How Does Handling a Three-Wheeler Compare to Handling a Four-Wheeler?


Quick Answer

Three-wheeled vehicles are typically lighter and have less wheel surface area touching the ground than four-wheeled vehicles, which makes three-wheeled vehicles tend to have significantly less grip than vehicles with four wheels. Similarly, because there are only three bases of support on a three-wheeled vehicle, they have a higher chance of tipping than four-wheeled vehicles.

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Full Answer

There are two basic types of designs for three-wheeled vehicles. The "tadpole" design is where there are two wheels in the front and one in the back, and the "delta" design is where there is one wheel in front and two in back. The tadpole design offers both more stability and a more aerodynamic efficiency, as the delta design is significantly more prone to tip, as seen in the Reliant Robin.

Because three-wheeled vehicles require so much less equipment than a four-wheeled vehicle, they tend to be significantly lighter. This means that there is less force being pushed down on fewer tires, which results in a large difference in grip between three and four-wheeled vehicles. One way to counteract the loss in control and stability in a three-wheeled vehicle is to introduce the ability to lean. Three-wheeled vehicles that are able to tilt into a turn similar to a motorcycle help the weight to shift onto the back wheels to avoid tipping.

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