Three Wheel Bikes for Seniors for Fun, Recreation, or Even Practical Mobility!

We all know that it is a good idea for seniors to stay active. Physical activity helps both the mind and body stay sharp. Research has proven it. But, what activities should you consider? Many seniors and elderly folks are turning to adult tricycles or trikes as a source of recreation and exercise.

The best 3 wheel bikes for seniors are those that are easy to ride, easy to get on and off, and comfortable to ride. Because they have an extra wheel, these bikes are more stable than their 2 wheeled cousins. This makes them easier and safer to use for seniors with balance problems. Another benefit is you can get outside for some fresh air while getting some exercise!

Of course, you should consult with a physician or medical provider before starting any new exercise programs. This includes bike riding. You should make sure any activity you are considering is safe for you to participate in.

Where would you like to start?


Comparison Chart

For those who want to get right to my recommendations, here is a comparison chart of my top picks. Or, keep reading to learn more about what to look for in a bike for seniors and read reviews on these models.

Product Product NameOverall ScorePrices Starting At
EWheels EW-29 3 Wheel Electric Bike

EWheels EW-29 3 Wheel Electric Bike

An easy to use and easy to board adult tricycle that is powered by pedaling and electric motors for seniors who have ...

  • Electric motors apply power to the wheels and can be combined with pedaling as well.
  • Durable steel frame is easy to step over for getting on and off easily and it supports riders up to 400 lbs.
  • Includes other safety accessories like an electric headlight, horn, and forward/reverse lever.
  • Seat is comfortable, padded, and includes a backrest for supporting the lumbar back.
  • No assembly required - it is shipped fully assembled and ready to use - may need some help unpacking though.
  • It is more expensive than the others to buy and maintain because of the batteries and electric motors.
  • The batteries, motors, and steel frame also make it heavy - don't plan on picking it up or lifting it.
  • Several users stated that this model didn't do particularly wheel on hills.
Ease of Use
9.0
Ease of Assembly
10
Ease of Getting On & Off
9.0
Seat Comfort
9.0

Best Deal:

walmart.com
$1,499.00 See Deal
2 Schwinn Meridian 26″ Full Size Adult Tricycle

Schwinn Meridian 26″ Full Size Adult Tricycle

A basic and easy to use adult 3 wheel bike that is a good choice for beginners or those who ride short distances on ...

  • Step-through frame design makes this trike easier to get on and off with a lower chance of tripping.
  • Sweptback handle bars curve towards the rider making the bike safer and easier to control.
  • Single speed control is easy to use because there are no shifters or levers to use.
  • Seat is height adjustable to fit a wide range of leg lengths. It is comfortable too for short to medium rides.
  • Collapsible storage basket is included and there are 6 color choices.
  • Single speed is limited and best for flat rides only. People who encounter hills and inclines need multiple speeds.
  • Users report that the fenders sometimes bend and rub on the tire but that this is easily bent back into position.
Ease of Use
9.5
Ease of Assembly
8.5
Ease of Getting On & Off
9.5
Seat Comfort
8.5

Best Deal:

bikemania.biz
$288.95 See Deal
3 Raleigh Bikes Tristar Adult Tricycle

Raleigh Bikes Tristar Adult Tricycle

A premium adult trike with upgrades the more serious biker will appreciate that is easy to use and senior-friendly.

  • Upgraded 3-speed Sturmey Archer internally geared hub for less maintenance, fewer chain problems, and smoother shifting.
  • Durable steel frame construction with low frame that helps make getting on and off of the bike easier.
  • Ultra comfortable wide tractor saddle seat that is larger and more stable than many other trike seats.
  • Includes coaster brakes that can be applied with the feet if the rider has problems with the hands.
  • Arrives pre-assembled so it takes less time to put together.
  • Several users have complained that the basket is heavy when carried separately.
  • It is heavier than some of the others (65 lbs) because of the steel construction.
Ease of Use
9.5
Ease of Assembly
8.5
Ease of Getting On & Off
9
Seat Comfort
9

Best Deal:

raleighusa.com
$599.99 See Deal
4 Schwinn Meridian 24″ Adult Tricycle

Schwinn Meridian 24″ Adult Tricycle

An easy to use adult tricycle that is great for beginning riders who are shorter or average in height and ride ...

