A tricycle is normally a vehicle with three wheels. Approval Legally, however, four-wheeled vehicles in Germany are referred to as tricycles, when a pair of wheels designed as twin wheel or the distance between the center of each tire contact surfaces is not greater than 465 millimeters.

Children tricycle

When children tricycle usually the single front wheel is both directed and directly, so driven with pedals without chain. In addition, many children tricycles have a rear support rod for a companion. In some models, the children can also be strapped.


For bicycles tricycles are quite common, bicycle taxis are readily used in large cities as taxi replacement. Cargo bikes are sometimes designed as tricycles, bicycles for disabled people with motor disorders also. Many tricycles are built as a bed tricycles. A special form of recumbent tricycle are Alleweder that have to improve the aerodynamics, but especially as a weather protection casing.

Three wheels provide greater tilt stability, the deeper is the rider's center of gravity. Therefore, tricycles are often designed as a sitting or recumbent tricycle. There are variants Tadpole (English for tadpole ) with two wheels in the front, Delta with two wheels at the back and Beiwagengespanne with an asymmetrical arrangement.

An alternative to the inconvenience in the city of Liege tricycles are tricycles, the slope in the curve. In addition to a Japanese design, there is a Einkaufsrad of Feetz and an Austrian prototype.

For physical handicaps or paraplegics, there is the BerkelBike (brand name). It is a cross between a recumbent bike and handcycle. In paraplegia (FES ) is activated the leg muscles and transmitted the resulting force for propulsion on the front wheel by means of functional electrical stimulation.

Tandem recumbent trike in the Janus configuration " back to back "

Recumbent tricycle

Tilt unit for the front fork

Tricycle for guided tours in the city center of Barcelona

Garbage disposal with load tricycle in Ostend

Tricycle with coffee machine in Bonn


Various models of scooters and kickboards for children and adults are equipped with three wheels. A special variant is the Trikke, in which not only can be repelled from the floor in between the two rear wheels, but a pivotal technology enables the acceleration by shifting your weight.


Some variants of three-wheeled wheelchairs sin, especially racing wheelchairs and " hand bicycles'.

Wheelchair lever drive from 1938

Wheelchair Bicycle combination

Motor tricycle

The earliest known today motorized tricycle is the 1769 published " Fardier " by Nicholas Cugnot, which was powered by a steam engine. Over a hundred years later, the electrically driven Trouvé Tricycle, built by Gustave Trouvé in Paris in 1881. In October 1882, drove two English professors, William Edward Ayrton and John Perry, for the first time with her Ayrton & Perry Electric Tricycle in London. Edward Butler introduced in 1885 in London before his 1884 designed Petrol- Cycle. In 1886, Carl Benz presented the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car number 1 in front with a combustion engine and electric ignition. Magnus people from Brighton in 1887 built a three-wheeled electric carriage.

From 1897 to 1905, the De Dion -Bouton motor tricycle was one of the first to be manufactured and best-selling in series motor cars in Europe. Other well-known manufacturer and inventor of that time were: Saroléa, Serious Bauermeister & Sons, Holley Motor Company, Diamond Automobile Company, Albl, Cyklon Maschinenfabrik ( " Cyklonette " ), Waltham Manufacturing Company, rape & Haab, Matchless, motor vehicle works Heinle & Wegelin, Thein & Goldberger, Hille -Werke, Ailloud & Dumont, society for Automobilwagenbau system Loutzky, Onfray, Panther bicycle works, Star Motor Company, Friedrich Lutz man, Steyr Daimler Puch and Automobiles Leon Bollee ( Voiturette ). In later decades, Cycle Car Company, Ernst Bauermeister & Sons, Kover Capilla and Adi moped.

Motor tricycles were used around the turn of the century in motor racing.

1881: Tricycle by Gustave Trouvé

1899 De Dion -Bouton motor tricycle

1899 De Dion -Bouton with other axle assembly


There are many different versions based motorcycle tricycles. One is the Harley -Davidson ServiCar, in which the single rear wheel was replaced with a rear axle with differential and a box body. This ServiCars came up in the 1930s and were built until 1973 to allow contractor costs with a small load driving. In addition, police ServiCars were built. Especially for seniors and people with walking difficulties are Harley -Davidson ServiCars in the United States for many years, popular and now very expensive.

