Trikes are a different animal than your regular two-wheeled electric bike. They steer and ride differently overall and can be great for riders with balance issues. So if you’re considering swapping two wheels for three, this guide will give you an overview of some of the best trikes out there.
About Three-Wheeled E-Bikes
There are two types of trikes: delta trikes, which usually have an upright riding position, one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, and tadpoles, which have the rider reclined, with two wheels in the front and one in the back. Tadpoles can have a rear hub motor or a front-mounted mid-drive, which sounds awkward, but it is accurate. Delta trikes usually have a front hub motor.
Catrike Expedition eCAT
Catrike is one of a handful of companies that make motorized tadpole scooters. Its new Expedition eCAT maximizes the fun level with two 20-inch wheels up front for easy steering and a big 26-inch
wheel in the back.
Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus
Battery: Bosch PowerPack, 400 Wh
Display: Bosch Purion
Range: 20-35 miles (claimed)
Drivetrain: SRAM Apex, 11-speed
Wheel size: 20” front, 26” rear
Sun Seeker Eco Tad SX
Sun Seeker has a range of recumbent and tadpole bikes. The Eco Tad has a small 500-watt rear hub motor that assists up to 26 mph, which is a great help for those with knee issues. There’s a built-in rear rack where the battery is mounted to carry stuff and four water bottle mounts.
Frame: High-tensile steel
Motor: 350W Electric Bike Technologies rear hub motor
Battery: 480 Wh
Display: LCD with Bluetooth connectivity
Range: 10-44 miles
Wheel size: 20×1.5”
Pedego’s trike is notable for several reasons. It has a rear bucket behind the captain’s chair (with a backrest) for cargo. The hub motor is the front, which allows the rider to turn the handlebars around and twist the throttle to back up. The two rear wheels are spaced so that the bike will fit through a standard residential door. The handlebar is adjustable without tools for rider comfort, while the bike has a low center of gravity and maxes out at 7 mph (throttle-only) or 11 mph with pedal assist to avoid tip-overs.
Frame: 6061 aluminum
Motor: 250W brushless geared front hub
Battery: 396Wh lithium-ion
Display: 3.5” backlit LCD
Range: 20 miles
Drivetrain: Shimano Nexus, 3-speed
Wheel size: 20×2.15”
IZIP Tristar Plus
IZIP’s Tristar Plus is a fairly traditional trike with a metal basket in the back. To keep the center of gravity low, the motor is a mid-drive and the battery is slung under the basket. The larger 24-inch front wheel allows for additional stability.
Motor: TranzX M16 mid-drive
Range: Up to 30 miles
Drivetrain: Sturmey-Archer 3-speed
Wheel size: 24” front, 20” rear
The TerraTrike E.V.O. was the first tadpole we ever tested — and one of our test riders liked to tip it up and ride it for quite a distance. While the Terratrike is extremely fun to ride, we also found it a very controllable trike with intuitively placed controls and grips that resemble traditional handlebar positioning. The Schwalbe Marathon tires offer plenty of helpful grip.
Frame: 4130 chromoly steel
Motor: Bosch Performance Line Cruise
Battery: Bosch PowerPack 400Wh
Display: Bosch Kiox
Range: Up to 60 miles
Drivetrain: Microshift XCD Trigger
Wheel size: 20×1.75” front, 24×1.75” rear