How to Build a Drift Trike

Drift Trike

If you want to know how to build a drift trike and think it sounds like a fun idea, it might be a better option than buying one. Not only will you end up saving some cash, but the experience of crafting it yourself could be fun and rewarding. After all, nothing beats the satisfaction of building something by yourself.

Basic Parts For Building Your Own Drift Trike

First, let’s go over what you need to buy before you can get to building your motorized vehicle.

You’ll need to grab yourself a steel-framed bike (a BMX is perfect). Make sure it has 20-inch wheels and a front hand brake. Ebay is a great go-to source for cheap second-hand bikes. If you’re lucky you might be able to pick one up for next to nothing.

Next, you’ll need a motor. To cater for most riders, I recommend a semi-automatic rather than manual. This will make it easier to handle by eliminating the problem of selecting the right geat using a clutch.

A 90cc or 110cc motor will have plenty enough power and will be a cheaper option than bigger motors. 

Electric start is a must. There’s not going to be anywhere to position a kick start once the engine is in place.

You’ll also need a roller chain. Aim for a #40 variant. These can be found easily online.

Next, you’ll need a compatible set of wheels, clutches, bearings and axles. These often come together and you should aim to get them all in one set. This makes things easier for you as they’ll all come in one place and you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues when buying from different sites. Things are typically cheaper this way.

Another great useful set of items to use are tire sleeves, typically ones made out of PVC. These improve the traction of the wheels and will improve their durability.

Refer to this comprehensive list of smaller drift trike parts you’ll need to complete your project. 

Putting The Drift Trike Together

I recommend watching a few videos like the one below before you start building a drift trike yourself. It can be a complicated project if you haven’t done much construction or welding DIY before. 

Drift Trike Kits

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to buy all the parts separately, you can easily find drift trike kits online that give you all you need to start building. This is a very convenient option for people who don’t enjoy the hassle of shopping around to collect parts. Why not just get straight to the fun part?

There are many different kinds of drift trikes so have fun selecting what kind you want to build. You can opt for a motorized drift trike for adults, a big wheel drift trike for adults, a gas-powered drift trike for adults or even a kids drift trike if this is a gift for a son or daughter.

If you want to know how much it costs to build a drift trike, it is usually a couple of hundred dollars depending on the parts you end up deciding on.

drift trike

Drift Trike FAQs

How fast do drift trikes go?

Drift trikes can come in all shapes and sizes, so as a result, their max speed will highly differ from trike to trike.

Typically, you can expect trikes to go anywhere from 10 mph to 50 mph. What determines the exact speed will ultimately depend on the competence of the rider, the surface, and the quality of the components, especially the motor if we’re talking about a motorized variant.

Are drift trikes street legal?

A motorized drift trike can be considered street legal, but only if it follows specific guidelines based on your state. Depending on where you live, a drift trike must be 50cc or below to be allowed to be used on public streets. For other areas, drift trikes are in the same category as other motorized rides like go-karts, meaning they are not street legal.

Look into the law in your region to see if you are allowed to publicly operate your DIY motorized drift trike. These kinds of laws often settle whether you should go drift trike or go-kart, so understand your local area’s laws and make a judgment call.

How much does a drift trike cost?

Drift trikes can cost anywhere from $100 or more. The most expensive models, particularly the motorized ones, can cost $500 to $1000 if you really want the most advanced models.

What is a motorized drift trike?

A motorized drift trike is just a drifting tricycle with a motor attached to it. This allows the trike to be used without manual foot pedaling. The trike will run on the power of the motor, just like an electric scooter or an e-bike, or any other vehicle that doesn’t require the labor or pushing of the rider to operate it.

Motorized drift trikes are typically faster than regular drift trikes, and because they take less effort to drive, they can allow the rider to focus more energy on tricks and the actual drifting itself.

What size tires are best for a drift trike?

The most common tire sizes for adults using drift trikes tend to be around 20 inches for the front wheel and 5 or 6 inches for the rear PVC tires.

Keep in mind that these numbers are merely rules of thumb, so the most optimal sizes for you will depend on your own body height and body size. If you are considerably shorter or taller than the average person, look into alternate sizes for yourself.

How do you drift with a drift trike?

The important thing to keep in mind about drifting with a drift trike is how the two rear wheels work. The PVC tires are deliberately smooth which allows them to lose traction on the ground. It is precisely this loss of traction that allows the drifting to take place in the first place.

How do you ride a drift trike?

Most of the riding done with a drift trike occurs by focusing on the front wheel. After all, the handlebars only steer the front wheel, so you don’t have full control over your immediate direction. What you do have control over are the angles, rather than moving in completely straight lines.

The key to drifting is that when you make a turn, you want to counter-steer at the sharp end of your turn. Deliberately put yourself in a position where it seems like you’re losing control on the backend, only to regain control by counter-steering at the last minute, then rinse and repeat the process. 

Where should you ride a drift trike?

Drift trikes can be used nearly anywhere, as long as the tires support the terrain and if a motorized version isn’t violating any bylaws allowing you to use it on the road.

Drift trikes, both standard, and motorized ones, are best used on tracks that support bikes or skateboards. You want to use a location that enables a lot of turns, as there is no drifting without the turns.

riding a drift trike

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve been convinced that building your own drift trike is a fun journey that will help you appreciate the art of drifting itself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes during the process. That’s all a part of the journey and all a part of the fun!