USCA Sidecar Forum

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

WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR GIFT CARDS. IF YOU RECEIVE AN EMAIL TO THAT EFFECT, IT DID NOT COME FROM THE USCA. IT IS A PHISHING SCAM. DO NOT REPLY!

Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Harley TLE retro fit to new FLHX

I just purchased a new FLHX, and was wondering if anyone makes mounts to adapt an older H-D sidecar to a newer H-D bike?

Also, would a front wheel from a new FLHX fit on the older TLE axel?

Any information is much appreciated.

Tom

 

 

Tom, Ride Safe! AMA, HOG, IBA, PGR.

As far as I know, no one makes what you are looking for. We do make proper bike specific mounts for your bike however they are for modern 4 point mounted sidecars with suspension. As you have a nice modern bike, why not go with a bit more modern sidecar? Pretty much every other manufacture of sidecars in the world figured out that suspension on the sidecar wheel is a good idea long before the start of WW2. Harley came out with the basic frame design for their  sidecars around 1928 and never up dated it. As such the ride quality is not really up to modern standards. You hit a bump and you know about it on the bike and in the sidecar your passenger gets to bob up and down on undampened leaf springs which can be a problem if your passenger is at all prone to motion sickness. As to changing the wheel. It is a bit more involved due to the brake. Older Harley sidecars had drum brakes. latter ones have a disk brake that the rotor is smaller diameter then the rotor on the front wheel of the bike. Harley for your bike changed how the front brake rotor attaches. Rather then attaching with 5 bolts near the hub of the wheel they now attach the rotor out on the "spokes" of the cast wheels. The diameter of these mounts is larger then the diameter of the sidecar brake rotor. As to axle size, often it is easiest to change wheel bearings to match the axle diameter. If your bike and sidecar were in our shop we could custom install it. You could also consider going with a modern 4 point mount sidecar either from us or another source new or used. As long as the sidecar is strong enough for a bike the side of yours we usually can provide proper bike specific mounts. All of our sidecars include the mounts in the price. Some times if you figure out what the Harley sidecar is worth, figure out how much hardware you will need to buy to make it work you may find that it makes more sense to start over new. On nice thing about your bike is if it is going to be a full time sidecar bike you can run an automotive tire on the rear of the bike which will save you money on tires as they last a lot longer, they also have a better ride quality and higher load rating.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

866-638-1793

Jay, thanks for the reply. I guess I'm a little set in my ways with the HD sidecar. I currently have a'96, drum brake, and a '03 disk brake. Between the two I have about 170K miles on that old rigid design, with no issues. Needless to say, I'm quite used to it. You bring up good point with the car tire. That has always been the weak link, especially on a cross country tour. With aging Harley riders, and these new bikes with more power to pull these rigs, I'm surprised no one is making mounts for a retro fit. There are a lot of riders who just don't want to go the trike route, myself included. Seems like the rear and upper mount could be similar to the older HD system. However the lower front mounts appear to be where the engineering comes in. I had read somewhere that Harley didn't make the kit because they were having issues with adapting the third wheel to the antilock brakes. I'm assuming the sidecars you mount to say BMW's have antilock brakes? I'd consider running without the brake if I could make the rest work.

Tom

Tom, Ride Safe! AMA, HOG, IBA, PGR.

The brake is no issue at all, we tie onto the rear master. ABS still works fine on the bike, the sidecar just does not have ABS brakes. I suspect that Harley stopped making sidecars as their sidecar was long over due for an engineering up grade. It competes with their trikes and also I heard a roomer that they are using the facility that made the sidecar bodies to make trike bodies.

You might consider trying a modern sidecar. One nice thing beyond the obvious suspension is that you can have electric trim. On your ridged mount sidecar adding weight into the sidecar does not cause the bike to lean different like it does on a sidecar with suspension but with or with out suspension different speeds do make a difference. If you have your bike aligned to not pull at slower speeds, crank it up to higher freeway speeds and it is going to pull due to asymmetrical aerodynamic drag. Also if you have a cross wind you just have to deal with it. With electric trim you can trim the bike to work better in these conditions. On our site are 4 video's the first tells you about us. The next two show how to install one of our Tomahawk SE sidecars onto an Indian. The last is about the bike we built for Helge Pendersen of Globe riders. It shows how the electric trim works.

Other advantages to other sidecars is the Harley sidecar can be quite difficult to get in and out of. Many other sidecars on the market are not as hard to get in and out of which can be an issue as we age. And, many sidecars have trunks that open from the out side seal and lock which can be a lot nicer then having to kick your passenger out of the sidecar to access the storage behind the seat. And of course if you start over, the sidecar can arrive already color matched ready to go onto your bike.

