My Trike (mk1)

Frame = Nottingham Custom Cycles
Engine = Harley-Davidson 1973 1000cc Ironhead Sportster

Click on the thumbnails above for larger pictures

The Harley-Davidson 1000cc Sportster engine. Basically unchanged from 1957 to 1983. Will still run with incredible amounts of internal damage (well mine did !! crankpin nut loose allowing the flywheels to wobble all over the place and one of the conrods was beating itself to death on the main bearing pin, the cams had worn through the case hardening , the pistons had enough slack they could almost do somersaults in the bores, the rear one was fitted backwards, valves and guides were completely shot. But it would still do 70 mph!!).
Now fitted with Crane Single-Fire electronic ignition, Andrews high lift cams, gas-flowed heads, shotgun exhausts (no baffles - see Tech-stuff, dragpipes ) and a new Bendix carb, I have seen 100mph on the speedo (checked against a new Fatboy). Though I was more hanging on than actually riding the beast, and all this on unleaded petrol. I've been running one of those in-tank fuel catalysers for a year now with no apparent ill-effects.

The transmission is interesting in that that the drive is taken from the H-D gearbox sprocket via a short (40 links) heavy duty "O" ring chain to a modified bevel box from a Yamaha XS 1100. This turns the drive through 90 degrees and allows the use of a shortened prop shaft to a reliant axle. It saves having miles of chain whipping about, but on the other hand the short chain wears out quickly because it goes round so many times. One day I'd like to make an enclosed oil bath as I'm convinced it will extend chain length by keeping it cool and better lubricated.
One of the first things I did was to fit springer forks, they looked dead cool, but weren't really strong enough. I got the front mudguard mounted close to the wheel cos otherwise it tends to look a bit naff. Unfortunately I got it wrong and while slowing down I hit a pothole and the wheel hit the mudguard which acted as a very efficient brake. I reckon I'm possibly the only person to have ever done a stoppy on a trike! Unfortunately the weight of the trike was too much for the springers to take and they folded up. See the pictures above for the before and after (ignore my mate Dave taking the mick) . I have now gone back to boring old telescopic forks.

I must admit so far I haven't done any long runs. I've owned the Trike for 3 years, and for the first two reliability was a bit of a problem (nice bit of understatement there). 1999 was a good year reliability-wise so maybe I'll get a bit more adventurous in 2000!, mind you rigid frames may look clean and cool but they very quickly give you a numb bum.
I've made a start on a new frame the idea is to include wishbone suspension and a chain-driven differential. At the moment I have started to modify a mini diff, if anyone has any experience or knows of a suitable chain-driven diff please let me know. I've got some Ford Fiesta front hubs, discs & calipers and some lovely 10" wide 14" wheels. Will I ever get it all together ???. Watch this space and find out!
Since writing the above paragraph I have come across some information at Trikes'R' Us. This has made me think again, (see Tech-stuff, suspension ) Ho Hum, back to the drawing board.

Stop Press 25/4/00 Trike passed it's MOT today, and I took it for a quick blat (yeah it felt great !!!!!!!!!!) up to the petrol station for a quick jetwash and to fill it with fuel. Seems to be going well if a bit tappety. So I'm sitting here a very happy bunny.

Many thanks must go to Bruce (Arrowhead Trike & Bike Social Club) for moral support and technical help. Gary for his ace welding talents, and last but by no means least to Charlie at Motosport Motorcycle Centre, Wareham (01929 555003), for odds and ends, and coz he's a generally OK guy.