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Bicycle vs. Tricycle for Seniors

bicycle vs. tricycle for seniors

When it comes to cycling, there are many different bike options on the market. They all have different uses and suit different people. Working in a bike shop, I was often asked by seniors which is the better option, a bicycle or a tricycle?

Bicycles and Tricycles are totally different, and you are going to want to make sure that In this article, we’re going to speak about what is going to be the best for you. Often we find people making the mistake of getting the wrong one.

What is a Tricycle

a parked tricycle
Image by xiangfengyixiao on Pixabay

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know what a bicycle is but what is a tricycle. A tricycle is a three wheeled bike. It has two wheels on the rear and one on the front to steer. Some are made to have a cage on the rear to carry goods, and others will actually be made for racing. They are typically not very common on the roads, and you will rarely see one being used, but they are amazing machines and have a considerable amount of practical uses.

Let’s Break It Down

cost breakdown of a tricycle and a bicycle
Image by joshuawithers21 on Pixabay

The best way to explain these machines is to run through the main differences between the two, so you can decide which is going to be the best buy for you.


Tricycles and bicycles don’t tend to be too different regarding price. You typically have many more options when buying a bicycle than a tricycle. One thing I have to mention is you might find servicing a tricycle to be a little more expensive as some parts can be more costly and harder to get hold of than a bicycle.


When it comes to the way they look, it comes down to personal preference more than anything. Some people prefer the look of a bicycle compared to a tricycle. It’s really down to you, the user. You do get many more options for styles when it comes to bikes though.


When it comes to bikes, the lighter the weight, the easier it usually is to ride and faster. Tricycles are generally heavier than bicycles, and you will find it much more challenging to get up a hill than a bicycle. If you are looking for a lightweight, a tricycle isn’t the way to go.


When it comes to stability, you are going to get a lot more from the tricycle. Having three wheels keeps you much more stable, and you don’t really require to give any balance to the bike. When it comes to riding a bicycle, you have to balance to keep it upright, and it can be a lot of challenging to ride if you feel uneasy balancing. A tricycle is going to be better for you.


When it comes to the sizes of the bikes, you will find bicycles are going to be longer, and tricycles are wider. Having a tricycle, you need to be pretty cautious about where you ride them. Small tight roads might not be for you as you will find cars trying to squeeze past you tighter. Also, when it comes to parking and locking it up, it can be a bit of a nightmare. Not all cycling infrastructure suits tricycles.

Carrying capacity

Say you’re looking for a bicycle to take to the shops, a tricycle typically will have a basket on the rear perfect for that. Also, you will find carrying the weight much easier than if you were to have panniers on a regular bike as it doesn’t lean you to either side. Classic bikes used by local convenience shops in the past would use tricycles to make deliveries.


I think you probably already know the answer to this one. The aerodynamics of a tricycle are much worse than the aerodynamics of a bicycle. Although it’s not about speed, it makes a big difference if you live somewhere windy and flat.


If you are looking for a bike for a long day out riding on mixed terrain, with a coffee stop halfway round a tricycle isn’t going to be able to do this very easily. You need a bicycle to be able to do things like this in my opinion. It’s just much smaller and more agile.

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Which is right for me?

which is the right tricycle for me
Image by Antranias on Pixabay

If you live in a town or city full of cycle lanes and need a bike to go and do your shopping on, or if you struggle with stability or worry about falling off again, the tricycle is perfect. I see the tricycle as more of a tool to help you with day to day tasks.

If you are looking to get out into nature and go out exploring on fun rides, then a bicycle is much better for that. If more agile, it is faster and generally just more capable of having fun on.

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Bicycle or Tricycle, whatever you choose, you are going to have fun riding. It comes down to what you want it for. For fun days out, then get a bicycle, for shopping and running errands I think the tricycle is better. It all comes down to what you want out of it.

Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri is a cyclist living in Norfolk in the UK. From breaking World Records to competing in some of the hardest Bikepacking races in the world he is not shy of riding the miles. He has been lucky enough to work at some amazing shops and with some big cycling brands. Alongside this he even had input in designing bikes and has also been a tester for unreleased products. He absolutely loves cycling and believes everyone should have a bike.