Converting my 900 to a Trike

Talk about your other motorcycles here.
burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:43 pm

Well, I finally got started with my conversion of my 2012 Vulcan 900 to a trike this weekend. I'm still hobbling around a bit so I'm kinda slow and it will probably take me a couple of months to finish but as they say, "every journey starts with one step". I'll try hard to continually update as I make progress with both pictures and some text.

The Fiberglass body and the axle came in by freight. They were strapped down to a large wood pallet and the axle was extremely well protected in a welded steel cage of 1 x 1 angle and then wrapped in cardboard. The fiberglass body was just strapped to the pallet and received a few scrapes from the shipping company, but nothing seemed to be cracked or hit hard. It would have been nice if they had at least put some cardboard around it.

Image


Image

Image
Here is a pic of the steel support structure that holds up the Fiberglass section.


Image

The Trike Axle is from DNA Specialties, they make axles for a lot of different companies. They did an amazing job of protecting the axle with a steel cage for shipping.


Image

Image
The Axle has dual disk brakes:


Image

Image
The swingarm was made by Treasure Coast Trikes. It is very heavy duty and hopefully it will fit just as well as it looks.

Image

Image

I'm going to quit now and post this much before something happens and I loose all this. I'll add some more pics in a few minutes.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:54 pm

The chrome wheels came from Summit Racing:

Image
The Tires are Goodyear Viva II's 215/60/R15


Image

The kit came with the studs (12mm x 1.5) but no lug nuts, so I bought these at Advance Auto Parts.


Image
I installed the studs with red lock tite, I don't want them coming out.


Image
I let the loc tite sit overnight and then put the tires and lug nuts on the next day.

Image
Once I had the tires on the axle I used a lift to pick up the swingarm assembly and line it up with the attachment blocks on the axle. There's a big hex bolt on each end of the axle where the swingarm locks in to allow you to adjust the tension on the belt.

Image
I may have to do a 3rd post here this seems to be about all the pics I can load.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:59 pm

I can't seem to add any more pictures right now, not sure why. Maybe I've uploaded my limit tonight.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:10 pm

Here is the bike sitting in front of the assembled axle/swingarm.
Image
I also ordered a "touring trunk with wrap around passenger backrest" to add to the fiberglass body.


Image
It was not assembled and there are zero instructions, but it wasn't very difficult to puzzle out how to put it together.


Image

Image

I realized I needed hinges for the main body fiberglass lid, it came with a nice handle and lock, but no hinges, so I've ordered those.

I also had to order tail/stop/brake lights to go on the fiberglass body. I found some oval ones on ebay that were filled with 10 LED's and had a plug in pigtail already wired onto it, I hope that will plug into my wiring harness, but if not I can do some soldering.

Next weekend I guess I will start taking the stuff off the rear of the Vulcan. The bags, sissybar, fender and swingarm all have to come off and probably a few things I haven't even thought of yet. I'll update as I go.

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby Triangles » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:09 am

wow looks good. very detailed. I just bought one of those trunks too for my Pacific Coast 800.
ImageImage

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:14 pm

Yeah, that is a nice big trunk and I like the luggage rack and backrest a lot.
I spent about 5 hours earlier this week on two evenings working on stripping the items off the bike. I removed the seat and the backrest and saddle bags.

Image
Next I put the bike up on a lift I bought at Harbor Freight. With my limited range of motion getting up and down this lift was pretty much essential for me.


Image
Next I removed the tail lights and license plate assembly and the rear fender.


Image
I was hoping to leave the exhaust pipes alone, but I just couldn't get to all the swing arm bolts with it in place so off the pipes came.


Image

Image
Now I was able to get the rear tire assembly out.


Image

Image
Here is how it looks from the back with the wheel out of the way.

Image
I took the brake caliper off and just secured it to the frame for the time being to get it out of the way.

Image
On the drivers side I needed to move the radiator overflow bottle to gain access to the swing arm bolts.
Image
Next I got the mono shock absorber out
Image
Finally I was able to remove the bolts holding the swing arm assembly in place and pull it out.

Image
Here is a pic of the bike from the back without the swing arm in place
Image
The new swingarm needed the shock mount assembly from the one I pulled out of the bike, so I removed it from the bike swing arm and installed it on the trike kit swing arm.
Image

Image
Once I had the swingarm out on the ground next to the trike kit, I realized the trike kit company just bought a swingarm for a Kawasaki Vulcan 900, cut two parts of the frame off it and welded it to the Trike Kit Axle Assembly with some thick plate steel. Pretty smart way of doing this actually.

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby Triangles » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:58 am

How does that rear end work? It doesn't look like it has a differential. I can't imagine it's a solid axle that would make turns pretty aweful.
ImageImage

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:42 pm

The rear end is actually a limited slip differential. When I was putting the belt on last night I had it jacked up and you could spin one wheel forward and the other went backwards. I could see the differential when I had the casing apart, it's pretty small compared to the one I had in my old F-450 but it looks substantial enough for a bike.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:58 pm

Okay, I promised more pictures.
Sunday I had to get the mono shock in place. It wasn't very difficult except that I just don't bend very well yet. Fortunately, the motorcycle lift made it possible to get everything in a place I could get to. Once I got that attached I felt like I was ready to start adjusting the belt and axle stuff. I got it all on but when I turned the belt I could hear a "roar", not good. My first thought was that I hadn't gotten something back together in the differential correctly, but I soon realized that the belt was rubbing on the top of the housing. Also not good because no matter how I pivoted it, there just wasn't enough clearance in the housing for the belt not to rub. So, I took it all apart.
Image

Image

Image
Once I had it apart I started checking things out and I found that my old sprocket was 12" in diameter, the one in the kit is 12-1/2" in diameter. I think if it had been 12" it would not have a clearance problem. My first thought was to swap them, but the bolt pattern was different and the center hole in the kit was larger and the sprocket had about a dozen drilled and tapped holes where the carrier attached to it. So I decided to open up the housing. First I tried to file enough away, but that was slow going.

