racing trikes?

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by uraberg, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. uraberg

    uraberg whosaberg?

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    700
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Let's say that one developed an interest in thinking about maybe building something lke this:

    [​IMG]

    One could start pretty much with a motorcycle sans forks. How far would you be able to modify this frame so that it would in the eyes of the DMV no longer be that motorcycle, and had to be titled as something else altogether?
    #1
  2. RedRaptor22

    RedRaptor22 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Louisiana
    It really depends on your DMV, but most would require it meets all the same regulations a car would, plus the frame would likely need to be halved as you cannot have two vin#.

    And depending on your state getting it titled may or may not be possible, usually your state police will have to inspect it along with receipts for most materials and major components, as wells as a certified welding inspection of the frame before they will proceed to stamp out a vin plate for it, at least here in louisiana thats how it usually works.

    But your best bet would be to check with your nearest dmv headquarters, usually regular dmv offices do not know jack about such things.



    I actually know one guy here who has a shifter kart and F-1 car plated here lol, the shifter kart was the hardest because machines with a solid live axle are an automatic no when it comes to titling here.
    #2
  3. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,019
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    3 wheels = motorcycle in the majority of states.
    That means no seat belts, air bags, windsheild wipers , etc are required.
    It doesn't mean it will be easy , either.
    #3
  4. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,867
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Here, you would pretty much just register it as a motorcycle, and it would just stay that way unless you add a fourth wheel. No inspections here, really.
    #4
  5. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
    In Kalifornia, You would have to keep the frame numbers in a reasonable place or get a "Frame Change".

    Don
    #5
  6. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,224
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA.
    If you had the original motorcycles vin # and plates you could just keep buying tags for it and put them on the build. You would just need a bit of frame with vin#.
    The biggest hurdle would be an inspection on the street, for sure you will get stopped. I guess if you had registration and tags and all the safety equipment worked you should be fine.
    #6
  7. uraberg

    uraberg whosaberg?

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    700
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    See, that's what I want to hear. :)
    #7
  8. grisezd

    grisezd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    103
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I've considered doing this forever. Sketched it up a few times, drew it out on the garage floor. One day...

    In my part of Ohio you can get away with anything, but apparently there is an issue with using ATV parts in the front end. Unfortnately that was part of my plan! If I just fly under the radar it's easy, and if I want to get all fancy (apply for a VIN, etc) I'll have to prove I bought everything, show lights and safety equipment, and hope I get the right inspector!!! So under the radar (still legal, but will still have to explain it if I get pulled over) it is.

    One thing I will do to keep the VIN in a reasonable spot is to reuse the headtube as the steering column, right behind a steering wheel. Handy, and funny.
    #8
  9. Pugsley/Hobbfather

    Pugsley/Hobbfather Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    415
    Location:
    Barnard, VT
    I usually use the explanation for doing certain things that "...and it was funnier for me that way..."
    #9
  10. RedRaptor22

    RedRaptor22 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I was thinking the same thing about the head tube/steering column as I was getting caught up on the thread lol! just make it so that the vin is plainly visible through the windscreen lol.

    In a way doing it that would almost make it just as much of a recumbent as it is a trike, there are kits out there that require no frame mods at all though, just bolt the tub and front end to the frame of the bike and have the steering head right at your back, but I think that way produces kind of a silly wheelbase for something intended to be fast and maneuverable.
    #10
  11. RedRaptor22

    RedRaptor22 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I think anything in the GS or GSF family would make a great donor being that almost all of them have easily modified steel frames and more bottom end grunt than their racy counterparts.
    #11
  12. redprimo

    redprimo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    central coast of California
    The spirit of your build kind of reminds me of this guy. http://www.ronpatrickstuff.com/ in the way that it pushes the limits of what is a legal modification.
    #12
  13. uraberg

    uraberg whosaberg?

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    700
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    #13
  14. Tanshanomi

    Tanshanomi Your Favorite Uncle

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Heart of America
    It's not always that simple. In some states (including my home of Missouri), a VIN is only legal as long as the vehicle remains "substantially and recognizably" the same as manufactured. In other words, if it's a Suzuki 600 motorcycle, a cop better look at it and say, "Yea, that looks like a Suzuki 600 to me." Once you modify it to the point where it is no longer recognizable as the vehicle you started with (and changing the number of wheels is pretty much a sure dinger on that one), you may be required by law to get a Special Construction title, even if the original VIN is still present on the frame.

    Be forewarned you might be required to provide a copy of the bike's original title (front and back!) for not just the frame and motor, but EVERY non-new part on the bike! For new parts, you must have an itemized receipt proving you bought it new. At least that's how it is in Missouri.

