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Tilting Motor Works

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I have my Introduction Post in the new members section and mentioned I will be starting a new thread sharing my experience in getting my recently bought (last Friday) 2016 Roadmaster converted with a Tilting Motor Works.
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Flew into Sioux Falls on Friday (picture above) and drove the bike back to Colorado Springs over the weekend. I have to say, the insight provided in this community has been invaluable in preparing me. For example, this has the heel shifter and just like most everyone reported, makes my foot forward more than I like. Have ordered the longer shifter AND the short peg. I spent some time today with the service manager at Colorado Springs Indian and was very patient with me and my silly questions. I was really pleased to have him show me where that USB connection was located in the right side of the faring (just could not figure that out from the manual nor could the salesman in Sioux Falls) and will have them use that and install the cell phone fairing mount.
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A bonus I didn't realize was how the audio is integrated with the Pandora app which I use all the time. I usually have buyers remorse on just about anything I buy but so far, this bike has met and exceeded all my expectations!

Next step will be to get it registered in Colorado, have to wait two weeks for the first appointment at the DMV (hope I have everything they need). Afterwards, will be shipping it to Washington State to the Tilting Motor Works factory and have them do the conversion. The closest TMW dealer is in Phoenix so I figured might as well send it to the people who actually make it. I been conversing with the designer and CEO of TMW, Bob Mighell, and soon will be getting into details with him such as fender colour matching and what to do with the headdress light.

To reiterate what I posted in my introduction, the reason I am getting the conversion, I am doing fine riding by myself but just not at all as steady as I used to be with my young bride on the back. I did check out other options and going with TMW is what I decided works best for us. The plan is for both of us to fly out to Washington in May and drive the bike back.
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Thanks Jim-I appreciate the complete and detailed review. It certainly covered every event you experienced. Sidecars ain’t that bad, as long as they are set up properly. Again, my comment was made with the upmost respect and I hope you ride the tyres off it!
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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
As we last left our saga, the bike was on its way back to Eugene via MotorCycle Shippers. The advertised arrival date was to be 8 Oct and was actually delivered 13 Oct. It was at the terminal in Eugene since 1 Oct so could have been easily picked up there if needed sooner but we were not in a rush. With everything in short supply and lack of workers, going by MotorCycle Shippers was the right choice. If you are able to use their terminal to terminal service it goes really quick. Once the bike left Colorado it got to the terminal in Eugene in a matter of days. Will definitely be using them to ship the bike back when done.

Up next in my TRiO adventure, we're waiting for the weather to get better before flying up to Eugene and getting some private instruction from the TRiO designer, Bob Mighell. Seems Oregon is currently celebrating their annual rain festival.
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On a side item, saw on 'another forum' talking about getting a 1901 Indian Head penny which I thought was neat. Went on Ebay and got one for $4.30 (including shipping). Now need to think what to do with it, if anything, eh? That's a picture of the actual coin I got, looks good!
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Great, very detailed and helpful thread Jim! Thank you. I had not heard of Tilted Motor Works. Your thread gives great info on them, on motorcycle shippers, on Ride Like A Pro, on the need to be a proficient motorcyclist before embarking on Titled Motor Works, etc. Again, great job. I like the way you gave proper credit to Sandy too! :) You are a very lucky man as I'm sure you fully realize. I'm one of those too. :) I'll be watching for follow up posts. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
We had a break in the weather in Eugene, and by break I mean in the 50's with solid overcast but no rain, so flew out for my lessons with Bob. First let me report on how the bike arrived from MotorCycle Shippers. While the guys at Tilting Motor Works knew I had done damage to the fenders, they were not aware of what I did or what the shipper might have done. Unfortunately, there was some damage.
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The scrape along the top and side of the right fender was new
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Someone took what looks like a black Sharpie on the backrest. It was signed for 'as is' so no recourse there. Not bothered by the fender damage as those are all getting repaired anyway but the painter will be checking with his upholstery guy to see what can be done about the Sharpie. Whilst I can't believe I going to say this but will be using HaulBikes to ship the bike back to Colorado when the repair work is done. Here is the choice. If you're not in a hurry, HaulBikes has the best drivers and equipment as they are dedicated to hauling, well, bikes. MotorCycle shippers use commercial freight lines and they get your bike delivered quickly but, from my one experience with them, are very sloppy preventing damage. The painter is shooting for repair completed by the end of the year so there is no hurry in shipping time as it will be over Winter. Would rather take the two months or more to ship via HaulBikes and get it in one piece vs getting it quickly from MotorCycle Shippers and then spending time getting repair work done on something I just had repaired.

