The Tribent from Turner Recumbents

We've never seen anything like this in all our travels - designer and owner of Turner recumbents MILTON TURNER explains the reasoning behind it.

The reasoning for the three inline wheels is safety. A flat on a two wheeled tandem at high speed is very dangerous. With two wheels steering there is more traction for braking and better grip for cornering. The machine is so sure-footed that even an open man hole can be over run, (though the rear wheel will be destroyed!).

The Tribent became an idea when I noticed that a tandem bicycle produced by another recumbent manufacturer had a front wheel with only sixteen radial laced spokes laced into a standard hub. Twin in-line front wheels are not unusual on cars and trucks. I began to think of a Fiat bus I had seen in Mexico which had two front axles and I remembering seeing an India type race car with the same layout. When I started to sketch the Tribent tandem every one said that it could not be done but a couple of months later I had a complete three wheel in-line recumbent. The principles of Ackerman steering were applied to make the two front wheels work together. Each of the steering wheels follows a slightly different arc in a corner and the dimensions of the steering link components and geometry accounts for this.

The Tribent is very much lighter than any three wheeled recumbent because my machine doesn’t have to cope with the enormous loads which are transferred through the wheels, axles and other components of a conventional tricycle when cornering.

The steer wheels have disk brakes not shown in photos. Rear brake is to the rear rider, two additional front/middle brakes can also be installed and routed to either rider.

In addition to my other, more conventional, recumbents I also make a front wheel drive tricycle which tilts so that the rider is leaned into turns automatically and I recently delivered the first of my latest design, the XX Short Wheel Base recumbent bicycle for riders weighing up to 350lbs (158kg) and 6’ 6” tall.

More information on Turner Recumbents can be found via their website: