I've know this trike builder, Don Center, for 20 years and
last year he came on board Bikernet as a sponsor. As a service to
our sponsors we bug 'em about what they're up to, new
products, etc. Don started telling me about a television
production company that approached them about building a
Trike. "Send me a Bikernet banner, damnit," Don said. "I'll hang it
in the shop during the shoot."
They were scheduled to build one of Don's three-
wheeled locomotives, and I knew he wanted to do something
special, so my head started spinning, and natch I reached out to
an artist to convey my notions. Chris Kallas, who drew the
concept drawings for the Assalt Weapan, Bikernet's World's
Fastest Panhead, build for Bonneville 2007, is a master at old
school. He's ridden the same '68 Shovelhead for 20 years,
restored it twice, and is restoring a '45 flathead for his lovely
wife, Nancy. He knows motorcycles, old school lines and is a
He's also a sensitive guy when it comes to production.
He questioned my Bonneville designs until I started drinking
whiskey at noon. I couldn't handle the pressure. He also didn't
want to upset the apple cart entirely during this effort. "Iron
Horse trikes have been in business for 20 years," Chris told me
over fish tacos and Coronas. "They don't want to change much."
Okay goddamnit, so this is our first run at a television
redesign, concept trike mods. Whatever, I'll let Chris explain:
Here's some sketches.
The one with the callouts labeled Mild Mods is something they
might really consider.
It incorporates 15 different (mostly small), modifications that
when all combined really help the lines of the trike without
changing its current frame structure.
The Roth styled one was mostly done for fun. I think I saw
Don and his trikes on the Discovery channel(?), and he
mentioned how he was influenced by Roth.
Also attached is some photos that I used for reference/scale for
you to compare to.
Here's the real thing, Roth on one of his trikes.
The last photo is a trike that I like the overall proportions,
but could use some restyling. I think a trike of this type would
be a great direction to go if they ever want to do a total
redesign. It's scale makes the engine the focus.
The break down on mods:
1. Chrome springer, same length, narrowed, use two
springs mounted higher like most, with shock mounted in front
like on new H-D springers. Moving the springs up really lightens
and extends the look of the front end.
2. Single smaller headlight.
3. Tighter fitting smaller front fender.
4. 18" front wheel. I'd like to see a 12 spoke cast wheel,
the type used on dragsters and alters in the '60s. These are
available again ... or a wide 18" or wide 21" custom motorcycle
wheel. If a car tire still has to be used, maybe a better looking
wheel can be used.
5. Small bullet turn signals mounted at the ends of the bars.
6. Clean up bars. remove the under side supports. (some of
the others building these trike already do the same).
7. Clean up the neck frame gussets to flow into the frame.
8. Re-do and extend the dash cowl into more of a body.
This covers the center section of the frame and adds visual
weight and balance to the overall design plus it gives a place to
do more with flames or graphics. I tried extending it further but
it just looked better with it ending before the rear wheels.
9. Use or fabricate sleeker more tapered seats. They are
only slightly modified in sketch and could be restyled more.
10. Angle narrow and chrome Roll/Sissy bar.
11. Remove Wing.
12. Replace square storage/saddle bags with angled units.
13. Replace the large boxy fenders with smaller sleeker
fenders with a less pronounced mounting bracket. Smaller
fenders enhance the wheel/tire size.
14. Bigger diameter rear wheels.
15. Replace diamond plate floorboards with rubber mats to
give a more refined less truck-like look.
Summary: Lightening up all the front elements
gives it a sleeker more refined look of a chopper or dragster.
The front end then leads the eye to the width, weight, and bulk
of the rest of the design. The bodywork, tapered seats, angled
saddle bags, angled roll/sissy bar, and trimmed fenders all add
to a sleeker more flowing look.
Whether it's a hot rod or a
chopper, the design should create an emphasis on the engine
and wheels. On such a long and large vehicle as this, it is
important to use large diameter wheels.
Nice work Chris. She's waiting by the pool.
Chris Kallas art available in the