Three Wheel Electric Bikes for Adults

Sincelair C5 - an early e-tricycle
Sinclair C5 – an early e-trike

There are a whole array of non-traditional three-wheel e-bikes available on the market, tailored to a range of needs from off-roading, casual cruising, mobility for seniors, long-distance comfort and even drifting! Let’s explore some of these unusual bikes below.

Main types of electric tricycles for adults:

  1. Off-road, rugged e-bikes
  2. Electric recumbent tricycles- long-distance comfort
  3. Electric drift tricycle for adults
  4. Velomobiles – long distance, car alternative
  5. Electric tricycle for adults
  6. Electric tricycle for seniors

As you can see, there are many types of three-wheelers for different purposes. Read on for more in-depth insight into each type of electric tricycle.

Tough off-road e-bikes for Hunters and Explorers in Rugged Terrain

One exciting development that has arisen with the advancement of electric motors and li-ion batteries is a genuine alternative to traditional ATVs and quad bikes.

eBike, Glen Clunie
Off Road e-Bike |Image Credit Mike Stephen

There are electric bikes now on the market which enables the twin possibilities of both navigating rough terrain and hauling heavy loads.

B & B MK1-E Bosch
Cargo e-Bike| Image Credit Splendid Cycles

There is a wide array of cargo e-bikes and off-road capable machines, two trends which haves merged to give hunters and explorers alike the ability to use e-bikes as valid machines for demanding activities. This means no smelly gasoline or noisy engines are a requirement for exploring.

One much company offering rugged, off-road e-bikes suitable for hunters is Rungu. They have two models for sale and are capable of handling all kinds of rough conditions.

In order to haul the maximum amount of cargo, it’s worth considering e-bike trailers. There are plenty of these on the market, Thule, in particular, makes high-quality ones for hauling anything from groceries to kids, to hunting equipment.

Electric Drift Tricycle for Adults

Having lots of torque dumped straight to the read wheels of an electric trike opens up the possibility of using an e-trike as a drifting machine!

Here’s DIY Youtuber creator Colin Furze going nuts on an electric drift tricycle he built in his garage:

Colin Furze builds a 20,000 Watt Drift Trike

You can also purchase drift tricycles, if you don’t have a workshop and welding machine to hand. Here is one pre-built option from Youtube:

Electric Recumbent Trikes

S-Pedelec Scorpion fs 26 - electric recumbent tricycle for adults
S-Pedelec Scorpion fs 26|Image credit HPVeloteknik

Recumbents are a type of bike where the rider is in a laid-back position instead of sitting upright like on a traditional bike. It’s mostly for comfort over long distances that this type of bike exists, as your body weight is distributed over a wider area rather than on a saddle and through your wrists on handlebars. Recumbents make ideal touring bikes since you are in a more relaxed seating position and your head is at an ideal angle to take in the passing countryside views. Adding an electric motor to the equation means that the benefits of recumbents are increased, as it increases your average speed with less pedaling input required.

Recumbents also have some aerodynamic advantages as it is low and streamlined, and your torso does not act as a windbreaker like on a traditional bike. One of the types of recumbents available are tricycle type bikes, and of course, there are electric tricycle recumbents bikes available also. There are even S-Pedelec (Speed-Pedelec) recumbent tricycles available on the market which can travel up to 45km/h – great for getting to your destination quickly and in comfort.

Recumbent tricycle on the street | Image Credit byronv2

Recumbents bikes have set multiple long-distance records, as long distances are where they really shine compared to traditional bikes. This is a type of e-bike worth considering if commuting to work with an e-bike over long distances is a priority for you, for example, more than 15 miles or so (24 kilometres) round trip. Some of the same advantages of traditional electric bikes apply to recumbents, in particular when setting off from a fully stopped position, for example at a red light.

One of the downsides of two-wheeled recumbent bikes is getting your balance right, as they can be tricky to control at low speeds while setting off for beginners. This balancing problem is eliminated by having a tricycle recumbent. You can also launch off more quickly compared to a regular recumbent bicycle, as the usual bonus of having lots of torque applies here too. Start pedalling or hit the throttle, and you’ll be zooming at high speed in no time.


Yellow Velomobile | Image Credit Ben Cooper

What if you took a recumbent tricycle, wrapped it in a lightweight shell and gave it a snazzy paint job? Such vehicles actually exist, known as velomobiles. They retain the advantages of recumbents – comfort over long distances – and take them to the extreme, as the shell lowers the air resistance even further than a recumbent tricycle. The shell also protects the rider and their cargo from the elements.

Velomobile Interior | Image Credit Ben Cooper

Due to velomobiles’ extreme efficiency and low air resistance, it takes much less effort for the rider to maintain higher speeds versus other types of bikes. This also means that a lighter, smaller motor, and lighter, smaller capacity battery can be incorporated since less power is needed to maintain speed. Velomobiles are a staggering 80 times more efficient

Low tech magazine has a wonderful article on the merits of electric velomobiles, and how they have the potential to change how the world commutes to work.

Electric Tricycle for Adults

Meriden Origami December 2011
Adult tricycle on the street | Image Credit Karl

Electric tricycles can be a fantastic mobility solution for adults. Tricycles provide more stability at low speeds and often come with handy features such as baskets to make storage of luggage and cargo easier.

One of the downsides of tricycles generally is their additional weight and rolling resistance from the extra tyre which means that going up hills is significantly more difficult than on a traditional bicycle. When an electric motor is added to the drivetrain, it can combat this problem. This will allow the rider to benefit from pedal assist from the electric motor, so you can power up hills with ease.

Adults and seniors can greatly benefit from this, especially for short trips. It’s especially advantageous for those with mobility problems or past injuries that might make it difficult to walk. Cycling is a low impact activity, and this impact is lessened even more by having an electrically assisted bike, also known as a pedelec. It’s also a way to get exercise for those who are concerned about injury or muscle strain.

One of the tips for electric tricycle purchasing is to pay attention to the number of gears. More gears = more flexibility to handle different types of slopes.

If you wish to haul loads of cargo with an electric tricycle, consider a mid-drive motor. Bear in mind that mid-drives tend to be more expensive than hub motor e-bikes, but if cargo is a priority, it’s worth the extra expense. For casual bike rides, a cheaper hub motor is plenty capable of delivering the power you need.

Electric Tricycles for Seniors

As we get older, our sense of balance and eyesight can start to weaken. As an electric tricycle is an inherently balanced machine, it is a good option to consider for seniors to regain their independence and sense of mobility – all while getting exercise and fresh air.

Electric motors are especially useful to those who would otherwise be limited by hilly areas.

If driving a car is no longer an option due to more limited eyesight, an electric tricycle can restore a sense of independence as it is a much smaller, lighter and easier to drive vehicle than a car. For short distances, it’s an ideal option for older people.

Quad E-Bikes

But wait! What if even three-wheels is not enough? Well, there are even quad wheeled electric bikes on the market, take a look at this next video.

So there you have it! A look at some of the many weird and wonderful three-wheeled electric tricycles that are out there.

I hope you enjoyed this article, happy cycling!

Nikolaj Carlsen

Nikolaj loves cycling! He currently owns two bikes. He used to commute to work with a car but switched to an e-bike in 2017. He loves e-bikes and sharing his knowledge on everything cycling related. He has been part of the Amped Cycling Team since early 2020.

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