2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
Harley-Davidson’s three-wheeled Tri Glide Ultra moved into the 2017 model year with a handful of improvements and a brand-spanking new engine. The factory powers it with its powerful Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine introduced last year that cranks out over 100 pounds o’ grunt to place it well into the power-cruiser category, even though H-D markets it as a tour bike. Exhaust components rerouting addressed heat problems from prior model-years, and the King of Paint added a couple of new, two-tone paint schemes to the palette for 2017, as well as a 115th Anniversary model for 2018. Harley’s target market for this beast mainly consists of persons who are unwilling or unable to manage one of their admittedly top-heavy, two-wheeled tourers for one reason or another, and I’ve always considered it to be a very laudable thing to try and make sure that anyone who wants bugs in their teeth can have it.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Freewheeler
American riders have had a love affair with the Harley trike ever since the original Servi-Car hit the streets all the way back in 1932, and that’s a fling that Harley-Davidson is still trying to take to the bank with the 2018 Freewheeler. This newest iteration of their naked trike is a real hotrod running the all-new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine that cranks out 100-plus pound-feet of torque to push it well into the power-cruiser bracket. Last year saw some significant improvements as well as some fairly major structural differences with the tour-tastic Tri Glide Ultra, so let’s see what else Harley packed onto its stoplight-burning trike.
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Freewheeler.
2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
Can-Am, under the Bombardier Recreational Products banner, carries its premium touring trike into the 2018 model year with the Spyder RT and RT Limited models. It drops the RT-S from last year’s lineup, so it’s all up to the remaining two to cover all the long-distance bases. From what I can see so far, it looks like ’mission accomplie’ for the Canadian manufacturer. A 115-horsepower Rotax mill pushes the vehicle with room for rider, passenger and 41 gallons of storage split fore and aft. Weather protection and comfort-related features abound, and it’s plain to see that Can-Am looks to take on the two-wheeled touring ’status quo’ with the RT range. Can BRP pull out a win against traditional rides with its unusual configuration and sport-trike stigma? So far, so good; so what do you say we take a look at these two unusual creations that are creating their own niche. Market? We don’t need no stinkin’ market, we’ll make our own damn market. Right guys?
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder RT and RT Limited.
2019 Yamaha Niken
Yamaha looks to redefine what we think of when we hear the word “trike.” We had a taste with Piaggio’s MP3 scooter that used a clever parallelogram to articulate the front end so it can lean into the turns like a two-wheeler. Now we have the all-new Niken (literally: two sword) that brings the leaning trike concept into the realm of full-size bikes. Based on the popular FZ/MT-09, the Niken LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) doubles the size (and number) of the front contact patch(es) for greater safety and traction with the proven 847 cc Crossplane Concept engine to drive the thing. With over 100 ponies on tap and its fancy front end with gobs of traction, the Niken seems set to deliver a ride that is limited only by your own skills and testicular fortitude. The Tuning Fork Company has teased us with hints and nuggets over the last year and more, and finally we get to take a good long look at this new way to build a trike. Hopefully the liars, er, lawyers will stay out of it this time.
Continue reading for my first look at the Yamaha Niken.
2016 - 2018 Piaggio MP3 500 Sport
Back in 2006, Piaggio introduced the world to its MP3 scooter, further expanding the backwards trike concept out of the “big bike” sector and into the scooter realm. This was an important step, and the factory has been hard at work to incorporate more features and performance normally only seen on bigger (and more expensive) bikes into this little ride. Powered by a 493 cc engine with the convenience of CVT transmission, the parallelogram front end gives the MP3 family more motorcycle-type cornering than other scooters. After a hiatus in 2017, the MP3 500 Sport returns to the U.S. market for 2018.
Continue reading for my review of the Piaggio MP3 500 ABS.
It might seem strange to us to see these funny, backward trikes, but they really aren’t anything new. In 1884, Edward Butler debuted plans for his Butler Petrol Cycle. It was a three-wheeled motorcycle — two front steering wheels and a single rear drive wheel — powered by a liquid-cooled, 600 cc flat-twin four-stroke engine.
