Tri Pod Cars for 3 wheeler kits in Australia. Reverse trike by Tri Pod Cars

Trike advantages -

Can use motorcycle engine and still be registered for road use -

A motorcycle engine/transmission offers many advantages to the use of a car engine and accompaning transmission in such a light vehicle (typically 400kg) The obvious one is weight. Bike engines by nature of their use (used in very light vehicles) are designed with weight in mind. The usually 'built in' gearbox also helps reduce weight versus a heavy separate car item. Of course the bike engine and gearbox is designed with the light weight it is intended to push around. Therefore attention must be paid to trike design to not let the weight get out of hand and have the strength of motorcycle gearbox, clutch and chain driven final drive be pushed beyond its design limitations. The stated gross weight of most bikes is close to our design wet weight including one passenger (the driver). It could be assumed that in most cases where a passenger is on board in your trike you will not be using the full capabilities of the transmission and therefore I would not expect any real issues. So far in 40,000kms of testing the VTR gearbox has not had an issue. A high performance clutch kit might be a good addition though. In the case of the trike, a bike engine fitment also means a very simple driveline with much reduced mass that by default includes a sequential gearbox and in effect a locked diff.

Some design aspects of the Tri Pod 1 -

Space frame - The Tripod 1 is primarily constructed from 25mm x 25mm 1.6mm RHS mild steel tube. It is MIG welded and gussetted as required to create a very stiff and safe structure. Some extra stiffness is gained with the addition of aluminium panelling in the floor, bulkheads etc. Some key points of difference with our design versus others in the market is the almost central driving position and the open tub style architecture. The passenger sits in the same space as the driver. There is no central tunnel as such. Having the driver almost centrally located gives more of an open wheeler driving experience and also avoids any offset in the footwell/pedal area. The steering wheel and pedals are symetrically located with the driver to create an optimim driving experience. On the basis that the vehicle will most likely be used at its limit "one up" the almost central location assists with mass centralisation.

Fibreglass panelling - The nosecone tilts forward to allow access to the forward mounted 25 litre fuel tank, storage area large enough for two full face helmets, various electrical items including fusebox etc, and also for checking of brake and clutch fluids. There is a small semi disposable chin spoiler that balances the appearance with the lines of the sidepods but allows for quick and inexpensive replacement if a gutter etc is struck harshly. The side pods allow for air intake to the rear mounted radiator (drivers side) and a less "girder like" appearance. The engine cover is primarily there to disguise the motorcycle origins of the powerplant and hence dopey looking black plastic airbox. It also covers up a small roll hoop. The dashboard is fixed into position and offers a sealed closing surface to the trailing edge of the nosecone. It allows flush fitting of the original motorcycle donor instrumentation and mounting of various other switches etc.

Engine choice - As mentioned elsewhere the V twin Honda was the original choice but since that time we have registered cars with Suzuki Bandit 1250 and Honda Blackbird power. We also have under development Hayabusa, ZX14R, Honda VFR800 and Triumph ST1050 alternatives. I highly recommend the choice of a sports tourer style donor rather than a full blown spots bike as the extra low down grunt is handy to get the trike off the line and sports bikes are generally bult down to the last gram for performance with little engineering 'headroom' left for the job we are putting it to here. Chain drive and single rear shock are also design considerations. Particularly the chain drive due to the ease of implimenting our chain drive electric reverse (reverse is necessary for registration) and for the abundance of easy final drive gearing alternatives.

Other design choices - To some degree many choices are open to the constructor. I have chosen many items due to ready availability and sensible cost. The steering rack is a Ford Escort quick rack which is readily available brand new. The upper and lower ball joints are Holden and Toyota items available readily and at minimal cost. The items that will cost a few bucks are the fuel tank, radiator, pedal box, and exhaust system, but even these items can be either built or sourced at minimal cost with some effort. We have all parts generally available ex stock to build a Tri Pod if you just want to get on and get it done though.

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Test Drives



Tri Pod Cars

Phone - 0404 734 590

PO Box 26, Beerwah, Qld, 4519.


The Tri Pod 1 three wheel kit car is wholly made in Australia
Zooming around in the Tri Pod 1 three wheel kit car is like driving naked!This page last updated 09-06-2015. Copyright owned by Andrew Hutchison 2012 - 2015