Trikes are converted that have a single front wheel and a wide rear axle that is similar to that of a car . And motorcycle enthusiasts are going ape for them. If you want to give one a try, you can buy one that’s ready to ride, buy one of the good used trikes for sale or you can choose to build your own trike if you’re sure that you have the necessary tools and a moderate amount of mechanical skill .
Before you start tearing down your motorcycle to convert it , you should know that many before you have found building a trike can be more than they could handle and ended up throwing up their hands or taking the less difficult route of converting an old Volkswagon car into a trike. This method has certain benefits as far as performance is concerned as well as it’s a way of recycling an old automobile that would have otherwise wound up in a salvage yard . You get a custom VW trike and do a little something to save the environment at the same time!
TRIKE BUILDING PARTS, TOOLS and EQUIPMENT
To build your own trike , you have to have a motorcycle, tools, a welder and metal working machines and at times, an extra set of hands. Equipment common to a welding and/or machine shop is necessary to the building process and once you have the trike put together , it’s going to need a paint job for it to look its best if you added fenders.
Here is the short list of tools, parts and equipment that you will need to build a trike in addition to the usual crescent wrenches and drivers found in most toolboxes.
A welder , welding supplies and welding equipment
Two Floor Jacks
A metal lathe
Sheet metal and Sheet metal stock
A set of trailer wheels and tires
If you want your trike to have fenders you will need a paint booth, paint and painting supplies.
Position your two wheeled motorcycle on the floor jacks , loosen the nuts on the sides of the rear axle. Slide the rear tire towards the front of the bike while sliding the chain off of the sprocket letting you to remove the wheel off the swing arm.
Now’s the time to make a decision on how wide you want your trike . You can make your axle as fat or as skinny as you want it but standard width is approximately 38 ½ from drum to drum. Although I’ve heard of widths up to 45 ½ and as narrow as 35 inches let’s assume that you want to build a trike that is half as wide as its total length.
Determine how long the rear axle should be according to these specifications and then subtract the length of the axle that is in place from that number. Divide this figure by two and you’ll have the measurement of the axle that you will be welding to each side of the existing rear axle .
Use the metal lathe to turn some of your metal stock to make it the same thickness of the existing rear axle. Weld your turned extensions to each end of the existing axle being absolutely sure they are square .
You are now ready to start welding the wheel hubs onto the ends of your modified axle and to put the new axle in place on the swing arm. Snug up the nuts and replace the chain back on the sprocket. Mount your trailer wheels and tires onto the ends of the extended axle and tighten the lug nuts.
At this point in the building project , you have the option of adding fenders (which which you will probably want to paint ) or just jumping on and proving to your biker friends that you know a thing or two about how to build a trike motorcycle.
Motorcycle mechanic wanna be’s might misread the title of this article as “How to Build a Trike in Three Easy Steps” because well…I condensed the instructions into three steps that may actually be easy to experienced motorcycle mechanics. But the truth is that building a trike takes more than a little welding and metal working skill. For instance, if the axle is not square your trike is going to shake like crazy on the road creating a very dangerous situation that could cause a horrible motorcycle wreck with possible casualties and that’s just one of number of other things that can happen if you mess up .
If you have the least little doubt that you possess the necessary skills, do yourself ( and me ) a favor and shop the motorcycle classifieds for a good used trike for sale or ask an experienced friend to help you learn how to build a trike before before you hurt yourself .