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Buy or build a drift trike


3 things you MUST know before you buy or build a drift trike
By Alan McKenzie


I decided to write this to share my own advice on which route to take and what I would do if I could go back.  Hope this helps someone.  Remember, it’s all about what makes the most sense for YOU.

A few things you need to consider before doing anything: 

>What's my budget?

>How much money will I save building my own vs. buying a complete setup?

>Am I capable of building my own trike and do I have the right tools?

>How much time will it take to build?

 Once you’ve figured out those questions, there are a few options you can go with:

1.   Buy a complete trike kit online: 
Complete setups are usually anywhere from about $400 to $600.  They come with everything you need, all you have to do is assemble it when the package arrives at your house.  Sturdy, clean, ready to go and will last.

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2.   Buy a frame and axle from a trike company online and do the rest yourself:
This is probably the most popular choice because you get all of the qualities as buying a complete except you need to get the rest of the parts on your own. (wheels, tires, handlebars, etc…)  Choosing the trike frame and axle is a good way to get quality for less while still staying in the $200 range.

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3.   Build the trike from the ground up:
After my two experiences building a trike from scratch, I wouldn’t choose to go this route if you don’t have to.  If you’re on a tight budget this will work as long as you can get everything you need.  It’s a lot more work than it seems because you need to find EVERYTHING then cut, weld, and assemble. 

If you have the money to buy a kit…do it.  Chances are, a drift trike that you make will either eventually wear out and break, or cost you slightly less than getting everything from a company.  

I've built two drift trikes and bought one online and if I had to go back and do it over again, I would have just bought a complete trike kit online.  Do it right the first time because if you go cheap, something will eventually break If you have the money to spend on a complete kit do it!  You won’t regret it and you’ll save yourself a headache.  Something you rigged up in your garage by piecing together parts from different bmx bikes just doesn’t compare to the quality that you get from trikes designed by engineers. 

Looking back at the first trike I put together in my garage, makes me thing of Frankenstein.  I was putting things together that just didn’t belong and just like the movie…it didn’t turn out the way I thought.  Here’s something I found on a forum written by a guy that was clearly raging when he wrote it but he has a point:

axle-and-frame-weld-drift-trike.png“Are you a welder?  Do you have a hack saw or a chain saw?  Have you tested the strength and structural integrity of the frame, axle and pegs?  Do you think using dolly wheels will last or are even safe?  If you answered No or weren’t sure to any of these then leave it up to the professionals.

A question I’ve been asked a few times: 

What do you think about dolly wheels vs. kart wheels 

First off, dolly wheels aren’t made to go 30mph and especially not all of the stress they will undergo when you’re drifting sideways.  Get yourself some kart wheels and don’t mess around with the dolly wheels.  It’s so much smoother and worth every penny.  The only thing you will need to replace or that can break is the pvc.  

If you’re asking yourself which option should I get?  Let me put it this way:  Have you ever bought cheap product that breaks on you and then later regret not buying the higher quality, slightly higher priced product?  The same goes for drift trikes.  You get what you pay for.  Going cheap can end up costing you more money than you would have spent in the first place; had you just gone with the higher quality product.  My advice: DON’T BE THAT GUY!

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I hope this helps some people out.  If you have any questions/comments or have something to add feel free.  Cheers 

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