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For anyone considering a trike, like myself, let's dicuss the advantages-disadvantages of straight rear axle versus ind. suspension.
 

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Jake,

My wife and I broke into triking on a GL1500 with a CSC trike kit that had a solid rear axle. We loved it, but it was a rough ride across gutters and rough spots. Just the nature of the beast. We made it just fine and loved the machine. When we upgraded to our present 1800, after considerable research and considering the relative closeness of a kit installer we already knew, and with recommendations of his work from others, we settled on a RoadSmith trike kit with an independent rear suspension.

We have absolutely been pleased across the board. Both my wife and I will tell you that this machine is the most comfortable trike we've ever ridden, and we rode several different ones prior to making our final decision. The longer wheelbase of the unit no doubt contributes somewhat to the comfort, but this rig is smooth, and we like it. It not only rides very well, but it handles very well. We have the 5.5 degree rake kit installed on the front end. The machine runs straight down the road till I get ready to change direction, and it does not require lots of effort to change direction. It handles well in the curves (understand I am not and never have been a hard charger through the curves, plus there ain't very many of 'em in our local area, but we ride over to the mountains quite often and there are plenty there!).

It would be very, very difficult for me or my wife to go back to the solid rear axle trike. We are sold on the IRS, and we are particularly sold on the design and engineering of the RoadSmith kit. There are other good ones, but we have not experienced some of the difficulties that other owners of other brands have had to deal with. The experience and quality of service provided by your trike kit installer is likely more important than the brand you buy, but you will be hard pressed to find a better machine than a Roadsmith conversion. That's my seriously considered opinion. I'm as skeptical and hard to please as most anybody, and I have yet to have my first serious criticism of this machine. It may come yet, but so far, so GOOD!!!!
 

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Straight Axle Talk

For anyone considering a trike, like myself, let's dicuss the advantages-disadvantages of straight rear axle versus ind. suspension.
Very simply put, straight axles have less moving parts to potentially wear out.

You can spend more time riding or spend more time on maintenance. :nojoke:

Straight axles have been the mainstay since the 30's. Many would call this a design that has played out but Harley-Davidson, who's only business is motorcycles, chose a straight axle over the IRS.

Maybe they just didn't want to leave the 20th century.:tongue:
 

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I received the following info from a fellow board member in my pm this AM. Though I would pass it on. Looks to be his thoughts and experience. Not sure why he sent it to me vice the OP of this thread, but here it goes...

p.s. I am not throwing him under the bus, but thought it was a good reply and needed to be passed on...


"advantages-disadvantages of straight rear axle versus ind. suspension"

Simple matter of physics and "unsprung weight"...the lower the better... Solid axle trikes have an automotive rear axle assembly with automotive brakes all bolted solidly to a welded steel swingarm assembly. All of this mass moves vertically and must be controlled when encountering bumps. This mass is all unsprung weight. Additionally, ALL lateral (rocking) motion is transferred to the bike frame/rider/passenger with associated increased front wheel "bump steer when encountering bumps).

On the other hand, IRS trikes have much less unsprung weight since individual wheels/tires are all that the suspension has to control (final drive/differential bolted to frame) - drastically decreased unsprung weight and greatly decreased lateral motion.

Cornering? solid axle trikes will stay flatter when cornering up to the point where an inside tire would lift (takes some real aggressive riding!). At this same point in a corner an IRS trike body will lean but the inside tire will remain planted a lot longer. IMHO, In sensible, normal riding there's not really an advantage (in cornering)...both will stay up with/push most bike riders.

Mechanical complexity? Solid axle units are relatively basic using automotive components. IRS units vary by make...

CSC is extremely complicated with lots of adjustments and offers the poorest ride of all the IRS trikes (single floating spring shock mechanically couples both rear wheels). driveline and brakes are proprietary CSC components.

Roadsmith and Hannigan use similar trailing arm designs with increased wheelbase and are very straightforward and require little maintenance. Both use automotive drivelines and brakes.

Motor Trike's IRS is a very well designed and performs well.

Champion has apparently had some teething problems with their relatively new IRS design have no direct experience).

All (including the solid axle units) share similar traits...all stock driveline and brake components are removed/discarded, all use CV joints. All these IRS trikes are heavy (conversions adds a lot of weight to the bike).

