Penninger Trike Mods


I, Mark Stonich, brought a ComfortCycle Chaise 3 delta trike owned by Dane Brase, which I'd been working on. It caught everyone's attention in the parking lot with the reflector-sized wheel lights, 3 per wheel, that turn on automatically (with mercury switches?), but these were only a small part of an incredible lighting system.

Dane wanted me to install a Penninger jackshaft and cure severe chain misalignment. The steering linkage mounts had to be modified and relocated before good chain line could even be possible. Then 5 pieces of the Penninger jackshaft had to be shortened on a lathe and the mounting hardware replaced or relocated.

With a total of 14 lights and 7 or 8 horns, not all shown here, it's rather difficult to work on. Also, this was one badly built trike, like a Huffy on a bad day. However, Charles Penninger has since bought the rights to this design and is building it much better from all accounts.

It has an 8 speed freewheel on the intermediate jackshaft, and another on the left rear wheel for 64 speeds. The shaft shown here is the Penninger machined with several artful little bulges just "because they could") The beautiful Phil Wood rear hubs (just driven on one side) have long axles that thread directly into the frame. However these axles are only 1/2 inch diameter and have become slightly bent. It's possible they are underbuilt, but I hear Dane is awfully hard on equipment.

The trike was seriously mis-assembled and none of the threads or the ball joints had ever been lubed, Due to poor design, and wear in the ball joints, there is quite a bit slop in the push-pull joystick steering with rods on each side. This would be a big deal on a 2 wheeler, but merely annoying on a trike. Note separation flanges (arrow).


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