In common with anchovies, Marmite, and wearing women's clothes, trikes are something of an acquired taste -and, never having ridden a trike or donned a frock, I can only personally comment on the aforementioned small and salty Mediterranean fish and the sticky yeast extract in the bulbous brown jar... a comment that'd make a similar sound to licking shit off of a wire brush.
But, from what I've seen of trikes, if I was going to indulge in something with a third hoop, it'd have to be either one of those home-made monster three-wheelers with a huge car engine or a very minimal bike-type trike that's all wheels and engine. Like this one. Living in America, Alain Bernard is an emigre Frenchman with a European grasp on values that's reflected in the custom bikes and trikes that he builds. In other words, his creations have an element of style -a little bit of je ne sais quai (as they say in la belle France) -that can't be achieved just by throwing money at them. Rather than trot out a line of bikes and trikes built from a selection of catalogue parts -a trend brought about by the double whammy of the plethora of companies making and/or importing the component parts and the mushrooming number of custom bike shops offering to nail the stuff together -Alain still works in the traditional way of making, modifying and using parts from other sources.
While he does make his own frames for some projects, Alan uses Dutch VG frames for many of his bikes and trikes, usually modifying them to suit his own requirements. This particular VG trike frame has been stretched to incorporate a steering head rake angle of 43 degrees, the seat height has been drastically lowered and all of the unnecessary bracketry has been removed before being smoothed out and moulded prior to pamting.
Built both for himself to use and as a showcase to demonstrate to potential customers the sort of machinery they can expect for their money at SCS (Santiago Chopper Specialities), Alam created most of this trike from stuff that he had lying around his workshop in Gibsonton, Florida. The 110 cubic-inch V-twin engine and 6-speed gearbox were part of Alain's stock of new RevTech units, but the rear axle is one of his own specially-manufactured units, while the Pro-One raked fork yokes were bought specifically for this project. However, any of the other parts like the Mid-USA 12-inch over stock fork legs, the Coker rear wheels, finned oil tank, Performance Machine master cylinder, Technoplus footrest assemblies and Fat Boy front wheel were all components from other bikes and trikes that Alain has worked on in the past. In fact, the air filter is one of two that Alain made for a trike years ago, this one having then lain around the workshop before being resurrected and modified to fit a 42mm Mikuni carbo.
A few parts -like the IHI 4-piston front brake caliper and Braking disc, the PM grips and front and rear llghts -came from the shelves in the shop, but the exhaust pipes, handlebars, fork brace and fuel tank were all made by Alain in-house at SCS. The cutaway stock H-D primary cases are a trick that Alain has used previously, as are the solid covers on the HT leads, the latter painted a translucent candy orange over chrome to match the primary case clutch cover, ignition cover, the script on the tank and air filter, the rear hub caps, the trim on the steel i5-inch Coker wheels, the disc carrier and the edges of the Fat Boy wheel -and which. in turn. juxtaposes with the orange candy paint on the petrol tank, and the number seven motifs on various parts of the bike.
With its finned oil tank, car-styled air filter and smooth whitewall tyres, the trike has a distinct retro hot rod look that owes more to four wheels than to two. It's a trend very much apparent in the USA right now, and a welcome change to the long, low, curvature-of-