Motorcycle sidecars are also tricycles, but of asymmetrical design. Their handling characteristics differ between right and left turns, depending on the position of the sidecar cultivation. For right-hand traffic the right cultivation of the sidecar is customary to allow better visibility for overtaking in left hand traffic according to the mounting left, each to the driver.

Three wheel motorcycle BRP

Historical BSA sidecar

Modern team at Suzuki base with axle steering


Apart from the above-mentioned three-wheel bicycle, which are also often referred to as " trike ", a trike is an open, motorized road vehicle having a front wheel and two rear wheels. The front wheel is similar to a chopper out of a fork. Originally, the rear axle were used including engine from the Volkswagen Beetle. Meanwhile own constructions of their respective owners put through, including models with built-in front eight-cylinder V- engine, it will be offered. Known Trike brands are fencing, WK, CCS Trike, Triketec, Rattler, Rewaco, Easy Trike and boom.

In 1979, Dietrich fencing from a trip to America for the first trike to Germany, in 1980 succeeded the first approval.

In the European Union owning a motorcycle driving license since 19 January 2013 for leading a trike necessary.

  • Class A: over 15 kW.
  • A1: A maximum of 15 kW
  • Category AM: maximum 45 km / h and a maximum of 4 kW

However, trikes can continue to be operated according to the grandfathering clause with a category B driving license if it is granted before 19 January 2013.

Depending on the design or Year of the trike either officially approved respectively prescribed straps are present, or there is a requirement to wear protective helmets. According to the above classification, children can be taken either by using an appropriate child seat, or if the child is wearing a helmet and can use footrests and handholds.

In addition to the chopper trikes also off-road trikes were built ( such as the Yamaha Tri -Z Tecate Kawasaki or Honda ATC) in the 1980s and 1990s. These were similar to a dirt bike with a rear axle instead of a single wheel. Due to high number of accidents in the United States this all terrain vehicles were banned there. In Germany, there are still some models that can even be driven street legal.


Already in the 1950s, experimented Wolfgang Trautwein with three-wheeled motorcycles, which could be tilted by means of a parallelogram mechanism also. In 2006, Piaggio scooters from the Piaggio MP3, who took up these ideas. The scooter has a single, conventionally -driven rear wheel and two front wheels which are spaced apart by 42 centimeters, and are connected by a complex parallelogram. The driver sit as on a conventional scooter, which also includes the driving dynamics - with skew in the curves - broadly in line. The scooter can be so driven with the EU category B driving with the car driving license with slight widening of the front track, provided that the license was granted before 19 January 2013. Apart from this Grandfathering a motorcycle license ( category AM for up to 45 km / h for Class A1 up to 15 kW or Class A for more than 15 kW motor capacity) since that date to drive a three-wheeled scooter is required.

The duo is a three-wheeled ambulance vehicle for people with walking difficulties, which was largely constructed in Anhängerbau Brandis, vehicle Robur (from 1981) or the company Krause in Leipzig (partly modified ) components of the so-called Simson- bird series, mainly those of the swallow. Approximately 1000 to 1100 were built of it per year.

Three Wheeler and Kabinenroller

Three Wheeler are mostly open vehicles with two front wheels and one rear wheel as the Morgan Three Wheeler, in which a motorcycle motor drives the single rear wheel via a chain, and the Lomax 223. 1986 showed VW prototype "Scooter" with three wheels, however not in series went. The body of the scooter was 3175 mm long, 1235 mm high and 1498 mm wide, drag coefficient cw 0.25; Empty weight 550 kg. Tire size: front wheels 175/60 ​​VR 13, rear 235/55 VR 15 with a 90 - hp four-cylinder engine (front mounted transversely ) and front-wheel drive reached the two-seater vehicle has a top speed of 201 km / h

Tricycles were especially popular in Britain since the 1930s because they were treated there until the 1970s tax as motorcycles - some could be driven without a license even - and thus were relatively cheap to maintain. In addition, the lightweight construction enabled a good performance and the successful use in motorsports.

The beginnings of German Three Wheeler production in the 1920s are in the Diabolo Small Car AG in Bruchsal, which produced the model Diabolo, and the Zaschka - Three Wheeler ( Faltauto ), which was dismantled or folded and was invented by Engelbert Zaschka 1929 in Berlin.

In the former Czechoslovakia, inspired by Morgan Three Wheeler tricycles were produced under the name of Oskar and Velorex 1945-1973.

The BMW Isetta and Heinkel Cabin apply approval in principle technically as a tricycle as the Messerschmitt bubble car, although two rear wheels are available, but close to each other and mounted on a solid drive shaft (not differential ). In order to meet the listing requirements of some exporting countries meet, BMW built the Isetta, however, also have a "real " tricycle.

Most recently, such vehicles from small batch manufacturers are offered, for example of jzr, Triking or TWR selling kits and finished vehicles. The Morgan Threeweeler however, was in 2012 by Morgan motor itself, its original manufacturer so revived and was allowed, two years later, enjoy an updated new edition.

Morgan Three Wheeler Super Sports

BMW Isetta ( three-and four-wheeled versions)


Another class of three- wheeled vehicles are the car -based chassis cars with two driven rear wheels and a front wheel steered (in contrast to the cabin scooter, supra ). This concept was coined by less technical than through legislative requirements in many countries tricycles were tax deductible and therefore considerably cheaper to maintain. The type of the British manufacturer Reliant Robin is a prime example of this vehicle concept. It was produced as cars and station wagon and built and sold in other countries under license. As a vehicle in various "Mr. Bean " episodes ( Rowan Atkinson ) gained the shelf, another Reliant three-wheeler cars, global attention.


1907 produced the Zittau Manufacturer phenomenon one of the first three-wheeled, motorized trucks under the name Phänomobil. From the 1920s until the 1950s the engine load tricycle was very popular. In these vehicles, the single wheel was mostly forward. The drive was different. The pace Hanseat for example, a chain drive to the single front wheel that had Goliath tricycles shaft drive to the rear wheels with a differential. In addition to these well-known brands, the Agria -Werke built in Moeckmuehl in the 1950s, the " Triro ".

While in Germany the production of the tricycle vans beginning of the 1960s ended ( Goliath Goli 1961 was the last ), were vehicles of the British manufacturer Reliant due to specific regulations in Britain until the 1980s in production.

Not only in Italy tricycles manufacturer Piaggio still belong to the streetscape. While the Vespa Ape is still built, are the three wheels of the former competitor Moto Guzzi or Lambretta rare today.

In Greece, are still a variety of types of tricycles in use. The slow, mostly employed in the agricultural sector tricycles are license and license-free. The range of types ranging from complete self-made Greek up to small series production or imported in the 1950s, Moto Guzzi Ercole. Known Greek manufacturers include Alta or MEBEA. The technically simple but sturdy vehicles are driven mostly by a single-cylinder diesel or gasoline engine. In heavier models also BMW motorcycle boxer engines were installed. The in the past unusually high taxation newly acquired four- wheeled vehicles ( luxury tax ) led in the 1960s to the 1980s to a very high number of three- wheeled vehicles of all kinds in the Greek streets.

In many Asian countries represent three-wheeled vans an indispensable means of transport dar. In India was manufactured from 1962 to 2000 by the manufacturer Bajaj Tempo Tempo Hanseat under license. Other important Indian three-wheel motor vehicles manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra among others, Kumar Motors, Kerala Auto Limited and Piaggio Ape.

In Gaza, donkey carts are increasingly being replaced by three-wheeled, motorized trucks since 2010. Since the import of vehicles by the Israeli authorities is largely prohibited, they are smuggled in parts through tunnels under the fortifications around the Gaza Strip or under the Philadelphi passage and re-assembled in Gaza.

Goliath " Goli ", built in 1959

Model ( 1:43 ) of the Reliant Regal Supervan III

Motorized Gazelle Transport tricycle

Greek load tricycle

Piaggio Ape van

Flatbed Triro

Spanish Delfin tricycle


From 1934 to 1968 three-wheel tractor was produced by the British manufacturer Scammell. This vehicle is one of the forerunners of modern tractor-trailers. The 360 degree rotating front wheel allowed for extreme maneuverability of the vehicle combination. See → Main article: Mechanical Horse