    And the worse case scenario is, no matter what state you live in, if it looks like you incorporated the head stock into the frame specifically to maintain the VIN stamp; then you can get hauled in for VIN tampering, which is a FEDERAL felony.
    #14
  15. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,371
    Location:
    Central CT
    My cousin lives in NC, and he's seen V8 sand rails with plates, so it's most likely possible.

    From the NC DOT: http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/vehicle/title/vehicles/

    Additional Requirements

    <dl><dt>Inspection</dt><dd> Antique and custom-built vehicles presented for first-time titling and registration in North Carolina must be examined and photographed by a local NC Division of Motor Vehicles inspector.
    The report confirms the vehicle is equipped for road use and meets all DOT safety standards.

    </dd></dl>
    <dl><dt>What is an Antique Vehicle?</dt><dd>
    • A motor vehicle at least 35 years old (measured from the date of manufacture)
    </dd><dt>What is a Custom-Built Vehicle?</dt><dd>
    • A motor vehicle that is completely reconstructed or assembled from new or used parts
    • Will be branded as "specially contructed vehicle"
    • Year of vehicle will be year of assembly.
    </dd><dt>What is a Replica Vehicle?</dt><dd>
    • A motor vehicle which is a replica manufactured from a kit and sold unassembled
    • Titled as the make and year model intended to be replicated
    • Model listed on title is "replica"
    • Will be branded as "specially contructed vehicle"
    • Motorcycles are not titled as replicas.
    </dd></dl> ​
    It's got to be easier than CT, but you need to talk to someone who's done it before in YOUR state.
    Figure out who to deal with and where. Around here, it seems like everybody in DMV makes up their own rules as they see fit that particular day.

    It looks like a neat project, I'd seen it a few years back. It's one of many projects I've considered building, but figured it would take me too long and I'd lose momentum before I would finish it.
    #15
  16. uraberg

    uraberg whosaberg?

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    700
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    That is exactly the case here in NC as well. Thanks for the info though. Something like this may still be in between any rules, since it is more of a modification of an existing vehicle than it is a new construction.
    #16
  17. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,224
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA.
    I'd have to disagree with most of this. I was a Licensed California Vehicle Dealer from 1981-2004 and became a DMV paperwork/law expert.

    One could take said Suzuki 600 motorcycle and simply put a race fairing on it and substantially alter it's appearance.

    Or take Suzuki 600 and take all the fairing off, add a sidecar and different fuel tank, lights and etc.

    Adding a wheel cannot be unlawful.

    So if you remove the front forks from your Suzuki 600 motorcycle and weld them to a seat and two steerable front wheels you still have the same vehicle as in the examples above.

    Altering/tampering with a VIN is just that. I've had VIN's made at trophy shops for stolen/recovered vehicles.

    I'd say it's all conjecture and subject to interpretation.

    There are many Manx VW bugs running around that bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever of the original vehicle but run on the VIN under the passenger seat.

    How about the VW/Bugatti? (Google it) Registered as a VW bug...looks like an ancient Bugatti.

    Or any number of kit cars...Cobra, Mercedes K, Porsche racer, google them there are hundreds, most of them disguised as a hot car made from and registered as some mundane form of transport.

    It all started for me in 1966 with a 50's 'Bond Mini-Car' (google it). A three wheeled alloy car with two wheels in the back and one in front, powered by a 250cc TWO STROKE single cylinder Villiers...KICK START ONLY..engine. I had to open the bonnet (hood) to kick start the engine. You only needed a motorcycle license to drive this car.

    Most anything can and will be done. Laws are circumvented everyday on car pool lanes and smog requirements. Even the BIG manufacturers by pass laws....safety requirements are less on Trucks rather than passenger cars...why do you suppose almost every personal vehicle is a SUV anymore? You guessed it....less requirements.

    If there is a will there is a way. We would have no new stuff and few inventions if people couldn't tinker around.

    There is no law that says I can't cut my Hayabusa in half and put a car seat in there and an extra wheel. There are laws as to safety equipment, lights/brakes/steering and etc., and all that had better work unless I want a ticket.

    So I can put a Goldwing engine in my VW bug and it's still a Bug. So I can put a VW engine in my Goldwing and it's still a Goldwing. So I can put the front end of my Harley Sportster on the back end of my pre 17 digit VW Bug (with engine) now I have a VIN on the Harley front end and a VIN under the seat of the Bug...work that one out (I've seen this vehicle numerous times in Los Angeles). Hundreds of Harley Trikes around, new and old, the old ones are generally VW powered.

