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SwiftyDS 14th June 2020 14:23

Reverse Trike MSVA Question

Starting to look at building a single seater reverse trike, and fancy the challenge of fabricating the frame myself. The design is based on a front frame that the entire motorbike frame bolts into using the headstock (similar to the picture below).

My end state for this would be electric power (Iíve got the EV bug having just finished this motorbike conversion ....

Anyway, back to the topic .... Iím designing it on the basis that this needs to go through MSVA, but as Iím retaining the entire frame, swing arm, engine (albeit converted to electric) and rear wheel and, as it could be reverted back to a motorcycle, I remember a while back you used to be able to register this on the original V5 for the bike without it needing to go through MSVA. The key point being that as you havenít welded the trike frame to the bike frame (itís bolted including the headstock) it can be reverted to the original wheel plan. You used to be able to go through the process of re-registering similar to that of a radically altered kit car.

Looking around other forums Iíve seen a similar question raised recently without any real clarity, so just wanted to check if anyone had a view here?

As I said Iíll plan on the basis of it going through MSVA but would be good to know if the Ďbolt oní approach still applies.

Many thanks

Mitchelkitman 14th June 2020 16:39

I may be incorrect, but just from a 'logic & reasonable' basis I'd think it would be required to be MSVA'd - It has a new structure and new front suspension/steering which is the chassis of the vehicle and the motorbike part is an addition would be my take on it. But I'm not the DVSA, so I'd suggest asking them. looks a good project.... enjoy!

SwiftyDS 14th June 2020 19:07

Thanks - to be honest that’s what I thought as well - otherwise you could go ‘bolting’ bits of cars together and apply the same rules (not that anyone would do that anyway).

But .... several people have told me there are folks doing this still today and getting reverse trikes on the road ‘legally’ without a MSVA.

If it was possible to get a straight answer out of the DVLA I would call them

MartinClan 17th June 2020 08:57

I suppose it depends on what you call legal.... Whilst the average PC wouldn't know if it was legal or not questions may be asked if you were involved in a prang.

And the way that the DVLA has started to clean up the roads of some of the dodgier vehicles is to tighten the MOT regulations. For example modified chassis can be refused. So some of the kit cars around on modified triumph chassis still running on the original identity may have problems in the future.

Cheers Robin

SwiftyDS 17th June 2020 15:57

Thanks for replying - yes I want this all proper. I’m fine putting it through MSVA, not intending to just plate it up from the donor bike.

Was really just checking if anyone was aware of recent reverse trike builds where the kit/design is based on bolting the bike frame onto the front of the trike and they’ve gone through the Reg process with DVlA as if it was a radically altered body kit equivalent so no MSVA?

I can’t see it myself (as the replies here concur) but I’m still being told by some folks this is happening.

Paul L 18th June 2020 06:45

There is a guy call Kev / Kapri over on the 'Rods 'n' Sods' forum who is an expert on DVLA registrations.

He helped guide Gary on the original Sammio Spyder design to ensure it complied with the re-body rules.

These days, he offers help in return for a donation to his local hospice.

If he doesn't know the answer, he may know someone who does.

Good luck, Paul. :)

SwiftyDS 18th June 2020 09:15

Many thanks Paul - will let you know what I can find out.

redratbike 20th June 2020 22:18

Did you log the build of the motorbike on any forum ?

A friend interested in building one himself, be good to pass some info to him

SwiftyDS 21st June 2020 07:36

Yes, posted on a couple of other forums.

Got a couple of what I’d say were not too helpful responses along the lines of ‘you can do whatever you want and don’t worry about the consequences’!

Will let you know if I get anything useful as a response.

Lucky@LeMans 21st June 2020 10:11

I've always fancied the idea of building an American style chopper. Building a bespoke frame and doing something like you see on the TV show " American Chopper". I don't know what the regs are, a mate said you can do anything if you base it around the yoke assembly of an already registered bike ! That sounds too simple to me and open to abuse !

