Trike conversions


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minimac
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Trike conversions

Post by minimac »



I hate to admit it, but I'm finally ready to join the official geezer world known as goldwing trikes. I finally had to sell my beloved '93 Aspencade and admit(only to myself) that it was becoming a hassle mounting and dismounting--especially when riding 2-while balancing nearly 900# with a bad hip. In my searching for a 3 wheeled replacement, I see quite a few different conversions. I guess I'm looking for opinions( everyone has one) on which is the best, why, and some shortfalls. I have zero interest in the Voyager type conversions.


donmitt
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by donmitt »

I had a Hannigan sidecar put on my 2006 wing and have enjoyed it very much in the 3 years I have "driven" it. You still have to swing a leg over to get on it but you do on a trike as well. But it won't fall over. I went this way because I always thought sidecars looked neat but I waited until I was 72 years old to get one. What ever you choose to do, ether one will keep you in the wind. One last thought, a sidecar rig can still revert to a two wheeler but a trike is forever a trike LOL
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minimac
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by minimac »

Mrs.Mini has ridden in/on both, sidecar and trike, and didn't like the sidecar. She loved being on the back of the trike.
donmitt
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by donmitt »

There are advantages to the trike over the sidecar for the passengers, the most being able to see all around. And getting in and out of the side car can be a challenge. But for me the sidecar is what I like and my wife wouldn't ride on a trike. The Hannigan I have can be totally enclosed which allows for cooling in the summer and heating in the winter which is why my wife will ride with me. However, what ever you get your still in the wind. And that is most important!
Don Mitchell
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Rednaxs60
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Trike conversions are an accepted method to go three wheels. Many options including one conversion that emulates the BRP Spyder. This conversion gives you an extra trunk for carrying gear and such, as do rear conversions.

I started looking at going three wheels a couple of years back, took an afternoon demo with A BRP Spyder. Found one through the friend of a friend of a friend network. Ended up buying a 2014 Spyder RTL last year, a couple of years ahead of time.

Went with the Spyder, classified as a reverse trike, for several reasons not to mention it is not a new concept. Had wheel conversion kits for snowmobiles back in the late '60s early '70s:


Still make the snowmobile road kits today.

Compared the pros and cons of both types. The Spyder is rated to tow up to 400 pounds - designed for this from the factory, no OEM motorcycle or conversion is rated/certified for such. BRP has a tow bar, harness and trailer, no other motorcycle OEM has these. Brakes are designed and rated to accept the towing capacity.

Discussed insurance with my brother who lives in Ontario, Canada. His insurance agent mentioned that it will insure a conversion unit, but have two insurances - one policy for the OEM portion and one policy or a rider for the conversion. Rationale was that the general insurance coverages known is for an OEM motorcycle as delivered from the factory. Once a motorcycle is converted, it is no longer as delivered from the factory. Just passing on information, don't shoot the messenger. May differ in the US and from province to province - something to consider and confirm.

Looked into the HD trike. No mention in the specs of towing capacity.

No historical issues and opinions on using car tires on a Spyder. Rims are the same as for a car.

No need to rake the front end.

Cost of a conversion in Canada is generally in the $20K dollar range. You can get a purpose built Spyder RTL or F3L for less and with low mileage.

Both will tend to roll/lean to the outside of the corner, and require a person to adjust riding style to suit.

Do not like third party issues when dealing with a vehicle. A BRP Spyder is a one stop shop. When issues happen with a conversion, it needs to be determined where the fault lies and which company should be responsible for correcting the issue.

Conversions have been done to Honda GWs while the motorcycle is in warranty. It has been reported that when an incident happens and work needs to be done that should be covered under warranty, Honda has walked away from the work because the owner did a trike conversion.

Parts availability for a conversion and the motorcycle in question. An old bike with a relatively new trike conversion is still an old bike/trike. BRP has issues as well. Company longevity - conversion side, should be considered.

Trike and reverse trike configurations are not for everyone. Some prefer a trike and not a reverse trike, and the other way as well.

Ride both styles, and for more than a quick ride around the block. A weekend for each would be good. Takes longer than a ride around the block to get used to the ride, and make a good, informed decision.

