Thinga-ma-Bob II, a CTX700 trike conversion using a Yelvington Designs CTX kit

BobWitte

Member
History and background discussion "catch up":

At age 73, I think that I have finally passed the point where my oft cited claim that "most people my age are dead already" is no longer a joke! But in any case, I'm glad to be signing on here to move over some of the narrative on my now finished trike conversion that has been documented only on the other CTX700 forum. I'm doing this with two purposes in mind. First, I want to "tighten" up the narrative intending to eventually polish it up as a history for a website I intend to set up soon. Secondly, there are riders on this side of net that are not, have not, nor will not sign on the other forum.

This will take awhile, after all there are over 400 posts and there's been just under 45,000 views in the two years since I first started the thread. I count that as a high level of interest in what is clearly a very tiny segment of the CTX700 population.

Okay, here we go...

I started riding career one bright sunny morning in August of 1958 (it was my 14th birthday). I hit the road right after I passed my exam for my "restricted" license. At that time in Florida, you could get a daytime-only-license which allowed me to ride a small motorcycle or scooter. And I hopped on my new-to-me, recently purchased 200cc Triumph and didn't look back for the better part of the next decade.

Over the next 9 years I packed on something like 200,000+ miles on one of my four trusty steeds I had along the way. I quit riding back in late 1967 in favor of tooling around in a 64 MGB roadster. I gave $700 in cash and traded in my last bike of that era, a 1966 CB72 Honda. As it turned out, it was a good thing I didn't still have that Honda Hawk when I met my future wife Karen.

Although we had our first date on a Friday night and were engaged the next Sunday night (yes, just 2 days later!!) I later found out that she might never have agreed to even go out with me in the first place if my only form of transportation was that Honda! It wouldn't have mattered that Mr. Honda spent millions on convincing the USA that "You meet the nicest people on a Honda!" She was petrified of all motorcycles and according to her would have passed on my pursuits. (however, I don't think so. I was that determined she was “the one” – and after some 50 years this Feb 17th, I'm proven right!).

Anyhow, we were married just 6 weeks after that whirlwind weekend (culminating with our engagement on 1968's New Year's Eve). Fast forward thru a year of air combat missions in SE Asia, 3 boys born to us in a half dozen years and five years later one girl adopted as our youngest, 8 out-of-state moves, and an equal number of career changes (including a stint of 6 years in full time Christian education ministry).

Blink twice, click your heels and turn around. All of a sudden, 38 years have whizzed by during which I never even sat on a motorcycle. However most of you will understand it when I say that I perked up every single time I heard the "music" roaring out of a set of pipes on a motorcycle going by.

All that changed in 2006. With all our kids gone and married I felt it was time to come back to “a first love” of mine – motorcycling! By now I'm well into in my 60's so I promised my long-suffering wife that I would do at least 3 wheels. And I embarked on an extensive research program. I checked them all, trikes, sidecars and the "training wheel" systems which are actually 4 wheelers. Therefore, I call them "fourples" not trikes). I got so involved in it that since I couldn't afford to buy the trike I really wanted, I wound up starting a trike conversion company of my own in 2007 (The Trinity Trike Mfg. Inc.).

My partner in this was Richard Yelvington and we designed and built almost 100 units. However, we didn't have very deep pockets (just barely shoe strings!) and we ceased Trinity's operations in Dec 2011. I went back to full time software development and luckily for the sport, Richard later partnered up with some other local investors, and carried on. You can see his stuff on http://www.ytrikes.com . Note that the “Trikes” icon takes you to a screen that now only shows the HD Sportster. In the past, one of their better selling standard models was our own CTX700! Sadly, I believe that mine will be the last Yelvington kit for the CTX700.

Ironically, the very last Trinity Trike conversion was to be my own personal ride that was put together with some Frankenstein like "left over" parts and a lot of my "spare" time. Actually it was to be our Trinity prototype for the millions of Honda Shadows built over the last couple of decades. It has been a work in progress for some 3.5 years (with some long pauses along the way). The donor bike is a rather pristine 1982 Honda GL500i SilverWing Interstate and has only now finally been finished.

