So...What Did I Buy (Get Myself Into)? - BGW TriRod

Mini Bike & Go-Kart Parts

#1
Sold a used mower for $200 a couple weeks ago and, apparently, didn't see a reason to hang onto the money. :rolleyes: Anyway, saw this thing come up for sale and decided to add it to my collection of projects (three hovercraft, two 6x6). I bought it as the sun was fading (why?!?) and got a good look at it today. Everything seems basic and there but I know the jackshaft is cockeyed and will need rebuilt. The fiberglass ain't horrible and the frame is solid. I've been looking for a trike for a while and this one wasn't but 15 minutes north of me.

I know it's a TriRod but my problem is I don't know what model. The tag on the back says TR-2196 but I come up with bupkis online. It appears to be a TR-351 but there does not appear to have ever been a decal on the fenders saying so. It has IRS and a differential but the original engine is long gone. The front suspension appears to be enclosed assemblies but I don't put it past them to have been replaced at some point. Anyone happen to know what model this is so I can set about getting an idea of where to start? One wheel is a 12" rim, the other 8". Like I said, the sun was fading. I'd like to try and get this at least running by the end of summer. Thanks.
 

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wjustice

Well-Known Member
#2
I dont have much TriRod info but.... It most likely used 8" wheels originally. The suspension frames are not very common. The 5(351) & 8hp(381) engines were most common. Other makes used much larger engines later but your mount looks like standard 4 stroke. Good Luck! Other should chime in with more useful info.
 
#5
I have a blue metal flake with twin shocks in the rear. Here is a little info for you. I have a 10hp tech on it now but putting on a 18hp. My son is driving it and the green mini is mine too. And I have the ski for mine too.
If yours has the model tag still on the back, may I ask what it's listed as OR is there a specific model you use for reference? From the photo you show, the only model I see is a STR-381, which contradicts my tag. Have you had the opportunity to try the ski?
 

Cuda54

Active Member
#6
My son had the ski on and it worked on about a foot of snow tried it on a bigger drift and got stuck. My tag was long gone when I got mine. But the STR-381 is the only one with 4 rear shocks. It did not have a engine the drive fit my 10hp but not the one to match the driven. Eats belts so I bought a new 40 driver and driven and a new 440 18hp electric start and new brakes too. Should be a good runner then I am disabled but I drive the TRI-ROD I have 3 mini bikes too. Once we get the new set up on we will have to try the ski again. Yours is a STR-381 because it has 4 rear shocks it is the only model that has 4 rear shocks. Clean the frame up and paint it and it will really look good. the front looks like you have regular shocks on it. It should look like the rear ones look at the pictures of the different models.
 
#7
I have the same trike as yours. My model tag is long since unreadable, so I can't help you with that one. I loaded mine up with a Duromax 18HP with electric start and it is an absolute blast to ride. According to the flyer that Cuda54 uploaded we have STR-381 trikes, but I wonder if they used different model numbers earlier in the production. Mine is the dual rear suspension but the roll bar matches the TR-381 in the flyer. That sales flyer looks to be from the early 80's, but I know that Mansfield/BGW made street legal versions of these in the early-mid 70s during the gas crisis. I found an 1974 popular mechanics article that shows what looks to be the same trike as ours on the road and also mentions the elusive RL-20 Mini Pickup. I've been looking for any BGW or even Arms Industries information I can find for the last few years and Cuda's flyer and a couple of mentions in old Popular Mechanics articles are all I've come up with.

Would you mind sending me a clear close-up of the number plate? I'd like to try and make a duplicate for my trike. Mine has been painted over and sanded so many times as to be completely smooth at this point.

Sold a used mower for $200 a couple weeks ago and, apparently, didn't see a reason to hang onto the money. :rolleyes: Anyway, saw this thing come up for sale and decided to add it to my collection of projects (three hovercraft, two 6x6). I bought it as the sun was fading (why?!?) and got a good look at it today. Everything seems basic and there but I know the jackshaft is cockeyed and will need rebuilt. The fiberglass ain't horrible and the frame is solid. I've been looking for a trike for a while and this one wasn't but 15 minutes north of me.

I know it's a TriRod but my problem is I don't know what model. The tag on the back says TR-2196 but I come up with bupkis online. It appears to be a TR-351 but there does not appear to have ever been a decal on the fenders saying so. It has IRS and a differential but the original engine is long gone. The front suspension appears to be enclosed assemblies but I don't put it past them to have been replaced at some point. Anyone happen to know what model this is so I can set about getting an idea of where to start? One wheel is a 12" rim, the other 8". Like I said, the sun was fading. I'd like to try and get this at least running by the end of summer. Thanks.
 
