From Snowmobile to Off-Road Reverse Trike

off-road reverse trike

This is a pretty cool build from Grind Hard Plumbing Company, it’s an off-road reverse trike. They’ve taken a Ski-Doo snowmobile and turned it into a reverse trike. What’s a reverse trike you might ask? A vehicle with two wheels up front, one in the back.

The Build of the Off-Road Reverse Trike

This build started with a 2007 Ski-Doo Summit 1000 snowmobile. Add in a few donor parts from a Polaris Predator and a Honda Civic, you have the basis for this off-road reverse trike!

Getting Wheels Mounted Up

Since the stock spindle is designed to hold a ski, another suspension needed to be retrofitted. Donor a-arms, spindles, brakes, hubs, and rotors from a Polaris Predator were used. Custom fabrication work was done to take parts of the original a-arms and graft them into parts the Predator a-arms.

Rear Brakes

The rear brakes were already built into the system. Beyond that, not much was left from the seat back. The factory tunnel of the snowmobile was chopped off. For cooling, a snowmobile typically uses a heat exchanger to keep the engine cool. To do so, however, it relies on snow to make contact with the aluminum plate. No snow, no cooling. So in went a radiator from a Honda Civic.

Single-Sided Swing Arm

The single-sided rear swing arm was cut up from a Polaris Predator, basically the section just to mount a wheel and custom tubing was fabricated for the rest of it. Going with a single-sided swing arm made it easier to use the existing hub, otherwise everything would have likely needed to be fabricated from scratch.

Gas Tank Fender

The gas tank is custom fabricated and built directly into the rear fender. It was built from recycled street signs picked up from a salvage yard. I find it reminiscent of airplanes using the wings for gas tanks.

Not Done Yet

He mentions it still needs front brakes and a sway bar. I know I primary use the rear brake on dirt bikes and ATV’s, using the front brakes only occasionally. It must feel quite a bit different with braking power from only one rear wheel though with two up front. I’m curious if adding a sway bar will add a noticeable improvement to handling.

Long Drive Chain

The drive chain certainly seems to be a bit on the longer side. I’m not sure if I would trust it, but it could work just fine. I’d just be concerned from a safety standpoint and want to make sure it doesn’t get snagged on anything.

On-Road vs. Off-Road Trikes

There’s a handful of on-road trikes out there, traditional as well as reverse. Honda Goldwings are available as trikes and Harley Davidson also has them in their lineup. For on-road reverse trikes, there’s also a few. The largest production of reverse trikes is likely the Polaris Slingshot. It’s one thing to ride with 3 wheels on pavement, but it’s quite another to do it off-road.

Safety: Off-Road Reverse Trike vs. 3 Wheeler

This off-road reverse trike is vastly different from a traditional 3-wheeler. Three wheelers, also known as three-wheeled ATV’s, faced a ban by the federal government. In 1987, a voluntary production ban occurred. The industry shifted to quads after this.

Recent data shows quads have had nearly the same number of injuries as 3 wheelers, however, cornering is certainly more difficult with a 3-wheeler. Going the reverse trike setup should provide greater stability. Back in high school I rode a friend’s 3-wheeler once, the cornering at speed felt a bit sketchy to me. That one day of riding was enough for me and I’ve stuck with 2 wheels since then.

Perhaps the most notable difference between this off-road reverse trike and a 3-wheeler is the horsepower. Most production 3-wheelers were well under 40 horsepower. The Ski-Doo Summit 1000 comes off the assembly line with 165 hp. It does have an aftermarket exhaust, so it likely has a bit more horsepower than stock.

Using Your Snowmobile Without Snow

This is definitely a creative build and a way to utilize your snowmobile for those non-snow seasons. Unless you live in a very cold climate, chances are you experience far less snow covered days than those without.

With limited snow we get in our immediate area has kept snowmobiles out of my consideration. However, if there was a fairly quick and easy way to convert one to wheels (even just three), it might be something to consider. There’s already kits out there to convert your dirt bike or quad to skis, it might be time to think of ways to get wheels onto a snowmobile and then back to skis.

There are some snowmobilers who will take their snowmobiles out onto lakes and rivers in the warmer months. They don’t necessarily float, it’s all about speed, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have to fish a sunken snowmobile out of a lake. I’d go the route of trying to use one off-road.

More Off-Roading!

Check out more of our off-roading posts on Fabville! For more crazy builds from Grind Hard Plumbing Company, check out their YouTube Channel.


Kevin has been involved in the custom automotive scene since he bought his first mini-truck in high school and began modifying it. He also has interest in sustainability, DIY projects, and various forms of fabrication. Seeing improved technology of batteries, he has made a concentrated effort over the last few years to transition away from fossil fuels. From lawn care to automotive.

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