Reverse three wheeler?

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#1
Go kart steering in front, mini bike wheel in rear. Low to ground.

I have done this several different ways using old parts and old frames. This time, my 9 year old son wants to help build it this summer and keep it for his yard ride.
I would rather not have him get hurt like me and my beer drinking Marine buddies did years ago.
Have any of you done this? Safely?

How did you do it?
 

nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#2
There are a lot of old electric 4 wheelers out there used for cheap because the batteries are dead. Might be a good option to put a gas motor on one of those instead of making a reverse trike. If safety is a concern. Though keeping the center of gravity low, making the front wheels wider apart, wider tires, and keeping the top speed down will help for a reverse trike safety/stability. Do you expect the majority of riding to be done off road or on more level ground?
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#3
Majority of riding will be on grass and plowed farm field until he gets his independence to head on down the road.
By electric 4 wheelers, do you mean golf carts? We had one, not enough thrills.
 

nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#4
Razor makes lead acid battery electric 4 wheelers. Since the batteries are cheap they end up dying quickly. So they show up used cheap ($50-$75), or along the road in the trash. You could use the frame and modify it to put a gas engine in it.

th-1367233084.jpg
 
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nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#5
Also Chinese 4 wheeler frames are pretty cheap if you keep an eye out. People usually blow the engines up. Those style of Chinese honda copy engines 50-140cc can be found relatively inexpensively online. If your son is interested in something along those lines.
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#6
OK I understand now. Thank you.
He already outgrew a Razor Mini Quad, does not want a full size Razor Quad because they are pretty tame. We have a 73 wheel horse with a Predator 420 and pulleys swapped so that it goes fast enough to be scary if we don't throttle back some before "turn three".
Most of the yard is too bumpy/ rough or hilly for a go kart, but three wheels all stay on the ground. One drive wheel on the ground would not spin in turns. We could make it low enough that he/we could go much faster on our track than the mud mower. I have explained to him that the inside, front tire will lift off the ground in turns. That made his eyes light up and I believe that sealed the deal. He has a new Coleman CT100 U in the garage. He rode it a couple times. It was the greatest thing ever, until he laid it down in "turn three."
He shut it off, put it in the garage, dusted himself off and declare he was done with mini bikes until he is 10.
Besides, summer is coming and I want a reverse three wheel go kart.
 

nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#7
We always called them 4 wheelers when I was younger, until the ATV and Quad nomenclature became the norm. I still sometimes call them 4 wheelers, old habits die hard in all. lol

Mostly for my understanding when you say revers 3 wheeler go kart. It would have the same low sitting position as a go kart or a higher sitting position of a mini bike, but 3 wheels? I have a pretty beefy go kart that I did very similar riding to what you describe. I actually broke one of the front spindles off taking it off a jump (due to no suspension). The kart was actually still drivable at low speed even on 3 wheels, due to the wide tires. I never once came close to flipping the go kart. It had pretty good ground clearance and wide tires. I used to do full speed 180s in our pasture and it could drift pretty well on grass. It has a comet torque converter, peerless rear diff, and LH/RH hand brakes. Mine was a less common Bird Baja, but Manco Dingo go karts are pretty much the same and are far more common used. They're great off road and was a blast growing up on the farm. I put the link to the thread on my Bird Baja below, though progress has stalled a bit. Since I've got other things I need to focus on this spring and summer.

https://oldminibikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/bird-baja-go-kart.174271/post-1278266
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#9
That is EXACTLY the correct idea!
I want the engine in line with the wheel, but that is Perfect. Thank you so much! I am calling him in from the yard to see this right now.
Hus first question will be "Does it come in blue?"
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#11
Now, we are looking for a simple, old fun kart. We used to call them yard karts before everybody needed suspension.
Will, my son, wants the engine BEHIND the minibike tire in the rear. I think that would make the wheelbase too short. I do not want to build something with twitchy steering and extremely bumpy ride. One option is to mount an engine ABOVE the rear wheel, but I think common sense rules that out real fast. So, engine in FRONT of rear wheel brings us to the question of overall length and legroom. I am 6 feet tall and he is 4 feet tall. I have cutting, welding, bending and painting tools and experience. My son wants to build this with me this summer since I am retired now.
I have put together quite a few karts and buggies and even a couple of trikes. Most questions that will come up in this thread will probably be asked so that he can read the replies and ideas that are posted. He can't argue with the computer. Hope that made sense, and thanks for your help so far. Dave
 

nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#12
Probably cutting and extending an old yard kart frame would be best. I agree having the engine in front of the rear wheel would be best. You'll want a little bit of overall length to help prevent the twitchiness and help rollover. You could add seat sliders to allow both of you to drive it.
 
