This trike was born when my mates Andy Field, (owner/builder of the red Reliant trike featured in AWOL magazine and the green one in Back Street Heroes and proprietor of the Manky Monkey Motors website), and Darren Nash, (owner/builder of the orange “Flapster” Reliant also featured in BSH), twisted my arm into agreeing 3 is better than 2 -wheels that is! Having ridden bikes for almost 20 years and just about surviving intact, I thought I’d give it a go. How hard could it be?!
My FZR 400 was sold to help finance the project and the first of many, many long freezing nights in my brother in law, Nigel Bullock’s garage began.
Andy loves all things 2, 3 and 4 wheeled and soon came up with some suitable wheels. At the front end is a Honda Superdream wheel, with Ducati 900ss forks held in one and a half inch thick aluminium yokes, and a one-off wheel spindle, both machined by local engineer & hotrodder, Doug Newell. At the back end, the wheels were supplied by Andy’s drag racing brother Steve & originally graced a Ford Capri. They’re 14 inch, 5 spoke Revolutions with adaptors made by Doug again to mate up with the Reliant axle.
The next stage was to mock up my dream machine using the assembled front end, axle and Reliant motor, balanced on a few tins of paint and planks of wood in the time honoured Manky Monkey Motors way. The frame was built from heavy gauge ERW, (Electrical Resistance Welded), tubing. We played around with the paint tin/wooden plank mock up until we had the desired dimensions, then handlebar, gear change and footpeg positions were set out to suit my diminutive but perfectly proportioned form. Andy mig welded the frame together, then three months of evenings of hand filing began between myself, Andy, and Nige, smoothing out all the joints until it looked just right. After that episode the frame was taken to A and C Shotblasting of Newbury, Berkshire, where it was given a thick glossy black powder coat, along with the modified King Sportster fuel tank and other bits and pieces.
At long last it was final assembly time. The engine & gearbox are more or less standard except for an aluminium carb spacer machined by my neighbour Pete. The exhaust is a modified Reliant one ending in a Cherry Bomb silencer for that lovely rasping note. I originally fitted a large British headlight, but had problems with too much wiring being stuffed into it, causing shorts and bad earths, so it was replaced with twin black street fighter spots which I think suit it much more. A Suzuki GSXR front mudguard was sprayed up in black and hung above the Honda wheel on home made brackets. I made the front Superdream brake caliper hanger too. The rear discs conversion is to Andy’s much copied design, using Vauxhall Nova discs and V.W Golf calipers. The radiator is a British Leyland Mini item mounted on the front frame down tubes with a Suzuki Intruder fan keeping things cool. The bulk of the wiring was performed by mutual friend Reg, but tweaked along the way by Nigel, myself and my old man. All things electrical live in boxes below the seat made from an old pub sign by my friend Mick Foreman and powder coated black. The rear mudguards were cut and rolled by Bernie of Project Fabrications in Newbury, Berks from 3mm aluminium sheet. The trike was originally planned as a single seater, but I made the detachable rear seat base which was finished off by Basingstoke Upholstery, who did a lovely job.
Mick & I belong to a Napoeleonic re-enactment group, serving in the 71st Highland Infantry, so the battle axe back rest he made me seemed kind of appropriate. Mick also made the clutch pedal assembly & rear caliper mounting plates.
After literally years of evenings in the garage, the black beastie was ready. We had a few minor teething problems to sort out but now she's a bloody great ride! She handles very well at speeds of 90mph + with one blown head to prove it! She's been on the road now for 3 years. Passengers get off and walk a little crooked for a while but hey ho, she’s a hardtail after all! Like me, she was built for fun and I use her regularly in all weathers. The only thing she needs is a more powerful battery for cold weather starting and a little more gentle use by me!
Many thanks to my bro in law Nigel for all his hard work and use of his garage,
Andy Field, Mick Foreman, Reg and anyone else that helped.
A full run down on the building of the rolling chassis can be seen on Andy’s website,