Time and time people ask me if its easier to ride a trike than riding two wheels. My direct answer is "No". It is a bit harder and owning both 2 wheels and the trike, I can attest to that. People assume that riding two wheels gives you a one-up on how to ride a trike, its just not true.
The motorcycle trike controls are exactly the same as a 2 wheel motorcycle, however the trike itself can make it or break it on the skill level. That is, just like 2 wheels, skill is the utmost importance on riding a trike, it takes practice.
So why is it harder? How is it different? Here's how I answer those questions:
You can't lean for one. You "steer" it. Get used to a push and pull movement of the handlebars. That can take some upper body strength believe it or not. It can be taxing and tiring since you are actually working the bike and not leaning it from the handlebars. You have no help in the lean department. So expect some muscles to be working those turns. Its not as hard as it sounds after you get used to it, but in the beginning your neck and back may feel like you have been to the gym. Your legs are gripping the tank more in the beginning. Remember learning how to ride a motorcycle? How to grip your thighs against the tank... same way. In time you can relax and you will find yourself in tune with the trike and won't even think of it.
Being on three wheels may be difficult at first if you are coming from 2 wheels, but you have to get over that thought. First thing to think about is don't put your feet down... your back tires may take them out if you do. Speaking of tires ~ if the front tire misses debris on the road, you can be sure your back tires may hit it, so you have to do an extra look-see far in advance. Stay some distance back. Once the debris is upon you, you have to think quick and the trike cannot take a quick manuever like 2 wheels can. Judgment is key, you don't want to run over a board in the road at the last second on a trike.
Negotiating and calculating your speed while cornering is essential, and on a trike it is different than 2 wheels. You don't want to fly up on three wheels while taking the corners to fast. I hear this all the time from new trike riders. Thinking that trikes are easier to handle just because they have three wheels is the most misleading thought out there, and it can put you in a gutter fast going into a turn at a speed you can't handle. Go your own pace. It won't take you long to figure out your turns and before you know it you will be right in sync with the trike and your fellow 2 wheelers.
The braking is a bit different than two wheels also. You can actually use both brakes in cornering and stopping without worrying about dropping the bike in a turn, however you can over-brake as well. Locking up is no dance in the park on a trike. You can still fly off it. U-turns are a piece of cake though.
Take into consideration the wider back end. You have to get used to having to compensate for that big trunk, and in California, you probably will not be able to share lanes because of that. You will have to calculate traffic a different way to get around it, in particular if you are riding with others on 2 wheels. I normally will get the destination and meet up. I sometimes leave the group just to get around traffic. If I see a break I will take it. Trikes can overheat just the same as 2 wheel motorcycles and it is no fun being stuck in traffic on a 1000 lb hot machine. So I compensate for that.
Reverse. Sometimes trikes have it, sometimes they don't. In my case, sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't. One flaw on the HD's... the reverse sucks. So I park where I can get out. Surprisingly, the HD trike isn't so hard to push... which I have done.
Like any motorcycle, taking the time to get to know your bike is essential. If you are starting out on a trike without any prior motorcycle experience, I would suggest you just take a motorcycle safety class for the educational part of it. You learn an abundance of skill in knowledge and how to judge road situations.
|Rode Solo To Sturgis 2010 from Southern California. |
Loved Every Moment!
Again, don't assume that that if you have been riding for many years on 2 wheels that you already know how to ride a trike, or compare it to an ATV. Take the time to learn all about it. Be patient, and when you are confident, you will soon know when you are ready to take that ride you have been dreaming about, and when you do, you will be oh so ever happy you did.
I am always happy to talk to anyone considering a trike. I only know what it is like to ride the HD Street Glide and a Spyder (Spyder was a demo ride). But if you have questions, just e-mail me. Passing the excitement of riding these machines is a pleasure and the more people out there riding, the better in my opinion. Consider a demo ride at a dealer or a rally. Demos are free and don't hesitate to ask questions and visit a few dealers. It should be a fun experience.
|Best Variety ~ Bugzzz on Godzilla|
As far as those comments or ego pressing thoughts like: "Not til I'm old" "No way on three" "not for me unless I can't hold my bike up".. yada yadaa... get a grip. Its all in the ride, and sometimes those that say "not til I'm old" ARE old and should be on 3 wheels. Just saying...enjoy riding while you can, any way you can. Check the ego at the turn of the key.
Now go git yer bugzzz on!!
Happy Trike'n For Bugzzz Trailzzz,