I’VE HAD numerous Harleys before this, just about all the Softail range bar the Springer. I still own a modified Softail custom as well. I love my Softail but my Softail doesn’t necessarily love me. I’ve got it rigged up very low on the back which makes it a very hard ride. I’ll still keep it but the trike is going to get the majority of the long runs and the Harley will be more of an around-town kind of bike.
I had another Rocket III before this one which was a three-time show winner here in Adelaide. But then me and Caz, my other half, were riding it, got rear-ended and left for dead in a hit and run, so that totalled the first Rocket III.
I had multiple fractures in the leg and wrist, about 113 fractures which comes back to haunt you as you get older. I smashed and dislocated my ankle—it’s still got 26 screws and two plates holding it together—and the wrist has about 18 screws and two plates holding it together. I’ve got a pinched nerve in the lower back which doesn’t help either.
I wasn’t going to get another Rocket III because of the accident, but then I missed it that much I bought this one as a second bike.
It started off as a joke really between me and Caz that we’d make it into a trike but then I found myself on the internet looking around. As soon as I saw this trike conversion from Eagle Trikes, I phoned Hoppy, the owner, and within a matter of days, I’d decided to send the bike to him to have it done. Up to that point I’d liked trikes but never really thought about owning one.
I’m very happy with the result. I think Hoppy’s done a very good job of the construction. He only had a few instructions, one was that I didn’t want it to be down in power, which he assured me it wouldn’t. He also ensured that it would look like it was meant to be, because I didn’t want it to look like a tacked on afterthought.
Some trikes are too wide and long. I wanted to make sure it was as compact as possible and very manoeuvrable in traffic, especially with the club rides. Manoeuvring and keeping up with the club was on the top of my list.
I don’t notice a power difference. It’s a 2300 cc, which is about 140 cubic inches, and it’s putting out about 150 horsepower stock. This one’s probably a little bit more because it’s got an open air-box and custom exhaust. When I take off the butterfly secondaries and derestrict it, she’ll have a lot more grunt; 10 more horsepower straight away and more radical on the throttle. I haven’t done it yet because I want to be sure I know how to use the trike before I get too carried away.
Like all bikes, it’s not finished yet. I’ve got some other things to do, possibly a paint job and full custom running boards for me and the passenger. There’s a possibility I’ll turbo-charge it in the future when I can afford it. Possibly a single headlight instead of doubles too but I’d have to change the windscreen to do that; that would probably be last on my list.
The chassis is all tubular frame; very strong. It’s got anti-sway bars and a torsion bar that stops the diff moving. It’s shaft drive into a Ford diff, which was one of the things I liked about it; I think it’s stronger than having a belt drive.
You’ve really got to forget what you’ve learned riding a motorcycle and re-learn when you buy a trike; it’s a totally different experience. I’ll confess, it did take me a while to get used to. My first ride nearly ended in disaster because I was still thinking motorcycle and you definitely have to steer a trike. You can’t counter-steer a trike; I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.
You get used to push-pull with your hands. It’s taken me about a month to really feel comfortable as far as the steering and handling of it, but now I’m getting used to it, I’m starting to have a bit of fun on it. I’m learning the art of drifting; it can actually break loose and drift.
It’s a very comfortable ride. I had it set up soft for my back and I like that soft, plush ride. It’s a fibreglass body and the boot’s capacity is about two Eskies full of beer.
I want to thank Hoppy at Eagle Trike for doing the work as fast as he did. He brought it forward because of my injuries otherwise it would have been a six-week wait just to get the bodywork from Motor Trike in America. I was lucky he had the kit there and available and I was able to jump the queue because another bloke was kind enough to let me go first.
One thing to remember is that if you’re riding a motorcycle at the moment and you want a trike, you have to re-learn. You tell yourself it’ll be easy but it does take a bit of concentration at first. I reckon it takes about a month to really get used to how the trike handles because you tend to get on and think it’s going to handle how the bike used to but it doesn’t—it’s totally different.
Photos by Chris Randells; words by Ric