Frequently Asked Questions
What do people do with Haley Tricycles?
Haley Trikes have an incredibly wide range of use. They can go almost anywhere:
outdoor festivals and concerts, sporting events, through parks, inside public
buildings and stores, and between jammed vehicles on tight city streets. They are as easy
to park as a bicycle, require very little maintenance, and can get through very
dense traffic quickly.
The cargo capacity of a Haley makes it ideal to do almost anything,
from daily errands like laundry and groceries to moving power tools or furniture.
They can be used for medium duty commercial applications as well, and draw a lot
of attention for their businesses.
Why two front wheels?
- Delta (two rear wheel) trikes need extra chains,
differentials, and special wheels
for smooth turns. While this is a fine
system, tadpole trikes (two front wheels) are simpler
and easier to maintain, and new
or upgraded parts are available from the stock of your
local bicycle shop.
- You can keep an eye on your cargo better.
- It's easier to see if you'll fit between two obstacles without looking behind
you while moving forward.
- Front load trikes, from the general public's point of view, are more likely to be
seen as work vehicles of some type (and not just a weird in-the-way bicycle) from their long history as
ice cream trikes.
Custom 2-tone blue tall box Model 1
How does it turn? Is it easy to steer?
Haleys turn by rotating the cargo box around a pivot between the front wheels. The rider
controls the direction by turning the cargo where she wants to go and following behind.
The box will rotate easily no matter how much weight is being moved.
Haleys don't lean when you turn, and don't turn when you lean. Most people haven't
pedaled a tricycle since they were little, but it only takes a few minutes
for most people to remember how to ride one, and about a week for almost
anyone to be completely comfortable on busy streets.
I read that all tricycles are too tipsy to ride.
Well, the author didn't remember how to ride a tricycle! If they don't
mention switching hands in tight turns, lifting the tail when parking, or
how a trike handles with 200 pounds of cargo, they didn't get good riding
instructions, and didn't try long enough to rediscover riding
red|satin black|gloss black Model 2
Can you make a trike to carry my baby?
No, unless by baby you mean 'vintage tube guitar amplifier'! Family
bikes and trikes are lighter and made for the comfort of their
passengers. Our trikes have metal edges inside the box for
supporting weight on top, and intruding screws and hardware.
If you see photos online of people moving their kids with a
Haley, they hopefully customized their box to make it 'softer'.
We recommend buying a specifically made family
tricycle or bicycle.
What type of pivot do Haleys have?
The Haley pivot is more traditional
American than new European. The 'head tube' is almost
ninety degrees and directly between the front wheels;
the tail leans only slightly during turns,
just enough to feel like 'zero'. Haleys are designed for
the sharpest turns possible and absolutely no side steer
while pedaling. This lets you track perfectly straight,
right up against an obstacle, and then confidently steer around
another. In return, Haleys very unapologetically steer
How big is its turning radius?
Standard length Model 1 and Display Trikes can turn around in a 15'
circle (wall to wall), and Model 2s in a 16' circle,
regardless of load. They can easily turn around on narrow
city streets. In 18th century alleys
or inside buildings, the
trike can be turned best by stepping off, lifting the
tail and rotating the trike around its middle, so you can
turn a Haley around in its own footprint. This works as well
loaded as empty.
Haley shop trike with 180 pound drum set
How do Haleys compare to long johns?
Haleys, like most tricycles, turn sharper, roll straighter, and
carry more cargo than long john style cargo bikes with comparable sized
cargo areas. Bakfiets style bicycles usually have much smaller
boxes than Haleys and are faster with small
loads, but the advantages are minimal around 100 pounds of cargo, and
above 160 pounds or so Haleys excel. Tricycles are always used for
moving heavy cargo around the
world: China and India (delta trikes), Southeast Asia and
South/Central America and Mexico (tadpole like Haleys), the
Philippines (sidecar style), and even in the parts of Europe
and North America where long
bikes are popular. Tadpole tricycles were also the most common cargo
bike in the US for generations.
How do they compare to other tricycles?
Ackermann-steering trikes turn wider
than center pivot trikes, so most designs place the front wheels
to the rear of the cargo area, trading front-tip stability for slightly
sharper turning. Leaning-tail front load trikes (usually with steering dampers
and centering springs, etc.) also have a
larger turning circle, in return handling
a little more like regular bicycles. South American-style,
pivot-at-handlebars trikes can turn
very sharp, with less high speed stability. Delta tricycles
turn sharper than any other cargo bikes; they can be pedaled around their midpoint
with no handing compromises.
the biggest Haley yet: 50"l|21.75"w|24.75"t inside
How big is the box?
