The Heritage of Quebec: The Campagna T-Rex 16S

The Campagna T-Rex 16S parked in a parking lot
A Campagna T-Rex 16S | 4Eleven Images via

Ah, Quebec. To Canadians, Quebec is synonymous with a French-speaking independent nature. To Americans, it is a tourist destination. To three-wheel motorcycle enthusiasts it is the home of the two largest three-wheel bike manufacturers in the North American market. Of the two, Bombardier may be the best known because of the popularity of its Can-Am Spyder. But, with its latest model (the T-Rex 16S), Campagna Motors is looking to become the future of Quebec’s motorcycle industry.

History of the Campagna T-Rex

A Campagna T-Rex 16S bike.
Campagna T-Rex 16S with travel package |

The Campagna Corporation was the brainchild of Formula 1 mechanic Daniel Campagna. While working for Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, Campagna conceived the Concept 3, a prototype that eventually morphed into the first T-Rex.

The drivetrain of the T-Rex has changed several times as Campagna has searched for a solid engine that it can find a steady supply of. The first engines were harvested from Suzuki GSX-R1100s. The company would buy whole bikes, then scavenge the powerplant. While the R1100 was a reliable engine, Campagna needed more power and a steady stream of engines without having to buy entire bikes. That led the company to use a Kawasaki ZX-11 engine. Power was boosted by adding a ram-air intake above the seating area. These engines were plentiful and reliable, but Kawasaki upgraded in 2000. Campagna followed suite and upgraded to the ZX-12 engine, eventually upgrading to the ZX-14 in 2007.

In 2008, Campagna Corporation merged with Cirbin Motors, another Quebec three-wheel manufacturer. At the time of the merger, Cirbin Motors procured its engines by partnering with Harley-Davidson, a deal that continued after the merger. Post-merger the new company produced the Campagna V13R and the T-Rex side-by-side. The V13R was powered by a Harley-Davidson V-Rod Revolution powerplant, but the T-Rex still used a Kaw engine.

The Campagna T-Rex 16S

Green Campagna T-Rex 16S on display
Green Campagna T-Rex 16S |

After a few twists and turns, the Campagna T-Rex 16S came about. Where the V13R is still powered by a Harley-Davidson powerplant, the T-Rex 16S is equipped with a BMW 1,669 cubic centimeter inline-six paired to a six-speed sequential shift gearbox. According to the Campagna website, the T-Rex 16S offers 160 brake horsepower, can jet to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, and has lateral acceleration of 1.3 Gs That is pretty intense in an open cockpit vehicle that weighs a paltry 525 kilograms (1157 pounds).

Acceleration and lateral Gs like that are bound to make you wonder about the safety of the T-Rex 16S. Let’s start with the rubber. Mounted on the 16-inch front wheels and 18-inch rears is BF Goodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 rubber. For stopping power, the T-Rex is equipped with slotted and cross-drilled disc-brakes all around. The front brakes use Wilwood 4-piston calipers for dedicated stopping power.

Since you may take on 1.3 Gs in corners, Campagna added a coil over spring suspension that you can customize with preload adjustments. In addition to the suspension, the T-Rex’s low center of gravity and weight distribution practically guarantee that it will stay on the road, especially in experienced hands. On the downside, the T-Rex lacks power steering, something buyers need to be prepared for.

Just in case you do lose control or some joker in a car doesn’t see you, the Campagna T-Rex 16S has several safety features built into it. The 16S has been crash tested to ensure that the tubular steel frame that surrounds you acts like a roll-cage and is rigid enough to resist high-speed impacts. The driver and passenger have 3-point safety belts, but the chassis has the mounting points for 4-point race harnesses if you are going to ride on a track.

The specs of the Campagna T-Rex 16S practically scream “fun to drive,” but this is a very small ride. The T-Rex is just 42 inches tall at its highest point and the seats are only a few inches off the ground. Even shorter riders are going to have to contort themselves somewhat to get into the seats. Tall riders, say those over six feet, are going to have a tough time getting comfortable behind the wheel and finding enough headroom. Despite its small stature and high base price point of $57,999, the Campagna T-Rex 16S is a great niche ride.