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Feeling Like a Third Wheel

Written by  October 1, 2012

A recent weekend event in Mount Airy, North Carolina had two common denominators--trikes and gray hair. As the bikers of the 70’s approach their 70’s, they are finding it is not necessary to sell their chaps on eBay anymore. They are simply trading in two wheels for three. And it’s not just the elder bikers giving three wheels a try. Novices, those with health problems, and a few who just didn’t think motorcycles were for them, are jumping into the three-wheel circle.

In 2008, Harley-Davidson noticed the growth of this trike-conversion community and introduced factory-built trikes. Before this, people were shelling out upwards of twenty grand to convert their two-wheeled rides into three-wheeled rides so they could remain on the open road. While the price of a new Harley trike can run over thirty grand, there seems to be a true market for them.

Trying to research the “aging biker” was not easy; several bloggers merely copied the same story three or four times over. But there’s no denying that the age of bikers is slowly going up, even as younger people are discovering the sport of motorcycling. Knees give out, backs deteriorate, and holding up a bike that weighs in excess of 600 pounds may be getting harder. Currently, there is no data on how many are switching their rides and at what age, but sales of trikes like the Can-Am Spyder and Harleys have been rising in the past five years and show no signs of slowing down.

Riders like the stability of three wheels; fears of falling over while attempting to mount up are all but gone with trikes and it’s been said they have almost as much stability and comfort as a car on the long fast hauls.

During the month of June, the largest trike MC in the country, Brothers of the Third Wheel, had their Annual International Trike Week, this year in Branson, Missouri. And if you are under the impression that trike owners are a bunch of old geezers on Gold Wings and modified Ultra Glides, check out this video from the most recent gathering: Brothers of the Third Wheel.

New trikes range in price from about $18,000 for the Cam-Am Spyder Roadster to over $31,000 for the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra Classic. Unfortunately, the Japanese manufacturers have not yet jumped on the trike bandwagon, so Gold Wings, Kawasakis, et al, must be converted.

It’s nice to know that no matter what your situation, whether your back protests about balancing at stop lights or injury took away the use of a leg, there are options out there to keep you in those sexy chaps and boots so you never miss an opportunity to enjoy the wind.

By Louise Reeves