When trialing the Spyder line, ride the RT series and the F3 series. F3 is more sportier, and the pillion seating is different from the RT series.

If you get the impression I like the Spyder, you are correct. Did my homework, spent some 16 hours between the RT and F3 series before I bought. Did a 17000 Km trip cross Canada from Victoria to northern Newfoundland and back this year, two up towing a trailer. Averaged 45 IMPG at 100 KPH. Spyder operates well on regular 87 octane fuel. Only maintenance was two oil changes. Also helps if you have ridden and are used to a snowmobile, the Spyder series is a snowmobile on wheels.

Whichever you choose, ride safe and enjoy.
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest
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Rambozo
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by Rambozo »

I never rode a trike or used training wheels as a youngster, went straight to two wheels. No desire to do so as an oldster. To me carving corners is what I like about bikes. The open air aspect isn't the attraction. I know there are reverse trikes that lean into corners, I haven't ridden one, but that would be the only option I would consider. I expect that I will just downsize if larger bikes become too much to handle.
cincyteal92
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by cincyteal92 »

Have you ridden a new Wing? I bought a 2022 last month. It is night and day better under 10 MPH than my 92 GL1500 was. Unbelievably better. It feels better with my wife on the back than my GL did with just me on it.

I just turned 70. I am 5'11" and 170 lbs. My wife is 5'7" and a little north of 200. Low speed stuff was always a challenge with her on the back and more so with the bags stuffed on a trip. We are currently 5 days into a long trip out west and I can't tell you how much more comfortable I am at stoplights and parking lot maneuvering.

I had wondered whether our days of riding 2 up were coming to an end. After looking at alternatives to the GL, I thought the new Wings were worth a look. I was able to rent a 2018 for 2 days from a private owner on rideshare.com. It is a totally different animal. It does not have the luggage space, wind protection or big comfy passenger seat that my GL had. But it is a way better motorcycle and much more fun to ride.

Added a trunk rack to make up for the lost luggage space, wind wings and a different windshield to make it less breezy and she is using an Airhawk cushion to make the seat more comfortable.

I always referred to the GL as my wife's bike. As a motorcycle, I never found it fun to ride. It was like a big SUV - practical but not sporty. I rarely rode it by myself (it wasn't my only bike). My new one is fun to ride solo and no longer a gamble under 10 MPH with a passenger. Strongly recommend trying one before going to 3 wheels.
sweetleon
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by sweetleon »

At 47yo I'm probably the youngest Goldwing rider in the world :D but I know that time comes for us all.

I'd been thinking that when it comes for me I'd rather go with "landing gear" than a trike bc I really like leaning to turn. If you're not leaning, then you're basically I'm a convertible where the roof can't close, and I don't want a broken convertible.

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Has anyone here gotten landing gear installed? How do you like it?

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tbird71
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Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Standard W/Hondaline Fairing
1989 GL1500 completely bone stock

Re: Trike conversions

Post by tbird71 »

I just had to finally admit my GL1500 was just too much bike for me. Plus having only one eye
it became increasingly more difficult to "see" where I was in relation to everything else. I sold it and first bought a 98 GL15 with a kit but it seemed to "wander" too much. Then went to a new 2019 Tri Glide which was pure heaven and rode great with all the updates and the 114 motor, but 33,000.00 sitting in my garage was a little too much for us...so I sold it and got into an 09 Venture with a loaded up Hannigan Kit and have to admit it rides even BETTER than my 19 Tri Glide! GREAT kit and a beautiful machine

I still have my 2015 Electra Glide Police which I bot new and can ride THAT fine...lot less "bulk" than the GL1500 2 wheel so I'm covered....Here's my Recommendation for you guys thinkin about one

1. Do NOT buy a voyager kit or a "training wheel" type trike kit. They do not ride anything like a real trike. Pony up anmd get a real one you'll be \much happier
2. The older Tri Glides have a 103 motor which IMO isnt enough grunt for that big trike. I also owned a 2014 and the needed power just isnt there IMO. Get a 19 up if you must have a tri glide
3. The older gl1500S are decent trikes but night and day vs a 2001 up GL1800. If you want a Goldwing spend a few thousand more and get an 1800.
4. Actually I never had a big problem with a solid axle kit. Yeah a BIG bump myou'll feel it but 98% of the time never a problem for me. Champion CSC or the like all are good kits.

