Trikes: Mad choice or fun alternative?

Published: 15 September 2017

It was a reader’s query that got me thinking. He was asking should he buy a trike? Specifically, a new Harley-Davidson Freewheeler, reduced in price from about £23k to £20k.

Trikes are very niche. There’s lot of ‘sidecar appeal’ about them, in that sometimes the reason for buying one is the same as the reason for buying a sidecar outfit - their owners/riders have suffered a motorcycle accident and lost the use of a limb, or only have partial use, or simply can’t risk damaging (for example) their legs again.

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Others buy them simply because they like the style, and the motorcycle controls. You also get the lunatic factor creeping in (I’ve yet to meet a sidecar fiend who isn’t deranged) and trikes are much harder to find than outfits. Many are home-built, or built by professional customising houses. The former can be dreadful aberrations, frequently based on a Reliant three-wheel car, and the latter are very expensive.

Purpose-built ones are few. I can only think of the Ariel Three of the early 1970s, and things like the small-capacity Honda Stream and Canopy, which is used as a delivery vehicle in parts of Asia. I’m taking a trike as something with one wheel at the front, by the way, and two at the back, which rules out those Piaggio three wheelers and the Can-Am Spyder.

Fundamentally, yes, they are worth buying. There will always be someone looking for a good trike, the way there is always someone looking for a good sidecar outfit - especially a Harley trike, or a really professional custom-built job. Fifteen grand seems to be starting money for a nice used Wing trike and I think they’ll hold their value. The rules of supply and demand are king, as always.

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