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There aren’t a lot of other things that will benefit your physical health more than staying active as you get older. However, since our bodies may fail us more in our senior years, it can often be difficult to ride a regular bike which is why a tricycle is an excellent alternative.
Cycling is a beneficial exercise in many ways and will improve your coordination as well as giving all the major muscle groups a workout.
Tricycles Comparison Chart
Schwinn Meridian Tricycle
Mobo Triton Pro Recumbent Tricycle
Sixthreezero Body Ease 7-Speed Tricycle
Slsy 7-Speed Tricycle
Number of Speeds
1-speed / 3-speed / 7-speed
24-inches / 26-inches
20-inches (front), 16-inches (rear)
24-inches / 26-inches
5'4" – 6'2"
4' – 6'3"
4'10" – 6'
4'8" – 6'2" (dependent on wheel size)
4' – 6'
What is a Tricycle?
A tricycle or a trike or three-wheeled bike as it is sometimes called, is a type of cycle that has a front wheel and two rear wheels giving it much more stability than a standard bike. Another key difference is that, unlike a two-wheeled bike, the user can remain seated when they are not moving, which is excellent news for seniors with balance issues.
What are the Benefits of Three-Wheel Bikes for Seniors?
There are lots of benefits to using a tricycle for seniors, both practical and in terms of health.
Cycling Is Good For You
Cycling is one of the best ways to get a total body workout as it exercises all of the muscle groups as well as giving you a cardio boost. It’ll get that blood pumping and improve circulation, blood pressure, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s also a hugely social sport so is ideal for seniors who may be vulnerable to loneliness, and it can go a long way in improving the mood.
Good for People with Limited Balance
One of the main reasons that many seniors struggle to ride a regular bike is that their balance is impaired, and they have a fear of falling. But owing to the stable three-wheel design, these trikes cannot tip over, and the user can keep their feet on the pedals when stationary, so there’s no risk of falling.
Keeping Seniors Independent
With the ability to get out of the house on a tricycle, seniors can remain independent for longer. What’s more, a tricycle usually has enough space to carry cargo, so the older person will be able to run errands such as buying groceries without having to struggle.
Easy To Use
For seniors, getting a two-wheeled bike up a hill would be very difficult owing to the need to remain upright. But a trike makes this so much easier, and this is again thanks to the additional wheel and improved stability. You won’t be limited on where you can ride, so just enjoy your freedom!
Furthermore, getting on and off a tricycle is generally much easier for older adults who might have limited mobility. The seat is usually much lower to the ground, so there is less need to lift the leg as high.
Is a Tricycle Better Than a Regular Bicycle?
Tricycles and bicycles are both excellent ways to engage in cycling, and they both have their pros and cons. Neither should be considered better than the other as they both suit different users.
While a trike can be a little more tricky to move around a corner with a slight risk of tipping when not done correctly, it does have a wide range of other benefits that are much more suitable for seniors. These include better stability, a more comfortable seat, and the ability to scale hills more easily. It’s also important to note that in terms of tipping, a two-wheeled bike is far less safe.
How to Ride a Tricycle?
A tricycle provides a safer and more leisurely way to enjoy bike riding but it can feel a little different if you’ve never ridden one before. In order to have the best and most enjoyable experience, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the correct way to ride a tricycle.
- Before getting onto your trike, first put on a helmet to protect the head in the event of an accident.
- Start by ensuring that the trike is placed on a flat, stable surface. You can then sit on the seat and place your feet onto the pedals while holding onto the handlebars on either side. When stationary, you should be able to sit upright comfortably without feeling unbalanced.
- Before getting into your ride, move the tricycle slowly so that you can test the brakes. These are typically located on the handlebars and can be squeezed to slow the bike down.
- When pedaling the trike, be sure to start off slowly. This will give you time to adjust to riding the bike, which can take some time, especially if you have previously been used to sitting in the higher position of a two-wheeled bike.
- The handlebars can be turned to either side to steer the tricycle.
We would recommend getting to know the local laws surrounding the use of tricycles in a public area. These will vary depending on where you live and cover things like whether you must use the sidewalk or the road.
Tricycles are not designed to be ridden at great speeds, and if you try to hit a tight corner when going fast, this may cause the trike to tip over.
Types of Tricycles
There are different types of tricycles, and which you choose will depend on your personal preference as well as any physical difficulties you may have.
The upright trike is the most traditional of all the tricycles and has a lot of features that make it similar to a regular bike. The only difference is the addition of a third wheel.
