Often times the first question people ask when they call in to us is..."how does riding a trike differ from riding a "regular" motorcycle?" Lets start with the similarities.... with both, you wear a helmet (typically), maybe some chaps, by the end of a good sunset ride, you are scraping bugs from your teeth..and that is where the similarities usually end.
Triking is a whole new experience.
The obvious one is you no longer have to balance the bike. No more worrying about stepping in a pothole or maybe that off camber rut you might stand in at the red light. When pulling out of a gravel driveway you don't have to worry about that patch of loose gravel. A lot of these things are the VERY reason people call us. I can't count how many times people have called me with a fresh bruise or sore body from an "incident".
NOW, when you ride a trike, instead of leaning into the curve and counter steering the handle bar...you are steering into the curve. I have been known to lean into a curve, does it help? I'd like to think so, but in most cases...not very much.
When you steer, I always recommend that you "push and pull" the handlebar. In a right hand turn you will simply pull the handlebar toward you with your right hand and push on the opposite handle...I am sure you get the picture. If you have ever ridden an ATV....it is VERY similar.
Now I have a couple of hints or tips. Do not...I REPEAT....DO NOT put your feet down. I know you will do it for a while, but it will only take one time to catch your Achilles tendon on the rear fender. Even MORE fun is when you run yourself over by the rear tire. Don't believe me...put your feet down. It will only take once and you will never forget again.
It's time to remember, your baby got BACK now.....Sit on your trike. Now, spread your arms out like you are flying. This is now how wide you are. I know what you are thinking..."well duh"....but when you see a BRAND NEW trike just rolled out of your shop and the guy doesn't even get out of the parking lot before he catches the fender on the trailer hitch of a pickup truck....you would remind people too. $2000 in damage with 120 FEET on the bike...not miles...FEET. And don't even get me started on gas pumps....
TRIKE vs FUEL pump....which do you think usually wins the battle?
Those are the big hints I have. If you are riding a trike for your very first time...I recommend a LARGE parking lot to get a feel for it. THEN maybe a quiet subdivision....make left turns and right turns. Get a feel for it before venturing out into rush hour traffic. You don't want your first sharp left hand curve to be at 50mph in traffic...trust me.
And one last tidbit; on a LOT of roads, if the trike pulls to the right...it is very VERY normal. This is caused by the road crown, the roads are sloped outward to allow for water to drain quicker. In a lot of cases, this is a non issue..but in states with higher rainfall averages, the crown is steeper....and the pull may be a little bit greater. You can combat this by simply riding a LITTLE closer to the center line.
If you have any other questions on HOW to ride a trike...feel free to email me anytime!!
Tony Molina has been in motorcycle industry for more than 15 years, from selling motorcycles in a large multi-line dealer, to owing and operating his very own independent repair shop. During this time, he has carved out a niche in the trike industry helping literally thousands of riders continue their passion for the open road.
For well over a decade, I have answered thousands upon thousands of phone calls concerning trikes and trike kits. Often times, I find myself answering many of the same questions over and over.
Finally, at the prodding of a wise and dear friend, I have decided to put these questions/answers in one place, hopefully, to provide a resource for the many people interested in building their trike and keeping that dream alive.
I hope you enjoy reading it, nearly as much as I enjoy writing it.
With Thoughtful Contributions from:
Ian, Isaiah and Micah
(AKA: The Molina Boys)