Trike Riding Tips

Riding Your New Trike

Riding a trike is a great way to get out and see more of the road. Not only are they comfortable and fun to ride, they’re also significantly more stable than a motorcycle, meaning you won’t have to worry as much about tipping or adverse weather conditions. Whether you’re a long time biker looking to stay safe through your golden years, or you’re someone looking to get into motorsports for the first time, a trike can be a great option for touring and cruising. The Tri Glide and Freewheeler are two of Harley-Davidson’s latest trike models, and while riding them is safer for many riders than riding a normal motorcycle, there are a few riding tricks you should learn—especially if you are used to riding a two wheeler. When you want to take one of these mean machines for a test ride, stop by War Horse Harley-Davidson in Gainesville, Florida.

Turning

If you’re used to riding a two-wheeled motorcycle, steering on a trike is going to feel slightly different. On a trike, you’ll be performing a turning system known as “direct steering,” as opposed to “counter steering,” which is refers to the way you have to lean on a motorcycle. The main difference which makes a trike a direct steering vehicle is obviously the addition of the third wheel. This causes two main effects. The first effect is that it changes the geometry of a turn, making the distances traveled by each wheel slightly different. Turn too sharp or come into a corner at too high of a speed and you could find yourself with a wheel coming off the ground!

The next difference is that the third wheel affects the way you lean when turning. In a normal bike, you can lean almost all the way to the ground in a corner so long as you are experienced enough to hold the line. With a trike, you need to approach corners the way you would in a car. You’ll need to slow way down. As you progress through the corner, you can start hitting the throttle again to help pull yourself out the other side. Always try to keep your turns as smooth as possible, though, as jerky turns can result in wobbles and loss of control.

Starting & Shifting

Most trikes employ a manual transmission model which, while similar to the transmission in a motorcycle, can take some getting used to on a bike with more weight than you expect. You’ll need to start the engine with the brakes engaged and then engage the clutch. Once it’s fully engaged, shift into first gear, release the brakes, and slowly release the clutch as you gently increase the throttle. When you want to shift, you’ll need to drop the throttle, engage the clutch, shift, then let the clutch out. This process takes some getting used to, but it’s essentially the same process of manual transmission you’ll find in a car.

Stopping

The biggest difference for stopping with a trike is that it’s much heavier than a normal motorcycle. In the same way that a semi-truck can’t stop as quickly as standard pickup, a trike isn’t going to be able to stop on a dime the way lighter bikes can. On the other hand, you do get an extra wheel’s worth of braking, which can help to make up the difference. Since the rear wheels will have more braking power, make sure you use them first in any braking situation. Trying to stop your whole bike using just the front brakes can be a dangerous proposition.

Learn the Trike-Specific Hazards

Learning all the specific dynamics of trike riding on your own is possible, but if you really want to take your riding ability to the next level, a trike riding course is an excellent investment. Just like the riding course most motorcyclists have to take, a trike riding course will teach you all the ins and outs of riding your bike, from understanding road conditions to using the brakes and shifting in the correct way, to some basic maintenance tips. War Horse Harley-Davidson offers just such a course, and it’s highly recommended for anyone new to trike riding. Located in Gainesville, Florida, our trike riding course is a perfect option for those in Jacksonville, Leesburg, Orlando, Summerfield, and Silver Springs, Florida. Give us a call to schedule your course today!