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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 21:56 pm 
Apprentice
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 18:07 pm
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Location: Birmingham, UK
Hi all,

I was within sight of my goal of riding a motorcycle again when I got a diagnosis that means I cannot now safely ride a two-wheeler. So I'm looking at trike options. I really think a tilt trike conversion will be the best thing for me, but how to do it? I've got a BMW F650GS 2004 which has already had most of my adaptations done on it so I want to convert that.

I have two reasons for preferring the tilt option: the pure feel of the riding and the forces involved in riding a standard trike. I think I'd really struggle with a standard set up.

I'm open to different methods of tilt. I'm not set on a rear or front trike preference. I have a bit of money to spend on this but not endless funds.

I've found various things in the US that are either very expensive or designed only for Harleys. Usually both. There was a thread on here from 2007 listing some tilt trike makers but the links are all dead now.

Any thoughts or suggestions for kits or makers in the UK, please? I'm trying to turn this into a positive and find a good solution soon so I don't turn into a sobbing, snotty wreck again. That's just not pretty.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 01:01 am 
Hurricane
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 16:59 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Dorset (any further south and I'd fall off!)
I'm not sure that there's any option for a tilt trike in UK - doubtless someone will come along to correct me!

But hey, bite the bullet, go the whole hog and get an ordinary trike or get your bike converted which is what I did. Trikes are great fun, just different from bikes. You have to make up your mind to that cos a trike is NOT just a 3 wheeled bike. Steering is very different (you actually steer it), braking is different (mostly rear instead of mostly front), and going round tight roundabouts in the wet is mental!

:wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 14:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 18:07 pm
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Location: Birmingham, UK
Thanks, BikerGran!

It's been a log time since I've even been on the back of a trike but I remember it being hard work. Fun, yes, but hard. I think the guy giving me a ride was showing off a bit though, so I know it really doesn't have to be that tough a ride!

I've got arthritis in my hands, wrists and shoulders so I'm concerned that the steering is going to be too much for me. That's one of the big reasons to prefer a tilt trike. If it steers like a bike then that's a hell of a lot easier on my weedy arms.

What's your experience of how much arm strength is needed? I have a general policy of making things as light and easy as possible so that I can ride more often and for longer.

Of course, there's also the problem of centrifugal force on the rider that you don't get when tilting.

What did you mean about going around tight roundabouts in the wet???

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 15:21 pm 
Hurricane
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 16:59 pm
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Location: Dorset (any further south and I'd fall off!)
Well you can slide it round roundabouts! Not entirely recommended but when you survive it's good!

I too have arthritis in hands elbows and shoulders (and knees and toes, just like the song!) and my trike was converted from my Kwak GT550. I was finding the steering heavy and tiring so I had custom made extended yokes, bar risers, and wider bars fitted. The difference is incredible! I can now steer easiuly round a bend with one hand on the bars instead of hanging on like grim death!

I'll try and find the photos of the conversion. Heavy steering is always a problem with a bike to trike conversion if the standard front end is used because of course, it's not what it was designed for. The other alternative is to go for a scratch-built trike, but the problem is that you need a pretty big engine - making for a big trike - to get the kind of acceleration a biker is used to! Top speed on mine isn't very high but I always surprise the two wheel lot when I pull away1

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 16:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 18:07 pm
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Location: Birmingham, UK
Sliding round roundabouts? You're making trikes sound like a lot of fun! :lol:

I'm really trying to get my head round this trike-not-bike future of mine. But I'm much happier to have a trike than not ride at all. You are certainly helping me to believe that the riding won't be as hard as I feared. That's a huge help, thank you.

I've done so much work on the bike already that I'd need a really convincing reason to ditch that project and start afresh. So if my F650GS can make a happy trike, then that will make a happy Kath. Not a huge engine but I think if the conversion is not too heavy, it'd be okay.

I'm trying to picture a GS with forks like a chopper! It ain't pretty. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 18:12 pm 
Hurricane
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 16:59 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Dorset (any further south and I'd fall off!)
Nothing like a chopper!

Hunting for pictures now.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 23:01 pm 
Hurricane

Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 341
Location: Cumbernauld, Scotland
sounds like a lot of time, energy, expense and work not to mention you need to make sure that's legal on UK roads and if it doesn't work out for you selling it on may be problematic and you'll never get your money back..... now after that downer and sorry for pi55ing on your party :weeping: there are some positives.

firstly your a trailblazer and if it works others will follow and we will all be eternally grateful to you for showing us the way
secondly if its your dream never give up no matter what doubters may say, better to have tried and failed than to never have tried... blah blah blah etc etc
thirdly if you still want to ride you could stick a sidecar on, cheaper, still riding a bike, can carry more than most trikes (eg tents, beer) and if doesn't work split them and sell it on (you'll still lose money but maybe not as much?)
fourthly depending on your condition (& finances) maybe consider buying something like a piaggio mp3, the 3 wheel scooter that rides and leans like a bike but can be locked upright when you stop (at lights, junctions etc), honda are supposed to be bring out their own version soon
fifthly buy a ticket for the rally in May and come along to see what others ride and talk to them.
sixthly (?) leading link forks will make the steering as light as you want it to be
seventhly (??) dont worry about riding a trike, they are great fun and you will love it and at the end of the day you will still be riding :-)

hope that helps, and for the record so you know where i am coming from, i am a wheelchair user who rides with a sidecar (so i admit i am biased) but i did also have a trike for a short while and although it was great fun it wasn't for me.

onwards and upwards and good luck in whatever you decide :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 00:06 am 
Hurricane
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 16:59 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Dorset (any further south and I'd fall off!)
Very strange, I posted this earlier and I know it was there cos I checked the link was working!

Anyway, here again - link to pics of my (gertie's) new front end, and the original for comparison.

http://s195.photobucket.com/user/BikerGran_photos/slideshow/Gerties%20new%20front%20end?sort=4

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 14:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 18:07 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Birmingham, UK
Thank you, both! That is so helpful! Bikergran, she's a beauty. I especially liked the Dalek plunger. :D

I've had a lot to think about these last few days, so my head's been all over the place. What I'm thinking now, thanks largely to the pair of you, is that the sidecar option is an excellent short-term solution while I keep an eye out for the right trike. Converting my 650 to a trike doesn't make much sense. If the sidecar thing feels great, then I'm sorted. Though I suspect I'd prefer a trike in the coming years.

I have been a passenger on both trikes and sidecar rigs (pillion and in the sidecar) but have never ridden either myself. I am much encouraged that I would be strong enough to ride a trike with the forks set right. Is riding a sidecar similarly challenging? I know you steer it, more like a trike. The lopsidedness of a sidecar rig unsettles me a little but I'm sure I'll learn the skills. Does the same principle apply to lightening the steering?

I've really appreciated your help. The tilt thing would be fun, but it's not something I'm going to insist on at all. I just want to ride!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 19:51 pm 
Hurricane
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 16:59 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Dorset (any further south and I'd fall off!)
Sidecar is a whle different ball game. Those who ride an outfit can tell you more than I can, except that I opted for a trike because I didn't want to end up in a ditch which apparently happens the first time you ride one! Something to do with accelerating to go one way, and braking to go the other - I knew I'd never remember which was which! :shock:

Have to say I couldn't quite see the GS as a trike, but all things are possible - local bloke rides a Hayabusa trike!

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