#8
What I like about the TriRod is how basic it really is but, at the same time, advanced. What I mean is it's a trike but it has a diff. The frame is basic but it has suspension. My laundry list of things to do is long and this will be a labour of love, since the question of monetary payback in the future is questionable....

At any rate, the first place I decided to start was the drivetrain. I have a Honda GX390 engine I'm going to use but the jackshaft needs rebuilt. The one on there is currently off 3.5° which doesn't seem like much but the sprocket shows wear from where the chain runs cockeyed. I bought a new shaft and pillow bearings and scrounged up some metal which should allow me to make a new jackshaft assembly. I currently have a new generic 40 series clutch on order with comes with a driven pulley so I should be able to get this mocked up in short order. My other area of issue is the wheel hubs / axles. If the rust wasn't enough, it appears a previous owner spot welded the flex-joint flange and the hub to the axle shaft. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to get that all out but I've already sourced new hubs and axle shafts so....

Anyway, a few pics to show what I'm dealing with.
I have the same trike as yours. My model tag is long since unreadable, so I can't help you with that one. I loaded mine up with a Duromax 18HP with electric start and it is an absolute blast to ride. According to the flyer that Cuda54 uploaded we have STR-381 trikes, but I wonder if they used different model numbers earlier in the production. Mine is the dual rear suspension but the roll bar matches the TR-381 in the flyer. That sales flyer looks to be from the early 80's, but I know that Mansfield/BGW made street legal versions of these in the early-mid 70s during the gas crisis. I found an 1974 popular mechanics article that shows what looks to be the same trike as ours on the road and also mentions the elusive RL-20 Mini Pickup. I've been looking for any BGW or even Arms Industries information I can find for the last few years and Cuda's flyer and a couple of mentions in old Popular Mechanics articles are all I've come up with.

Would you mind sending me a clear close-up of the number plate? I'd like to try and make a duplicate for my trike. Mine has been painted over and sanded so many times as to be completely smooth at this point.
5MB file can be found at http://foxxinabox.com/trirod/modelplate.png I'll try and clean it up late or if you need a better photo let me know.
 
#9
So, my laundry list of things to do on the TriRod ain't short. I have a good base but that's about it. I figure the first place to start would be the drivetrain because, well, if you can't drive then the rest doesn't really matter, does it? I have a Honda GX390 I'm going to use but the jackshaft needs rebuilt. It has a 3.5° angle, left-to-right, which doesn't align the chain properly. Evidence of wear can be seen on the drive sprocket so that will need to be gone through. I bought a new jackshaft and some pillow bearings, and my new generic 40 series clutch comes with a driven pulley so that should be able to get mocked up in short order.

The other thing which has been bothering me is the axles and wheels. One wheel is 8", the other 12". I understand the functionality of the 12" rim but am looking to get this back to "normal". I'll likely be swapping the wheels hubs over to 4-lug designs which 1) fit a golf cart and are fairly universal and easy to find and 2) the TriRod should be running the same size tires and wheels that I already have for my Amphicat and Attex. That will allow me additional tires should one become flat or conditions warrant a bar tire. Oh, did I say all this was made more complicated by the fact that someone at some point decided to spot weld the flex-joint and wheel hub to the axle shaft? Apparently rust wasn't holding things together enough for them. Now you know why I'm having to rebuild the axles.
 

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Cuda54

Active Member
#10
On the bottom of the jack shaft are 4 bolts to adjust the chain and a line chain and belt. You can use a dremal with a cutting wheel to just cut the spot weld. Both wheels should be the 8". Golf cart tires are smaller than want are supposed to be on it.
 
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#11
My son had the ski on and it worked on about a foot of snow tried it on a bigger drift and got stuck. My tag was long gone when I got mine. But the STR-381 is the only one with 4 rear shocks. It did not have a engine the drive fit my 10hp but not the one to match the driven. Eats belts so I bought a new 40 driver and driven and a new 440 18hp electric start and new brakes too. Should be a good runner then I am disabled but I drive the TRI-ROD I have 3 mini bikes too. Once we get the new set up on we will have to try the ski again. Yours is a STR-381 because it has 4 rear shocks it is the only model that has 4 rear shocks. Clean the frame up and paint it and it will really look good. the front looks like you have regular shocks on it. It should look like the rear ones look at the pictures of the different models.
And your little conversation here I noticed that you said that the str381 is the only one that came with the four shocks? I was just wondering cuz I was looking close to a picture of one that had the four shocks, and I was looking at mine that has single shocks on the rear and I was looking at how the shocks mounted and it looks like the double shocks would easily put on to mine with some different hardware like longer bolts? What's your opinion on that? And would I really be gaining a better ride by putting double shocks? Just asking , I know it does look cool though 16246599348291562376606193426229.jpg 16246599676007062626143320945895.jpg
 