SwiftyDS 21st June 2020 10:27

The regs do seem to be more open than with 3/4 wheeled vehicles.

Having just completed the electric conversion it looks like the DVLA/VOSA are tightening up on major mods to the frame, swingarm when it comes to EV conversions. I stayed away from cutting/welding the swingarm and had to get some adaptor plates machined up to get the hub motor fitted without mods to the swingarm.

But it does seem so long as you can retain the chassis plate and stamp on the frame (most frames have this stamped as well as a plate) you can change everything else including different swing arm, forks etc. Yolk/headstock would need to be retained as an integral part of the frame.

So yes I think you could mod a frame so long as you keep it a 2 wheeler ... what happens when you MOT it and it no longer resembles the original bike on the V5 might be more of an issue nowadays as MOT testers are tightening up. And insurance of course.

Mitchelkitman 21st June 2020 11:03

I'm surprised they allow the conversion from IC to EV - I know of a kit car that's done it, and DVSA just changed the fuel used on the V5. The safety (or lack of) of high voltage and loose batteries etc for the builder (or more likely a future purchaser) of the car without specific 3rd party check is critical. When I worked at a factory building EVs a few years back there was a sinister-looking reinforced plastic 'shepherd's crook' with an image of a silhouette being lifted off the assembly line. Fortunately I never witnessed it being used.

SwiftyDS 21st June 2020 11:58

The DVLA can, and often do, require an independent check/assessment by a qualified motor/electrical engineer. I actually welcome that, and agree completely about the risks here compared to IC.

There are a lot of safety features that I have engineered into my builds such as contactors etc that cut the power. Iím also running at 72v - still enough to kill you at 150 Amps - which is 100% isolated just to drive the motor.

That said I do expect in the next 12 - 18 months there will be legislation that any EV conversion has to meet specific safety standards and there will need to be some form of IVA equivalent test to verify this prior to registration change.

I think the days of doing an EV conversion for road tax purposes have long gone, and to be honest that was nothing to do with why I did the latest bike, as the tax was only £20 a year (it was a 50cc bike at the end of the day).

SwiftyDS 21st June 2020 12:58

On the trike / MSVA point Iíve got a bit more info now - looks like if you have a traditional trike frame that bolts into a motorcycle frame and has a motorcycle derived steering then it can be registered without an MSVA so long as it is bolted.

Reverse trikes are the same but from what I can now see the steering and front suspension need to be Ďmotorcycle derivedí for it to be considered a motorcycle derived tricycle.

I think this means for my design it will need to go through MSVA as it wonít be considered motorcycle derived. Anyway, Iíve written to DVSA as well to see what they come back with.

redratbike 21st June 2020 22:57


Originally Posted by SwiftyDS (Post 104555)
Yes, posted on a couple of other forums.

Got a couple of what Iíd say were not too helpful responses along the lines of Ďyou can do whatever you want and donít worry about the consequencesí!

Will let you know if I get anything useful as a response.

I mean the bike you built not the trike you have planned

SwiftyDS 22nd June 2020 06:30

Ah ok - yes I did. It’s on Endless Sphere....

bladerunner 22nd June 2020 12:53

just had a look on a forum site about the development of the 2RIKE reverse trike which is currently for sale in the UK. The designer of the trike Craven Moses had his reverse trike put through MSVA. It might be worth getting in touch with him to get more information.

SwiftyDS 22nd June 2020 14:03

Thanks Bladerunner - will take a look

bladerunner 22nd June 2020 14:34

I have also read that you will need a weight certificate to prove the vehicle is under 450kg. I am sure it will be but the tax office won’t just take your word for it. Nice bike by the way. I assumed it was Yamaha R3 you had converted not a Chinese copy.

SwiftyDS 22nd June 2020 15:16

Yes - seems a printout from a weighbridge is ok for that from what I can see.

It was a Yamasaki YM50 I converted - cheap R3 clones from China that are imported into the U.K. by CheapBikesRUs. Then a cheap decal kit to complete the Yamaha MotoGP look :-)

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