It’s impossible to know for sure, but scientists speculate the wheel dates all the way back to the 4th millennium before Christ. That’s roughly 6,000 years from the moment in time we’re at now. More than enough time, on any scale, for the design to be perfected beyond recognition.
What has evolved is the way we make the wheels, the materials we use, and the configuration they’re fitted in based on what kind of vehicle they’re meant to support.
Generally speaking the modern era is dominated by four-wheeled pieces of machinery. They come as cars, trucks, SUVs, you name it. The logistics industry, the one using big trucks, goes for a lot more. And then we have motorcycles, which do just fine with just two wheels. No matter how you look at it though, we’re always talking about an even number of wheels.
In the world of vehicles, trikes occupy a very special place, for several reasons. The first would be that they’re the only kind of transportation machines to use an odd number of wheels to go about their business.
Then, there is basically just one way for four wheels to go on a car, one on each corner. On trikes, however, that odd number allows for the designs to be made with one wheel front and two wheels back, or the other way around.
And, finally, a trike can be made either as a scaled-down car, or as an overgrown motorcycle. Today we’re going to have a look at what the industry has to offer in the trike motorcycle segment.
Before we dive in, though, we need to clarify a few things. Generally speaking, a trike is a type of vehicle with one wheel at the front and two wheels at the back. That’s how Harley-Davidson makes them, for instance.
But there is also the kind of trike with two wheels up front and one at the back, and Can-Am is the best example of that. Our list will include both kinds of machines, as long as the general design of the trike is meant to mimic, at least in part, that of a motorcycle.
15. Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle – the city trike everybody should get
Most of the trikes and three-wheelers on our list are, I have to admit, prohibitively expensive. That’s not to say most people can’t afford them, but it does mean it’s likely most of us would rather spend $30k on a car than on what ultimately amounts to a seasonal recreational machine.
The Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle is an entirely different thing altogether, as at $19,900 it’s something more people (and even delivery businesses) might clearly consider.
Born from the minds of an Oregon-based crew, the Fun Utility Vehicle is an electric machine that looks more like a scooter topped off by a flimsy body. It’s also potent enough to allow for everyday three-wheeled fun in the city and even beyond it: 75 mph (121 kph) top speed, 102 miles (164 km) range, and 77 bhp of dual electric motors power.
What’s cool about the contraption is that it’s packed full of all sorts of convenience and comfort hardware, including heated seats and grips, Bluetooth speakers, and lockable storage, among others. Oh, and there’s also a panoramic roof on the table, if you really want to enjoy some time out under the sky.
Some might have a hard time comparing the Fun Utility Vehicle with the ICE-powered and half-the-price Can-Am Ryker, for instance, but do keep in mind the Arcimoto is electric, and that means a lot less hassle trying to maintain it in running order.
14. Motor Trike Suzuki Burgman 650 – the insanely fun scooter trike
Over in Texas a group called Motor Trike has been at it converting two-wheelers into three-wheelers for decades now. Their portfolio is quite vast, and it includes modifications for bikes made by Harley, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Triumph, Victory, and Yamaha.
We chose to feature in our list the Suzuki Burgman 650 trike not only because it’s a scooter-based conversion, but also because it looks immensely fun to ride around.
The 650 is part of the Burgman family that presently only comprises the 125 and 400, but those who have a 650 made after 2003 lying around can have it turned into a trike by these Texan guys. All that needs to be done is get the rear modified with the addition of a rear axle with a swingarm, two 14-inch alloy wheels, and a chain drive. All of that is added without affecting the original look and lines of the scooter.
Not including the scooter itself, the conversion kit sets you back just $5,495, making the Burgman trike one of the most affordable options on the market. You should be warned, though, both bike and trike riders might look at you with funny faces as you’re moving down the local roads.
13. Ural Geo – the sidecar bike inspired by nuclear icebreakers
It may not be entirely accurate to call a sidecar motorcycle a trike, but that isn’t stopping us from including the Ural Geo in our list, mostly because it’s a machine like no other out there in the motorcycle world.
Sidecars may have long fallen out of grace, but the Russian company somehow manages to keep the design in the news with the three bikes it makes: the Geo, Sportsman, and Weekender. Of them all the Geo is special because it was made in a limited run of just 20 units, all of which were quickly sold.
The bike’s design was inspired by nuclear-powered icebreakers, a kind of ship only Russia is making at the moment. Space stations, drones, and even James Bond are all said to have had a say in the coming to life of this thing.
The Ural Geo is powered by a 749cc boxer engine that can send its power to two of three wheels upon request. It develops 41 hp and is controlled by a manual transmission complete with reverse gear.
