About a year ago, I got an email from Joe Totenbier of Lehigh Valley Choppers telling me about a new trike he was building. He had some early build photos but it was incomplete and it was hard to tell exactly what the finished product would look like. The one thing I could tell from the photos was the build quality, it looked really good. Time went by and I didn't think too much more about it. Then Joe sent me some more photos of the finished trike.
After a quick glance it looked a little too angular for my taste, something didn't strike me right so I just pushed it aside and moved on. Well, Joe's a persistent guy and he sent more photos and then a follow up wondering what I thought since he hadn't heard back. I thought I ought to at least give this trike another look to see why he was so persistent and I'm really glad I did. Check this out.
The Stealth Tryke, as Joe calls it, looks like it has the build quality of an Indy Car. This isn't something whipped together by someone who thinks trikes are neat and starts tacking tubes together, this is probably some of the highest caliber work you'll see on any build. The Indy Car look is explained by his background. Joe worked for Indy Car teams Porsche Motor Sports and Walker Racing in Warrington, PA., Granatelli Racing, Patrick Racing and Penske Racing. Joe was also part of the winning pit crew of the Indy 500 in 1993, with driver, Emerson Fittapaldi. After leaving Penske Racing, Joe moved to the west coast to work for the Gaffoglio family at Metal Crafters then in Newport Beach, California.
The Stealth Tryke is all bare metal and Joe did that for a reason. There's no paint or powder coating or filler or fiberglass to cover up build mistakes or shortcuts. You can see all the welds, examine the metal tubes and body and look for anything that would show less than first class work, a builder has to be pretty confident the work will stand up to inspection if he's going to do that. Joe's work shows very well which makes sense since he's an FAA certified A&P mechanic plus he's American Welding Society certified to TIG weld 4130 Chromolly tubing, titanium and stainless steel.
OK, so what about the Tryke? As shown it weighs 980 pounds. The body is aluminum but it could be carbon fiber or fiberglass or whatever the customer wants. The photos here show the prototype but there are a lot of variations possible, the V tail, which I'm personally not crazy about, could be a single wing or a multi wing or no wing at all but you need to be careful because what you have here is something like a 3 wheel Indy Car, downforce could be important. Wheels? You choose. In other words, this isn't a one off, this is the prototype of a custom Joe will build to suit.
This is all Joe's own design with extremely high quality components, Joe used an Indy car steering rack, a Quaife reverse box with his own custom mount, 98% of the hardware is aviation grade. Shifter location, reverse lever location, steering wheel and pedal location, all fully adjustable. As is, it will fit anyone from 5 foot 9 inches to 6 foot 5 inches but it can be built to fit anyone. Like a race car, five screws and 2 push pins remove the nose and wing in about 45 seconds. Power is either Hayabusa or GSX-R1000 in any state of tune desired.
Price? Not cheap and totally dependent on options chosen but if you have the means, this could be a pretty incredible street legal racer. Yes, street legal.
Check over the photos and see what you think. Remember, as Joe told me, if there's something not to your liking, it can be changed, but above all, look at the design of the chassis and suspension and the overall build quality. We've shown a lot of trikes on The Kneeslider, I don't think we've ever shown one with this attention to detail. Very impressive. Nice work, Joe, ... very nice.
Link: Lehigh Valley Choppers