Bobster Trike by Zeel Design

Bobster trike by Zeel Design

Bobster trike by Zeel DesignThe Bobster trike by Zeel Design is an interesting custom, one reason being the builders are former engineers from Bombardier who design their customs completely on the computer before cutting or machining any metal.

The Bobster is a copper plated trike with a 1200 Sportster engine and 5 speed transmission. The front wheel is another of those 26 inchers with a tire from Vee Rubber like the Vinnie from Matt Hotch. This trike was on the Discovery Channel Biker Build Off and also competed in a slew of other custom shows, like the AMD World Championship, winning quite a few awards along the way.

As I mentioned when writing about the 26 inch tire, you need a wheel to mount that monster and Zeel just machined one from a block of aluminum. The design was completely done in the computer because they wanted to know everything would fit since this was one of those 10 day wonders for the build off, I guess you don't count computer design time.

It's interesting that former Bombardier engineers would build a trike when Bombardier just made the news with a trike of their own, actually coincidental since the trike idea came from Discovery Channel for the competition.

I'm not suggesting this trike is any kind of cool road machine, actually I just included this because it was the only other custom I know of so far using the 26 inch front tire besides Matt Hotch's Vinnie. Now that these two are out there, we'll be sure to see more.

Link: Zeel Design
Link: AMD World Championship


  1. aaron says

    I love this thing! I always thought the plating was rose gold, though.

    I knew that zeel was based in quebec, but didn’t know they were former bombardier employees, or that they used computer design in this way (wave of the future, I suppose…)

    the main problem I have with this bike (and no matter how cool, I always have something to gripe about. oh well, just call me picky) is that it lacks that floorboard thing that kid’s trikes always have. with that it could be perfect (for what it is).

  2. Duke says

    Weird that they decided to put motorcycle tires on the rear. Talk about squaring off your tires… I don’t believe motorcycle tires were made to perform under a lot of lateral force without the lean, am I wrong?

    “Hey, let’s minimize the contact patch as much as we can.”

  3. Willie Schmitz says

    Beautiful show machine. Awesome craftsmanship.

    Siegman Fued would have fun exploring the kid/tricycle adult/trike thing. Was surprized when it won the Biker Build Off. Liked the other rending, a Northstar powered trike, better. It was so much more but didn’t look like my tricycle when I was three years old. Obviously, when it comes to winning show competition, sentiment is everything.

  4. Sean says

    I want one. It looks amazing, top quality machinework and paintwork. Looks just like a big trike that my granddad used to have. Awesome. Oh, and bloody good design! I love it.

  5. Alejandro says

    Duke is right, putting motorcycle tires on a trike is not the best thing to do. However, I doubt performance or functionality is even a real consideration on these trailer queens. Also, cornering on streets must be a pain without the differential to let the outside tire rotate more than the inside tire. Can anyone say wheel hop?

  6. kneeslider says

    Actually, this trike has a differential and it also has quite a few road miles on it. They will even build these for customers, too.

  7. chris says

    am i right to think that is a shock in the steering head, or is it just a rod sticking down to the forks? i would hope they put a little more suspension on it than what is beneath the seat. either way, it’s quite nice to look at.

  8. M. Baker says

    It would be a bitch to ride at speed, you couldn’t turn those bars one way and lean the other. Be good with a trailer though, maybe an antique hot-dog stand?

  9. Buzzer says

    This is quite the show piece. It had a “For Sale” sign on it when I saw it at the Toronto Bike show in January.

    You can’t understand how big the front tire is until you see IRL.

  10. Alejandro says

    If it has a differential then I take the wheel hop comment back, yet it sure doesn’t look like it has a differential.

    On another note, the view from the rear looks odd. With the two rear tires being so far apart, the rear looks so empty and too spacious. It needs something to fill in the gap rather than staring at two long drive shafts. Maybe added storage. Something?

    “It has quite a few road miles on it?” What does that mean, someone rode it about 50 miles and parked it? Look, most of these outlandish customs are trailer queens, no matter what the builder claims as to how well it works. There is a huge difference between something working and something working well. This is what it is, just something to look at. If you want to ride a trike that really works well, this isn’t it.

  11. Alejandro says

    Also, where is the rear brake light? Is it below the seat? Hard to tell from the picture. Does it have turn signal indicators front and back? If that is the turn signal indicators below the seat, they need to be at least 12 inches apart. Does it have a horn? All of these are legal requirements for it NOT to be a trailer queen.

    Also, how does the front suspension work, and the rear suspension as well? Is the front suspension just a shock, or is there a spring hidden in the front fork? For a bike to work well, it must have suspension front and back. I have ridden hard tails and they look cool, but are dangerous as heck. A bad patch of road can send you flying off the seat. Something which I never want to repeat.

