USCA Sidecar Forum

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adding trailer hitch to sidecar

So my next question

SEATS,, what do most people do for a seat for the rider. ours has a seat that came with it, I rebuilt the padding in it but I was thinking I would like to put a better seat in
can you adapt a car seat to fit and work safely

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

Our son is slightly disabled and with his small (light) body and the 1 1/2 seat in the sidecar, we found he was moving side to side too much. So I decided to change from the standard seat to a race-car bucket with a four-point seatbelt. Took a little figuring out and a new travel canopy when the chair is not in use but we ended up with something that I don't think distracts too much from the lines of our rig.


The seat is a Monza Rally from Autotechnica (Australian company) and has the tilt and slide mechanism attached. With the tight space to get in I have the seat all the way to the rear that puts the back of the seat vertical, once seated, the passenger can bring the base forward and this gives room for the seat back to tilt rearward making it quite comfortable.
When travelling solo I thought we might have a problem because the seat is higher than the rest of the sidecar. Talking the design over with the upholster we settle on having the seat titled all the way forward so that the top touches the wind screen – it is still a couple of inches higher but not too bad. The new canopy was made to clip directly to the same spots as the old flat top canopy. This new design has a slight rise that is right at the front; however there are no wells or stitches for water to sit and/or leak through.
The seat wraps the thighs and back very well, and along with the seat belt, there is no chance our son can be knocked around. I know there is controversy with seat belts and rig, but I look at this no different than an open top sports car and this is how I would want my son safely seated.



Old canopy



New design

Barry, that is a nice looking rig you have there.
I was looking at the racing seats yesterday, that is what made me post and ask if anyone has done it as it seemed like a good idea
Thanks for sharing

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

Thanks AJ.

Sorry to be getting off subject but just a quick follow up note on what I'm up to, I've currently got the seat out and working on my next passenger design.

Our biggist Mastiff Leroy can't fit in the rig (he's "down" to 235lb having lost 50lb), but "little" Axel seen here is about the right size at 175lb, a good counter balance (Leroy being a long hair, makes Axel look small). I've just ordered a harness from Dean & Tyler and the largest pair of Doggles they make, from over your side of the pond. Bit of training and a couple of bags of treats and we should be on the road together.

I have no issue with moving off subject, I can't see the picture. We travel with our smallest dog but we have 4 that love to ride. you shouldn't have too much trouble getting him trained
only issue I see is keeping him from wanting to move around too much. I would like to see a pic of him in the car once you have it set up
we have a boxer that is around 100lb, big for a boxer, I want to see if he will ride in the car with the wife. I would really like to take him to the beach with us this summer

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

Back to the trailer hitch, I settled on pulling the trailer from the chairs right hand main frame, this is almost centre of the rig setup. I have not noticed any undo handling affects under acceleration or braking (BTW I do not have a brake on the chairs wheel). It ended up being relatively easy to make the hitch which was fabricated out of a piece of 35x70mm box metal bolted to the frame at the front and side. The hitch and the trailer being custom made together meant we could get the tray pretty much horizontal. The good thing about the sidecar is that we can get away with a standard ball and hitch arrangement and not worry about bike angles etc.

Our trailer was from a design I had seen before, esentially a 3'x4' flat bed with leaf spring suspension with a 440lt car cargo (roof) box bolted to it. Luckily my rig builder still had a little paint from when he made the chair so we got it color coordinated and pin stripped to match the bike & chair.

I was recently re-aligning the rigs toe-in and bike-lean when I noticed the hitch bar had risen up at the rear (tow ball end), there was about 1/4" gap between the bar and the chair frame where previously it sat flat. The way the bar was bolted I believe did not give sufficient clamping support to stop the trailer levering the bar up when we travelled over rough roads. So I've now installed a third bolt that goes through the bar and the chair frame to stop this upward movement. I think there was another contributing factor, that being how I loaded the cargo box, there was insufficient downward force on the tow ball as I had been distributing the load to give a nuetral ball. I've since found out this is wrong, and on a bike only setup could be quite dangerious if the load slips to the rear and creates an upward force on the ball that could lift the rear of the bike. I believe the ball should have about 10% of the trailers weight and the cargo secure so it cannot slid backward.

I see the pic now, good looking dog. I didn't see the one with your son,( I take it) in the car before either. that seat looks like a good fit
10% is a good figure, I find 15% creates the best ride and stability with the trailer, but I pull a camper that hits 500+ lbs. I have 2 other trailers that are fairly lite

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

DirtyDR - 11/18/2014 2:34 PM

On both of my rigs I have the hitch on the sidecar frame and neither one pulls or pushes any worse with or without the trailer that I can tell. Both sidecar rigs have pretty much the same distance between the sidecar and bike wheels so the trailer tracks real nice and in the Winter you can only see one set of tracks in the snow. I did offset the tongue on the trailer a little to get the trailer centered and tracking correctly but that is just me being anal, I do not think it really matters.

That is a lot of snow indeed and hard to even ride the motorcycle