Onto the main reason for my trip. Here is the list of specific items I wanted to cover with Bob and then what we did about it or discovered.


1) Left turns from stop. I don’t seem to be able to accelerate consistently and when the tilt tries to engage I end up going straight and into the curb if I don’t stop. While you might think just the opposite, I don’t have this problem with right turns from stop.
Bob knew immediately what I was doing. The system unlocks when it either goes above 7 mph or detects acceleration. I was so intent that I needed to do jack rabbit starts that when I got into my turn I realized was going too fast and would back off the throttle. The system would detect deceleration, assuming I was stopping, and would lock. As we drove around town, I did very smooth starts and not once did I have that problem with locking <knock on wood>.

2) Level to the horizon. I know the system is truly level as both of us have measured it but when stopped, my perception is it’s slightly leaning to the right. Is it possible to offset the system to make level slightly to the left?
Bob loaded an application onto my iPhone that the dealers/installers of the TRiO system use to set zero angle on the handlebars and also where level is (lean angle). He then showed me how I can change and set the level myself, was very easy and quick to do.
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We went ahead and set it so it leaned 0.5 deg to the left. While I had making left turns as my biggest issue, it turned out changing that angle fixed just about every issue I was having. Understand, the system as delivered was right at zero on the horizon but it was my perception, guess like stigmatism, that was off. Even if it was physiological, doesn't matter. As we drove around I was now stopping and starting straight, not feeling like I was always leaning to the right and also suspect this was a large part of my left turn problem. Well, at least that's my story and sticking to it.


3) Making left and right turns from stop with the handle bars, at least partially, pre-leaned. I just have not been able to start with even the slightest of pre-lean. I keep chickening out.
Bob said he never does that (and this from the guy who does doughnuts on ice covered parking lots and went 132.342 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats on a TRiO equipped bike). He said that feature is there for those who want it but for most everyone who rides a TRiO, in as little as a foot when you start out, the system unlocks and you make your turn, you don't need to pre-lean.

4) Stop & Go traffic
This was miraculously solved with changing the level.

What a successful trip, accomplished getting that last 10% of confidence/competence I was hoping for. Still need to practice more and get time using the system but at least now feel I'm doing it right.
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Treated Bob to a great BBQ place called Hole in the Wall in Eugene. First time I was ever asked how I want my brisket, Lean or Juicy? Had to ask on that one. Juicy means it has all the fat on it. Guess I'm not a juicy guy. And as always happens, drew a crowd around our bikes with people taking pictures.

Up next, having the fenders repaired and whilst with the painter, will have them do some airbrush work on the saddle bags. The company is Cutting Edge Illusions just a block over from Tilting Motor Works and they are the ones who did the original work.
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Can someone tell me why there is so much space between the pictures and text? When I edit it, that space is not there.
That's the space created by 0.5 degree of lean. ;-)


Thanks for the updates. I've been fascinated by this system since seeing it the first time on t.v. a few years ago. I've tried to convince my father to look into it and getting another bike (slight balance issues). But he's content spending his previous riding time now at the various fishing holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 · (Edited)
Mid-Winter update. We left the bike to holiday at the body shop in Eugene and it's still there. They hope to get to repairing the fenders this month. I decided not to have any airbrush work done, thought that is something we could do locally.