#12
You can see from the picture here that the shock mount is much more robust. You could, ostensibly, put four shocks on yours, perhaps with a spacer in the middle (where your shock is now), and mount the shocks to the outside, but I think you would likely run into issues bending the mounting bolts. I would also argue that your ride would be worse off-road since the shocks would be stiffer (2 x 200# vs 1 x 200#) but on-road might be better, at least in handling.

spring mount.png
 
#13
You can see from the picture here that the shock mount is much more robust. You could, ostensibly, put four shocks on yours, perhaps with a spacer in the middle (where your shock is now), and mount the shocks to the outside, but I think you would likely run into issues bending the mounting bolts. I would also argue that your ride would be worse off-road since the shocks would be stiffer (2 x 200# vs 1 x 200#) but on-road might be better, at least in handling.

View attachment 279796
Thanks for your feedback on the double rear shock theory... You're probably right about the stiffer ride off-road... The only reason I was thinking of it because I plan on restoring this trike I got... And I seen another one in one of the pictures was made by the same company BGW (TRI Rod) and it was a street legal one as well it looks cool ... And you're right the shock just went on the other side of the mount with a longer bolt going through the shock and then going to the bracket maybe a spacer with a old shock used to be and then the second shock with a washer & nut ,pretty basic setup... Nothing like what you got in that picture you posted, that rear frame is pretty heavy duty looking and them shock towers are too!!! If I did decide to go with the double shocks bolted on to the stock mounts like in the picture that I seen, I think I saved it? If I did I'll post it on here and let you see what I'm talking about... But I was thinking using a lighter duty shock so basically two was the same as one, you feel me... IMG_20210619_202312.jpg Screenshot_20210620-010555.png
 
#14
Thanks for your feedback on the double rear shock theory... You're probably right about the stiffer ride off-road... The only reason I was thinking of it because I plan on restoring this trike I got... And I seen another one in one of the pictures was made by the same company BGW (TRI Rod) and it was a street legal one as well it looks cool ... And you're right the shock just went on the other side of the mount with a longer bolt going through the shock and then going to the bracket maybe a spacer with a old shock used to be and then the second shock with a washer & nut ,pretty basic setup... Nothing like what you got in that picture you posted, that rear frame is pretty heavy duty looking and them shock towers are too!!! If I did decide to go with the double shocks bolted on to the stock mounts like in the picture that I seen, I think I saved it? If I did I'll post it on here and let you see what I'm talking about... But I was thinking using a lighter duty shock so basically two was the same as one, you feel me...
Completely understand. The problem, I think, is finding shocks of a lower capacity. Most of the ones I see online are showing either 400# or 1200# - both too much, especially x4. My other issue is I'm not sure how long they're supposed to be. The ones on my TriRod are 290mm but that appears to cause the camber to be way off. I'm in the process of rebuilding the axles and will probably put my weight in the seat and measure to get a better length. Off-road, camber may not be such an issue due to rounded tires but, like you, I'd like to make it street legal, which means a flatter camber for road tires. Who said projects weren't fun? :scooter:
 
#15
So, small update here. I got the TriRod apart and pressure washed. Next step it to sand(blast) and paint / powdercoat the frame. In the meantime, since being a dad is my other duty, I've messed around with the model decal on the back of the machine. It's not 100% correct, since I don't know what font was used, but in case anyone was interested I've attached it to this message. Print it out and stick it on your ride, your forehead, your dog...whatever.
 

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#16
So, small update here. I got the TriRod apart and pressure washed. Next step it to sand(blast) and paint / powdercoat the frame. In the meantime, since being a dad is my other duty, I've messed around with the model decal on the back of the machine. It's not 100% correct, since I don't know what font was used, but in case anyone was interested I've attached it to this message. Print it out and stick it on your ride, your forehead, your dog...whatever.
You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman! Thanks for this!
 
#17
So, I had a week off work for once and what did I get done on the TriRod? (Hint: I'm married.)

If you said "Not a Thing" you'd be correct. We're not going to discuss the honey-do list.... :rolleyes:

Anyway, some progress on the rear end tonight. I ended up using every single cut-off wheel I had for my Drem...er, "rotary tool". That said, I was able to rescue my welded on giubo flanges and liberate my diff. Now I'll be able to source new bearings (no more crunch!) and clean up the flanges as I make my new axles. If you've seen my other thread, I'll be upgrading from questionable brake drums to questionable more reliable rotors and calipers. This will necessitate moving them outboard but, hey, it's not like the original parts are still available anymore. I'll post pics of the demolition later, and the intermediate aftermath. It's after 1a here and I get to work tomorrow. Yay.

In the meantime, I did manage to find the Peerless Mechanic's Manual online somewhere. The info on the 100-series is scant (it is a simple diff) but some of you might find it of use. Enjoy.
 

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