    I call poo poo on anyone that says this is not legal or simple, I say it is both LEGAL AND SIMPLE. Keep it simple. Just be mindful of safety and VIN requirements. Any vehicle with a pre 17 digit VIN can have that VIN hidden, it doesn't even need to be on display. Any 17 digit VIN is now known as a 'Public VIN' and must be displayed in plain sight. That is why after a certain year (1970 was it?) all vehicles have a Federal Public VIN, on cars and trucks it is on the windshield post. Look at old cars, some are on the dash, some are on the inside door post, some under the hood, some under the seat (VW).
    When you go to DMV with an old vehicle and they say "it is out of the system" usually it's a pre 17 digit and not on the computer. The computer changed a lot of things. It can be used to one's advantage. Now the DMV just looks at the computer and works from whatever the screen says. A licensed dealer, LEO, wrecking yards and some others have access to the same screen as the DMV....so you have a great starting point and parameters with which to work with.

    It's like our ex Governor Arnold riding his motorcycle and sidecar without a M on his license, it's considered a car! Yet my three wheeled car was considered a motorcycle!

    I wouldn't sweat the details, honest I wouldn't.
    #17
  18. Tanshanomi

    Tanshanomi Your Favorite Uncle

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Heart of America
    And not one of them is legal. You can spout whatever rationalizations and weasel words such as "interpretation" that you want, but the plain fact is that possessing a vehicle that has the original manufacturer's ID removed is a federal felony. I was told that personally, on no uncertain terms, by the Director of the Missouri State Patrol's inspection dept after I'd bought one of those dune buggies with a VW title and attempted to register it. It cost me $1280 in legal fees and nearly a year in the courts to straighten it out. I was only able to keep the car with the help of a sympathetic court judge.
    #18
  19. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,224
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA.
    possessing a vehicle that has the original manufacturer's ID removed is a federal felony

    We are talking about USING the original ID in the build. Not removing it, altering it, USING it.

    Funny when I went to get my stolen/recovered VW Cabriolet from the impound yard, it had the Public Vin Removed. They gave me the vehicle, I put my dealer plate on it and drove it back to the car lot. I possessed it. I fixed and replaced all the stolen/damaged items, had a VIN made and sold it in a VERY large vehicle auction complex that runs every VIN and inspects every VIN before entry to auction is allowed. Possessed and drove that thing for a couple of months prior to sale. Expect the buyer possesses it and drives it too.

    weasel words...do like that though, haven't heard that one.

    Don't think I used rationalize.....interpretation sure.....just like the Judge interpreted the law so you could drive your Manx Buggy.
    So go on Ebay and 'search' kit car...I do..almost daily. You will find hundreds of Fiero's and Mustangs and all manner of crap disguised as fast, hot cars. All of them running on a VIN from the original mundane vehicle. Pontiac Fiero Ferrari's!
    Bugatti VW's. Ferrari Daytona Datsuns. Ford Pinto Model A Fords. Some of these vehicles are offered for over $50,000.

    So, whats to stop me pulling the body off my VW Bug and throwing on a Porsche 356 Cab body on top? NOTHING, I've done it and sold them on the used car lot. I've slammed Bugs, raised Bugs, shortened Bugs, cut the roof off Bugs, welded two different Bugs together. I made a whole new frame for a Ford Model A and used the vin from the original vehicle I had. Nothing was original on that car except the VIN. V8 engine replaced a flat four, all wheels and suspension was brand new up to date equipment, the inside looked like an aircraft, guess what?...it was a 32 Ford...sure was...not weasel worded interpreted as one..it was/is one....mine and thousands of others in possession by enthusiasts all over USA.

    It's all about interpretation...it's not a weasel word...it's in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary:

    2: an instance of artistic interpretation in performance or ADAPTATION.
    2: to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgement, or CIRCUMSTANCE.
    3: to REPRESENT by means of art.

    Take a look at the web site in which a guy puts a JET ENGINE in the back of a New Beetle and keeps the OEM in front.
    Fun times at the smog station. Fun times when he encounters LEO.

    It's called 'vehicle customizing'...it's the great American pastime. It's not a crime.
    #19
  20. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,371
    Location:
    Central CT
    That depends on where you live.:lol3

    Someone with a dealer's license has lots more latitude when processing paperwork and registration than John Q. Public does around here. DMV can treat you like a criminal for the offense of trying to have fun with a vehicle. I went through "composite vehicle inspection" for a titled kit car purchased out of state. If I didn't know some people who knew people in DMV, I don't know how long it would have taken - as it was it took me 2 months. YMMV.
    #20