The 6 Best Adult Tricycles for Seniors (And One Bonus Option)

Best Trikes for Older Adults | Types of Adult Trikes | How to Choose an Adult Trike | Other Considerations

Whether using them for exercise, transportation, running errands, or just for fun, seniors are getting on board three wheeled tricycles like never before.

Three-wheeled bikes have been enjoying quite the heyday among older adults over the past few years, and there’s no wonder why. They’re safe, easy, fun and comfortable – and they help seniors build and maintain strength, stamina, cardiovascular health and mobility. Throw in the splendor of the great outdoors, and you’ve got the makings of a fun and fabulous physical activity.

Why are three-wheeled bikes (aka tricycles) so popular?

The tricycle’s wide base provides much more stability than a bicycle, so they can easily be used by seniors with balance challenges, and even those who never learned to ride a bike!

There are a few key points to review when it comes to narrowing down the best three-wheel bikes for seniors. We’ll walk you through them, and point out some of the best adult tricycles for seniors across several categories. 

The Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle is a great pick – our best overall – because it covers all the basics, has plenty of options and is built to last. But, it might not be the best choice in your situation. Let’s jump in, and find out what is.

Best 3-Wheel Bikes for Older Adults

1. Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle

Best Overall
Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle Bike, Three Wheel Cruiser, 24-Inch Wheels, Low Step-Through Aluminum Frame, Adjustable Handlebars, Large Cruiser Seat, Rear Folding Basket, 1-Speed, Slate Blue

Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle

A high-quality tricycle with a basket and several gear options

The Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle is our pick for best overall three wheeled bike due to its quality craftsmanship and variety of options. Choose your color, size, and number of gears needed, and you’ll have a solid three wheeled bicycle with all the basics. Then Schwinn tops it all off with a lifetime warranty for good measure!

Core Features:

  • Choose from one, three or seven gears
  • Adjustable sweptback handlebars  
  • Parking brake
  • Basket included

The Meridian is available with one, three or seven gears. The single gear model is the simplest to operate, since there’s no need to shift gears. However, it won’t fare well on hills or travel much faster than the rider can pedal. 

Choose the three or seven speed options if you want to travel fast or up hills. The seven speed option is best for those who ride in tricky terrain, while the three speed model will be easier to operate and won’t require as much maintenance. 

The Meridian is an upright trike with adjustable swept back handlebars that supports good posture, and puts less strain on the shoulders and upper body. The extra large cushioned saddle seat absorbs bumps for a comfortable ride.

The super low step through and parking brake make it easy to get on and off this tricycle safely.

The Meridian accommodates seniors ranging in height from 4’8” to 6’2”. Those under about 5’5” should opt for the 24 inch wheel, while others will feel better with the 26 inch size.

Be aware that this adult trike’s shipping box is heavy, and assembly might be challenging for seniors with strength or dexterity challenges, so plan accordingly. It’s generally a good idea to have a bike mechanic put together a new adult tricycle to ensure everything is properly aligned, fitted and tightened.

Technical Specifications

  • Weight Capacity: 280 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 73 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Upright
  • Type of Handle: Adjustable sweptback
  • Type of Brake: Linear pull hand brakes
  • Wheel Size: 24 or 26 inch options

Pros

  • Choose from one, three or seven speeds
  • Adjustable handlebars
  • Basket included
  • Parking brake

Cons

  • Hand brakes may not work well for seniors with poor hand strength or dexterity
  • Saddle seats can be uncomfortable or lack enough support for seniors with back pain or balance issues

2. Mobo Triton Pro Adult Tricycle

Best Recumbent Bike
Mobo Cruiser Triton Pro Adult Tricycle for men & women. Beach Cruiser Trike. Adaptive 3-Wheel Bike , Orange, 28 x 29 x 48 inches (61” extended)

Mobo Triton Pro Adult Tricycle

A comfortable recumbent tricycle with joystick handles

The Mobo Triton Pro Adult Tricycle is a comfortable choice for seniors seeking a leisurely, smooth and stable ride along paved roads. No balance ability is required, and the dual joystick steering is easy to operate, even for seniors with hand pain or weakness.

Core Features:

  • Cushioned seat
  • Dual joystick steering
  • Safety flag included

Available in four fun colors, this Mobo Triton Trike looks sharp gliding down the street or sidewalk!

