The two-stroke three-wheeler returns!

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Turning is everything we hoped it would be. The medium knobs on the rear tires grip well in a straight line, but allow enough slide for predictable cornering every time.

If you’re a die-hard sport quad enthusiast, then like us, you’re dealing with confusing times. For the last nine years, your new sport quad choices have dwindled to just two machines from the same manufacturer—thank you, Yamaha! The word from the supposed experts is that there’s no market for sport quads today, but we don’t believe that for a second. When was the last time you saw a Raptor or a YFZ450R on a dealer sales floor? Yamaha tells us that they sell both faster than they can produce them. Meanwhile, dirt bikers have multiple options for every terrain type in a wide variety of displacements, including fuel-injected two-strokes.

Further adding to the confusion, three-wheelers are making a comeback. Several small companies have been creating modern trikes for some time now, and we’re seeing more and more of them at the track, on the dunes and blazing trails. Some companies, like TPC, are turning sport quads into three-wheelers; others, like BVC, begin with a dirt bike. To date, BVC has pretty much turned every brand of dirt bike into a three-wheeler, even the exotics like Beta, GasGas and Husqvarna. And, did you see that aluminum-framed CR500 trike they built? These wild sport machines are selling. When the giant manufacturers won’t give us what we want, the doors open to smaller entrepreneurs. 

We recently got a chance to test one of BVC’s wild three-wheeled conversions. Can a dirt bike be transformed into a modern three-wheeler? Here’s what we found out!

BVC manufactures the subframe, which is braced for added strength. It mounts to the frame perfectly. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was all factory spec.


Dave Wylie, owner of ATC Addiction and Dirt Wheels contributor, has owned a few BVC trikes now, including a Honda CRF450R conversion and this Yamaha YFZ250 two-stroke trike. This machine started off as a 2015 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke dirt bike. It has the BVC conversion kit, which consists of a swingarm, triple clamps, subframe and all of the parts that are necessary to transform a bike into a trike. 


It’s not fuel-injected, but a Clarke 3.1-gallon desert tank feeds a 40:1 mix of Maxima Super M and 100-octane to a Lectron carburetor. The Lectron carb can operate in a much wider range of temperature and elevation with its fuel-vaporization efficiencies, so it rarely requires jetting changes. Once you set it for the conditions you ride in most frequently, it’s good to go almost anywhere. Should you venture beyond that wide range, the changes are simple to make with a screwdriver by simply adjusting the metering rod. It’s not completely hands-free, like EFI, but it’s much easier than having to adjust internal needle positions and changing standard carburetor jets.

The exhaust is manufactured by Bill’s Pipes and is completely fabricated by cone sections that are meticulously cut for a desired tune and then welded together.


The exhaust is manufactured by Bill’s Pipes, and is completely fabricated by cone sections that are meticulously cut for a desired tune and then welded together. The finished appearance of the expansion chamber bleeds classic muscle. BVC manufactures the subframe, which is braced for added strength and works perfectly with the air-intake box support; a fat, padded gripper seat; BVC grab-bar; and exhaust silencer mount. The latter supports a matching Bill’s Pipe silencer. The BVC subframe mounts to the frame beautifully. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear this trike was 100 percent factory. 


At the rear, BVC’s linked swingarm is fitted with a billet-axle carrier with Honda cam-style chain adjustment inside a four-bolt swingarm clamp. A Tusk Off-Road adjustable axle and extended hubs allow 50 to 54 inches in width. Black 9-inch Alba beadlock wheels have yellow powdercoated beadlock rings and are fitted with GPS Gravity tires in AT 20×10-9 sizing. The rear tires have a medium-size lug, like what came factory on ATCs in 1985–’86.

The neon-yellow powdercoating bill on this build was hefty between the frame, subframe, front hub, beadlocks and various aluminum pieces.


