USCA Sidecar Forum

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California Sidecar suspension questions

I have an opportunity to buy a CSC friendship 1 at a decent price. My concern is it has the torsion bar suspension. Can those be made "right", if you rebuild the torsion bar part, with new bars/springs, and grease everything up, or will it still just suck? What mods can be done?

Is there a better "Trailer" type of torsion bar setup that can be substituted for the CSC parts  that will work?

Are these types of suspensions just no darn good, and I am better avoiding it, and moving on?

Thanks for the help, suggestions.


If the rig is going to be used for long distance trips, there are better suspensions.

We found ours to be adequate for the occasional day use. A bit soft on bumpy roads though. Must've not been so bad on the highway as mama would often fall asleep.

Thought about installing a shock absorber but there isn't any room in the inner fender well.

If you do get it, inspect the torsion bars and bearings.


We are pretty happy with our torsion bar suspension on another brand of sidecar.  It does require occasional application of grease inside the tube carrying the torsion bar under the frame to prevent rusting and sticking.  We've used it for 3,000 to 9,000 mile trips without experiencing discomfort or handling problems.

What don't you like about the torsion bar suspension?  I haven't experienced bobbing or other too soft springing, or too harsh suspension.  The only problem I recall resulted from bouncing over a tree limb which had fallen across a highway at night in a storm.   The carrying tube broke from the frame causing a severe alignment problem.

I ran one for about 100K, it worked but of course there are better systems. Harley got away with never having any suspension. Running the stock set up is ok as long as you under stand its short comings and do the maintenance. It is certainly better then not having a sidecar if there is not anything better to be found in your price range.

Jay G
DMC sidecars


Jay G DMC sidecars 15616 Carbonado South Prairie RD Buckley WA 98321 866-638-1793 Hours Monday - Thursday 6-4:30

Thanks Guys for the responses. I am currently running a texas ranger sidecar on my Moto Guzzi Convert, and it performs/handles fantastic. The only problem is my wife got "spoiled" with my previous rig which was a california sidecars friendship II, that would open up to get in and out. She's a "bigger gal" so getting back out required a bit of maneuvering on her part.

This is the only reason , I am looking at a CSC sidecar. Once she gets in,the Ranger, everything is fine,and comfortable, until its time to get out.

I think I will keep looking  for a sidecar that opens up, and that has a better suspension, with an adjustable shock, etc.

Thanks again!


With the California sidecars and most opening sidecars she may still find it hard to get in and out of as she is in essence still sitting more or less on the floor. We use to offer seat lifts to help people get in and out of these sidecars as if you have any knee issues at all they can be nearly impossible to get out of. I have found that the easiest sidecars to get in and out of are ones with cut down sides and a step. The include traditional sidecars like the Ural, Dnepr and CJ as well as the M72 type sidecars we build. Our Adventure and Expedition sidecars have the further advantage of having the floor lowered ahead and behind the frame making for a larger trunk area but also allowing your feet to be more under you and less straight out. The Expedition sidecar was developed for larger people and or two kids, my wife likes the larger sidecar as it also allows our dog to ride along.

She should try and get in and out of a few sidecars if possible before you go to the expense of building another rig that on paper seems right but in reality might be no better then what you now have.  Also keep in mind that often once you have a sidecar built, you have it for many years to come so make sure that as the years move on and health often changes that the sidecar is still likely to work for your needs.

Jay G
DMC sidecars


Jay G DMC sidecars 15616 Carbonado South Prairie RD Buckley WA 98321 866-638-1793 Hours Monday - Thursday 6-4:30

Thank you Jay. That is very sound advice! My wife has adapted pretty good to getting in and out. It took some trial and error, using different body mechanics, etc.

To get out,she "flips around" , putting her in a kneeling position with both knees on the seat, facing backwards, then she simply stands up, and is ready to step out of the car, using the step plate.

The good thing about the Texas Ranger is that it sits very low to the ground, so that helps a bit getting in and out, also handles nicely at speed, with the weight being down low.