The Triton is easy to maneuver, thanks to its dual joystick steering and front-wheel design. Its single gear means it’s simple to operate, although it may feel limiting to seniors looking to ride fast, or spend time on hills or off-road terrain.

The Triton’s low center of gravity means it’s very stable. Its cushioned, reclined seat provides comfortable back support, and keeps stress off of knees for a low-impact workout.  

This adult trike comes with a safety flag included to make it easier for drivers to spot in traffic.

The frame extends to fit seniors ranging in height from 4’2” to 6’3”.

Technical Specifications:

  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 44 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Recumbent
  • Type of Handle: Dual joystick
  • Type of Brake: Rim Brakes
  • Wheel Size: 16 inches (20 inch in front)

Pros

  • Low-maintenance chainless design
  • Dual joystick steering 
  • Maneuverable

Cons

  • Not intended for off-road use
  • Speed is limited

3. Slsy Adult 7-Speed Tricycle 

Best Budget Pick
Slsy Adult Tricycles 7 Speed, Adult Trikes 20/24 / 26 inch 3 Wheel Bikes, Three-Wheeled Bicycles Cruise Trike with Shopping Basket for Seniors, Women, Men.

Slsy Adult 7-Speed Tricycle 

Affordable tricycle with seven speeds and a backrest

Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the Slsy Adult 7-Speed Tricycle doesn’t skimp on accessories, features or options. It’s available in an array of eye-catching colors, and a selection of wheel sizes to fit most seniors’ needs. The rear basket can tote several shopping bags, or a picnic lunch to the park, and the water bottle cage ensures a drink is always at hand.

Core Features:

  • 7 speeds
  • Rear suspension
  • Padded seat with backrest
  • Large carrying basket
  • Water bottle cage

The Slsy’s seven speeds makes it easier to pedal up slopes and hills, while its rear suspension absorbs the bumps from modest off-road surfaces. 

The Slsy’s upright design, traditional handlebars and hand brakes are best for seniors with normal upper body strength and range of motion. Plus,the front-wheel design makes steering easy.

This tricycle’s cushy padded seat features a small backrest for an extra bit of back support. The seat’s height can be adjusted to fit different leg lengths comfortably.

The Slsy is available in several wheel sizes to fit most seniors. The 20-inch option is best for shorter seniors (under 5’ 4”), while those of average height may prefer the 24-inch wheels. Taller seniors (up to 6’ 2”) will prefer the 26-inch wheel size.

Assembling the Slsy can be on the challenging side, even with its included mini-tool set. Many seniors have found it to be well worth the investment to hire a bike mechanic to assemble it.

Technical Specifications

  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 58 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Upright
  • Type of Handle: Traditional handlebars
  • Type of Brake: Handbrakes
  • Wheel Size: Choose between 20, 24 or 26 inch options

Pros

  • Cushioned adjustable reclining seat
  • Dual suspension for smooth ride
  • Responsive joystick turning

Cons

  • Slow
  • Recommended for flat, paved surfaces only

4. Mobo Shift 3-Wheel Recumbent Trike

Another Great Recumbent Bike
Mobo Cruiser Shift 3-Wheel Recumbent Bicycle Trike. Reversible Adult Tricycle Bike, black, 20-Inch

Mobo Shift 3-Wheel Recumbent Trike

An ergonomic recumbent trike with a fully-adjustable backrest

The Mobo Shift is a comfortable recumbent tricycle for seniors who may have prostate, hip or knee issues. The ergonomic reclining seat is well-padded, and it can be adjusted to six different angles, so there’s sure to be a comfortable position for every senior.

While this trike for adults performs best on pavement, it includes a dual suspension system for a smooth and comfortable ride.

Core Features:

  • Adjustable reclining seat
  • Dual joystick steering
  • Dual suspension
  • Reverse gear
  • Safety flag included

The Mobo’s dual joystick steering is responsive and precise. However, while joystick steering can sometimes be easier on seniors with poor hand strength, the Mobo Shift features handbrakes, which may not work well for those with arthritis or limited dexterity in the fingers.

The Mobo’s seat sits only 12 inches off the ground, which might make this three-wheel bicycle too low for some seniors to get in and out independently – especially since there’s no parking brake to lock it into position. On the plus side, the low center of gravity translates to exceptional stability, and a senior does not need to be able to balance in order to ride the Mobo.

The Mobo Shift’s single gear means it’s simple to operate, and it actually features a reverse gear for backing up easily. However, a single gear won’t reach high speeds, and it doesn’t work well on hills or uneven terrain. 