  • Low frame design makes it easy to get on and off with a lower chance of tripping over the frame.
  • Seat is larger than some models, comfortable, and height adjustable to fit a wide range of users.
  • Sweptback handlebars are curved towards the rider and are easier to use and maintain control of the trike.
  • Single speed trike does not have any lever, gears, or shifters so it is easy to use.
  • Because it is single speed, it should be used on flat rides without much incline or need to change speeds.
  • People with back problems might need a more supportive seat.
  • Above average height people (over 5'10" or so) will find this bike too small due to its low frame design.
Ease of Use
9.5
Ease of Assembly
8.5
Ease of Getting On and Off
9.0
Seat Comfort
8.5

Best Deal:

bikemania.biz
$288.95 See Deal
5 Kent Alameda 26″ Folding Adult Trike

Kent Alameda 26″ Folding Adult Trike

A good adult tricycle for seniors who lack storage space or need a basic, single speed trike for shorter rides and ...

  • The frame folds in half at the middle for easier storage if you live in a small place or don't have much room for storage.
  • Spring-loaded seat is comfortable and absorbs the shocks from bumps in the road.
  • The aluminum frame is lightweight and has a step-through design that makes it easy to get on and off.
  • Sweptback handlebars help rider maintain an upright posture for lower back pain while riding.
  • Many users say the assembly wasn't too bad but that the instructions were poor. Some assembly experience will help.
  • A few users complained the wheels came in untrue and needed to be adjusted.
Ease of Use
9.0
Ease of Assembly
8.5
Ease of Getting On & Off
9.0
Seat Comfort
8.5

Best Deal:

walmart.com
$249.00 See Deal
6 Mobo Triton Pro Three Wheel Bike

Mobo Triton Pro Three Wheel Bike

A recumbent three wheeled bike for seniors with balance problems but with good mobility since this style of trike can ...

  • The durable steel frame is low to the ground which lowers the center of gravity making the bike more stable than it's upright counterparts.
  • Seat supports the entire back, is reclined, and very comfortable even for longer rides.
  • Single speed/gear is easy to use because there is no shifting required but is best used on flat surface.
  • Handlebars are foam padded and comfortable to grip.
  • The frame extends to fit riders between 4' 2" and 6' 3".
  • Because the bike is so low to the ground, it can be difficult to get on and off from a squat position.
  • Turns are wide and take up a lot of space since the bike is steered from the rear.
  • Single speed makes climbing hills or inclines difficult.
Ease of Use
9.0
Ease of Assembly
8.5
Ease of Getting On & Off
7.5
Seat Comfort
9.5

Best Deal:

target.com
$399.99 See Deal
7 Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Adult Trike

Mantis Tri-Rad Folding Adult Trike

A lower priced trike for seniors that has a folding frame for easy storage and works really well for shorter riders ...

  • The frame folds allowing the front section to fold over onto the back section for easier storage in small spaces.
  • The wheels on this model are all 20" which makes the frame lower to ground for shorter riders and increased stability.
  • It's a single speed model which makes it very easy to use especially on flat surfaces.
  • Includes a bell, parking brake, storage basket, and full fenders.
  • Seat is ok and nothing special - probably best for short rides.
  • Not the best choice for riders in hilly areas because of only having one speed.
Ease of Use
9.0
Ease of Assembly
8.0
Ease of Getting On & Off
9.0
Seat Comfort
8

Best Deal:

bikemania.biz
$298.95 See Deal
8 Ridgeyard 24″ 6 Speed Adult Tricycle

Ridgeyard 24″ 6 Speed Adult Tricycle

An entry-level trike for the value buyer who wants a sturdy bike, needs multiple speeds to choose from, is price ...

