When Tricycle drivers talk to us about Tuk Tuks they often ask why they should spend so much more on a TVS King three-wheeler than they would for a tricycle.
The TVS has so many advantages over a tricycle which makes it difficult to know where to start.
For years the tricycle has been used as a service to transport people from point A to point B, with no other concern towards giving customer service.
While many owners might not consider themselves as being a public service industry there is no doubt that it is a public service they are providing.
In any public service, the main aim should be customer satisfaction.
Why bother with customer satisfaction? They go from point A to point B even if they are satisfied with the service or not.
While this is true for many customers there are many not using tricycles because of the poor customer service they provide. If you can provide better customer satisfaction you can get more customers that means less time sat about waiting for customers and more time earning money.
The comfort of the Passenger
If the passengers are comfortable they are more likely to use you.
I used to use tricycles all the time but as I got older I found putting up with the discomfort of getting in and out and sitting in them was getting worse, it was because of this we decided to buy our own transport, so I no longer use tricycles, it is a customer they have lost because of the lack of concern for customer comfort.
Even now I have my own transport I might use public transport to go to my local mall as parking there is always a problem. At the moment I have a choice of struggling to park or using a tricycle. Because of the discomfort caused to me riding a tricycle I choose to put up with struggling to park which often takes 20 minutes to get a parking space.
If there were modern three-wheelers in the area instead of tricycles I would use them to go to the mall and not have a problem parking.
The people tricycles are losing as customers are the old, the disabled, people that can afford to buy E-trikes, people that have worked abroad and seen that in other countries people do not put up with discomfort and being crammed into a tin can like a sardine. The type of people they are losing are the type of people that might give tips for a comfortable ride.
Many ex tricycle drivers that have switched to the modern three-wheelers like the TVS King report higher earnings and more tips.
There is no doubt that happier customers results in more customers.
Looks of the TVS King
There is no doubt that a TVS King is better looking for the customers than a tricycle, it is easy to clean and keep it shinning. You might think why does this matter?
There is a reason why shopping malls spend a lot of money making them look nice, when things look nice it makes them more inviting to people, in other words, it attracts people to use them and spend money. It is a trick all the top shops and restaurants have used for years.
It is the same for public transport, the better your vehicle looks the more people will use it and the more willing they are to part with their money.
Safety TVS King vs Tricycle
Passengers today care about their safety and the safety of their loved ones.
There are some basic things you need to look at when it comes to safety the first being what the vehicle was designed for.
If you are using a vehicle beyond what it was designed for it is a safety risk to the driver, the passengers and other road users.
So let us look at what each one is designed for.
A TVS King is designed to carry 3 passengers plus luggage and the driver.
A Tricycle is a motorcycle designed to carry 1 passenger plus the driver and a very small amount of luggage. It was never designed to have a sidecar added.
Why does design matter?
Brakes are designed to stop what the vehicle is designed for. So in the case of a tricycle, the brakes are only designed to stop the motorcycle and 2 people, they are not designed to stop a motorcycle fitted with a sidecar and 4 to 6 people.
Also, the brakes are all on one side on a tricycle which means under hard braking the sidecar tries to keep moving forward, making the tricycle unbalanced and hard to control.
There are many tricycle accidents caused by this either the sidecar pulls the motorcycle around and into the path of oncoming traffic or the sidecar turns the tricycle sideways and when the wheels are side-on to the direction it is travelling it causes the tricycle to flip as in the video below, which is likely to cause critical injuries to both driver and passengers.
You might ask what is different about the TVS King as it like a tricycle also has three wheels. The difference is a TVS King is designed to have three wheels where a tricycle is not. Also, the TVS King is symmetrical making it balanced even when braking hard.
When you apply the brakes on a TVS King it applies braking to all three wheels at the same time and because it is symmetrical it stops in a straight line with no force pulling it to one side.
The braking system is the same as a car it has hydraulic brakes operated by a foot pedal that allows you to put as much pressure on the brakes as required.
Ever at speeds of 70 to 80 kph, you can do an emergency stop in a TVS King and it will stop in a straight line.
It is also my experience that the stopping distance of the TVS King is less than that of a modern car, the reason for this is it is much lighter than a car making it easier to stop.
Like the brakes the suspension of the motorcycle used for tricycles is only designed for 2 people and the motorcycle, it is not designed for the weight of a sidecar and the extra passengers.
The suspension on the sidecar is often badly designed and made from metals that are not suitable to be used in a vehicle. It is common to see tricycles with broken suspension in the worst cases when the suspension brakes and it causes an accident, in cases that are not so bad, you see tricycles driving with broken suspension putting themselves and passengers at risk and at the very least giving passengers an uncomfortable ride.
A suspension that is not suitable for what it is designed for is a danger, it can make the machine unbalanced and unstable.
The TVS King is designed to carry 4 people and the suspension is designed for this also as it is symmetrical it means the suspension is balanced. It is also designed to help avoid it rolling when cornering. Note like any vehicle it does not mean you can corner at top speed.
The front suspension on a TVS King is also designed so it does not nosedive when braking. Watch most motorcycles when they brake hard and you will see the front suspension compresses and it nosedives, this is not much a problem on a 2 wheeled vehicle but when it has three wheels it throws all the weight onto the front wheel making the vehicle very unstable.
If you look at the front suspension on a TVS king you will see it is very different to most motorcycle suspensions and the reason for that it is to stop it nosediving, A feature that is also missing on the Motoposh and Rusco three-wheelers.
In Part II of this article, we will talk about the Engines, Gears, Wheels, life of vehicle and safety to other road users.