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Bikernet Trike Riders

THREESOME REPORT: Big boys, wet-dreams, Youth on wheels and absolute madness

Each of them deserve a full length feature article but here is the news that matters

by Ujjwal Dey
5/29/2018


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Three-Wheels of Harley-Davidson

 

Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra has successful moved up Trike rankings with annual improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another. No wonder H-D markets Tri Glide as a tour bike.

 

Trikes were always a part of motorcycle lifestyle in USA with many builders making custom trikes out of the Harley-Davidson engines or the bike itself. Trike conversion kits were hot and continue to be popular till date with Trike enthusiasts.

 

Harley’s company issued three-wheeled rides go back to 1932 with the Servi-car model that the factory produced all the way up until 1973. After a break in production, Harley teamed up with Lehman Trikes in 2008 to convert the Electra Glide Ultra Classic into a three-wheeled version, and have since moved the project to its York, Pennsylvania factory.

 
 

 


 

Are big corporates gonna run out the mom and pop garages that created the Trike industry in the first place? It's not likely because no damn corporation is gonna waste resources by building custom bikes for masses. Imagine going to your shareholders and saying we built three custom trikes this year and that is the total sales for this year in America. Custom Culture cannot die because no corporation has as yet come up with a business model to offer custom bikes or trikes on a large scale to customers across an entire nation. An assembly line cannot churn out custom made features. And forever the garage builder wants to build. Nothing will ever stop the creative process.

 

We see variations on the theme of popular Trikes with backwards delta trikes that come with fixed suspension, and even a few that allow the rider to lean as with a two-wheeler. In short, the trike market is heating up, and Harley has its offerings for folks looking to buy into this increasingly populated and competitive genre.

 

Since Harley-Davidson Tri Glide doesn't lean, it doesn't need the usual bike-like tires in back and this comes with the added benefit of having some rather large rear contact patches.

 

On the highway, 113.6 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm, the Tri Glide will surprise many Tourer bikes and most cars off the line. I would say the Milwaukee-Eight engine is the star attraction that truly makes Tri Glide the best Trike in the market to buy right off the shelf (with a wide dealership network).

 

At a base price of $34,439 you already know it will compete very well with custom made Trikes even if they use the same Harley engine. A Lehman Goldwing would probably be the closest cool competitor, but again, not a production model. The Tilting Motor Works makes trike kits as well, with the unique ability to lean into the corners, but again, still a kit. Harley-Davidson doesn’t really advertise and push Tri Glide or Freewheeler but everyone wanting to build or buy a Trike knows it is there and is quite a great product with the brand “H-D” on it.

 
Hot pin up girl fixing my Harley Servi-car Trike
Hot pin up girl fixing my Harley Servi-car Trike

 

Let us know your H-D Trike stories and opinions at wayfarer@bikernet.com or drop us a comment below. I would love to hear from someone who owned and rode a Harley Servi-car back in the day.

 
 

 

Lehman Trikes Success Story

 

No story about modern day Trike industry boom is complete without mentioning Lehman Trikes. For over 28 years, Lehman Trikes has been an industry leader and earned the reputation for high quality, premium motorcycle trikes. The Founder of Lehman Trikes, John Lehman, envisioned a safe and comfortable motorcycle for his family to be able to enjoy together.

 

Using his garage as a workshop, and a 1981 Honda CB900, John and some friends successfully built the first Lehman Trike, the “Lehman #1”. At the time, John could never have imagined he was establishing the foundation for a new era of modern-day motorcycle trikes.

 

As people learned of the trike John had created, word spread and soon it became apparent that there was emerging interest for three-wheel motorcycles. The stage was set, and a company dedicated to providing an entirely new three-wheel experience was born.

 

A 30,000 square foot building was purchased in Westlock, Alberta, Canada and John and his dear friend and business partner, Larry Strilchuk began building a dealer network. In 2004, the company began moving to Spearfish, South Dakota and as of 2008, the company was completely USA based.

