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Tuesday Edition

Iron Horse Trikes TV Concept Bike

With Art By Chris Kallas

By Wrench and Chris Kallas
6/11/2010 4:25:41 AM

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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 master artist.


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 Black Market.

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Reader Comments

I just bought one of these! Well built, lots of fun! was told that it weighed a little more than a Corvette. Mine has a brand new chromed-out crate 350 4- bolt main that sounds as good as it looks. Would like to redesign my gauges though. I can barely see my speedo and tach.

hot springs, AR
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Editor Response I'm sure, if you google dashes and gauges you will find plenty of options. Hell, you might find a navigational screen that will handle gauge functions and way more.
Hi can you maybe tell me whats happened to the company Iron Horse Trike works

it would be great if you might be able to give me an e-mail of the owner or company if they still around

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Editor Response We are looking for Don Center. He built some amazing freight trains on three wheels.

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