SEMA 2012: Tanom Motors Invader Proves Three is a Magic Number
Trikes of the adult variety – as opposed to the immortal Big Wheel and its scores of imitators – seem to get a bum rap. Their owners are often stereotyped as being too feeble, lazy, fat or some combination of the three to ride a two-wheeled motorcycle. Worse still, the typical trike, whether it’s of the two-in-front-one-in-back or one-in-front-two-in-back persuasion, is designed more for leisurely touring than flying along serpentine mountain roads.
However, there are some motorized three-wheelers that won’t be mistaken for the transport of sixty-something retirees with inner ear problems. And the newest hot trike, the Tanom Motors Invader, definitely won’t be mistaken for a Hog with a rear axle kit.
The Invader, which made its debut in concept form at the SEMA Show last year, returned to this year’s Woodstock of the automotive aftermarket in Las Vegas as two separate models: The hardtop Invader TC-3, and the topless Invader TR-3. SEMA 2012 also marks the debut of the Invader Red Rocker TC-3, a rolling homage to the man known to millions as the Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, who was smitten after seeing last year’s prototype. All three are considered “reverse trikes,” as they have two widely spaced wheels out front and a single, central wheel in back. The aggressive, Ferrari– and Lamborghini-like lines are penned by Adam Canni, who has not only designed vehicles for GM, but also other products, including sunglasses for Spy and Wiley X.
How did Canni end up as design director at Tanom? Well, he was hired by an old friend named Sandy Hall, the founder, president, CEO and co-owner (along with company CFO David Young) of Tanom Motors. Hall wanted to create a unique, high performance motoring experience, and if you ask us, the Invaders look like they have what it takes to achieve that goal.
The chassis is constructed from 1.5” steel tubing, and features a front crumple zone, triangulated side impact protection bars and an integral roof structure and roll bar for the TC-3 and TR-3, respectively. The frame is then clothed in the Canni-designed composite bodywork. Suspension consists of forged aluminum control arms with dual adjustable coilovers in front, and a superbike-style billet aluminum swing arm with a single swing arm in back. Stopping power comes courtesy of four-piston Willwood calipers and 11” rotors up front, and a six-piston Tokico caliper and 10.25” rotor in back. Rolling stock is 18”x7.5” alloys with Kumo tires and a 20”x16” wheel with a Mickey Thompson tire for the front and rear, respectively.
Those hardcore handling and braking parts are needed, considering the kind of power the engine is kicking out. The Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa inline-four, displacing 1,340cc, is rated at 197hp, and sends that power through a 6-speed (with reverse!) sequential manual transmission and onto the meaty 18” wide rear tire.
The sit-down, side-by-side cockpit features supportive bucket seats with seatbelts, a full complement of gauges, a car-style gear lever for the transmission, pedals for the gas, brake and clutch, and a quick-release steering wheel to aid ingress and egress. There’s even a locking glove box and cupholders. And if you step up to the Red Rocker you get a custom Rockford Fosgate sound system, as well as special logos and carbon fiber body panels and trim. Pretty civilized for a vehicle without doors.
However, as civilized as the cabin may be for the type of machine this is, the performance is downright savage. Tanom Motors predicts 0-60 mph sprints will take 3.9 seconds, while the quarter-mile will pass in 11.9 seconds. Top speed is a stout 144 mph. Sure, those figures are mere shadows of the ones put up by a factory-fresh ‘Busa, but you can’t sit down in bucket seats with a roof over your head on one of those, can you? Or put your luggage in two big weather-tight side bags?
Production of the Invader family is set to begin at Tanom’s soon-to-be-completed 55,000 square foot factory in Culpepper, Virginia in the second quarter of next year. The facility will employ 17 craftspeople initially, and it will have webcams trained on the factory floor so customers can watch their TC-3s and TR-3s being built. Pricing is yet to be announced, but we’re reasonably confident all three models will offer high smile-per-dollar ratios. And regardless of what the cost ends up being, you can be sure Invaders will be found in very few driveways and parking lots, thus assuring you’ll be the center of attention, even when you’re cruising Sin City’s neon-soaked Strip.