The Mobo’s extendable steel frame fits seniors from 4’ to 6’3” in height.

Technical Specifications

  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 44 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Recumbent
  • Type of Handle: Dual joystick
  • Type of Brake: Caliper handbrake
  • Wheel Size: 20 inches (16 inch rear tire)

Pros

  • Cushioned adjustable reclining seat
  • Dual suspension for smooth ride
  • Responsive joystick turning

Cons

  • Slow
  • Recommended for flat, paved surfaces only

5. CHENDGE2 Adult Folding Tricycle

Best Folding Trike
Adult Folding Tricycle Bike 3 Wheeler Bicycle Portable Tricycle 20' Wheels Gray CHENDGE2

CHENDGE2 Adult Folding Tricycle

A travel-friendly folding trike

The Chendge2 Adult Folding Tricycle features a folding steel frame, so it can easily be compacted for storage or travel. This handy three-wheeler comes complete with a shopping basket and even a little bell for style!

Core Features:

  • Folding frame for easy storage and transport
  • Large rear basket
  • Parking brake
  • Bell included

It’s easy to get on and off of this upright three-wheeled bicycle, thanks to its low step-through design and stable parking brake.

The padded saddle seat and traditional handlebars are best for seniors who can sit upright and have a fair amount of upper body strength and range of motion.

Because this adult trike features a single speed, there’s no need to deal with shifting gears, so riding is simple and straightforward. However, the single gear also means it won’t go very fast, and it’s best to ride on flat, paved roads.

Professional assembly is recommended, especially considering a folding tricycle can be a bit more complicated to put together.

Technical Specifications

  • Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 57 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Folding
  • Type of Handle: Traditional
  • Type of Brake: Front V-Brake and Parking Brake
  • Wheel Size: 20 inches

Pros

  • Frame folds for easy storage
  • Shopping basket
  • Parking brake

Cons

  • Limited to slower speeds and flat, paved surfaces

6. Worksman Team Dual Side-by-Side 3-Speed Recumbent Trike

Best Tandem Trike
dual-recumbet-trike

Worksman Team Dual Side-by-Side

A three-wheeled tandem tricycle for biking with a buddy

The Worksman Team Dual Side-by-Side is a tandem tricycle which features high-quality craftsmanship, a selection of colors and many optional features that come together to create the ideal senior-friendly tricycle for your unique needs. Choose specialized supportive pedals, tougher tires, a canopy roof or a seatbelt, among other options. There’s even an option for electrical assist!

Core Features:

  • Parking brake
  • Foam covered handlebars for comfortable grip
  • Rear basket included
  • Many available options

Team Dual riders sit side by side in comfortable bucket seats. They share a single steering tiller, which can be adjusted as needed for height. The traditional handlebars are covered in high-density foam for a comfortable grip. 

Either rider can activate the coaster brakes on this three-wheel bicycle with their feet. There is also a parking brake, which makes getting in and out of the seats much more secure.

Each rider can independently select their preferred gear using the thumb shifters on the steering tiller. The three speed options means it’s easier to ride up slopes and achieve higher speeds without pedalling like crazy!

The Team Dual accommodates two riders from about 5’0” – 6’2”. 

This adult trike arrives 95% assembled. Only the seat, basket and reflectors need to be attached upon arrival. However, because they are made to order, they tend to be expensive and there is a long lead time.

Technical Specifications

  • Weight Capacity: 600 pounds
  • Trike Weight: 180 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Tandem
  • Type of Handle: Traditional
  • Type of Brake: Foot activated coaster brakes 
  • Wheel Size: 20 inch front, 24 inch rear

Pros

  • Many options
  • Parking brake
  • Cushioned, comfortable seats

Cons

  • Long lead time to order
  • Higher price point

7. Bike USA Heavy-Duty Stabilizer Wheels for Adult Bicycles

Best For Modifying an Existing Bike
Bike USA Heavy-Duty Stabilizer Wheels for Adult Bicycles, The Original Training Aid for Full Size Bikes with a 24' to 27' Inch Wheel, Supports Over 250 LBS, Patented Design, Black, 16-Inch (1000)

Bike USA Stabilizer Wheels

Stabilizing add-on wheels that can turn a standard bicycle into a trike

For seniors who already have a great bicycle – but may be starting to face balance issues – the Bike USA Heavy-Duty Stabilizer Wheels make a solid alternative to purchasing a new trike. This set includes two 16 inch inflatable tires with tubes – just like traditional bicycle tires – which offer a smooth ride over most surfaces.

