I will get plenty of customers call me who ask the very same question.....is it WORTH triking my motorcycle, or should I simply trade it and buy an already triked motorcycle. From my perspective (of wanting to sell a trike conversion) OF COURSE!! TRIKE YOUR BIKE!! However, from my perspective in actually trying to offer the BEST advice for my customers...I always ask the same questions, and "qualify" my customers prior to making any recommendations.
1) How much do you LIKE your bike?
Many times people LOVE their motorcylce...and parting with it seems like parting with a loved one....they just realize that they are now in a place where two wheels aren't cutting it anymore! If this is the case...TRIKE YOUR BIKE
2) What is the situation?
I hear variations of this story SEVERAL times a month.....
Take this scenario...Jimbo is newly retired, he has always wanted a Harley, and now he can afford it now...him and Ethel are going to hit the road to Sturgis, maybe ACTUALLY see Rock City.... He purchases the all NEW 2016 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Screaming Eagle Super Duper Ducks Unlimited Extra Chrome Policeman Batman Fireman Farmerman Superman Fisherman Gingerbreadman Candlestick Maker CVO EVOO CNN ESPN Special Edition....needless to say, he spent a pretty penny on this bike....he gets it home and after 4 Miles...he realizes it is simply to difficult to hold up...add "Momma" on the back and it is no longer feasible...plus "you tip the bike over ONE TIME AT A REDLIGHT and Ethel refuses to get on until Jimbo DOES SOMETHING!!!" Your options are to trade it for the Harley Tri-Glide....or Trike it out. Now, you spent $38,472.63 on this bike!! Now you will trade it in and get about $29,000 in trade...PLUS pay near retail for the all New Harley Tri-Glide...but since you are a GOOD CUSTOMER, the charitable folks at the local motor Cult...I mean your Harley stealerlership, I mean DEALERSHIP (sorry, its just too easy)...they will give you goodwill discount on the Tri-Glide and a new t-shirt and MAYBE a keychain. You just lost $9000 on your BRAND NEW BIKE with less than maybe 10 Miles on it (thats nearly $1000 a mile for you folks counting at home....plus, you paid NEAR retail on the new TRI GLIDE......there are of course other things to consider with the Tri-Glide specifically:
-solid axle(Tri Glide) vs. Independent suspension(Most Conversions) (THIS IS HUGE)
-electrical reverse(Tri-Glide) vs. echanical reverse(Champion) vs ---ugh, electrical gremlins are the worst
among other things, in this case, taking a hard long look at converting your bike, your DREAM BIKE into a trike...on average this will cost you $10,000-$15,000...and you will now have a one of a kind 2016 Harley Davidson "FLHTCUI-LMNOP" TRIKE.
Of course if financing is an issue...trading could be your best bet...if you don't have access to the said $10k-$15k, then trading it and letting "Ma Harley" finance it, may be your best bet.....we all know if you buy from them, they will finance a new Sportster to your dog...granted, its 34.57% interest for 120 Months...but they will write the note!
Switching gears to my Wingers out there (you know who you are...by the way, I love the his and hers, matching balloon pants at the annual Wing Ding by the way...and don't forget the matching yellow and purple wigs)....I love you guys!! Its always fun!
3) You have a 1995 Honda Goldwing GL1500....you have owned this bike since it was brand new and IT WAS the Cock of The Walk....and now you NEED a trike because the "ol' GL" is simply too much to handle. Of course you can trade it or sell it ($4000-$8000 depending on trade/retail/geography/time of year)...and then plop down $30k+ plus on the a Goldwing trike or even Harley Tri-Glide. Keep in mind that GL1800 trike didn't come from Honda that way. If it is NEW..that Dealership bought a kit and did the work themselves. HONDA DOESN'T BUILD TRIKES....PERIOD!!!!! They will use any of the major manufactures and build it just like you can do. If you are handy you can even do the work YOURSELF (depending on trike kit manufacturer). Motor Trike for instance requires the dealer to do the work...Champion will ship a kit to you and you can do the work yourself or have your local Mechanic do the work.
I say all that to say...if you love your GL1500 and would rather NOT part with it...triking it is a TERRIFIC idea...ONLY if you plan on keeping it. If you are gonna trike it and sell it next year DON'T DO IT...but if you are ok with driving it until the wheels fall off...then by all means...TRIKE IT. That GL is an EXCELLENT conversion....a well maintained GL will do 250,000 miles ALL DAY.
They have a wonderful power plant, plenty of torque and horsepower and Looks fantastic when you are done with it. It is definitely worth the investment, if resale value is not a consideration. IF resale value is a consideration, you MAY break even at the end of the day...depending on geography and time of year.
and last but not least...
4) You really think the Can-Am Spyder is cool......if that's the case, I got nothing...to each their own.
At any rate, do your homework, weigh out your options. Heck, even call me...I can walk you through it. Like I said, as much as my light bill is dependent on me selling trike kits...I will always try to help make the best, informed decisions possible.
P.S. in regards to the "Special Edition" Harley (Policeman Fireman etc)...no disrepsect was intended...I just think its Laughable that Harley will slap a label on a bike and call it special edition JUST so they can charge you $1000 more for being a fireman. But what do I know...at any rate...of course, I truly appreciate all first responders, veterans and anyone willing to stick their neck out for my butt. Thank you.
***No Ethels were hurt during the writing of this Blog Post
Tony Molina has been in motorcycle industry for more than 15 years, from selling motorcycles in a large multi-line dealer, to owing and operating his very own independent repair shop. During this time, he has carved out a niche in the trike industry helping literally thousands of riders continue their passion for the open road.
For well over a decade, I have answered thousands upon thousands of phone calls concerning trikes and trike kits. Often times, I find myself answering many of the same questions over and over.
Finally, at the prodding of a wise and dear friend, I have decided to put these questions/answers in one place, hopefully, to provide a resource for the many people interested in building their trike and keeping that dream alive.
I hope you enjoy reading it, nearly as much as I enjoy writing it.
With Thoughtful Contributions from:
Ian, Isaiah and Micah
(AKA: The Molina Boys)