Solid axel vs. Independent suspension - GL1800Riders

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Solid axle vs. Independent suspension

I am especially interested in Motor trike's units. Is there really a lot of difference in these two different set ups? I will trike my 07 this year or next.
TIG

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 08:33 PM
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Below are images of a solid axle from Lehman and an independent suspension from Motortrike. A picture is worth a thousand words, but take a test ride on each trike and see which you like best. Both ride well, most of the people I know do a lot of trailer towing and have the solid axle. You may prefer the more responsive handling of the independent suspension, it's really what you feel more comfortable with handling wise. A test ride is very important before you buy.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 08:43 PM
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I have had the older MT with ladder bar suspension and it rides surprisingly well compared to most solid axle units. I now have the new MT IRS and there is a remarkable difference in the ride and handling. I love mine and would do it again in a minute.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by W7AX View Post
I have had the older MT with ladder bar suspension and it rides surprisingly well compared to most solid axle units. I now have the new MT IRS and there is a remarkable difference in the ride and handling. I love mine and would do it again in a minute.

Does it look anything like this?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 07:52 AM
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Sure looks like a match to me
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobray View Post
I am especially interested in Motor trike's units. Is there really a lot of difference in these two different set ups? I will trike my 07 this year or next.
TIG
I, too, have owned both units. Both are good, bit I prefer the IRS.


'08 with '12 MT Adventure kit and '10 with '12 MT Adventure kit. 1,000,000 miles August, 2015
DISCLAIMER: All post are my personal opinion and are in no way intended to reflect on or change the opinions of others.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by trike lady 1500 View Post
Below are images of a solid axle from Lehman and an independent suspension from Motortrike. A picture is worth a thousand words, but take a test ride on each trike and see which you like best. Both ride well, most of the people I know do a lot of trailer towing and have the solid axle. You may prefer the more responsive handling of the independent suspension, it's really what you feel more comfortable with handling wise. A test ride is very important before you buy.
That is a BAD comparison,,,,, to compare a no flex system to an IRS,,, The question as I understood it was between the Motor Trike Solid axle, and their IRS. As for the solid axle system that they use here is how it works. The IRS system is similar but with a straight mount to the frame.

Ladder Bar General Description:
The Motor Trike® Patented Ladder Bar suspension allows the rear end to move on both sides independently to move up and down without the other side being affected. Ladder Bars are made of Chrome Molly tubes with race car type Hiem adjustments for a perfect alignment. The air ride allows you to set your own pressure for a custom ride, soft to hard, for one or two riders, or with a trailer. The shocks are gas coil-over from Progressive Suspension Products.
All Motor Trike® kits are manufactured using Air Ride Suspension as standard equipment. Which offers a true suspension, letting the shock absorbers do what they were designed for...to dampen sudden and rapid motion. The comfort and stability of the Air Ride Suspension will give a ride that is considered "unsurpassed in the industry"
. When you combine the Air Ride Suspension with the Ladder Bar suspension, the result is unique in that the ride quality and handling characteristics split the difference between the traditional solid axle design, and the independent rear suspensions.
The Ladder Bars attach to the inside of the motorcycle frame at the Swing Arm Pivot Point, and rear axle housing via beefy Hiem Joints, the upper Hiems are canted forward to reduce drive shaft velocity, and level the forward end of the drive line, and provide a slightly progressive lever ratio of the drive shaft. Chrome Molly Tubular steel adjustment arms fitted with aircraft type Hiem joints that provide total freedom of movement (adjustment) along with a huge increase in strength over bushings. There is a Ladder Bar on each side of the frame.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 09:31 AM
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Ok, I understand your concise, precise and well written explanation of the differences. But isn't this a quote from Motor Trike?

"When you combine the Air Ride Suspension with the Ladder Bar suspension, the result is unique in that the ride quality and handling characteristics split the difference between the traditional solid axle design, and the independent rear suspensions."

Now on paper it sounds real good and to a non-Triker it may fool them into thinking it rides nice, but having real life expereince with lots of Motor Trikes (Harleys, Hondas, 1800's 1500's etc.) having built them for 7 years and ridden three of my own nearly 200,000+ miles I can put t in my own words...........

The Motor Trike IRS Adventure is a nice unit. Much nicer than the old style. I was glad to see they finally caught up with the real world and changed their design. They spent way too much time on that Stallion and ignored their bread and butter for years. Which is what lead me and others to take on the other brands we now offer. Then they got mad at the dealers that needed to stay in business which is one of the reasons I'm no longer a Motor Trike dealer. The other is a long story of how their word means nothng.

The Ladder Bar design works fine and doesn't fall apart. It does have inherent flaws though. Most noticably the Heim Joints squeak and need WD-40 all the time. The first disc brake system was junk and had to be replaced which MT did with no hesitation. The heim joints wear after a while causing clunks. The air bags are ok but why does the Hannigan suspension ride so smoothly with just the Progessivess? Those air bags leak air all the time and I can't tell you how many hours we've spent re-doing lines and connections to get them not too.


The new Adventure is pretty good ride wise but the Ladder Bar is harsh, hard and will jolt your teeth loose. It does not split no difference between nothin' .......... yes I own one now and I'll tell ya' why, because I got it dirt cheap from another dealer who had three and couldn't sell them. I think with paint and my labor cost it was about $4,500.00 complete. I would prefer a Cobra, Hannigan or Roadsmith but I didn't have the money last April to afford one.

And the line about "Unsurpassed in the industry" must have been written in the 1990's 'cause they got passed by quality IRS units along time ago.



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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 09:54 AM
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You caught that right off the bat,, Yes it is a direct quote from MT.
I like the ladder bar my self it doesn't beat me to pieces like you say, but I am tougher than you are too...... and not overly sensitive. I will give you 3/4 of your money back for the Trike just to get it out of your sight, and misery. Then you can move on to something that you would be pleased with,,,,
Oh wait your getting married this spring, maybe I should consult wit the Bride to be first,,,, I may get a better deal,,,,,,,,,,

George Patrick Th.D.
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Heb 13:2
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 10:10 AM
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I guess different people have had different experiences with their older MT's. My old one was a 2003. After 60,000 miles of riding, I never had a problem with any of the Heim joints. I never had a brake problem and in fact I still had the original drum brakes which after 60K miles still were only slightly worn.Incidently, MT offered at one point to upgrade the brakes to a disc system and because my brakes worked so well I declined it. My brakes were much better than the later Champion for instance. I have a buddy I ride with who has a Champion solid axle. It's been a great trike for him but it certainly rides much worse than the MT with their solid axle trike. I have never ,ever had an air problem with the suspension system either. No leaks ever and totally reliable. As a matter of interest, Hannigan and others use the same basic components on the air system as does MT. I also like the Hannigan but what I don't like about them is simply the aesthetics. Too wide and that so called whale tail is plain ugly...at least to me. That said, the IRS MT is a very well made and thought out machine. If I was to buy a trike tomorrow, that's what I would demand. I realize that some folks may have had issues with the older MT but I never did.
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