employed by BRP, the manufacturer of the Can-Am Spyder. Although I currently ride 2-wheel motorcycles, I have easy access to ride the Spyders].

    Can-Am doesn’t market the Spyder as a motorcycle: “The Can-Am Spyder is classified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a three-wheeled motorcycle but BRP feels the term roadster fits best because the Can-Am Spyder gives owners the performance of a motorcycle and much of the peace of mind of a convertible sports car.” http://can-am.brp.com/spyder/shopping-tools/frequently-asked-questions.html

    I enjoy riding both my motorcycles, and Spyders. They are very different. They have lots in common still; the Rotax 990 V-Twin in the ST and RSS models is nearly identical to the one in the older Aprilias, and the new 1330 triple engine in the RT is absolutely sublime – but no, I don’t consider them motorcycles, and the leaning is only part of it. That said, they are very, very fun to ride. It’s like riding an insanely overpowered ATV on the road. They are faster and nimbler than you’d think.

    Saying that “leaning is what separates the boys for the men” sounds pretty silly, though.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      How many mullets would you say, on average, did it take to design the Spyder?

      • Guest

        You know, I’ve yet to see a *single* mullet. I see much more of these types of Spyder riders up here:

        • Robotribe

          I dunno. THIS is what I saw, and conversely, permanently turned me off to them:

          • Jeremy

            True. James Howlett rides a harley. But, if someone gave me the keys to a can-am, I’d jump on that thing like a fat kid to a ferris wheel.

            • Robotribe

              Well of course he does. Aren’t those bikes made in Canada?

              (ducks and runs for cover)

      • Steven Mansour

        I’ve yet to spot a *single* mullet. I see much more of these types of Spyder riders up here:

    • Brian

      “Can-Am doesn’t market the Spyder as a motorcycle….”, but they certainly did market the Spyder as a way to get your motorcycle liscence.

    • ThinkingInImages

      The first time I saw a Spyder was at a motorcycle expo. I sat on it and it felt like a motorcycle on a centerstand. That’s a good thing. It hit me right then and there: “sports tourer”. I can ride this machine. It’s hard to believe a loaded Gold Wing is nearing the half ton mark (once you throw a block and tackle in the tail trunk). That’s crazy talk.

  • Arno

    Nope

  • nick2ny

    There is a spectrum. A motorcycle has two wheels, a clutch, a manual gearbox and pegs. A trike isn’t a motorcycle.
    Let’s go from walking to car.

    Hot air balloon ->

    Crawling -> Walking -> roller blades -> skateboard -> roller racer -> big wheel -> bicycle with training wheels -> bicycle -> electric bike -> solex -> moped -> scooter -> electric motorcycle -> motorcycle -> three wheeled leaning motorcycle -> BMW C1 -> Leaning toyota prototype thing -> Harley Trike -> Can Am Trike -> Morgan Trike -> Renault Twizy -> Smart Car -> Renault Twingo -> Ford Fiesta -> Mercedes A-Class

    -> Airplane -> Helicopter -> teleport

    • Justin McClintock

      I’d love to see a “fun to operate” scale applied to that to make it a line graph. It’d be all over the place!

    • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

      I like the effort that went into this, and that you started with hot air balloon.

      I would’ve ended with an aluminum block 911 with Mila Kunis riding along for weight distribution.

  • Justin McClintock

    No.

    • Justin McClintock

      And for the record, I’ve riden a Spyder. Some folks might think they’re great and I might consider one if I were handicapped but…I hated it.

      • Brian

        they ride/drive more like a snowmobile. It is just a different experience.

        • Justin McClintock

          Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. Or a little like a 4 wheeler. 4 wheelers are great at low speeds, and the Spyder wasn’t bad their either. At high speeds, I can’t stand 4 wheelers as they feel downright dangerous. The Spyder at least felt planted when going straight, but try to turn at any kind of speed and it felt like it was actively trying to throw me off.

          • Piglet2010

            By “4 wheelers” do you mean ATV quads? If so, yes those are more dangerous than a dirt bike or dual-sport – fewer minor spills but a lot more dangerous when you do go over. Then there are the morons who ride quads fast on pavement…

            • Justin McClintock

              Yeah, quads. And those quads probably handle every bit as well as a Spyder.

