One of the most important decisions adults can make, by far, is to stay active and fit regardless of their age or condition. Getting outside is a great, safe way to do that, and for a lot of adults, an adult tricycle is the perfect bike option. Unlike an ordinary bicycle, a 3-wheel bicycle is more comfortable, easier on the knees and hips, can accommodate larger riders, and is a much safer and more stable choice.
As you might guess from our website name, we at AdultTricyclesPro are avid, bikers, hikers, and trikers. We are obsessed with helping people find the right adult tricycle bike so they can get outside, get some exercise, and enjoy some sunshine. In order to find the best adult tricycles we’ve done a ton of research to look into all of the manufacturers and models out there to find ones that are high-quality and won’t break down on you after a few rides. It wasn’t easy since there are a lot of companies out there making some questionable products, but we came away with some solid choices, and we’ll share those with you here!
To review and report back on the best adult tricycles, we looked at both well known brands (like Schwinn) and smaller companies we had not heard of. The right choice for you is going to depend on your needs, your budget, and which models you think look good. We hope everyone from those just starting out with an adult trike to experienced outdoor enthusiasts looking for the latest advice can find some good three wheel bikes to look at and some new information to help them decide which is the right one for them.
Why Do You Need an Adult Tricycle?
Adult tricycles are built with the sole purpose of enhancing everyone’s ability to enjoy riding with increased safety. They provide a more comfortable form of exercise that is easier on your joints, particularly your knees and hips. Also, they come with lots of features that are extremely convenient for those looking to stay active: baskets for carrying groceries or gear, flags and bells for safety, and more comfortable seats than you will find on any bicycle.
Our Choices for the Best Adult Tricycle
This was a difficult process. There are so many different features and facets that are important to selecting a three wheel bike and to those looking to take advantage of this great form of exercise. It made things difficult to create a single “top choices” list and to winnow the field down even more to products that we felt comfortable recommending. However, after a lot of deliberation, here are our top picks. Read on past the list for individual product reviews and a few words on our testing methodology.
Here are the Best Adult Tricycles you can buy:
- Best All-Around: Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
- Best for Quality and Durability: Sixthreezero Body Ease 7-Speed
- Adult Tricycle with Gears: Barbella 7-Speed
- Best Folding Adult Tricycle: Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Tricyle
- For Rougher Terrain: Vanell Adult Mountain Tricycle
- Best Recumbent Trike: Mobo Triton Pro
- High-End Electric Adult Tricycle: AddMotor Motan Electric Tricycle
- Best of the Rest: Slsy 7-Speed Tricycle
Read on for more choices, photos, in depth reviews, and all about the testing we did to reach our top picks.
How We Tested the 3 Wheel Bikes
Testing the best adult tricycles was a difficult task, as it turns out. As with other bicycle related testing we have done in our lives as biking enthusiasts, there are a number of variables that are beyond our control that can mess up our results. These variables range from the climate to the environment we are testing in to the weather on particular days that we have each trike out for our tests.
We also wanted to make sure to get a wide variety of terrain into our testing procedure so we could see how the tricycles performed on flat open roads, on narrow bike paths, on gravel, up and down hills, even on grass and in a bit of mud. At the same time, most riders will be spending most of their time on a paved bike path or road, so that needed to be the bread and butter of the testing.
Of course, we also wanted to test how well the bikes performed with a few additional tasks that might be important. If they came with a basket or ability to carry extra gear, we wanted to test out how well that worked: what were the weight and size constraints, was the cargo easy to load, etc.
Testing in Boulder, Colorado
Luckily for everyone, AdultTricyclesPro is based in lovely Boulder, Colorado where we have an abundance of paved and unpaved trails, wide bike lanes, off road areas, gravel paths, and plenty of sunny days on which to do the testing. The main testing route we used was along the Boulder Creek path and the Goose Creek path as well as a big hill we had to go up and then down to get between the two creek paths. We also added in a few off road and grass test areas for the bikes that could handle it (a few of the bikes, particularly with the smaller wheel diameters were not well-suited to off-roading).
So, it was a lot of work! Hopefully you enjoy the detailed reviews below and find them useful.
