tricycle with seating and low step through easy rider


What is the difference between a tricycle and a bike with side wheels?

Bikes \ Tricycles
Van Raam
tricycle with seating and low step through easy rider

When you aren’t able or don't dare to cycle on a standard bike with two wheels due to balance problems or the fear of falling, there are several options to ensure that you keep your mobility and get enough physical activity. For example, there is the possibility to place side wheels for adults on your two-wheel bike or you can check the possibilities of adaptive bikes (of course we would like to help you). In this article we explain briefly what the differences are between a tricycle and adult side wheels.

Why cycling with three wheels?

There are several things that causes people to consider an extra pair of (side) wheels. For example, you may be afraid of falling, but you can also have a temporary injury that prevents you from easily getting on / off a bike with two wheels. In order to make a choice which is the best option for you (side wheels for adults or a tricycle), it is also good to know what you want to do with the bike and how long you will use the extra pair of wheels. In our article 'tips for buying a tricycle' we give you information that can help you with the purchase of a tricycle.

Thinking about purchasing an adaptive bike
What do you need the extra pair of wheels for?
van raam different kinds of tricycle
Van Raam has a lot of different tricycles

Features of a tricycle

Are you planning to use a tricycle for a longer period of time, then it is interesting to read about the purchase of a tricycle. At Van Raam you have the choice of many different models, each with their own specific characteristics. Whichever tricycle you choose, the following characteristics are the same for every tricycle and are reasons why people decide to choose a tricycle.

Reasons why people choose a tricycle

1. A tricycle gives you stability

A tricycle offers stability and more comfort during (long) bike rides compared to a regular bike with side wheels. This is partly because the design of a tricycle is different from a regular bike with two wheels. A traditional bike with two wheels is initially not built for side wheels and because of this the cycling on a two-wheeled bicycle with side wheels can feel unstable, partly because the center of gravity on a traditional two-wheeler is higher. It should be noted that cycling on a tricycle is also getting used to in the beginning for many people. In the article 'cycling on a tricycle for adults' we give you handy tips that you can use while cycling on a tricycle.

2. With a tricycle you don't get out of balance

On a tricycle you cannot get out of balance, even if you cycle very slowly. Because of the low centre of gravity of most of our tricycles you are closer to the ground and the bike feels more stable. In addition, all wheels of the tricycle are always on the ground, some models of side wheels for adults always stay a few centimeters above the ground.

3. With Van Raam's adaptive bikes you can cycle backwards

If you choose pedal support on your adaptive bike, you have the unique possibility to also cycle backwards. This function is very useful, for example, when turning or cycling from a bicycle parking facility.

4. You can sit on a tricycle when you don't cycle

Because all three wheels on a tricycle stand firmly on the ground, you can easily sit on your tricycle when you stop for a traffic light. You do not have to put your feet on the ground.

Different types of tricycles

As we have mentioned above, Van Raam has a wide range of adaptive bicycles, including many tricycles. Each tricycle has its own unique features. Do you choose a tricycle with a seat? Or are you more comfortable on a regular saddle? Do you prefer two wheels in the front instead of behind?

To find out which tricycle is most suitable for you, we always recommend trying as many bikes as possible. Below you can view the tricycles for adults that we have at Van Raam.

Side wheels for adults

If you prefer separate sidewalls for adults, it is good to know that there are many different types. So, you have side wheels without and with suspension and it is also possible to have your rear wheel completely replaced by two side wheels.

At Van Raam it is not possible to purchase separate adult side wheels, because we are specialized in producing the complete adaptive bike for people with various limitations such as balance problems. If you still want more information about separate adult side wheels, there are plenty of companies that want to help you. Below we briefly explain why people choose side wheels on their bike. You can also read what is important when you opt for side wheels.

Side wheels for adults
There are different side wheels for adults

Temporary solution (for example with a knee injury etc.)

If you think that you will be using side wheels for a shorter period, for example with an injury that is still healing, you can choose for temporary side wheels instead of a new tricycle. If you still feel safer on a tricycle but prefer not to buy a trike, you can also look at the rental possibilities of adaptive bikes.

A bicycle with side wheels is more like a 'normal' bicycle

Some people consciously make the choice for side wheels because they believe that a regular bike with side wheels looks more like a 'normal' bike compared to a tricycle and sometimes they are mentally not ready to cycle yet on a tricycle.

Low purchase costs

The purchase of side wheels for adults is most of the time cheaper than buying a (new) tricycle. A reason for that is that you can keep your own bike and you don’t have to buy a new bicycle/tricycle.

Good to keep in mind when purchasing side wheels for adults

Do you think that side wheels are something for you? Take the following things in mind:

  • ​The rear wheel of bicycle must stay on the ground, because this wheel controls the bike. As a result, the two separate side wheels are not directly on the ground. When you make a turn, you will notice that one of the two side wheels hits the ground. You can get scared of this.

  • There are a lot of different bicycles and rear frames. As a result, there is not a universal set of side wheels so side wheels should be custom-made. This can be pricy.

  • As soon as you change a standard bike with two wheels, it is good to take the warranty of your bicycle into account. In some cases you are no longer entitled to a guarantee if you have 'changed' the bike yourself.

Follow your gut feeling

As we mentioned earlier in this article, it is important to determine your goal before you purchase an (adaptive) bicycle. Once you have determined your goal, we always recommend that you try the bike of your preference.

We offer a test ride to orientating people. You can get a free consult in our showroom or possibly at one of our dealers. By testing the tricycle, you will quickly notice what you like. Follow your gut feeling and then make the decision.

Follow your gut feeling when buying an adaptive bike
Follow your gut feeling when purchasing an adaptive bike

Do you have any questions?

We are happy to assist you! Please check our contact page or contact us directly using the options below.