View Full Version : Bike and Sidecar combo?

09-08-2014, 02:41 PM
:devil::devil:OK then!
After a conversation I had with a m8 recently, it is now decided that we fancy building/getting hold of, some sidecars or just the chassis to use on weekends with our bobbers!
Anyone on here ride a combo?
I've been told ime gonna find it a lot different than a solo, but what the hell, gotta give it a go now its in our heads, lol.
Gonna be used on weekends mostly, so would have to be easily removed to give me the ability of riding the bike without it most of the time!
My one will be used on my 84 Honda vt700 shadow, which ime bobbing!
I would like to carry the theme over onto the sidecar, but not sure if it would work with a lowered bike!
Ime running it 2" lower at moment, which suits me great, and would hope the car can be made lower as well to go with it!
Are they easyish to fit, and is it a law over UK to have sidecar on n/s?
Any pics of sidecars on bobbers would be appreciated big time folk!
As will any advice on building at sourcing one.

The Goat:

John Hopkins
09-08-2014, 03:08 PM
In the old days we had a steering adjuster on top of the center of the handlebars, If you removed the sidecar you had to adjust the steering..

Also riding with a sidecar you have to allow for that new nearside wheel that you can't see, this is particularly important when passing a cyclist..Turning corners is very different, you have to steer round instead of leaning and if the sidecar is empty you have to lean over it to prevent that nearside wheel from lifting off the road, and of course you can't filter.. all in all it was a pain in the arse..Most of us removed the sidecar and hoped the weight of it hadn't warped the frame..


09-08-2014, 03:37 PM
Isn't there some ball ache about having to have a seperate mot when you have the chair on so the quickly detachable option doesn't work? I may just have made that up though:confused:

09-08-2014, 03:49 PM
Awww go on, spoil it for me, lol.
Spos its something like a trike to drive!
At least with a combo you only have to worry about the one wheel not being in line with front one, lol.
We were thinking of using them for the fishing gear :p

Google imaged 'bobber sidecars' and there were a few good combos that I liked!
Could always wait till trikes done, lol.

That Goat:

John Hopkins
09-08-2014, 04:53 PM
I don't think you have to worry about the wheel leaving the ground and flipping the trike over like you do with a sidecar..I was in a sidecar accident once it can be pretty horrific.


09-08-2014, 07:01 PM
Awww go on, spoil it for me, lol.
Spos its something like a trike to drive!
That Goat:

Nothing at all like a trike!

You have to accelerate to turn one way, and brake to turn the other way - not sure which is which as I opted for a trike after discovering that most folks' first time on a combo ends in the ditch.

You have to adjust all sorts of things when you add a sidecar, and other stuff too - read more here.....

09-08-2014, 09:46 PM
Evil, nasty, inventions of satan ............... me? I'm not bitter

A65 and a double adult bushmar sidecar, no, definitely not bitter and twisted (unlike the frame and my leg

10-08-2014, 09:49 AM
I love my sidecars. Best set up and leftvas sidecars, my mate went through the rigmoral of setting his xs400 as a part time combo, he abandoned the idea after first attempt ended in a ditch. My favourite sidecar was actually one which could easily have been swapped over from sidecar to bike quite easily in theory. I still have it though having done 220 000 miles in my ownership it needs some tlc to get back on the roads, frame rotted on the bike, few other wear issues but I am getting there. Handling is completely individual to the combo my 500/4 was pretty sweet with previous owner fitted preload spacers in the forks and a steering damper, when the damper broke a mounting I was used to sidecar handling and didn't notice enough to fix, my dad thought it nearly un rideable after this. On the other hand my bmw r90/6 had leading links and 2 steering dampers when I bought it with a palma adult and child chair and handled badly as the chair could move relative to the bike under very hard braking. I swapped the chair to a busmar asteral double adult one and swapped around fittings. The heavyer chair handled better, and I could ride that thing single handedly appart from gear changes nedding a clutch. I prefered the honda and palma chair combo. The suspension was set rock hard all around and it did power slides with ease with a k&n filter and loud exhast, every right hand junction was temptation to go sideways in a cloud of tyre smoke. The most fun you can have with your clothes on, not to mention the excellent manners in snow. Really for a first sidecar, get it setup right, add steering dampers and sidecar tyres (square tread) and really do get the chair to bike fixings absolutely immobile with the chair. Ride like that for a year, in all weathers and sidecars will be an addiction. I don't have one on the road due to family commitments taking up too much time and money but I wouldn't be without one and cannt wait to get my 500/4 up and running again. The bmw whilst technically the better combo by 2 grands worth of extras is the one I am happy to leave for later as it is too good to the point of bland, unless lifting the front wheel in 3rd is what floats yer boat.

