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The Trike File Meets Mike the Trike

Tuning the Ride with Saddlemen, Legends and Khrome Werks

By DaCat
12/6/2022


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Since buying this 2017 M8 trike, I've been working on refining the ride as possible. This entailed changing the shocks to coil over Legend Revo A's, adding a lift kit and adjusting everything as optimally as possible.

Also, the front springs were removed and replaced with Legend Axio canister front suspension. The combination of the modified front and rear suspension really made the ride much, much better.

At this point I really needed to change the rider ergonomics as these trikes from Harley are really a one size fits all seat and leg room combination. Shorter riders may feel comfortable with the leg room but for anyone with long legs 6 feet or over, the seat is way too short and the handlebars are too far forward.
Stock H-D handlebars.
Stock H-D handlebars.


 
So, starting with handlebars I selected Khrome Werks 2+2 12-inch-tall bars (part number 300517). They make a wide version and a narrow version of these bars, and I selected the wide version because the hand position is a little more natural for me.

These bars will work with the OEM wires, clutch and brake lines. This is a job that if you're not comfortable pulling the fairing off you may want to have your local mechanic do it for you.

It is a little pricey so if you can do it yourself, you're only out the price of the bars, otherwise you're looking at five to $800 in labor. These bars bring your hands back 2 inches and up 2 inches, which I find much more comfortable and allows me to sit back up against my back rest. Huge benefit is also that the steering is considerably lighter because it changes the leverage on the bars.

These trikes can be a bit of a truck to steer, so by adding the lift kit and the handlebars it really becomes like having power steering. You may decide that you prefer the meat hook style of bars or regular style ape hangers, and they also add benefit to the steering but leave you forward. You may prefer this, but I was after a comfortable position to ride long distance and this was my preference.

Saddlemen luxury seat.
Saddlemen luxury seat.



I still had the same problem with the seat being too short, and I felt like I was sitting on the tank, and my legs were cramped unless I used the highway pegs. This started the hunt for a new seat.

I did look at the offerings from Harley-Davidson but I did not feel that the quality or the ride was much different than the stock seat. One of the problems I believe with Harley-Davidson seats is the pan is made out of a flexible plastic. The foam is not very dense and with the flexible seat pan you do feel a lot of the road bumps.
The stock seat.
The stock seat.


 
Also, the shape of the seat in the front is a little too wide and thick which can play havoc with the family jewels. I settled on a road sofa from Saddleman, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

I've had a few seats from Saddleman and they're always beautiful and of great quality. Their customer service is excellent and they always follow up after you've purchased a seat with updates on how the seat is progressing.

When the seat is in final inspection, they send you a text and within one day it is sent out. Since these seats are custom made to order you do have a choice of the stitching and the particular material. Mine took about three weeks from the time it was ordered.

I have to say this seat is beautiful and it really added a lot to the look of my trike. I also ordered the tour pack backrest, so that I would have a matching seat and backrest for the passenger with the diamond stitching with black thread.

As you can see in the pictures it really flows with the lines of the trike. The feel of the seat is very different from many other seat manufacturers, it's firm and supportive not squishy and soft like the Harley seat. By the way, I also got the rider's backrest at the same time and it has proven to be more than I expected.

The stock Harley backrest is very firm and feels like you have a knee in your back. The Saddleman backrest is easy to adjust to find just the right height and it floats from front to back so you barely notice it, but it is still very supportive. With the handlebars brought back 2 inches from stock, this lets you sit up against the backrest and is just great for cruising long distances.

Aside from the suspension modifications, which really help the ride and handling, this seat takes out, the sharp small bumps much better than the stock seat. Most riders don't consider how much the seat helps the overall ride. I have my touring foot rests on the crash bar. so with the modifications of the handlebars and this wonderful seat from Saddleman the ergonomics are perfect.

Unfortunately, the stock Harley-Davison trike needs a lot of modifications to dial in the ride and the positioning of the rider to be truly comfortable. These changes made all the difference for me. I can now really enjoy riding this trike long distances. Radio up and my wife on the back, 500 miles at a crack is nothing anymore.
 

Sources:
 
Khrome Werks
https://www.khromewerks.com/page-handle-bars/

For info click here.
For info click here.



Legends Suspension

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Saddlemen Seats

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