Core Features:

  • Fits onto most 2 wheel bicycles 
  • Two 16 inch inflatable tires with tubes
  • Narrow size is more convenient than full sized trikes

Multiple spacers are included with this Bike USA set to ensure a perfect fit with a range of bicycles. These stabilizer wheels are compatible with most 24-27 inch bicycles, but they won’t work with folding, electric or recumbent bikes.

Bicycles equipped with these Bike USA stabilizing wheels are still narrow enough to fit through doorways, which is really handy for seniors who store their bikes inside. They can also fit on a large automobile bike rack, which takes the headache out of trying to transport them around town or on vacation. 

Be aware that it can take a little time to get used to riding with stabilizer wheels. Only one of the stabilizing wheels touches the ground at once, while the other stays about a half-inch in the air. This can feel like they’re tilting to the side. Although they won’t fall over, it can feel pretty unnerving for some seniors, especially those with mild dementia or cognitive challenges.

Assembly is fairly simple for most healthy adults, although professional installation is recommended to be sure that everything is properly aligned.

Technical Specifications:

  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Product Weight: 16 pounds
  • Type of Trike: Compatible with most 2-wheeled bicycles
  • Type of Handle: N/A
  • Type of Brake: N/A
  • Wheel Size: 16 inches

Pros

  • Less expensive than buying a new tricycle
  • Smaller than a full trike

Cons

  • Can take a little time to get used to the tilt / wobble

Who Are 3-Wheel Bikes Best For?

Three wheeled bikes are enjoyed by people of all ages, but they have unique appeal among older adults for several exciting reasons.

Many people realize that physical exercise is key to aging well. The CDC recommends that older adults spend 150 minutes exercising each week.

However, this is easier said than done for seniors who have issues with painful knees, poor balance, or other chronic conditions. In fact, less than 3% of seniors meet this recommendation!

Enter the adult tricycle. 

adult tricycle

Even seniors who never learned to ride a bicycle can typically learn to ride a trike very easily, since there’s no need to worry about balance! Balance is not required for tricycling, so seniors with tremors, Parkinson’s disease, or other conditions that affect their ability to balance on a bike are suddenly back in the game with these three-wheelers.

That’s good news for their physical and mental health! Studies show that outdoor physical activity has a big impact on brain health, reduces fear of falling in seniors and improves their quality of life!

Further research demonstrates numerous benefits of cycling in particular for older adults, including better:

  • Muscle strength
  • Flexibility
  • Posture
  • Cardiovascular health 

Three-wheeled adult tricycles are also easier to mount and dismount, making them uniquely suited to a senior’s needs. 

For many elderly people, cycling is easier than walking. This may be because cycling is so good for stiff and painful joints.

It’s a low impact exercise, so it doesn’t put much stress on the hips, knees or feet. In fact, the cycling motion lubricates these joints, actually reducing pain and stiffness, and making it easier to keep moving throughout the day.

trike landscape

Reduced strain on the joints, more support for the back, no need to balance… It’s no wonder so many seniors are turning to three-wheel bikes to take back their health, mobility and independence!

What Type of 3-Wheel Bike for Adults is Best for the Elderly?

There are several types of adult tricycles available. The best type will vary depending on each individual senior’s needs and preferences. Let’s take a look at seven of the most popular types of trikes for the elderly.

Upright 3 Wheel Bike

The upright three wheel bicycle is one of the most popular choices for seniors seeking a better bike alternative. Uprights often look fairly similar to a regular bicycle, with the third wheel being the obvious distinction. Most have a single wheel in front and two wheels in the back.

Upright trikes usually have a regular bicycle-style saddle seat – although many are extra-large and padded for a more comfortable experience. Some have a small backrest attached to the saddle seat. 

Seniors with balance concerns, painful prostates, back pain or larger builds may find that these saddle seats are unsafe or uncomfortable, and may prefer a chair-style seat.

Upright tricycles tend to be lightweight and easy to steer. They tend to have a higher center of gravity than recumbents, so they’re more prone to tipping if ridden quickly around corners or on uneven surfaces. 

