I have back and balance problems and am blind in one eye so DMV took my drivers license away. I have been looking at conversion kits to turn a bike into a trike.

None of the sellers have contacted have been much help on specifics of whether modifications can be made. I live on a very steep dirt road in the desert. I think that I need duel disk brakes on the back wheels and a differential. I will have to ride the brakes all the way for the first 1.5 miles. It is a 1 foot in 10 feet slope.

A recumbent trike will not do because I cannot take any pressure from the rear on my back. Sitting up right is not easy but I can do it. So I need to go slow down hill (dragging my feet is not an option). To go up hill I will need a very low (less than 1 to 1) gear. I mean walking speed low. And I have to do it on a low budget.

Does anyone have experience with the 7 speed bike to trike kits. Can the rear gears be changed. I figure I can put a really small gear on the front crank and a larger one on the back. Does that make sense? I found one manufacturer in Brazil who makes an 7 speed bike to trike adapter for reasonable price but have not gotten any response to my questions. Oh. I already know that I will not be able to make sharp turns at speed.

  • 14
    I suspect that you'd be better off just purchasing a new trike. Mar 16, 2020 at 0:07
  • Indeed. Sell the current bike, get a new or secondhand trike to replace it. Modifying the existing vehicle is not going to be cheaper and could be a lot of trouble down the road.
    – Mast
    Mar 16, 2020 at 14:57
  • Depending on where you are, you might even find e-trikes second hand.
    – Willeke
    Mar 17, 2020 at 17:04

5 Answers 5


It might be more practical to invest in a trike that is a trike by design through and through. I am not sure what your budget is like, but this sounds like what you need. It's still a Pedal powered tricycle, but the electric assist will help you up that hill, especially if you are loaded down with groceries, etc. https://www.vitalitymedical.com/ewheels-ew-29-electric-trike-red-bundle.html


What you're looking for is a tall order. Most of the trike conversion kits you'll find in the USA are for lowrider bikes, and would be inappropriate. Most of the conversion kits for adult bikes come from the UK, where triking has some presence as its own sport, but those typically drive only one wheel.

There is a conversion kit that replaces the front end of your bike, which simplifies the drivetrain situation. (We try to avoid specific product recommendations here, but this is such a narrow niche that I don't think we can avoid it here.)

If it's in your budget, you might also want to look at adding power assist to your bike, which doesn't require a license.

Finally, you said that recumbent trikes are out because of your back. There are a some recumbent-trike makers and dealers that do adaptive work, and there are a number of adaptive-trike specialty manufacturers. So there might be a way to make that work.

  • With a recumbent you certainly need e-assist as you can not put in much power uphill.
    – Willeke
    Mar 17, 2020 at 17:06

I'm new to this forum, so am not entirely sure about posting. I saw this post and had to contribute some of my experiences with the two trikes I have owned.

I have owned both a conversion style and factory style trike. The conversion was a three-speed hub, coaster brake set-up, and the second was a three speed coaster brake with a limited slip differential.

The factory one was hell on any loose terrain as the limited slip differential allowed either wheel to spin backward if not firmly planted on the ground, thereby completely negating braking action. Not fun on a gravel road or other slick surface. I overcame this with dual caliper brakes, one on each wheel, running no front brake at all. Any purchase you make for a trike that drives both wheels should involve a check of both braking action and drive action to be sure both wheels get equal action.

The conversion one was a Schwinn conversion I removed from an older trike. It was one wheel drive, and I laced the original hubs to 24" mountain bike rims. It had one of those 3-speed chain pull hubs in it. I added a standard derailleur and the cranks from a 21-speed bike to it, fixing the rear derailleur so it only acted as tension for the chain to allow for use of the front derailleur. This allowed me to have 9 forward speeds, and smaller front sprockets helped a lot for the hills. I again used dual rear caliper brakes and no front one.

I am planning a 21-speed 3 wheel conversion using one if the Shimano 7-speed kits this summer. I live in Alaska, so riding year round is an ordeal. I will try to get this done over the summer, and intend to test it out before the snow hits.

Hope some of this was useful to you or someone else.


Contact Geoff (in England) at Trykit on the web. Makes a nice trike conversion kit for bicycles. I've ordered fr him and found him excellent and v. helpful


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