Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Up Pikes Peak On A Trike’s Seat

Up Pikes Peak On A Trike’s Seat: "

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb attracts all sorts of vehicles hoping to climb the 12.42 mile highway in record time, from open-wheel racers to electric motorcycles. This year, one of the contenders is a unique leaning trike.

The TreMoto 3Z1 is the latest trike from the folks at TreMoto, based in Taylor, Miss. Like the DualSport before it, its secret is a patent-pending Leaning Vehicle Suspension System, which mounts suspension components on a central pivot that allows an ideal 50 degree lean angle. With such a setup, the TreMoto corners like a bike but with the stability of a quad — ideal for Pikes Peak, a twisting, turning course that alternates between dirt and pavement with an average grade of seven percent.

“Low-side crashes are common in dirt motorcycle racing, and the TreMoto system effectively prevents that,” said TreMoto CEO Eddie Smith. Another benefit of Pikes Peak? Their exhibition class accepts nearly all comers, which plays to the strength of a vehicle that’s neither a bike nor a quad.

“We’ve been on track at Laguna Seca and Barber Motorsports Park but race organizers are not going to put us head-to-head with bikes,” Smith said. “On the same set of tires we can drag our knees in the corners, then take off off down a muddy dirt road and still have an exhilarating, controllable ride.”

The 3Z1 has a 953 cc Kawasaki inline-four that puts out 125 hp at 10,000 RPM. All the additional suspension components add only 40 lbs. to the trike. Smith says he’s sure the 3Z1 will “turn some heads” at Pikes Peak, which takes place June 26. “The three-wheel record is 13:17, set by a sidecar. Eclipsing that would be a huge win,” he said.

For a team on a small budget with a brand new idea, however, just competing is a small victory in itself. “For us, it really isn’t as much about the class win as it is about beating the mountain. At the end of the day we just need to go fast, finish the race and show that this TreMoto idea really is viable.”

Photos: TreMoto. The DualSport, predecessor to the 3Z1.


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