Harley-Davidson Trikes That You Could Have Ridden

If you see these project bikes it’s because in 2006 Harley-Davidson decided not to go ahead with production. Code named “Penster” these 2 projects were conceived quite a few years ago by genius car & bike designer John Buttera. Via a unique suspension system, these trikes are supposed to lean when you turn with leaning angle adapting to speed and curve…Was it too awkward, unperfect with liability risks or too forward thinking? Maybe all three, but still a quite interesting engineering approach in a very boring trike world. Harley loves tradition, so instead you got the “safe” and classic Tri-Glide. These 2 prototypes are now shown at the Harley-davidson museum

30 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Trikes That You Could Have Ridden”

  1. 1 Randy Aug 23rd, 2011 at 8:51 am

    What seems a very good idea never makes it with HD.

  2. 2 1550tc Aug 23rd, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Reverse trikes that lean will be the next wave of bikes from Can Am/Spyder, hd will get into the market iam sure.

    get some fatter front tires and get rid of that sprint car push bar/rear bumper and these trikes dont look that bad

    thanks Cyril

  3. 3 deadwood1783 Aug 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Remember the Trihawk project from the early 80’s? How about the Nova project? HD generally takes the safest route and it has proven to be a winning formula over the years. But, if we want to move forward, its time to be innovative. We as an industry must find a way to attract the younger demographic if we are to survive and prosper.

  4. 4 Brother T Aug 23rd, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I saw that display at the Collection X exhibit at the MoCo museum. The front wheels actually leaned, to make it more like a motorcycle (as opposed to not leaning on a Trike or CanAm). Very cool stuff.

  5. 5 live2rideaglide Aug 23rd, 2011 at 9:56 am

    That purple one is cool. Better looking 3 spot than anything else Ive seen , factory built anyway.

  6. 6 CafeSportyTC Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    what i dont get is that the MoCo spends all this money is , design , development and prototyping , and then they dont even really put it out there to get the worlds opinion of it and see if it worth going into production , we only see it years after the fact…. kinda pisses me off. but i guess H-D has always marched to the beat of a diifferent drum……

  7. 7 Luis Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Piaggo made this work w/ their MP3 scooter.

  8. 8 Luis Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Piaggio actually.

  9. 9 Matt Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Given the lukewarm to dismissive reception the V-Rod has gotten from Harley purists I can only imagine the mutiny that would have occurred if Harley released something THIS different! =0

  10. 10 henry Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:47 am

    we gonna make it look real charp (sharp). spoke wheels man, chrome chain steering wheel man, cholo fishtails man, hydraulics man ! we gonna look good pulling up to the taco truck man.

  11. 11 deadwood1783 Aug 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    V-Rod suffered a different fate. MSRP was too high at launch for the target demographic. Plus at launch, the Dealers were still fat, dumb, and happy and added 3-5k to an already overpriced MSRP causing V-Rod to be in effect, stillborn. It was a second bike basically for the folks who afford the asking price. If you leave the V-Rod engine alone, it is one of if not the most reliable powerplant HD has ever produced. 95% of the engine failures I’ve seen with V-Rod relate to some type of performance modification.

  12. 12 John Botts Aug 23rd, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I think Harley is missing a huge opportunity by not producing these. I can’t tell you how many Can-Am Spyders I’ve seen around.
    Harley already makes at least 50% or more of the parts on these bikes, so it wouldn’t take that much new tooling to get them built. Plus a leaning trike would be so much better than the non-leaning Can-Am and H-D one.

  13. 13 TRexSG Aug 23rd, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    – CafeSportyTC
    Just because you don’t see a new model doesn’t mean that the R&D was a waste. Lots of ideas from the Nova Project worked them selves into regular production. Think composite saddlebags. Think V-Rod.

    I thought I wanted a V-Rod and did a test tide on one but it was to tall and not suited for two up riding. Why not put that great engine in something similar to a Dyna and in a Touring Model?? I would have loved to have that motor in my Street Glide. HD???

