Triple Vision – Lehman’s CrossBow Aims High
Sometimes when writing stories, I surf the Internet looking for data to help me relate a topic. In preparing to write about the 2010 Lehman CrossBow trike I learned a crossbow is a weapon with a stock, trigger, and fast-moving string used to launch a pointed projectile. I also learned it is the preferred ordnance of Wookiees, vampire slayers, and some hunters. I ask you, when will I ever have another opportunity to reference Chewbacca in RoadBike? Probably never.
All fooling aside, I recently had an opportunity to spend some time on a CrossBow manufactured by Lehman Trikes of Spearfish, South Dakota. John Lehman built his first trike in 1985, and in 2009, John was recognized for his role in the motorcycle industry by being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. Originally based in Canada, Lehman Trikes established its location in the US in 2004, starting with an initial staff of just four people. All operations are now based in Spearfish, handled by approximately 150 employees. The CrossBow marks the second collaboration between Victory and Lehman, the first being the traditional trike conversion, a KingPin-based PitBoss. But with a totally refined original equipment-like presence, the CrossBow looks like something the OEM might produce. I decided to give it the third degree.
The CrossBow is powered by the fuel-injected Victory Vision 106″ Freedom V-twin engine, and a six-speed transmission. From the driver’s seat forward, we’re talking stock Victory Vision. But behind the rider a belt drive leads to the Lehman “No Lean” air adjustable suspension and solid rear axle, the beautifully contoured and sculpted body work, and of course the pair of custom, aluminum-mag wheels.
I like the way the body design follows original Vision styling, incorporating the Victory top trunk and rear taillights. Additionally, the top trunk is easily removed and replaced with the Victory Vision trunk panel, which turns the trike into a stylish, three-wheeled roadster for a change of pace. Out back are two storage compartments built into the rear of the fenders. (Lehman boasts the rear body compartments have the capacity of three conventional saddlebags, but I have to warn you, these compartments are oddly shaped.) For the rear seating, there are two large rubber “pockets” for passenger feet. However, the mandatory DOT-compliant parking brake lever resides in the right pocket — just a little something your passenger will have to contend with in exchange for the plush rear seat accommodations.
In my opinion, this is indeed a fine looking machine. The CrossBow garnered compliments from onlookers wherever I went. But before I was even allowed to mount the ’Bow and go for a ride, I was treated to an orientation video from Lehman, designed to convey some safety precautions and procedures necessary to ride a trike. Some aspects of triking came naturally and made sense: Don’t remove your feet from floorboards, don’t countersteer, trikes don’t lean, and be cognizant of your wide-load rear. But the one tip that caught me by surprise was the one describing low-speed headshake and the propensity of the handlebars to wiggle back and forth slightly when starting from a standstill. According to the video, “Some minor headshake in the handlebars is not uncommon with a trike at very low speeds. Hold the handlebars firmly, but allow them to shake slightly.” This was new to me, but I’ll roll with it.
It didn’t take long to experience the phenomenon. You can feel the little oscillating tugs as soon as you release the clutch and start rolling. The wiggle in the bars does dissipate as the vehicle increases in speed, however, this little wiggle is something that a CrossBow rider will have to get used to and contend with. It made my hands tingle on long rides, but nothing a little arm shakeout wouldn’t cure. It comes with the trike territory.
I don’t know if it’s a contributing factor to the wiggle, but a benefit of the Lehman rear swingarm is it’s made of a one-piece reinforced design, constructed to reduce the effects of sway and body roll. They call it a “No-Lean” design. The straight-axled rear differential incorporates the original Victory air-adjustable single rear shock suspension. An auxiliary shock is added for additional suspension control and load distribution. All this is intended to combat the tendency of some trikes to lean away in corners; however, I found it also allowed the wide rear tires to soak up ripples in the pavement. It’s only logical; you have a bigger footprint on a trike and more feet.
The Victory Vision part of the CrossBow pumps out 92 hp and 109 ft-lbs. of torque. Healthy numbers for sure. However, the added mechanicals and bodywork bring the CrossBow’s tonnage to a curb weight of 1,187 pounds. And that’s before you load your gear and climb aboard. While the big V-twin tries admirably, I have to say it’s not very fast on the highway, and a bit low on power. On the other end of the spectrum, the dual front discs and disc brakes on each rear wheel (with integrated parking brake) did an admirable job. ABS is not available.
The CrossBow MSRP starts at $33,995 and features a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty on Lehman Trikes components and assembly. The standard Victory one-year, unlimited mileage warranty will cover the Victory Vision motorcycle. The CrossBow is available only as a complete new vehicle — no do-it-yourself kit here.
The luxury touring trike segment represents the greatest portion of trike ownership. The Victory Vision is a prime example of an American-made, luxury-touring bike. Hence, it’s the perfect choice as a starting base for the Lehman CrossBow luxury-touring trike. If a trike is your idea of the perfect touring vehicle, and opulence is a must, the distinguished and elegant CrossBow is just your style. RB
By Steve Lita, Photos by Bob Feather
Originally published in RoadBike, Jan/Feb 2010