 
 
John Lehman, left, and Larry Strilchuk cool off in a creek on their way to Sturgis. Lehman passed away in Jan 2012 at age of 60.
John Lehman, left, and Larry Strilchuk cool off in a creek on their way to Sturgis. Lehman passed away in Jan 2012 at age of 60.

 

Thousands upon thousands of Genuine Lehman Trikes have been sold and enjoyed throughout the years and Lehman Trikes has grown to become internationally known with a dealer network that stretches across the globe.

 

While in the previous Tri Glide article I had mentioned how it is so difficult for a corporate to make a business out of selling custom made bikes or trikes on a large scale, Lehman has found a middle-ground. With dealers across USA and global sales, it is clearly a small miracle pulled off by the “Lehman” stalwarts of trike industry John Lehman and Larry Strilchuk. They offered an impressive and customer satisfying level of customization on their trikes and offer Trikes made from a range of popular brands including Honda, Indian and Kawasaki apart from the Harley obsession of bike lovers worldwide.

 

In 2012, Lehman Trikes was purchased by Craig Arrojo of Champion Investments and continues to operate with the same dedication to quality and excellence customers enjoy, year after year and mile after mile. Money in the bank, proven skills and talent in the garage, acceptance by the industry, love of customers, and the gold standard tag of “Made in the USA” – I would like to see if any human can beat that as of today.

 

 

Lehman "No Lean" Suspension

Lehman Trikes "No-Lean" refers to the Lehman proprietary design, which minimizes flex in the swing-arm and rear-end system. This design features a differential rear-end with internal solid axles. The Lehman "No Lean" philosophy begins with a solid, one-piece swing arm that is designed to be the most sturdy and inflexible in the industry. What this does is completely minimize the Trike's ability to sway or roll to the outside of a corner. The noticeable benefits are increased stability and easy steering, especially at highway speeds. This is the simple "No Lean" philosophy that is responsible for the best handling Lehman Trikes for almost 30 years!

 

 
 

2018 Can-Am Spyder F3 and F3-S

 

Can-Am slashed its Spyder F3 stable yet again for 2018 by dropping the special-edition Daytona 500 from its lineup, so the sport-cruising roadsters are now limited to the F3 and F3-S. It has the same 100 plus horsepower Rotax engine and a spectacular safety package returns with traction control, stability control, and ABS on board.

 

The F3 duo have a ridiculously wide rear tyre giving it a great supersports look. 15-inch rims mount a pair of 165/55 hoops up front and a 225/50 at the back. No skinny motorcycle tires here; these are wide auto-type tires with lots of grip to keep you planted in the curves. Play the Freddie Mercury’s Queen song “Fat-bottomed girls” on the speakers and roar into the city with it.

 

A wide subframe allows for a wide passenger seat with J.C. handles to help keep your passenger mounted and supplement your cargo capacity with a nice flat spot and anchors for the bungee hooks.

 

Stability is inherent in the Delta-trike design. Can-Am’s UFit system allows you to control the size and shape of the rider’s triangle with adjustable footpegs and a selection of handlebar sizes, so you can tweak it to fit a wide range of body types and riding postures.

 

 

Can-Am’s entry-level F3 ride actually falls within what most would consider to be the first- or second-upgrade bracket at $17,999 MSRP. You will get a two-year warranty with that.

 

Traditional Trikes such as Freewheeler and Tri Glide aren’t particularly stable in corners with nothing in the way of the electronic stability aids or inherent steadiness of the Delta configuration of Can-Am Spyder. Freewheeler also lacks ABS. That electronic advantage continues for Can-Am into the engine control category with Harley lacking anything such as the SCS and TCS on the Spyders.

 

Anyways, people always have the picture of the Trike they want to ride in their head – whether it has two wheels in front or in the back. People who buy and love Spyder are not gonna encroach on any sales figures of Harley Tri Glide tourer or the roadster stripped look of 2018 Freewheeler. The two companies are selling to two clearly different segments within the Trike market.