In October 2015, I talked the wife into going to the huge AIMExpo motorcycle trade show in Orlando. My daughter and a next door neighbor (who wanted to see about getting a trike) were already signed up to go with me. Even though I think my wife volunteered just to avoid being home alone on a Saturday, much to my surprise, she really enjoyed it!

Amazingly she said something that day and again a couple days later that brings me to the reason I have just signed up on this forum. After seeing the several newer bikes done as gorgeous Yelvington Trikes, she opined that perhaps I should sell my 82 Honda and get "one of Richard's trikes instead." Her thinking was that it would be much newer and therefore more reliable. I didn't realize she actually meant it until she brought it up again a couple of days later. Once she told me twice I sprang into action straight away. This being her idea might give me more leverage in convincing her to actually go riding with me (at least once in a while).

So here I was, clearing up the last few items on the Honda GL500i and I put it up for sale. At this writing, I was shopping for a new or late model cruiser to replace it. My list narrowed down to a Hyosung GV650 (which I’ve owned before in 2006) and our own CTX700. Whichever it is, I wanted to have the professionals at Yelvington Trikes do the actual conversion for me this time. My goal here is to get on the road as quickly and for as many miles as I can muster while I’m healthy enough to do so. And with the number of Seniors still riding their trikes around here (who are well into their 80’s), I’m hoping for a lot of miles yet!! However, as will be seen in a later post, I wound up doing the install in my driveway.

I looked forward to being back “in the wind” and gleaning much good information from the forum as well.
 
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BobWitte

Member
Gordon said:
Well I'm sure that I will eventually be triking, but I have to admit I don't want to lose the leaning affect I get with a two wheeler. I have a design in my head that may work toward that end but may never get a chance to tinker with it due to budget. But I can dream.

The CTX trike looks awesome, Thanks for sharing.
Trinity Trike was always in it's own niche. I had more than a few tell me we couldn't do stuff, and even though The Trinity Trike eventually closed down, we did stuff after all (in fact about 100 times). Many of those trikes were inexpensive 250cc Chinese clones, including automatic CVT's from Qlink & CF Moto. We put a fair number of people on trikes that never would have afforded any other way -- I liked that!

For the 250cc class, I can expect doubt, but I was even given a raft of sh*t over doing the Hyosung GV650 simply because it wasn't some 900 pound air cooled big twin. And in 2007, that donor vehicle had an impressive 72Hp in the carb version and the one I would do now (if it "passes the test") sports some 80Hp with the fuel injection. Hyosung's 650s are neck snapping "stealth" sport cruisers. But as I remember, have a bit of vibration I'd have to deal with.

And now, after 3 years of an increasing case of neuropathy in my feet, I really can't put up with a notable level of vibration in the foot pegs for any length of time. That's the main reason I had to pass on doing a Sportster (teeth filling removal levels of vibration, even with their so called "rubber mounting" after 2004). Ergo, "Harley-Davidson's Sportster: 60 year old technology unspoiled by progress!!"

On the other hand, my GL500i is as smooth as glass at the foot pegs, and I'm kinda hoping that the CTX700 will be equally as smooth. If so, even though it will cost me more, there are a number of factors in it's favor over the Hyosung. Name brand is foremost. Also, I like the idea of 6 speeds (no paddles for me, thank you very much!!). I also like the idea of top quality after market seats being available as well.

I really wanted to find a CTX with the Honda fairing. I could always do a batwing, but I was of the mind it would kind of ruin the look for this particular ride.
 
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BobWitte

Member
I and a number of others have wanted to farkle our C's to fill the roll of something like a downsized (i.e., budget) Goldwing.

From my point of view I was able to come close to that what with my Madstad shield & lowers, hand guards, HD low profile tour trunk, two sets of kury floorboards, not to mention my trike conversion. Add to that a custom Corbin with dual backrests, and I was almost there.

