A handcycle is a human powered land vehicle ideal for people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis as they are propelled by hand cranking pedals rather than using the feet or legs. Most handcycles are tricycle in form, with two coasting rear wheels and one steerable powered front wheel. Utilizing modern technology manufacturers have designed specialized handcycles for athletes competing in professional sporting competitions. While standard general use handcycles are becoming more prevalent on our bikeways footpaths and streets.

Fork Steer Handcycles

Fork steer handcycles represent the majority of handcycles sold in modern countries. They work well for both low and high levels of spinal cord injury and paralysis. Most offer adjustable footrests, seat angle, variety of gearing, wheel configurations and tyre types depending on intended use: racing, recreation, touring, and off road being the four major handcycle activites.

Lean Steer Handcycles

Lean steer handcycles are operated by the rider shifting their body weight to one side, leaning into a turn to steer. Being less stable at high speed it takes practice to master this type of racing handcycle. As the lean steer system uses your whole body to steer the handcycle, lean steer handcycles are best suited for paraplegic athletes with lower levels of spinal cord injury, although some quadriplegics with high levels of disability can use them.
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Another type of lean steer hand trike has two steering rear wheels and one non-steerable, powered front wheel with handholds offset at 180°, similar to bicycle pedal cranks that can be operated with only one hand. The automatic rear wheel steering system enables these type of lean steer handcycles to perform tighter turns.

Touring Handcycles

Handcycles are also used for touring and to better accommodate this interest some manufacturers incorporate mudguards, pannier cargo racks and windshields. As touring handcycles have evolved they have become progressively lighter often with wheelchair or bicycle type wheels and better gearing for long climbs and long distance touring to overcome muscle fatigue.

Off Road 4X4 Handcycles

Off road handcycles are quickly gaining in popularity amongst adventurous wheelchair thrill seekers with spinal cord injury. 4×4 off road or “all terrain” handcycles are often distinguished by four wheels, like a go-kart. Mountain climbing wheelchairs and handcycles are also distinctive with two wheels in front and one behind. These both have a higher gear ratio range to tackle steep slopes and sturdy construction to endure mountain biking. Their fatter tyres with suitable tread also make pushing over grass, snow, sand, mud and gravel easier.


Handcycles come in a variety of accessible styles for people of all abilities including many persons with spinal cord injury disabilities. Handcycling is a great upper body workout and can provide a great sense of freedom for persons with disabilities. While the high cost prevents many from enjoying handcycles they are steadily growing in popularity.

20 thoughts on “Handcycles

  1. We are investigating mounting a Bike Bug Engine on a streetsie hand cycle for a customer.

    We have mounted on similar hand cycles in the past. We were wondering if a larger than 16″ wheel could be installed on your product.

    Please contact us as soon as possible. We would appreciate an email & telephone number for someone with your company whom we could discuss this project with.

    Mike Schneider
    Houston, Texas

  2. i had a handcycle but because of my stomach i can no longer get on it the seat doesn’t go back far enough, i’m interested in the 4 wheel bike i’ve seen but unsure how it works, seen a picture of it n this site http://www.streetsie.com/gallery/handcycles/

    i have also seen some 4 wheel quad bikes that have 2 seats but can’t find any with just 1 seat that i might be ablw too ride, i need multi speed because i not very strong physically

    can you help me find info…

    thank you,
    michael brady

  3. hello handcycle texans. do you want to try something new? it may be faster than what you’ve been riding, but it will take some effort. if you are in the houston area contact me and i’ll show you a fast racing machine. i don’t want your $$$, just your sweat.

  4. I live in SW Missouri and I would like to purchase a hand cycle. Does anyone know of any dealers where I could try one out before spending $$$ ordering one off the net? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  5. Hey dealers! I didn’t mean I wouldn’t buy one from a dealer, I would like to try one out first.

  6. Looking for a converto hand propelled trike, the product recently discontinued from mfg at Angeles Corporation. abledata.com has a current picture.

    Used in good shape.

    Any leads would be appreciated.

  7. I am looking for a bike (3 wheels) for a friend oversea you is seen on this picture . He just got his left foot removed…..
    Hope to hear from you.
    my phone: 413 336 0056
    Thanks so much.

  8. Hello everyone. I am a double amputee paraplegic. I have a Top End Excalibur XLT hand cranked bike for sale in great condition if you know someone looking for one.

  9. I am interested in your handcycle for my husband. He has been in a wheelchair for 27 years and is a T6 parapalegic. Could you let me know how much you are looking to get for your handcycle.

    Thank you
    Judy Reid

  10. For your safety we do not allow the posting of phone numbers, email addresses, etc. in any publicly visible area. You may however use our forums Private Message feature to talk to people in private.

  11. Hello my name is Brittany and I have a quickie 3wheel bike for sale,brand new..if interested please contact me at [removed]

  12. I have a unisex small adult bike . she was 4’8″ an 100 pounds rode very little. She had spina bifda an no use if her legs bike is similar to the picture posted above. All straps are there.

  13. Hello, My name is Tom Kennedy. I am the social worker at a facility that provides 24hr care for challenged adults. One of our residents, Tim uses a wheelchair due to CP. He has very little use of his legs. But he can transfer. He would benefit from a hand propelled trike that sits low to the ground. His only income is SSI. So he has very limited funds. However I would like to purchase the bike for hi if I can find a reasonably priced used one. Our facility sits on 14 acres of ground with a center circle of paved road. Many of the people who live there use trikes which are easier to come by. Tim has great upper body strength and will benefit in many ways from this independent mobility.
    Tom Kennedy

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