Having had poor experience with both HaulBikes and MotorCycle Shippers, decided time to get a trailer and just start moving it myself. Was finding that it's not much fun riding on the interstate and felt let's haul the bike someplace and then enjoy small road riding. Decided on an IronHorse trailer and talking with the dealer in Houston, determined I could get their 1 Bike Flip Top Motorcycle Trailer and would fit the TRiO modified RoadMaster just fine. Ordered that early in November last year and, like everything else today (supply chain), we're looking at middle of February to get done. I'll drive down to Texas and pick up the trailer.
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As I was looking at driving to Eugene to pick up the bike, got to searching for companies who make motorcycle seats nearby as I would like to get something other than the current stock seat (gets hard after about 45 min and possibly reduce the reach, young bride passenger feels like always sliding forward and would like to sit higher). Read all the reviews on this community (Corbin, Mustang, Ultimate and so on). Settled on Russell Day-Long touring saddle, just South of Eugene near Redding, California. What appealed to me was the one day service, getting to keep my existing seat heater, will custom fit there at the factory for both of us. I extended the trunk back two inches and currently using a filler pad and they can make the seat so it goes all the way back. Jay from Russell was extremely nice and very patient answering all my questions. Made a booking for a day in March and put down a deposit to hold the one-day service slot, those things really fill up quick, even as early as March.

Once we get the bike back to Colorado and get a few drives in to confirm I indeed have this TRiO system mastered, will book the Route 66 trip for this September, but that topic will be for another day. For now, hoping the body work is done this month or next and pick up the trailer in February.
 

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I live a few hours north of Eugene, and used to work just a few miles from TMW. Though I don’t go to Eugene often anymore, I‘ve enjoyed reading about your experiences there. The day is coming when I’m going to need 2+ wheels, and I’m happy to learn about an attractive alternative to the conventional 3 wheelers. I passed one of these on a backroad near Eugene, years ago, and never knew what it was until reading your posts.
 

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Hey Jim. The other day I spotted a scooter you may be interested in. Maybe you could tow it behind your Indian; kind of like a car hitched behind a motor home.

Keep the updates coming!
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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Drove down to Texas and picked up my IronHorse Trailer. Dean from SouthEast Texas Motorcycle Trailers in Houston was just a delight to work with. Was originally told 8 to 12 weeks and it was right at the 12 week mark. Given the delays for any new product in todays environment, that was not bad at all. Had the metal dropdown endplate added as I may end up keeping the trailer in the garage and parking the bike in the trailer. We'll see if I need to do that once I get both the bike and trailer together but at least I have the option. Namely, don't need pay to store the trailer someplace I can keep both trailer and bike in my garage.
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Had them put on a set of Condor Trailer-Only Motorcycle Chocks spaced 36" apart which is the width between tyre centre's of the TRiO (in comparison, a CanAm Spyder is 60", Harley Tri-Glide is 55"). This narrower width allowed me to get a 1 bike vice the wider 2 bike trailer, which I did not want.
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The trailer is well balanced, at least empty, had no problem pulling and can easily move it around by hand. On a side note, for those pulling a trailer and you're hearing 'clunk - clunk' from the hitch pin pulling back and forth, I recommend getting a Silent Hitch Pin from Let'sGoAERO. I used it and never heard one bit of trailer noise. Honestly if I didn't look in my mirror would not even know I was pulling a trailer, it was that smooth and quiet.
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Up next, the body shop in Eugene, where the bike is currently, said they plan on having the body work done end of this month. Fingers crossed, will be picking up the bike next month and then getting a new Russell Day Long seat made whilst we're in the area (California).
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Taking advantage of the cheap <ahem> gas, which got more expensive the further West we traveled, drove our new Iron Horse Trailer from Colorado to Eugene, Oregon. Had some really high winds in Wyoming, enough they closed I-80 for awhile. First was to pick up the bike after having the fender work done from Cutting Edge Illusions and as always, did a stellar job. Loaded the bike for the first time and the 36" spacing between the two tyres was perfect however, one wheel was not touching the front plate of the chock as if the chocks were not aligned with each other.

Took the bike just a block over to Tilting Motor Works who installed the TRiO. Bob Mighell, the designer of the TRiO and his production manager Dale, determined that I had bent one of the two TRiO steering shafts and both side plates when I had my little off road adventure through a fence with metal poles last year. This went unnoticed until we put it in the trailer and did not fit squarely in the chocks. According to Bob, the system worked as designed with the side plates absorbing the impact and deforming vice bending the actual frame of the bike, talk about a well designed system! The guys at Tilting were able that afternoon to replace the side plates, steering shaft and re-align the system. That means the level is back to zero and will wait until I get some run time to see if I need to put an offset back in for me.

