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My wife would like a 3 wheeled recumbent, but I can’t see how we can transport one with a normal car.

I can put my bike on a rack or the roof, but all the recumbent I have seen are too large to transport.

What solutions have people come up with?

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  • Is there any further information you'll need for a proper answer to this? Sep 14, 2010 at 1:20
  • Not answering your question directly, but forget the car and ride the `bent instead ? Put the ride on a trailer and tow that?
    – Criggie
    Dec 13, 2015 at 5:31
  • This would depend on what you call a normal car, and how big you are. In my Nissan Sentra, I can barely get my road bike in (58cm) and I'm 5'11". If you had a Ford Fiesta or something, there may be problems with that.
    – Batman
    Dec 13, 2015 at 15:36
  • @ian what did you end up doing to solve this transport problem ?
    – Criggie
    Aug 7, 2022 at 1:27
  • I have seen recumbents on a roof rack. Aug 7, 2022 at 2:32

5 Answers 5

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If your car doesn't have a trailer hitch on it, you can have one installed and purchase a "trike and bike" rack that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver:

Hitch Rider Trike-N-Bike™ hitch mounted racks transport a trike and bike at the same time. Wheel holder and bike support arm styles are available for the bike carrier position. The rack fits both 1 1/4" and 2" vehicle receiver hitches (patented).

rack picture

My inlaws ride recumbent bikes and had a hitch installed on their Toyota Camry and purchased a double-trike rack.

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Greenspeed GT3 (Australia), HP Velotechnik Scorpion FX and ICE(UK) make folding tadpole recumbent trikes, which can fit in the back of a reasonably sized car. TriSled (Australia) make one with a break in the frame that serves the same purpose.

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Firstly I've seen a variety of trikes on the roof of a fairly wide variety of cars - hmm, I've carried one on the roof of mine along with two recumbent bikes, so its perfectly possible to carry a trike on a car. The challenge - as it has always been with recumbents - is that you may not be able to do so with a single standard piece of kit. From memory wheels either side of a set of roof bars being quite a common solution (challenge being getting the thing up onto the roof in the first place).

After that it rather depends on the trike - there are an ever increasing number of folding (well collapsible) trikes - the latest being HP Velotechnik's Scorpion FX which is picutured being loaded into the boot of a Smartcar here: http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/scorpionfx/index_e.html

Similarly Hase have taken steps to make it easy to break a KettWiesel down for transport.

Hmm, here's the Challenge variation on the theme: http://www.challenge-recumbents.com/index.php?language=en&selection=trike-alize-en

with, guess what... a picture of the bike going into the back of a SmartCar - so clearly the solution to the problem is to buy the right car (-:

Pragmatically, if you can find your way to an HPV club event (e.g those run by the BHPC in the UK) you'll be able to see and ask people who will have addressed this problem.

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  • I will have a look at the folders, I can image being able to safely get a tricycle on the roof of a car single handed.
    – Ian
    Sep 6, 2010 at 8:35
  • At least as of now the Scorpion is not shown inside the boot of a Smart but inside an Opel Zafira minivan. Aug 7, 2022 at 0:47
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I've had good luck strapping my TerraTrike to the top of a Matrix. We have a roof rack, which makes it easier. But before that I just fed the straps through the doors. The trickiest part is that at highway speeds, there's a lot of stuff that can fly off. (I lost a fender that way.)

So my procedure is

  • Put the seat back as far down as possible, to reduce drag.
  • Strap down fenders and anything else that's loose with velcro.
  • Put cargo straps through the trike tires to strap the car to the roof.
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From my experience, a single trike can usually be easily transported inside (European) station wagons or minivans, like e.g. the Renault Espace, at least if you fold down (a part of) the rear seat of the car or (in case of single rear seats) remove at least one of the rear seats of the car. Already had my KMX X-Class tadpole trike and my Fateba Longbike LWB recumbent inside an (even short wheel-base) Espace at the same time without much effort. With station wagons height might be an issue, though. (E.g. for getting my Radius Hornet I SWB recumbent into my Citroën CX Break I had to lower the backrest first to the minimum.)

But with some tricks trikes might also fit into much smaller cars:

I have a 2CV which is a rather small (and nowadays vintage) car. I can fit my non-foldable KMX X-Class (2005-2007) tadpole trike backwards inside the car if I remove the backseats (they're removable instead of being folding-down backseats) and add the boot extension (usually called "queue" in at least continental Europe). Boot extensions are not uncommon with the 2CV if you want to sleep inside the car or making bigger journeys with it. Even Wikipedia mentions them.

Even though the boot lid isn't that big, I can get the tadpole-style trike in by turning it 90° sideways first, then put the rear wheel (24") and back rest through the boot opening sideways, then turning it back so that the handlebars and the front wheels (16") fit through as well. Must though admit that bigger front wheels wouldn't have fit through the boot's opening.

In the end the rear wheel of the trike sits a bit in the niche between the front seats (with the rear axle being stopped by the front seat backrests) and the front bracket and pedals are inside the boot extension just below the boot lid.

Left and right of the trike there's still a lot of space left for luggage. I can even still see through the rear window with the trike and luggage for two weeks of camping. (Actually I also had a folded Brompton folding bicycle and a folded Croozer Cargo Pakko bicycle trailer in there at the same time, too. :-)

(Pictures will follow. Have to dig them up. :-)

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