As big as you need! In a lot of cases, the
standard drum set moving size is just right
(all measurements below are from the inside):
19 1/2" tall
21 3/4" wide
with overall dimensions of:
We'll build the box to fit what you're moving, though, and can
help you design a box to perfectly suit your needs. Common extra heights are
22 3/4" and 24", with the tallest so far 29 1/2". Common extra
lengths are 36" and 40", with the longest so far 50". We can build
your box's height and length to the nearest 1/8". Most extra box heights
don't increase overall height, but each inch of extra box length adds one
inch to the total length as well as dsto the turning circle.
Width is almost always 21 3/4". If the trike is just 1/2" wider
you won't be able to ride it through handicap accessible buildings and between
sidewalk bollards, substantially limiting the usefulness of the tricycle. If you need
an extra wide box, though, we're happy to build it.
a combination lock to keep your stuff yours
How does the box lock?
On most tricycles, the latches on the box can be
secured with a small padlock. In a tough city like ours, it's
best not to leave the box locked overnight (empty or not) as this
could signal that there's something worth smashing the box for,
just like a car's window.
For special uses, we can build in an integrated car trunk-style
Are the cargo boxes heavy?
Haley's boxes are a little heavy, for three reasons. One,
the box needs to be strong enough to hold heavy, rolling, random
objects inside and not either bow the sides out into the wheels,
or simply break. Two, the tough panels keep your stuff secure
when the box is locked. Three, the weight of the cargo box is helpful
in keeping the trike steady when empty, as Haleys are quite
The curves of the box make the panels one inch
thick where they attach and where hardware is installed,
and 1/2" where less strength is necessary.
The box has a steel frame inside, and the sides and cage work
together to let the trikes carry as much (or more!) on
top of the box as inside.
The total weight of a trike can vary depending on options and size, but is usually around 110-140 pounds.
a new trike ready for transport across center city
Is there a Haley truck?
No! We do everything with our shop Haleys.
We wouldn't tell people they can sell their motor vehicles
and run their businesses and their personal lives with just pedal power
if we didn't do it ourselves.
How does the trike handle in ice and snow?
Riding on slick winter streets is fun on
a Haley when it's impossible on a bicycle.
On packed city snow and slush, or even pure ice,
a Haley is absolutely the best. You can ride with
confidence knowing the tricycle won't slide out
from under you. Steering is not effected at all; a loaded Haley
will steer just as accurately between cars, with
just fractions of an inch to spare, on slippery, wet ice as well
as it does on hot summer streets. You obviously need more
distance to stop.
If the streets are snowy but driven on already, you can usually
fit one front wheel and the rear into one smooth, pressed-snow car
track. This leaves just one front wheel to plow through
the fluffier snow outside the track; again, steering is hardly effected.
If the streets are covered in fresh snow, rolling resistance
is higher than a bicycle as all three wheels make their
own track. Several inches of fluffy snow is fun, but a cross
country skiing kind of fun. In some sections of a city block
you might have to get off and push the trike through. In
urban areas, though, snow doesn't stay fluffy
and clean for long, and the uglier the conditions get,
the better for tricycles.
Also, during a major winter storm, any driver seeing you on a cargo trike thinks you're either crazy or fantastic, and lets you ride straight
down the middle of the street at a slow pace, and wait patiently until they can pass. Without exception.
2-tone brown Model 2 profile
What are the biggest differences between the Models 1 and 2?
Model 1s can move 260 pounds of cargo, 460 pounds with the rider.
Model 2s can move 520 pounds of cargo, 720 pounds with the rider.
The Model 2 has more and lower gears for getting more weight around,
and getting up steeper hills and over rougher terrain. The
independent double front disc brakes make stopping that
weight, especially down those hills, much easier and safer. The floor structure, forks,
pivot, and tail are all stronger to handle the greater stresses
Another difference is in balance and handling. The
front wheels and pivot of the Model 2 are pulled forward, so some of
the cargo's weight is on your side.
Imagine a see-saw with three people on one
side and you on the other; the wheelbase difference is like
moving the see-saw's fulcrum towards your friends so you
gain leverage and can control their weight.
2-tone mint wedge Model 1
How do people respond to a Haley Trike on the street?
You get compliments, even from taxi drivers. Seriously.
