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Reverse Trikes are three wheeled vehicles (Three wheelers) with two wheels in the front and one in the rear. This design is used in modern three wheeled vehicle design due to its increase in stability over single front wheel designs.


History

Personal transportation was just a horse in the mid 1800’s, but by the turn of the century the advent of the Internal Combustion Engine revolutionized man kind’s mobility. Although there have been many off-shoots, the main ground fairing evolutions have been the Automobile (4 wheeled) and the motorcycle (2 wheeled), a interesting evolutionary “hiccup” considering that the original Mercedes Benz Motorvagen was, infact, a 3 wheeled vehicle.

Mercedes and other manufacturers moved to a 4 wheeled configuration for increased stability, while other manufacturers moved to the extreme of light weight, they mounted motors in bicycles and started the genre we now refer to as motorcycles. However, the 3 wheeled configuration did not die there. Three wheelers require ultra-low centers of gravity for stability, and in the early 1900s Morgan cars recognized this and began manufacturing the Morgan 3. This vehicle utilized an air-cooled Harley Davidson motor mounted in front of the grill for cooling.

Since then, other manufacturers have touched on 3 wheeled vehicles with intermittent success. Advantages include reduced road friction due to less tire/bearing drag, better aerodynamic packaging, and commonly much lighter due to government regulations. This last point is commonly the key to the neich. In the US, EU, and many other places worldwide, a motorcycle is defined as “a vehicle traveling with less than 4 wheels in contact with the ground”. This means that 3 wheeled vehicle are classified as motorcycles, and can, therefore, be made much lighter than a common car. And that opens up the door to increased speed, acceleration, and reduced fuel consumption, as weight and drag are enemies of the aforementioned.

Many have seen the Reliant Robin on Top Gear and Mr. Bean blooper clips. The Reliant was one of the first vehicles to explore the reduced cost of ownership (fuel savings, lower taxes and registration fees) and did an adequate job of those points, while doing poorly on the suspension and steering geometry. Again, 3 wheelers need an ultra low center of gravity to function correctly. Additionally, the Reliant showcased that the single wheel is best placed at the rear of the vehicle since steering inputs upset front wheeled trikes causing understeer and eventually flipping over.

Nowadays, the 3 wheeled segment has settled into a proper format known as reverse trikes, which have two front wheels and one rear wheel. The segment has further divided into two primary focuses: sporting (Campagna, Scorpion Motorsports, Bombardier), and efficientcy (Aptera).