Trikes? “What the hell?” you are asking? Choppers are two-wheelers bud! Ok fine, we all think a trike can be a chopper, as long as it’s a chopped-up chopper with some rake and not some ridiculous Harley trike conversion you see grandpa and grandma cruising on with matching helmets.
Even I have to admit, trikes do seem to have their place in the chopper hierarchy. Guys have always been building them in the chopper scene, look at Ed Roth in issue number one of this very magazine back in 1969. Along with Tom McMullin, the founder of Street Chopper, they both built some of the raddest choppers this world has ever seen
The guys that racked themselves up street-racing their choppers in the early ’60s might have built a trike later on as a viable way to stay in the wind. There were some very famous three-wheeled riders and machines back in the day, so I think we can easily say that there is some real chopper history there with them.
Most trikes back in the day were powered by V-Dub engines or 45 Flatheads. That was always the easy way to go. VW engines are cheap as hell and work great. 45 Flatheads, while slow, came in a three-wheeler, so it was easy to build one into a chopper trike. Building a Big Twin trike is a whole other prospect. Try as you may, there is no easy way to graft a three-wheeler rear on.
This here trike survivor was done the hard way and we quized our buddy Blotto Mike, the caretaker of this old three-wheeled time capsule, all about it. Here’s what he said:
“I got the trike Christmas Eve from a dead guy’s daughter in San Bruno, just south of San Francisco. I think it’s been in the Bay Area all its life. It’s a ’52 motor in a Panhead swinger frame up front. Out back it has a 45 trike rear flipped over to get the angle of the dangle just right. Dude, that is a big pain-in-the-ass job somebody did to get it right. It’s killer too, you can look at the rear chaincase on the differential and see where someone used a drill and bored a zillion holes to open it up for the chain!
I think it’s an AEE springer with a 17-inch Chopper Stopper or Invader front wheel. In the rear it has two chrome trike wheels with ‘Shannon Cone’ hubcaps made by Esajian Enterprises in Fresno back in the day. The body is an unknown glass-made unit with nagahyde seats. The painter is unknown, but it is badass. Other parts include a Bates headlight and some unknown six-bend bars. It’s also got a four-speed Panhead era trans without reverse, and a pair of totally ruling Torque Thruster meats out back, which makes it hard as hell to back up.”
The girl Mike got it from told him that her dad would drive her and her sister to school in it back in the day! Now that must have been the coolest ride rolling into high school.
It’s a pretty neat bike if you ask me. It’s a survivor that’s good to see back on the road. STC