  • Brian

    is a Bicycle still a bicycle if it has 3 wheels? Bi means 2, tri means 3. Most Cyclists do not look at 3 wheels as a Bicycle, even if it is grouped or lumped into the same genus in the marketplace. It is its own species to most cyclists, and so by that rationale, I am going to say a trike is not a motorcycle, even though there is no “bi” in the name Motor-cycle. Though it could be argued since the derivation of Motorcycles was as Motorized Bicycles and the term became as a shortened version of what they were as a nickname for reference sake.
    Now, that having been said, is a person on a trike a motorcyclist? Well, there seem to be two main types of people that buy trikes. The first group is simple and straight forward, and they are just plain Lazy, which to me means they shouldn’t be considered as such. They would be just as well suited to a nice convertible that they can not have to worry about putting their feet down, and yet still carry the same level of luggage. They are just ambling about in their cruising way enjoying the sun the same as any person driving a Miata. The 2nd group is impaired. Whether it be physical, health, strength, age or whatever the factor, they just can in no way handle a regular motorcycle anymore, and therefore opt for these machines so that they can still have the feel of the wind and the openness and controls. They are there for the visceral experience of what motorcycling provides, and so by that spirit and intention and will, they are to me still a motorcyclist. There are exceptions to these groupings, and those are of the people that make art car types of Trikes. They are an oddity because it is easier for them to do so in the vision they have and power it with the car motor they have chosen well beforehand. These are just not in the same league. Imagine if you will, as an example, a 70′s style 3 seater trike with an old air cooled VW Bug motor powering its fiberglass bodied and Cragar wheeled with Springer front end chassis. Usually dressed out with some manner of variety of abnormality, usually just because they can. They are just in their own world, rightfully so. Leave them be.

    • BillW

      Yep. I know a few people with trikes, and they fall into two categories: wives (sorry to be sexist, but that’s my experience) of motorcyclists, who are tired of sitting on the back and want their own machine, but who are afraid to lean; and old motorcyclists who are no longer confident of their ability to hold a bike up at a stop in all cases. And beyond the ones I know, I’ve often passed a pair of riders on the road, he on a bike, she on a trike.

      I rode a Can-Am Spyder at one of their earliest demo days when they first came out. It really is like riding a snowmobile or quad on the road. I could see it appealing to folks who snowmobile in the winter and live in northern climes where it takes a long time before all the sand is off the roads in the spring. And it was kinda fun to ride, at least for the short time I was on it. But it sure isn’t much like riding a motorcycle.

  • Joe

    Trikes. The worst attributes of a car and motorcycle engineered into one vehicle.
    Miata’s are actually much more fun than the Spyder because at least they still handle great in the twisty stuff.

    • Robotribe

      EXACTLY. I put it a different way, but in the same spirit: “Motorcycle and automobile in-one, but without any of the unique benefits of either”. As a California rider, if I’m going to forgo riding in HOV lane by myself or the ability to filter through traffic congestion, I might as well be slow and comfortable in my 14 y.o. P.O.S. car with true air conditioning, a cup holder for my coffee, and a stereo.

    • IRS4

      Yes.
      Single track vehicle – go around hazard
      Double track vehicle – straddle hazard
      Triple track vehicle – hit every goddamn imperfection on the road.

    • Davidabl2

      Sir, “in the day’ this was said about sidecar rigs. And is perhaps even MORE true of trikes today.

  • Stuki

    Trikes are what the slaves ride when their masters tell them they cannot lanesplit. And the poor saps are sufficiently well indoctrinated to listen.

  • Sentinel

    Nope, it’s definitely a “tricycle”…

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    This is one of those articles that could’ve just been a one word article “nope.” And four pages of pictures, and NOBODY would’ve complained.

    • Davidabl2

      At least would not have complained if all the vehicles were piloted by leggy models. Or if said vehicles had same leggy models draped over them…

  • Piglet2010

    Only reason I would want a trike is as a “loophole machine” – basically an open-wheel race car that is street legal because it is plated as a motorcycle. But those are very rare – you can keep the tippy Lehman conversions and the “snowmobile with wheels” Can-Am, thank you.

  • Don Fraser

    They are trikes that don’t lean, so they are not motorcycles. If I get to the point that I feel uncomfortable on 2 wheels, I’m done.

  • Chris

    I’ll be the odd one out and say that “haell yeah, they’re motorcycles,” since the only difference is the leaning. Otherwise they use relatively similar components, have the same tandem seating arrangement (see below) and fall under the same legal definitions. This means that two wheeled riders and three wheeled riders can have a mutually-beneficial relationship in terms of the use of the road and protection of our rights as riders. Heck, most of us would preach from the rooftops that everyone should ride their own ride. For some folks, that means not leaning and not putting a foot down at stoplights. Or worrying about snow. Or it’s what the significant other will allow. With tandem-seated, handlebar-wielding trikes, those folks can still ride as opposed to drive.

