USCA Sidecar Forum

For some extra information about navigating the forum you can go to Forum Tips

Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Can a motorcycle with a sidecar safely be operated in snow?

I'm considering ditching my car since it's big, gas guzzling, I almost never use the extra cargo capacity, and I hate it. However, if I did this and had only a bike for transportation, I'd still need a way to get around in the long winters. Since sidecars seem like fun and I might have a practical excuse to get one, I was wondering if I could safely stick a sidecar onto my bike for the winter when the roads are slippery and covered by an inch of snow. (The local road maintenance crews seem to only like to take a little off the top with their plows). Besides it being cold, what are the downsides of this that I might be missing due to inexperience? If this idea does sound plausible, then are there any specific types of sidecars that I should look for?

EDIT: Or, for that matter, is there anything else I should look into if I'm just looking for stability in snow? Does anyone make training wheels for motorcycles? 🙂

Go to aerostch they have self tapeing studs for motorcycle tires. If it's much cold thank about something that will prevent the snow form filling up your cooling finnes then the engine will get hot if it's air cooled. we used to wrap thin metel around the jugges of a verticl twin so it would put some heat on the carbirator as well. and lottes of deicer in the gas. We would put foot pegges down off the rear axel so to put more weight right down on the rear wheel for a littel more traction. Then a coupel shoot's and we were ready for the cold. And my install a deadman for safty.Rudy

Lots of people do it. What part of the country are you in?

I'm located in New Hampshire and not the warm, sunny southern part of New Hampshire that only has 4 months of winter a year.

Looks like I'll have to start researching sidecars and figure out which one would best fit my needs!

Those photos were all taken in northwestern Wisconsin. Even though we play in the snow and ride year around, we also still own cars for the bad days.

I guess it depends on how strict your schedule is. I have a friend who rides an 850 cc Moto Guzzi all year. He just switches to Trials Knobby tires in winter. Of course, he's way down south, just above Chicago.

I'm not sure if JB owns a car or not.

The problem in NH will be the same as here in VT. It's not the snow, it's the hills and ice.

A problem in winter rides up in PA when I was living there, was not just the snow or the road salt, but the ash they spread on the roads could be an unexpected slide when applying the brakes at an incline, hill, mountain pass or so forth. I rode my Troyka all winter there, but found that most other motorcyclists did not. The two mountains I had to go over to get to work were always scarry, as you never knew just what may come at you from behind and more than once I had large tree limps fall down from the heavy snow and barely miss. Guess it all depends upon what you wish to do, but winter driving on a daily basis was just not for me. Lots of fog in different places along those mountain roads, as well. It was something to say I have done, but not something I care to continue. Lucky to be back in Texas, where the snow is not a routine thing to endure in my part of the state, as the norm. When I had my rig inspected, the inspector in Reedsville told me that he does not normally do inspections in October. Most places close for the winter in doing the inspections he told me. I can see why.

Still, some love to ride in winter. It takes me too long to warm my fingers and it is no fun in waiting for the pain to go away when they get frozen as they often did in PA. The big moto muff mitts never seemed to keep my hands warm enough to suit me, even with the heat packs inside them. My dog loved the cold weather though. That ash on the road can make for some tricky manuvers when you slide through an intersection up there. Be careful....

To me winter riding a rig is way safer then any car, because you feel inmediately when the grip gets lost and still you have a lot of maneauverabillity using your butt... means weight displacement.
I'd use modern thermal clothing, well foamed boots, a coach mans blanket out of felt, grip heating with "Lenkerstulpen" = covers that go over the handle bar instruments. and always a good neck tye to cover the throat and mouth.
Rain x and Fog x for the helmet help a lot.

Search a little the former posts about this theme there you find a lot of tips.

Good knobby tires and spikes make a good advance.
As long they are allowed

I found that the 2 wheel drive URALs,Dneprs and CJs weren't necessarily the best option during the 1998/99 Bonehead Enduro in the Washington Cascades (Oldest Entry at 66 years).
My XJ650 Maxim Yamaha/URAL rig got farther up in the deep snow than any of the 2WD rigs that had full knobby tires. They just plowed in and dug themselves into a high centered position while we just blew over the top with more horsepower.
Drove a '50 Panhead/URAL rig the next time, it didn't do as well in the snow.


Attached files