Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   Which Bike? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/)
-   -   Side Cars Whats It All About (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/side-cars-whats-all-about-35408)

phtest 23 May 2008 00:13

Side Cars Whats It All About
Side car Info, The Mrs doesnt like the idea of going on the back of the bike for the trip. she wants to know about sidecars, I know nothing about them ! As anyone got any info on the subject? Is it practical off road I still want to go to Mongolia & I don't want a Ural) or on an overland trip. I know they are wierd to ride, so what about the leaning ones? What about the price?
Any info would be good as I know little about them?

peter-denmark 23 May 2008 00:44

Sidecars have lots of advantages.

More loading capacity.
Wider which makes dodging trucks more difficult.
Lots more stability in mud and sand.
More fun factor in some areas.
Less fun factor in other areas.

You can easily do it. No worries. It has been done before.

You learn driving it really quickly. Just go slow when turning in the start. Much more like driving a car and you will learn quickly. The guy who sell it to you should give you an instruction.

If you don't want and ural, then you either need to put one together yourself or find one that someone else made.

Ural are the only complete sidecar rigs sold today.

That said there are still a few sidecar producers in business. Watsonian squire in england is one. You simply buy a sidecar from them, probabaly with attatchments and stick it to a bike. Well if you are not a mechaincally inclined person you might want to find someone else to do it for you.

You will find much more info on advrider.com in the "hacks" section

phtest 23 May 2008 01:17

Thanks Peter ! What about Trikes?
thanks Peter ! What about Trikes? Do these handle in the same way? Some say they are better than a sidecar. I dont mean those big VW powerd thigs either. The convertied smaller types.What ever they are called'
Good look with your trip, u lucky bugger

peter-denmark 23 May 2008 06:21

I don't know alot about trikes, but I would think that a sidecar is more stabile. Sidecars look cooler as well (-:

hmmm, well. I would guess that it is also cheaper to outfit a bike with a sidecar than to make it into a trike. With the sidecar you also have the advantage that you can take them apart afterwards and sell them individually or keep one and sell the other. I think that a trike is a one way road for a bike...

As far as I know pretty many people do it with sidecars and they are happy with them. If you chose a know reliable bike like an older BMW and put on an ural sidecar (very popular combo since the ural sidecar is very strong and cheap as well) then you have a really good balance between price, reliability and usability.

Some people have "hacked" BMW 1150 gs adventures. KLRs are popular as well. Motoguzzis are good too.

It pretty much depends on your financial situation.

Well unfortunately I am on my way home now. Just need to sell the bike and then its back to work for half a year.

I am pretty seriously contemplating a 5-6 month trans russia, mongolia + stans tour myself next year.

I would either go with an Ural or a CJ750 though. The CJ750 can be had with a BMW transplant (r75/r65 engine) and they are pretty cheap as well.

Good luck, with it!

Big Yellow Tractor 23 May 2008 06:50

Just a note,

The off-road (enduro / MX ) outfits I have seen are all fitted with a different set of forks. They have a cantilever arrangement and a rear type shock. I think they might be called "leading link" forks.

It might be worth investigating the reasons for this.

There is a bloke local to me who races an outfit. I'll try to get a pickie.

Simon Kennedy 23 May 2008 07:01

Have a look at these sidecar travelers sites for a vicarious taste

Around The World Again - Motorcycle Escape


The North cape by Dnepr

Sidecar to Tibet

Sidecars are a funny experience. Tedious in the wet and cold - like bikes - but great in the sun. If you are not in a hurry, have good weather and the rider is in decent physical shape, then they would be a fun two person travel option.

More enthusiasts' sites:

Google Image Result for http://www.sidecar.freeuk.com/gl12.jpg
Leading Links
The United Sidecar Association - Side Car Book Page
Sidecar.com Forum : Category / Forum listings

Why not?