    As for a trike, when I’m to damn old to hold a real bike up I might look at one, but not until.

  14. 14 Brother T Aug 23rd, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    If you can see it, Collection X had prototype VRod. I think the sign said the prototype was built in 1996. Five (?) years before the first production model? You could tell it was a VRod, but it certainly went through a lot of development along the way.

  15. 15 philip Aug 23rd, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I wish Harley would get into the concept bike business. Build something new, take it to Daytona and Sturgis and let the people have a voice in what gets produced. I think every other manufacturer in the world does this.

  16. 16 sollis Aug 23rd, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    John Buttera was the man , he played big role in drag racing as well

  17. 17 Heavy Metal Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    The famed indy car builder AJ Watson built himself a trike like this many years ago.

  18. 18 Donnie Aug 24th, 2011 at 8:23 am

    While I know my old brain cells are not as clear as they used to be …but way back in the day was there not a side car rig , Flexi-Flyer. or something of that sort ..that allowed the leaning aspect of 2 wheel motorcycling ..but stability of 3 wheels…..yup dusty brain cells…ah but what memories

  19. 19 Olive Oil Aug 24th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I’ve reach that point in my life that I cannot hold up my Harley now. I am shopping for a trike now and would have surely considered one of these.

  20. 20 Olive Oil Aug 24th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Now that I can no longer hold up my machine I would surely have considered one of these. Shopping for a trike now.

  21. 21 Dale Aug 24th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I don’t care who makes em: No.

  22. 22 Rick Lossner Aug 25th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Put two on the rear, bump to tires to 330’s , and you’ve got a Bourgette 4 wheeler 🙂 ( visually reminds me of it)

  23. 23 Buck Rogers Aug 25th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    A co-worker just got a Spyder, After seeing HD Prototype I think I would like the opened-up front-end alot better than the Spyder that brings to mind the Honda PCH (dipped-in-plastic) look, that’s just me though, different strokes for different folks. I think HD could get into this type market, hell even the wheel-chair bike market…who knows.

  24. 24 Charles Aug 25th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I LIKE!!!!!!!

    For us old guys that can’t balance the big scooters anymore, it is a godsend.

    I’d love to have had one!

  25. 25 Harley Tech 2008 Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I see so many Riders taken out of the sadle due to injury,surgery,amputated lembs so I think especially in this drowning economy that our government is experiencing the HDMC could benefit from a trike of this nature do a little fine tuning send a few to a couple of Techs an bike builders as a top secret project take all the prototypes and collabarate to make something legendary and start off by selling them as special order only price them as you would a Vrod , send one to each dealership and see what happens but aside from the frame and the suspension build them with currently manufactured HD parts so the company really isn’t out much if for some odd reason it flops but I really don’t see thy happening and last but not least do all manufacturing in the united states make a few more jobs and put a smile on Willy G’s face !!!

  26. 26 Steve Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I wish that HD would think outside of whatever mindset they’re in! Like liquid cooled tour bikes, changing the angle of the cylinders to eliminate vibration, increase horsepower, and yes even a trike! I don’t own an HD simply because I wanted a liquid cooled touring machine.

  27. 27 RICK WILSON Aug 25th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I heard they bought out TRI-HAWK…because they wanted to do a 3 wheeler. Harley Should do as much as they can…

  28. 28 ODee Aug 25th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    @ Sollis, I couldn’t agree more, Lil Jon was an underheralded legend! Started building race car chassis (circle and drag) back in Wisconsin, moved to California where -love it or hate it, he was largely responsible for starting the whole billet movement (Boyd openly gave him credit for coming up with the idea of bolting machined centers into Centerlines). He also had a lot to do with the machined/engineered look that’s so common today!

  29. 29 Virus Aug 25th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Lil John built some of the cleanest, leanest bikes I’ve ever seen, back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. They were incredibly light and simple, just like these trikes. I have ridden a Spyder; leaning was what it lacked! Love to try one!

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