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sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#13
Seat sliders are an option...HOWEVER
As pointed out to me by my nine year old, we will both be using this thing, racing each other against the clock.
If he sits way forward and I sit in the center, he will be loose in the turns and spin the tire when he leaves the line.
According to him, if we design it to be unfair to either one of us, it needs to favor him because I am the better driver. It took him about a minute to come up with a solution. Seat with a roll bar hoop, one seat belt, handlebars with minibike throttle and brake.
Sounds simple enough.
Old yard karts are hard to find. I have front spindles and brackets. I might order some tube and start cutting.
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#14
We have been scrounging around the barn and on my scrap metal pile. (Everybody has a scrap metal pile, right?)
We found a go kart front pipe with steering spindles, a rear wheel from a mini bike with a sprocket on it, and a mini bike frame that we cut the engine mount and rear axel out of. It's all kind of dirty and some of it is rusty, but we are getting excited because we can see what it is going to be.
Will wants a cushy boat seat on it. We need to go to our local bicycle shop and pick out some heavy steel handlebars. I also found a 5hp flathead Briggs on floor in a corner or the garage, and a clutch, still in the box from about 10 years ago. I guess I need to start taking some pictures.
 

nightgrider

Well-Known Member
#15
We have been scrounging around the barn and on my scrap metal pile. (Everybody has a scrap metal pile, right?)
We found a go kart front pipe with steering spindles, a rear wheel from a mini bike with a sprocket on it, and a mini bike frame that we cut the engine mount and rear axel out of. It's all kind of dirty and some of it is rusty, but we are getting excited because we can see what it is going to be.
Will wants a cushy boat seat on it. We need to go to our local bicycle shop and pick out some heavy steel handlebars. I also found a 5hp flathead Briggs on floor in a corner or the garage, and a clutch, still in the box from about 10 years ago. I guess I need to start taking some pictures.
It's all coming together now. :D
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#16
We plan to build two "skis" on the back end, behind the drive wheel. We already know it will lift the front, inside tire in a turn. We plan to make a couple pieces if angle iron that are adjustable so as a front tire raises up, a ski, or skid, will touch the ground in the back, on the opposite side. If the front raises more, the skid will start to scrape the ground at an angle, pulling the tire to the outside of the turn. Kind of like forcing the back end to fish tail to keep the front end down. Do not tell him this, but it will also pull the DRIVE tire off the ground if someone is getting too cocky in a turn. Training wheels, anyone?
 
#17
We have been scrounging around the barn and on my scrap metal pile. (Everybody has a scrap metal pile, right?)
We found a go kart front pipe with steering spindles, a rear wheel from a mini bike with a sprocket on it, and a mini bike frame that we cut the engine mount and rear axel out of. It's all kind of dirty and some of it is rusty, but we are getting excited because we can see what it is going to be.
Will wants a cushy boat seat on it. We need to go to our local bicycle shop and pick out some heavy steel handlebars. I also found a 5hp flathead Briggs on floor in a corner or the garage, and a clutch, still in the box from about 10 years ago. I guess I need to start taking some pictures.
I’ve been watching this thread and I think it’s a cool project, wild but cool. 2 observations. That’s quite a scrap metal pile you have and your competitor conveniently overlooked the driver’s weight difference. Good luck with your project and it’s great that you’re doing it with your son. We need more Dads like you.
 
#18
Probably cutting and extending an old yard kart frame would be best. I agree having the engine in front of the rear wheel would be best. You'll want a little bit of overall length to help prevent the twitchiness and help rollover. You could add seat sliders to allow both of you to drive it.
I was thinking about suggesting a sliding seat around the same time you posted this. Then after his reply to you I thought about a sliding extending frame. It would have to be designed in a way that the wheelbase would be the same for both operators and probably be too complicated. The kids tough ! I didn’t think it all the way through but it’ll be interesting what the end result is.
 

sparkwizard

Well-Known Member
#19
He wants to learn to weld this summer, too. Mommy is an elementary school math teacher. We have been told that children of older parents tend to be pretty bright. We have always tried to get him to figure things out for himself. He is a Lego fanatic. This will be a fun summer. Our first summer since I retired. They both get the summer off from school.
I think we decided on handlebars, a single, fixed seat roughly in the center of the triangle and two sets of foot rests, like a sit-on-top kayak.
That might be the challenging part.
 
#20
I had a ‘79 Honda odyssey that had a butterfly type steering wheel with throttle and brake levers on it. Just an idea but it might be an option for your design. It did give you excellent control on what was a bouncy buggy. I’m picturing handlebars being like ape hangers without seeing your design sketches.
 
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