The rider sits in an upright position, although the seat is typically much lower, and the bike features a step-through frame to make getting on and off much easier. They usually come with some handy extras like a basket and provide a leisurely way to go for a ride. That said, they’re not ideal for people looking for an intense workout.
The recumbent trike is an excellent choice for adults who may find sitting in an upright position too much. The seats are much more similar to a chair and so provide greater support and comfort. The weight of the user is more evenly distributed as they sit in a reclined position which makes the recumbent trike good for those who suffer from back pain.
Much like the upright trike, the recumbent trike has a low profile, so it is easy to mount and dismount. They’re a better choice for people looking for a little more intense workout.
It’s important to keep in mind that, when choosing a recumbent bike, there are two choices; the delta and the tadpole. The tadpole features two wheels at the front and one at the back. They have a simple gear system and are incredibly stable. The tadpole is good for navigating spaces as your widest point is in front of you so you can see.
A delta recumbent trike has a single wheel at the front with two at the back, making it slightly more difficult to move around obstacles as you can’t always see. However, the gear systems are more advanced, meaning you can use the bike on different terrains. While they are ideal for wheelchair users thanks to how easy they are to mount, they are slightly less stable than the tadpole.
A tandem tricycle is very much the same as an upright trike, only it has two seats. These are ideal for people who would like to ride with a friend or spouse.
There are generally two different types of tandem trike; those with the seats side by side and those whose seats are one in front of the other, known as an in-line trike.
Tricycle Buyer’s Guide
Before investing in a tricycle, it is important to look over the features to ensure that the equipment will be safe and suitable for you.
Type of Tricycle
As we have seen, there are three types of tricycles, and it’s important to think about how you will use the bike to determine which is right for you.
If you have problems with your back or neck or need additional support, then a recumbent trike would be the best option. These are also a good choice for people who might struggle with pedaling, as the lower air resistance allows you to move with less effort. For users with poor circulation, the extended position of the legs means that your circulation will be improved.
An upright trike is ideal for seniors who would feel more comfortable in this position and who want a bike that they can use for a leisurely afternoon out. They’re great for people who need something stable and easy to mount and are also perfect for running errands thanks to good cargo-carrying options.
However, if you would like to ride with a friend, you might decide to go for a tandem tricycle with two seats.
The number of gears your trike needs will depend on where you intend on riding it. If you’re going to be going across various types of terrain, then you may need something with more gears. This is also important if the rider is less able to pedal, especially when tackling hills and slopes. However, there are also single gear trikes that are perfect for city riding where the surface will be mainly flat.
A trike isn’t a small piece of equipment, and a lot of people may be put off because they don’t have anywhere to store the bike. However, there are a lot of folding tricycles on the market that can be made very compact making them easier to store. This is also ideal if you wish to take your trike in the car to explore locations that are further away.
The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable when riding your tricycle, so make sure that the seat has sufficient padding to provide support and comfort. Some seats are designed to lessen pressure around the perineum. Since there are a lot of nerve endings here, too much pressure can cause numbness which is something you’ll want to avoid.
However, if you think that a saddle seat will be too uncomfortable, there are also sling seats which are great for offering full back support.
It is also worth looking for seats that have suspension as this can increase comfort and will absorb shock. You should check the weight capacity of the seat to make sure it is compatible with your size.
The design of the frame is super important in terms of how easy it is to get on and off the trike. There are some whose frames are slightly higher, and these are known as step-over frames. They’re OK for people whose mobility is good but might not be suitable for a lot of seniors as you need to raise the leg quite high to step over. Furthermore, the few moments you will be standing on one foot could pose a fall risk.
On the other hand, a step-through bike has a low frame through which you step the leg. It requires no lifting and is far less stressful on the joints, making it ideal for seniors with conditions like arthritis.
The tires should be durable and have a good grip, but the type you choose will depend on the type of terrain you will be using the bike on. For example, if you’re planning on going off-road, then you will need wider tires with better traction. For city riding, narrow tires will be perfectly acceptable.
There are three handlebar types to look out for, and depending on your mobility and abilities, you’ll need to consider which type is best for you.
- Traditional handlebars are those that feature on regular bikes. They offer excellent control and make the bike easy to maneuver. But they often require good upper body strength, so may not be suitable for seniors without this.
- The loop handlebar is great for people who would be uncomfortable placing their hands in a set position when steering. These handles allow the user to move the bike using any part of the handlebar meaning improved comfort and ease of use. This is a good choice for anyone with limited mobility, weakness, or pain in the wrists.
- The chopper handlebar should be used by those with good upper body strength but are more suitable for people whose mobility may be limited. They make the bike easier to maneuver than the traditional handlebar and do not need as much skill.