John Hopkins
10-08-2014, 10:07 AM
I think the thing us older sidecar combination owners forget is that back in the day, there was a lot less traffic and doing 50 mph in a bike and sidecar was about the maximum we would ever be able to do, 650cc Brit bike with the weight of a Watsonian sidecar took the already low top speed right down, and the stopping distance was not good at all..Now I'm pretty certain there are very few on this forum that haven't done 'the ton' at least once and very few that would be happy with sidecar speeds on a long ride.


10-08-2014, 10:40 AM
I'm too young to have tried British iron of the 2 wheeled variety John, I do enough on the family s2 landrover to know I don't want the same barrell of laughs out of a bike. My bmw outfit was easily able to cruise all day at motorway speeds though the 500/4 would indeed be down to 50 up the log hill sections of the motorway to York the rest of the trip it was easily able to stay with the middle lane traffic. I even got that outfit to hit the magic ton, with a sidecar passenger onboard, the downhill of the a470 towards Brecon from Methyr. Inthink my dad hit a ton with my bmw outfit on the a44? Aberystwyth to Rhayader road, he was following the accelerate round the bend method through the twisties, 1000cc twin plugged boxers are pretty good at going faster, not sure why he didn't try the gt750 kettle brakes fitted up front for slowing round the other bends, geuss it didn't need it but the result was the thing went to ludicrous speed.
I think from what my mate found out when properly looking into a part time sidecar outfit was that insurance wise he had 2 policies with the same company, 1 for solo and 1 for outfits. I think as the mot applies to the bike, you only need the 1, if the sidecar is fitted it should be able to pass an mot, but you don't need to have a sidcar mot separately to a valid solo mot. My mot tester agreed with me on this. Oh yes, lowering a sidecar - not sure I would bother, mine has 4 inches ground clearence on the Palma, it has picked up scars from gounding out a few times, the Busmar isn't much higher off the floor on either the Busmar or Watsonian flatbed chasis I have fitted it to - the busmar had a nice spoked 19 inch braked wheel but a nasty home made lowering bodge that resulted in the sidecar ending up with double jointed suspension. Do look out for bodges on old sidecars - they seem to attact numpties, run a mile from scaffold clamps or worse the individuals who try to attatch a chair with exhaust clamps or jublee clips, there may be worse bodges elsewhere.

Sir Ewok
11-08-2014, 08:16 PM
I rode sidecar outfits during most of the 60's and they are a great deal of fun. Firstly, when braking the sidecar (if it is not braked) will try to overtake you and the bike will pull to the right. To avoid this, you simply steer left. When turning right, you lean outwards if the chair is empty or only lightly loaded to stop the bike trying to climb over the sidecar. I dragged the nose of a Stieb chair all the way through a 60mph u-turn on a dual carriageway. When turning left you lean across the sidecar to stop the wheel lifting off the ground, which can then upset the steering if it is dropped too rapidly on the exit of the turn. The lighter the load the more the lean. The heavier the load the more the steering is affected on braking. As mentioned before, you drive a combo rather than riding it. Lots of fun though and cheap transport if you can charge mates for petrol money. My personal record for passengers on a child adult sidecar combo (with the roof sawn off) is 11 adults, still managed to wack a car wing going into the pub.......:whistle:

12-08-2014, 01:00 PM
Had a few combo's over the years, I don't really hold with being to take the chair on and off as required, they need setting up just right.

