'91 HD 883 Hugger DNA conversion (Pt. 1)

May 9, 2017
Quincy, Fl
I rescued this bike from a backyard 10 years ago where it had been sitting under a tarp for 3 years. Threw on new sprockets, chain, rebuilt the carb and master cylinders, replaced the rotors, replaced the spoke wheels with 9 spoke HD mags, 18" in the rear and 19" up front with new rubber. Using mostly parts I had on the shelves, I built a BRAT style Sporty I rode around for a couple of year. This was the donor bike.


I Had never driven or been on a trike when I saw a great deal on a new DNA axle and swingarm on EBay 8 years ago. This is the way it arrived .


Shipped in a cage made from angle iron with the swingarm and adjusters wrapped together separately. The swingarm is completely bare, so it has to have bushings and bearings installed. The differential is shipped dry, so you have to open it up and pack it with axle grease.


With new wheels and tires fitted, and the swingarm setup on the bike, now you have to align the axle sprocket with the tranny sprocket. The adjusters on the axle are loose, so when it's aligned, they need to be welded on. The spacers provided for the lower shocks weren't right, so I spun up a new set on the lathe.



Everything lined up on the final drive, it's time to setup the braking system. I made up the brake lines I needed and used the stock rear mc. It was a 5/8" bore and not up to the task of the 4 bucket, dual action calipers on each wheel, so I worked in a 3/4" bore mc from a disc brake shovelhead. That did the trick. I left the top as it was, figuring if I didn't like it, I'd return it back to 2 wheels.
This was the first version of the trike.



We get a ton of DNA conversation questions so it's good to hear from someone who has built one. How does it perform?
Last edited:
We geta ton of DNA conversation questions so it's good to hear from someone who has built one. How does it perform?

Thanks to all for the compliments. This was a fun build that turned out really well.

The trike has ~20k miles on it so far with no, knock on wood, problems. I thought it handled well, much better to drive than my sidecar rig.

Before I bought the axle, I tried to get as much info on the rear end as I could.

Apparently the initial DNA axles had problems with the inner Timkens. The only way to grease them was by splitting the axle like the pic above. DNA responded to this by not only adding grease fittings to the axle for the bearings, but upgrading the brake calipers to 4 bucket units, as opposed to the 2 bucket on the first versions. Once a year, I give the bearings a couple of squirts with my grease gun and I'm good to go.

Another complaint I read was the lack of tech support from DNA.

The axle arrived with no instructions at all. There was a sticker on it warning you the differential was dry and an envelope with a parts diagram.

When I tried to talk with tech support to find the torque value for the shaft nut, it took 3 phone calls before I got to talk to a service tech. This was ~7 years ago, so things may have gotten better.

DNA parts list (Large).jpg
Last edited by a moderator:

Welcome to the Trike Talk Community

Join our vibrant online community dedicated to all things Trikes! Whether you're a seasoned rider or just starting out, this is the place to share experiences, tips, and stories about your three-wheeled adventures. Explore modifications, maintenance advice, and rides, all while connecting with fellow trike enthusiasts from around the globe

Forum statistics

Latest member