Value Your Trade in 30 Seconds

Tips for Riding Trike Motorcycles


Harley-Davidson® trikes are their own breed. They look different than the traditional motorcycle of course. They sport an extra wheel, take up more space on the road, and sport a different riding position. They may not be the most common vehicle on the road, but trikes offer a unique appeal with their ease of handling, improved comfort, and better stability. It’s no surprise many people own one.

Trike motorcycles are different to operate than bikes and cars. Many states require a separate driving certification before you can hit the road on one. If you want to gain confidence before class starts or want a refresher, check out our riding tips below. For any parts replacement or maintenance on your trike, visit American Harley-Davidson®. You’ll find us in North Tonawanda, New York near Buffalo.


Motorcycles use two types of steering. Bikes rely on “counter steering”. Riders must lean to one side or the other when they turn. This counters centrifugal forces so they avoid tipping over.

Trikes, on the other hand, use “direct steering”. No leaning required! Instead, you simply turn the handlebars the direction you wish to go (much like a steering wheel on a car). This makes for easier steering (that is also easier on the knees and legs).

You will need to slow down before you take a turn. As you approach a turn, you will want to maintain your speed. Only hit the throttle again when you are through the curve of the corner. This extra boost will help you pull out of the turn and get back to your routine driving. Try to make your turns as smooth as possible. An unstable, jerky turn could result in you losing control of your machine.

When you turn, it is important to account for the width of your vehicle. Because of the size of trike motorcycles, you will need to take turns at a different angle than you would in a bike motorcycle. Taking a turn too sharply can result in one of your wheels coming off the ground.

Starting and Shifting

Trikes rely on manual transmissions. Start by engaging the brakes. Then engage the clutch, shift to first gear, release the break, and release the clutch while increasing the throttle.

To shift gears, first you will need to drop the throttle. Then you will need to engage the clutch, shift, and let the clutch out. When you do this correctly, you avoid any jerking forward or stalling of the trike. Always shift gears carefully (otherwise you can lose control of it). Shifting while driving in a straight line makes the process easier.


Harley-Davidson® trikes are massive pieces of machinery. When they get going, they pick up speed pretty quickly. You will need to take care when stopping your trike. Leave a large amount of distance and time to come to a full stop. Begin braking far in advance. If you brake too hard, it could lock up the wheels and make you lose control.


Anyone who rides trikes should spend some time practicing before they head out on the open road. You want to turn the complicated steps of driving into muscle memory. The more you practice, the better you will be to responding to real-life situations on the road. Take some time to practice turning corners, lane changing, gear shifting, and stopping. Low-traffic residential streets or an empty parking work great for practicing.

Ready to look at some Harley-Davidson® trikes? Come to American Harley-Davidson®. We proudly serve those in North Tonawanda, Buffalo, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Batavia, and Rochester, New York. Check out our wide selection of new and used trikes today!