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Drive Life : July 9th 2010
1HERSA1 F019 SUTTONS SUBARU ROSEBERY Corner of Epsom & Link Road, Rosebery www.suttonssubaru.com.au ESPOM RD. DL21093 9361 2300 SUTTONS SUBARU ROSEBERY 89 VEHICLES MUST BE SOLD IN JULY SUTTONS SUBARU ROSEBERY RENOVATION SALE SUTTONS 3 YEAR UNLIMITED CARWASH WITH EVERY VEHICLE SOLD 50 LATE MODEL USED VEHICLES MUST GO! THE BEST DEALS IN TOWN OUR SHOWROOM IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION COMPETITIVE FIXED RATE FINANCE NO APPLICATION REFUSED! The Sydney Morning Herald July 9, 2010 Drive Life 19 Lots to like about trikes A paraplegic motorcycle enthusiast is the driving force behind our biggest three-wheeler business. Inspiration . . . Johann Kastner still gets excited about hitting the road on one of his trikes. WHEEL LIFE CLIVE HOPKINS Trikes have the fun factor of motorcycles without the worries,'' explains Johann Kastner, owner of Australia's biggest motor trikes manufacturer, Oz Trikes. ''There's no 'fall-off' factor.'' Kastner's involvement with trikes spans more than 20 years to his native Germany. In 1986, he was involved in a car accident that left him paraplegic. A keen motorcyclist before the accident, he found himself asking, ''What can I do to get back to what I used to do? If you're not on a bike, you're not part of it.'' His able-bodied friends felt the same way and, together, they resolved that if Kastner couldn't get back on to two wheels, maybe he could get on to three. They obtained the parts in kit form to build his first trike -- powered by a VW Beetle engine -- and took eight months to put it together. By 1988, Kastner was back in the saddle, touring Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria. In 1993, Kastner came to Australia to travel for a year and brought his trike with him. With an able-bodied mate, he toured Queensland and inland NSW. ''We always got approached whenever we stopped,'' he says. ''No one had ever seen one before.'' All the attention gave Kastner the idea of importing trikes from Europe, which eventually led to him establishing a business to manufacture them in Australia. Since 1997, he and his now 11 employees have built more than 200 trikes at his workshop in Somersby, near Gosford in NSW. So, do you ride one of these things, or drive it? There's no one answer. ''It feels like a motorbike but it drives like a car,'' Kastner says. ''You don't need motorcycle skills. In fact, a bike rider has to switch off their motorcycle part.'' Kastner's golden rule is: front wheel in the centre of the lane all the time and the rear wheels will follow you. Kastner builds two basic models. One, as with his first trike, has a rear-mounted VW engine, while the second features a mid-mounted 460cc Piaggio scooter engine and is fully automatic. The frames are custom-built from scratch, as is all the fibreglass work that makes trikes look so distinctive. The handling on both models is similar, although the Piaggio-based ones are more compact. And, despite their sometimes precarious appearance, Kastner insists their low centre of gravity produces good handling and says they are impossible to tip over. Trike owners apparently come from all walks of life and range in age from mid-20s to 60s. Some come from motorcycling backgrounds; others have never ridden a bike before ''but like the idea of the wind in their face''. In NSW, you can drive one on a car licence but regulations else- where vary. There's a small second-hand market for trikes and the vehicles hold their value because owners look after them so well. ''People who get them treasure them,'' Kastner says. ''It's like their little baby.'' Kastner also hires out trikes for day trips or longer. His location north of Sydney means riders can get on to the open road quickly to enjoy the delights of the Hunter Valley and central coast. A 20-minute induction is all most new riders need. ''A car driver has to adjust to the hand throttle while a bike rider has to adjust to not leaning,'' Kastner says. While Kastner has sold his original trike -- it's apparently still on the road in Victoria -- he still likes to get on one whenever he can. ''After all these years, I still get excited about it,'' he says. ''It's the feeling of being out there in the open, not enclosed like a car, smelling the roses. I send my hire customers out for 20 minutes and they come back with the biggest grin on their faces.''
July 2nd 2010
July 16th 2010