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Lego Tilting Motor Works three-wheeler

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Photo: definitely not you.

So, a while ago I discovered a company called Tilting Motor Works that makes these really cool three-wheeled conversions for Indian, Harley Davidson, and Honda motorcycles. What makes these conversions really interesting is that unlike most three-wheeled motorcycles, these ones can lean in turns:

Illustration for article titled Lego Tilting Motor Works three-wheeler
Image: Lean Beef
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So it’s just like riding a two-wheeled motorcycle, but with extra grip and better braking. The only drawback is that it has a larger turning radius than a conventional motorcycle. I find the front suspension on these leaning trikes fascinating, so I set out to replicate it in Lego. This ended up being surprisingly difficult, but eventually, I figured out how to make it work.

Illustration for article titled Lego Tilting Motor Works three-wheeler
Photo: I am the very model of a modern major general, I’ve information vegestration anima- crap dangit.
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Illustration for article titled Lego Tilting Motor Works three-wheeler
Photo: somebody once told me the road was gonna rule me, I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

It was quite tricky getting all of the geometries to work, and because of the way the suspension has to flex, regular Lego suspension parts don’t work in this application, so I had to make my own hubs and tie rods and everything.

The hardest part was getting the tie rods to work, because official Lego tie rod pieces 1) didn’t flex enough with the ball joints, 2) were the wrong length, and 3) couldn’t both connect at the center. That last bit was the biggest problem because it prevents the geometry from working right and makes it extremely difficult to incorporate a steering mechanism. All of my attempts with regular Lego tie rods kept jamming and interfering with the rest of the suspension, so I ditched those in favor of making my own. The solution I came up with was to use a Lego flex axle with spacers on it to limit flex and keep the center mounting point in the center:

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Photo: she was lookin’ kinda dumb with her finger and her thumb in the shape of an “L” on her forehead
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This way, the single tie rod is rigid enough to move the wheels while keeping them in alignment but flexible enough to bend with the suspension and steering as necessary, plus the geometry works as it should because it connects at the center:

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Photo: Well, the years start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’, bad toodleoos (?) and I hit the ground runnin’
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The rest of the motorcycle is something I built a long time ago and I decided to use it as the basis for this leaning three-wheeler. It features a hardtail, shaft drive, and a flat twin, so it’s most definitely not a Harley, Indian, or Honda, and I don’t think anyone makes kits like this for classic BMWs yet. They totally should, though.

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Image: Didn’t make sense not to live for fun, your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb
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Photo: So much to do, so much to see, so what’s wrong with racing to car meets?

I also sent this thing across my driveway multiple times and I am happy to report that it automatically rights itself just like a regular motorcycle. It is very stable at speed. I had to fetch it from under the Civic...

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And now it’s photodump time.

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Photo: You’ll never know if you don’t glow. You’ll never shine if you don’t blow.
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Image: Hey now, you’re an old car, get your carb tuned, go play!
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Photo: Hey now, you’re a show car, get your chrome washed, go slay!
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Photo: And- wait, pause for doggo.
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Photo: And all that glitters is goooold!
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Photo: Only burning tires breaks the mold...

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