    Also, there is not much difference for most of a ride between a trike and a bike, as most of our riding is straight–exposed to the elements in a way that not even a KTM X-Bow exposes its driver–which both trikes and bikes share. That exposure, that freedom, I submit to y’all, is more quintessential to the “ride” than the leaning. Especially if you’d agree that a Ural is a motorcycle.

    I’m purposely excluding side-by-side steering-wheel equipped vehicles (Slingshot, Bond Bug, Morgan 3Wheeler, T-Rex, Reliant Robin, Benz Patent Motorwagen, etc.) as those are usually treated as cars from a licensing perspective.

    For trikes like the Gold Wing conversions, the Tri-Glide, and the Spyders, I’ll throw the wave out every time. Usually with three fingers rather than two since I’m weird like that.

    • ThruTheDunes

      Chris, I was just getting ready to post a pro-trike comment when yours came up: I agree. Trikes originated with motorcycle running gear, so kick starting, shifting, gas, clutch, and even spark advance on the old ones required the same skill set. They gotta obey the license and helmet laws, too.

      I also agree that certain three-wheeled vehicles are not included, from Morgan to Aptera, and everything in between.

      Having ridden ATCs for years, there is a certain leaning skill involved with getting them to turn, but that does not translate to onroad trikes because of the difference in rear wheel differentiation.

      Like you, I’ll give ‘em a wave, too. Two wheels up front or out back, doesn’t matter to me. The law says they are motorcycle, so I am okay with that. They are riding a unique/ unusual machine kind of like me on two wheels, and I appreciate their spirit.

      Heck, if the author of the article thinks it takes two wheels and leaning to make it motorcycling, then a Segway counts, though I am quite certain that is not what he had in mind!

      • Davidabl2

        ..All the Segways I’ve seen seem to have only ONE wheel. I think your math here is “challenged’ ;-)

        • ThruTheDunes

          A Segway unicycle? David, you are one up on me! =:-o

          • Davidabl2

            Is it one up or “up on one”(wheel)

    • Piglet2010

      “That exposure, that freedom, I submit to y’all, is more quintessential to the “ride” than the leaning.”

      You get more exposure in street clothes in a convertible than on a moto while wearing full gear. But the convertible does not lean, so the driver is more disconnected from the road than a rider on a moto.

      • Chris

        Good point, Piglet: I should have been more precise: the exposure should include more than just the weather elements. A rider on a Can-Am is in roughly the same amount of peril as me on my Versys in any type of riding. Again, most of all of our riding is straight, so the difference in terms of turning is minimal. For instance, neither a Tri-Glide nor a Spyder is going to provide the type of protection in a collision that a convertible would.

        I’d also suggest that as a riding community we should welcome as many as possible into the fold, even if the vehicle itself is heterodox. We are under a bit of persecution from the cage community; a peek at history suggests we should not be trying to shut people out.

  • Davidabl2

    The Morgan (and presumably the upcoming Polaris) is an alternative form of cool..but not motorcycles.
    The new Harley trikes.. are new Harleys. Baggers with an extra wheel. Coolness isn’t a factor, methinks.

  • ticticticboom

    I never wave at Trikes…I don’t want to encourage them.

  • metalheartmachine

    Trikes are the motor vehicle equivalent of a walker with tennis balls on the feet. Uniquely embarrassing to any rider.

  • Speedo007

    http://www.thblack.com/racing/Hanging%20Off%20a%20Vintage%20Sidecar.jpg

    So technically thats not a motorcycle cause it’s not leaning? :) I think theres a lot of grey areas. None the less I salute people on trikes and spyders (though I wouldnt want one). Its not the same when you cant lean, but they still have basically the same passion, of feeling free, seeing landscapes and smelling the fresh air. I know many snob them, but I find it a bit childish.

    • ThinkingInImages

      That’s how I see it, in terms of leaning. I think the Spyders are a fascinating alternative to a sports tourer. I don’t care if it is or isn’t a “motorcycle”. If I had to choose a three wheeler I’d choose one with two wheels up front, not back. To my thinking, they’re more stable.

      Let me fuel up the fire a bit. So, a sidecar rig is a motorcycle because there’s a two wheeler attached? But the rider and “passenger” are sitting side by side. Doesn’t that sort of make it a three wheeled car, like a Morgan? Or is it that the third wheel is not aligned to the front or rear axle? This is the same kind of debate about scooters. By definition – they’re motorcycles, a subset.

      To be honest, though, if I were spending big money on multiple wheels and being “out in the open” I’d buy a car with a convertible top.

  • Beale

    I feel the same way about trikes on the road as I do about quads off road. They seem to appeal to people who don’t want to do the work of learning to ride a motorcycle. The easy way out. A shortcut that leaves them riding something that is fundamentally a lesser experience than a bike (but you can ride one-handed with a beer in the other #Glamis_live_the_life).

    As a life long motorcyclist, I can’t stand the side-to-side jouncing you get when riding the Can-am or a trike. It’s quickly fatiguing. The push-right-turn left steering is much too car like and lacks the smooth grace of riding a motorcycle.

    That said, when the time comes that I can’t ride a motorcycle anymore, I do appreciate that there may be a way to extend my road time by a couple of years via a trike or Can-Am thing. I may ultimately decide not to go that route but I’m glad I will have that option. Some of the very nicest people I’ve met while touring have been older couples on Goldwing trikes.

    • Beale

      The more I think about it, I’ll probably go this route when it’s time.

  • Davidabl2

    Morgan 3 for me.. or if it’s a question of not having a driving license one of these: http://www.sportsmanflyer.com

    • Ken Lindsay

      For the sled heads out there, the Can-Am is a crazy dream come true. Almost anyone that loves snowmobiling has fantasized about converting the insane rush of sleds into a daily summer ride. Snowmobiles can launch off the line (on pavement w/skis changed out to wheels) even faster than some bikes! Plus, easy to get on and off. By the time I’m old enough to take the last ride on a bike, I don’t think my body will allow me to squeeze down into the minute Morgan or Miata. Way too low and cramped.

  • Davidabl2

    When i can’t ride a motorcycle anymore its a new Morgan 3 for me..I want two wheels in front not in the back. http://morgan3wheeler.us. To see the appeal just watch Jay Leno’s video of driving his antique original Morgan on the Angeles Crest Highway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xcITHevPrc

    Or if it’s a question of not having a driving license one of these: http://www.sportsmanflyer.com

  • Speedtrippn

    How about you actually test them? From the way the article is written, it doesn’t seem you have experience on a Spyder or any other kind of trike?

  • noblsht

    Interesting opinions. As for one machine type or another being the real deal, the truth is it’s the riding that’s the real deal. Never noticed a change in gonad size moving from one machine to another.

  • Robert Horn

    Is a car with a wing on the back an aircraft?

    • Davidabl2

      Touché.. you wield a mean blade Mr. Horn ;-)

  • Doug Erickson

    motorcycling is about a physicality, a whole body engagement with the road. a trike a three-wheeled convertible you hafta gear up to ride.

  • BlackSnake

    Why would i need to classify a trike as a motorcycle? It’s already a trike. Technically it is a chimera of a motorcycle and a car. Sometimes the motorcycle has the bigger shared in it sometimes the car. So depending on how you want to look at it you can find it is more a motorcycle or a car but it will always stay a trike, which is something of both worlds.

  • ThinkingInImages

    Actually, you do lean, it’s the machine that doesn’t. You lean the same way you lean on a sidecar rig, to some degree. Motorcycle controls, inline seating/saddle, I call them motorcycles. If we want to fire up this debate, what about a quad racer? Other than licensing issues why can’t a trike and a quad just be a trike and a quad? Why do they have to be a motorcycle – or not?

    We don’t have a lot of history here in the states with three wheelers but they can be cars or motorcycles depending on the purpose. I’m fine with the CanAm Spyder being whatever it is. For someone my size it’s a lot more approachable as a sports tourer than the behemoth sports tourers out there.

    There’s a few of the Piaggio MP’s buzzing around this area. Damn, those things can move. The riders look like they’re enjoying them, too. I enjoy watching them zip down the road. It doesn’t matter to me what category they’re in. We’re out riding and that’s what matters.

  • deABREU

    Interesting, you guys in the US use bikes as the basis of trikes? Here in brazil we almost always grab a car powertrain (VW beetles used to be the norm back then) and make a steel tube chassis

  • James Walker

    My father has been a rider his whole life. He bought his first 50cc Honda C110 when he was 16; he spent his youth racing BSAs on the weekends and his adulthood collecting and restoring old bikes. He put me on a minibike when I was 6 years old and put the passion in me to follow in his shoes, riding on my own and wrenching when I can. He is a motorcycle rider for sure.

    Last year he had a stroke.

    Since then, his balance is gone. He’s still able to throw his leg over a bike, but riding is pretty much out of the question, so I rented him a Goldwing Trike. He rides that with me now whenever I have a chance to get away from work. I don’t care what you say, he is a rider and that bike is a motorcycle. When I save up enough money I’m going to buy him a Ural with a sidecar. That is a motorcycle too.

  • Phil Greer

    Just reminding you all on here that Harley made a trike from 1932-1973 called the Servi-car. They are not custom jobs, they are factory WLH flatheads. My father has owned 4 of them. The one I ride most often is a 1947.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harley-Davidson_Servi-Car