Direct Steering System vs Indirect Steering System

direct steering system

Choosing the right steering system for your recumbent trike is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your riding experience. The steering system is the heart of your trike, connecting you to the road and determining how your vehicle responds to your commands. In the world of recumbent trikes, two primary steering systems are prevalent: direct and indirect steering. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of these systems, with a particular focus on the direct steering system. We will delve into the mechanics, advantages, and disadvantages of each system, helping you make an informed decision when choosing your recumbent trike.

What Is Direct Steering System in Recumbent Trikes?

Direct steering in recumbent trikes is a system where the handlebars are directly connected to the front wheels. This connection is akin to the steering mechanism found in sports cars, providing the rider with a feeling of being directly connected to the road. The direct steering system is favored by many riders due to its simplicity and the control it offers. As you navigate through different terrains, the direct steering system allows you to feel every bump and divot on the path, providing a more immersive and responsive riding experience.The direct steering system is commonly found in tadpole trikes, which have two front wheels and one rear wheel. The handlebars in a direct steering system are typically located down by the rider’s sides, making it easy to reach and operate. This system is often compared to the feeling of steering a go-kart, where every slight movement of the steering wheel (or in this case, the handlebars) results in a direct and immediate response from the trike.

How Does Direct Steering System Work?

The direct steering system operates through a simple yet effective mechanism. The handlebars are directly connected to the front wheels via a tie rod. When you move the handlebars, the movement is directly transferred to the wheels, causing the trike to turn. This direct connection results in a steering system that requires less effort to operate, allowing for quick and precise maneuvers.The direct steering system’s responsiveness is particularly noticeable at higher speeds. The immediate feedback from the road allows the rider to make quick corrections, enhancing stability and control. This direct road feel can be exhilarating, as it allows riders to feel every detail of the terrain and respond accordingly.

What Are the Advantages of Direct Steering System?

  1. Excellent Road Feel: The direct steering system provides an exceptional road feel, allowing riders to experience a close connection with the road. This can be particularly enjoyable at higher speeds, enhancing the overall riding experience.
  2. Precise Control and Quick Reactions: Direct feedback from the road surface allows for precise control and quick reactions, making the ride more engaging and responsive.
  3. Simplicity: The direct steering system is simple in design, making maintenance tasks such as adjusting the toe-in much easier compared to the indirect steering system.
  4. Reliability: The simplicity of the direct steering system results in fewer components that could potentially fail or require replacement, making it a reliable choice for riders.

What Are the Disadvantages of Direct Steering System?

  1. Vibration Transmission: One of the main disadvantages of the direct steering system is that it can transmit more vibration from the road through the handlebars. This can be particularly noticeable on rough roads, making the ride feel a bit jarring.
  2. Need for Relaxation: To mitigate vibration transmission, riders need to keep their hands and arms relaxed to absorb the shocks. This might require some practice and adjustment for new riders.
  3. Comfort: The direct steering system might not be as comfortable for some riders as the indirect system. The direct connection to the road means that the rider feels every bump and divot, which might not be everyone’s preference.
  4. Feedback Level: While many riders appreciate the level of feedback provided by the direct steering system, it might be too much for some. This level of feedback allows for a more engaged riding experience, but it might not be suitable for everyone.

What Is Indirect Steering System in Recumbent Trikes?

In contrast to the direct steering system, the indirect steering system in recumbent trikes operates on a different principle. In this system, the handlebars are not directly connected to the wheels. Instead, they are connected to a pivot point at the center of the trike, which then connects to the wheels via a linkage system. This setup results in a steering system that requires more effort to operate but provides a smoother ride, especially on rough terrain.

Entry-Level Fat Tire Recumbent Trike

What Are the Advantages of Indirect Steering System?

  1. Smoother Ride: The indirect steering system provides a smoother ride compared to the direct steering system. It absorbs some of the road vibrations, resulting in less vibration being transmitted through the handlebars, making for a more comfortable ride, especially on rough terrain.
  2. Stability at High Speeds: The indirect steering system offers more stability at high speeds. It can feel less twitchy compared to the direct system, which can be particularly beneficial when riding at higher speeds. However, this can also result in a feeling of being less connected to the road.

What Are the Disadvantages of Indirect Steering System?

  1. Less Responsive: One of the main disadvantages of the indirect steering system is that it can feel less responsive compared to the direct steering system. The additional linkage in the indirect system means that there is a slight delay between the rider’s input and the trike’s response, which can be noticeable, especially at higher speeds.
  2. Complexity: The indirect steering system is more complex than the direct system. The additional components required for the indirect system can make maintenance tasks more challenging. For example, adjusting the toe-in is more complicated in an indirect steering system compared to a direct system.

Direct vs Indirect Steering: Which One Do You Need?

The choice between direct and indirect steering ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you value a close connection with the road and a responsive ride, the direct steering system might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother ride and don’t mind a bit of a delay in response, the indirect steering system could be a better fit.

AspectDirect SteeringIndirect Steering
Road Feel
Vibration Absorption
Smooth Ride
Stability at High Speeds

It’s important to note that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and the best way to determine which one is right for you is to try them out for yourself. Consider your riding style, the types of terrain you usually ride on, and your personal comfort preferences when making your decision.


In conclusion, the direct steering system offers a unique and engaging riding experience, making it a popular choice for many recumbent trike riders. Its simplicity, responsiveness, and excellent road feel make it a compelling option. However, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences and riding conditions before making a decision. Whether you choose a direct or indirect steering system, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and in control on your recumbent trike.

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With a steadfast commitment to quality, Motrike has carved a niche for itself in the recumbent trike industry, consistently delivering products that resonate with both enthusiasts and casual riders. When you think of a dependable partner in your journey towards sustainable and comfortable transportation, think Motrike. Your journey, their commitment. Your trusted partner, always.

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