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Trikes Explained

Motorbike or Motorcar?

Now this is where it gets complicated. In this section, I will deal with vehicle classification, driving licence groups, MOT testing classes, and vehicle excise licence. These four different categories, when used in conjunction with each other, help determine what type of trike you've got, or are thinking of buying/building, and indeed, whether you are actually licensed to ride it or not. Please note that you will see several weights and figures which, logically speaking, should be the same in different categories, but they aren't.

Invalid carriage

- Not exceeding 254 kg - Designed for sole use by the disabled.


- Not exceeding 410kg - Not more than three wheels.


- Not exceeding 3050kg - Passenger carrying with no more than 7 seats excluding the driver.



- New licence holders are limited to 25kw/33bhp for the first two years of their licence, unless they take the large motorcycle test (Direct Access). Less than 410kg unladen weight.


- Not exceeding 3500kg, and not more than 8 seats excluding the driver; basically the "car" group. The entitlement to drive a vehicle not exceeding 7.5tonnes, for those who passed a test prior to 1/1/97, is covered under group "C1".


(licence group B1) - 3 or 4 wheel motorvehicles not exceeding 550kg unladen weight, but exceeding 50kmph and 50cc. This is a relatively unknown group that brings the UK more in line with Europe. If these type of vehicles exceed 550kg, they then fall into the motorvehicle group.

If you've passed a full motorcycle test, you will have group "B1" on your licence, although if you haven't passed a car test, you wont have group "B". This creates a bit of an anomaly as your motorcycle can't exceed 410kg, but you could ride a trike up to 550kg, because of your "B1" entitlement. This is worth knowing, as there are quite a few riders who limit themselves to a trike under 410kg without realising.


How long is a piece of string? If you're thinking of building a trike yourself, then there really are no price guidelines I can give you; the sky's the limit as they say. If you're going to buy a ready made trike, whether it be bike or car engined, second hand or new, you can be sure to be looking at anywhere between ?1,000 and ?20,000, depending on how many "trick" or "shiny" bits you want on it, or indeed, the extent of the disabled adaption. The adaption can be anything from a linked brake system, to a trike design where it is possible to board the trike in a wheelchair, and steer the trike from said chair; the possibilities are endless.