It’s the sidecar of the thing that makes it special, a tiny box fitted to the right side of the bike. Not only does it allow for a passenger to ride shotgun on the bike, but it can also help the vehicle as a whole, because it carries the extra wheel the engine can send power to by means of a driveshaft.
12. Yamaha Niken GT – a trike so strange they call it a Leaning Multi-Wheel bike
Of all the trikes and three-wheeled vehicles out there, the Yamaha Niken GT is perhaps the weirdest in design. That’s because it doesn’t look like it was made on purpose with three wheels, but a bike whose front wheel suffered a sudden case of mitosis and turned from one into two.
That’s right, the Niken GT has two wheels up front and one at the rear, a sort of reverse trike if you will. Aside from the two wheels being placed on the unnatural end of the motorcycle, they are also much closer together than in a conventional trike, and that makes it weirder still.
Yamaha brought the Niken to the American market in 2019, just one year after it entered the public scene. Its official designation is not trike or three-wheeler, but Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) motorcycle.
What that means is that both front wheels lean in unison, doubling the amount of available grip when road conditions are not that great, but also providing incredible cornering abilities.
The Niken is powered by a 890cc engine and it’s as capable as you’d expect from a true Japanese machine. And it’s not expensive either, at least not as much as Harleys are: you can get one and call your own for around $17,000.
11. Can-Am Spyder RT Sea-to-Sky – the ski jet-like beast of a reverse trike
Can-Am is probably the world’s biggest maker of motorcycles that are not motorcycles in the truest sense. On the market since the 1930s, the company specialized over the years in making reverse trikes, three-wheelers with a proper pair of wheels up front, decently spaced apart.
Two main models are in the company’s portfolio at the moment, the Ryker and Spyder, and it’s the latter ride, in its RT Sea-to-Sky configuration, that’s of interest to us today. Not only because it is the top of the range, but also because this ski-jet-like-design contraption seems to be at the top of its game.
Powered by a Rotax engine with a displacement more suitable for a European family car, 1,300cc, the Can-Am Spyder RT promises to offer total luxury and an open road experience like no other. And that’s owed not in small part to the incredible amount of features the 3-wheel motorcycle: it has anything from LED headlights to all the gear it needs to tow a trailer behind it.
Whereas the Can-Am Ryker is perhaps one of the cheapest trikes you can get your hands on, at $8,999, the Spyder RT Sea-to-Sky is more than three times more expensive, coming in at no less than $30,999.
10. Polaris Slingshot Roush Edition – the car-like trike motorcycle
Strictly speaking from a design point of view, the Polaris Slingshot is more akin to a three-wheeled car than a trike motorcycle. That’s because, unlike all other trikes out there, it does not carry the passenger behind the rider, but right next to him. It also has a steering wheel instead of a handlebar, and a very car-like front end. Yet Polaris officially refers to it as a three-wheeled motorcycle, so here it is making an entry in our list.
As one of the most successful vehicles of its kind, the Slingshot is presently offered in no less than five variants, starting from the entry-level Slingshot S ($21,499) and ending with the Slingshot Roush Edition.
Retailing from $37,349, the reverse trike offers a 203-hp engine to get it moving, and also tons of Roush appointments: seats, gauges, graphics, and branding throughout. Brembo hardware is on deck to ensure stopping needs, and the 305 mm rear tire is more than wide enough to keep the vehicle stable all the time.
For those wishing to ride a trike as they would drive a two-seater car, the Polaris Slingshot Roush Edition is the perfect choice, despite its rather huge price tag – for $37k, you can get yourself a Dodge Charger GT, for instance.
9. Harley-Davidson Servi-Car – the one collectors go nuts over
It might be a bit difficult tracking down who made the first trike motorcycle and where, but I bet none of you will mind if we give that honor, at least in this piece, to the Harley-Davidson Servi-Car.
Officially a three-wheeled motorcycle, the Servi-Car came to be in 1932 as a tool for organizations of various kinds, from companies in need of moving their products to police departments in need of catching criminals.
The Harley idea was so successful that it was kept in production until 1973, effectively becoming one of the longest-running Harleys in history. Contributing to that fact were the many ways in which the trunk could be adapted to the needs at hand.
The Servi-Car is no longer in production, but from time to time it does come up in the news, thanks to incredible examples from the past popping up on the auction block somewhere, at times with an incredible story to tell.
The last high-profile such vehicle we know of doing just that dates back to 1949, was used by the Oakland, California police department, and was sold by RM Sotheby’s back in 2020 for $54,000. If you look hard enough though, it’s likely you’ll find plenty of others for sale right now.
8. Harley-Davidson Road Glide 3 – the newest trike on the block
Of the three trikes Harley makes, the Road Glide 3 is not available in Europe, but only on the American market. It’s brand new in the offering, having been introduced at the beginning of 2023.
As its name says, the trike is built around a mighty Road Glide motorcycle and uses the range’s Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. In this configuration, it is rated at 90 hp and 119 ft-lb of torque. Separating it from the Road Glide it’s based on are a frame-mounted fairing, dual Daymaker LED headlamps, and a low-profile windscreen.
One of the key aspects people look for in a trike, storage space, is aplenty on this one, as it offers a rear trunk with a capacity of two cubic feet (56 liters). Additionally, the size of the thing allowed for the installation of the bike maker’s BOOM! Box GTS with a pair of 5.25-inch speakers mounted in the fairing.
With the increased dimensions compared to a motorcycle and extra wheel fitted at the back comes a much bigger price tag than one would usually pay for a standard Road Glide bike. For the Road Glide 3, Harley’s asking price is $32,999, more than 10k more expensive than the bike.
7. Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra – the expensive veteran
After it had its way with the Servi-Car, Harley dropped any thoughts of coming to the three-wheeled motorcycle table for a very long time. In fact, almost four decades had to pass between the exit of the Servi-Car and the arrival of the Tri Glide Ultra.
The trike was presented to the world for the first time in 2009, and it came as an offshoot of the impressive Electra Glide. Initially, the conversions from bike to trike were not performed over at Harley, but in the shops of partner Lehman Trikes.
By all intents and purposes, at 14 years old the Tri Glide Ultra is the longest-running trike produced by an established bike maker (and most likely the longest-running one of all), and that’s saying something.
The machine is powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, like all others in the Harley trike family, and comes with all the appointments one would expect from such a contraption, from storage space to infotainment.
All that comes with a sticker price to match: at $36,499, the Tri Glide Ultra is the most expensive Harley trike on the market, but also one that would immediately get you noticed at any and all bike gatherings.
6. Harley-Davidson Freewheeler – the cheapest Harley trike money can buy
Whereas the previous two trikes from Harley-Davidson go well above the $30,000 mark in their most basic of forms (and much more once you start adding stuff on), the Freewheeler starts just under that threshold, making it the most affordable of the bunch.
The model came to be in 2014 as an expansion of a range that at the time only had the Tri Glide Ultra. It was a sign this segment of the industry was booming, and helped keep the American brand at the top of customer preferences.
Today the Freewheeler offers pretty much the same things as the other two, starting from the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine (complete, like it’s the case with all other trikes of its kind, with reverse gear) and ending with the unmistakable Harley-Davidson styling.
In fact, it’s the visual appearance that makes the trike stand out the most, as it’s more hot rod than both the other two, a much more aggressive interpretation of what it means to ride in an unconventional style.
Harley is charging from $29,999 for the chance to experience the thrills, but as you already know by now, the more you make the trike your own, the more it will cost you.
5. Roadsmith Honda Gold Wing – kit conversion for Japanese touring motorcycles
Because official trikes assembled in the factories of established bike makers are not that common, people oftentimes turn to conversion kits to their two-wheelers into three-wheelers. And one of the most respected producers of such kits is Roadsmith.
The name dates back to the 1970s and has grown into becoming one of the most important on the market, providing conversions for motorcycles that don’t usually come as trikes.
Honda is one of the bike makers that don’t currently offer a trike from the factory floor. Yet Roadsmith is turning Gold Wings and Valkyries into this type of machine like there’s no tomorrow.
The company offers solutions for Gold Wings produced by Honda from 1988 to the present day. For the most recent incarnation of the Japanese touring bike, such a kit will set you back at least $10,000 (for the basic kit that includes modifications to the chassis, body, tires and wheels, trunk, and trailer hitch).
The conversion is made in such a way as to not ruin the factory look of the bike, and benefits from the use of fully independent suspension, alloy wheels, and heavy-duty joints, among others. A wide range of accessories is also on the table.
4. Roadsmith Indian Challenger – the only way to get a trike from Harley’s main rival
Despite being so huge and perhaps the only direct and true competitor to Harley-Davidson, Indian does not offer and never intended to offer a trike to its customers. Fret not, as Roadsmith’s got you covered.
Just like it does with Honda, the specialist is offering trike conversion kits for several Indian models, including the Roadmaster, Challenger, and Pursuit. We’ll focus on the Challenger in our list, as it’s one of Indian’s most popular models.
The kit being offered is suitable for bikes produced from 2020, and will set you back at least $13,000, including main modifications, steering upgrades, and an electric reverse. This solution too was designed in such a way as to avoid ruining the beautiful lines of the adventure tourer.
Work to be conducted to give the ride three wheels and all the capabilities of a trike include the relocation of the bike’s tour pack and the fitting of a trunk. A swingarm and differential are also part of the package, but things like a performance swaybar, an air ride suspension, and parking brake are offered as extras.