  • Durable steel construction allows it to support riders up to 300 lbs.
  • Padded contoured springer seat with lumbar back support and is height adjustable.
  • The step-thorough low frame design is easy for senior riders to get their legs over when getting on and off of the trike.
  • Elevated handlebars make it easier for the rider to maintain an upright posture for less back pain.
  • 6 speeds for changing gears for inclines.
  • Steel construction is durable but it also makes the bike heavy (about 60 lbs).
  • Professional assembly is recommended - many users stated it was very difficult to put together - even with a video.
  • Gears are changed via a thumb switch that might be difficult for users with arthritis in their hands.
Ease of Use
8.0
Ease of Assembly
7.0
Ease of Getting On & Off
8.5
Seat Comfort
9.0

Best Deal:

amazon.com
$229.76 See Deal

Who Uses Three Wheel Bikes?

Lots of people. As the population ages, sometimes a 2 wheeled bicycle is no longer a good option. Even dedicated bike riders are turning to three wheel bikes or trikes.

They are simply more comfortable to ride. And, they also lessen the strain on joints that can become painful with age. People who have diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s or arthritis, often feel safer on three wheel bikes. Despite weaknesses or tremors, these seniors continue their preferred exercise as long as possible with the extra support of these bikes.

Check out this fun video of seniors using a three-wheel bike in Atlanta as part of a senior exercise program:


Types of 3 Wheel Bikes

There are several styles of three wheel bikes for seniors to consider. Most of the differences are in the way you are seated on the bike which affects your safety and control of the bike.

Upright Three Wheel Bikes

schwinn meridian 24" adult 3 wheel bike
Schwinn Meridian Upright Trike

If you liked riding bikes when you were younger, you’ll probably love these three wheel bikes. They have two wheels on the back, so you don’t have to try and balance the bike. This feature allows people with injuries or weakness caused by age to freely enjoy the ride without fear of falling.

The lightweight frames of these bikes make them easy to propel and to carry. They also often come with a basket between the back wheels. You can use this basket to carry your bag on the way to the shops and groceries on the way back. But they aren’t only practical. If you enjoy riding, but are concerned about the changes brought about by age, these bikes can be a great solution.

Because you are sitting at 90 degrees and higher off the ground, this style of tricycle is not for everyone. I would not recommend this style for seniors who are a fall risk, have dizziness or limited mobility.

This type of 3 wheel bike is best for seniors who need the extra stability of three wheels as opposed to a standard two-wheel bicycle. But, they should be able to support their own balance overall.

Semi-Recumbent Three Wheel Bikes

ewheels ew-29 adult electric tricycle
Semi-recumbent bike by EWheels

The semi-recumbent three wheel bike may be a good option if you find normal bike seats uncomfortable. These bikes have a full-sized seat and backrest that allows you to rest your back. They also have pedals which are more forward on the bike.

This setup allows you to stretch out more and can make the pedals easier to reach. It also lowers the center of gravity for greater support and stability. If you can ride a bike, then you’ll be able to put your feet flat on the ground when riding this one. That gives greater control and stability for riders who may feel unstable on ordinary bikes. The handlebars on these bikes are turned up and back for easy gripping in the new position. They are overall a very safe and comfortable way to ride.

Semi-recumbent bikes are good for seniors who still have decent mobility. They also should be able to get up and down with or without help to get on and off the bike. These bikes are lower to the ground which adds to their stability. But, they can be a bit harder to get on and off.

Recumbent Three Wheel Bikes

mobo triton three wheel bike
Recumbent Bike by Mobo

If sitting upright is too painful, or you don’t have enough strength, you can try a recumbent three wheel bike.