Here's our Venture/Hannigan Trike. We love it!
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joecoolsuncle
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by joecoolsuncle »

tbird71, thats beautiful! and its a better machine to boot!
Gill98!
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by Gill98! »

I went to a trike this year and bought a 2007 gl with 28k on it with a new Roadsmith kit installed. I wanted the longer wheelbase and independent rear suspension along with a raked front end. We only have about 2000 miles on it so far. I like it but it does take a bit of seat time to adjust to driving a trike. My wife has been disappointed with the ride. Even on the softest setting it rides much rougher than our 1500 did. She is getting used to it but wishes there was a way to make it ride smoother. Does anyone have any ideas for me or is going to take more time to break it in!
Solo So Long
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by Solo So Long »

I had to ride a trike a few times over the years, when I needed to haul more than the regular amount of junk that breeds in the saddleboxes. There are some advantages and disadvantages.

If I were riding two-up, long distance, and had to carry a lot of stuff, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a good trike. If I had a leg injury that reduced my safety on the GL1500, I would buy a trike without a second thought. The good conversions look as natural as if they came from Marysville that way.

I don't like the "Minbari trikes" like the Spyder and it's ilk. Where the "supervisor" trikes (aka "MeterMaids") feel solid and confident, every one of the Minbaris gave me the impression of being a kludge -- not valid, just the way they looked to me. The trikes had a big cargo bin in the back, the Minbaris don't.

To the guy who likens it to a convertible, I never got that feeling (and I've had convertibles since my first car). You're still riding, and you're still out in the open.

. . .and a trike is the only open-motor that lets you do spins, bootlegger turns, etc. I used to pride myself on being able to ride onto the skid pad, and come off the other side with the headlight pointed the way that I had come!
smflyer
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Motorcycle: 1988 Gl1500 w/ Roadsmith Trike

Re: Trike conversions

Post by smflyer »

I purchased my 1988 GL1500 in 2002 with 17250 miles on it, I'm a little vertically challenged and finally I got tired of dropping it. So in 2013 I installed a Roadsmith trike kit on it. I wish I had done it many years earlier; the trike takes all of the worry out of riding. The Roadsmith kit rides like a Cadillac, my wife and I have ridden all over the US and eastern Canada and I have no complaints. I have put 43423 miles on the trike with no problems. The only minor complaint I have is that it hurt my gas mileage. The 1800 may do better. Of course, the crap gas we have now didn't help the gas mileage either. I just returned from a 4500-mile trip to Montana and my trike has over 90000 miles not. The trike just takes a little getting used to, you have to steer instead of lean, it handles twisty very well, probably after the Tail of the Dragon your arms will be a little tired.
tbird71
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by tbird71 »

GILL98; Play with your air settings and psi in rear tires a a bit....I dont know what the roadsmith takes
but sometimes a smoother ride is just a few pounds away! Sounds like you may have too much air in back That roadsmith ought to put the standard 2 wheel to shame ride wise
If it has air suspension try a few different settings as well...30 is a good starter with 2 up for the rear let us know if any of that makes a difference
Gill98!
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by Gill98! »

tbird71 Thanks for the tip. I have 28 pounds in the rear tires now and will drop it to 26 and see how it goes. The rear air suspension was unhooked when they put the trike kit on. We are running lightly loaded for weight. The 2 of us are slightly less than 300 pounds total.

One of the post mentioned gas mileage. I live in Washington which has lots of winding roads so my speed is not to fast. My trike gets around 36 to 37 mpg which is about the same as my 1500 did.

