Buying a trike without getting mislead

This guide is designed to help you out if your thinking of buying a trike and to hopefully point you in the right direction.

Basically if you buy a trike it has to have paperwork saying that it is a trike from DVLA, (unless its an unfinished project which will then need an MSVA inspection).

The v5 must state that it is registered as a tricycle, for it to be legally allowed on the roads.

Some trikes, offered for sale, are being offered as trikes but are still registered as Reliant tricycles with Reliant V5's, these are strictly not road legal Trikes.

New guidelines, for Trike MOT inspectors, state that what is on the DVLA database, must be what is presented for an MOT or it must be refused a test and as far as I am aware DVLA will be notified. Therefore, for a reliant Tricycle to pass an MOT the chassis must be how it was when it left the Reliant factory and not be tubular frame carrying the vin from a Reliant.

If you present one like this for an MOT it SHOULD BE REFUSED A TEST.

More and more folks with "Reliant" trikes are now finding out the hard way. There are no so called 'Grandfather rules' here either, where vehicles registered or customised before a specific date are exempt from the ruling.

There are a few out there that are correctly registered using DVLA's points system, which allows the builder to keep the identity of the donor vehicle, but if the chassis is altered in any way then it won't have accrued enough points, to keep the original identity.

So please bare this in mind, do your homework and dont get caught out.

There are also a number of tricycles, that are currently on the market, with incorrect documentation. They are not registered with the DVLA as motorcycle derived tricycles, but are still registered as the donnor vehicle.

(A ‘motorcycle derived tricycle’ must meet the following description, "a three wheeled vehicle, where the wheels are symmetrically arranged, designed and built, with a motorcycle type, or derived, steering and suspension, with a mass not exceeding 1 tonne, a length not exceeding 4 metres, a height not exceeding 2.5 metres, and width not exceeding 2 metres".)

If changes or modifications have been made to any vehicle, the registered owner, is required by law, to inform the DVLA of these changes which include:

Engine #,
Engine displacement,
Fuel type,
Chassis/ frame #,
Wheel plan,
Seating capacity.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence and the vehicle may be subject to and require an MSVA inspection.

(The current Construction and Use Regulations and the Road Vehicle Regulations must be met. The only exception is where the Secretary of State gives a general or specific dispensation from a construction and use requirement.)

Some trikes have what is called a bolt on rear end that can be unbolted and the original bike rear end bolted back in making it back into a bike.

These types of trike do not require an MSVA test. They do however need to be presented to the DVLA for a change of wheel plan inspection before "Trike" status is recorded on the DVLA database. These trikes normaly have the original bike registration but are now recorded as a Tricycle on the V5 document

Before buying any vehicle you should satisfy yourself that the vehicles documentation is correct and that seller either owns the vehicle, or is entitled to offer it for sale.

Never purchase a vehicle unless it has the correct information on the registration certificate V5C or it has passed a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC).

If you have any serious doubts about the ownership of the vehicle do not proceed with the purchase until you are fully satisfied.

Go and look at it first. If the vehicle does not match the description or obvious faults/problems have been omitted then walk away.

Most sellers will omit faults and leave it to you to spot them or not as the case may be

If you have never built a Trike then take someone with you that has if you can. Failing that someone who has a good head for engineering and mechanical details who will not be affected by the excitement of buying the Trike.

When you buy something you want you will tend to miss the obvious faults.

The general quality of the workmanship is the biggest clue. If it looks rough then it's likely that little care was taken in the build process.

Your life will depend on it so be cautious and if in doubt walk away.

But Best Of All

Build Your Own

I hope this guide has been of help in navigating the path to buying you perfect trike.

Thanks to the following for their help in writing this guide. Sooze, Addjunkie, ByzMax and Mrs.StrangelyMade