Skip to content

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.

Greetings... advice needed!

Hello everyone, I'm new here, and happy to gather any advice you're willing to share. I've been interested in sidecars for years, and having just given my 17 year old Sportster to my son (who is over the moon about it) I'm ready to get into this sidecar world and also do some riding with him. I'm looking forward to taking my granddaughters out in the sidecar, as well as my wife and maybe even my dog on occasion!

I've been looking for a good used sidecar to mate with a 2003 Road King that I can purchase from a buddy. The Road King in question has under 5,000 miles and it's super clean, so I'm pretty motivated to make this happen if possible. The problem is the pricing on new (and used) sidecars... not what I expected, 8-10k plus installation. It seems I might get pushed into used Ural territory, which is fine if that's what I need to do, but I'm looking for some of you experienced folks to tell me should I just be patient and keep looking for a good deal on a used sidecar? While I could afford a Velorex, I'm hearing/reading they're to small for a road king. I've seen astronomical priced DMC's, California Sidecars, and Hannigans. Is it unrealistic to think I could find something decent and get it installed for less than 6-7k? Remember, I still have to pay for the bike. Otherwise, I'd have to pass on this sweet low miles bike. I do see complete rigs with high miles in my price range (larger touring bikes). I also see older Urals with average mileage. 

Any thoughts of advice will be appreciated. I'm located on the MA/NH border. I've been searching on FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay, and whatever bike sites come up. Networking with a few folks here and there, and now with you... Thanks, Kenny

 

Thane Lewis and FlyingMonkeys have reacted to this post.
Thane LewisFlyingMonkeys

Kenny, welcome to the USCA forums, and you have asked some very good questions. Thanks for informing us as to where you live, as a lot of newbies leave that info out of the equation, so we have to ask.

Yes, it is going to be a LOT less expensive to find an already completed sidecar rig, one that has been road test and approved, than it is to buy a new or used sidecar, then attach it PROPERLY to the '03 Road King that you would like to buy from your buddy. In real world dollars, to buy a USED sidecar, then have it PROPERLY attached to that Road King, you are most likely looking at close to $ 10k....All-In....and that is above the cost of the '03 Road King.

There are a few places that we, the people, would suggest you look for a completed, road tested sidecar rig, such as the forum here, that lists complete rigs for sale, as well as another thread that deals with Sidecars for sale. There is also the ADVRider forums, under the forums for "hacks"...which is the slang for sidecar rigs, and in that forums they have hundreds of pages of sidecar rigs for sale all around the country.

"IF" you have not driven a sidecar rig before, there is a brief learning curve, or which some people take to it very quickly, and others take longer to learn the "sweet science" of sidecar driving.

Personally, from my own perspective, I would suggest buying a used fully completed, road-tested sidecar rig, for a price of $ 5k to $ 8k, and see if you fall in love with it like many of us have. If you do, and want to go bigger or faster or newer, you can always buy that '03 Road King from your buddy, and then wait for the right "sidecar" to come along that would mate up with that Road King, then go through the arduous process of having an experienced shop attach that newly acquired sidecar to the Road King.

In most cases, buy a used completed, road-tested rig for $ 5k to $ 8k, you usually do not lose any money on it when you go to sell it, as the depreciation has already taken place, and the valuation of the completed rig is set in stone, so keep it or sell it, you generally won't lose any money.

If you choose the route of buying a sidecar to attach to that '03 Road King, be very careful as to who you select to do the installation of the sidecar to the bike, as there are good installers, and bad installers. Just do your research, and talk to the folks here.

Uploaded files:
  • Hannigan-Finished-Build-059.jpg
DirtyDR, CCjon and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
DirtyDRCCjonThane LewisBen Franklin
Two Million Miles, and All 7 Continents

Welcome, Kenny. I was a little intrigued to see your name as there are Gibsons in my family history here in central Nebraska. 

I would definitely echo FMs advice above.   I made a road trip to West Virginia to get our first rig, which unfortunately ate its bottom end after three rides. We acquired our second (current) rig at the USCA National Rally in 21 and are thrilled with it, though it is a bit of a gas hog. It is stable, comfortable and easy to operate so three boxes checked. Oh, and it came in at under $7k so 🥳. 

It should be noted that in between the two rigs I was attempting to mate the car from the first rig to an existing BMW R1150gs, I struggled mightily to find someone willing to do the marriage in a distance able for me to make work. Your neck of the woods has a few more options than mine, though Ohio and Kentucky aren’t exactly around the corner. 

