Drift Trikes

big wheel

Drift Trikes are tricycles that have slick rear wheels, normally made from a hard plastic, most often PVC. Proper drift trike wheels can also be created by sliding PVC or polyethylene pipe over deflated pneumatic wheels and then re-inflating them to lock them in place.

They are designed to drift, by intentionally initiating loss of traction to the rear wheels and counter-steering to negotiate corners. They are usually ridden on paved roads with steep downhill gradients, with corners and switchbacks. Smooth roads are preferred to coarse chip sealed roads, as coarse surfaces tend to wear rear wheels faster, create a rougher ride and reduce drifting ability.

Riders gather most of their momentum through gravity but many trike drifters choose to employ a freewheeling pedal front wheel, which makes for a more versatile trike. The freewheel hub allows the rider to obtain forward momentum but allows for coasting when not pedaling. Another means to gain initial momentum is to stand on the rear of the trike and to kick/push with one leg. Operating speeds for drift trikes generally range between 25-50 mph. Drift Triking has become a recognized sport, with crews such as Drift Trikes Whangarei being sponsored by Red Bull.

Many drift trikes are homemade or custom fabricated by professional welders. However, certain bike manufacturers such as Huffy, Trek, and a number of other companies have released children’s versions commercially. The sport has a dedicated following and is quickly growing in popularity across the globe. The origins of drift trikes come from New Zealand, where the sport was first invented. It’s popularity was fueled by New Zealand’s car and drift culture of ‘boy racers.’ Drift triking quickly began to spread to other countries soon after, including Australia, the United States, many European nations and various other countries.

A Non-Profit organization was founded in the United States, in 2011, called the American Drift Trike Association – with the goal to promote the sport of drift triking. Trike Drifting commonly falls within the jurisdiction of bicyclist traffic laws. Many districts, regions, and countries require the use of helmets, brakes, a rear red reflector, and front lights. Though some regions categorize them as ‘gravity’ vehicles, where they are treated in a similar fashion to skateboards and street luges.


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