Adult Tricycles and Bicycles: What’s the difference?

Aug 2, 2023

Contrary to popular belief, tricycles aren’t only for children. We’ve seen that trikes are becoming more and more popular as they are great for those who might not be in their cycling prime or have mobility issues. 


Who are tricycles designed for?


Trikes are built for cyclists that feel uneasy on two wheels. Many people in the 70+ demographic favour trikes for this very reason. We find that buyers have often become less confident or struggle to cycle with the aches and pains they face daily.

So, if you’re in need of a method of transport that offers extra support and storage, then look no further.


What are the main differences between a tricycle and a bicycle?


  •  The number of wheels:

    Three wheels is of course sturdier that two. Individuals that struggle with keeping their balance would hugely benefit from an extra wheel. Getting on and off becomes easier too, especially when a tricycle has a low step frame.

    In addition, tricycles are built lower than a standard bike, so it will be easier to maintain your position with a lower sense of gravity.


  • Back support: 

    Riding on 3 wheels puts less pressure on your back, meaning you can ride for longer without experiencing as much pain than you might on a normal bike. The added support is sure to make your cycling trips far more enjoyable.

    You can also upgrade your seat to one which is padded for extra bottom support. We have seats designed with comfort in mind that are easily swappable with most tricycles.


  • Inclines made easier:

    The extra support means that you won’t need as much effort when going up a hill, unlike being on a bicycle.

    As mentioned before, the added stability makes the need to actively balance a thing of the past, so you can put all your concentration on getting up that hill and reaching the end of your ride.


  • Brakes:

    Each bike must have 2 sets of independent breaks to comply with road regulations, and this is no different for a tricycle.

    The main difference here is that the back set of wheels on a tricycle requires another kind of brake, a drum brake (as shown here). It might take a bit of getting used to in the beginning, but it’ll feel normal soon enough.

    There are a range of trikes that use a variety of brakes, so when selecting yours be sure to investigate what kind of brakes it uses. Our in-store team will be there to answer any questions.



Ammaco Free and Easy 26 Inch Wheel Adult’s Trike £599.99

The spacious large rear basket and low step frame makes it easy to operate and carry your shopping back home or if you are heading into work with a rucksack and laptop bag, you won’t have to carry it all the way on your back, thanks to the large basket at the rear.

Mission E-bike Electric Adult Tricycle Black £1,965.00

Do you need a tricycle with the potential to carry a lot more than just shopping? This model does all that and more in a sleek black finish.

The ‘pedal- assist’ function works exceptionally well. The motor starts when pedalling begins, providing a safe, comfortable ride with an adjustable speed up to 15mph- the legal limit. Just one charge will cover a distance of around 20 miles on level ground on the highest setting, and further on lower settings.




Mission E-Mission Electric Adult Tricycle Silver- £1965.00

Not a fan of black? You’ll be pleased to know this customer-favourite comes in silver too!


Adult Trikes Safety Tips

Before buying a tricycle, it’s important to know that there are risks when riding one in comparison to a normal bike.


Trikes can be hard for motorists to see

Since they’re lower set, it can make it a bit harder for people in motor vehicles on the road to see you. This is more of an issue for recumbent tricycles, ask at your local store to find a solution for you.

You can invest in accessories such as flags and lights to improve your tricycle’s visibility on the road.


Turn carefully

A trike can be a bit tricky to turn in if you’re not used to it, so be sure to take your time and get used to manoeuvring before riding on the road.

Try using yours in a park or on a quiet road first before making the leap onto a busy one – it’ll improve your confidence and make your ride much more enjoyable (and safe).


Browse our full range of adult trikes at Cycle King and Hawk Cycles.

Or if you prefer to view our range and try them out in person, simply visit any of our 23 stores where our friendly team will be available to offer advice and help you choose the right one.