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Kustom Racer Design’s ‘Bonneville Spirit’ Trike

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Andrew in Classic, Other. 50 comments

I couldn’t honestly start this story without an admission. I’m not a trike fan and I have openly mocked them in the past – always with superbly hilarious results. Just ask my friends. Some even said I should do stand up. Really.  And can you blame me? How many cool trikes have you all seen in the past? And how many trikes have you seen with purple velvet bench seats, bad fibreglass mouldings and car tires? That’s right; a freaking heap-load. But like a politician raising taxes, I recently had to eat my words after Scott shot me an image of the creation you see here. Obviously it’s a trike, but it’s been done with such a keen eye and good taste that I’m never going to think of trikes in quite the same way again. And the man who is responsible for the foot in my mouth? Meet Francis Bouillet, owner of France’s Kustom and Racer Design Workshop.

Here’s Francis. “I’m 40 years old, married with two sons, living in east of France, 5 miles away to Switzerland border line. I joined the French air force 18 years ago as jet fighter navigator, the guy in the back seat who’s in charge of navigation, weapons and targeting… and finding the best way back home! I retired in 2008 and followed the course of Franco SBARRO (concept cars italian Master builder) in the french ESPERA SBARRO school for 10 months. I ‘ve work just after with Dub-Performance which is one of the best French custom motorbike builders. Then I created in the beginning of 2010 my Kustom & Racer Design workshop. I’m working on motorbikes (mainly Harley davidson, Triumph or Ducati and vintage motorbikes) and American and vintage cars.”

“The ‘Bonneville Spirit’ project was born during my Sbarro school course in 2009; each student had to propose a personal custom project and build a 1/6th scale model. Instead of presenting an unrealistic model, I decided to work on a future project to be built to promote my workshop. The aim was to join the car and motorbike domains and to build a vehicle with a strong visual image who everybody will remember after seeinmg it. At the same time, “The World’s Fastest Indian” movie made me dream of Bonneville.”


“The front end comes from an old French car built in 1902…
and the foot rests are parts of an old French jet”


“Most of the frame is home made around a stock Sportster engine taken from my motorbike. The front end comes from an old French car built in 1902 and is the oldest part of the trike. It is monted in a “suicide” way as hot rods are and uses wishbones made from magnesium and coming from an old Sikorsky S-55 Chickasaw, and foot rests are parts of an old French Fouga CM 170 Magister jet. Wheel housing are fiberglass home made and exhaust is of course a stainless home made.”

“It sounds and runs really cool, and people are still astonished to see me on the road. The driving is almost like a quad; you have to lean into the corners as the frame does not tilt right and left. I have several contacts with SCTA crew and they wish I’ll bring my toy during the Bonneville Speed Week but the shipping is very expensive from France to Utah. I hope being able to make it one day…”

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  • James McBride

    This is the first trike I’ve seen that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a plastic fork. Kudos to you Francis, this is a job well done.

  • GuitarSlinger

    Madness I say !!! Wonderful , insane , we need more of this madness .

    I’d love to see a video of this beast in action . 

  • emaychee

    I love the details, they make it ‘him’ – as with any good custom. At first I didn’t like it, but it’s so reminiscent of the early ‘dustbin fairing’ (x3 in this case) that I have to admit it’s growing on me..and I find myself without the usual sour taste in the mouth!

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    “a keen eye and good taste”…. I have to think that you are yet again having fun at the expense of trike riders, only with a bit of sugar to misdirect the audience.   

    This trike is truly a great example of workmanship, skill at salvaging and using unrelated parts, and a flair for exaggerating the style of the time period of biplanes and flappers.  It’s well done in every regard.  That it draws lot’s of attention can be easily understood.

    But gawdomighty, how glad I am that the style of that time has passed!  Long live the zoot suit! 

    • I’m more than serious. Look at the thing! Show me a better looking trike and I’ll eat my words. Again.

      • AlwaysOnTwo

        Yeah, I actually surmised that you were indeed serious but your expression was soooo over the top in praise it gave me a giggle, a sniggle and a nose run. I just had to feed it back tongue in cheek. Do you also seek out art deco embellished diners with red vinyl stool tops? Good for you; I prefer the neo-modern glass, steel and polished white marble look myself.

        I gave him high marks for creativity, workmanship and style. I did not quash the look since it is indeed true to the theme and it’s well done at that. I hope he takes it as a compliment to his efforts because he did a superb job.

        I’d love to show you a better looking trike, unfortunately, there is no such thing as even a good looking trike IMHO! I don’t spend any time looking for them, quite the contrary, I avert my eyes even when passing one on the road. God awful waste of horsepower, a sign of impotence and approaching senility and an insult to the biking community as a whole, and, well now I’m getting just as over the top as your opening statement in the spirit of humor. Fortunately I don’t hold anything against the girls that drive those things; some of them are half decent guys when they turn the key off and disembark.

        THAT opinion I did not express openly with respect for those that like, or
        need, to ride something reminiscent of the toys on which they learned the
        early traits of balance and the difference between forward and reverse.
        But, as a hard core B I K E R I cannot really appreciate a vehicle that
        takes up the same lane space as a compact car. Even if it has the
        capabilities of a CanAm on NOs.

        So, when you announce that you are going to feature the ten best looking
        tikes submitted by PipeBurn readers, I’ll plan to take that week and go

        Cheers, keep those round rubber thingies turning and the paint sunny side

        And thanks.for, you know.



        • Yes. I’m a deco fan. Just look at our logo… 😉

          • Twistedchild


      • ccc40821

        Ok, I always appreciate people going the non-traditional, this one included. But methinks you have been smoking some interesting stuff to see this particular French creation as a thing of beauty.

