2014 Trike Buyers Guide

CAN-AM:

Is the Can-Am Spyder a trike? That’s up to you to decide. Before you do, consider the Spyder’s ABS that can monitor and control each wheel separately, the traction control that prevents unwanted wheelspin and the optional semiautomatic transmission that uses automotive-style paddle shifters. There’s also electronically controlled power steering and a reverse gear, both standard. Three models are available: the sporty RS and sport-touring ST are both powered by a 998cc V-twin, and the luxury-touring RT with integrated luggage (all models have a front trunk) is powered by an all-new 1,330cc in-line triple.
Can-Am,
can-am.brp.com/spyder

CHAMPION:

Champion Trikes offers factory-installed kits or lets you do it yourself. Available models include Harley-Davidson Dyna, FLH, FLS and Sportster; Honda GL1500, GL1800, VTX1300 and VTX1800; and Kawasaki Vulcan 900 and 1700. Choose from solid-axle or independent rear suspension; IRS is available with optional Variable Sway Control that firms or softens the suspension. Options include lower accent panels, reverse gear for Harleys, EZ-Steer, light bars, trailer hitches, parking brakes and factory color-matched paint. Prices start at $4,995. Champion also makes sidecars, tow-behind trailers and hard saddlebags.
Champion Trikes, (714) 847-1539,
championsidecars.com

FALCON:

You don’t need to start with a big-bore motorcycle to build a trike. Falcon Trikes makes a conversion kit for the Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter. The kit starts at $6,495 with options like matching paint, a light set, a trailer hitch and freight adding another $1,500 or so. The kit uses an independent axle, comes with a fiberglass body, reverse gear and 15-inch tires on cast aluminum wheels, and adds 218 pounds to the weight of your stock Burgman. Falcon is working on kits for the Suzuki Burgman 400 and the Honda Silver Wing 600.
Falcon Trikes, (720) 384-8942,
falcontrikes.com

HANNIGAN:

Hannigan trikes feature independent rear suspension with an anti-sway bar and twin trailing arms that move up and away from bumps for the best handling and ride. Options include Steer Lite with Fork Assurance Safety Technology, a 180 Wide Front End Kit, foot fairings, auxiliary fuel tanks, electric reverse, trailer hitches, chrome bumpers, light bars, fender guards, keyless entry and premium wheels. BMW, Harley-Davidson, Indian, Kawasaki, Triumph and Yamaha conversions are available at prices ranging from $7,495 to $8,995 plus paint, installation and options through Hannigan’s factory-trained authorized dealers, and from the factory in Murray, Kentucky.
Hannigan Motorsports, (270) 753-4256,
hannigantrikes.com

Hannigan BMW 1600

HARLEY-DAVIDSON:

Harley-Davidson’s Tri Glide Ultra Classic is a frame-up trike from America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer. It features the new Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 engine, linked braking that applies the front and rear brakes together when the foot pedal is applied, and a new parking brake system activated by a foot pedal on the left side of the trike. The new Batwing fairing has a Splitstream vent to reduce head buffeting. And of course there are as many factory options and accessories for the Tri Glide as there are for other H-D models.
Harley-Davidson,
harley-davidson.com

LEHMAN:

Starting at $7,700, Lehman Trike kits fit Harley-Davidson FLH, FLT, Dyna, Softail and Sportster; Honda GL1800 and F6B; Kawasaki Vulcan 900; Suzuki C50 Boulevard; and Victory Vision and Kingpin. Choose Lehman’s No-Lean solid axle, or Limited Lean Suspension (LLS), which comes with an optional Adjustable Lean Control that firms up or softens the suspension as needed. Popular options include modified triple trees, Hawg EFX (Harley) and Wing EFX (Honda) running boards, a mechanical reverse gear for Harley models, hitch kits, EZ Steer, light bars, wheel upgrades and factory color-matched paint.
Lehman Trikes, (605) 642-2111,
lehmantrikes.com

MOTOR TRIKE:

Motor Trike offers conversion kits for Harley-Davidson FL Series, Sportster, Softail, V-Rod and Dyna; Honda F6B, GL1800, GL1500, VTX1800 and 1300, Valkyrie, Valkyrie Interstate, 750 Shadow Aero and 1100 Sabre; Victory Cross Country, Cross Roads, Hard-Ball and Kingpin; Kawasaki Vulcan 900, 1700 and 2000; Triumph Rocket III; Suzuki Burgman 650; Star Stratoliner and Road Star 1700. Kits must be ordered and installed by authorized dealers. Rear-end options are solid axle and independent rear suspension. Popular options include wheel upgrades, trailer hitches, fog lights, a rake kit, trunk carpeting and light bars. Prices range from $4,995 to $8,995, not including paint, shipping and installation.
Motor Trike, (800) 908-7453,
motortrike.com

