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Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?

Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?

These Tri Pod cars are registered as a motorcycle in a motorcycle category vehicle (L cat), have a motorcycle engine, accelerate like a motorcycle, weigh the same as a Harley and are bought by motorcyclists.

They are even designed and built by a motorcyclist, Andrew Hutchison of the Sunshine Coast.

Yet most people would consider them a car.

However, the laws around this vehicle are quite confusing, Andrew says.

“It’s all a weird grey area and the rules vary from state to state,” he says.

Despite the legal interpretation of the vehicle as a motorcycle or at least a trike in all states, in NSW and Victoria it is registered as a car with a car number plate and in others it is registered as a motorcycle.

To further confuse us, in NSW, Victoria and Queensland you can drive one on a car licence, while in other states you need a motorcycle licence.

However, Andrew says no state requires the wearing of a helmet.

“To me it’s not a big issue as you need to wear a hat for sun protection either way,” he says.

“A simple open-face scooter-style helmet is all that would be required as there is no breeze in the vehicle due to the wind deflector fitted on the bonnet.

“I have driven extensively in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria and spoken to many police officers while doing this and none of them has ever mentioned the helmet status – and I have never wear one.

“I suspect it seems enough like a car that the law doesn’t expect you to be wearing a helmet.

“Queensland Transport actually have given me written advice regarding this; not that a cop has ever asked ‘where is your helmet’?.”

Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?
Even police are confused

Weird lLicensing laws aside, the Tri Pod is now for sale on eBay for $69,400.

Not just the car/bike, but the whole business including all intellectual property, moulds, jigs, functioning workshop, drawings etc.

Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?
Model not included in the sale!

“New blood with a stronger focus on marketing could I’m sure take the Tri Pod to the next level” Andrew says.

“I started designing the Tri Pod while I was on a bit of a sabbatical in ’05 and ’06 and I think I would like to have another one. Life is very short!”

We drove a Tri Pod a few years ago and have to admit it was an electrifying experience almost as good as riding a motorcycle.

“The Tri Pod has come a long way since you drove the very early rough-around-the-edges, not-fully-developed example,” Andrew says.

Tri pod cars cost about $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the motorcycle engine you want.

Visit their website here.

Is the Tri Pod a car or motorcycle?
Tri Pod is powered by a motorcycle engine
  1. If it weighs as much as a Harley it’s hard to see it having exhilarating acceleration, given that most Harleys weigh nearly as much as a light truck. It seems to have the disadvantages of a car (width, weight) combined with the disadvantages of a motorcycle (lack of weather protection, limited luggage). Like any trike, it’s probably alright for people with missing limbs or who are under four feet tall, but not much good for anything else.

  2. It may weigh as much as a Harley but it is powered by a number of modern Japanese engines so it’s going to get along just fine, supercar numbers I would imagine.
    Comparing it to a Harley, where did that come from ?

    Interesting about the helmet quandary, I don’t see it as being any different to the Spyders and they are registered as motorcycles and require a helmet.
    Not interested in the bullshit about whether it’s a bike or not, it looks like a lot of fun to punt around.

  3. I think 400kg is a bit more than a typical Harley, unless that’s bike and rider.

    Personally, i think a bandit engine should be moving half that weight of bandit or it’s not fun. The whole point of the bandit it it’s just enough bike. It’s not overpowered, and it’s a bit soft and overweight.

    And i’ve already put my money where my mouth is by owning a bandit.

  4. Hi Graeme,

    I suppose it’s a case of comparing it to a car rather than a bike ie 200BHP in a 400KG car multiplies out to a serious power to weight ratio.


    The other way you could look at is myself riding my VFR800 versus driving the ZX14 version. Me driving the ZX14 “light truck” has a better power to weight by 33%.

    You can have a lot of fun on a VFR and it feels reasonably quick even with my 95Kgs aboard, but driving the ZX14 Trike where there is no need to temper the throttle application for fear of looping out etc makes for quite a riveting drive.

    Feel free to swing past and take a passenger ride. Remember its a inches of the ground, has super sticky tyres and rips through corners like no motorcycle can. It might get stuck in traffic but when the traffic clears there’s a good chance I will catch you up!

    Regards, Andrew. (designer Tri Pod Cars)

  5. There are tricycles , then there have been deliberately designed three wheel cars , one needs to state the intent from outset.
    If it has more than two wheels , and is not a deliberately designed car , then at best it is a curiosity , it wont handle like a motorcycle because it isn’t , so stick to two wheels.

    1. Hi Scott,

      The business has been in the hands of a new owner, Rob for more than 12 months.

      His number is on the website as is the email. I would get in touch with him as I know there was an almost completed one up for grabs that the builder no longer thought he would have time to finish due to an increase in his fleet of children.

      I had forgotten about this article. The comments are a reminder of the general negativity of many who don’t understand what a three wheeler offers having not driven one yet assume they wouldn’t enjoy it or it can’t be any good. The Tri Pod is a hoot to drive (yes you drive it, it aint a bike) because it offers much of the fasts of a bike coupled with agility and handling that few cars offer (largely due to their weight being threefold or more).

      I did 70,000 kms of very enjoyable driving/testing in the original and it’s new owner can’t wipe the smile of his face as he clocks kms in it every weekend. He has ridden bikes all his life but after the second tumble in recent history he thought it was time for something less inclined to fall over. It isn’t a bike but its the next best thing he says.

      Regards, Andrew.

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