Image
So I finally got serious and cut about a 1/4" off the housing and then filed it down smooth. No more interference.

Image
Next I got it all back together and started getting it lined up with the front sprocket.

Image
Once I felt confident about proper alignment I prepped the axle for some welding of the blocks that hold everything in alignment.
Image

Image
I stick welded both pieces and then cleaned the welds and spray painted with a high gloss enamel Rustoleum.
Image

Image
Now it was time to get those rear disk brakes set up. The kit came with several nice lines and adapters.

Image

Image

Image
Unfortunately, the banjo's were to long to use, they would hit the inside of the wheel, so I made a trip to the local auto parts store and bought some short brake lines I could bend to fit.
Image
It took a little work to get everything tied in and bleed the calipers but it wasn't really difficult.


Image
Finally it is time to start putting stuff back in place. The radiator overflow bottle and then the side covers on that side came next.

Image
Here is a shot of the bike sitting on the floor waiting for me to figure out the exhaust and the supports for the fiberglass body.
Image

Image
Finally, I set the seat in place to help me get an idea for the height I need when I attach this "universal" bracket to hold up the fiberglass kit.
Image

Image

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby Triangles » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:42 am

looks like you're making some great progress.
ImageImage

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:41 pm

Thanks Triangles, after tonight I have to start my last two classes for the Fall semester (my final semester) so things may go a little slower but I've gotten pretty far in the last couple of weeks. I'm heading out to the shop to see if I can get the support bracket installed for the fiberglass body. I got it all welded up last night and painted so maybe it will actually fit the way I hope. :)

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:48 pm

I ran into some fitment problems tonight getting the fiberglass body and everything to line up. Kinda looks like the axle needs to slide back a few inches and the only way that will happen is 1. Buy a longer drive belt, or 2. Replace the oversize pulley with one that matches the OEM diameter. I've sent pictures and questions to the kit supplier. I hope they have a quick and painless solution.

Here's pics of the problem:
Image

Image

Image
The last picture shows it best. The wheel wells are touching the front edge of the tires and there is a large space behind the tire plus the seat is still not down as it should be and the touring trunk is hanging off the rear of the fiberglass base way to far.

I checked the pulley diameter difference again and it's over an inch different which makes the circumference over 3" difference which just might be the entire problem. It would actually be simpler to put a longer belt on it than to swap the pulley out for a smaller one at this point but I'm sure nobody is going to want to buy me a new belt and they might swap out the pulley. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby Triangles » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:39 pm

I'd go for the smaller pulley! that larger diameter rear pulley will make your freeway RPM's go up. That is of course making the big assumption that the new tire diameter is the same as the original on the bike. And you know what they say about assumptions....
ImageImage

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby burkbuilds » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:09 pm

I would also prefer the smaller pulley. I sent a request for help to the company I got the kit from.
I got a short reply from the company I purchased the kit from today. Basically, they are in Sturgis and they'll call me when they get back but they did not offer any real advice other than, "obviously, the axle is to close to the body of the bike", duh. So I called DNA, the company that actually manufactured the axle and talked with a very nice and knowledgeable representative. He told me that the axle is designed for Harley's and not any other bikes and the last time they sold a smaller pulley was in 2007 and they didn't sell well so they discontinued them. He was very nice and offered to contact a shop and provide them with the old specs for that pulley and get a price for me to have one made although he warned me that it would be very expensive in his opinion. I'm supposed to call him back tomorrow for an update.

I also spent over an hour at my local Kawasaki dealer this afternoon where they helped me look on line and in manuals for a longer belt that would work, but apparently, the belt on my 900 is about as long as they make one. I'm a little frustrated at this point and basically I don't think there is going to be a satisfactory solution that won't cost me a chunk of change. So, unless someone surprises me with a no cost or low cost solution I think I'm going to modify what I was planning and do this a little differently. I like the DNA axle and the brakes and tires are exactly what I want. I also like the touring trunk and I really wanted the fiberglass body but I don't think that is going to fit. So, I think I will probably try to send the body back for a refund, keep the axle set up and put my OE body parts back and add the trunk somehow. I've mocked it up a little tonight although I'll have to get some nice chrome fasteners and stuff to make it work and then add some stand alone fenders and go back with some saddle bags that will fit between the fenders and the bike. (The OE ones are to big to fit).
Here's what I have so far to give you an idea of where I think I'm going with this.

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Converting my 900 to a Trike

Postby Triangles » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:29 am

Here's a thought. Make your own fiberglass. I was toying with the idea of making a XR3 inverse trike (when I win the lottery and have free time to tinker all day everyday). Here is how they made the fiberglass body. It looks like something you may have the aptitude to pull off.
ImageImage


Return to “Other Motorcycles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest