Ahhhh the tricycles!

Posted by Luc Brière on 12, Aug 2015
Luc Brière


When I think of 3-wheel vehicles (tricycles), one of the first that comes to mind is this Morgan! Three wheels, a motorcycle engine, final drive with a chain and like all good British sport cars – a wood chassis and aluminum body. Three wheel motorcycles have existed since someone had the brilliant idea to mount an internal combustion engine on a bicycle… The first Mercedes was a 3 wheeler.


I rode a Honda Goldwing "trike", sidecar motorcycles, a Piagio MP3 (2 front wheels that tilt when turning), and a BRP first generation Spider. What do I think of it? I would like to have a Morgan. The Goldwing gave the impression of being on a motorcycle, except when I tried to take the turns in a dynamic way, it seemed more like riding a sidecar motorcycle.  Despite my most voluntary efforts, it always handled well in turns, even when the inside rear wheel of the curb was off the ground. I love riding in a sidecar because it requires your constant attention…The only vehicle in the world that performs differently depending on the direction of the turn.  The MP3; awesome!  A real motorcycle that banks and with two front wheels, probably the motorcycle with the best front banking in turns.  It should be noted that Harley Davidson had already obtained a patent for this type of motorcycle in the 1970s. The Spider, a fantastic engine, while very pleasant to drive, never gave me the feeling I was riding a motorcycle… but rather that I was riding a snowmobile. I have never ridden tricycles like the Morgan, or the more common type here, the T-Rex. But I will not comment on these vehicles.




Why a 3 wheel motorcycle? In the beginning, it was to allow for more passengers or merchandise, when recalling the sidecars in Great Britain and the Piaggio Ape. Today, it’s more for the driver who is looking to improve stability when stopping. In fact, sometimes an aging motorcyclist has more and more difficulty to keep his big touring motorcycle in a vertical position upon stopping, and especially when there is a passenger on board. When moving the gyroscopic effect of the wheels keep the motorcycle in a solid vertical position. A moving motorcycle will not fall unless one of the two wheels loses its cornering grip. This situation can also occur with a tricycle with slightly different consequences; skidding at times ending with a lane  departure and rollover. In this case, the only advantage of tricycles is that there is a bit more grip to lose before losing control. As for the rest, the dangers on the road are the same for the motorcycle or tricycle:

  • Visibility; showing a small frontal surface, car drivers do not see you.

  • Braking capacity is less than that of a car. In an emergency, the front of a car can has more braking power than the tricycle.

  • The poor state of the roads.

  • No protection for the body … and a kiss from Miss Asphalt is abrasive.

So why ride a tricycle?  Simply, because there is something in it for the user.

Luc "Père Bleu" Brière



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