Best Three-Wheel Bikes for Seniors
Once you are confident in the features that you need from a three-wheeled bike, there are lots of options available to you. Take a look at our favorite picks.
1. Schwinn Meridian Tricycle
This super stable trike benefits from a step-through frame, making it ideal for seniors whose mobility is limited. The large basket at the back provides you with space to run shopping errands making this a great everyday trike.
The saddle-style seat is heavily cushioned and will relieve pressure making this incredibly comfortable to ride. Moreover, the stable handlebars offer ease of movement and feature smooth linear brakes for safe stopping.
The Schwinn Meridian trike is suitable for a wider range of users measuring between 5’4 and 6’2, and the lightweight aluminum frame is durable and resistant to the elements. You get a lifetime warranty on the bike, which gives you excellent peace of mind.
This bike also comes in a choice of gear options, including a 1-speed, 3-speed, or 7-speed, which means you can choose the right one for your particular riding needs.
- Number of speeds: 1-speed / 3-speed / 7-speed
- Frame material: aluminum
- Wheel size: 24-inches / 26-inches
- Suitable for: 5’4″ – 6’2″
2. Mobo Triton Pro Recumbent Tricycle
The Triton has an adjustable frame so you can get just the right fit for you, making this an incredibly comfortable ride. It’s suitable for people between 4’and 6’3 and will take up to 250 lbs. It gives you a good degree of versatility in terms of terrain as it is designed to handle smooth and slightly sloped ground.
If you’re looking for a tricycle that’ll stand the test of time, then the durable steel frame of this one is sure to meet your needs. What’s more, the low profile means that the trike is easy to mount and dismount.
This tricycle features dual joystick steering so the hands are at the side, as opposed to having to be out front which may feel more comfortable for people with limited upper body strength. This is a great option for people looking for a good workout bike, but for running errands, it isn’t quite as adept owing to a lack of cargo space.
- Number of speeds: 1-speed
- Frame material: steel
- Wheel size: 20-inches (front), 16-inches (rear)
- Suitable for: 4′ – 6’3″
3. Sixthreezero Body Ease 7-Speed Tricycle
This is the perfect tricycle for seniors who want to get a moderate workout by tackling small inclines but who also want to be able to have a casual ride around town. The seven-speed gear system gives you this versatility with speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
The SixThreeZero trike comes in a stunning retro design with a leather saddle and handles for a truly vintage look. The seat is padded with high-density foam for superior comfort and the bike is fitted with rigid suspension to take a good amount of impact.
In terms of being suitable for older adults with mobility problems, this bike is ideal since it features a step-through frame, which also absorbs shock, making things easier on your joints. However, you should be mindful that, according to user reports, this trike does take some skill to put together, so you may need to hire professional assistance.
- Number of speeds: 7-speed
- Frame material: aluminum
- Wheel size: 26-inches
- Suitable for: 4’10” – 6′
4. Slsy 7-Speed Tricycle
The Slsy tricycle comes in a choice of three sizes, so you’ll be able to find something that works with your height. Moreover, the seat boasts back support so it’s great for people who suffer from back pain but who still want a viable way to work out.
Exercising doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to show off your style, so the fact that this trike comes in a huge range of colors is a nice bonus. What’s more, it’s fitted with a good-sized basket for carrying your bag, shopping, or anything else you’ll need to take with you.
With seven speeds, this bike is suited to a range of activities and terrains, and the strong frame offers excellent stability. Moreover, this bike can hold up to 350 lbs which is far more generous than some of the competing products. The only thing we didn’t like was that it only comes with a one-year warranty, whereas many others come with a lifetime guarantee.
- Number of speeds: 7-speed
- Frame material: steel
- Wheel size: 24-inches / 26-inches
- Suitable for: 4’8″ – 6’2″ (dependent on wheel size)
5. Ongmies Tricycle with 24″ Wheels
If you want to use your tricycle on a varied number of terrain types, then you must have the correct type of tires. This trike is fitted with extra-wide tires with fantastic traction making it suitable for off-road adventures. It boasts a low profile and step-through frame to make getting on and off quick and easy, perfect for anyone with balance or mobility problems.
It also has a seven-speed gear system which is imperative when moving between terrains, and the non-slip handlebars and pedals ensure you have a safe ride. The brakes are smooth and sensitive, giving you greater control over the tricycle.
The bike comes with a sizable basket for carrying your belongings and boasts an adjustable seat to suit your height. The seat is also padded for comfort, which is great on longer rides.
- Number of speeds: 7-speed
- Frame material: carbon steel
- Wheel size: 20-inches
- Suitable for: 4′ – 6′