Private Trike Build – Texas Raptor

Texas Raptor Trike

Our builder of today’s amazing trike is Dick Kincheloe and he lives in central Texas near Austin.  It is a one of a kind vehicle that he designed and built himself, in a two car garage at home. It took five and a half years and approximately 3,500 man hours to build.  He’s a pretty normal bloke who is married with two children, and a grandchild. He is an avid cyclist (road bike, averaging about 1,500 miles a year), a watercolor artist, he plays the keyboard and organ and is a photographer.

He says he has always enjoyed building things.  “I have built 2 houses, a homebuilt composite aircraft called the Dragonfly, and a reverse trike called the Raptor.  I always wanted to learn how to weld and the Raptor was my excuse to take the plunge and buy a TIG welder.”

His main inspiration was Jamieson DuRette’s Indycycle (www.indycycle.net) and for the side intake vents he says they were taken from the Enzo Ferrari.  Both great choices for inspiration.

[Indy Cycle Trike Front]

[Raptor Trike With Roof Open]

One of Dick’s design goals was to use an exact copy of an F16 fighter jet’s canopy.  Personally I love this. Ever since I was a child I always thought that cars should be two seaters, one behind the other and covered by a fighter jet canopy.  It just always made sense to me. The canopy provides you with uninterrupted vision, good protection and excellent aerodynamics plus it is the coolest top available on any car.

Since almost all of our driving we do each week is on our own, a car should be made just for one person.  But since we obviously have to sometimes pick someone up or drop someone off, an extra seat becomes a really usefull addition.  In a family, I would say, you need a five seater for the family and a two seater for Dad, so on the weekends he can use that for his get-a-way drives.  The times I have owned a sports car, my weekend drives were often the highlight of my week.  I can see Dick blasting off each weekend in this Raptor Trike and leaving all his troubles behind.

[Raptor Front]

[Raptor Rear]

The Raptor’s use of the canopy is quite unusual and makes it stand out from the crowd.  When I first linked a photo of this on the Trike World Facebook page, the reactions were strong "likes" and "wows".  This car stands out. Dick has certainly captured the attention of people.

Above we have a video of the raptor not too long before the final paint is added.  It shows the Raptor going through its paces and boy does it look fine.  I particularly love the shot where the Raptor flys past the car shooting the video.  Power to weight is everything.

Dick started the whole adventure by making a model of what he wanted to build.  This is always a great idea as it lets you put a true likeness to the ideas that you have in your head.  Models are simple to make but I feel they are invaluable for reasoning out the different features you will want or need.  Once you have finished the model, just looking at it can help you see what you might like to add to, or subtract from, to get the perfect trike for you.

[Raptor Model Unfinished]

[Raptor Model Finished]

Then he set about making the frame to attach the rear 3/4s of a Kawasaki ZRX1100 motorcycle to.  The frame is based on a drag racer and he has used an Indy Car style front suspension assembly.

The Kawasaki ZRX1100 motorcycle comes standard with 106 bhp and 96 pounds of torque.  I am not sure what the final weight of the Raptor is but I would be guessing around 600kg or so.  So basically a similar power to weight ratio of a 1990's 300hp Porsche 911.

[Raptor Trike Undressed]

[Raptor Trike Dressed]

Overall I think Dick has created something special.  The level of finish on the car is very high on the outside and good on the inside.  Obviously if you were going to produce this car in numbers there would be some interior work to do and adding air-conditioning/heating etc would be great too.

[Dick Kincheloe With His Raptor Trike]

[Raptor Trike Interior]

For me, I love it.  Well done Dick. Great trike.