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Holly on 2-tone pomegranate|vanilla Model 1

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 techniques themselves.

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 like tricycles.

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):

31" long
19 1/2" tall
21 3/4" wide

with overall dimensions of:

80" long
46" tall
31.75" wide

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 keyed lock.

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 narrow.

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 too.

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 Tricycle.

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.

Haley Tricycles Philadelphia, PA