Put the bike back into the trailer and now both tyres evenly press the front plate of the chock however,
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I was unable to get the bike back out of the chocks on my own, I just could not budge it. Time for a little research to see if others have that problem, once again this group proves invaluable and doing a search reveals the exact same problem and, more importantly, what to do about it (thank you WhizzbangK.C., vcs, rpsibewllo). The problem was the pivot point too far back causing the cradle to be too far forward, in this case, resting all the way to the floor, making way too big of a hill to pull 1,000 pounds up over.
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The Condor manual states:

The optimum cradle setting for a specific tire would be the setting that allows the cradle to tilt as far forward as possible without making contact with the unit’s mounting surface or ground.

I moved the pivot point one notch forward and now the cradle is slightly elevated BUT still have to exert some force to pull the bike back. End result is a good balance between pressing forward on its own but able to pull the bike out by myself.
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Next, headed to Redding, Calif for our Day Long Russell saddle, and that will be my next post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
Showed up at Russell Day Long the next morning at 8am and was met by Jay whom we've been working with. Out came Mike who will be our actual installer. They get us on the bike, take pictures, measure our, ah, assets and ask questions about handle reach and other things. They show us a sample of the leather and what kind of stitching we would like. We will lose the studs along the side as that would take a second day but didn't care about that. Mike takes the seat off and begins to work on the initial molding saying it would be ready for a test sit around Noon.

I show Jay where the previous shipping company we used put a sharpie line on the passenger back rest and is there anything to get that out?
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Jay brought out some "special stuff" which indeed took out the marker but also started to take the leather colour as well. I asked about recovering the backrest and he said they could do it, including the piece below it. Go for it, besides would make all the leather match.

I took advantage of the seat being off to put in a new battery. Studied how to do that and came prepared with the tools needed. A little tight fit here and there but nothing truly difficult. Almost screwed up, the spec said to torque the ECM bolt to 84 in-lbs and was about to do 84 ft-lbs, D'oh!.

Noon-ish and Mike installs the new seat, less leather, to see what we think of the fit and if any adjustments are needed before making it permanent.
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They throw some cloth over the foam and put in a temporary driver backrest. Note the passenger backrest stripped of leather ready to re-cover.
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Sandy has a big smile on her face as this is the first time she really feels comfortable, fits perfectly. Don't know if you can see, I previously moved the trunk back 2" with the Rivco trunk relocation kit, combined with the cut-out driver backrest so her legs don't hit it, she has plenty of room. Seat was great for me as well and really liked the backrest.

Nothing more from us the rest of the afternoon, we make our way into Redding and have lunch at Lumberjacks. Very generous on the portion size so shared one meal.
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Mentioned how I moved the trunk back and that left a gap from the end of the old seat to the start of the trunk. This new seat will go all the way back but there is a bolt at the back of the seat that we will no longer be able to get a wrench in to remove. Jay pointed that out and sent us off to Ace Hardware and picked up a metric thumbscrew that we can reach under the seat and unscrew when we need to remove the seat. Excuse all the dust, bike has been sitting for six months at the body shop.
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Here is the before. Note the filler pad behind the passenger seat and how flat that seat is.
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And our new seat. That driver backrest is much larger and just folds down so the passenger can get on easily. See how the passenger seat is now shaped and goes all the way back. Russell states that with their seats you sit 'in' the seat, not 'on' it and that is really true. They use the original seat pan so keeps the seat heaters.
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At the end of the day with Mike. Really is something they can do all this in one day. The very first time I sat on it, felt it raised me just a bit and also seems to have me slightly forward. I'm fine with both of those, again, was very slight.
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If you followed my saga on learning to ride this TRiO converted bike, you'll understand when I say this time around I'm taking things at a much slower pace on literally getting back on the horse. Only ridden just a little since our return but what little I've done, can really tell a difference how the seat feels. I say that since I don't think about the seat where with the old one, definitely knew it was there.

Much like I don't try to push the TRiO over a trike, there are other fine makers of saddles and this was our choice. We were very pleased with the treatment, service, quality and final product of our Russell Day Long Saddle and highly recommend them. You can't beat the personal customization you get with their one day service.
 

