To the best of my knowledge, Rick’s House Of Custom “Twenty Six” is the first custom Harley-Davidson Tri Glide featuring a 26” front wheel. Why doing such a makeover? Because a client asked, and it looks pretty good. And maybe many others will ask after seeing this feature. Especially after I mention that this Rick’s conversion is fully TUV approved in Europe, making it a very safe customization option in the US where regulations are much less stringent.
Although Harley-Davidson has been involved with 3-wheelers since a very long time – remember the delivery service cars and police trikes – it’s only recently that the Milwaukee manufacturer started to mass produce trikes for the general public. Actually, in 1971, Honda was the first major company to offer a 3-wheeler (The ACT90) for the general public, but it was an off-road vehicle. And it was a failure! During the 70’s, most trikes were garage built and not always reliable, or conversions using all types of motor platforms. Then, companies like Lehman, Roadsmith, Motor Trike and others realized there was a market and started to offer standard trike conversions for several make models. Harley-Davidson observed the evolution of the 3-wheeler market and eventually asked Lehman to produce its first H-D trikes. When sales of the Lehman/Harley trikes confirmed the existence of a small but growing market, Harley moved the production to its own assembly line in York/Pennsylvania…
So, what is making trikes attractive to Boomers, riding in solo or as a couple, looking for an extra sense of safety, stability, packing capacity, visibility on the road. Qualities also attracting those older riders losing their full physical aptitudes at riding a 2-wheeler, and women afraid to handle an heavy motorcycle or feeling safer as a passenger when the transportation is on one extra wheel. It’s a safe bet to predict that in the next 10 years, you can expect more customized Harley trikes on the road and of course in bike shows.
Back to Rick’s “Twenty six”, the client nor the builder wanted to sacrifice any comfort or ride-ability during this 26” front wheel swap. Rick’s approached the challenge using its already homologated “Touring Bagger 26” and 30″ front wheel” conversion, but adapting it to take in account the heavier forces applied on a trike frame compared to those on a 2-wheel motorcycle. A kit modification also already approved by the TUV! The kit consists in part of a longer steering head assembly welded to the frame and precisely fitted thanks to a calibrated frame gauge. The “Gimme” 26 x 5’ new wheel is from Rick’s catalog, as are the matching design and beefy 15” diameter discs. Stock brake calipers are retained thanks to Rick’s custom brake adaptors.
Those knowing well the Trike Glide will notice the intense bodywork for the 3 new fenders. In the rear, factory top case and luggage compartment were kept. In front, the fairing and advance electronics come from the Rushmore model. For customization, parts are all those offered for Baggers either in the Harley or Rick’s catalog. “Doing A Big Wheel” is certainly possible not only on the Tri Glide but also on the H-D Street Glide Trike (now discontinued) and the H-D Freewheeler (the “hot rod” version of the Tri Glide) Those 2017 models are equipped with the Milwaukee Eight engine. They are having slightly different motor mounts, but it’s not a big deal for Rick’s, already ready to challenge himself on these 2 most recent H-D trike models. As expected, a road test reported a lighter steering at low speed, and of course additional centrifugal forces from tire and wheel at higher speeds. But a conversion that you can ride with confidence for the long haul.. Rick’s Motorcycles/House Of Custom. (photography: static @ Peter Schultz, riding @ Horst Roesler)