Bobby Nitro is always on the lookout for extreme fun to be had on wheels, without causing injury or breaking the law, and Drift Trikes tick all those boxes. And anyone can hop on and have a go.
Losing traction on anything with wheels, initiating what has come to be known as the drift, and maintaining that loss of traction while counter-steering through bends, has become a global passion of note. Cape Town especially.
Zahier Davids, 42, of Kensington, has a core business that builds custom bicycles. So this guy is up to speed with everything on two wheels, and now three wheels. He tells Bobby Nitro of how a decade ago he first became aware of people getting into gravity drift trikes in New Zealand.
Eight years ago he built his first motorised trike, using an electric motor, and now he’s the proud owner of five trikes, all self-built.
There’s even a two-seater for kids too small to operate one themselves.
He says: “I use 200cc motors, rear-mounted on a tube steel frame with a chain drive to the go kart rear wheels. The front wheel is a 20-inch and 100mm wide rim, housed in a custom fork.”
But it’s the clever addition of a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tube onto the back wheels that allows for the loss of traction needed to get into a drift.
Zahier says: “We use HDPE as it still gives some traction, as opposed to PVC, which is too slippery.”
Now, on any given Sunday in Kensington, Zahier is set up and selling rides to all. Last weekend the Bell and Hendricks families pulled in to have a go. And by all measures, they had a load of fun.
Shando Hendricks says: “I’ve been racing at Killarney for many years, but this drifting experience with my sons was exhilarating. You can instantly have fun together and within a few minutes, you’re in control of wheels gliding over tar. It’s definitely worth trying out. The barrier to entry is non-existent, anyone could experience drifting.”
His son Jake says: “I found the drifting on my mom’s Facebook, I started dreaming then nagging my dad to take me. I had a top day when I could do it with my dad, we were smiling for hours after. I hope to do it again. It’s so cool.”
And for the Bell family, the fun just continued.
Shahiem Bell says: “It was really exciting when I found Zahier opening the opportunity to the public to rent his trikes for a few laps at reasonable costs, like the go-kart arenas do.
“Of course it’s a totally different ball game and takes time getting used to, but loads of fun to experience. I personally encourage any petrolhead to go and try it out.”
His son Muraad says: “My dad just told me the morning, he has a surprise for me and when I saw what it was when we pulled up, I couldn’t hold back my excitement. At first I didn’t fit on any of the trikes, but Uncle Zahier made a few adjustments to one, just so that I could pilot one myself. I can’t thank him enough. I am now saving up all my pocket money to go again.”
Zahier tells of the addictive quality of this sport, saying: “People are used to go-karts, but this is a different ball game. The more you get into it, the more you look for that perfect drift. So it’s addictive.”
Zahier can be contacted on 076 501 2300, for bookings. Also check out Drift Trikes SA on Facebook.