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Just finished reading the thread. Having seen the TRiO setup in the interwebz a few times, I was semi-familiar with the system. Tat being said, I do have a couple of questions:

1) I know that you mentioned that the turning radius had increased by 5', which I assume is due to the two wheels in the front. How far does the bike lean as compared to when it only had two wheels?

2) Can the bike still fall over if the tilt lock is off, or does the two wheels in the front prevent that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 · (Edited)
Excellent questions

1) I know that you mentioned that the turning radius had increased by 5', which I assume is due to the two wheels in the front. How far does the bike lean as compared to when it only had two wheels?
It leans the same, all the way to where you're scraping the floorboards.

2) Can the bike still fall over if the tilt lock is off, or does the two wheels in the front prevent that?
Well, 'fall over' is kinda yes / kinda no. When the system is off it will lean to the limit of the TRiO which is 45 deg. Bob Mighell, the designer of the system, posted a video of a Chieftain all the way over with the system off and shows how it rights itself when turned on.

I have had my bike all the way over three times:

1> When I picked up the bike the first time in Eugene last year, had the system off, was making a hard right up a hill, not enough gas and down we went. The bike (and two riders) were at 45 deg resting on the limit of the TRiO in front, floorboard in the middle and crash bar in the rear. Turned on the TRiO and lifted all 1,400 pounds of bike and riders without hesitation and on we went.

2> Second time was my Ride Like a Pro instructor who, on his first turn, went down. Again, right back up it goes. To his credit, he managed to master using the TRiO in 30 minutes where it has taken months for me to ride safely, working on the mastering part, but that is due to my not having ridden in over 30 years.

3> Third time was the very same day, got home with my head full of what the instructor taught me and did not put the kickstand down and turned off the system. Wham! Has happened enough that I no longer panic, turn it on and everything is fine. Tell you what though, I certainly check the kickstand is down and check it again before I turn that system off.

There will be some scraping on the inside of the fenders where it presses against the TRiO, not damaged but scraped, and some touch up paint takes care of that. Having just come back from Eugene for the second time with all three fenders repaired, it is my goal NOT to let it fall down or run into metal fence posts in a muddy field for that matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 · (Edited)
Meant to mention how the trailer and bike fit in the garage. Was anticipating having to put the bike in the trailer while in the garage but turns out am able to fit both trailer and bike by themselves comfortably. We're fortunate that one of the garage spaces is further back, else this would not have worked.
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We passed a major milestone with my Sandy riding with me for the first time since last year when she said, "learn how to ride this thing and I'll get back on". Rode by myself for about two weeks after our return from Eugene, doing mostly busy streets with lots of stop and go traffic (riding at speed is not the problem) and practicing my turns, both slow and from a stop. Having learned the secret to making turns with a TRiO from a stop by starting slowly but with purpose, the tilt lock unlocks in one second and every turn now has been smooth as butter. Was using what I learned from the Proficient Motorcycling book and what Jersey from Ride Like a Pro taught me on those slow turns, look in the direction you're going, give it throttle and use that rear brake.

Felt confident enough to get my Sandy on and we went for an easy ride through the Black Forest in Colorado where we live. At the end of our driveway we make a hard right and Sandy told me afterwards that she thought we were going down because we leaned more than I've done in the past. Good! Up until then my turns have been wide and now with looking, throttle, lean, am able to stay in my own lane. By the time we got to the convenience store to get her frozen Coke, Sandy's anxiety level was way, way down and actually began enjoying the ride.

We both had the same thought, my driving and our enjoyment are light years for the better than when we first picked this bike up last year. She can sense and feel my confidence and ease and is able to relax herself. Been a year getting to this point and well worth it! Will slowly increase our riding time and distance, taking our time to get it right. We are both honestly excited about our prospects with this TRiO equipped motorcycle.
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The ultimate goal when we first bought this bike over a year ago is to ride half of Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Fe with EagleRider guided tours. We booked that for last year and became obvious we were no way ready for that and canceled the trip. EagleRider gave us store credit with the deposit to rebook for a later date. We now feel comfortable enough that we've booked for this Fall to take the trip. I will continue to post updates on this tread about driving with the TRiO and will start a new one for our Route 66 trip.
 
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