This was the first trike I ever built. Put together for my girlfriend at the time, around 1990, it was one of a matched his ‘n’ hers pair. Both rolling chassis were identical but mine had fatter rear wheels, a “QuickBob” tank & flat drag bars & was finished in metallic racing green. No photos of that one unfortunately.
They both used 5” over forks, (5” longer than standard length), fully rebuilt 3 cylinder XS750 Yamaha engines mounted in hard tailed & triked Yam frames, Reliant axles narrowed by 11” & sprung solo saddles. The frames used the original Yam engine cradles with lots of additional bracing & ultra stubby rigid back ends that gave an overall wheelbase two inches shorter than the standard bike.
This one ran a “King Sportster” tank & pull back bars from the Factory Custom version of the XS. Rear guards are steel trailer ones with inserts spliced into the middle to widen them. The frame was powder-coated gloss black while the tank & guards were done in “Aga Cooker Blue”! Although it looked great, I managed to build in just about every design fault imaginable. It was too short, too tall, too narrow, the forks were too long & the centre of gravity too high. The front end was so heavy I could hardly turn it into bends & as I pushed against the bars I simply pushed myself sideways on the seat springs. I used a standard Yam rear brake cylinder which didn’t have enough oomph to operate the Reliant drums. The gearing didn’t seem quite right either with the Reliant diff gears combined with the Yam motor & tall rear wheels producing a top speed of about 60mph with the engine revving way too fast.
I learnt a lot from this one though, which is why Manky trikes are now very low, with full width axles, wide bars for plenty of leverage & standard length forks, although they’re still kicked out at about 45 degrees -well, form has to win over function sometimes! Manky 1 was eventually sold, running but not MOT’d, to a disabled guy in Litham St Annes. Cost around two grand to build & was sold at a loss. Would be interested to know what happened to it.