If there’s any noticeable buzz to the fingers, Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars eliminate it with integrated elastomers that buffer transmitted vibrations and hits from rocks, roots and ruts. Cycra closed handguards with aluminum brake- and clutch-lever protection are also powdercoated yellow to match the graphics kit. Keeping with the yellow and black theme, the powdercoated yellow front hub contrasts heavily against the 11-inch black front rim and Carlisle AT489 23-inch tire.


Ahead of our test ride, Wylie mentioned that he had a BVC Honda CRF450R conversion in the past, and Honda’s dirt bike front geometry left something to be desired for a trike conversion. On a Honda, the dirt bike front fork rake is slightly longer than that of a traditional ATC and doesn’t provide the best angle for precise cornering. “The Yamaha seems to have a more compact rake, putting the wheel closer to the frame, which should be better,” said Wylie, as he headed out for the first ride.

Power delivery is very smooth, linear and easy to handle. It also makes for excellent wheelie control.


The engine fired on the first kick as that familiar two-stroke pop and ping brought smiles to our faces. Wylie tossed a leg over the seat and headed out on a desert loop that wound through brush and trees, dipped through sand washes, and had its share of whoop-de-doos—a fair test bed for an unfamiliar machine. By the end of the day, our impressions were mostly positive.

“It ran really well! I prefer two-strokes to four-strokes, and I like the power of this engine,” claimed Wylie. From a distance, the trike sounded spot-on without any backfire, and certainly wasn’t running fat. “It’s really smooth and linear. It didn’t hit particularly hard at any spot in the full range of power,” Wylie continued. “I haven’t ridden many modern two-stroke dirt bikes, but compared to the Honda ATC250R, which has a good mid-range hit that really comes on, this is different, but in a good way. It has plenty of power, but it’s smooth with no surprises.”

Wylie’s pre-ride assumption about Yamaha’s fork-rake geometry was also confirmed. “It seems to turn far better than the Honda CRF450R conversion that I had,” said Wylie. “I just think the rake on the Yamaha dirt bike is a little bit better for a trike conversion. The steering feels really good, especially with the Fasst Co. Flexx bars.”

This machine began its life as a 2015 Yamaha YZ250. BVC converted it to a three-wheeler with wide triple clamps, a fat front wheel, and a custom rear swingarm to support a straight axle.


“On the downside, the frame sits a little too low, which is the case with most BVCs,” claims Wylie. “I bottomed out the frame a few times today on a few rocks and while hammering through the whoops.” “

At the rear, BVC’s linked swingarm is fitted with a billet-axle carrier inside a four-bolt swingarm clamp. A Tusk Off-Road adjustable axle allows 50 to 54 inches in width.

The frame did have some minimal scarring, so a skid plate is coming soon. The pipe sits high enough that it didn’t take any blows. “Other than that, the suspension felt really good,” said Wylie.

Wylie has always been a connoisseur of three wheels versus two or four wheels. When asked why that is, he answered with a confident grin: “It’s true. I do prefer three wheels. There’s just something about three-wheelers where you’re riding it as opposed to riding on it or with it. You’re part of the machine. You must use your body a lot more and pay attention.” 

Keeping with the yellow and black theme, the powdercoated yellow front hub contrasts heavily against the 11-inch black front rim and Carlisle AT489 23-inch tire.

But, Wylie also appreciates the modernization of these new custom trikes: “This Yamaha is super wide and very stable. To me, it’s not sketchy at all. Compared to a quad, the front end is lighter, so you can get the front wheel up easier when you need to. I get a lot less tired riding three wheels, to be honest with you.”

It has been said before, and our testing confirmed it, Yamaha’s dirt bike steering geometry is better suited to trike conversions than a Honda. The steeper fork rake just turns better.


BVC builds more than just trike conversions. They sell kits that will convert a dirt bike into a modern big wheel, and they now have kits that will transform new Honda CRF450R dirt bikes into sport quads with an aluminum frame and EFI. BVC also fabricates parts for OEM ATVs, three-wheelers and side-by-sides. 

For more information on BVC products and builds, check them out online at or call (520) 372-7560.

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