These devices can allow you to enjoy all the freedom and exercise of a bike while giving support for your entire body. They usually have the two wheels at the front of the bike and let you sit at a 45-degree angle as you pedal. The pedals are in front of you instead of below. You can steer these bikes by handles on either side or by using front handles.

Basically, these bikes can be modified to suit any physical condition. These bikes are still lightweight and easy to steer and propel. They’re also a whole lot of fun!

I use recumbent three wheel bikes in my practice as an ATP. They really are used with people with all types of disabilities. With the right setup, I have taught paraplegics, kids with cerebral palsy, and even people with multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy to use recumbent bikes.

Electric

Another type of 3 wheel bike for seniors to consider is the electric bike. Sometimes, these are even called scooters.

These trikes use motors to propel the wheels. Sometimes, the motors do all the work. Other times, they supplement and add power to your peddling.

Before a senior considers using an electric 3 wheel bike, they should make sure they are able to control it at all times. This includes knowing the best and safest ways to slow down and also stop.

Foldable

The final type of tricycle for elderly people is the foldable style. These bikes look like the others but they have a folding frame. This allows them to be stored in smaller spaces.

Before buying a folding 3 wheel bike, make sure you are able to fold it up and unfold it again. Or, you have someone able to help you do that task.


Useful Features of Adult 3 Wheel Bikes for Seniors

The best recumbent bike for seniors is the one that suits your budget, your physical condition, and your needs. Some of the more important and useful design features are as follows:

  • Step through design. This allows for easy mounting and dismounting, and basically, means there is no high bar between the handlebars and seat.
  • Lightweight frame. You don’t want the bike to be too heavy. Most of them are made from lightweight materials so they’re easier to ride and store.
  • Availability of parts. Most of these bikes use standard bicycle components, so repairs and replacements are easy. Make sure you can get your bike fixed easily if something breaks.
  • Braking options. Most three wheel bikes have pedal brakes, but you can get hand brakes if you have trouble using the foot brakes. Many three wheel bikes also have coaster brakes. Again, you need to choose the option that works best for you.

Buying Guide

bike in front of a storefront

Choosing the right seat and handlebar configuration for your three wheel bike makes a big difference. These affect not only your comfort but also your control and safety. Features like these are important to establish biking as a healthy habit!

Frame Material

The frames of most 3 wheel bikes made for seniors are made of tubular aluminum. This frame style is strong but also lighter in weight than tubular steel. That way, they are easier to lift and fold (if that is an included option).

Heavier duty bikes or those that will support heavier riders are made of steel.

Gears and Speeds

Most adult trikes come with a range of gears and speeds to choose from. While you can get a single speed bike, there are others that have up to 21 speeds.

These gears and speeds affect how your bike handles on varied terrain. They also determine how hard you have to work to pedal the bike!

If your trike has multiple speeds, it will also have a shifter lever mounted within easy reach of the handlebars. This allows you to quickly and easily change gears while keeping your eye on the road.

If you are using your bike in a flat neighborhood or subdivision, a single speed bike will do just fine. But, if you need to pedal fast to cross a street or you encounter varied terrain, choose a bike with multiple speeds.

Finally, if you are riding your 3 wheel bike on long rides or over long miles, go for the most speeds you can get. You never know when you will encounter a steep hill or sharp turn and need to make adjustments.

Seat Options

When choosing your bike, your physical condition should be the first consideration. This determines what type of seat your bike should have.

Traditional upright bikes have a wide, padded saddle seat. They are a lot more comfortable than the bike seat you probably remember from your childhood.

However, if you find these seats painful you should try some other options. The padded, sling seats or platform seats of the semi or fully recumbent bikes are better for people with back or balance issues.