Andrew2 23 May 2008 07:39

If you are going to be riding on any twin track dirt road then avoid the trike as your front wheel will be in the rough part of the track.The front suspension is called a leading link which basically turns you steering into a power steering setup as a normal front suspension on a sidecar is hard to turn.
In regards to the sidecar itself make sure that it has proper shock absorber suspension as this will be much better off road.Some units come out with rubber torsion bar suspension which is fine in the tar but not real good in the rough stuff.
Leading link front end.

A 1150 GS with Ural chair.

A mate is building his own for outback touring.

Similar to what I want to build for outback touring.

You can even take the mother in law for a ride.


Threewheelbonnie 23 May 2008 08:02

All the above is good info. Trikes i'd avoid, it's like having a sidecar with no body on both sides, so you while you gain the stability you loose a lot of the carrying ability and all turns are "towards the chair". I followed a narrow Goldwing Trike to the Dragon and corners I'd be blatting through at 40-50, he was having to take at walking pace. He had no more luggage than a normal wing, so while he no doubt had his reasons for wanting something that didn't fall over, it didn't float my boat.

I should perhaps explain this better: A turn away from the chair transfers the weight onto the sidecar, so it's just like a car, too much speed you slide. With practice you can use the slide to your advantage, but at first snap the throttle shut and the chair will help you. A turn away from the sidecar lightens the sidecar wheel. Too fast and your nice stable outfit becomes a bike with a 700 kg pannier on one side :helpsmilie:. This is known as flying the chair and is huge fun unless you didn't practice and go straight on into the oncoming traffic :eek3:.

Urals I can understand you avoiding. While they are perfect off road and the reverse gear has huge advanatges I know the 650's had components made of cheese and were assembled by drunken chimps (I threatened to put mine through the showroom window and got my cash back). The 750's are better but how better long term I don't know. The trick with a Ural is to only buy from totally first class experts who've fixed the problems and will support you.

The Ural chair is the most practical about and can be adapted to fit as on the BMW above, my Triumph and just about any bike with a proper frame. Oilhead BMW's get expensive as you need to buy lots to metalwork to add strength and rigidity to the bike. I had an R1100R, but wouldn't go that route again.

Unless you are totally minted, you'll need to ignore some of the advice you will get until you know about your own machine. Leading link forks are will reduce the steering loads, but you don't need them. I'm 5'7"/1.7m and not exactly fit (eat the wrong stuff, drink too much, rather partial to the odd cigar/pipe), but I can handle an 800 kg outfit on sand, mud, snow or the motorway for full days. Likewise, car tyres last longer but can introduce bad handling (my R1100R/Charnwood Meteor did lock to lock tank slappers at 85 mph :(). The cost of new rims etc. will buy you a lot of old style bike tyres.

You could join us at SidecarsUK : The UK's Number One Sidecar Group for more info.

Come on, join the dark side, there's just nothing like having the road to yourself on a moonlit night because a bit of snow keeps the road rocket brigade indoors :thumbup1:


phtest 23 May 2008 13:29

Thanks Guys great help
Thanks Guys great help, I don't think I will go with the trike. Your comments and the price I have just been given for the conversion as put me off. I'm also thinking of selling the BMW and getting a bonnie. I can get a brand new bonnie straight out the box for the price of selling my 2nd hand BMW. A bit more basic, but at least its new and some how more fitting for a side car. In fact been looking at the 'watsonian-squire side cars and I can get that and the bonnie for the money for my bike. All new gear lucky me, I have turn 40 now maybe its time for the cloth cap flying jacket brigade.

Joe C90 23 May 2008 13:51


This vehicle may be a bit rough around the edges, but cost less than a grand!
damn good fun....