The Best Adult Tricycles – Detailed Reviews
1. Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
Probably the most well-known bicycle brand in the USA, Schwinn was originally founded in 1895 and was the leading producer of bikes in the US for most of the 20th century. It is now owned by Pacific Cycle, but is still producing great bikes, including the Meridian Adult Tricycle. One of the biggest challenges in selecting adult tricycles to test was the frequency with which small brands would pop up and then disappear. This wasn’t just a pain in the neck for us, but is real downside if you bought an off-brand tricycle from a company that disappeared a year later, the chances of getting that trike repaired if something goes wrong are slim to none.
With Schwinn, you know the company is still going to be around in a couple of years when you need a part repaired or replaced, or if you want to add a more comfortable seat. Reliability and customer service are definitely big advantages to going with a larger brand, though that does make the trike slightly more expensive than a few other options.
Facts & Figures:
- Both 24″ and 26″ wheel options
- Large spring-loaded seat for maximum comfort
- Fold down rear storage basket
- Manufacturer suggested weight limit: 300 pounds
That said, the Meridian is about more than just its brand name! There are two wheel sizes available, the 24″ or the 26″. There is not a huge difference between these two, but the smaller wheel will make the whole bike a little less bulky and is ideal for a slightly smaller rider. Taller and larger riders on the other hand should lean toward the 26″. A rough guide would be that the 24″ wheel is for people between 5′ and 5’10” while the 26″ is ideal for people from 5’5″ up to 6’2″. If you’re in the middle, you should be either with either size. We think most people will prefer the 26″ wheel option because of the added smoothness and comfort of the ride. Really though, you’re not likely to notice a big difference either way. Both sizes are quite standard for bicycles, so replacing tires or repairing flats won’t ever be an issue like you might find with some trikes that have a much smaller wheel size.
A solid aluminum frame, a low step-through to make getting on and off the trike easy, quality construction, and a lovely design solidified the Meridian’s place as our top choice for most riders, particularly those just starting out and looking for a way to go at a leisurely pace.
Pros of the Schwinn Meridian
- Reliable brand. Schwinn is an iconic brand that will stand behind their products for years to come. If you need a repair or replacement, they are still going to be around to provide it.
- Great for beginners. It is solid and beginner-friendly. Although some might not like that there is only one speed on this bike, that reduces the complexity and the number of things that can go wrong. With the Meridian you can just get on the trike and ride without worrying about gears or anything else.
- Mid-range price point. While it isn’t the cheapest option, it isn’t the most expensive either. For what you get, we think this is a great value.
- Large storage compartment. Fold down basket for storing groceries or a backpack (not suitable for carrying children!).
Cons of the Schwinn Meridian
- Single speed. While this is probably good for the beginner, it does limit your options, particularly if you are in a hilly area.
- A bit heavy. You definitely don’t want to have to carry this trike for any distance. Hopefully you’ll be riding it most of the time so this won’t be an issue!
We also have a full review of the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle if you want to read more!
2. Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Adult Tricycle
The Mantis Tri-Rad adult tricycle is one of the most feature-packed trikes on our list. In addition to being foldable, it comes in both 6-speed and single-speed options, as well as having options for either 20-inch or 24-inch wheels. This is trike is the perfect choice for those looking for a tricycle with gears that they can also fold up and fit into the back of a vehicle. One quick note: be careful when ordering to get all the options right! If you want a geared trike, make sure you choose one of the 6-speed options, and also check the description for the wheel size since some of them will have 20-inch wheels and others will have 24-inch wheels.
In addition to the gear options and its foldability, the Mantis Tri-Rad has a steel frame to maximize durability and carry heavier loads. It also comes included with a front fender to help keep mud and water from splashing up on you from the wheel, a rear basket for carrying up to 40 pounds of groceries or gear, a bell to let people know you’re coming up behind them, and a chain guard to keep clothing from getting caught up in the chain and gears.
The one major downside to the Mantis Tri-Rad is that it comes completely unassembled. If you don’t feel comfortable assembling it yourself, then almost any local bike shop will do the job, but it will cost you some money to get a bike shop to do it for you.
Facts & Figures:
- Steel frame and fork.
