If you’re looking for an adult tricycle with gears, our top choice here at AdultTricyclesPro is the Barbella 7-Speed adult tricycle. Although one of the newer models we cover, it has picked up solid reviews from riders and stood up to our testing with flying colors. Although not as popular as the single speed Schwinn Meridian, it is still a solid choice and if you live in a hilly area that demands you have multiple gear options on your tricycle, the Barbella is the way to go.
The Barbella is avaliable in both 24-inch and 26-inch wheel sizes, and both are perfectly good options for most people. The 24-inch wheel is better for smaller riders, but either option should be fine for most people. The official recommendation from Barbella is that the 24-inch option is ideal for riders between 4’11” and 5’9″ while the 26-inch wheel size is best for riders between 5’3″ and 6’2″. Obviously there’s quite a bit of overlap there, and those numbers are just guidelines. I’m 6’2″ and rode around on the 24-inch wheel model without any issues.
One area this might make a difference is the overall size of the trike. The 24-inch wheels are a bit smaller, and the frame of the bike is 30″ wide by 66″ long with a height between 43″ and 47″ depending on how you have the handlebars set. For the 26-inch wheels, the bike is 31″ wide by 69″ long with a height between 41″ and 53″ depending again on the handlebar adjustments you make. If those extra couple of inches of the frame make a difference for your storage space, then the 24-inch might be a better option for you.
The biggest feature of the Barbella 7-Speed compared to most other adult trikes out there is the fact that it is a 7-speed tricycle. If you’re going to be riding up and down hills, then this is a must-have feature. Gears for bikes are definitely convenient, but with the heavier weight of three wheels and cargo, having gears to get up hills is essential.
The downside to having gears is that it makes riding a bit more complicated. You need to worry about shifting and riding at the same time. With a tricycle this is a bit better than on a two wheel bike since you aren’t also trying to balance at the same time. Still, it does take some practice to make sure you shift smoothly and without causing the chain to come loose. The trick is to make sure you are not putting a lot of pressure on the pedals at the same time that you are shifting gears. That pressure on the pedals is what causing the chain to pop off the gear and leave you needing to get off the tricycle to thread the chain back through the gear system properly.
The other downside to gears is that they need a bit of maintenance that you don’t have to think about with a single speed option. That’s where choosing a quality tricycle can make a difference. We found the gears on the Barbella to be a good quality option and we didn’t experience any manufacturing defects from the models we looked at. We also took a look online at various reviews and forums, and there were surprisingly few complaints about the gears breaking down which is a good sign. Still, you’ll need to make sure to take the bike in once a year or so and have a mechanic tighten the shifters and make sure the derailleurs are lined up properly so that the chain isn’t rubbing up against anything and is lined up on properly.
In addition to the gears, the Barbella has several other features for safety and performance that are worth mentioning. The frame is a low step-through model to make it easier to get on and off the trike, and it also features swept-back beach cruiser handlebars. Most riders find this style of handlebar easier on the back and neck since it allows you to lean back a bit while riding. To facilitate that leaned back position, the padded, comfortable Barbella saddle also comes with a backrest included. This definitely makes sitting back and riding at a leisurely pace more enjoyable, and we usually recommend people install a backrest on their adult trike anyway, so this saves you that additional cost.
For safety, the Barbella also features a front linear pull brake and a rear disk brake. These are both critical to enable you to stop quickly should the need arise. Having the two sets of brakes is more important on a trike because the added weight of the tricycle gives you a bit more momentum than on a bicycle. If you are carrying cargo, that can also add to the weight and your momentum. Because of the additional weight, we definitely recommend that you take the Barbella out on safe rides the first few times to get a feel for how to stop quickly and what the stopping distance actually is for you. We recommend this with all adult tricycles since they do have a somewhat different feel than a bicycle. You should also get used to coming to a complete stop while still on the tricycle, rather than trying to put your foot down as you stop the way you might on a bicycle.
Features and Specifications
- 24-inch and 26-inch wheel options to get a better fit for your height.
- 7-speed gearing system for going up hills more easily.
- Cargo basket that is 18″ by 22″.
- Steel construction with carry capacity (rider plus cargo) of up to 350 pounds.
- Padded seat with included backrest.
- One-year quality assurance warranty.
- Largest selection of colors of any tricycle we reviewed.
- Dimensions: 30″ x 66″ x 47″ for the 24-inch wheels, 31″ x 69″ x 53″ for the 26-inch wheels.
Pros of the Barbella 7-Speed Adult Tricycle
- An adult tricycle with gears. This is the obvious top selling point of the Barbella 7-Speed trike versus other options like the Schwinn Meridian. The fact that you have a 7-speed geared tricycle allows you to ride more easily in areas that would require a lot more leg power if you only had a single speed option. Just be warned that having gears isn’t magic: it’ll still require some effort to get up those hills!
- Wheel size options. The choice of being able to get 24-inch or 26-inch wheels gives you some flexibility when purchasing. The 24-inch wheels are better for smaller riders (4’11” to 5’9″) and will save space when storing the trike. The 26-inch wheels give you a bit more space and are recommended for riders between 5’3″ and 6’2″.
- Sturdy carbon steel frame. The frame is made primarily from carbon steel and is guaranteed to support up to 350 pounds of rider plus cargo. In addition to the carrying capacity the strong and sturdy steel frame will last for years without causing any problems and without bending or breaking.
- Swept back beach-cruiser handlebars. The handlebar position makes a big difference for your comfort, particularly in your neck and back. These handlebars let you sit back and enjoy your ride without forcing you to hunch over or put strain on your back and neck.
- Cost. The Barbella is one of the lowest cost adult tricycle options that we tried out.
Cons of the Barbella 7-Speed Adult Tricycle
- Difficult to assemble. This tricycle will really require some effort to assemble even with online videos and step-by-step instructions. Unless you’re really comfortable with such things and mechanically inclined, we’d recommend taking this to a bike shop to have it assembled by a professional. A bike shop assembly will have the added bonus of making sure the gearing system is completely aligned and won’t cause you any problems.
- Maintenance of the gears. The gears were perfectly acceptable quality, but are still going to require maintenance over time. Derailleurs and shifters loosen up as you ride, and require tightening and realignment every once in a while. This is the sort of thing you can do yourself, or have a bike shop do for you and doesn’t require a lot of time, but does need to get done on a regular basis.
- Size. The Barbella, even the 24-inch wheel model, is on the larger size. It will not fit easily into a car, and you better have plenty of space in your garage or outside to keep this stored.
This is a really great, affordable adult tricycle and was the top adult tricycle with gears in our complete review and comparison of adult tricycles. If you don’t need the 7-speed option, then you should check out the list for a single-speed adult trike that might meet your needs without the hassle of gears. That said, this is a great choice if you are not on level roadways and want something to get you up and down hills comfortably.
The latest prices and color options are available on Amazon.com.