Why Raked Triple Trees


The addition of a sidecar to a motorcycle invariably results in high steering effort.  Trail is the reason.  Trail is the factor of the bikes' steering geometry which generates a self-centering force for stability - see illustration.

Trail is a virtual lever arm between the tire contact patch and the steering centerline (the steering centerline is always ahead of the contact patch).

The longer this lever arm is, the more the wheel resists being steered out of its' forward path (track).  Large, heavy motorcycles require longer trail measurements for stability.  However, when a sidecar is added, this long trail becomes an impediment to steering.  In order to steer, the rider uses the leverage provided by the handlebars to overcome the self-centering force generated by trail.  The relative length of the two opposing levers then becomes very important to the effort required to turn.

The 'Raked" Triple Tree simply diminishes the trail measurement by moving the contact patch of the tire forward, much closer to the steering centerline.  The resulting trail reduction has a dramatic affect on the effort of steering the sidecar rig or trike.  The effort may be reduced by as much as half making those twisting roads a joy to negotiate!

This technology is not new or radical - Harley Davidson® offered raked triple trees (for use with sidecars or trikes) beginning in about 1950 and continuing into the early '80's.  However with the advent of the rubber mounts & softails, this technology was left behind.  Now, through production of our own raked trees Liberty Sidecars is able to offer owners of Harley® sidecar rigs & trikes the kind of handling they hope for!

Note:  these 'Raked' Trees are for 3-wheeled use only and may not be used for solo riding.