- 20-inch or 24-inch tires (currently the 6-speed only comes with 24-inch)
- Folded size: 35-inches by 30-inches by 31-inches
Pros of the Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Tricycle
- 6-speed option. We specifically selected this as the best option for those who wanted a folding tricycle that also had gears available. The gearing system is quality construction, and we haven’t run in to any problems with it, and reviews that we found online were generally positive and in line with our experience. If you live in a hilly area gears are an important feature on a trike because of the added weight that tricycles have compared with bicycles.
- Foldable. Again, this is one of the major distinguishing features of the Mantis Tri-Rad. It is a bit bigger when folded down than is completely ideal for fitting into a normal sized car, but should still fit pretty easily into an SUV or hatchback.
- Steel frame and fork. Nothing beats steel for durability. It weighs a bit more than aluminum, but is much sturdier over time and can carry heavier loads.
Cons of the Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Tricycle
- Some Quality Issues. We’ve definitely seen a number of reports of bent or scratched parts with the Mantis. Make sure to check the trike when you unpack it so that you can return it right away if there is a problem.
- Full Assembly Required. It is completely unassembled on delivery, so will take an afternoon to get it all put together if you do it by yourself, or will cost you a few bucks to get a bike shop to do it for you.
We also have a full review of the Mantis Tri-Rad folding Adult Tricycle if you want to read more!
3. Barbella 7-Speed Adult Tricycle
The Barbella brand is a rather new brand in the adult tricycle world, but the initial reviews their trikes have gotten are very positive, so we decided to go ahead and include them in our list. (We generally tried to stick to more established brands so that you can rely on the service and warranty being around if you need it a couple of years down the line.)
The biggest advantage the Barbella had over competitors is a rock solid 7-speed option available in a variety of colors. Take care when ordering though since they also have a single-speed option available. Just make sure you have selected the one that actually says “7-speed” so that you get the trike you want.
Fact & Figures:
- Accommodates riders up to 331 pounds
- 7-speed and single-speed options
- 24-inch wheels
- Large selection of colors available
Pros of the Barbella 7-Speed Tricycle
- 7-Speed gear option. If you are in a hilly area, this is a life-saver. The hub and shifting was also high-quality so should not require much maintenance. Of course, the gears are one of the most likely places for a trike or bike to break down, so if you don’t need them, then the single speed option might be easier.
- Very comfortable seat. The Barbella trike is a bit more upright than some of the other options which some people prefer. The seat also comes with a backrest included to maximize comfort while riding.
- Oversize basket. The basket in the back is a bit larger than on the other trikes we trie,d making hauling groceries or other items around a bit easier.
Cons of the Barbella 7-Speed Tricycle
- Assembly required. It is not the easiest trike in the world to assemble, so if you don’t feel comfortable assembling it and don’t have a local bike shop you can take it to for help, then you might want to consider the Schwinn instead. That said, there are plenty of videos on the internet that can help you out if you want to try the assembly yourself. It’s definitely doable, it just might take an afternoon or two (or three).
We also have a full review of the Barbella 7-Speed adult tricycle if you want to read more!
4. Vanell Adult Mountain Tricycle
The Vanell Adult Mountain Tricycle is designed to accommodate larger riders and also to accommodate rougher terrain. The Vanell Mountain trike had the highest manufacturer recommended weight limit of any of the trikes on our list at 400 pounds. (As we usually say, these are the weight limits that the manufacturer has tested the tricycle up to, and you should take them as a guideline only.) Equipped with mountain bike style tires for better grip and with mud guards on all three wheels, the Vanell definitely excels on rougher terrain, or areas with dirt and mud.
The Vanell is also great at carrying cargo. It comes equipped with an 18″ x 22″ cargo basket that is 11″ high and is rated to hold up to 60 pounds of gear.
There are a few issues with this trike, however. The biggest problem is that it is a single speed trike which is a bit disappointing given that it seems designed more for off-road uses. Having a 6-speed option would really make it more useful for tough terrain. The other big problem is that it is designed like a mountain bike, which means that it has a higher step over than most other adult trikes. (The step over is just the height of the step you have to take to get your leg over the frame to straddle the bike before sitting down.) It also requires you to lean over a bit more while riding (you can see in the picture that the handlebars are close to even with the seat) which puts a little more strain on your lower back than options with more swept-back handlebars.
