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Why Trike Riders Are Not Respected in the Motorcycle Community

Why Trike Riders Are Not Respected in the Motorcycle Community

When it comes to riding, the motorcycle community is extremely supportive and accepting, allowing for diversity, inclusivity, and equality. Back in the day, motorcyclists were stereotyped as rebels or the outlaws; however, in modern society, motorcycles have become the new face of camaraderie and freedom. The fact that motorcycles have become safer and offer a more practical and convenient mode of transportation has also played a role in making it more widely recognized.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for trikes, be it a stunning Can-Am , a Harley Davidson trike, or a Polaris slingshot. Many hardcore motorcyclists consider riding a trike a sign of weakness and also call out trike riders “fake,” pretending to be a part of motorcycle culture when they are not following the tradition or the norms. While the trikes are still not as widely available as motorcycles, the options are increasing continuously. With the increasing availability of trikes, more people are becoming inclined to ride a more balanced, stable, and safe vehicle that allows them to connect with their surroundings without a roof or doors acting as a barrier. 

Despite the growing popularity and acceptance of trikes among people, many are afraid of being judged or attracting unnecessary hate. To feel confident while riding a trike, it is important to understand why hardcore motorcyclists tend to hate trike riders so much. Whether this mindset is widely prevalent throughout the motorcycle community, and what one should do to deal with undue criticism. This article delves deeper into the reasons why people who ride motorcycles say trikes are for losers or that trike riders are not real riders. 

1. Reasons Why People Who Ride Trikes Are Not Respected

Reasons Why People Who Ride Trikes Are Not Respected

Before we discuss the reasons why motorcycle people do not respect or extend the same support to trike riders, be sure to know that if you find people who frown upon you for riding a three-wheeler, you will also come across members of the motorcycle community who will appreciate your confidence for riding a trike. They will also encourage you to a point where you will become a skilled two-wheeler rider.

Therefore, the purpose of this article is not to discourage you from riding simply because it is accepted or respected by many motorcyclists, but rather to give you an insight as to the norms of the motorcycle culture and how some hardcore riders think. Once you know why someone thinks low of you for riding a trike, you will not dwell too much on why a biker was passing you a strange look or smiling sarcastically at you. It will also help you to enjoy your trike ride. 

1.1 Less Challenging to Learn and Ride

The first thing that comes to the mind of a motorcyclist when he spots a trike rider is that he is afraid of riding. Motorcyclists judge trike riders for their lack of riding skills, lack of courage, and inability to pick up concepts that are quite effortless for them. Balancing a motorcycle is comparatively more challenging than balancing a trike. Having two rear wheels gives you more support and confidence because they keep the motorcycle upright in the stop-and-go traffic, while parking, and at a standstill.

On the other hand, a motorcyclist is completely responsible for balancing a two-wheeler. Additionally, many people use support wheels when learning how to ride. When a healthy and grown adult rides a trike, it just feels like he is using a motorcycle with training wheels, which takes away from the maturity of the rider and reduces the magnetism that most riders possess. 

1.2 Fear of Leaning

Another extremely common bias towards trike riders is that they don't lean their vehicles while turning corners. During the motorcycle training course and post-license motorcycle riding, one of the greatest challenges a motorcyclist deals with is to turn on tight corners safely. For this, riders need to learn how to lean properly to ensure control and stability. Since trikes handle differently and do not require leaning while turning, it is immediately seen as a less challenging vehicle that requires a lesser degree of skill.

Additionally, it is assumed that a trike rider is afraid of leaning, and to find a safe way of riding, he has resorted to a trike because anyone who can handle a two-wheeler would never opt for a three-wheeler. While this perception may be true to some extent, it is not always the case.

Some motorcyclists also have this perception in mind that trike riders are afraid of leaning because they may know people in their circle who might have expressed their apprehension about it. 

1.3 Difficult Tasks Are More Celebrated

Riding a motorcycle certainly requires a certain level of skill, daring, and enthusiasm. Therefore, if riding a trike is compared with riding a motorcycle, the latter is considered a difficult and intimidating act. Our society in general is wired to celebrate tasks that are seemingly more difficult. People who choose an easier life or an easier goal for themselves are usually considered weak, lazy, and lacking the will or ambition.

The same is the case in the world of motorcycles. Trike riders are seen as lazy people who are unwilling to learn how to control a motorcycle and instead choose an easier option, which is riding a trike that remains stable on its own. Despite all this judgment, if riding a trike seems more comfortable or the right choice for you, don’t feel pressured into riding a two-wheeler. 