The other IRS trike is DFT....not as well known, smaller manufacturer that retains all the stock Honda driveline, final drive, brakes, lights and wiring in their original positions. Lowest unsprung weight, lowest weight added to bike, best ride of all with no complex ongoing adjustments. Mechanically simple, uses standard heavy duty automotive u-joints and standard commercial bearings throughout.

Bottom line, most IRS trikes ride better than solid axle trikes simply because of lower unsprung weight.
 

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No long technical post. Just a statement based on having test ridden all major brands prior to choosing my Hannigan IRS, which, by the way requires no more maintenance than a solid axle model.
If you want the smoothest ride possible-choose a conversion that lengthens the wheel base on which the whole rear end assembly doesn't move anytime a bump or dip is encountered.
Test the rest
then buy the best
Hannigan
I found it this interesting:
When I first started my quest to trike, I decided very quickly it was going to be IRS.
A local installer, whom at the time, only sold Lehman conversions. He was very adamant about telling me how I did not really want IRS.
Some time later his story did a complete turn around as he has started selling Hannigan conversions!
While wife and I were on the Hannigan test ride and after riding everything else that was of interest to me, she leaned up and said, "This is the one, isn't it?" Of course the answer was affirmative!
There are IRS conversions that indeed do have way to many "parts" involved and "things" that can require more "work" than a solid axle model. But, some of these w/more parts are the very reason they are smoother(especially getting the rear wheels out from under the passengers bottom)riding than solid axle models.
I have yet to read/hear of any major problems w/a Hannigan conversion!
Not so, with many of the others!
Now, having said all of that. One more important point. If you don't buy a kit you can install, picking a good installer is almost as important as selecting the right conversion for you. Choose wisely,a poor installer=a poor trike!
 

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I would ask myself a few questions.

Who is going to build it or maintain it? Go talk to them. If you ask two people which is best straight or IRS, you will probably get 3 different answers.

Are there any used trikes you would be interested in? Since this is your first one, you could save a lot of money if it turns out that you don't like Trikes.

That said, I love my CSC which is IRS. The ride is good, it has an aux gas tank, and I like ground effects. In fairness, it is the only trike I have ridden, so it is unfair to compare it to others. The only problem I have is where can I take it to get work done. My builder passed away and his shop closed. I have a good IRS close by, but they are very busy and it can take weeks to get the trike in for service. I would have the same problem reguardless of the trike kit I had, and to be honest I have the same issue with where to take my bikes for service. Just something to think about.
 

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JakeCz. This is a decision that is best made u the person doing the selection. I believe that the IRS kits will ride smother that straight axle ones. After that u have to figure what u want in a kit and go from there. One thing I think we will all agree on is that the installer is a big part of the equation. Who makes the best cars, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, and ect.? I don't feel there is one best brand but may be a best brand for each person.

Would also read through the trike posts/

Here as the sites for most manufactures
http://www.californiasidecar.com/
http://www.championsidecars.com/
http://www.dfttrikes.com/kits.php
http://www.eurowingusa.com/home.html
http://www.hannigantrikes.com/content/home.html
http://www.lehmantrikes.com/default.aspx?navid=28
http://www.motortrike.com/
http://www.trikingtrikes.com/
http://www.trikeshop.com/trikes/ht1800/

I would recommend that u get at least the following accessory's:
powertrak/ezsteer,rake
aux fuel tank
trailer hitch
parking brake

Others well have different opinions.

Good luck in your quest.
 

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I'm not sure who Fireeater is quoting ... it does not matter who it is ... the information posted follows along very closely with my own research as I considered which kit to have installed on my '06 1800. IMO, there is much to be learned from what he said. Each of us has to make up our own minds about these things, and it's true that each of us has different likes and needs. But the design and engineering points that are made in that post are correct as far as I can tell.

Anything mechanical has maintenance requirements. Anything mechanical can and does wear out or break down at times. I do not anticipate any more maintenance with my RS IRS than I had with the CSC solid axle unit. In fact, I really expect less ... especially with respect to the drive shaft connections. My RS unit uses parts off the shelf that are generally available at any parts counter ... Volkswagon CV joints, brake pads and calipers, etc, and the u-joints in the drive line are Spicers. The suspension is straightforward, uncomplicated, and does not require lots of adjusting, and the trailing arm design is the best, my opinion, of course!