The missing element was a set of passenger armrests that would give my wife something to hang on to with her "white knuckles" as she looks about with sheer panic on her face all the while!:)

And I do not exaggerate. I'm sure that the only reason she'll ride with me is that she does not want me to die first and abandon her. Better to go together.0:)

Perhaps that's TMI for most of you, so back to my quest to find something. First off, forget Honda -- nothing even close there. Then there's the rear top boxes that have the backrest pad with the wrap around stumps that look more like a double amputees than armrests pads. No go on those of course. Then there were several intended for the Goldwings and the big twins, including a nice looking $356 set from Kuryakan and the $1000 set for the BMW's, but no way to attach any of these to what we've got back there.

The closest to being useful was the $269 wrap around from Graber Enterprises, but all the models were fixed arms and only useful for elbows (not arms). Besides, our CTX back rests (both OEM and aftermarket) looked to be too short to support their unit.

So once again the TMB project had to call upon the "Mother of Invention" to give birth to a solution. I have two prototypes under construction. Both will fit either of our standard back rest supports. The one pictured below is the 24"x3"x0.125" thick steel back support with attached arms and the next will be a two inch wide back support that is 0.25" thick. I'll see which one my wife likes best.

Following is a pictorial that saves about 7000 words. Fire away with any questions these photos don't cover (please note that the support is as yet, unpainted):
















:laugh:
 

12MANY

New member
I also like the easy access to the saddle bags for the passenger. I picture the left one full of ice and a jug of pre mixed margaritas and the right one with extra glasses and a tub of salt. The back rest bracket looks bullet proof and I mean literally bullet proof. You didn’t mention where you got the armrests they look industrial in quality but really comfortable. The whole seating position back there looks really comfortable!! All you need to do now is to figure out the best place to put the cup holder. You may just have the ultimate bar hopper/beach cruiser that I have ever seen in my 30 years living near the beach.
 

BobWitte

Member
I also like the easy access to the saddle bags for the passenger. I picture the left one full of ice and a jug of pre mixed margaritas and the right one with extra glasses and a tub of salt. The back rest bracket looks bullet proof and I mean literally bullet proof. You didn’t mention where you got the armrests they look industrial in quality but really comfortable. The whole seating position back there looks really comfortable!! All you need to do now is to figure out the best place to put the cup holder. You may just have the ultimate bar hopper/beach cruiser that I have ever seen in my 30 years living near the beach.
Couldn't find any sources in the USA, so I got them from China as rather expensive "samples" (really expensive because of air mail costs). Would have been even more expensive if I ordered their minimum quantity (200 pieces)! These are "industrial" in that their intended use is for tractors and equipment like that, so yes, they are quite comfortable and include up/down adjustments. I doubt that Karen will want a cup holder, but yes, one can added easily enough.
 

BobWitte

Member
The fact that the arm rests pivot out of the way is beautiful. :)
That is a great feature.
Agreed! I had to have that ability which is why I didn't opt for the Graber Ent. fixed design. I also liked that the end of the arms adjust up/down so my wife's white knuckles can be as comfortable as possible. Those features are what forced me to shop in China to get what I wanted.

I finished the paint prep on Karen's unit yesterday and today I will lay down the "leather texture" that matches the rear luggage. After 72 hours to cure/harden I'll finally put TMB II's rear quarters back together.

Although I made my first unit for my CTX, I made the design with most any bike in mind so long as it has some kind of sissy bar (and that's a lot of bikes). The next step is to build two more units using the other two kinds of samples I bought and put them on eBay. One will be similar to Karen's unit (i.e. a nominal 17" seat width) and the other will be for a 15" seat. The latter will work better for a petite companion or a child passenger. The reaction to those will determine if I'll start making these for folks.

:cool:
 
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BobWitte

Member
Over the weekend I installed my new fender racks w/flags as well as a top rack on the rear trunk. In the latter case, that rack finally gives me a place for mount the leather "pouch" given to me by a former customer (and great friend) who has since gone home to be with the Lord. I had it on my '82 GL500i trike and I've been trying to fit it on the CTX from the beginning, but couldn't find a suitable place until now. I use the pouch to hold gloves, sunglasses, and misc. goodies.

Each of the three racks has been "leather textured" to match the luggage, then clear coated. Here are a couple of visuals:



 
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