 

Can-Am Spyder also seems popular with the youth, the young crowd and with girls whose parents want their wild young girl to have safety of three wheels, with complete ease of riding using the electronic help in these stable Delta trikes. 

 

 

Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Reynolds has been seen riding the Spyder in the streets of Los Angeles. California helmet laws however apply to Spyder so he doesn’t look as hot as James Dean riding motorcycles in the 1950s.

 

 
 

Miley Cyrus got a Can-Am Spyder from her dad as 21st birthday present and she looks absolutely delighted. She with pillion-seated her mother or her “girlfriends” ride around town on that Spyder regularly.

 

 

Amber Rose the modern rock and roll girl who was a stripper, a model, TV celebrity, businesswoman, rides the LA streets on her Spyder not objecting to the paparazzi taking photos while stuck in traffic. I would drop more names to tell you how Spyder mania took off with youngsters but I am sure most of you won’t have heard the names of these celebrities or may not have ever seen their work. Hook them young. Its a great marketing tool which Honda did back in the day with “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” advertising campaign with great success. What father would object to the nice young guy riding a Spyder, wearing a helmet and asking your daughter out on a date.

 

 
 

New Revelations on the crazy Yamaha Niken

 

Launched at the 2017 Tokyo International Motor show, the Japanese brand set the pace with this stunning three-wheeled machine called the Niken. It is a three-wheeled motorcycle based on the hugely popular MT-09 platform that gets double the grip on the front and heightened ride stability for carving corners with minimal effort.

 

Being the most talked about bike ever since its launch, the Niken showcases a crazy new innovation called the Leaning Multi-Wheeler (LMW), and now, the Japanese Blue Team has released a new technical video showcasing fresh new information that lets us understand its ’ultimate corner carving experience’.

 

A multi-level traction control system has three modes including OFF mode that disables interventions when rider wishes to take full control of the motorcycle. It automatically regulates throttle response, ignition timing and fuel injection to help the bike with optimum traction in all situations.

 

Dual LED headlamps showcase Yamaha’s intention of being the “Revolutionary face of Motorcycling."

 

Piaggio MP3 which had filed lawsuit against Peugeot and Yamaha earlier.
Piaggio MP3 which had filed lawsuit against Peugeot and Yamaha earlier.

 

This is a whole new effort into three-wheeler motorcycles and the Yamaha Niken rider will get more than the static big-engined three-wheelers like the Can-Am Spyder or Harley-Davidson Freewheeler. It will be a unique rider experience that will satisfy the two-wheeler rider wanting something more to play with at high speed corners and varying terrain.

 

Yamaha Niken is available on a first come first serve basis with the online reservation system opened on May 17th at 10:00 am CEST.

 

Trivia for the day: The brand name “Niken” is probably formed by the diminution of ‘Ni’ which means ‘two’ and ‘Ken’ which means ‘sword’ in Japanese.

 

Just as the Wild West Cowboys have transitioned from their horses to the iron steed outlaw motorcycle clubs – the East now has the ancient Samurais riding fast, mean, maintenance free motorcycles.

 

 
  

Yamaha Buys Brudeli Tech for Leany Trike

 

Yamaha has acquired some leaning front-end technology from the Norway-based Brudeli Tech Holding AS.

 

Leaning Delta trikes are the hot new ticket in a growing segment. In 2014, Piaggio found cause to bring suit against the likes of Yamaha and Peugeot. Piaggio had designed — and patented — a really clever suspension/steering system that used a pair of wheels up front in the Delta trike configuration, and the resulting MP3 scooter was an instant hit with the community. Not just the community in general, but specifically, riders living in cities old enough to still have cobblestone streets. If you’ve never ridden on wet cobblestone, take my word for it; it is a fraught activity to say the least.