What front tire do you guys run? Mine started cupping all of a sudden. I heard Avon trike tires are supposed to be good.
Thanks for the advise
tbird71
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by tbird71 »

Try 41 front 22 rear from what I read that's the go to PSI on the Roadsmith
On my Hannigan it's 41 26 and that works just fine every kit is different
Get the wife on back then and she if she notices any difference let us know
GLRT
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by GLRT »

Disclaimer this is my professional opinion and NOT an advertisement (I have enough work already)

I got into trikes back in 2008 when I test drove a Spyder. I was looking for something I could ride down the highway for a hundred miles then off on the gravel as I was into fly fishing and geocaching both activities take one off the paved roads. The spyder intrigued me but it just was not a good fit. I decided to buy a crashed ST1100 and build my own. As it turned out I ended up with THE patent on this type of trike conversion and am building forward trikes as a profession. Just today I picked up a spotless 2002 GL18 which I rode 10 miles home. I forgot how harsh the front end is on the stock wings especially as the ADV was locked up. I find most are. While I enjoy motorcycles in general a wheels forward trike is my only option for true enjoyment. I am not saying this because I design and build them I am saying this because this style trike just fits my riding requirements. Most of my customers have joint or balance issues so it's a literal life saver for them. I have none of the age related problems (so far) so for me its more in the practicality space. As far as a back wheel trike? Well I have tested them all and my preference would be CSC however this type of trike would not fit any of my needs. I find a rear wheel trike as clumsy and odd as far as steering. Most owners install a "trail" kit (there is no such thing as a rake kit as that would require cutting the frame) while the trail kit or offset triple trees does improve steering its still harsh. I guess that would be my biggest knock along with it being much less sporty and conducive to off paved adventures. I honestly feel a Spyder or any wheels forward trike is the way to go and auto makers must agree as you will not see a three wheeled car with the two in the back. And this is for good reason as the vehicle is designed with standard steering geometry used for a hundred years. For fun check out the videos on Youtube related to the Robin Reliant it is quite funny.
At any rate three wheels is fun and occasionally someone will say "it's a snowmobile" which is a compliment as snowmobiles are a lot of fun.

As far as riding, if you have ridden ATV's or snowmobiles a trike will be a slam dunk however veteran rider who have never ridden such vehicles sometime do have problems adjusting at first. I have read report where people test drove a Spyder and said it handled horrible and scared them to death. Well it's not the machine it's the rider. Death grip and over correcting along with panic. Best advice is relax relax relax and forget it's a motorcycle don't lean as trikes typically don't tip over and put your feet on the pegs don't drag them on the ground. I did a "Learn to ride video" just for the purpose of educating new riders on the proper way to ride a trike. Once you get the hang of it I guarantee you will never go back to two wheels as your primary ride.

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BrianD
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by BrianD »

I have a 2007 GL1800. Rode it on two wheels for about 8 years or so. We had always said that one day we would trike it as my wife has a serious hip injury. She was fine riding it but always thought stopping would see her on the ground as the hip might not support the bike properly. So about 7 years ago we did the conversion. After a lot of investigation and thought, we settled for the CSC Cobra XL conversion. HAVE NOT LOOKED BACK OR REGRETTED IT SINCE. Although different, it is still heaps of fun to ride and the wife loves it because she can ride and not worry about having to support it when stopping. We found that cranking the preload up to 23 was the best for handling through corners. It is still fast and nimble on country roads and we love hooking up the trailer and heading off.
We did try a Spyder and although the handling was good, it was just way too small, especially on the back seat. My wife said it just did not support like the Goldwing, and when I was on the back she had a great back rest on my tummy LOL.
Although it was expensive to ship it to Australia and have it mounted, it was the best money I spent to upgrade the bike.
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tbird71
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Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Standard W/Hondaline Fairing
1989 GL1500 completely bone stock

Re: Trike conversions

Post by tbird71 »

NICE CSC kit! You get what you pay for...We love the Hannigan kit
on our Venture as well

I owned a Piaggio 500 and have ridden Spyders and I for one do not
care for the 2 front wheel type. We spend our riding time just cruising
no heavy fast cornering etc AND HAVE NO NEED FOR THAT TYPE

For right now I'll just stick with the Venture/Hannigan
Jrpac
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Motorcycle: 1997 Honda Goldwing Aspencade

Re: Trike conversions

Post by Jrpac »

