Accessible Ride


Dave Chappell discovered his love for riding his Harley-Davidson could continue long after his spinal-cord injury thanks to some clever modifications.

These three adaptive parts transform a standard motorcycle into a hand-controlled trike for riders who use wheelchairs

Dave Chappell and his fully converted and hand controlled Harley-Davidson trike were featured in the August issue of PN. Chappell has been a life-long lover of motorcycles, but with his spinal-cord injury, he had trouble finding one he could ride. In 2013 his wife surprised him with a Harley-Davidson and Freedom Rides in Lincoln, Calif. helped make it accessible with three crucial parts:

California Sidecar Kit — The first step to adapting a motorcycle for someone with paralysis is to take it from a two-wheeler to a three-wheeler so the rider is balanced even when stopped. Chappell chose a California Sidecar Kit. While there are many reliable conversion kits on the market, this one handles well in several situations (high speed, curves, etc.) and has a unique look. “I finally settled on the California sidecar kit,” Chappell says. “It had the biggest wheel differential in the back, I just like the styling, it kind of reminds me of the old hotrods.” For more information, visit californiasidecar.com.

Kiltronic Electronic Shifter — The next step is moving the shifter from the left foot of a standard bike up to the handlebars for hand-controlled shifting. Chappell picked out a Kilktronic shifter that allows him to shift using just his thumb. He received a recommendation from another rider who said this brand held up much longer than other brands she tried. For more information, visit, kilktronic.co.uk.

K-Lever Brake System — Finally, both front and back brakes need to be hand-controlled. On a standard motorcycle, the right foot operates the rear brakes, while the front brakes are operated by the right hand and the clutch by the left hand. Since the clutch and electronic shifter already occupy the left side of the handlebars, the easiest way to move the rear brakes is by getting a K-Lever brake system. This system puts two levers on top of each other on the right hand side of the handlebars — one to control the front brakes and one to control the rear. For more information, visit klever2.com.

 

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