USCA Sidecar Forum

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Lead times

I post this as elsewhere there are posts (here and on other forums) about lead times for sidecar builds from other companies.

Our current lead time is about 5 months. We have to go with "about" as while we assemble sidecars one at a time, we do not fabricate them one at a time for instance. Out of our last 10 orders, 8 are for Expedition sidecars. We only have one mold for the body so for some of these customers, their body may have been built several months before we start assembling the sidecar. While we only have one jig for the frame, the parts only need to be in the jig while being welded so we will fabricate all of these sidecars frames at the same time. It is more efficient this way. Our in house painter has not been able to keep up so we now use 4 out side painters. If two or more sidecars are to be the same color we will batch paint the sidecars. We then assemble the sidecars close to being in the same order that the orders were placed. We currently have about 20 people on pay roll however we do have some turn over from time to time and while I have been advertising for several months now to hire a second shift. We have not found enough people to be able to start the second shift. So I say our lead times are "about" 5 months, this could end up being 3 months, could be 6. So bottom line if you want a sidecar for early spring time, unless we find enough people to get our second shift going, it may be to late. If you want a sidecar for late spring or early summer. You need to get the order in now. If you are just looking for mounting hardware current lead times have been holding steady at about a month.

We purchased a larger building about 2 years ago, have added more equipment and are using more CNC equipment to speed things up and are now building about 50% more sidecars then we could a year ago. I hate it when lead times get as far out as they are now. Doing the best we can.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

866-638-1793

To new and prospective sidecar purchasers, I cannot speak for all sidecar builders, but my observation is that sidecar builders are not a high-volume business like the auto and truck manufacturing industry in which the manufacturer turns out thousands of units each year which dealers purchase.  The auto and truck dealers may choose to take used vehicles in trade for new units sold.

The sidecar manufacturing industry doesn't have a large dealer network willing to make speculative purchases of sidecars for resale.  Instead, the manufacturer deals directly with the customer by taking the customer's order listing the model, color, wheels, and specific accessories desired by the customer and then builds the sidecar to the customer's specifications.  Manufacturers of sidecars do not to my knowledge take trade-ins.  They would have to find that one-in-hundreds of prospective sidecar purchasers who wants that nearly identical used sidecar for the price at which it is offered.  On any given day there aren't hundreds of prospective sidecar buyers in the U.S., let alone that one-in-hundreds who would want that particular sidecar, at that price, in that location.

My guess is that sidecar builders tend to be located in smaller towns and cities where the cost of facilities and perhaps labor is lower.  The disadvantage of that is that there are few skilled fiberglass workers, painters,  and welders who can be hired in that locale and immediately put to work building flawless units.

I can appreciate Jay's concern about the amount of lead time (delay) between ordering and receiving your sidecar that his customers experience.   I'm sure Hannigan, Motorvation, and other sidecar builders must also deal with this same problem.

With more URAL rigs in the marketplace than ever is fantastic, because it is creating more sidecar owners than ever. Which in turn is creating an active upgrading sidecar demand for our domestic builders. That's a very positive indication of the direction for the US sidecar community and for the USCA.

Many of us have recommended to first time sidecar owners to start with a used Ural. See if you even like driving a sidecar without investing a lot of money. If you don't like it, turn around and sell the URAL for about what you paid for it. If you like sidecars, then ride the URAL often, learn how to pilot sidecars safely. Learn to maintain your rig. Then when your skills are ready for more power or more speed, upgrade to a larger tug with a bigger tub. We have some great US sidecar builders who can build whatever type of sidecar you want.  If you aren't sure which model is best suited for your wants, they will guide you to find the right combination of tug and tub. They want you to be a satisfied sidecar owners as they know if you have a positive sidecar experience, you will speak highly of them and the sport we all love.

Jay, congratulations on building a successful sidecar business. Am pleased to hear your problem is finding more qualified help to build more rigs to meet the demand. A nice problem to have.  Your commentary and advice on sidecar issues here on the forum is greatly appreciated.

CCjon

USCA Secretary

 

 

For those in a hurry, we still have Sputnik sidecars and in some cases can have them ready to pick up or ship the same day you place the order. There are a few bikes that we batch build mounts for. Other bikes that we have to build the proper bike specific mounts for it could take as long as a month to have one ready to go. As a cheap alternative to buying a used Ural, pick up a simple bike like the Kawasaki KLR 650 or a Sportster and mount a Sputnik. You will have a bike that is reliable and you can also if you want latter sell the bike, the sidecar and or both. You can also move the sidecar over to a different bike.

Now, for a "tease" soon there will be a manufacture of motorcycles here in the USA that will be offering a sidecar as an option. Like Harley did, you will not be able to buy the motorcycle with the sidecar already on it as was the case with Harley, you will have to buy the bike, the sidecar and then put it together however it should take under an hour to put the sidecar on. The sidecar will even arrive with the brake already blead. The reason for not being able to buy the bike with the sidecar on it is the same reason I  would suspect Harley never offered it this way. EPA testing would be required as a three wheel motorcycle and to comply with DOT requirements a parking brake would need to be added. Yes, you could go to a Harley dealer and buy the motorcycle with the sidecar on it but that was only as the dealer installed the sidecar. More to follow when the new sidecar bike is ready to go to market, we will be providing the sidecar, the prototype is almost ready. This is another reason why we are trying to hire a second shift. It does not do any one a lot of good to sell more product then we can meet the demand for.

Jay G
DMC sidecars

http://www.dmcsidecars.com

866-638-1793

I met a couple a year ago this past summer who had a Sputnik on a Harley. Looked real good. They were in their motorhome, she was in a wheel chair, Harley rig sitting beside the motorhome. I like the looks of the Sputnik. Later, when I get on the other computer, I'll look for a photo.

Tom Wells aka Reardan Tom