If you want a vehicle that delivers brutal performance, is moderately priced, has a solid amount of prestige, is safe, comfortable and cheap to maintain then the Trike is for you.
When I was a lad, my dad was always going to build a Kit Car. He wanted access to the performance a kit car could give without the associated high price of paying for a brand. I was in! I was excited. I wanted to drive it too, but unfortunately, it never happened. Now I am older, I want to build a fun machine for myself and I have chosen a three-wheeler for a number of reasons.
What Must A Pleasure Vehicle Have?
There are a few things that I absolutely want in pleasure vehicle.
- It must be fast.
- It must look fantastic.
- It must be as safe as possible without removing the fun.
- It must be of high quality and have a good amount of prestige.
- It must be comfortable.
- It must handle well at high AND low speeds.
- It must be affordable.
- It must be reasonable to maintain.
So when you take this list, it pretty much precludes most production cars as they tend to get into the hundreds of thousands very quickly when you want prestige, performance and handling. Motorbikes are precluded as even the best riders become involved in accidents and those accidents can be catastrophic. It also precludes most kit cars as they tend to fail in quality and prestige. So where can I go to sate this desire?
Enter The Trike
What I love about the three-wheeler concept is that it is built from a motorcycle. This keeps the costs way down but we still have access to top-level performance. Let's say we use a Suzuki Hayabusa as the doner (second hand 2001 with 44,000 km is just $5,000 Australia dollars). It has 180 horsepower from a 1300 cc engine. This drops 180hp into a car that weighs between 500kg to 800kg. That provides 0-100 times of sub 5 seconds. It sounds like a formula 1 car. It is cheap to maintain. You can easily get a tandem, two-seat layout. The engine and lightness of the car allows for Honda Civic like driving around town but head onto the open road and you have a 250 kmh BEAST on your hands.
What Kinds Of Trikes Are There?
The first and probably original three-wheeler was the Delta Trike. This has the configuration of a child's tricycle, one wheel front and two wheels rear, (1F2R).
The picture above is an "enclosed delta trike" but the one you will see mostly on the road is the "ride on Delta" like the big three-wheel touring bike as shown below.
Then you have the Tadpole Trike. This is a two-wheel front and one-wheel rear configuration (2F1R).
I found that this configuration took a little time to get my approval in the looks department but after a while, it has become the only one I really like. It feels manly to me. Strong. Self-composed and ready for action. Unlike the Delta, there are literally hundreds of different designs based on the Tadpole Three Wheel layout.
The above Liion concept is one of my favorites. It is a single seater but the other one next to it, the Razor Car from the UK is a Side by Side two seater. There are also the sit on variety of the Tadpole. Here is an example of a sit on tadpole.
Personally, I don't much like the sit on models of either the Delta or Tadpole styles. To me, they have the exact same problem that a motorbike has and that is that one mistake on your part (or not even your mistake) can result in death or permanent injury. So for me, it is the enclosed versions that have the most attraction.
Of course there is also the benefit that you can control several of the annoying problems of open air transport. The first being weather. An Enclosed Three Wheeler lets you stay dry in the rain, keep cool in the sun and block out a lot of the engine and wind noise. These (to me) are very valid reasons to go enclosed.
Why Have A Pleasure Vehicle At All?
This is a question that needs to be answered. Because you are going to asked it all the time. I know for sure my mother will ask lol. But it is a good question. I mean, can’t you just take your daily driver out and hoon around the mountain roads for a while on Sunday and that will give you the same thrill. NO. It won’t. Not even close.
The point of this is to get access to the list above.
When I go for my Sunday drive I want it to be an experience. I want to have the vehicle mould into me and for me to mould into it. I want to feel alive, filled with exhilaration and have a story to tell. I want to be able to share that with friends and family.
To achieve all this you need a special type of vehicle. It needs a power to weight ratio that makes your heart pump. It needs to handle like a quarter horse and sound like thunder. It needs to make people envious and have children and adults ask what it is. It needs to embody sexiness and exude power. In short I want something that makes me connect with my inner man. And for me, the only way I can achieve that is with a Trike.
What Type For You?
Over the next few months I am going to research all the trikes available around the world. I will do a report on each one and write up a single blog post on them as I do the research. My goal here is to provide the most comprehensive overview of the industry and make it far easier to understand what three-wheeler might be best for you.
I will also look at the different styles in terms of "Tilting Trikes" and the "Tilting Bodies" that transfer a lot of the G force away from the possibility of tipping over.
With that said. Adios. I hope you find much pleasure reading and watching all this content.