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I am not planning on building one (yet), but I have always wondered something about trikes. I was looking at a Goldwing trike in a parking lot yesterday, and it had very wide car tires and car wheels on the back. What is the drive setup on trikes? Every shaft drive I have ever seen/ heard of/owned has been very weak, and failure prone. They require a lot of maintenance to keep them from breaking. That apparently includes the Goldwing, at least the 1000/1100/1200 models. It is hard to imagine that shaft drive even being able to move such a heavy machine with large tires with a lot of rolling resistance, especially while taking off. It looks like the gears would strip and the driveshaft would snap almost instantly.

A friend of mine had a Suzuki Samurai, had if lifted several feet, and had HUGE off road tires and wheels on it. He broke several axles, a couple of driveshafts, the transfer case, and finally the transmission. Upgraded parts were available, at a total cost of over $10,000. He sold it.

So what do trikes use as a final drive?
 

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They are probably all different Jerry. Trikes are very adaptable to many rear ends. Fords in particular are popular final drives for many European trikes. You are right about the drive shaft, that is the weak link in the setup. That and the UJ.
 

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i think its the ford mustang or ranger rear ends, the drive shaft is definantly the weakest link
 

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Years ago I knew a few people with 1500 trikes, and they told me that company that did the conversion said the rear axles used came from Ford Mavericks. I found that to be odd as only the 69 had anything other that an 8" (BIG for the application), and the supply of those must have been hard to find even back then. I looked, and sure enough, they had modified Pinto 6.75" rears. Tough enough for a Wing, but not car (even a Pinto). Its a shame the trike company lied.


Bill
 

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On my trike, a gl1200 SE-i, with a Motor Trike kit, it is a 84 Mustang rear end.
 

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The DFT uses the Honda final drive with a diff. fabricated by DFT especially for the trike. It also retains the Honda brake setup both front and rear. The entire kit only adds 184lbs.to the goldwing.
 

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My '97 GL1500 SE was triked with a Lehman GTL kit in 1998, it uses a Ford corporate 6.75" rear end which was used on many Pintos and Bobcats and early Rangers and Bronco IIs with 4cyl power. It has a 3.08 gear ratio, Ford 9" diameter drum brakes which are great ... and uses 4 lug Ford pattern with 15X7 wheels (same offset or backspace as Mustang GT / T-Bird 10 hole 15x7 wheels).

It came with 245/60-15 tires but when they were worn, Iswitched to 215/70-15 for same diameter and less weight and 1" less tread rubber width and less chance of hydroplane (and I made some spacers about 5/8" thick aluminum plate and longer Moroso high strength wheel studs which I still had to cut some off off to move the sidewall back out near the opening for "looks").

Weakest point is the Honda front U-joint I think (Valk joint there now, origseemed a little loose at 75K, it's my spare now)... or maybe it's where drive shaft is welded to Spicer rear yoke (a rather involved process involving pre heating, etc .... very nice job!)?

I'ld rather have something besides the output shaft from the engine be the weak link.

Never been a problem yet, pull trailer and two up, even had her spin when making turn from stop in a hurry to enter traffic though I never pop the clutch. Just when the weight shifts and she squauls a bit maybe.

I know 3.08 is higher gearing than stock Honda 2.88 or most other Trike kit rear ratios, but this one uses taller tires as well.

It does add stress to the driveline, transmission, clutch as those two great big flywheels known as rear car tires and wheels have both static weight .... and then you have to add spin to them too. Thankfully the kit greatly increases rear braking power so that what you add with the throttle, you can quickly remove with the brakes.

Call it 43 mphat 2100 rpm below ... and 60 mph indicated is near 2900 rpm. It'sjust one part of the reason we tend to avoid interstate highwaysmore whenon the Trike .... 3500 rpm comes quick and so goes the gas!
 

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Junior Grue
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It is hard to imagine that shaft drive even being able to move such a heavy machine with large tires with a lot of rolling resistance, especially while taking off. It looks like the gears would strip and the driveshaft would snap almost instantly.
The engine only puts out so much power and the drive-shafts/u-joints last hundreds of thousands of miles as a bike. I see no reason that it should be different on a trike as long as the u-joint is kept at a reasonable angle.
 

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I guess he's thinking in terms of stress applied to parts between a power source and the load it's asked to move.
Even on a stock bike, if you open the throttle in first gear while puling a trailer and two up you can see how that would apply greater stress to the driveline than doing the same thing with the bike up on the center stand and the rear wheel spinning freely.
A Trike adds weight to be moved and weight that must be spun up while moving it, sure it adds stress to parts between the power source and roadway which we know isn't moving much (though sometimes I think I feel the Earth move when I whack it open ... but mine is red).
But if one is patient, if one refrains from the burnouts .... it shouldn't be too bad ..... I agree. My trike rarely puls the trailer, but it's almost always two up. I know guys who routinely pull loaded campers that add more gross weight than my trike kit did and they stop / start it with 100% stock drive trains / brakes.