Bike included, a complete Indian trike should get you well over the $30,000 mark, which makes one about as expensive as what Harley has to offer.
3. Boss Hoss Dragon – the V8-powered trike to shame a muscle car
A great option for those in the market for a new trike is to turn to custom shops that make these things series-production style. And when it comes to such things, it doesn’t get any better than Boss Hoss.
Known the world over for their passion for fitting huge displacement engines in their builds, the customizers offer at the time of writing no less than six distinct models, many of them engineered in such a way as to mechanically resemble actual cars.
The Dragon is not part of that list, and it’s perhaps the most custom bike-like trike out there. Built around a custom chassis that makes it look like a beefed-up Harley-Davidson V-Rod, it comes with a choice of two insanely powerful engines, more than capable of keeping muscle cars at bay: a 430-hp 383ci Stroker, or a 563-hp 454ci small block.
You would think such insanity in a trike is prohibitively expensive, but you’d be wrong. Boss Hoss is “only” asking $55,1245 for the Dragon, and considering how much less capable factory trikes priced just $20k below that are, it’s probably an effort many trike lovers would make. Provided, of course, they can sustain the fuel consumption levels of the thing.
2. Boss Hoss SS – the only truck trike in the world
If there are two things Americans love when it comes to machines, they are trucks and motorcycles. So what better way to please the crowds than to offer them a taste of both things in a single package, with a touch of trike extra cool?
The guys over at Boss Hoss are responsible for what may very well be the only truck trike in the world. Shaped like a motorcycle at the front, with a wheel, fork, and handlebar, the so-called SS ends in two wheels at the rear and a trunk so large it will make touring bikes blush and full-blown pickup trucks jealous.
And what’s hiding in the frame is not to be easily discarded either: an LS 445 V8 engine we’re used to seeing on custom cars and trucks, cranking out a staggering 445 hp and an equal amount of ft. lbs of torque.
The Tennessee-based crew has a lot of faith in the SS, so the asking price is one to match its insanity: $64,535 in basic form – that means with stuff like an inverted fork for the front and air ride for the back, Brembo brakes, and an 8.5-gallon fuel tank that won’t get you too far.
1. Big Dog Bulldog – the trike alpha male
Trikes are such a special breed of motorcycles that you have a better shot at finding the right one for you at custom shops than on the lots of established bike makers. Case in point, the Big Dog Bulldog.
Based in Kansas and founded in 1994, Big Dog presently sells three custom production models, the Bulldog, Mastiff, and K9. It’s the former that’s of interest to us today, as that one is a trike true and true.
The machine is not based on some existing model, but is built from the ground up by the American shop. A custom frame holds inside it a 124ci S&S Super Sidewinder V-Twin engine linked to a 6-speed transmission that also has a reverse gear.
Big Dog describes the Bulldog as the place where “3-wheels meets high-octane performance,” and we all know such places come with prices to match. As the most expensive Big Dog machine currently available, the trike sells for no less than $46,995, effectively dwarfing everything that Harley-Davidson and some of the other competitors in this segment have to offer. Then again, we would expect nothing less from the alpha male of this entire pack of 15 best trike motorcycles you can get your hands on in 2023.
So there you have it, our list of 15 best trikes available in 2023. Before you go though, look below for answers to some of your most important questions about this kind of motorcycle.
Are trikes legal?
Yes, for the most part. Both factory-made and kit-made trikes, no matter the configuration (two front wheels, two rear wheels, sidecar) are generally street-legal, and that’s why we have so many shops selling them. There may be instances though when some custom trikes will not be allowed on public roads on account of the modifications made.
From what age can you ride a trike?
If we’re talking about pedal-powered trikes, then age is not an issue, you can ride one as soon as you can. Motorized, street-legal ones though do require a license, and that can only be had when you’re of legal age in your country.
What kind of license do you need to ride a trike?
Generally speaking, trikes no matter their type are considered motorcycles, so that’s the kind of license you’ll need to ride one.
Can you convert a motorcycle into a trike?
Yes, and it’s a pretty straightforward process. We do recommend that you turn to a shop that specializes in such things to make sure you get quality work performed.
What are the disadvantages of a trike?
The biggest disadvantage of trike motorcycles is that they are a lot more expensive than two-wheelers. Most of the time they are twice as expensive, whether we’re talking about factory trikes or kit ones. Then you have to keep in mind trikes occupy a lot more space than a bike.
On the bright side, you don’t really need to be an ace at keeping your balance on a trike, as the extra wheel more than helps with that. Then again, if you are legally allowed to ride a trike then you already know how to balance yourself.