The Wart Hog Harley-Davidson Trike

Zaf wanted a trike that would stand out in a crowd… mission accomplished!

DAMN POTHOLES! I’ve been dodging those sneaky, bone-crunching, bike-destroying things for more than 35 years giving me not much time to enjoy going to the places I’ve been to. As a long-term member of the VVMC, I’ve seen a lot of good men go arse-over-tit doing silly things. Not having a serious accident in that time, I’ve had to contemplate my future as an older rider and thought I’ve got to do something.

The idea of a VW-powered trike left me cold, having ridden Harleys most of my bike days. The idea of my pillion stuck up in the air catching the birds and lounging in an armchair didn’t appeal to me. So, as a past design engineer, I put on my thinking cap and designed my idea of a trike that I could ride in comfort and style well into my 70s.

I approached a mate of mine, Paul Kent from Eagleby, who, I may say, is a fucking genius on things mechanical, who was building VW trikes as a pastime. Together, we worked out a machine which represented a true trike, not a three-legged car with handlebars.

We started off with a girder front-end wider than my Dyna Wide Glide. Then Paul did the frame from 2 mm thick, 40 mm mild steel pipe. There was only one specification: if I was unlucky and had a head-on with a Mack truck, I could look in my mirrors and see the smoking remains of the truck scattered all over the highway. 

Paul’s mate Rob from Minden, a registered welder, stitched it all up doing a perfect job. Thanks, mate.

Everything on this trike is handmade—and I mean everything! It has taken four years to complete. It is not a show trike—it is for riding and having fun—but if I pick up a trophy or two on the way, that’s okay.

Every nut and bolt is polished stainless and finished with an acorn nut. The high tensile bolts were polished and gold-plated, as with many, many components done by Queensland Electroplaters. Triple trees, footboards and engine parts all polished and chromed to perfection, sometimes up to four times, done by Keith and his fellow workers. Thanks, men.

All fasteners compliments of Luke and the boys at the Nut & Bolt Factory at Yatala. They are the only ones to see.

Being a Vietnam Veteran, the trike has a military theme. The dog-bones on the girder are replicated 40 mm cannon shells out of 316 stainless by another talented man, Mick (aka Stretch). The oil tank is a 105 Howitzer shell from the Vietnam War. The projectile is billet alloy made on Paul’s lathe.

After hearing all the horror stories of trikes taking up to three to four years to be registered, mine was registered in five weeks. Thanks to our engineer, Bruce Hartwig, and Ray and the boys at Queensland Transport workshops, it passed with flying colours.

Now comes the good part—riding a real trike with pride, knowing that it is unique, and making up four years of hard work, stress, frustration and spending X-large amounts of cash.

Specifications:

Engine: H-D Twin Cam, Mikuni carb and modified air intake.

Front-end: Girder with handmade triple trees.

Gearbox: Chain driven VW with reverse.

Front Wheel: 16” X 5” rim with twisted s/s spokes.

Rear Wheels: 16” x 7” Dragways, 6-stud which were on my mate’s Rodeo ute. Midnite, who died on his bike in ’94.

Frame: Custom.

Handlebars: Custom.

Seats: Flop moulded from Massey Ferguson tractor and leather covered.

Rear Suspension: A-frame custom built with AVO coil covers.

Brakes: S/S discs from Katana, rear drums, all foot operated with proportional valve.

Handbrake: WW2 bayonet electronically operated with a  microswitch.

Fuel Tank: Mounted up front in the frame; 32 litres.

Gauge: Dakota

Ignition: H-D in glove box, electronically operated.

Paint: Holographic prism and airbrushed Vietnam scene by me at Bazza’s.

Other Mods: Too many to list here; just check out the pics. 

Harley trike

Words by Zaf; pics by Jo

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