Difference Between Tricycle and Unicycle

Cycling has always been a great source of amusement for centuries. Because it is small, easy to afford, convenient maintenance and anyone can learn cycling without any trouble. Tricycles and Unicycles are also two types of cycle that were manufactured for different goals and are still being sold and used by people on a high scale.

Tricycle vs Unicycle

The main difference between Tricycle and Unicycle is that tricycle is a type of cycle that comes with 3 wheels. On the other hand, Unicycle comes with only 1 wheel. The uses of both Tricycle and Unicycle are very much different from each other. Tricycles can be used or ridden by anyone while very few people can operate a Unicycle.

Tricycle vs Unicycle

The term tricycle refers to a vehicle with three wheels, one in front and two in back. There is also an abbreviated term used for tricycles known as a trike. Tricycles are used for fun and commercial purposes. Africa and Asia are two major continents that have a higher number of tricycles being used commercially.

A unicycle is another form of a cycle with only one wheel attached to it. A unicycle is typically used by Tumblr, rope walker, Gymnast, and acrobat. It requires an advanced level of balance which is acquired by practice. Hence, ordinary people do not use unicycles for transportation. Unicycle also has pedals to make it push forward.

Comparison Table Between Tricycle and Unicycle

Parameters Of ComparisonTricycleUnicycle
Year of inventionThe year in which the first model of the tricycle was done made and introduced to the world was 1680. The year in which the first model of Unicycle was introduced to the world was 1846-1906.
InventorThe person who invented the very first model of the tricycle is known to be Stephan Farffler. The person who invented the very first model of the unicycle is known to be James Bedford Elliott.
UsageThe general uses offered by a tricycle can be known as recreational activities, exercises, shopping, short-distance traveling, commercial, etc. A unicycle is generally used professionally for sports and very least for a hobby because it needs practice.
Used byThe people who ride tricycles are children, disabled people, people in the transportation sector, and newbies learning to ride bicycles. The people who generally ride unicycles are professionals, Gymnasts, street performers, acrobats, rope walkers, etc.
TypesA tricycle has many types depending on the need such as freight, delta, drift, upright, etc. A unicycle also has many types, for example, freestyle unicycles, cruiser unicycles, street unicycles, etc.

What is Tricycle?

A tricycle is a human-powered vehicle used worldwide. Some advanced version of tricycles also comes with an electric motor installed in them to save human energy being utilized. One of the very famous types of tricycles is known to be a cycle rickshaw that is a convenient medium of local transportation.

These rickshaws are known by different names in different countries, for example, tricycle taxi, bike taxi, bike cab, velotaxi, trishaw, beca, sikad, trisikad, hatchback bike, etc. Some rickshaws are driven by the foot of the driver while some rickshaws are motor-powered and such rickshaws are known as the auto-rickshaw.

The tricycle was built for the first time in the mid-1600s. A disabled man from Germany named Stephan Farffler invented it to help him move around without depending on other people and to balance his mobility. Stephan was originally a watch-maker who was well familiar with necessary pieces of equipment.

He used the hand cranks to power his tricycle. After some years around 1789, French developers added pedals to the tricycle. There is also a unique design of tricycle available known as a tadpole with two wheels in front and one in the back. The most common types of tricycles are Rickshaw, Upright, Recumbent, Delta, Hand and foot, Freight, Drift, etc.

What is Unicycle?

A cycle that touches the ground with only a single wheel is known as a Unicycle. A Unicycle usually has two pedals, one saddle, a wheel and sometimes it can also have seat post and cranks. It is the common structure of Unicycle. It takes professional learning to master a Unicycle which is mostly provided in the circus.

The skill of riding a Unicycle is also learned by street-performers. Some people also learn to ride Unicycle as a hobby. There is also a sport dedicated to Unicycle that is known worldwide as Unicycle Hockey. Another utilization of Unicycle is trials, mountain unicycling, and biking. Unicycles need a person to be stabilized, without a person, a Unicycle can never achieve balance and mobility.

A person who rides Unicycle is typically known as Unicyclist. There are no brakes and gear are given in traditional unicycles but in modern times, an upgraded version of unicycles comes with such features. There is no difference between the wheels of a Unicycle and a bicycle.

From the day Unicycles were invented till now there have been many types of unicycles that have been introduced and some of them are Road unicycles, freestyle unicycles, cruiser unicycles, trials unicycles, street unicycles, mountain unicycles, commuter unicycles, and many more.

Main Differences Between Tricycle and Unicycle

  1. A Tricycle has gears and brakes and also motors to power them. Unicycles, on the other hand, come without gears and brakes most of the time.
  2. When it comes to sport, tricycles are not associated with any official sport. On the other hand, there is a sport known as Unicycle Hockey which is completely based on unicycles.
  3. The place which is known to be the origin point of the tricycle is Germany. On the other hand, unicycles were invented in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
  4. The tricycle was invented to help disabled people in their daily routine. While unicycles were invented for entertainment and ridden by professionals.
  5. The person who manufactured a tricycle for the first time was known as Stephan Farffler. While James Elliott was the person to make unicycles.


Cycling was introduced in the early 19th century and it was warmly welcomed by the people since it was a very appropriate and handy vehicle for running typical daily errands.

Also, cycling is considered to be one of the great physical activities that are beneficial for health. It is a fancy hobby that one can have and cycling provides moments of enjoyment as well.

The experiments on the functionality and structure of the cycle have always been in work. It could be seen by comparing the first and latest model of a cycle. The same goes for the tricycles and unicycles which have their separate goals to serve.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3141/2410-09
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/04316f65acd3b5212cd507d72ed44315/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
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