How do you define a trike?

The Tricycle Association describes a tricycle as a humanly propelled machine, self supporting and making three tracks when in motion.

Can tricycles be for more than one rider?

Yes, there are many tandem trikes in existence, and at least one triplet tricycle.

What forms of braking are available for tricycles?

The Road Traffic Act requires all cycles to have at least two independent brakes on the machine. 
On a bicycle there should be one on the front wheel and one on the rear wheel, however tricycles are allowed a deviation to this rule, allowing two brakes on one wheel. For tricycles with two rear wheels this must be the front wheel, for those with two front wheels on the rear wheel. 
The inherent problem for bicycles of tipping over the handlebars when the front brake is applied suddenly is less of a problem on a tricycle, as the weight of the axle tends to counterbalance the rider. The worst normally experienced is a jolt as the rear returns to earth. Due to the extra wheel, there is little danger of a front wheel skid causing a fall.

Front Wheel Braking
The majority of tricycles tend to have two brakes on the front wheel, the set-up can take many forms. 

The simplest, especially if adding a tricycle conversion set to a bicycle frame, is to use a hub brake for the second brake. Older hub brakes have not generally been very efficient, useful mainly to gently slow down the machine, leaving any emergency stopping to the rim brake fitted as for a standard bicycle. Modern hub brakes seem to be much more powerful.



Traditionally tricycle frames have been built with a ‘nose’ protruding from the fork crown enabling a brake to be mounted at the end, in front of the second, cantilever brake brazed onto the forks. With modern ‘mini-V’ brakesavailable nowadays, there is a growing trend to mount one in front and one behind the front forks.


Braking on the Rear Wheel(s)
Nothing is impossible, and there are ways of providing braking to the rear of the machine. 

Tricycles can be ridden on a fixed gear which, on a single-wheel drive provides braking on the left-hand wheel. When racing this can often require some extreme acrobatics to keep the balance under control. Before the advent of modern two wheel drive systems, a similar effect was achieved using a differential as used in motor vehicles. A differential enables the rider to use a fixed gear to brake on both rear wheels. 

Hub brakes can also be fitted to the rear wheels, and often are added to complement two front brakes on a tandem-trike.



Mountain biking has brought disc-brakes to the world of cycling, and these are often fitted to trikes, both at the front and/ or rear. At the rear they seem to be normally mounted just in-board of the wheels, the mechanism being anchored to the axle. There are tricycles with discs mounted behind the gear block, though I believe there have been reports of broken axles due to excess torsion, and the proximity of the braking surface to all that grease sound dubious.



Finally, it is possible to mount caliper brakes on a bar over the rear wheels. This is a simple enough solution, but carries the disadvantage of increasing the weight of the machine.

 How are the three wheels distributed?

Tricycles can have two wheels to the rear, with either or both wheels driven through a conventional chain transmission.

This is the most usual design with marques such as Abingdon, Holdsworth, Higgins, Rogers, Pashley and Longstaff.

For Longstaff, Pashley and Parker see Links

Tricycles can have two wheels to the front, steering, with a conventional ‘bicycle’ rear drive.

Marques such as Kendrick, Harding and Newton use this configuration in their design.

For Newton see Links

Recumbent trikes can have either configuration for one or two riders.

For recumbents see Links

Where can I buy a trike?

There is a section in the Tricycle Association quarterly Gazette for ‘Sales and Wants’. This deals mainly with touring and racing machines.

There are a number of specialist Cycle Shops in the UK that usually have a number of new and second-hand machines for sale – see Links

If you find that your local cycle shop is unable to help locate a machine the TA may be able to direct you to a suitable machine.

Utility trikes do come up for sale from time to time, and the best place to find them is in the Advertisement Columns of local Newspapers.

Who makes tricycles?


Trykit Conversions
Trykit Conversions, Geoff Booker, Fairmead, School Lane, Tiddington, Thame, OX9 2NE. Tel: 01844 339451 website: e-mail:

Longstaff Cycles
Albert Street, Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme,Staffordshire ST5 7JF Tel: 01782 561966 Fax 01782 566044 E-mail:, Website:

D. Newton Shackles
Roman Road Cycles, Ddol-Las, Ffarmers, Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, SA19 8JP Phone or Fax: 01558 650336. E-mail: Website:

Parker Product Developments Ltd,
Laburnum Cottage, Bramwith Lane, South Bramwith, Doncaster, DN7 5SJ Tel: 01302 841671 Fax: 01302 844070

Pashley Cycles Tel: 01789 292263 Website:


Recent discovery is this Taiwanese tricycle manufacturer. They make quite a range of utility machines suitable for delivery use and also for personal transportation. There are several versions for disabled riders and electric motors can be fitted for assisted use.
The machine was spotted in Richard Marson’s cycle shop in


In Europe try looking for:-

Pantherwerke AG
Alter Postweg 190, D-32584 Löhne
Tel. (0 57 32) 10 87-0, Fax (0 57 32) 10 87-910
Website: and click on Trisalu or Triamo.

This is probably not a complete list of manufacturers – if you know of any others please let us know – we are always pleased to update our information records.

Where can I get a folding trike?

Concept Edge Power Ltd., 14, Twyford Crescent, LONDON W3 9PP
Tel:0208 992 5352 Web:

Where can I obtain Tricycle Axles, Replacement Axles, Bearings and Cassettes for One Wheel Drive & Two Wheel Drive?

Trykit Conversions, Geoff Booker, Fairmead, School Lane, Tiddington, Thame, OX9 2NE. Tel: 01844 339451 website: e-mail:

Chris Hewitt Cycles, 1 Coleswood Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 1EF
Chris deals with modern, veteran and vintage bicycles and tricycles. He is a specialist on Higgins and Rogers tricycles and provides a comprehensive range os spares.
Tel: 01582 763622 

Longstaff Cycles, Albert Street, Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme,Staffordshire ST5 7JF Tel: 01782 561966 Fax 01782 566044 E-mail:, Website:

Where are there some Tricycle Friendly Cycle Shops?

Longstaff Cycles see above

Chris Hewitt Cycles, 1 Coleswood Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 1EF
Tel: 01582 763622 See above

Cyclos Unos, 37, New North Road, Hainault, Ilford, Essex, IG6 2UE
Tel: 020 8500 1792 

Houghton Cycle Group, 11 Ashfield Terrace, Chester le Street,
Co. Durham PH3 3PD Tel: 0191 3887535 also at:
15-17 Mautland Square, Houghton le Spring & 3, West View, Concord, Washington

Barron Cycles, 5 Sturton Road, Stow, Lincoln
Tel: 01427 788417

Madgett’s Cycles, 8 Shelfanger Road, Diss, Norfolk
Tel: 01309 650419 

108 High Street, Bildeston
Suffolk IP7 7EB
Tel: 01449 744467
open Tuesday to Saturday 0.900 – 17.30 and Sunday 10.00 – 16.00