How to Build a Bicycle Trike

Updated February 21, 2017

A trike, also known as a tricycle, is a modified bicycle that has three wheels instead of two. The rider is seated on a frame work raised approximately 6 inches from the ground. It is possible to construct your own trike using some basic tools, although you need to buy the correct tools and equipment from a bicycle supply shop. Prior knowledge of bicycles would also be useful as the process involves attaching brakes and a chain mechanism.

Create a design for your tricycle. Use a simple a T-shaped metal framework, with a foldable seat made from plywood attached. Draw the diagram so that you have a plan to work from.

Build the metal framework. Weld together a 3-foot length of metal and 2-foot length of metal. Position the shorter length of metal 1/2 inch from the end of the longer piece, so that you obtain a T shape.

Go to a bicycle supply shop and obtain the required parts for the trike. A chain and fitting, brake mechanism and three wheels with a 1 1/2-foot diameter are the essential items.

Secure the rear wheel to the back of the trike. Firstly, affix the chain and fitting to the rear end of the longer length of metal. Do this by welding it to the rear end of the frame work.

Attach the wheels to the trike. Place one wheel on each end of the 2-foot long metal bar, or crossbar. Screw them into place and check that they turn smoothly. Then, secure the rear wheel so that it is positioned directly next to the chain.

Fit the brake mechanism to the rear wheel. The brake itself is a horseshoe shaped set of pincers. Weld it to the framework, so that when the pincers close, they put pressure on the rim of the rear wheel to slow the trike down.

Affix the chain by feeding it onto the fitting. Hook the chain over the teeth of the turning mechanism, and test it by rolling the trike across the ground. The chain should turn easily without catching or jolting if it has been installed correctly.

Make a seat from plywood. Attach two squares of plywood together using a hinge and screws. Place two even squares of plywood next to each other, and then screw the hinge across the middle of the joining sides. This will enable it to be opened and closed more easily so that the trike can be stored easily.

Position the seat on the centre of the trike. Open the seat at a right angle and put it in between the front and back wheels, in the middle of the frame. Drill through the metal framework, and screw it onto the bar.

Paint the framework and seat of your trike to hide the welded joints and to make it look more professional.


Ask for assistance from a bicycle shop or mechanic if you have difficultly attaching the wheels, brake mechanism or chain.

Things You'll Need

  • Welding equipment
  • 3-foot metal rod
  • 2-foot metal rod
  • Three wheels
  • Chain and fitting
  • Brake Mechanism
  • Plywood
  • Measuring tape
  • Hinge
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Paint
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About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.