Trikes are converted  that have a single front wheel  and an axle in the rear  that is similar to that of a car .  And the biker community is  crazy about them. If you want to give one a try, you can buy one that’s  ready made by Harley , buy one of the good used trikes for sale  but you can also build your own trike if you’re sure that  you have the necessary tools and a moderate amount of mechanical skill .  

Before you jump in with both feet , you should know that many before you have learned the hard way that  building a trike can be more than they could handle  and ended up throwing up their hands  or taking the less difficult route of converting an old Volkswagon car into a trike.  This method has its advantages  as far as performance is concerned as well as it’s a way  of recycling an old automobile  that would have otherwise wound up in a salvage yard .  You get a custom Volkswagon trike  and do a little something to save the environment at the same time!


To get started on your project , you have to have a motorcycle, tools, a welder and metal working machines  and at times, an extra set of hands.  Equipment common to a  welding and/or machine shop is crucial  to the building process and once you have the motorcycle together ,  it’s going to need a paint job for it to look its best if you added fenders.  

Here is the short list  of tools, parts and equipment that you will need to build a trike in addition to the usual sets of wrenches and screwdrivers  found in most toolboxes.

A welder , welding supplies and welding equipment  

Two Floor Jacks

A metal lathe

Sheet metal and Sheet metal stock

A pair of  trailer wheels and tires

If you add  fenders you will need a paint booth, paint and painting supplies.

STEP 1.  

Secure  your two wheeled motorcycle  on the jack stands , loosen the nuts on the sides of the rear axle.  Slide the rear tire towards the front of the bike  while sliding the chain off the  sprocket letting  you to pull  the wheel off the  swing arm.

Now’s the time to make a decision on how wide you want the axle of the trike .  You can make your axle as wide or as narrow  as you want it but standard width is approximately  38 ½ from drum to drum.  Although I’ve heard of widths of as wide as  45 ½ and as narrow as 35 inches let’s assume that you want to build a trike that is half as wide as its total length. 


Determine  how long the rear axle should be according to these measurements  and then subtract the length of the original axle  from that number.  Divide this number  by two and you’ll have the measurement of the axle that you will be welding to each side of the original rear axle . 

Use the metal lathe to turn some of your metal stock  to make it the same  thickness of the  existing rear axle.  Weld your turned extensions  to each end of the existing axle being absolutely certain that you’re welding them squarely . 


You can now start welding the wheel hubs on  the ends of your modified axle and to put the new axle in place on the swing arm.  Snug up the nuts and replace the motorcycle’s chain  on the sprocket.  Mount your  trailer wheels and tires onto the ends of the extended axle and secure them with  lug nuts.   

At this point in the trike building process , you have the option of adding fenders (which will most likely need painting ) or just cranking her up and taking her for a ride  and proving to your biker friends that you know a thing or two about how to build a trike motorcycle.


Amateurs  might misread the title of this article as “How to Build a Trike in Three Easy Steps” because well…I condensed the instructions into three steps that may actually be easy to experienced motorcycle mechanics.  But the truth is that actually building a trike  takes more than a little welding and metal working skill.  For instance, if the axle is not welded perfectly square  your trike is going to shake like crazy on the road creating a very dangerous situation that could cause a horrible motorcycle crash  with possible casualties and that’s just one of number of other things that can happen if you mess up .   

If you have any doubts  that you possess the necessary skills, do yourself (and everybody on the road ) a favor and cruise the used motorcycles for sale in the classifieds  for a good used trike for sale or ask an experienced friend to help you learn how to build a trike before before you hurt yourself .    


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