Facts & Figures:
- Single speed
- 20-inch wheels
- 18″ x 22″ x 11″ cargo basket with 60 pound carrying capacity
- 400 pound recommended weight limit (rider plus cargo)
Pros of the Vanell Mountain Tricycle
- Designed for off-road. The Vanell comes with tires that you would find on a mountain bike as well as mud guards on all three wheels, allowing you to go through mud or gravel without having to worry.
- High weight capacity. The carrying capacity of the Vanell is higher than other options both in terms of cargo (up to 60 pounds) and rider (up to 400 pounds)
- Most “bike-like.” Of the options we tested this trike had the most “bike-like” feel to it. A higher center bar and a seat that was almost level with the handle bars led to a ride that was much closer to rider a bicycle than a typical adult tricycle. This may or may not be what you want though!
Cons of the Vanell Mountain Tricycle
- Only single speed option available. This was a bit disappointing for a trike that is designed as a “mountain tricycle” since it makes hills a bit more difficult to navigate.
- High step over. This definitely makes it more of a mountain tricycle, but is a big drawback if you have joint problems.
- Less relaxed ride. The design of the Vanell mountain trike leads to a much more lean-forward position rather than a position in which you are closer to sitting upright. This can cause more strain on your back.
5. Mobo Triton Pro Recumbent 3 Wheel Bike for Adults
Founded in Los Angeles, California over 20 years ago the makers of the Mobo Triton Pro are a unique brand in the cycling world, founded to promote three-wheel recumbent tricycles for adults and kids. The Mobo Triton Recumbent Trike is extremely durable and has some of the highest quality construction of any of the trikes we tested. The frame also comes with a 10 slot adjustment system up to 16″ in length so that it can comfortably accommodate riders anywhere from 4′ to 6’3″.
The Triton has a somewhat different look than most of the trikes we tested out due to the fact that it is the only fully recumbent tricycle on the list. There are also two different wheel sizes in use on each trike: the front wheel is a 20-inch wheel while the two rear wheel both 16-inches. The big advantage of the smaller rear wheels is to keep the trike narrower than any of its competitors, allowing it to fit easily into a bike lane, through doors, or into the back of an SUV, and also helping to keep the angle of the bike such that you are reclining comfortably while you ride.
Pros of the Mobo Triton Adult Recumbent 3 Wheel Bike
- Quality. It is definitely one of the most durable, highest-quality adult tricycle we’ve tested out. The adjustable frame worked flawlessly for us, allowing us to extend or reduce the length of the main bar in the frame to easily adjust for riders of different heights. Mobo says the trike is designed for anyone between 4′ and 6’3″.
- Comfort. The recumbent riding position is extremely comfortable once you get yourself onto the tricycle and start riding. Getting on and off is a bit trickier than with an upright trike though.
- Rear Steering. The rear-wheel steering system is extremely effective and allows really precise control over your turns. It does take some practice to get the hang of though since you don’t have handlebars like on a normal bicycle.
- Weight. This was the lightest trike we tested out at only 44 pounds. If you think you’ll need to transport this frequently that might make a big difference. It also helps with riding since you aren’t carrying all the extra weight of some of the larger trikes we tested that could way up to 70 pounds.
Cons of the Mobo Triton Adult Recumbent 3 Wheel Bike
- Getting on and off. This is a challenge with any recumbent. You can’t just swing your leg over the step-through frame like on a traditional bicycle or tricycle. With a recumbent you really have to bend down and position yourself on the trike. The Triton is only 12.5″ high at the seat, so it does take some effort to get on and off, and might be a problem if you have problems with your hips or other joints.
- Learning curve. Upright adult tricycles require you to adapt a little bit from your bike riding days, but a recumbent three wheel bicycle requires a whole new set of skills. In particular, mastering the new turning system that uses levers instead of a handlebar requires practice. We think it’s worth it, but you will have to take it out several times to get the hang of it.
- Visibility. Since the recumbent is much lower to the ground than an upright bike, you’re harder to see if you’re riding on a roadway with cars. Getting brightly colored flags that stick up is helpful, but could still leave you invisible if a driver isn’t paying close attention.
