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A Rare Three Wheeler

LongRoofian June 21, 2017 All Things Hoon 42 Comments

So the other day this olelongrooffan was out and about, cruising down old Route 66 here in the Queen City of The Ozarks and spotted this contraption offered for sale. It was parked on the sidewalk outside of those nearly commonplace antique shops lining that historic roadway.

While I have seen several of the standard three wheeler bikes we are all familiar with, that is with two wheels in the rear and a single one riding out front, hell my Mom even had one of those,

this was the first one this olelongrooffan had ever seen in this configuration. Without a doubt, this is the funkiest three wheeler around.

Have any of my fellow Hoons seen or ridden one of these previously?

Image Copyright Redusernab 2017/longrooffan

  • SlowJoeCrow

    That would appear to be a homebrew project, note that the front forks are actually reversed form normal.
    While this is the first time I’ve seen an upright tadpole trike it is a very common design for recumbent trikes since 2 wheels in front is much more stable and also gives much better packaging.
    On the motorized side the Can Am Spyder is the best known tadpole trike.

    • Upright tadpole trikes have been manufactured on occasion (although most are intended for hauling cargo), but I agree this one looks homemade. Not only are the forks reversed, as you noted, presumably so the steering could be attached to the preexisting brake/reflector mounts, but the steering itself is rather crude, as are the added braces with flattened ends. The way the crosswise tubes are shaped and attached is also odd, suggesting that someone had three similar frames and made one trike out of them.

      I must say, however, that on the motorized side the best known tadpole trike is clearly the HMV Freeway.

      • Alff

        There’s no indication that there was a cargo basket on this thing, although hauling stuff would be the most logical justification for building this. Perhaps it was a homebrew effort to provide a bicycle for someone with less than reliable balance.

        • 0A5599

          A bike for stability could have been much narrower. I think it was homebrewed simply to have a mutant trike.

          • Alff

            I’m trying to wrap my head around the middle one. Built for a paraplegic rider?

            • outback_ute

              Perhaps the teacher in South Park?

              • Alff

                Is it perhaps some kind of downhill racer?

            • P161911

              That or a Unicycle with training wheels.

      • 0A5599

        It’s two similar frames, one different one. Note the different rim sizes.

        I see street vendors using this configuration. In fact, one was in my neighbor’s driveway when I got home from work yesterday.

        • Non-cargo versions also exist, such as this Higgins K Type (the British company, not the Sears store brand):

        • Sjalabais

          Electric cargo bikes like the one above get a tax refund of 5000 NOK / 600 $ in Oslo. Just a shame that they easily cost ten times as much from certified dealers.

          • Didn’t know that- won’t take long until Biltema will have one for 6kNOK… in most crappy quality, both mechanical and electrical.

            • Sjalabais

              I figured I’d ask some resident friends to buy me one, but prices are insane. Building your own doesn’t count (a friend of mine here zips around at 60 kph with Chinese batteries, constantly afraid to get nipped for that…because there’s rules for battery capacity + maximum speed, too).

      • Troggy

        Never having heard of the HMV Freeway until now I would have said that on the motorised side the best known tadpole trike (I’d never heard that term before today either!) was the Piaggio MP3 😛

        • Rover 1

          “Never having heard of the HMV Freeway until now”

          You must be new here? http://redusernab.info/2016/02/10/podcast-hosts-needed/

          This is of course an old picture, the best, most normal car has gone to be replaced by a worse one.

          • longrooffan

            Worse? No such thing.

            • You’re too kind. I remain vigilant for new opportunities to increase the accumulation.

          • outback_ute

            Which one are you talking about?

            • Rover 1

              The Metro.Now replaced by another AustinRover product, a Vanden Pas Maestro.

              • The Maestro VP was intended more as a companion piece for the Metro. The replacement is the Allegro 3.

                • Rover 1

                  I stand corrected. Of course the Maestro in Vanden Plas version isn’t worse than the Metro, though with those motor problems it does try hard. It is after all David Bache’s last work to make production. (BL had discontinued the Austin Maxi ohc ‘E’ series motor and someone had instructed that the ‘obsolete’ tooling be destroyed. The order had luckily been directly disobeyed by others and provided the ‘perfect’ basis for the new ‘R’ series. This was only used on the Maestro and suffered from numerous maladies.)

                  And of course general consensus is that the Allegro was the nadir of the entire British motor industry not just BL. James May even devotes a part of his latest TV series, Series 2 of James May’s Cars of The People to explaining just why.

                  Understandably, MD Harrell considered Allegro ownership essential. Perhaps we are due an updated photo of the collection?

          • Troggy

            Not new, just infrequent.
            My God, if there was ever a collection of “so bad that they’re good” cars, you’ve nailed it.

            • jeepjeff

              This is far from a complete accounting of his collection. This rabbit hole only gets better.

            • Thanks! By the way, the other typical trike configuration is called delta.

              • Should drive to the right, to minimize confusion, says my inner Greek.

            • New here or not, you certainly fit.

      • SlowJoeCrow

        Thanks for reminding me about the cargo bikes, the ones I see most often are two wheelers so it slipped my mind.

  • Jofes2

    I’ve seen plenty of two-front-one-back cargo bikes with a box between the two front wheels, but nothing like this. And I’ve never heard of whatever your mother used to own, unless you mean a child’s tricycle.

    • In the US, adult tricycles are typically quite staid machines. The British, on the other hand, race them.

      • dukeisduke

        The British will race just about anything.

        • Rover 1

          To be fair, something, no doubt, tied up with the importance of ‘the pub’ in Britain’s social life?
          Tin bath racing.

          Snail Racing.

          Another sort of snail racing, 2CV racing

        • outback_ute

          Need a “ 1 million” button for this comment! Who else races cheese for example?

      • 0A5599

    • P161911

      Cargo tricycles are not unheard of in the US. They are often seen in large industrial plants and used by maintenance personnel and such.

  • outback_ute

    How about this one?

    • Sjalabais

      “Have you gained two pounds again, darling?”

      • Vairship

        Jump off unexpectedly, and enjoy the hilarious effect on the remaining rider!

        • Sjalabais

          It’s quite a relationship tester, with a good chance of rubbing arms, too.

      • outback_ute

        Apparently you could have riders 100lb different, there was a reference to breaking the wooden wheel rims though.

  • dukeisduke

    So OLRF, what are you doing now to bring in shekels? Selling classic cars?

  • Lokki


  • Windbüchse

    Homebrew? For the crafty among us…..