Upright tricycles are usually the most cost-effective three-wheel bicycle option. A lot of times they come with a large wire basket for carrying grocery bags or other items. Uprights can be a good choice for seniors who:

  • Want to ride at low to moderate speeds
  • Plan to stick mainly to paved surfaces
  • Have normal upper body strength and range of motion
  • Have fair balance ability

Recumbent Three-Wheel Bike

recumbent tricycle

In contrast to the upright trike, the recumbent tricycle looks a lot different from your average bicycle. Recumbents are low to the ground with a chair-style seat. Some of these seats can recline to offer more options for comfort. 

A recumbent bike’s pedals are positioned so that the rider’s legs reach straight out front rather than down, which can be easier on lower body joints. 

Their low center of gravity translates to excellent stability, even at high speeds. However, keep in mind that it can be hard for seniors to get in and out of low seats independently, especially if they have knee pain or little leg strength. If this is the case, look for a recumbent trike with a higher seat – about 18-21 inches off the ground, depending on the senior’s height.

Because recumbent three wheeled bikes are so low, they can sometimes be easy to miss in traffic, so many of these trikes come with high flying safety flags and reflectors to be easier to spot. 

Recumbent tricycles that feature one wheel in the front and two in the back are sometimes called Deltas. They are designed to be lightweight, aerodynamic and easy to control, so steering is a breeze. Recumbents with two wheels in front are called Tadpoles. They tend to be extra fast and low to the ground. Seniors tend to opt for the Deltas.

Recumbent three-wheel bicycles tend to be more expensive than some other types of senior-friendly trikes. They can be a good choice for seniors who:

  • Need more back support 
  • Have poor balance
  • Have a larger body build
  • Want to ride faster

Semi-Recumbent 3-Wheel Bike 

semi-recumbent tricycle

Semi-recumbent trikes, sometimes called adaptive tricycles, typically feature large seats with ample supportive backrests. The seats are usually close to the ground. This provides a low, stable center of balance, but they can be hard for some taller seniors to get out of on their own. 

The position of the pedals in front reduces stress on the leg joints for comfortable pedaling. 

Tandem Tricycles

Tandem senior tricycles can be great fun for two people to ride together. Three-wheel tandem bikes may feature recumbent, semi-recumbent or upright designs. They have two seats and two sets of pedals. Typically each cyclist can pedal at their own speed.

Some tandem tricycles seat riders side by side, while others place one seat in front of the other. 

Tandem tricycles can be a great option for couples who want to ride together, or for a senior to ride along with a caregiver, family member or friend.

Folding Trikes

Most three wheel bicycles are too large to fit indoors, which means they may not work for seniors who don’t have a place to store them outdoors. They can also be impossible to transport without a wheelchair car lift, a pick up truck, or trailer. 

Folding tricycles can be a great solution to these challenges. These trikes are designed to fold up neatly, allowing them to be stored in an entryway closet or other tight area. They’re often a better choice for travel, since they can be tucked into the trunk of a car, or fit onto a bike rack on a bus. Just check their total weight to ensure that lifting the folded tricycle won’t be too much trouble.

Folding 3 wheel bicycles are perfect for seniors with limited space for storage, or who want to take their tricycle along on vacation.

Fat-Wheel Trikes

fat wheel tricycle for adults

Fat wheel adult tricycles are designed to perform well in tough terrain, and can often handle mud, snow, sand or gravel or dirt trails. 

Besides boasting big, fat tires – which provide better grip and shock absorption to reduce impact on joints – fat-wheel trikes usually come equipped with high-quality components, cushioned seats and excellent suspension systems to provide a smooth and comfortable ride down bumpy roads.

Seniors with a flair for adventure, speed and off-road travel – or those who are extra-sensitive to a bumpy ride – should look into fat wheel trikes.

Electric Trike

electric tricycle for adults

Somewhat like three-wheeled mobility scooters, electric tricycles don’t require leg strength to pedal. They’re usually controlled via hand throttle, so they might make a good choice for seniors with severely limited strength or mobility in the legs. 

Hybrid electric tricycles can be operated with either manual or electric power. This can be especially useful when a senior’s strength, pain or ability to pedal might vary from day to day.

They’re also pretty nice when a senior just needs a break or boost while heading up a steep hill. 

How to Choose a 3-Wheel Bike for Elderly Adults

The sections below will give you a good grasp of the basics when it comes to choosing the right tricycle for an older adult.

Take note of the following features when selecting your senior tricycle.

Handlebars and Steering

There are a number of different ways to steer the various adult tricycles out there, and most people don’t realize what a big difference it makes to the overall cycling experience.