    Does it have a rear brake? All legal (non-trailer queen) motorcycles must have at least two separate braking systems. I see only one brake rotor for the front.

    Also, I sure wouldn’t expect that front brake to work very well when you have such a small traction patch in contact with the road and no rear brake to assist.

    Where is the license plate and license plate light?

    The reason I bring these comments up is to prove my point, this is a trailer queen, even if the builder has put quite a few road miles on it. Like I said, it is one thing to make something work, and a whole different thing to make something work well.

  12. says

    I think it’s neat lookin’.

    The use of copper instead of the ubiquitous chrome is very cool. But I’m thinkin’ that the inside-out handlebars would take some gettin’ used to.

    If I was lookin’ to take a couple of tenths off my lap time, this is not the ride I would pick, and not just because of the nice lookin’ but not the “best” choice back tires. If I was out for a putt…put a WA plate on it and I’d ride it. But I like 3wheelers, even bass-ackward ones like this.

  13. kneeslider says

    Alejandro, the road miles came primarily from the build off competition when the builders ride their completed entries from city to city before the competitive part of the show. I don’t know which cities were involved (I suppose we could look it up, though I’m not sure it’s very important) but I believe it was a lot more than 50 miles.

    Again, I only wrote about this trike because of the front wheel size, not because I think it’s some great road going custom, it isn’t. The build quality is very high and it is definitely different. I suppose if someone was going to actually do any serious riding with it a big trunk to fill in the rear area would make sense but this was a 10 day build off bike, nothing more.

  14. hoyt says

    anyone see the tom hanks movie, “Big” or something like that?..maybe a movie cameo will garner some more cash for this talented builder

    Coho – a new club, race series of trikes like this would be hysterical if not really dangerous

  15. Alejandro says

    Kneeslider, I agree that it is a unique ride and even somewhat beautiful. I had felt you were trying to vouch for its road worthiness by stating it had “quite a few road miles on it,” when I called it a trailer queen. That is all.

  16. aaron says

    go coho! a field full of trikes would be quite a sight – they could be a support race for the “radio” race series (the hypothetical series that would allow any motorcycle that left the factory with a radio – unlimited mods as long as stock body and frame are retained)

  17. says

    If CanAm can make a go of their new 3wheeler I bet it won’t be long before more of them start popping up. A race series is all but inevitable.

    What d’ya think, different classes for “regular” and “backwards” 3wheelers…or just mix ’em up?

  18. Buzzer says

    I agree coho. I can easily see a race series for the cam am. Up here i think the snowmobilers will really see the similarity between both machines and would use this for some extended summer racing.

    I personally feel the cost of the CamAm is a little high to fully lure their target market of non-motorcylists into the community. Maybe I’m wrong…. time will tell

  19. hoyt says

    a race series of Can Ams could be a great marketing strategy that could spur sales.

    on a lighter note, I have an image of a bunch of grown people racing around a short track on trikes like the above…as though they were hunkered over their nephews’ trikes, pumping their legs in an un-extended manner on the pedals, but with the sound of a sportster

  20. Steve says

    “What d’ya think, different classes for “regular” and “backwards” 3wheelers…or just mix ‘em up?”

    Different classes! How on earth could trikes compete with forecars unless it was drag racing?

  21. Steve says

    OH YEAH, looks finely crafted, that’s for certain. I’d like to try a putt’ on it for fun… won’t be looking into buying or building one anytime soon though.

  22. noodle says

    I can certainly see this trike and the Can-Am 3-wheeler appealing to non-motorcyclists. However, ATV riders are switching to automatic transmission and if these manfacturers want to entice the average buyer they will need to go that route also. Personally, I would buy something along the lines of a Bobster Trike if the engine was more discrete (smaller, tucked back, covered by swoopy plastic) and if it was designed for 2-up riding. I think the rear wheels do need to be closer together… the closer you make it look like an adult version of the BIG WHEEL children’s toy the better. By the way, I am not interested in the big trike touring rigs.

  23. James Dean says

    The Trike is an excellent piece of work. CAD made assembly real smooth. The Build-Off competitor,while building,stated a major reason why this Biker voted for ZEEL. Craig said building his Trike was just as difficult as building a Street Rod since,to him,it was a Street Rod with only one front wheel. More car than bike. Had a foot throttle to boot. His bike had plenty of GO,but not enough WOW. One thing about ZEEL’s Trike has me puzzled. What type of vehicle is the differential originally made to fit? Any ideas?