If you ride around the back country of the United States, especially those gravel and less maintained roadways, you may have noticed the vast numbers of broken barns just waiting to fall. Now your first reaction may be that (insert current president name here) sure has been tough on our poor farmers. Or perhaps (insert prior presidents name here) sure made a mess of things. But the fact is the US economy has nothing to do with the demise of barns. The barns are just an example of obsolescence. In the early years the barn was the central and most important building on any farm. The barn was used to house livestock, store grain, water and machinery. In time more buildings were added and the machinery housed in their own sheds, granaries handled the grain, and soon milking parlors took over the housing for cattle. The barn is no longer a useful commodity and has proven to be a burden rather than asset.
What does this have to do with motorcycles?
Well it’s a common lesson all manufactures must learn. A good idea today may be a bad one tomorrow.
In the early years of trike building the rear wheel was remove and replaced with a straight axle hooked directly to the swing arm. This was a nice neat way of adding the stability of a trike with a minimum of effort and engineering. The ride was harsh but it basically worked and was simple as no real steering knowledge was required. In time the rear suspension and drive assemblies were improved and premium comfort attained. However steering was and is an issue as the steering on this type of build is not designed for this application. Aerodynamic design has been ignored and styling has taken president over economy. But for many years like the barns this was the real deal and the way to go.
In 2008 that all began to change. BRP introduced a factory built front wheel trike, the CanAm Spyder. A trike designed with steering, aerodynamics and control as the primary factors. In Aug 2013 Minnesota Company IDO-Endeavor Inc filed for a patent on a wheels forward trike conversion. Endeavor like BRP also placed all the focus on handling and streamlining along with functionality. July 2014 Endeavor Trikes (IDO-Endeavor Inc) became the first US trike conversion company to officially enter into the wheels forward non-leaning trike conversion market.
I have no doubt the rest will be soon to follow our lead. We shall all Endeavor and persevere.
So what does this have to do with broken barns?
Sidenote: Since the publication of this article two other manufactures have released their versions of wheels forward trike conversions. Two full years after Endeavor was released.