Not sure I consider myself a “Geezer” (although I probably am) but, I currently ride a 2012 Goldwing Trike with a California Side Car Trike conversion on it. I have also had a Kawasaki Vulcan with a Moto Trike Conversion. I can’t say as there is a huge difference in the two trike kits other than I think the CSC kit has a slightly larger trunk area, but the Moto kit seemed a little wider total rear profile. Both have aesthetic differences that are only a matter it taste! I wouldn’t hesitate to use either. I would stay away from Lehman as they have gone out of business and unable to get parts if needed. Both the CSC and MT have the independent rear suspension that I required. Hope this helps.
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Northwings
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Location: Maine
Motorcycle: 2005 GL 1800 30th Anniversary / Hannigan Trike

Re: Trike conversions

Post by Northwings »

I rode Honda Super Sports and full dress XS11s for 50 years then moved to a GL 1800. Six months later I had a stroke. After recovery I could no longer balance a big two-wheeler.

I tried one of the landing gear kits and found it wasn’t stable enough for the rough, high crowned roads we have here in Maine. I couldn’t manage the unpredictable transition between steering and leaning at different speeds. I dumped it after only three miles and sent it back.

I bought a Can-Am Spyder and road it for a summer. Even though I’ve snowmobiled for many years the steering gave me fits. Mine was a sport model where you lean on the handlebars. Wind gusts moved my shoulders and the power steering took care of the rest, very twitchy. The seat was too small for two up and there wasn’t enough luggage space. I did like the automatic transmission. Perhaps a touring model with bags, a bigger windshield and a bigger seat would have worked, but I sent this one down the road.

I bought a GL1800 that already has a Hannigan trike conversion. Even with an easy steer front fork it is the hardest turning motorcycle I have ever owned, but my wife and I feel stable, safe and comfortable. It is more tiring than my two-wheel Wing, so we limit ourselves to about 200 miles a day, but never worry about falling down. At 75 I ride better than I can walk but just don’t push it. Come to think of it, that’s now the way I drive a car, too.
tbird71
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by tbird71 »

You'll want 41 PSI in the front tire a Hannigan shouldnt turn hard with the EZ Steer on there.
The key IMO to any trike is setting it up to ride I dont know about a gl18, but our Venture turns easily
however our front end is completely different no fixed fairing more like an HD which is one reason I went with it. Keep experimenting you'll hit the "sweet spot" eventually
GLRT
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by GLRT »

The big issue with the "twitching " steering on the canam is not the bike but rather the rider. No offense intended. Front wheel trikes unlike backwards trikes are built totally around steering and handling so they steer quite easily and progressively. Wind does push a bit as it does on all vehicles and a nervous rider may assume the death grip and over correct causing this twitchy feel. Best practice is to simply relax sit back and let the machine do the work. Wheels forward is standard for ALL 3 wheel automobiles. The only backwards 3 wheel car i know of is the Robin Reliant and that did not go well. Even with the easy steer trail reduction kit the caster is still 3 to 4 inches which is extreme compared to the 1/2 inch on a normal vehicle. If you think about the geometry a motorcycle steering system is designed around leaning so when you add wheels to the back you are going outside the design parameters. Putting the wheels up front and designing strictly around steering and handling as one would for and multi wheeled vehicle is just proper engineering. CanAm has the right idea.
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frostypop
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by frostypop »

has anyone had any experience with the tilting motor works trike conversion? I have been looking at it for a couple years, I don't know all the models they do or years, but they do goldwings, harleys, and indians. I think it looks like the way to go, you can have it locked in slower speeds and unlocked in faster speeds so you still get to lean in the curves!!! 8-)
GLRT
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Re: Trike conversions

Post by GLRT »

The workmanship is excellent however a leaning trike is by design a dumb thing. Here is the deal a leaning trike makes as much sense as a leaning car in fact less sense. Think about it a motorcycle leans into corners and a leaning trike does exactly the same thing except it costs 15k too do it. There is no real advantage in braking or traction as the weight is divided across two wheels and traction is tire contact along with weight or down pressure. So what you end up with is no advantage except now you have spent 15k and need to maintain an extra tire. Many engineers have built them as projects but in the end decided it is simply a novelty and not a viable product.


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