  • Paul


  • Whitebear

    My first impression, honest to God, was of Dolly Parton…

  • Sgeechee

    Great build. Love the retrofuturismlandspeedracerwhatever-style. And usually, i do not like trikes. Awesome.

  • lennard schuurmans

    cool bike!
    but why do we see the same profile shot in every picture?
    would be nice to see the front,  the back and the other side of the bike…

    • I had the same thought… Sometimes you just gave to work with what yr given.

    • bigmattie

      I was thinking same and without being a hater, I think its because front on reality comes knocking and it looses a lot of its magic. Damn nice effort though and would be the only trike rider I wouldn’t want to throw something at !

      • It’d def. look more “car-like” from a front-on perspective.

  • revdub

    Top quality, but very odd looking.

  • Ok, ok – I’ve asked Francis for some more shots. Stay tuned for more…

  • I just went into the Harley shop in Bakersfield, CA (just looking around) and saw a HD Trike. Pricetag? $36000. A snowball would have a better chance in hell than the chance of me, not just buying a trike, but that UAT (ugly ass thing) for 36 grand.

    • Twistedchild

      Get a URAL!

  • lowflying

    Looks very nice and lots of interesting details.

    I wonder how it would handle in a crosswind? The front fairings seem to move with the steering…

    • Mpress

      awe… there someone goes … ruining the vibe with a reality check!

  • Car2nst

    AHGGG! With up my retch doth come……..sorry, but I can’t agree-the effort I applaud but the visual, jeeez……..

  • Mpress

    it’s a wicked cool whatever it is!
    i can visualize a conventional 2 wheel MOTORCYCLE from it as well.
     still.. those cross winds!!
     seriously though it shows a lot of hard work and the balls to build it !

    i’d love to see it up close. it must be stunning to behold.

    • Hellyeah

      That is why it is a trike, a bit more stability in the crosswinds!

  • PGearbox

    At least I am not the craziest Frenchman anymore!

  • Top notch work. Blasting it past your two-wheeled friends on the highway must be a bitch! 
    I am not ga-ga about the colors used though! Maybe some shots from the front sans the monochrome on the cam should convince me 🙂

  • Looks like we’ve got ourselves a real opinion divider…

  • dave

    trikes are what your parents bought you when you were little to learn the consept of how to get use to riding 2 wheels.
     trikes-3 wheels, one less than a car one more than a bike. i guess they are for adults who are trying to learn how to ride on 2 wheels and need more practise on 4 wheels.
    i’m not a fan for this trike either but there looks like some good workmanship and effort here so no one can take that away from him.

    • And a dictionary is to teach the conCept of spelling. lol

  • Dobermann

    On all the pictures are the same… Left side of the bike…

  • matt muellner

    Awful.  A french theme bike no less.  But it doesnt matter, it’s not even a good homage to the lovely & beautiful dustbin bikes.  I’d get it if maybe it was like the art deco cars of the 30’s .. but it didnt go far enough. 

    This bike here  is a better example IMO.

    That said, it looks like his workmanship is top notch & I’d like to see it from the front.  Nice attempt for sure, I’m just not a fan of this attempt. 

    • But that’s not a trike… apple and oranges, dude.

      • How can you tell? There may be 6 or 7 wheels under there…

      • matt muellner

        Not apples and oranges, both look similar to the deco french cars of the 30’s.  One did it well with 2 wheels, one didn’t do as well with 3 wheels. 

  • Paddy

    Nice try. The best thing about it is the radial eight monoplane in the background.

  • Contact

    I’m the builder of this toy . I know that most of you are motorbike fans and dislike trikes as I was before. I decided to build a 3 wheeler to link car part and bike part on the same vehicle because I like vintage car from the 30th and motorbikes. Dont look that “thing” like a concept “trike”, just an attempt to make something not to ugly with  3 wheels… It’s only my vision of what could be extracted from a shacker inside the one we’d insert God of speed, a Ford 32 and a VL Harley davidson 1933…
    Even if you like or dislike it, what I’m sure is that most of you will remember it and it’s really the aim :o)

    • Twistedchild

      This is nice but not everyone’s cup of tea. If this thing can be made to lean into corners then…

    • Never apologize for your art.

  • Francis

    Aim was to run on salt lake so leanning was not really mandatory…

    • dave

      hello francis/builder. how fast have you actualy ran this thing?

  • Francis

    I run the engine on bike to 100 mph and the trike to 60 mph for the moment, will make test runs as soon as weather will permit on an old air force airfield but I need to install a shock absorber on the steering and  modify the parts between the wishbones and the front end wich are too lights…

  • francis

    New pics will come soon, with the new handlebar and white grips …

  • More photos here:

  • CallMeRabbit

    When I saw the first picture I thought "Paint it like a WWI french biplane and you are onto something" then I read the rest of the article and couldn't believe how close I was to the original concept for this trike. This is an interesting idea. I think a front end that tilted when you turned might be a better choice but I am blown away at the fact this guy used a 110 year old automobile front end on this. Excellent build Francis. Keep up the innovation and the unique design choices.

  • Sunnbobb

    Those magnificent men and their flying machines!!

  • modernslave

    this is cool, but i have seen a trike that i personally would consider killer, built by “slim” from slims fabrication you can find it on youtube

  • Je ne comprends pas tout, mais suffisamment pour reconnaître votre talent. Félicitations

  • James

    T custom Racer Design’s Bonneville Spirite trike . And there are many trikes I am seeing with purple velvet bench seats, bad fibreglass mouldings and car tires. And front end comes from an old french car. so nice post.

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