I've also seen guys get frisky and pull burnouts on trikes .... rough on equipement.
 

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Thanks for all the information. I didn't think trikes used the stock Goldwing rear drive. Having all that extra weight back there is bad, but the big issue is those 2 big tires, with their rotating weight, and the stress placed on the drive system getting them rolling and keeping them rolling. Kind of like pulling a HUGE trailer. I'm sure that pulling any kind of trailer shortens the life of the clutch and driveline to some degree, though it may not be noticeable, since most people don't pull a trailer all the time, and properly maintained, the driveline lasts a long time.

But with most shaft drive bikes, most people familiar with them suggest that a new owner of a used one check and lube the rear splines right away. On a Vulcan 750, I would suggest a new owner do that even before changing the oil, due to the extremely high number of failures. That was eventually traced to the fact that the splines both on the wheel and on the driveshaft were never lubed during manufacture, and would be half way worn out before the first scheduled maintenance. I haven't heard anything about the Goldwing having that issue, but it seems many people have experienced stripped splines between the wheel and final drive gearcase.
 

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My 99 SE Motortrike has a Ford rear differential, and the drive line/shaft is the stock Honda front yoke/U-joint, married to the stock Valkerie shaft, with a Ford flange at the rear. The only weak link for me has been the Honda U-joint in the front. There is no means to grease this front U-joint. I ride 2-up every time I ride, and I also live by the AGATT rule, so there is a bit MORE wieght added to the load! The shaft is never gonna break, unless you are acting a fool and do burnouts and the like. It is amazing how freely the whole drive train turns in neutral, up on the lift. I can see what your concerns are, as I felt the same way when we first got our used trike. I have 46,000 miles on this particular ride, and like I said, the only part I am concerned with is the front Honda U-joint. I have inquired about a modification to a better U-joint from several driveline specialists, and they have all said it would be easy to convert to a greasable U-joint. Just look at how tiny some of the new drivelines are on independant suspension rear ends! And, you have more U-joints in the system to worry about! I wouldn't forgo the trike just because of the small shafts. JMO jimsjinx
 

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Jerry, most trikes don't use the GoldWing final drive, I can only think of one that does.

That issue with the final drive splines to wheel splined adapter is largely a result of long life and /or lack of grease service and in some case on a 1200 where the wheel loosens it's grip of the right side rear wheel bearing due to not enough wheel metal surrounding it .... which allows the wheel to off center on that side which side loads the drive splines with the final drive splines still married to a good ball bearing holding the ring gear.It'll eat them up.

There is no doubt but that a trike kit adds weight and some stress, it's why I don't jerk my trike around, why I try to take off in 1st always, etc. On the plus side, a 1500s clutch can be serviced without R&R the engine. But as it is, the week link is between the drive shaft and Honda frt U-joint someplace. I can service those. As long as it isn't inside the rear differential or axle housing or the motor / trans itself, I can load her into a U-Haul and bring her home even if I have to buy three oak boards.
 

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Call it 43 mph at 2100 rpm below ... and 60 mph indicated is near 2900 rpm. It's just one part of the reason we tend to avoid interstate highways more when on the Trike .... 3500 rpm comes quick and so goes the gas!

Your lucky that sounds like a lot better than mine.

I've got an MGB back axle but like everyone else has said I don't really trust the drive to start popping wheelies. The only prob I've had is a worn MGB u-joint and a warped yoke but who or what caused that

Don't want to tell tales but I know of a 1500 trike owner that pops wheelies, and very impressive they were too, and doesn't seem to have problems.

Guess it comes down to the build in the end
 

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The confusing part for me is, the driveshaft is supposed to have some angle to it. Not straight inline with the output shaft, but rather at a specific range of angle. Motortrike has an angle built into it, but the ladderbars are moving all the time per road conditions. How does one know the U-joints are not getting "pinched" after thousands of miles? Just curious. jimsjinx
 

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77Pinto wrote:
Years ago I knew a few people with 1500 trikes, and they told me that company that did the conversion said the rear axles used came from Ford Mavericks. I found that to be odd as only the 69 had anything other that an 8" (BIG for the application), and the supply of those must have been hard to find even back then. I looked, and sure enough, they had modified Pinto 6.75" rears. Tough enough for a Wing, but not car (even a Pinto). Its a shame the trike company lied.
Doesn't mean theTrike Co lied .... mny people get confused looking at different offerings, listening to others talk about theirs, picking up misinformation ... and at one time both Motor Trike and Cal Side Car used Ford 8" rear axles.