Another standout feature of the Triton is the solid single speed gearing system. Gearing is often an area that creates the most headaches in a bike: chains can come loose, the derailleurs can get misaligned, or any number of other mechanical failures. It’s why we often say that single speed options are great for most people most of the time. In this case, Mobo uses extremely high quality parts to help alleviate maximize the advantages of a single-speed trike. This really made the trike a pleasure to ride, even on hilly terrain where the lack of gear options might have been problematic on any of our other options. The fact that the trike is a recumbent also helps with this as it is somewhat easier to pedal without having to shift your weight around or otherwise put strain on your back.
Finally, the major downside to the Triton (and other recumbents we’ve seen) is that there is no cargo basket or any effective system for carrying cargo. The trike is also only rated to carry up to 250 pounds.
We also have a full review of the Mobo Triton Recumbent 3 Wheel Bike for Adults if you want to read more!
6. AddMotor Motan M350 Electric 3 Wheeler Electric Tricycle
This is a serious, heavy-duty cargo electric tricycle from AddMotor electric tricycles. (And, no, you don’t need to “Add a motor,” in case their company name caused any confusion.) This is a premium electric trike option and is unmatched in quality, durability, and features. Just looking at it, you can see it is intended for cargo, durability, a variety of terrains and heavy-duty uses. It’s especially noteworthy that this trike can take on sandy beaches or other rugged off-road terrain types, though you won’t get as much distance from the battery as you will on flat paved roads. From the fat tires, to the dual cargo basket (including the covered rear cargo basket), and powerful electric motor and battery for getting up hills and for all-day mileage, this electric trike is the top end option to serve as a full-sized gas vehicle replacement.
A few quick hits on the features we like the most and think will be the most important to you. There are dual cargo carrying baskets are included and the newer model (the M350 we review here) has a free covering on the rear cargo basket that is included as a free gift with purchase (close-up photo below). This allows cargo carrying capacity of up to 100 pounds as rated by the manufacturer. In addition to the 100 pounds of cargo, AddMotor says the Motan M350 can carry a rider of up to 350 pounds for a total 450 pound carrying capacity. Further, the trike is designed to accommodate riders whose height is between 5’6″ and 6’6″. This was the tallest rider accommodation we found in the trikes we tested out (most of the others don’t recommend their tricycles for riders taller than 6’2″ or 6’3″).
Review of the Motor in the M350
Since this is an electric trike, the most important feature you can look for, and the place where a lot of that price tag is going, is the electric motor and battery combination. The Motan M350 comes equipped with a 750W brushless motor and a 16 Amp-Hour removable lithium-ion battery made by Panasonic. The distance you’ll get out of this will vary a lot based on the terrain you are on and the amount of power you add to the trike through pedaling. In order to know your power level the trike comes with a 5 inch LCD display, and there is also twist throttle to let you adjust the speed and power the motor delivers to the trike. This is especially useful if you are in a hilly area where you the power requirements will change a lot. There’s also a headlight equipped that is controlled by the LCD display and powered by the main battery.
Finally, the M350 is equipped for a variety of environments and terrains. It has 20-inch fat tires that will provide great traction, support, and balance on uneven terrain, gravel, or even sandy beaches. Further, all of the wiring and connectors are water-resist so that rain or splashing from your ride won’t short out your trike.
We have a full review of the AddMotor Motan M350 Cargo Electric Trike or you can check out user reviews and specifications directly from the company on Amazon.
How Three Wheel Bikes Help Adults with Fitness and Mobility
We all know that staying fit and active is important for your health and for your overall quality of life. Unfortunately, a lot of activities that are good at keep you fit don’t necessarily work for everyone. Running is a nightmare on the knees and hips, regular cycling can be extremely problematic if you’re balance isn’t great while falling on a bike can lead to serious injury, and lots of other fitness activities just aren’t that fun!
Tricycling is a great alternative to some of these problematic activities. The three wheel bike setup means that you don’t need to balance like on a bike and there is a lower chance of a fall (especially if you are riding on a paved surface). It also provides a much more comfortable, reclined riding position that is far easier on the back. The gear setup on most tricycles is also a lot more forgiving than on a bicycle: you can pedal gently and move at a slower speed which makes the strain on knees and hips much lower.
One other great advantage to having a 3-wheel bicycle for adults is that they are also useful! You don’t just have to set aside a time to go out and get exercise, you can incorporate your adult trike into your daily routine. It might take a little more time to ride your tricycle out to the grocery store and back, but you are getting outside, getting active, and getting supplies for dinner! That’s what we call a win-win!
