Types of Tricycles

When riding around with my son in the front of my cargo tricycle around town, onlookers often ask me “What’s that?” I think the main reason is that most people are used to seeing tricycles with two wheels in the back and one wheel up front, rather than the other way around. Well, for those of you who are new to cargocycling here’s a quick summary of the main types of tricycles.

Tricycles are generally defined by their wheel arrangement. The three most common are:

• Delta Tricycle: 1 wheel in front and 2 wheels in the rear
• Tadpole Tricycle: 2 wheels in front and 1 wheel in the rear
• Sidecar: 2 wheels in line with each other and 1 wheel parallel and offset

Deltatricycle_2Delta Tricycle:
A delta trike has 1 wheel in front & 2 wheels in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a traditional tricycle or rear load tricycle (meaning the cargo is behind the driver). A lot of times you’ll see older people using these bicycles because it is stable at slow speeds and uses standard bicycle steering.

Tadpoletricycle_2Tadpole Tricycle:
A tadpole trike has 2 wheels in front & 1 wheel in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a front load tricycle because the cargo is in front of the driver. These tricycles are useful for drivers that need to keep a close eye on their cargo or need quick access to it without having to get off of their trike. This makes them ideal for use by food vendors or pedi-cab drivers who have frequent interaction with customers.

Sidecar_2Sidecar Tricycle:
In the side car arrangement, two wheels are in line with each other like a bicycle. The third wheel is parallel to the other two wheels but is offset from the center line of the two wheels.

In future posts, I’ll try to include information on other aspects of cargo tricycles for those of you who are interested in picking up a cargo tricycle.

8 Comments For This Post

  1. david obregon Says:

    Im very interesting on delta tricycles, I would like to know the price of this. Can you sand me more info. about these?

  2. John Says:

    Your typical delta style trike should cost between $270 to $800. This all depends on the quality of the trike and what they’ll be used for. If you’re using the trike for simple transportation, a light-duty lower cost version might be enough for your use. Consider spending about $400 to $500 for a decent quality one. Do a web search for “adult trike” and you’ll find many stores selling light-duty trikes.

    If you’re planning on using it for industrial use (ie. carrying equipment and parts around a factory) then you’ll need a heavy duty trike. Expect to pay around $700 for a good quality industrial trike that is built to last and designed for heavy loads. (www.worksman.com / http://www.huskybicycles.com)

    On both types of trikes, make sure you get one with at least three speeds. Trikes are generally heavier than a regular bicycle and single speed trikes can be difficult to pedal for older riders.

    Good luck with the trike search.

    Best Regards,

  3. Mefine Says:

    Nice way of classification and
    The pics are also self Explanatory.

    Can You Post Specifications (average values)
    for the three types of tricycles. I expect it soon.
    Thank You Any way

  4. taiwo rafiu Says:

    tricyles that can be used for mobile Grocery which is compactable and afforbable,durable as a means of youth empowerment.

  5. Laurent Says:


    I am looking for one Tadpole Tricycle but I am leaving in New Zealand. Do you know any company that would ship them?



  6. bridget Says:

    Lovely Tricycle :-)

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