A lot of products are promoted as making everyone around them smile. Almost always, this is
an exaggeration, but that's not the case with a Haley Trike. After a while,
your trike will be a normal, everyday way to move your stuff around. The smiles and comments from everyone else
won't stop, though, and until cargo trikes once again become common in the US, you'll have to get
used to living in a real-life TV commercial. It's fun most of the time, but sometimes you just want to move a table saw
across town, and not have a conversation about it.
The attention has great benefits, though. Most drivers are much kinder to cargo trikes, and will let you roll across their path more often
and give you more space when they pass. People come up with the same jokes and ideas, but they're almost always positive,
even if they're not funny anymore. And once in a while, an older person will tell you about the cargo trikes that used to be in their neighborhood, or even the adventures that they had with theirs.
Why do you use the old fashioned American bottom bracket?
American, or one-piece, cranks, are easy to maintain and repair,
without any special bicycle tools or serious bike repair knowledge.
They're super tough, often used on BMX bikes, and
their extra pound or so of weight, a disadvantage
on racing bicycles, doesn't
matter with cargo bikes. The
large, heavy gauge of the bottom bracket itself is a good base
for the thick and large diameter main tube of
our tail. They also are good for city winter riding, as they aren't
as likely to 'freeze' from galvanic corrosion as alloy 3-piece
cranks can after months of dirty salt water soaking.
still riding, no big deal
What's up with the coaster brake/separate front brakes? Why can't one lever stop both front wheels?
Since you can ride a trike in icy weather, you'll find yourself
moving stuff in conditions you wouldn't dare ride a regular bike
in. Often, freezing rain storms will also freeze brake cables,
and slush might jam brakes during riding anyway. A coaster
brake will work well when all other
braking systems are useless.
Dual independent front brakes result in
better and more controlled front braking power as well. With practice you
can use one front brake for quick, tight
3-point turns and on-street reversing. You don't need to adjust
your front brakes as often to limit brake steer, as you
do the adjustments at the handlebars without thought. They also
allow integrated independent parking brakes.
How fast can I go?
Most riders can expect to move their own weight in cargo about
2/3 their speed on a standard bicycle. A Haley will be hard
to keep up with a fast-paced regular bike ride, but will move
stuff faster than a motor vehicle in any downtown area, especially
after factoring in parking.
Is the trike stable at high speeds?
Yes, Haley Trikes are very stable, although moving
faster than 26 miles an hour (downhill, probably!) isn't
recommended, because stopping distance increases and
object avoidance decreases. The tricycle will not
shake no matter how fast you go. As with any vehicle
with any number of wheels, you must slow down for sharp turns.
Are Haley Tricycles good for people with balance issues?
No, because Haleys are narrow and tall for urban riding, they are not the best tricycles for riders
with balance issues. A lower or wider tricycle needs less balancing.
Lulu's Confections Display Trike in raspberry smoothie
What about storage?
Haley Trikes will fit almost anywhere that is handicap
accessible. They're not practical to get up flights of stairs,
though, or into some historic buildings. Often, a Haley will
have to be locked up outside, like motor scooters or
motorcycles. You can also lock a regular bike to
the trike to make taking it extremely difficult. Fortunately
Haley Tricycles aren't easy to slip into your city's bicycle black
market, making them unattractive to experienced thieves.
If you're lucky enough to have an inside space for your
trike, they take up less room when placed up on their
noses, with a footprint of about 42" by 32" and
the rear wheel up in the air.
What about moving long things?
Experienced tricycle riders can move a couple
sheets of 4' x 8' plywood at once by
centering the material over the box, strapping it down,
and using it to steer with. More than three 1/2" panels
will effect the front-tip stability, though. 10 foot long
items are possible but intrude far into the rider's space.
Is it easy to assemble?
The tricycle is shipped in two parts, easily bolted together with common tools.
Anyone with some bicycle work experience
can be riding their tricycle about an hour after they receive it.
No special tools are required to do any work on a Haley
custom greens|40" long|split lid
Is the box removable?
No, the box is fixed to the frame for maximum strength. The front section and
the tail of the trike can be taken apart, but this is not practical on a daily basis.
Can a Haley be made as a flatbed?
No, the cube shape of the cage gives the whole front its strength,
and the top of the front wheels would be in the way. Bigger
things can be strapped to the lid, though, so you can move furniture, appliances, or
building materials far above the front wheels, in some ways better
than a typical flatbed.
How long does it take to build a tricycle?
Standard tricycles usually take ten to twelve weeks for construction. Extensive custom
work can take longer. For current build times, see our orders page.