Our Sister Sites:

Bikernet Bikernet Baggers Bikernet Blog
Ride Forever - Bikernet.com
Monday Edition

Bikernet Trike Riders

Motorized Drift Trike : Let’s build one

BikernetTrike.com Editor discovers joys of tomfoolery and nurtures his inner child

By Ujjwal Dey



We boys tinker with stuff from our GI Joe toys to our hand-me-down first car. Customization is all about personalization. Making things a part of your own. Imbibe a Soul to a mechanical thing. Give a personality to that, which we accompany in our daily lives. We wish to brand our own logo onto the world of mediocrity and commonplace stuff. In ancient times we branded our horses. Now we just build a unique ride and get noticed for our passion. So go get your tool box and let’s all tinker in the garage.

Drift trikes aren’t new. They were known as Big Wheels or Green Machines in the 1970s. These featured mechanical tricks you might recognize on modern drift cars like “stick shift” brake handles and absurd steering angles. Fuzzy wristbands, Keds, and sliding sideways on a Big Wheel made for serious street cred in 1976.

The drift trike faded away as the punks of new generation preferred folding Razor scooters and the all grown-up adults started buying Segways. But, a few years ago, drift trikes have returned and these sightings are in the form of metal-framed renditions of the classics with dirt-cheap price tags. The modern Drift Trike is designed as simple tricycles with slick wheels that drifted with a little pedaling. Of course someone took one on a high-speed downhill run as soon as it was out of the box on Christmas day. Why not add a motor?

Big Wheels and modern drift trikes have many decades to evolve and in between, Harbor Freight began selling the Predator 212cc 7hp engine for about $100. When technologies converge, the cosmos endures a cultural melting pot of dreams, functions and thrills resulting in a triumph of the TinkerHead. Get ready for a $500 motorized drift trike you can build in the garage. Your own personal hotrod ready to rumble.


To get started, go wear your boots. Precaution is better than a stitch-in-time to save your toes. Gear up and get your Toolkit. Lets make a drift trike.


Why not start with a DXT Drift Trike from Razor because it is inexpensive, has a hand brake and a welded steel mainframe with a removable rear subframe. So let’s start with that.


My engine is a pull-start four-stroke Predator from Harbor Freight. You can pick one you like and can handle on this sized trike. This Predator is 212cc, makes 7 Hp and runs on 87 Octane unleaded pump petrol. The bore is 77mm with a 55mm stroke and has 8.5:1 compression. What’s your poison? Let us know.


The output shaft is designed for a ¾-inch bore centrifugal clutch using ¼-inch key stock. 

The measurement of center-to-center distance between the sprocket and the clutch hub before this build with the Engine Subframe is 45T (tooth) Sprocket with a 1-inch bore which uses a #40 chain. A 420 chain won’t work with this particular sprocket so be sure to double check both your clutch and your chain while buying. The larger 60T Sprockets will drag on the tarmac. Plan accordingly.


Now tack together a basic frame by using 1 ¾ and 1-inch mild steel tube and some fabrication tabs. This mimics an original rear subframe as it connects to your main downtube on the Trike. The tabs will line up with the mounting holes on the Predator Engine. Tack this in place based on the Sprocket and Clutch hub measurement that was made earlier. Get a 1-inch bearing kit for mounting the axel to the frame. This one comes with mild steel bearing hangars, bearings and flanges to keep the damn bearings in place. Have a beer.


My axel is from a go kart and why not. Let’s not be fully stupid and carefree. It has a strong 1- inch diameter and is 40 inches long with a ¼-inch keyway. It is splined for a single axel nut that will keep the key and the wheel itself from working their way out. Don’t fret. You are doing good.


Get the 1-inch bore lightened aluminum wheel hub, which slides over to your axel and mounts with ¼-inch bolts is cool. Ensure that your hub matches this bore and bolt circle pattern of your wheel. My hub has a 2 ½-inch bolt circle with a 1 3/4-bore, which is also known by its gangster name, “Outside Shoulder Diameter” or, “Overall Width."


Now my monster wheel which is 5 inches in diameter, 3.25 inches wide with 1.625 inches backspacing is ready to roll. The tire is 10 Inches tall with a 3.60 inch width designed to tango with a 5-inch diameter wheel.


Remember, we are going old school. We need to build a true Drift Trike by using 10-inch PVC sleeves. So buyer beware, or as the ancient Greeks’ war cry said, “Caveat Emptor." You will need a 10-inch tire for these PVC sleeves. Lot of the market Drift Trike “kits” sell 13-inch rim and tire because we Americans like big supersize things. But you won’t be able to find 13-inch PVC that will fit on those wheels.


Your axel is keyed to the sprocket. Your Clutch hub is keyed to the output shaft on the Predator. While we like to be lateral thinkers with rum and whiskey, you need to keep your shit from moving laterally, So I use a set of four 1-inch locking collars. Put one on each side of your sprocket and also one for the backside of all your wheels.

Bandit is very particular about his Bikernet HQ. He asked me to mow the lawn. So I clocked the Drift Trike on mud at 37 mph. The grass is still there but I am sure it is dead. I am sure my Drift Trike can do a lot more. So I move indoors driving into Bandit's living room. Of course, I realize on tiled flooring that I will have to make a disk brake system so that I can avoid crashing into Bandit's trophies and gun case and live to drift another day. Drift Trike parts are available everywhere. Plus there are Kits priced close to or same as the cost of buying all these damned parts separately. Save your money while you crash and burn by avoiding multiple shipping of different parts, get a good kit. Do your homework like all 21st century children by using Google.com and Wikipedia to get the best deal to seal your fate against the wide open road.







Razor DXT Drift Trike




Predator 212cc Horizontal Engine

Harbor Freight



Rear Sprocket #40/45T/1-inch Bore

BMI Karts



Polished Aluminum Wheel 5-inch

BMI Karts


59.90 (pair)

Aluminum Wheel Rear Hub

BMI Karts



Unilli Racing Slick 5-inch

BMI Karts


31.90 (pair)

10-inch PCV Replacement Sleeves




1-inch Bearing Kit w/Hangars

BMI Karts



1-inch Steel Live Axle

BMI Karts



Go Kart Minibike Centrifugal Clutch


10T/#40 ¾ bore


1-inch split locking collar

BMI Karts


16.00 (4)

1-inch Nylock w/washer




3-ft #40 Roller Chain




7/8 Twist Grip Throttle




¼-inch Key Stock



8.00 (12)

1-3/4 Steel Round Tube

M&K Metals



1-inch Steel Round Tube

M&K Metals


9.95 (REM)

*Prices do not include shipping and are subject to change.

If you like building stuff or tearing apart stuff to rebuild it, let us know by email at wayfarer@bikernet.com or drop a comment below. We promise not to post embarrassing photos clicked by your family members and hey maybe your Trike will be the guide for the future tinker-tots of the world. RIDE ON !!!



Back to Bikernet Trikes News

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.