 

As to mounting your sidecar, the issue is not so much the lower front mount as the upper front as Harley now has radiators in the area that the upper front attaches  on many of their bikes. While the upper front we make could be adapted. It was not designed to not also have a rear mount with it. We have modified Harley sidecars in the past to attach with a 4 point mount however the ride quality suffers as your "upper" mount arm does flex and helps slightly with ride quality.

 

Another route you could go if you really just like the look of the Harley sidecar is to mount your current body onto a new chassis running a modern 4 point mount. This could be done with out any custom fabrication other then the body mount to the frame.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

866-638-1793

866-638-1793

Yes, HD dropped the sidecar when they started the trike, with the fiberglass and plastics all made in the same factory. Obviously they are selling more trikes than they did sidecars.... What a shame. Glad to hear there is no issue with the anti lock brakes being the new bike is such equipped. I do like the idea if I did go with a "modern" sidecar, I could put the HD body on a new chassis, with the HD fender and wheel. I have the wheel, and am planing to machine off the rotor mounting bosses on the outside. Which leaves the inside for mounting the disk. Questions would be... Would you use a stock front caliper on a custom bracket or something different? Would the large diameter of the disk be to much brake for the application? Or, would a proportional valve be necessary to tune the braking? Just some thoughts.

Tom

 

Tom, Ride Safe! AMA, HOG, IBA, PGR.

The sidecar brake needs to be the weakest brake on the bike. A front caliper is far to powerful. We use a Brembo caliper with 32mm pistons and a pad that has about 2 square inches of surface. We also make our own brake rotors that are much smaller diameter then the Harley brake rotor. We currently make 6 different rotors to work with several different types of wheels and applications.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

866-638-1793

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

 

Jay, looking at your web site, it appears that a brake is optional on most all of your sidecars. Do you have a cut off point where you you feel a brake is necessary or not? If so what would that be?

Tom

Tom, Ride Safe! AMA, HOG, IBA, PGR.

Save your self a lot of problems have someone that can make the mounts right to fit the bike Like DMC.  Get it right the first time. It can be done.

Seen it done, but darn few can make the mounts right and send them to you .

As for brakes if your not going to do them right likely better off without them.  Last thing you want it brakes that don't function right one a sidecar.

good luck with it post some pictures.

We make brakes an option on our lower priced sidecars, standard on the more expensive sidecars. The brake is an option as some people do not get past looking at price and some sidecar manufactures and some people tell you that you do not need a brake. They may be right, up until the one time you do need a brake. My opinion on this is that many companies do not know how to make a brake work right and many people want to convince them selves that they made the right choice by going with out a brake. I feel that if a brake keeps you out of the emergency room even once, it is worth the price. I have had two instances where I did not have a brake and wish I did. My first sidecar was a California Friendship 1 back before California offered a brake. It was on a GL1100 that I put about 150K on with the sidecar. We were towing our tent trailer at about 70mph in the left lane of the freeway when some one lost their load ahead of us and traffic came to an unexpected stop. I did not have enough traction on the front tire to steer and slow down which would have been an issue had I not been in the left lane. We ended up stopped on the shoulder. The next time we were filming for the photo's in the "Yellow book" "Driving a sidecar outfit" by David Hough at the Cascade Endurance center. We had just put the KLR, Enduro rig together the day before and simply ran out of time to get the brake installed as such I did not have a brake. Coming down one of the hills on wet leaf covered grass it was every thing I could do to keep in  semi control with the sidecar pushing the front end of the bike off to the left. Fortunately this was out of sight of the camera so it did not really happen 😉 The incident with my first Goldwing California Friendship 1 sidecar led me to come up with a way to retro fit brakes to these sidecars.

Many of the sidecar companies in the USA due brakes by welding a ring to the back side of a trailer hub. As such no two hubs are exactly the same. A few of these companies including our early sidecars used brake rotors from the rear of the Citreon GSA car. These rotors are out of production. We make or own version to support our early sidecars as well as our competitors sidecars as well as making our own hubs that are consistently the same. We now make 7 different brake rotors to work with different wheels. We run Brembo calipers and offer retro fit kits for many sidecars on the market.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

866-638-1793

Jay, totally agree, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Especially if your carrying passenger/s. Was curious if anyone ever done a comparison of stopping distances on sidecars with and without a sidecar a brake. Brake technology has come a long way from the mechanical brake bikes I learned to ride on. Triple discs vs literally standing on the bake pedal... man, we come a long way!

Tom, Ride Safe! AMA, HOG, IBA, PGR.