Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development

Build it yourself from plans

Get larger images of build-it-yourself projects

Initial Styling

Project 32 Slalom computer rendering

FDM Model

Project 32 Slalom FDM model built by Robert Q. Riley Enterprises

Section Drawings
Section drawings of Project 32 Slalom


The World's Finest Plans-Built Projects back


Project 32 Slalom™
A Tilting Three-Wheel Vehicle

trn-cmp.jpg (15325 bytes)

(Graphics courtesy Larry K. Edwards, Transit Innovations.)

         Poject 32 Slalom s a high-performance three-wheel vehicle that banks into curves like a motorcycle. Up to its limit of lean, occupants feel none of the sideways turn-forces experienced in ordinary automobiles. And in very sharp turns taken at the friction limit of the tires, lateral forces on occupants reach only half that experienced in a conventional, non-tilting vehicle. 

         In addition to a more comfortable ride, tilting in curves gives P32 superior resistance to rollover. Consider that a motorcycle has no side-by-side wheels, yet it doesn't flip over in a turn.  This is due to the motorcycle's angle of lean, or tilt, which keeps it in balance with the vector of forces in a turn. Project 32 Slalom takes corners in much the same way.  By tilting, P32 can zoom through corners, and match the rollover resistance of high-performance four-wheel automobiles.

         P32's patented suspension breakthrough comes from  Larry K. Edwards, founder and owner of Transit Innovations. Edwards is responsible for other cutting-edge vehicle technologies, as well. He led  the Lockheed team that developed the Polaris missile and the Agena D rocket, and later, served as Director of Engineering at NASA on the Space Shuttle program.  His land transportation designs include the Gravity-Vacuum Transit system, a patented 400-mph underground tube train, and the System 21 monobeam urban rail system. 

         We joined the Project 32 development effort early on to create the preliminary vehicle layout and styling, develop a 3-D computer model, and to help define design parameters that would best take advantage of the vehicle's ability to lean into turns.  The vehicle's best asset, its ability to lean into curves, proved to be one of the biggest styling challenges. 

         Edwards' wish list included side-by-side seating and enclosed rear wheels. But side-by-side seating implies a body that is wide enough for two, which limits the ability to lean and maintain adequate ground clearance. The problem was solved by keeping the occupants close to the centerline, and using the radius established by the roll of the body during lean to establish the shape underneath it. This resulted in a design that maintains equal ground clearance throughout tilting movements.

         The next challenge had to do with the enclosed rear wheels. The ballooned out rear fenders solved the problem to give jounce clearance, even at maximum tilt. In addition, they extend forward to provide extra room across the seating area while keeping the body narrow up front for low aerodynamic drag. Slalom's shape was largely dictated by mechanical necessities in the classic "form follows function" design philosophy. 

More Information


Slalom is the result of a Transit Innovations’ development program code-named “Project 32”.  Robert Q. Riley was a primary consultant on the project.  Construction plans and completed vehicles are not available. 


XR3 Hybrid | Design Services | Plans | Forum | Downloads | Vendors/Affiliates | Press Room | Internet Resources | Contacts

Robert Q. Riley Enterprises: Product Design & Development
Copyright Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC.
P.O. Box 14465, Phoenix, AZ 85063-4465
All rights reserved.