A good bet is to keep your eyes open and find some folks in your “neighborhood” with rigs and start asking questions.  Look on the start page for an old copy of The Sidecarist magazine available. At the very back of the magazine are some folks who are State Reps and Regional Directors who can help make connections as well.  I don’t want to put email and names out in live posts due to sometimes unscrupulous bots that troll for such things.  You can contact me directly from the BOD links on the home page and I will get you that info. 

Dive in, the water is wacky and the folks are fun!

 

 

Uploaded files:
  • 5E49EE38-28CD-4014-9A0F-7C2B47EB2792.jpeg
CCjon, rogersfr and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
CCjonrogersfrBen FranklinFlyingMonkeys

  I would be a good idea to try and connect with someone that has a sidecar and experience with one . It will save you a lot of heart ace . You really need to know what you are getting into..

While it would be cool to find an JD sidecar to mate to the RK. It would likely be very costly, take a lot of time and be filled with extra cost and surprises.  Once you are sure this is the path for you then the search for the right purchase is next.

My grandchildren have grown up in sidecars and love it. If you any where near by on in an area we ride to . We have often spent time allowing others looking at going this route a chance to get  in and even on one to have a better idea what they are getting into.

FlyingMonkeys has reacted to this post.
FlyingMonkeys

Thanks all, for the welcome and advice! This sidecar decision for me has been many years in the making. The time wasn't right 12-15 years ago, but now it is. I was able to drive/try-out a couple rigs for a little bit about 7 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Another buddy of mine also has a rig that he enjoys driving and we've talked about it quite a bit. 

I'm going to check out a local rig for sale, a Yamaha Venture with a Champion sidecar. It looks real clean and has a little over 20k miles on it. 

Any thoughts on a Texas Sidecar "Ranger"? I think it may be the most cost effective new cart that looks to be suitable for a Road King.

I do see a few BMW rigs here and there that look interesting, but I know next to nothing about those bikes/models. 

 

Thane Lewis has reacted to this post.
Thane Lewis

Kenny, can you tell us which Champion brand sidecar is attached to that Yamaha Venture ? And if possible, post a picture here.

I am going to tell you right now...I am in favor of that Yamaha Venture. V-4 engine, shaft drive, almost a bullet proof engine and trans and rear diff. If the carbs are balanced (not hard to do), then it is an extremely smooth drivetrain, with more than enough power to pull even the Champion Daytona 2+2.

And YEAR of the Yamaha ???....makes a small difference.

Thane Lewis has reacted to this post.
Thane Lewis
Two Million Miles, and All 7 Continents

Its a 2001 Venture. Not exactly sure what model the Champion sidecar is, but it looks a lot like the Legend from the pics on the Champion website. I'm going tomorrow morning, so I'll definitely take pics and post them here.

 

Thane Lewis and FlyingMonkeys have reacted to this post.
Thane LewisFlyingMonkeys

The conversations are Sounding eerily familiar! You would not be sorry having the Yamaha as a tug, especially it’s a Royal Star Venture with all the touring equipment. Larger gas tank, too!  

Isn’t the ranger a fairly light and narrow car for a heavy tug like a Venture?

FlyingMonkeys has reacted to this post.
FlyingMonkeys
Quote from Thane Lewis on January 1, 2023, 7:11 pm

The conversations are Sounding eerily familiar! You would not be sorry having the Yamaha as a tug, especially it’s a Royal Star Venture with all the touring equipment. Larger gas tank, too!  

Isn’t the ranger a fairly light and narrow car for a heavy tug like a Venture?

The Yamaha I'm going to look at already has a Champion sidecar on it.

The Ranger is something I'm thinking about putting on an 03 Harley Road King, if I go that route...

FlyingMonkeys has reacted to this post.
FlyingMonkeys

I just recently put a Texas Ranger Sidecar on my ‘07 Guzzi. TSC did a great job, with a very sturdy build, great setup, and a nicely appointed car. Their most common customers ride Harleys or Indians, but they will tackle most anything. Pricing was very reasonable and I even got some instruction when I picked it up. The Ranger is large, but the rig remains relatively light at ~180 lbs. 

Uploaded files:
  • C13BCA4C-03D9-4C48-99EB-4B11C02CCEA2.jpeg
SwampFox, CCjon and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
SwampFoxCCjonDynamickFlyingMonkeys

I had a Texas Sidecar Ranger put on my Triumph Rocket III and I would highly recommend them. I had them add some extra weight since the Rocket III is a monster but for your choice it would be ideal. They tend to cater to the Harleys more so they are very knowledgeable abut Harley installations. The price cannot be beat either.

KIMG0686.JPG

 

KIMG0684.JPG

MGV8, CCjon and 4 other users have reacted to this post.
MGV8CCjonThane LewisGSrider12James BagleyFlyingMonkeys