Traditional Handlebars

traditional handlebar

Traditional handlebars may be fine for seniors who have normal upper body strength and range of motion. However, those with upper body limitations will find themselves straining uncomfortably to reach, grasp or steer with traditional handlebars. 

Foam coverings can make traditional handlebars somewhat easier or more comfortable to grasp, but seniors who ride a lot – and those who have pain or stiffness in the shoulders, arms, back or hands – will do better with another alternative.

Swept Back Handlebars

swept back handlebars

Swept back handlebars are longer than traditional handlebars. They’re ergonomically designed to allow the senior to sit more upright, and keep a more comfortable hand position.

Swept back handlebars can be a good choice for seniors who experience discomfort or stiffness in the upper body, or who plan to go for long rides.

Loop Handlebars

loop handlebars

Seniors who have poor shoulder, arm or hand strength, dexterity or range of motion may find loop handlebars to be more comfortable and easier to operate, since they can rest their arms anywhere on the rectangular loop to steer. 

Joystick Steering

Joystick steering is an alternative to handlebars. It’s often found in recumbent tricycles. Joystick steering offers exceptionally smooth maneuverability, and many people find it to be really fun to use. 

Joystick steering can also be a good choice for seniors with limited range of motion, difficulty grasping, painful hands or a weak grip.

Seat

The seat is one of the most important pieces of the trike in terms of comfort. Seniors who experience back, pelvic or hip pain should talk with the doctor or physical therapist about which type of tricycle seat will be most comfortable and won’t aggravate any specific conditions.

Saddle Seat

saddle seat

Saddle seats are similar to those on traditional bikes, only larger and cushier. These can be very comfortable for some, as they reduce pressure on the back, and make it easy to shift positions.

However, some men with prostate issues, and some seniors with larger body builds, find saddle seats to be rather uncomfortable.

Some saddle seats come with a small backrest attachment to provide a little additional support to lean against.

For a proper fit, a senior will need 1-3 inches of clearance between their body and the saddle seat when standing with both feet flat on the ground. 

Sling Seat

sling seat

The other main type of seat in the three-wheeled bike world is called a sling seat. It resembles a chair, and these kinds of seats are commonly found on recumbent tricycles.

Sling seats disperse the rider’s weight over a larger surface – and can sometimes recline – which can be more comfortable for seniors with certain types of back pain.

Brakes

tricycle brakes

Adult tricycles come with a variety of brake options. 

  • Foot Brakes. Coaster or pedal brakes are activated with the feet, so they can be smart choices for seniors who have limited strength in their hands. 
  • Hand Brakes. Hand brakes may be tough to operate for seniors with poor hand strength or dexterity, while those with limitations in their legs will likely prefer them. Linear-pull brakes are a type of hand brake that is easy to engage, and offers a nice, smooth stop.
  • Parking Brakes. A good parking brake ensures the trike stays stable while a senior gets on or off, which can be especially important for seniors who experience periods of unsteadiness.

Frame

tricycle frame

A properly, ergonomically designed frame can support a senior’s body in a comfortable position, reducing pain and strain.

The material of the frame will greatly affect the trike’s overall weight. This is especially important for people who plan to lift the bike up a step or into a pickup truck. Heavier trikes also require more energy to pedal, especially up hills!

Seniors usually do best with a lightweight trike. 

Steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium are some of the most common materials used in tricycle frames. Steel is cheap, strong and durable, but it’s heavy, and can be prone to rust. Aluminum is cheap, lightweight and rust free, but it’s not as strong. Carbon fiber and titanium frames are strong, light and durable but expensive.

Wheel Size

wheel size

Tricycle wheels range in size from around 20 inches to 27 inches or more. The larger the wheel, the larger the trike, and generally the more weight it can support. 

Although it varies from trike to trike, seniors up to about 5’ 6” will usually fit best on a 20 to 24 inch wheel, while taller seniors will appreciate larger wheels. Check the specs on each model before finalizing your selection. 

Number of Speeds

tricycle speeds

Senior tricycles are usually available in one, three or seven speeds. Single speed models are simpler to operate, because there’s no need to switch gears, but those with multiple speeds can go faster and will fare better on hills. 