 

 
 

The safety afforded by the extra traction and stability of that second front tire was an instant hit, and the industry took note. Yamaha built its own version called the Tricity that sported a similar — perhaps a little too similar according to Piaggio’s lawyers — leaning front end. That model disappeared from the U.S.-bound models soon thereafter, and the next thing we saw from Yamaha was its fabulous new Niken sportbike that provides the same leaning-trike experience, but through a different method.

 

Brudeli's 625L and 654L are now in Yamaha's hands. Yamaha picked up a handful of patents for the magic that makes Brudeli’s 625L and 654L Leanster rides do what they do. A pair of control arms similar to automotive-style A-arms mount the front wheels and allow them to articulate to accommodate the terrain and chassis lean angle with a pair of coil-over shocks to tame the bumps.

 

 

But why would Yamaha pay top dollar for something they had already accomplished with Niken?

 

It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to buy patents and put them on a shelf, never again to see the light of the day in order to deny them to potential competitors.

 

However, Geir Brudeli daydreams publicly, “I see this as an incredible honor that Yamaha have decided to acquire this technology that we started to develop here in Norway. Knowing the competence, knowledge and passion of Yamaha it will be exciting to see their future products.”

 

 
 

After Yamaha, fellow samurai Kawasaki is high on Three-Wheels

 

The concept "J" is back and has an Attack mode. In 2013, Kawasaki had mentioned the Concept J and it had four wheels and could transform its shape and geometry to adapt to the riding conditions. It stretches and narrows its profile to go hunting apexes and straights, and widens and sits upright to go cruising around the streets.

 

The new video released by Kawaski shows what J can do on the streets and highways. It runs on battery packs. Working along with the rider and the embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI), the bike can go from a narrow track leaning superbike stance to a wide track upright moped on the fly. All the rider has to say is “Attack mode” or “Upright mode.”

 

You thought Yamaha Niken was crazy when you saw it. After you see the absolutely insane Concept J video from Kawasaki you will know that flying motorcycles of Star Wars movies are not too far away in this industry.

 
 

 

The motorcycle will also provide the rider with literally every information he will need to traverse his journey without a hitch and make it even better. The system can manage bike systems and update the firmware via air for hassle-free maintenance of the machine. It will update you on traffic situation and weather conditions on your route to make the ride as seamless as possible.

 

Making use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and Artificial intelligence, the system will be able to recognize the rider’s voice and emotions, and if given instructions, it will react accordingly. This will enable both rider and machine to communicate and open a whole new dimension to motorcycling.

 

It will be the phenomena as in 1980s TV series Street Hawk. The man and the machine in unity destroying the streets. In the ABC show, Jesse Mach, was an ex-motorcycle cop injured in the line of duty, is recruited for a top-secret government mission to ride Street Hawk - a combat motorbike designed to fight crime. The man...the machine...riding as a singular uniform entity Street Hawk.

 

 

Stop laughing now. I was just a small kid in the 1980s and all this was too good to be true. Well now, its true.

 

All this development is a part of Kawasaki’s rider-centric development philosophy, ‘RIDEOLOGY,’ which believes that their products are meant to be more than just taking you from one place to another, but transport you to a world of fun and rewarding traits.

 

Two other Japanese Giants are investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and developing their own version of the concept. Honda, as we all know has the ASIMO and Yamaha is on with developing its Motoroid, an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot.

 
Giant Robot TV series under its American release name in 1967. The communicating by talking to your wristwatch and robots that can walk on two legs shown in this show are of course now a reality. However, we eagerly await the invasion from the Evil Alien Overlord who controls weird ugly clumsy monsters.
Giant Robot TV series under its American release name in 1967. The communicating by talking to your wristwatch and robots that can walk on two legs shown in this show are of course now a reality. However, we eagerly await the invasion from the Evil Alien Overlord who controls weird ugly clumsy monsters.

 

The future is here. It arrived before you thought you would be old and gray. And you can ride this future, play with it and talk to your motorcycle instead of just having a name for your bike like your father did.

 
Stay tuned for future episodes of Threesome Report with pretty girls, big engine trikes and the ghost inside the machine. 

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