Editor’s Note: Before we even get started here, you might have noticed this blog is about our October winner, even though we’re nearly halfway through November. Never fear. We’ll have a November winner before the month is out. We’ve just been up to our eyeballs in projects and promotions. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Also, we’re continuing our rewards system of giving all of our Readers’ Rides winners a year’s membership in the J&P Gold Club. And that’s quite an exclusive organization. Members get all kinds of savings and coupons, can win points good for J&P products, and get a free tire pressure gauge for joining. For details, visit http://www.jpcycles.com/goldclubinfo.
October’s designated Readers’ Ride is a 2005 Harley-Davidson FLSTNI Trike built by Dave “Ultraboy” Bickford of Wanatah, Ind. Apparently Dave built this beauty for his wife Reenie. This Deluxe was purchased new and ridden on two wheels until the summer of 2010. That’s when this couple decided it’d be a good idea to convert it to a trike. Everything was fine on a two-wheeler until Reenie began suffering neck and elbow pain after a pair of surgeries. A cushy trike build sounded like the perfect solution. But let’s let “Ultraboy” tell us the story:
My wife wanted some wide tires tucked up into the fender for a pro-street look, so we selected some 265/50/15 tires and 12-inch-wide fiberglass fenders from US Trikes. Upon install it became clear that the tires were not going to be removable without pulling the body off, so we made the whole rear section easily removable. It takes about five minutes to pull the body and fenders off as a unit by removing the seat, disconnecting one connector for the taillights and removing four screws.
Flat tires on a trike are rare, but it does happen. Most trikes with bodies are all one-piece, so we’re pretty happy with the fact that the fenders are bolted to the body and can be replaced if you get a bit too close to the gas pump or other immovable objects.
We also made the electrics easy to work on and troubleshoot by taking the existing H-D rear harness and running it up through the seat hump to the trunk, the wires were installed onto a terminal strip. Then the taillights, turn signals, license plate light and trunk light were all run using H-D color-coded wiring.
A trike needs to be steered, so raked trees are like adding power steering. I won’t start a rake and trail discussion, but you need to cut the trail roughly in half to make the trike steer easily. A set of 4.5 degree raked trees were bolted on, along with two-inch fork extensions to level the trike out. A steering damper was also added to improve feel. This trike steers easily and goes straight, even at triple-digit speeds.
Backing up even a slight hill is an effort, so we added a mechanical reverse gear from AIM. The unit adds a gear to the mainshaft and countershaft with a shiftable third gear to engage the other two. When the transmission is in neutral, engaging the lever for the third gear (clutch pulled in) puts you in reverse. Give it some gas, feather the clutch, and you’re heading backward.
The exhaust system mounting was another fabrication effort. We used a set of Samson true dual Softail pipes. These pipes end a few inches in front of the rear end, so the local muffler shop bent us some “S” pipes out of 1-3/4-inch stainless tube, which drop the exhaust below the axle. From there, we selected the shortest fishtail muffler that Samson makes, and adjusted the length of our ”S” pipes to have the mufflers protrude out the back just the right amount.
Softail mufflers have the hangers on the inside of the muffler, so we fabricated a length of stiff “U” channel, bolting the front of it to the existing frame holes, and the Samson muffler hangers to the other end of the “U” channel. From there, the mufflers bolt up to the hangers. For further strength, we tied the two mufflers together at the rear mount holes using a fabricated steel strap.
For the basic trike setup, we used a DNA swingarm and rear axle, which comes with a 70-tooth pulley, limited slip, 11-inch disk brake rotors and high-quality PM calipers. The bolt pattern is GM 5 on 4-3/4, making finding wheels easy. We selected a pair of Sport-Comp 15 X 8 wheels with a 4.5-inch backspace. A splitter for the rear brakes was fabricated with a chunk of 1-1/2-inch by 1-1/2-inch steel, which was drilled and tapped on top to accept the stock rear banjo with a cross-drilled passage tapped to 1/8-inch pipe to accept pipe to AN-3 fittings from Goodridge. A pair of stainless coated AN-3 brake lines and banjos finishes it off. The stock rear master cylinder has the volume to handle the two four-piston rear calipers so the trike stops on a dime.
Rounding out the rear, we made a cardboard pattern to carpet the trunk, adding Velcro to the area around the electrics. A push-button controlled light was added to the trunk for nighttime illumination. The license plate frame is from Kuryakyn, and has two high-intensity bulbs. One is wired to the running lights and the other to the brake lights. A body shop friend shot the black paint, and another friend laid on the old school pin striping. This was a great build that my wife really enjoys riding — even after being on two wheels for more than 20 years. She loves her trike! It was a blast building this one and since it was finished, I am now building three more for friends. Don’t knock the trike till you try one! For anyone that is interested in building a trike, I’ll be glad to give any assistance I can through the J&P Forums.
SPECIFICATIONS – Dave “Ultraboy” Bickford’s Winning Entry
|Model/Size:||Twin Cam 88, bored to 95|
|Type:||5-Speed with AIM Mechanical Reverse|
|Triple Trees:||4.5-degree Raked|
|Fork Tubes:||2 inches over|
|Rear End:||DNA Trike|
|Front Wheel, Tire & Brakes|
|Wheel Make/Size||H-D 16-inch by 3.5-inch|
|Tire Make/Size||Metzeler ME880, MT90B16|
|Rear Wheel, Tires & Brakes|
|Wheels Make/Size:||Sport Comp 15-inch by 8-inch|
|Tires Make/Size:||Cooper Cobra 265/50/15|
|Rotors:||Performance Machine Rotors|
|Calipers:||Performance Machine Calipers|
|Hand Controls:||H-D Road King Cruise Control|
|Rear Fender:||US Trikes 12-inch|
|Trike Body:||US Trikes Reaper|
Editor’s Note: If you’ve built yourself a great bike that you’d love to see highlighted in Readers’ Rides, get your digital camera or fancy smartphone out and nab some pix. Then send them to us with a description of your bike. We’d also like to hear from readers who have snagged some great video footage of their rides in action. Just post your video to YouTube, then email the link to us at blogmemberservices [at] jpcycles [dot] com.