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Three-wheel madness: the thrill of a bike and the comfort of a car

11 June 2015

Those who choose to live on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand are hardy souls, and often have to use creativity to overcome adversity.

One of those West Coast residents is Peter Galey, aka Dog. A motorbike lover for as long as he can remember, after many crashes and years of being a self-confessed larrikin, he decided that he’d take things a little easier on himself. By easier on himself, we mean construct something that could give the thrill of a motorbike, but the comfort of a car.

He stumbled upon the perfect thing — a frame built by James D Trikes in Christchurch, and fitted with a Cummins motor. It had been for sale for awhile before Peter got his hands on it, and we’re guessing that most people were scared of the combination more than the work required to complete it. No ordinary motor, the Cummins diesel displaces 9.4 litres, and was originally housed in a log skidder, meaning it’s set up for maximum torque. Backing up the monster motor is an Allis Chalmers four-speed gearbox and Toyota Dana rear end complete with dual wheels.

With help from a bunch of good mates, most notably ‘Stainless Steve’ the stainless steel guru, and mate Pedro, Peter transformed the chassis and engine combo into what you see here over the period of about four years. Included in this was a major setback, when the workshop the trike was in burnt to the ground due to an electrical fire.

Thankfully, the trike was the only thing to survive, and after a long delay, work could continue.

One key piece of that was constructing the custom front-end assembly. The team at George Stock and Company supplied the Koni coilover shocks and King springs that the trike now uses. Nearby are brake calipers sourced from a Land Rover Discovery, which clamp on Ford rotors in an effort to slow the approximately two-ton machine.

One of the most expensive parts of the build was the custom front wheel, of which Peter says weighs in at around 50kg.

The part he’s potentially proudest of is the custom headers, which have been completed to an exceptionally high standard, leaving no welds visible. These, and the large custom fuel tank, are the work of Stainless Steve.

The team behind the build managed to capture the trike’s maiden voyage on film. But when you watch it, and, like us, are waiting for him to put his foot into it, you’ll be disappointed. While the guys knew the diff ratio wasn’t optimal, it was worse than expected, so that’s currently being sorted out before it gets taken to the LVV certifier to start the paperwork for getting it on the road.

Peter remarks that it drives like a Rolls-Royce, and if the seats had no backs on them, you’d be on the ground — that’s the amount of torque the motor produces.  

So, what’s the plan once it’s completed? “To ride it everywhere” is the answer Peter gave us. So don’t be surprised it you see a trike the size of a Toyota Hilux cruising down the road somewhere near you, as Peter and partner Debs are set to clock up plenty of miles on this wild custom creation.