MYSTERY DESIGNS:

Mystery Designs sells complete conversion kits that you adapt to the belt- or chain-driven bike of your choice. The kits can be installed by anyone, the company says, or by a Mystery dealer. Choose a body kit or go with the open-axle look. Both independent suspensions and fixed axles are available at prices ranging from $3,400 for a fixed axle to $8,500 for an independent rear end and a body package. Mystery also offers the Tiltster, a tilting conversion kit that leans into and out of corners for easier control and better handling.
Mystery Designs, (214) 467-0991,
mysterydesigns.com

ROADSMITH:

Roadsmith started out building VW-powered trikes back in 1972 and now makes conversions for Honda, Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian motorcycles. Most trikes are sold and installed by one of 120 dealers. Roadsmith claims to be the first to use independent rear suspension––which it still uses exclusively today––as well as auxiliary fuel tanks, automotive-style disc brakes and an electric reverse for belt-driven models. Popular options include raked triple trees and heavy-duty sway bars. The cost of conversion ranges from $11,500 up to $18,000 for one with lots of options.
Roadsmith, (651) 777-7774,
roadsmithtrikes.com

Hannigan Harley-Davidson V-Rod
Hannigan Harley-Davidson V-Rod
Hannigan BMW 1600
Hannigan BMW 1600

(This Trike Buyers Guide was published in the New & Cool section of the April 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)

8 COMMENTS

  1. Why are you guys ignoring Boss Hoss? They have been producing a pretty cool trike for many years, yet no mention of it here in your 2014 Trike Buyers Guide. Sure it’s expensive, but that doesn’t stop you from encluding Honda’s, BMW’s, and Harley’s. A buyer’s guide should show everything available.

  2. The potential of a market for reverse trikes is very underrated and underutilized and so far, wrong minded, but there is definitely a potential market. Only Elio that I know of is trying to crack in to where the real potential is but since they are a start up with many, many challenges, they’ll likely not succeed. But their product concept is where the huge opportunity lies for massive market penetration.

    The motorcycle manufacturers are targeting the wrong segments of our population. They’re trying to get interest from the aging and dying motorcycle enthusiast sub cultures in America; the largest of which is the big-bike rumbling Harley customer who has lots of disposable income and will not even consider a motorcycle under $25K, because they’re mostly interested in showing off their fancy and expensive and loud and obnoxious style to anyone who cares more than they are an actual machine for transportation. For the most part, it’s not going to happen and this segment of the population who are interested in this sort of thing is quickly going away. When the baby boomer quits riding, it’s game over. Until that time, there will be some who will want to keep riding beyond two wheels and opt for these very expensive, chromed out trikes and as they have for years, but this is a dying breed that will start falling off quickly in just a few years. Then there is the effort to attract buyers in this newer sporty-motorcycle Batman fad, which is also an exclusive club by price and not very successful at bringing in the masses. These reverse trikes, e.g. Spyder and Slingshot are high margin for the manufacturers but are not and will not ever have much market penetration for that kind of money and due to the fact that they are targeting consumers on sportiness and luxury and those things have little practicality or value for those who need something much less, for less money than what they are offering.

    If there is a manufacturer out there that is established that is willing to work to bring something inexpensive and near service free that will be seen by millions of young urbanites as a transportation alternative that is safer and easier to ride and maintain than a traditional two-wheel motorcycle; then there is a huge opportunity to get market penetration. It would appear that Honda Power Sports would be the likely company to take us on that path towards practical three wheelers, but their current concept is an off-take on the Gold Wing, which is another exclusive club for folks with more money than sense. However, it they took something like the CTX700 or Silverwing sizing and power and built a low-priced reverse trike for the masses and backed it up with some real advertising and other marketing that shows urban Americans how the products could work for them in their daily lives; made sure the starting price was way below that of an average car; then that’s where the big market is for reverse trikes.

    • I really appreciate your insight. I am planning on launching a business to build hot rod trikes and your input is valuable. Some market research would be money well spent to identify who are the customers.

  3. For Gregory Faulkner, another jelious person that would love a HD but can’t afford. It. I think he should stick to his tiny rice rocket and ride 150mph…..yea, everyone look how fast I can go. WoW….

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