The one I have now has 14" car wheels and tyres all round and is superbly set up. the more rigid you can get the whole thing the better it will handle. Mine has a chassis that fixes under the bike and bolts to both sides of the bike. It is solid as a rock.

Makes life a lot easier if you can have the front end at least raked or better still, leading links. I've gone for a set of raked EZS tele forks, just as good as leading links.

Been all over Europe with it and it will happily cruise at 80mph all day and the ton is no problem but makes it a bit harder to hear the stereo:D

12-08-2014, 01:10 PM
Found a pic...


12-08-2014, 08:08 PM
Very smart!

14-08-2014, 12:52 PM
Ewok, I once got seperated from the other half when I was on the sidecar and she was on her bike, I waited a bit then went back down the A road and saw the wifes bike go past in tue other direction, only car was 200 yards behind so I pulled a 65mph u turn. Setup right a sidecar is such incredible fun, especially seeing the expessions in the following car as I suddenly was travelling towards them insead of away.

Sir Ewok
14-08-2014, 08:56 PM
Ewok, I once got seperated from the other half when I was on the sidecar and she was on her bike, I waited a bit then went back down the A road and saw the wifes bike go past in tue other direction, only car was 200 yards behind so I pulled a 65mph u turn. Setup right a sidecar is such incredible fun, especially seeing the expessions in the following car as I suddenly was travelling towards them insead of away.

Nearly got separated from a girl friend when the swan neck broke at 80 mph, very scary moment. Also slid the bike on a right hander and hit the kerb.... Bottom of sidecar wheel was L shaped. I had a pair of roller skates in the sidecar and using a brick under the frame, slowly rode 5 miles home on a skate....
I have had a great deal of fun on combos, the only real drawback is heavy traffic....

15-08-2014, 08:10 AM
I broke down on one of my old combo's about 10 mile from home. Phoned a mate to come and give us a tow.. He turned up in his car, got all roped up and off we went.... Scared the shit out of me... the bastard was driving like he wasn't towing...I really thought I was going to die. It was okay on the straight bits, but on the bends...FUCKIN HELL!!!!

Typical mate, he thought it was well funny.....:rolleyes:

15-08-2014, 02:39 PM
I had an A10 outfit fitted with one huge family sized chair briefly when I was 17. At the time I didn't know anyone who'd ever ridden one so I had absolutely no idea what I was letting myself in for! I only had to travel about 5 miles home on it but about half way there, when I was just starting to get confident with the somewhat wayward feel of it, someone walked out in front of me so I hit the brakes and it just veered off towards the wrong side of the road! Not having any idea what was going on I thought the best thing to do was get it stopped so I braked even harder which resulted in it going right across the road and into some blokes front garden destroying his flower bed in the process!!!! Luckily though the old bloke who lived there was an ex-sidecar pilot himself and was more concerned about me and the bike than his garden but that didn't stop him chuckling when I told him what had happened :o He did give me some good tips though which was just as well as I think I'd likely have landed in hospital if I'd reached the big left hand bend along the road :D
As to the original point of this thread it's my understanding that you have to have a new mot when you fit a sidecar and you have to inform your insurance, I've also read on another forum that you have to tell DVLA too but I don't know if that's true or not.

15-08-2014, 04:32 PM
I think of my 2 outfits, one is recorded on the log book as sidecar combination, the other as motorcycle, so not consistent. Both have passed mots as sidecars so I would have thought that any issues about correct registration would have been flagged upmon the computer. Mot wise I asked th mot place that tests my combo, they said I could save myself the few extra quid on combo mot over solo mot by taking the chair off for the test, ie it would still be a valid test, but we agreed it was not really worth it given both the work involved in gettingb7t setup right, and in any case the thing should pass as it is used and having a second pair of eyes going over stuff is good.

14-09-2014, 12:34 PM
http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii574/bigbike-rschopperbuild/IMG_24832158563593_zpsvqzxsx7z.jpeg (http://s1260.photobucket.com/user/bigbike-rschopperbuild/media/IMG_24832158563593_zpsvqzxsx7z.jpeg.html)

im building this. I love sidecars. Theres some really nice examples of custom outfits out there
i especially like abnormal cycles stoye sidecar on their panhead