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Harley-Davidson 3-rod combination in the driving report

An unusual tricycle

Martin Scheufler has turned his vision into reality of building a team of the future out of his Harley-Davidson V-Rod. MOTORRAD drove the spectacular 3-Rod.

The high-gloss chrome-plated part could easily pass as a designer coat hanger by Alessi. Doesn’t seem to be hanging Harley-Davidson V-Rod team on it, nobody would identify it as a handlebar. Because nothing indicates that the unusual tricycle can be steered from here: no clutch or handbrake lever, no fittings for lights, indicators, horn, no rear-view mirrors. Not even rubber grips. The driver holds bare metal in his hands. Irritated, the tester reaches for the right end of the handle. Indeed, it is rotatable. Extremely light even, as if there wasn’t a Bowden cable on it. Therefore, it is better to slide your thumb over the fixed part of the handlebar in order to brake too fast turning movements.

Martin Scheufler laughs. There is actually no cable pull. The gas control to the injection system of the V-Rod is fully electronic via potentiometers and servomotors. "Drive by wire" is what the automotive industry calls it. And is completely foolproof. Should the electronics spin, which has never happened over a distance of around 5000 kilometers, the control system turns the engine down to idle speed in a fraction of a second.

Okay, so basically accelerating works normally. But how do you brake? How to couple How to switch Actually quite normal as well. Just not with the motorcycle. As in a car, the right foot operates the brake pedal and activates an integral brake. This is secured by means of a dual-circuit brake system and decelerates the trailer, which weighs 640 kilograms despite the carbon fiber chassis, easily dosed via the front, sidecar and rear wheel, vehemently if necessary, but above all on track. The clutch is operated like in a car, namely with the left foot. The circuit, on the other hand, works more like a grip-shift circuit on a bicycle, namely at the left end of the handlebar. AT small turn forwards or a light sugar backwards, and electrical impulses are passed on to a double-stroke magnet that actuates the selector shaft. Fortunately, nothing happens without a clutch. If it is not pressed or only pressed half-heartedly, the driver can turn the handle as much as he wants – no gear can be changed or engaged.
At first, that all sounds relatively simple and logical. But it is not that easy to combine the behavior patterns that are familiar from different vehicles. When the first contact is made, there is a little lack of synchronization between the foot clutch and the overly smooth hand throttle, so that the engine first dies a few times before the tester can move. Then, however, the fun can
begin. And so that this comes up, the trained chemist Scheufler has brought an experienced trailer builder on board to implement his private three-wheeler project, which is not intended for sale: Manfred Beck from Mobec in Uhingen.
A lot of high-quality clamping technology is hidden under the carbon fiber chassis in sandwich construction, which is hardly higher than the forged, 17-inch DOTZ wheels. For example, a wheel suspension with kingpin steering and double wishbones. Or the rear-wheel drive, which consists of four individual gears, so that the V-Rod can be driven via a shaft instead of a toothed belt and equipped with a shorter gear ratio suitable for tensioning and an additional reverse gear.
The 117 hp of the water-cooled Harley V two-cylinder engine get the heavy combination going amazingly fast. Slight sideways swings accompany every gear change, as is typical for tension, because the frictional connection is only one-sided. Also
the pronounced sensitivity to ruts due to the 205 wide tires is not a serious problem. Brief steering corrections are sufficient to keep the 3-Rod on course. On the other hand, it is much more difficult for the driver that the tractor is on the right and that you are therefore always juggling along the edge of the lane, just like in left-hand traffic. If you have internalized this to some extent, you can confidently approach the curves a little more briskly, because the risk that the 3-Rod lifts your left leg or pushes it over the front wheel is very low. The center of gravity is low and centrally located.
The cars soon disappear into small dots in the rearview mirror. Or on the screen. A monitor in the cockpit shows the images recorded by a small camera in the rear of the V-Rod. There is no better view of what is happening behind. And where is the high beam? No finger has to be bent. A quick step on a switch in the footwell makes it brighter. Martin Scheufler has not even forgotten the horn. A light nudge of the left knee on a shiny chrome decorative cap between the cylinders activates one below-
lying microswitch. Only
for the turn signals the inventor is missing up to-
long the perfect idea. The 3-rod driver really has to take his left hand off the noble handlebar and operate a tip switch. But somehow the thing should be able to be integrated into the handlebars without anyone seeing it, right?

Conversion info

Engine: water-cooled two-cylinder 60-degree V-engine from the Harley V-Rod, 86 kW
(117 HP) at 8300 / min, 105 Nm at 6600 / min, injection actuated via »Drive by wire«, claw-shift five-speed gearbox and Qaive planetary gearbox as reverse gear,
Height and length compensation gears, secondary gears, drive via drive shaft.
Chassis: multi-part load-bearing sidecar chassis with bolted stub axle steering, steering via push struts, double cross member, pushed swing arm for
Sidecar wheel, Bilstein suspension elements, dual-circuit brake system, integral brake system
with disc brakes, Brembo four-piston calipers for front and rear wheels, Grimeca-
Two-piston pliers for sidecars.
Dimensions and weights: empty weight 640 kg, tank capacity 26 liters, tire size 205/40 ZR 17, steering angle 42 degrees, wheelbase
1710 mm, track width 1420 mm,
Trail 350 mm.
Value: around 150,000 euros

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