I have ridden most brands of trikes ... there is no question that my IRS kit with the longer wheelbase is significantly more comfortable than others. Look at some of the pictures of trikes ... see that the passenger sits directly over the rear axle on some ... my wife sits in front of the rear axles. Makes a big difference. Having less unsprung weight makes a big difference, not only to the suspension itself, but to the complete frame and bike as well as the occupants on the machine.

I don't put anybody's machine down. If it suits them and they are happy, that's wonderful for me. But I'll tell ya I'm sure glad not to have some of those available, for the very reasons the poster in FireEater's post has stated. I recommend anyone shopping for a trike read that again and again. Print it off and show it to any good installer who installs multiple brands ... I'm guessing you'll get a lot of agreement from them about the veracity of these comments!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rear suspension---Thanks

A huge thankyou to all who responded regarding Trike riding. Your knowledge and experience is exactly what I was looking for. Safe riding and drive Defensively. JC
 

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Take a look under your car and your pickup truck. Most modern cars have IRS. Virtually all pickup trucks have live [solid to some] axles. Which rides better, your car or your truck? Which handles better, your car or your truck?
 

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:agree:

Short and to the point.
 

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Take a look under your car and your pickup truck. Most modern cars have IRS. Virtually all pickup trucks have live [solid to some] axles. Which rides better, your car or your truck? Which handles better, your car or your truck?

How would your car handle with 3 wheels ?????:eek:4:
 

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How would your car handle with 3 wheels ?????:eek:4:
Lee,
We tend to like what we have. I just pointed out that IRS provides a more comfortable ride and better handling, all else equal. Some IRS trikes have greater handling capability and offer better ride qualities than others as do some live axle trikes. IRS is typically more expensive to build.
 

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Jake,

My wife and I broke into triking on a GL1500 with a CSC trike kit that had a solid rear axle. We loved it, but it was a rough ride across gutters and rough spots. Just the nature of the beast. We made it just fine and loved the machine. When we upgraded to our present 1800, after considerable research and considering the relative closeness of a kit installer we already knew, and with recommendations of his work from others, we settled on a RoadSmith trike kit with an independent rear suspension.

We have absolutely been pleased across the board. Both my wife and I will tell you that this machine is the most comfortable trike we've ever ridden, and we rode several different ones prior to making our final decision. The longer wheelbase of the unit no doubt contributes somewhat to the comfort, but this rig is smooth, and we like it. It not only rides very well, but it handles very well. We have the 5.5 degree rake kit installed on the front end. The machine runs straight down the road till I get ready to change direction, and it does not require lots of effort to change direction. It handles well in the curves (understand I am not and never have been a hard charger through the curves, plus there ain't very many of 'em in our local area, but we ride over to the mountains quite often and there are plenty there!).

It would be very, very difficult for me or my wife to go back to the solid rear axle trike. We are sold on the IRS, and we are particularly sold on the design and engineering of the RoadSmith kit. There are other good ones, but we have not experienced some of the difficulties that other owners of other brands have had to deal with. The experience and quality of service provided by your trike kit installer is likely more important than the brand you buy, but you will be hard pressed to find a better machine than a Roadsmith conversion. That's my seriously considered opinion. I'm as skeptical and hard to please as most anybody, and I have yet to have my first serious criticism of this machine. It may come yet, but so far, so GOOD!!!!

Excellent assesment comparing your experiences with solid axle and independent rear suspension. This is what makes these posts so valuable.

Thanks.
 

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I appreciate your comments, Comanche. Everyone has different tastes and needs, so ultimately we must each make our own choices. I think each of us is more likely to be satisfied with our choice if we've really taken the time to do some research and some riding. Comments of other owners is always of interest and can be of value. But nothing beats spending some time aboard a machine. I don't think it would take very long when riding different brands and different types of suspension to make an intelligent informed choice!!!!
 

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My old tractor

I could not be happier with any conversion than I am with my Lehman Monarch 2. It rides as well or better than the IRS unit that I considered when making my purchase. Absolutly NO problems or maintance problems. Very few moving parts to wear out, and to my knowledge very few if an "propriarty" parts. Heck, if these old tractor rear suspensions are good enough to go around Talladega at 200 mph, I guess they should be ok for me at near legal speed limits ! LOL! As stated, everyone should think their conversion is best. Ride all you can and find the BEST installer you can. Take what is said here with a grain of salt because ,in the end its your greenbacks that are parting company with you.
 
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