I would like to thank the Las Vegas Trike Center for providing most of the following general information. Specific information is from Fusion Trikes.
Q. What is a trike?
A. In the simplest of terms, a trike is a motorcycle that has had the rear wheel removed and had an automobile rear end and two wheels added. A fiberglass body is added to the rear with fenders and a trunk (on most models). It won't fall over like a two-wheeled motorcycle can.
Q. Why should I buy a trike?
A.There are several different reasons to buy a trike. The primary reason - they are a lot of fun! You get all the experience of riding a motorcycle with more stability. Other good reasons are if you have poor balance, weak knees or weak legs. You may be too short, too big or too small. Maybe you don't want to ride pillion, and are tired of looking at the back of a helmet, or just want to be independent. And a trike eliminates the inevitability of going down.
Q. Why should I buy a Fusion Trike rather than some other brand?
A. Fusion Trikes is the only company in South Africa designing and building trikes from roadworthy or refurbished car and superbike donor vehicles for general use on the road. Leading edge technologies, outstanding designs and careful parts selection produces strong bodies, powerful performance, modern styling and incredibly good looks at affordable prices. We specialize in Japanese superbike, Triumph and BMW roadbike conversions, as well as a wide range of frame designs incorporating car drive trains from 1200cc up to 6.0L V8's, and all designs are uniquely our own. All our mechanics are certified and have customizing experience. We will soon have the first trike showroom in the country and we are offering exciting dealership opportunities. We will offer demo rides throughout the week and outrides on Saturdays and Sundays so you can try before you buy. We will soon have financing available and you will get excellent service from our friendly staff! We will also carry a full line of accessories for your trike, and triker gear for you.
Q. Can I have my motorcycle converted? What motorcycles can be triked?
A. Fusion Trikes can convert all chain and shaft-driven superbikes from 600cc upwards into a trike design of your choice. You can choose from commuter, sport, cruiser, chopper, family, luxury, roadrunner or delivery trike designs. All of these can be further customized to make them uniquely your own.
Q. Can I buy a complete trike?
A. Yes, you can! Come and talk to us about your requirements and your budget. We will advise you on which trike design and drive train would best suit you and your circumstances.
Q. What is the Fusion Trikes warranty?
A. Standard warranty is 6 months with unlimited mileage on parts and labor. Extended warranties are not yet available but this is something we are working on for the future.
Q. What is the resale value on trikes?
A. The resale on trikes varies from model to model. Also, there is no Motor Dealer's Hand Book that dictates what you should sell your trike for, so it's quite possible to sell your Fusion Trike for the same or more than what you paid for it. The free market principle of "willing seller, willing buyer" applies. On the whole, Fusion Trikes maintain excellent resale value and market appeal. It may take a little longer to sell due to the smaller three-wheeled market, but this also accounts for their ability to retain their value. The Fusion Trike Center will sell your good condition Fusion Trike for you.
Q. Do I have to wear a helmet?
A. In South Africa, this is a bit of a grey area. Some officials say you must wear a helmet if you are riding a bike trike, but not if you are riding a car trike or if your trike has roll bars and seat belts. However, with the poor condition of some roads and the high number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road, for safety's sake we strongly recommend wearing one.
Q. Do I need a motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license?
A. You only need a motorcycle license (larger than 50cc) to drive a trike.
Q. How do trikes ride?
A. With two wheels on the rear of the motorcycle, you will notice an increase in the amount of road feel. At low speeds there is some side to side movement, but once higher speeds (over 40 km/h) are reached, the trike rides very similar to the two-wheeled equivalent. See our "Riding Tips" for more information.
Q. How does a trike conversion affect the motorcycle performance?
A. A bike-to-trike conversion will cause a marginal decrease in both fuel economy and top speed. This is due in part to the added weight and the increased drag created by the rear fenders.
Q. How does the conversion affect gas mileage?
A. Fuel economy on a bike trike will decrease 10 - 20% on average depending on the trike and motorcycle model. However, a car-based trike will be faster, more powerful and more economical than the original 4-wheeler.
Q. Are trikes better than bikes for pulling a trailer?
A. Yes, trikes are more stable than a two-wheel motorcycle because of the two wheels at the rear. Trikes are more adept at pulling trailers because the fenders buffer the wind away from the trailer creating less air resistance. Trikes are also affected less by trailer movement than bikes.
Q. Are they difficult to learn how to ride?
A. Trikes handle quite differently from regular two-wheeled motorcycles; however they are relatively easy to learn to ride. With proper instruction you will become quite comfortable in a short period of time. The Fusion Trike Center can help familiarize you with trike riding and assist you in becoming more comfortable on three-wheels. See our "Riding Tips" for more information.
Q. Will it tip over?
A. Under normal operating conditions, the trike will not tip. However, all vehicles have the ability to tip if operated in an unsafe manner.
Q. How does it corner? Do you have to slow down?
A. Fusion Trikes corner much like small sports cars in the way they hug the turns. An experienced rider should actually be able to out-corner most cruiser or touring motorcycles. See "Trike Rear Ends" for information on the difference between live axles and independent rear suspensions on trikes. However, Fusion Trikes does not recommend exceeding the posted speed limits.
Q. How do they steer?
A. The steering is noticeably different from that of a two-wheeler. There is no counter-steering on a trike so greater effort is required to turn at slower speeds. This effect decreases as higher speeds are reached. Fusion Trikes can install a 3-degree raked triple tree to make steering easier on many trike models.
Q. What are raked triple trees and do Fusion trikes require them?
A. Raked triple trees are a front-end modification that slightly stretches out the front wheel of the motorcycle with standard front forks. This results in easier turning and a "power steering" effect. Although not required on Fusion trikes, many customers find them advantageous.
Q. How do I brake?
A. Unfortunately for a single front wheel, the forces involved in braking are higher than accelerating, so making sure the ability for a trike to brake when in a corner must also be very carefully considered. When further compromised with a narrow front tyre, with a round profile which tends to limit braking ability, then problems can accrue. Hence, like a bike, brake in a straight line before the bend and accelerate out, unless you have a trike that is poorly balanced and you need to compensate for poor handling.
Q. What causes handlebar shake on a trike? Can it be fixed?
A. Handlebar shake is the result of some fundamental differences between a two-wheeler and a three-wheeler. A two-wheeler is designed to turn at higher speeds by leaning into the corners. In actual fact, at speeds above 16 km/h the handlebars are steered left to make the three-wheeler go right. On a three-wheeler there is no leaning, so you have to steer the trike where you want it to go. Some minor shake in the handlebars is characteristic of certain models of trikes at very low speeds. As you increase your speed, the shake will go away. This is not dangerous and should not cause any alarm. If you are uncomfortable with this, Fusion Trikes has various accessories available that can help reduce this.
Q. How do I back up my trike?
A. Bike trikes are fairly easy to push backward or forward manually. Car-engined trikes all have a reverse gear.
Q. Do Fusion Trikes use independent suspension?
A. Yes, although we also use live axles on some of our trikes, eg: our delivery trikes, which also use leaf spring rear suspension rather than coil over. There is a trade-off between the two axle types. A live axle trike handles better in fast corners than one with independent rear suspension, but the IRS trike is much more comfortable to ride, especially on long trips. Independent suspension has been proved to be less stable during fast cornering on a trike application but they are equally fast in a straight line. You just have to slow down more for corners. If you are not going to throw your trike into corners, the independent suspension is the better option. See "Trike Rear Ends" for more information.