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In a first for our featured builds, today we are looking at a GL500 trike conversion custom build!
The build is titled "Dances With Trikes" and was done by a fellow named Bob Witte in Florida, USA. The title is a deliberate play on words - it is a homage to the Indian Motorcycle Company designs, as will become obvious, and it was the last production conversion of Bob's old company - The Trinity Trike, Inc.
The 1982 GL500 Silverwing Interstate in question reached him looking like so:
When Bob got it it had ~19,500miles on it and was mechanically in great nick. It now looks like this:
Quite the transformation! Bob says he was going for what an 1982 Indian Transverse Twin would have been had Honda had been the one to buy out the Indian name and bring it back from the dead. No stranger to trikes, Bob had a company called The Trinity Trike, and has done many conversions prior to this one - this is the 5th he has built for himself out of almost 100 total. Why trikes? Bob promised his wife that he would ride on three wheels to be less risky! So how do you get the power from the engine to the rear differential? Here's the answer:
The stock final drive unit is on the right (black) and where the wheel would normally mount is a 36-tooth sprocket! This has a 530 chain that hooks onto another 36-tooth sprocket on the rear differential. Here's another photo of it as part of the final build:
In the above photo you can also clearly make out the disc brake. The differential has a new set of Dana 35 spur gears and two 40mm double row sealed bearings that have a static load rating of 44,000 pounds; as you might surmise from that the left and right DOM steel tube axles are 40mm thick and each have two bearings. You may also notice the sparkly paintjob in the above photo - a wider shot of that:
The underlying paint comes from www.spray-lining.com and is a form of truck bed liner. The metal flake actually came from a fishing shop - Bob used the 0.15 sized Gold Halogram style. The front wheel was powdercoated in black to contrast with the white-walled tyre:
Also note the flame decals and Indian head on the front fender (eBay)! The front fender is a new-old-stock refurbished unit. The windscreen has been shortened approx. 5" so that Bob could look over rather than through it.
The rear trunk has a wraparound passenger backrest and is large enough for two full-face helmets - which painted by Bob himself in a very noticeable fluorescent orange:
That's not the only on-bike storage either - on either side is a saddlebag:
The horns are dual Oogah units (eBay) - one on either side:
The chrome tips on the fender are from a 2003 Indian motorcycle (eBay).
The grips are ISO style aftermarket units (eBay):
The seat is a Lockleaf item:
Overall the project took 3.5 years, and you can see that Bob really put a lot of effort in! Little details like all the cables, brake lines and all of the wiring loom being wrapped in chromed spiral wrapping shows a lot of dedication to the end result.
Various bolts were replaced with chromed items from Bolt Depot. As far as the engine goes, the carburetors were professional rebuilt and re-jetted to compensate for the exhaust alteration. The original exhaust headers were refurbished and rechromed, and the mufflers are new Harley Sportster take-offs.
Bob has also written a piece about what it's like riding a trike and has some advice on the matter - you can read his article here.
For those interested in the build thread of the bike, you can find it here. If you want to build one yourself you won't find any of the parts Bob used for the trike conversion available, as it was a prototype from his now-closed-down business - though he has provided a link for those who want something similar - check it out here. Bob says you can send that company your swingarm and they mount their rear assembly to it, and it's the only kit he would personally use for a similar conversion.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the rest of the CX500 and GL500 Build List.
Photos provided and used with permission.
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