Bill Ryder 23 May 2008 14:49

Some trikes are well built and handle better than the same model solo bike in the corners. Plus with the auto tires you can put small truck tires on with snow tread and studs. Northwest Trikes

indu 23 May 2008 15:24

As said, some bikes are more suitable for sidecar pulling than others. The beauty about Moto Guzzis (Tonti framed) is that they come with sidecar pulling ability sertification (or whatever they call it) from the factory. You don't need any additional frames or bodywork to add a sidecar. I built myself a rig last year, using a 1985 Guzzi 850 T5 and a Watsonian sidecar. I put on a leading link front fork and some stronger rear shocks and hey presto: A great sidecar rig to tour with. I've loaded it up with kids and gear and toured extensively with it. Total cost: 3000 euros (which is ridiculously cheap in Norway). The bike has enough grunt to pull it all very well. I'll add brakes on the sidecar this winter but it's not a necessity: The brakes on the bike has no problem stopping the rig quite effectively. And, more important: This is a rig that works, as opposed to the old Ural heap of s*** I used to have.

Here it is before I "renovated" it last winter (basically adding a Policia windscreen and painting it all black):


I'm planning on converting the T5 into a more offroad-like rig (like the one in the picture under) and put on some offroadish stash on the sidecar to match.


Oh, and these guys offer a very affordable DIY sidecar kit that seems like a very nice option:


GBProjects - Home

Statdawg 24 May 2008 04:37

Hack'd - The Magazine For and About Sidecarists
Adventure Sidecar
Hog Wild Racing
Sidecar Talk / Internet Sidecar Owners Klub - Yahoo newsgroup
Russian Iron Motorcycle Club
Cossak Owners Club - UK club for Russian motorcycles
Ural Riders Association - UK club for East European motorcycles
Dnepr Owners Group (D.O.G.)
United Sidecar Association
North American Russian Motorcycle Association (NARMA) (not working?)
Worldwide Sidecar Motocross Racing
Ural web ring
A Ural how-to
Ural Parts
Russian Spares - Ural, Dnepr and Izh spare parts, Sputnik sidecars
Pashnit's excellent sidecar links page
Ural Yankee Bob - Parts and accessories for Ural motorcycles
AutoSoviet - Dnepr, Ural and other Soviet motorcycles
Christopher Michael Drumgoole - Chang Jiang rider in Beijing, China
Extreme Motorbike Tours China - Specializing in Chang Jiang motorcycles
W. Darrin Weaver - BMW R71-Chiang Jiang Replicas (Eddy, Texas)
Dan Crossman - Chang Jiang Unlimited
Frank's Classic Sidecars - BMW-powered Chang Jiang conversions (Beijing, China)
Chang Jiang Collective - Chang Jiang community
Rich's Cycle Upholstery - Ural specialist in Virginia
CURD - Canadian Ural/Dnepr Riders Group
Christian Kernbeis - Christian's Dnepr Pages
Craig Willson - Humblebub - A Russian Passion
John Dreuning's sidecar links page
Gary Smith - Burro Has Three Wheels, Portland, Oregon to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina via Ural

Statdawg 24 May 2008 04:46

Sidecar Operation
Motorvation Engineering Sidecar Operation Manual :helpsmilie:

BMW MOA Foundation: Sidecar Driving Tactics Part 1 August 2007

BMW MOA Foundation: Sidecar Driving Tactics Part 1 August 2007 Part 2

Threewheelbonnie 24 May 2008 07:20


Originally Posted by phtest (Post 190934)
Thanks Guys great help, I don't think I will go with the trike. Your comments and the price I have just been given for the conversion as put me off. I'm also thinking of selling the BMW and getting a bonnie. I can get a brand new bonnie straight out the box for the price of selling my 2nd hand BMW. A bit more basic, but at least its new and some how more fitting for a side car. In fact been looking at the 'watsonian-squire side cars and I can get that and the bonnie for the money for my bike. All new gear lucky me, I have turn 40 now maybe its time for the cloth cap flying jacket brigade.

Drop me a private message with an e-mail address if you want pics of the set up on my Bonneville. A useful bit of off the shelf kit is a Watsonian bracket than converts the centre stand mount to a sidecar connection point.

I'm saying nothing about dress sense. I'm currently riding in a Drizabone long coat, Union Jack helmet, Army DR gloves made in 1953 and fake RAF goggles. I look like the tall doppy one in Dastardy and Muttley :blushing:


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 23:27.