Three (wheels) to beam up.
Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, and the Priceline Negotiator might be 84 years old, but he shows no sign of slowing down. The man known as William Shatner has been passionate about motorcycles for decades and recently embarked on a ride from Chicago to Los Angeles on a radical three wheeler known simply as the Rivet.
We noticed this wild, steampunk concept a few months back, but had doubts it would actually come together the way they planned. Well, they pulled it off. Designed by Shatner in partnership with Illinois bike builder American Wrench, the Rivet looks like a cross between the Tim Burton Batmobile and a hot rod from The Wacky Races. However, it's actually inspired by Shatner’s love of WWII bombers like the B-17, and resplendent with brushed aluminum all around and copious amounts of body rivets.
Rather than trailering it from show to show, the team unveiled it last Tuesday and immediately hit the road. They're currently riding Route 66 from Chicago to LA. Shatner’s epic ride along the historic 2,400 mile, eight day ride on Route 66 was planned in conjunction with the debut of the Rivet, but it was also put together to film a full-length documentary and to raise both awareness and money for the American Legion, an organization that provides programs to assist war veterans.
The ride is specifically for the American Legion Legacy Program to benefit children of veterans. Shatner and his entourage, which included American Legion riders, left Chicago on June 23rd, but ran into steering problems with the Rivet before even getting out of the city.
But Shatner, who was committed to making the most of the ride for the American Legion, was still making the long haul on a different, more conventional three-wheeler with the Rivet towed along for the public to see. Regular updates were posted to show us his adventures as well as photos of the trike, and the reaction of the public.
This huge trike is powered by a hulking 6.2-liter direct-injected V8 engine that’s both supercharged and inter-cooled—good for over 500 horsepower. The Rivet only weighs 2,000 pounds, making the power-to-weight ratio better than most high-performance sports car.
And it’s not your ordinary trike in its parts-department either with a high-performance transmission, large disc brakes and independent front and rear suspension. The front wheel measures 24 inches, while the back wheels are 26 inches, and all three are enclosed by full fenders. There’s no motorcycle-like front fork—instead, an independent swing arm is used with power steering.
The trike has also been custom fitted to Mr. Shatner, so it was designed to be comfortable for his long trek, and a rear seat was also created for his wife, Elizabeth. He also gets fine Italian leather seating and a five-point racing harness like a car, but the hand throttle and foot brake are set up more like a motorcycle.
It may not be fully functional anymore, but the team started up the bike at major city stops like St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Las Vegas before its final stop in Los Angeles.
We laud Shatner and his team for sticking to their guns despite early mechanical problems with this radical prototype trike. It’s a testament to his character that he’s willing to do a long ride for American war veterans in the dead of summer for thousands of miles, especially since he’s Canadian.