Starting at $22,399, the Spyder ST-S is a far cry from Butler’s design — for starters, the Spyder ST-S has brakes, the Butler Petrol Cycle didn’t — but I’m sure he would be impressed with what Can-Am has done with his concept.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder ST-S.
Harley-Davidson’s “Project Rushmore” is a bold initiative, and it has brought us a surprising number of innovations and upgraded components from a company with something of a take-it-or-leave-it reputation. As much as I would like to say they invented all of them, the truth is that H-D is catching up with the rest of the world. It has been a long time coming, but they are catching up. Most of the Rushmore features made their way onto the big touring bikes with a few bleeding over into the performance models, and in this case, into the trike range.
Introduced in the Fall of 2014, and released for public consumption as a 2015 model, the Harley Freewheeler sees some Rushmore yummy-goodness on a slightly different platform. This three-wheeled creation combines tripod stability with a high-performance motor for a sporty ride without all the usual trike trappings, unusual to say the least, so let’s take a look at this new breed shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Freewheeler.
The funny backwards trikes in Can-Am’s sport stable for 2016 include the Spyder RS and the RS-S. Featuring the Rotax high-torque engine and 12 gallons of cargo space, these performance-minded siblings are a blend of motorcycle and car technologies to bring you a fun ride that corners like it’s on rails. No, they don’t lean, so it’s not exactly like riding a motorcycle, but not everyone is looking for the same experience.
For stability, you can’t beat three wheels. (Okay, you can beat it with four, but let’s stay in the motorcycle world here.) For riders looking for an in the wind experience but without the worry of wrestling the weight of a two-wheeler, these Spyders are the bomb-diggity. Add a little sporty performance and you can turn funny into fun in a hurry.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder RS and RS-S.
It’s now cool to be seen on a trike. No longer is a trike the ride of old guys too infirm to hold up a two-wheeler. Two things excite me about the Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra: it’s a Harley and it’s one of a Harley’s Project Rushmore bikes. As a biker’s ol’ lady, right away I’m excited about a new Harley with that Harley look, feel and sound. Add to that what I know about Project Rushmore, and I already know I’m going to like the Tri Glide Ultra (FLHTCUTG).
Continue reading to see my review on Harley-Davidson’s Tri Glide Ultra.
Is it still a motorcycle — or a bike — when it has three wheels? Is it really worth an argument? I don’t think so. The touring stable at the Can-Am farm includes the Spyder RT, RT-S, and RT Limited for the 2017 model year. All the rides feature the Rotax high-torque engine and 41 gallons of cargo space. They are tourers, of course, so think of them as full dressers: saddlebags — each big enough for a full-face helmet — and top case, heated handgrips, big adjustable windscreen, and full passenger ensconcement with adjustable floorboards.
For someone new to the wind (usually I’d say “new to two wheels” but that doesn’t apply here), you have a very stable riding platform; and for experienced folks, you have a ride that is comfortable and it’s easy to adapt to the differences. It’s a heavier ride than you’re used to so you might feel like you really have to crank the throttle, but it’s really a nice, comfortable and relaxed ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder RT lineup.
Trimming down the 2016 stable for 2017, Can-Am offers the F3-S and F3-S Daytona 500 in the sport cruising line and the F3-T as their cruiser-touring model. All of the F3 models come with a Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) function that delivers variable steering assistance based on wheel angle and forward vehicle speed. In reverse, it decreases sensitivity as speed increases for controllable backing operations.
Sport cruising, or touring, whatever you’re looking for, you can find in the Spyder F3 — except for a ride with two wheels, of course.
Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am F3 stable.
Not yet available in the U.S., the 2015 Yamaha Tricity is all about innovation and engineering. In developing this three-wheel scooter, project leader Kazuhisa Takano — who was part of the development team for race machines like the YZR500 and the YZR-M1 — used not only computer simulations, but also mock-ups with chopsticks and paper models for his team to come up with the parallelogram-link mechanism. It’s this intricate mechanism that gives the Tricity its agile cornering ability, unlike the bulky hulk of other three-wheel rides. Race technology also gave the Tricity its natural, linear movement, and the nearly 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear wheels makes this handle more like a motorcycle than a scooter.
Continue reading for my review.