THE TRIKE AND ITS OWNER
2007 Harley-Davidson FXSTC Softail Custom “trike” owned by Paul Shotter
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
It was a motorcyclist who said, “Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.” But for those who want the excitement of a chopper with greater stability and cargo space, the answer may be something in between: a three-wheeled “trike.” These unusual vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, with the two wheels and the steering located in either the front or rear. Some even consider motorcycles with sidecars to be a form of trike.
Harley and other manufacturers produce them right from the factory. But some buffs, such as Shotter, prefer to do custom conversions using special aftermarket kits available from a number of companies. His ride started life as a Softail, a motorcycle so named because it has a rear suspension with springs or shock absorbers to take the bumps.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it new.
“The Harley started out in 2007 on two wheels,” he says. “In 2010, the conversion to a trike began and was completed. During the next three years, various components were added: for example, the rear 'tour pack' (usually consisting of a luggage compartment and backrest), the front fairing, a number of engine performance enhancements and many dress-up accessories.” Typical trike accessories might include chromed lights and light bars, polished wheels, “bras” (vinyl coverings to protect from road dirt and stones), rake kits (to improve steering geometry) and even trailer hitches. To make their vehicles stand out even more, some trike owners add wild metallic paint jobs, pinstriping and other artwork to the various body parts.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Do your reading and ask questions of other trike owners before doing a conversion,” Shotter advises. “Review all varieties of kits, accessories and engine parts for compatibility.” Roadrunner magazine notes that some of the challenges of riding a motorcycle are reduced on a trike. They include fears about tipping over or losing control while going too fast into corners, as well as concerns about misjudging the brakes.
Shotter says his Harley is worth $23,000. Kelley Blue Book places a retail value of $11,250 on a 2007 Softail Custom before the trike conversion. New trikes from the Harley factory can range from under $31,000 to more than $34,000 before options.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“This trike conversion is unique, given the various accessories from more than 15 vendors and manufacturers,” Shotter says.