There are quite a few manufacturers out there making 250cc motor scooter trikes. While you can get a bigger or smaller engine, often ranging from 49cc to 500cc or more, the 250 is a perfect size for many riders. It provides ample power for most adults or larger riders, while at the same time, is not too much for medium size riders to handle. This makes it a very versatile motorcycle tricycle and helps to explain the intense popularity. It seems more manufacturers are getting in on the 250cc motor scooter trike market. Let's take a look at some of the details.
Three Wheels – But Where?
Just a few years ago, had you looked up info on 250cc motor scooter trikes you would have found that virtually all of them were old fashion three wheeler style, like the old Honda Big Red ATC. In other words, there would have been a single wheel up front, and two in the back. These days, it can be reversed, with the double wheels up front and the single tire in the back. This is thanks to the release of the BRP Can-Am Spyder released a while back. Of course, this isn't a 250cc motor scooter trike, but it is what many makers have patterned their cycles after.
As noted, many of the 250cc motor scooter trikes are patterned at least somewhat after the much larger, and wildly popular three wheeled BRP version. You'll find plenty that at least loosely resemble the style, whether you are looking at smaller units, like the 50cc or 150cc and the bigger ones, like the 300cc Ice Bear Magnum. In fact, this is the most common style, at least if you are purchasing a new cycle. These will have the double wheel up front with the single in the rear of the moped. This has dominated the three wheeled bike and 250cc motor scooter trikes industry, but there are still a few holdouts.
The chopper style, for example, is still available from many companies making 250cc motor scooter trikes, including Icebear, along with many others. It's generally considered a classic style for these mopeds. The long fork up front connects to a single tire, with the double wheels being in the rear, like a classic type of three wheeler. You can get them complete with storage/cargo containers, like a touring type motorcycle. This is still one of the common 250cc motor scooter trikes, but they are getting a little bit harder to find.
Generally speaking, the 250cc motor scooter trikes you look at are made for the pavement, on the streets, but you can find some with aggressive tires that may be off road worthy. Few will be marketed this way, however, you can find some clearly made for that purpose, although not advertised that way. This has to do with the outlaw the US put on the sale of three wheelers in 1987. Generally speaking, the 250cc motor scooter trikes you find today are a completely different animal.
Are They Street Legal?
Yes they are, but that doesn't mean that 250cc motor scooter trikes are okay in your area. Some cities or counties could disallow them on their roads for various reasons, similar to the old mini pocket bikes or Chinese Four Wheelers. They were street legal, meeting general guidelines, but many cities outlawed them for use on the roads. This is why you should first make sure you can ride the 250cc motor scooter trikes in your area before you make the purchase.
Is It Like Riding A Bike?
No. Riding a 250cc motor scooter trike is not quite the same as riding a regular moped or cycle. On a two wheeled version, you steer, for the most part, by leaning into the turn. Generally speaking, the front wheel is not rotated much at all. In fact, you could almost weld the fork in a completely straight position, so it couldn't be moved and still ride. With a 250cc motor scooter trike, you turn by rotating the handlebars and fork, turning the wheel(s) rather than leaning into the corner. It's a small difference, but one you must get used to. Luckily, it doesn't take much time to get used to.
Safer To Ride?
Without the benefit of scientific studies, I would say 250cc motor scooter trikes are safer overall than comparable sized two wheeled mopeds. We generally don't start kids out riding the two wheeled bikes do we? They generally start out on a tricycle. It's just easier to balance and stay upright. One would have to assume that when used properly, three wheels are better than two. This does not mean you are any safer when not using common sense or following the law on your 250cc motor scooter trike.
Why So Popular?
This is a pretty open question, but ultimately, I suppose it's safe to say the BRP Can-Am Spyder started it. Now many other makers are calling their 250cc motor scooter trikes a "Spider." There's no doubt in my mind that this helped to shape the three wheeled moped industry by companies like Ice Bear. While the Spyder may have helped the industry take off, there must be more to the popularity.
A 250cc motor scooter trike is simply a modified moped. Like a standard moped, the gas mileage is incredible. Smaller versions, like the 49cc or 50cc, boast mileage of up to 75 miles per gallon. Larger units, like the 250's, generally top 45 miles per gallon. As you can see, it's pretty cost effective to drive one.
In addition to the reasons given, 250cc motor scooter trikes, unlike the little mopeds, have the power and speed to move along at highway speeds. As you may know, many little bikes, like the 50cc units, only have a top speed of about 35-40 miles per hour. It would simply be dangerous to take them out on a busy road with traffic moving at 55 miles per hour or faster. With the 250cc motor scooter trikes, you can move that fast if needed, but still maintain better mileage than you would get with a car.