I knew from day one when the PO triked my '97 SE with a Lehman kit in 1998 that it had the smaller, lighter, and entirely more than adequate 6.75" rear which made for less unsprung weight.

My family used a'71 or '72Pinto with 2.3 and auto as a spare car, it was put together from two wrecks (seam ran across under seats and behind sun roof) , and between several of us it saw another 100+K on top of whatever was on the originals ... and the wife and I bought a '76 with 2.3and C-4 and it too never had a problem with the rear. Engine was new, we got it cheap because it had no AC. Made a great second car.

I confess though, I did eliminate a pump and knocked the guts out of something that was stopped up. :?

I think an early Pinto would make a fun "project car" now, but they are scarce! :sadguy:
 

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TrikerBo wrote:
Call it 43 mph at 2100 rpm below ... and 60 mph indicated is near 2900 rpm. It's just one part of the reason we tend to avoid interstate highways more when on the Trike .... 3500 rpm comes quick and so goes the gas!
Your lucky that sounds like a lot better than mine.

I've got an MGB back axle but like everyone else has said I don't really trust the drive to start popping wheelies. The only prob I've had is a worn MGB u-joint and a warped yoke but who or what caused that

Don't want to tell tales but I know of a 1500 trike owner that pops wheelies, and very impressive they were too, and doesn't seem to have problems.

Guess it comes down to the build in the end
Yeah .... but you have more RPMs to play with on a 1100 as does a 1200.

Redline on a 1500 is only 5500. 1500s have only two carbs, but keep them above 3000 rpms and they start getting really thirsty too.

I've seensome with 1500 Trikes do it, and mine might be capable of doing it, but it won''t do it while I own it. I might have tried it 35 - 40 years ago though.

I'm a guy who took a perfectly well sorted '70 Norton 750 Comando "Combat" Fastbackand took the stock clutch with it's built in slip qualitiesout to put a Barnett racing clutch in so I could chirp the tires in all 4 gears .... and go through the old school 4 spdtransmissions with regularity for a year or two before I got tired of fixing opr R&Ring them. Sometimes just a gear or shaft, sometimes it would take out a hole in the back of the trans. Always still had 4th gear though and thatNorton had the low speed tractability to get me home .... "chug a lug".
 

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jimsjinx wrote:
The confusing part for me is, the driveshaft is supposed to have some angle to it. Not straight inline with the output shaft, but rather at a specific range of angle. Motortrike has an angle built into it, but the ladderbars are moving all the time per road conditions. How does one know the U-joints are not getting "pinched" after thousands of miles? Just curious. jimsjinx
Before you move the rear enough to "pinch" the front U-joint you'ld have to disconnect the shocks and pick the trike up way high in the back or shift the rear out to one side or the other way beyond the confines of the body.

As designed, just about every trike kit maintains the same or very very near the same verticle alighnment of the drive shaft with the engine output shaft. At rest the joint is virtually straight in that plane. CSC used to offset the pumpkin on the Ford 8" rear to the right to keep it in the same alighnment relative to the trike's center but that made the trike heavier on the right side. Now most more closely center the rear though it's still set to favor the right side and then the pinion gear isn't centered, it too is on the right of the ring gear like Honda did.

You take a stock U-joint and pinch it, then extend the lines out the front and rear yokes and you have a far greater angle than you'll find a trike capable of reproducing unless it's in a big shreader .... and we don't want that!



;)
 

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Didn't realise the 1500 were so short on revs, I start throwing fuel over the side at 4500.
Ideally I'd love the drive shaft angle to be 0 and just have to deal with suspension movements. But I didn't build mine but I haven't seen many trikes built like that so guess they can live with it
 

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Thanks for that info. The Motortrike driveline is offset quite a bit to the right, as is the cut down Ford diff.. Before I finally got the ladderbars even close to correct alignment, the rearmost yoke attatched to the driveshaft would just barely tap the black paint on the adjustible crossbar just above the shaft! Sumpin not cool! After about a million hours of "adjust then test ride" scenarios, I finally got it right. The diff was not centered to the frame, either! It all depends on the assembler, that's for sure! I wish there were some measurements or specs available to us owners so we could keep an eye out for the suspension binding or getting sloppy. One time during a pre-flight inspection, I found one of the main hiem joints about to cast off its saftey nut!!!! 1 or 2 more turns, and I woulda been hatin it! jimsjinx
 
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