1.4 Trikes Don’t Offer the Same Freedom as a Motorcycle

Trikes Don’t Offer the Same Freedom as a Motorcycle
Photo Credit: Harley Davidson

It might seem implausible, but many motorcycle people do not respect trike riders or real bikers because they think trike owners have not experienced “real freedom of the open roads.” If you look at the structure of your trike and a motorcycle, you will find this notion puzzling and absurd. Both vehicles give you access to the surroundings, there are handlebars at the front, a comfortable seat with or without a passenger seat with no roof over them, both have transmission systems, gear boxes, and clutches, and braking systems.

However, the presence of an extra rear wheel in a trike changes the whole dynamics for motorcycle people. Due to this extra rear wheel, trikes are not as nimble and maneuverable as a two-wheeler. A motorcycle can move in whatever direction the rider wants; however, trikes usually move in a straight line, which means you won’t be able to navigate through traffic or enjoy the daunting curves of a winding as freely as when riding a motorcycle.

Does this mean riding a trike takes away your freedom? Absolutely, not. Riding a trike is just as immersive as riding a motorcycle. You can enjoy the scenic views, feel the wind in your hair, and enjoy a laid-back ride with greater safety and comfort. Additionally, for those riders who have physical limitations and cannot ride a motorcycle, trikes offer them the freedom of the road they are well accustomed to. 

1.5 Customization


Motorcycle riders take pride in their custom-made bikes, featuring eccentric graphics, bold paint jobs, stylish metal work, luxurious leather luggage bags , and seats, and other attractive aftermarket parts . When it comes to styling a bike to match one’s personal preferences, the options are endless. But luckily, brands like Viking Bags offer a wide range of stylish bags that are more than enough to make a trike more practical, convenient, and stylish. Even stylish sissy bars with comfortable backrests are now readily available on the market.

Custom paint jobs with unique graphics can also be done on a trike. So, when it comes to comparing the customizability of both motorcycles and trikes, there is no difference. Therefore, if someone tries to put down your trike simply because they find it not customizable, show them your creativity by adding a personal touch to your prized possession.

1.6 There is No Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure

There is No Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure
Photo Credit: Can-Am

Trikes are safer than motorcycles and when there is no sense of danger involved the vehicle is automatically considered boring. That is why many people find it reasonable to disrespect trike riders because they think they have no idea about how to have an adrenaline-fueled adventure. While it is true that trikes are not as agile as a motorcycle.

The ride on a trike is not as thrilling or dynamic as it is on a motorcycle because they are designed for stability and not for agility. So quick maneuvers, cuts, turning on tight corners, leaning, and other similar stunts cannot be performed on a trike. The perceived comfort and sense of security a trike offers is also counted as a negative trait. If someone disrespects your trike because they believe you cannot have an adrenaline-fueled adventure, and you too feel a little diffident, here is how you can have a memorable adventure on a trike:

Trikes can be used for light off-road riding, which means you can engage in different recreational activities like trike camping, wilderness explorations, and wildlife watching. A trike offers enough comfort and storage capacity to allow you to plan a long-distance trip like you would on a touring motorcycle. Contrary to popular belief, Harley trikes and Can-Am motorcycles offer an exhilarating and unique riding experience on winding roads and twisties. If you have good trike riding skills, you can surely ride on a daunting scenic road to have an adrenaline-fueled adventure. 

1.7 Lack of Sleek Aesthetics

Lack of Sleek Aesthetics
Photo Credit: Harley Davidson

Motorcycles are often appreciated for their sleek and sporty looks. Compared to them, trikes appear bulky and broad. They lack the streamlined silhouette that screams speed, agility, and sportiness. However, trikes enjoy a unique aesthetic, thanks to their sturdier chassis and three-wheel configuration that offers a commanding presence on the road and a unique character. Motorcyclists are attracted to the aerodynamic, slim look of the bike and they often deem the broad appearance of a trike as less appealing and unattractive. Moreover, there are various types of motorcycles each having its distinct features.

Cruisers, touring motorcycles, sports bikes, standard motorcycles, dirt bikes, adventure touring motorcycles, hyper sport bikes, dual sport bikes, and other categories look different. They give greater variety to consumers. On the other hand, trikes are considered motorcycles, and as a result, there are a limited number of models and scarce variety.

If aesthetics matter to you, you can simply customize your trike. Since there are fewer trikes available, standing out in a crowd of motorcyclists is much easier when you own a three-wheeler. Riding a trike in a biased motorcycle community that is drawn to unique aesthetics requires confidence, and if customization can give you the confidence boost you need then you should improve your trike’s cosmetic appeal. 

1.8 Tradition and Culture

Tradition and Culture

Motorcyclists are well-attuned to their traditions. In America, motorcycling became more popular after World War II, and many riders chose to ride a two-wheeler to feel a connection with the veterans and honor the tradition. Therefore, when someone rides a trike, they consider it a disregard to the motorcycle tradition and are immediately less accepting of the rider. Purists and hardcore riders think that if trikes become more prevalent, then the motorcycle community will depart from the tradition of riding. Trikes are considered a threat to the original motorcycle culture and tradition and purists think that anyone riding a trike is just betraying the spirit of riding. If acceptance is important for you as a trike rider, it is best to join a group to get support. 

Moreover, it is best to be more active in the motorcycle community to show that you respect all the traditions including participating in rallies and motorcycle events, learning more about the history and tradition of the motorcycle culture in your country, researching more about the workings and mechanics of both a motorcycle and a trike, supporting different motorcycle charity rides and safe riding campaigns. By sharing positive experiences about riding a trike, you can promote inclusivity and diversity in the motorcycle culture. 

1.9 Lack of Authenticity

About the previous point, many motorcycle people consider trike riders as fake who are pretending to be a part of the motorcycle culture while they are not. According to them, a true motorcycle enthusiast will do his best to learn all the skills to get a license and ride safely on the road. They believe that by riding a trike, a motorcycle enthusiast is just breaking the norm and rebelling against the motorcycle culture.

Consequently, they are unjustifiably harsh and nasty to trike riders. If you try to participate in motorcycle community events and still feel like being treated as an outcast, try to join a group of trike riders or find motorcyclists who are supportive of trike riders. Though it is a challenging part, you will eventually find the right people to share your unique riding style and experiences with. 

1.10 Only Good for Older, Physically Unfit, or Handicapped Riders

Only Good for Older, Physically Unfit, or Handicapped Riders

The only time critical motorcycle people find trike riding acceptable is when they see a handicapped, older, or physically unfit person riding it. Contrary to popular belief, trikes are not designed for people who are battling with a physical condition but don’t want to give up riding. Young and healthy motorcycle enthusiasts can also choose to ride trikes for their comfort, safety, distinct aesthetics, touring capability, and stability.

The reason why trikes are deemed the vehicles of older people is that it is less risky. The chances of falling off a trike are slim, and compared to a two-wheeler, a trike has lesser power and speed. There is less steering involved in trike riding. Also, riders need not worry about using physical strength to keep the bike stable while turning corners. The aesthetics of a trike are also not targeted at the youth. While a two-wheeler seems to be an image of youth, power, speed, rebellion, individuality, and freedom, the aesthetics of a trike resemble ease, comfort, safety, and stability. All these characteristics are immediately attractive for an older rider who cannot ride a two-wheeler due to physical constraints.

Young trike riders who are struggling with any physical conditions and are genuinely interested in trikes should approach the vehicle with greater confidence and enthusiasm. Maybe a rush of adrenaline can help change the image of trikes in the motorcycle community. By taking the initiative, organizing and participating in different trike events, documenting one’s adventures on trikes, sharing trike riding experiences on social media, and demonstrating strong riding skills while using a trike can help break stereotypes and overcome the undue stigma attached to trikes. These initiatives may also cause three-wheeled motorcycle manufacturing companies to advertise their trikes in a better way and target the young demographic instead. 

2. Last Words

Motorcycle trike riding has yet to develop a positive reputation in the motorcycling world. While in some countries norms and traditions are changing to create a diverse and inclusive motorcycle community, the change is still quite slow. But does that mean you should give up on riding a trike and opt for a motorcycle instead? Not really. Only an inconsiderate group of hardcore riders who call themselves ‘purists’ will make you feel bad about riding a trike. This kind of judgment does not come from every member of the motorcycle community. Therefore, you don’t have to heed every negative comment that a biker might throw your way.

Back in the day, scooter, moped, and electric motorcycle riders also had to face similar backlash from some insensitive bikers. However, all three vehicles are growing in demand because of their comfort, practicality, affordability, and other benefits. If riding a trike is something you want to do even if out of fear of riding a two-wheeler, focus only on your skills and enjoy the ride. 

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