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

Having a little trouble getting around? Not ready to give up your favorite hobbies? A great option to consider are three wheel bikes for seniors. These bikes, also called recumbent bikes or even adult tricycles, give them the mobility they’ve lost and let them perform vital tasks. They are also a lot of fun! Plus, they help seniors relive happy childhood memories. These bikes are a good option if you or your senior has difficulty making short trips. Like to visit neighbors in the subdivision or to get to the park. They may even be a substitute for people who can’t drive anymore and want another option to maintain their freedom.  Whatever reason or use you have for these bikes, there’s an option that can work for your lifestyle.

Comparison Chart: Best Three Wheel Bikes (Trikes) for Seniors

Photo
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)
Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser Trike (Adult)
Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike (27S, FRP seat) (Yellow)
Product
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)
Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser Trike (Adult)
Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike (27S, FRP seat) (Yellow)
Style
Upright Three Wheel Bike
Semi-Recumbent Three Wheel Bike
Recumbent Three Wheel Bike
Mini-Review
A great option from Schwinn. Upright, step-though bikes are easier to get on and off but require better balance.
Fun way to get a little exercise! Semi-recumbent bikes are closer to the ground which reduces the chance of a fall but are harder to get on and off.
This bike is built more for performance and speed. The seat is reclined farther back than semi-recumbents and are peddled from a more lying down position.
Photo
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)
Product
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)
Style
Upright Three Wheel Bike
Mini-Review
A great option from Schwinn. Upright, step-though bikes are easier to get on and off but require better balance.
Photo
Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser Trike (Adult)
Product
Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser Trike (Adult)
Style
Semi-Recumbent Three Wheel Bike
Mini-Review
Fun way to get a little exercise! Semi-recumbent bikes are closer to the ground which reduces the chance of a fall but are harder to get on and off.
Photo
Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike (27S, FRP seat) (Yellow)
Product
Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike (27S, FRP seat) (Yellow)
Style
Recumbent Three Wheel Bike
Mini-Review
This bike is built more for performance and speed. The seat is reclined farther back than semi-recumbents and are peddled from a more lying down position.

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Who Uses Three Wheel Bikes?

Lots of people. As the population ages, sometimes a 2 wheeled bicycle is no longer a good option. 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:

Useful Features of Adult Three Wheel Bikes

The best three wheel bike 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.
  • Light weight 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.
front wheel of a three wheeled bike

Types of Three 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 in the bike which affects your safety and control of the bike.​

Upright Three Wheel Bikes

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 light weight 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. These bikes are 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

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 set up 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

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 to 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 using front handles. Basically, these bikes can be modified to suit any physical condition. These bikes are still light weight 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 set up, I have taught paraplegics, kids with cerbral palsy, and even people with multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy to use a recumbent bikes.

bike with photo of two elders

Other Options to Think About

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.​

What About 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. 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 togther for you. Larger cities have assembly services that will come to your home and put items like this together for you too.​

Choosing your Seat

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.

Choosing your Handlebars

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.

Recommended Senior Bikes

Here are my recommended senior adult three wheel bikes based on the criteria above. First, is my best recommendation for an upright three wheel bike. I looked at many bikes in this category and kept coming back to the Schwinn. Many of the other bikes in this category were poorly reviewed or didn't stand up well against long term use.

Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike

Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Black Cherry)

Schwinn is a bike brand that every generation is familiar with. As a matter of fact, they have been making bicycles since 1895. So, it's no surprise they make one of the best adult trikes on the market. This upright three wheel bike for seniors (and other adults!) comes in 5 colors. This bike is a great choice for active seniors who need a light, easy to use bike that can stand up to daily use. There are also a lot of accessories that can be used to customize this bike like wider seats, horns, mirrors, flags and more!

  • Lightweight aluminum frame makes it easier to maneuver
  • Single speed bike so no need to worry about changing gears
  • Low, easy to step through frame
  • Comes with a folding basket for hauling groceries and other items
  • Full fenders to reduce splash and mess
  • Front and back brakes are hand operated which may be difficult with severe arthritis
  • You need a good indoor place to store the bike like a garage or out building. The back wheels are too wide for smaller doorways.
  • Assembly is required. Takes a few hours with basic tools. Most reviewers said it was easy to do.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mobo Triton Pro

Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser Trike (Adult)

In the semi-recumbent three wheel bike category, I really like the Mobo Triton Pro. It is very similar to the hand peddled bikes I use with some of my paraplegic customers. The attention grabbing style of this bike makes it good for seniors with balance issues or who are at risk for falling from a higher bike. It is also a good choice for poeople with arthritis in the hands and shoulders. Hips and knees should be fairly mobile though for peddling the bike. It comes in 4 colors.

NOTE: There is a less expensive version called the Mobo Triton. But, it is a youth sized bike and it isn't really clear from the description

  • ​Helps with balance because it is low to the ground
  • Adjustable frame fits users from 4'2" to 6'3"
  • Cushioned seat with full backrest for comfort and support
  • Lever style steering is easier on arthritic joints
  • Includes a flag for maximum visibility
  • Because this bike is low to the ground, make sure the user can get up from such a low position or has help available if needed

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike

Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike (27S, FRP seat) (Yellow)

This one falls under the fully recumbent bike category. The seat is reclined at a near 45 degree angle which reduces stress on the hips and back. It also makes peddling a little easier too. This bike is on the higher end and designed for higher speeds and even a little off road biking.  More active seniors who enjoy longer rides will love the comfort this bike provides. 

  • Larger real wheel for higher speeds
  • Seat upholstery is vented mesh for breathability and supported by a fiberglass shell
  • 27 speeds for ultimate control
  • Performance style bike for longer rides.
  • Like the semi-recumbent bike above, senior users should be able to get up and down easily or have help getting on and off this style of trike
  • The pedals can be adjusted for leg length but that may involve using a different length chain

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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. Know going into it if an upright, semi-recumbent, or recumbent style is best. Also, know what your needs are for seating, handlebars, and peddle 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.

Have you ever tried a three wheeled bike? Tell me about your experience inthe 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?​

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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