  • Single Speed. Single speed tricycles can only go as fast as the rider can pedal, while multiple gears can make each pedal count for more, conserving energy and allowing the trike to build up greater speed.
  • Three Speed. Three speed tricycles offer the speed-enhancing, hill-climbing and energy-saving benefits of a multi-speed trike, along with relatively easy operation and low maintenance. However, they do tend to cost a bit more than seven speed models because of how they’re made.
  • Seven Speed. Seven speed trikes are the best at handling hills and uneven terrain, but they take a little longer to get used to using. They also tend to require a little more maintenance, especially if used in off-road conditions.

Weight Capacity

Pay attention to the tricyle’s weight capacity. Most standard upright three wheel bicycles can support from 200-350 pounds, while some recumbent or adaptive models may support up to around 400 pounds. 

Larger or heavier seniors should look for heavy duty or bariatric three wheel bicycles designed to support their weight and provide a larger, more comfortable seat.

Step Through Design

A tricycle with a low step through design – a low crossbar – is easier for seniors to get on and off, because they don’t have to step over such a high bar.

This is standard in most senior tricycles, but some are higher than others. Be sure that it’s low enough that lifting a leg up and over the bar won’t present a problem.

Special Considerations for Seniors on 3-Wheeled Bikes

Riding a three-wheel bike is a low impact workout with a ton of great health benefits for most seniors, but always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

Portability

Seniors who are only planning to ride their three-wheeled bike around the neighborhood might not prioritize portability, but those who want to take their trike along on vacation – or drive it across town to a park – should consider how easy it will be to get it there. 

Some adult tricycles are made with a lightweight, folding frame designed for easier portability and storage. Other seniors opt for a portable wheelchair ramp or carrier lift for the car. 

Some seniors find that something like the Bike USA Heavy-Duty Stabilizer Wheels for Adult Bicycles ultimately works better for them than a full sized trike.

These wheels fit onto a standard bicycle to stabilize it for those with balance concerns. The bike with the extra wheels is smaller than a trike, and can fit through a doorway or on an automobile bike rack for transport.

Where Will it be Ridden?

trike terrain

Some three wheel bicycles are designed for use only on relatively flat, paved surfaces, while others are better equipped to handle dirt roads, grassy terrain or hills.

Seniors who want to ride off road should look for a trike with multiple gears, large tires, a padded seat, and a suspension system designed to absorb bumps and minimize impact on joints.

Special Accessories

trike acessories

There are countless accessories available for three-wheeled tricycles. Most can be purchased separately and installed later on three-wheeled bicycles.

Safety Accessories

Even though three wheeled bikes are stable, there’s always a chance of a fall or collision. Injuries in the elderly are prone to be more serious, so experts recommend wearing a helmet to be safe.

Other safety accessories include:

  • Bells and horns can alert others to your presence
  • Lights and reflectors can increase visibility in the dark
  • Safety flags can increase visibility in traffic
  • Mirrors can make it easier to look around, even with limited range of motion in the neck
  • Seat belts can support a senior with poor trunk strength

Baskets

Many three wheeled bikes feature a basket, which can be perfect for transporting groceries, a picnic basket, or other essentials. However, seniors who don’t need a basket may find that it adds unnecessary bulk. A folding basket can be a good compromise for those who need to tote something along only once in a while.

Pedal Cages

While most three wheeled bicycles come with standard pedals, seniors who have difficulty keeping their feet on the pedals may find that pedal cages are a very handy upgrade. Pedal cages can also double a senior’s pedalling power because they capture the motion from the upward pedal stroke as well as the down.

Assembly, Maintenance and Repair

As you’re selecting a tricycle, take note of assembly and maintenance recommendations, which can vary from model to model. 

Most three wheel bikes require more assembly than some seniors will be able to handle. In fact, it’s often recommended to have a new adult tricycle professionally assembled. This isn’t just because trikes can be heavy and their instructions can be confusing. Even a slight misalignment or under-tightened screw can spell big trouble in terms of safety, performance or rapid wear. 

Most three wheeled adult trikes use standard bicycle parts, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find replacement parts in the event something needs repair.  

What’s the Best Three-Wheel Bike for You?

We found the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle to be the best overall pick out there. We liked the variety of options – especially being able to choose how many speeds would be needed. The variety of colors, quality craftsmanship and lifetime warranty didn’t hurt either!

However, for seniors looking for a seat with better back support, a recumbent position, or a trike that doesn’t require hand strength, the Shwinn wouldn’t necessarily fit the bill.


We’d love to hear what works best for you, and how an adult tricycle has made a difference in your life! Please leave us a note in the comments below.

Last update on 2022-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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