Handlebars

closeup of a bicycle wheel

Arthritis often accompanies aging. This is why the handlebars on your bike are essential for your comfort. There are three types of handlebars with adult bikes, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses

  • Traditional handlebars work well, but should only be used by people who have good upper body strength and range of motion.
  • Loop handlebars come in a circle or square shape. If you have weaker hands or arms, these might be the best option as they allow you to grip anywhere you can and steer.
  • Chopper handlebars are long and thin and pointed back towards the rider. They can be on any type of three wheel bike. Only use these if you have near-normal strength and range of movement in your arms and shoulders.

Brakes

The brakes on a 3 wheel bike are very similar to the brakes on a standard 2 wheel bicycle. Disc style braes are operated by rotating the pedals in a reverse directions.

There are also squeeze style hand brakes mounted to the handle bars as well. These use a cable to apply the brakes and are usually quicker to react than the pedal brakes. Be careful when applying hand brakes because of this increased sensitivity.

Assembly?

If you are purchasing your trike at a bike shop, chances are it will be assembled when you pick it up. Make sure you have room to transport it or arrange for delivery.

However, if you order the bike online, you will probably be responsible for assembly. Most of these bikes assemble like a regular bicycle so anyone with basic tools and mechanical skills can probably swing it.

Another option is paying a local bike shop to put it together for you. Larger cities have assembly services that will come to your home and put items like this together for you too.

Accessories

Most senior-friendly trikes come with a basket mounted on the rear for carrying groceries or personal items. But, there is no shortage of accessories you can order separately for these. Everything from drink holders, to GPS units, to mirrors and locks are available so that you can bling your three wheeler out any way you like.


Trike Riding Safety Tips for Seniors

semnior man using a recumbent three wheel bike
Using a recumbent 3 wheel bike on a trail

I know. Most adults don’t like to wear helmets or other safety aids. But, it is important. Think about the injuries that could happen in a bike accident to a senior or elderly person.

The AAA suggests these bike riding safety tips that are important to senior riders of 3 wheel bikes as well.

  1. Always wear a helmet. Yes, always.
  2. Keep your head up and forward – always look where your are going.
  3. Do not ride two to a bike unless the trike was desgned for this.
  4. When riding with others, stay in a single file line to the right side of the road (for US riders).
  5. Plan your route out before you leave. Know where you are going to go and how to get back.
  6. Avoid heavy traffic and peak road times.
  7. Do not ride at night without lights and proper reflectors.
  8. Keep your bike well-maintained at all times.
  9. Do not wear headphones or block your hearing in any way.
  10. Keep both hands and feet on the bike at all times.
  11. Know how to use proper bike hand signals for turns and stops.

Summary and Recommendations

Three wheel bikes are another tool to help you maintain your independence as you get older. They may even be a good alternative to cars for shorter trips and allow you to perform daily tasks with less trouble. Hopping on one can be a great way to meet friends at the rec center to play a game of cards, play a few board games, or work on a puzzle!

Because of the sturdy design of these bikes, seniors can feel comfortable and secure while using them. They’ll probably even enjoy zipping around on them! If you enjoy biking, but worry about it as you age, three wheel bikes are a more secure version of traditional bikes. You might like them even more than your old bike and riding one can quickly become a fulfilling hobby.

When shopping for a bike, keep in mind your physical condition. Use a fitness tracker with heart rate monitor to keep a watch on your progress and heart rate. You might want to use a pedal exerciser to work up to a full bike (click here to learn more about these).

Know going into it if an upright, semi-recumbent, or recumbent style is best. Also, know what your needs are for seating, handlebars, and pedal style. Safety should always be the first concern. If you have any concerns about using a three wheel bike outside, these same style of bikes are available as indoor exercise bikes too.

Either way, check out my recommendations above for the best tricycles for seniors and see if one of them could work for you.

Have you ever tried a three-wheeled bike? Tell me about your experience in the comments below! If you are considering one, how do you expect it to help you? Are you looking for fun and exercise or a practical way of getting around the neighborhood?

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Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | Scott Grant is dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, he enjoys early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. He is also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

1 Comment
  1. Does anyone know of grants for purchasing a 3 wheeler for seniors?

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