The Importance of Three Wheels
The biggest distinction of a tricycle is the “tri” part. It has three wheels as opposed to the two wheels on a bike, and this makes a HUGE difference. The most obvious is stability. You are not likely to fall over on a tricycle if you stop or are going slowly. We’ve had countless falls on bicycles. Especially as you get older, or if you are recovering from knee or hip surgery, a bike fall could be catastrophic. A tricycle still lets you get out and move around without taking this risk. We should warn people that you can tip a tricycle over. This is especially true if you are going fast, or if you are on path that has a side-to-side slope. For instance, a road with shoulders that slope out from the middle can present challenges if you try to ride on the shoulder.
In addition to the stability that a three wheel setup provides, there are some knock-on benefits from this as well. The biggest one is that you can go a lot slower. On a bicycle, you have to maintain a pretty decent speed just so that you stay upright. On a trike, staying upright is not an issue, so you can go at a much more leisurely pace. The designers know this, and so the gears on an adult tricycle are designed with this lower speed limit in mind. This means you have to put less pressure on your knees and hips to pedal the trike, and this reduces the overall strain on your body.
Finally, the stability and slower speed mean you don’t need to be hunched over the handle bars and pushing ahead. The design of trikes is a little more laid back so that you can sit in a more comfortable position while cycling.
The Importance of Fitness
Hey, we all know staying fit is important. Not just for your overall health, but for your quality of life. One of the biggest fears many people have, particularly if they suffer from hip or knee problems or are recovering from surgery, is that they won’t be able to get around on their own. This is a really big fear for a lot of people out there, and staying active with an adult trike can really help! Not only does it keep you active while protecting your joints, but it allows you to get around, go shopping and carry your purchases, all while improving your flexibility and overall fitness.
Facts: Doing Our Due Diligence on Adult Three Wheel Bikes
A trike is a three wheeled vehicle just like a bicycle. What else is there to know? A lot it turns out!
Some of the important features you should be looking at include:
- Single-speed or Multi-Speed. This really depends on you, your budget, and where you plan to ride. If you are on mostly flat, paved surfaces then a single-speed trike is going to be just fine. If you are in a hilly area or will be going over dirt, gravel, or grass then you might want to consider a multi-speed tricycle. This way you can make the pedaling easier when going up hills or over more difficult terrain. The two downsides to a multi-speed tricycle are cost and maintenance. Multi-speed options will almost always cost more than their single-speed counterpart since they have hubs, shifts, etc, all costs money. In addition to the cost, all those extra parts can break down. Thus, a multi-speed tricycle will generally require a bit more maintenance and tuning than a single-speed.
- Wheel size. The trikes on our list had wheel sizes that are either 20″, 24″, or 26″. If you go shopping around you might even find some options that have wheel sizes that are smaller or larger than those. The trade-off is generally that larger wheels offer a smoother ride since they have a larger diameter over which to even out the terrain. The downside to larger wheels is that, well, they’re larger! If fitting the trike into your car or SUV is a necessity, then make sure you have space for larger wheels. The other positive aspect of smaller wheels is that they can help to lower the trikes center of gravity and make it more stable. The stability of the trike depends on other factors as well, but smaller wheels can lead to improved stability.
- Bells & Whistles. It is worth checking what little add-ons the tricycle you are buying comes with. If it doesn’t come with a bell or a rear basket, those are things you’ll need to buy and install separately, and the cost for all those little extras can add up quickly. At a minimum any adult trike should come with a storage basket in the back for carrying your stuff. Ideally it would also have a rear-view mirror, a bell, and even a flag to help increase your visibility. This is especially important if you are riding on bike path that is on a roadway.
Riding Into the Sunset – Closing Thoughts
Hey, this is the end of our list of the best adult tricycles and three wheel bikes. We hope that it was helpful, and we’ll try to leave the comment section open so you can ask questions.
Getting the right adult tricycle can make a huge difference in your efforts to get outside and stay fit. A normal bicycle just doesn’t work for everyone, and having a three-wheeled option can be the difference for a lot of adults. All of the options, features, and choices can get overwhelming, so hopefully we’ve narrowed the choices down a bit for you!