Bills Suggestions for other builders...
1. Wheels - I suggest 16 inch rims (16 inch x 6 inch or 7 inch wide) with 50 series tires.
Also try to find a bike that either has a 16Ó rear wheel or can accept one - allowing you to
use a tire like a 185/50R16 or thereabouts...because lateral traction is a problem for me.
My donor bike has a 17x5.5 rear wheel - which would be great if they made a 195/45/17
tire - they don't. The narrowest 17" car tire is 205/40/17 - which will require extensive
frame modification, swingarm clearance, and chain/sprocket spacing to fit. What will I do?
Probably find a 15 or 16 inch motorcycle wheel that will fit and put a car tire about
185/50/?? on the back.
2. Front brakes - disc brakes are cool - but they eliminate the VW drum brakes built in
capacity for an emergency brake! Something to think about...I understand also that Subaru's
front discs have some sort of e-brake assembly on them?
3. The body - loads of information here. Two layers of 6 oz. cloth on the exterior is not
enough! In areas of high abuse (below canopy where you climb in and out) I recommend 6
layers or more - and at least 3 layers of glass on the entire exterior. Interior requires 2
layers of matte and two layers of cloth minimum! I have ended up with as many as 10
layers of cloth to get the rigidity necessary in areas! I suggest taking every extra effort in
making the body absolutely perfect out of foam before fiberglassing. Don't think you can
leave it rough and then smooth it out after glassing. Also, use aluminum or plastic roll out
tools for a much smoother finish (stronger as well). This eliminates excess resin buildup
and helps to make sure all glass is wet out.
Windows - carefully plan how you are going to do your windows before you start
fiberglassing. I realize in retrospect that if I had made all of my window templates while I
was at the foam stage (say out of 1/8 inch masonite?) and prepared them with mold release
- I could have used them to help hold the glass in the window recesses when doing my
layups. This area has caused a great deal of frustration and extra work on my project -
because my recesses came out less than perfect. A lot of filling and sanding has been/has
to be done on my car in this area. I also wish I had used 3 oz. cloth in the areas of window
recesses - lighter weight glass will conform better to the surface shapes. Just use more
4. Headlights - kind of hard to beat the original pop-up design for and appearance, as well
as ease of construction. One recommendation is to make combination rear view
mirror/headlight housings as seen in vehicles like the Plymouth Prowler and the Campagna
T-Rex (a commercially available trike that can be located on the web - a bitchin' lookin'
5. Frame - It is entirely possible to weld up a full tubular roll cage and incorporate it into
this design. I would recommend at least a rollbar and some side intrusion protection. I
could not conceive how to do this before I began my body - so I didn't - but wish I had. I
think the creative thinker can figure this one out...I did, however, add lots of glass
reinforcement in areas of concern!
6. Donor cycle - I think the Goldwing is an awesome choice - especially if it has reverse.
They have a higher output charging system to begin with, tons of low end torque, etc. On
the other hand - I think the hi-revving CBR1000F that I have chosen should be fun!
7. Windows - check your local and state requirements as to how your vehicle will be
classified when you register it! I have done my research for Nevada and believe it should
be a "specially constructed, three-wheeled motorcycle". Confusing - you bet! I'll have to
post how registration goes when I get there. The two major areas of concern are: 1)
emergency brake (see 2 above); and 2) if it is a car then it must have "safety glazing" for
window material - i.e. - glass - not acrylic or polycarbonate!
8. Shifter - try using a cable. Worked great on mine, and eliminated the "bulk" of a linkage
9. Canopy latch - I wanted to use a Cadillac motorized trunk latch - to hopefully eliminate
the compression effect on my ear drums that slamming the canopy top will have. Didn't
work out for me - I couldn't figure it out. I bet you can make it work though!
10. Pedal assemblies - give some thought to the sand rail type units. You can purchase
them with just about any size master cylinder - and they look nice! For what it is worth, I
ended up with a 7/8" bore for the brakes, which turns out to be correct for the larger VW
front calipers (aftermarket) and the stock rear hydraulic caliper. This was from the
manufacturers recommendation - CNC in San Diego, CA. The clutch bore needs to be 5/8"
for mine - I currently have 3/4" and it doesn't allow for enough "feel".
11. Throttle - mine is made with a sand-rail style - stiff throttle cable - similar to the
push/pull shifter cable. This took a little work, but is now operating very smoothly. Some
people suggested a hydraulic throttle of some sort, which doesn't work for my application
because I retained the stock motorcycle gas tank - i.e. - no room to mount the slave
12. Patience - you're going to need a bit to manage this project - but it really isn't bad
13. Real World Cost - this depends so much on what accessories, motorcycle, wheels,
tires, brakes, etc. that you use! I truly believe that the budget minded can complete this
project for <$5K turnkey - including the bike. I will be nearly double that - but $1,000
wheels and tires, $1,000 stereo, etc. really adds up!