What is a motorcycle? It sounds like a question that’s disingenuous at best, but after watching this video, you may find yourself asking it anyway. It turns out that legal definitions and official standards and classifications vary by state—and outside the U.S., also by country.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.” That’s why the Tower Trike you’re seeing in this video does, in fact, qualify as a motorcycle.
At one point, the Tower Trike’s builder mentions an 11,000-pound vehicle weight limit for motorcycles that he found somewhere, and it’s unclear where this figure originated. However, that’s not a huge surprise, as vehicle classification standards vary so much from state to state—and who knows, maybe the guy just wanted a handy story to tell.
In any case, when SRK Cycles describes this bike as what happens when a semi-tractor-trailer and a motorcycle have a baby, he’s not wrong. The resulting behemoth weighs just under 11,000 pounds and is powered by an enormous two-stroke Detroit diesel engine. It’s road-legal, with mirrors, headlights, indicators—and also seat belts, because you sit in the kind of seat you’d find in a big rig. Gas and brake are pedal-operated on the right side of the floorboard, and if you have a big enough foot, you can even heel-toe shift to your heart’s content.
There’s also a 200-plus pound metal cross on the back, which the Tower’s builder says isn’t only a design choice; it also functions as a roll bar of sorts for the trike’s rider and passenger. Since rolling this thing would have to be absolutely terrifying, let’s hope no one tests that functionality any time soon.