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Looking into getting my first sidecar

I could use some advice and guidance.

I have been cruising around here and adv and triumphrat looking for info on sidecar setups.

My 5 year old thinks sidecars are the coolest thing since sliced bread, and are the only bikes he thinks are "OK" to be in a color other than black or chrome, so I have started looking around at getting a hack setup so I an take him out to the shows and on rides with me.

My game plan is to find a Triumph Bonneville that is a few years old to use as a tug. That should give me some power and reliability, and will look good in the garage next to my vintage Triumph.

As far as the chair itself though, I m at a bit of a loss.

There is a Ural / Royal Enfield/cozy dealer in town, and they said they can get me a Ural or cozy car and do the install or me.

There is also a sidecar guy at the local Triumph dealer and they said they can do an install, but don't have any connections with any car builders, so I have to supply that.

There aren't any car builders that are nearby (Hannigan is the closest at 3 hours away). So I think my best bet is to either do the mount and setup myself or rely on the triumph dealer.

I have heard that the cozy cars arent really meant for a bike that large, and to be honest I Ind the Ural chairs to be a bit ugly.

What should I be looking at size wise to mount to a newer Bonnie? And what cars would actually fit it style wise?

Is my best bet to order a new car from a builder or keep my eyes peeled on eBay and then just order a new mount and frame?

I used to build and setup suspensions and chassis for hotrods a d race cars, but I haven't been able to wrap my brain around how to go about setting up a sidecar.

Dan, Welcome to the forum. The common mistake many newcomers make is to underestimate the costing of building their own rig. If $$$ are factors, every so often there are Triumph rigs already set up and tweaked that come up for sale. That will be a less expensive intro into sidecars than building your own. When you find a rig you are interested in, ask here if there is anyone from the USCA is near its location that can check it out for you. I know when I first started, I didn't know what I didn't know. Didn't know what to look for, what to avoid or what was dangerous. The members here want you and your family to be safe, get off on the right rig and enjoy the sport we love. Welcome and good luck finding your new rig. CCjon

Its good to hear that you have experience with hot rods and race cars! Setting up a sidecar isn't rocket science, but does take a full understanding of the principles at work and a lot of patience from the installer. It might even take several adjustments until it feels just right and doesn't scrub your tires away in a mile!
I sure wish you lived closer to Kansas City, I could help you connect the car to a bike and get it aligned just right. I, too, have a lot of hot rod and sprint car building experience and after learning all the terminology and principles of the sidecar geometry, plus a lengthy session with one of the builders of old, I quickly learned the ins and outs of setting up a car. Now I even fabricate my own mounts and accessories. You can, too, I'm sure! Learn all you can about lean-out, toe-in, car axle lead, rake and trail.
Are you just dead set on a modern Bonneville? There are a lot of complete rigs out there that would be a wonderful first rig. In just the last month I have seen about six complete rigs in the classifieds right here that looked really great. Most sidecarists tend to baby their whole rig. You should be able to find a descent complete rig within six months if you don't limit yourself. IMO, an 850 Triumph will be a bit short on power for longer distance cruising on the highways. I would look for a 1200 Gold Wing, or bigger as a tug. There was recently a 1200 Gold Wing with a Vetter Terraplane (he called it a Verraplane!) that looked really nice, especially for the price! It even had the full compliment of Vetter fairing, trunk and saddlebags. My personal rig is a Vetter Terraplane being pulled by a Kawasaki Voyager 1300 sixer. It's my third sixer and second sidecar. GREAT tug if you don't mind tinkering with it to bring it up to like new running condition! Just keep watching the classifieds on this site! Don't rush into anything! There will always be another great rig show up before too long!

Thanks for the replies, I'm not married to the idea of the Tre Triumph, but I do have a bit of a twinge of brand loyalty. And the modern classics definitely have the right "look", I'm. A rockabilly hotrod guy, and the retro styling definitely appeals to me and fits well with my lifestyle. But after working on high end racecars and doing product dev for advanced hybrid systems, I do like to have some modern technology with my vintage look. I mean the TV in my living room is a 1280lcd shoved inside of a 51 Admiral case.

While I could probably do the build and setup myself, I would prefer to have someone else do it this time, and after a year or so of studying their work I might be comfortable building a rig of my own. That's why I am looking at the two dealerships to most likely do the work. Unless someone can point me to a sidecar builder in or near Central Indiana.

I'm not too worried about interstates, since I avoid them like the plague when I'm on my bike or in my car, so I have no intention of getting on the freeway in a hack. I tend to prefer state highway and county roads.

Welcome to the Slightly Off-Centered World of Sidecars Dan!

I can second the notion of an OldWing as a tug. Pulls like a freight train and easy to work on as they have minimal plastic to dig thru. I have an 1100 with a double-wide car and it handles the job just fine. My car was built in Auburn, IN actually! Do approach the sport cautiously. When I say Slightly Off-Centered, that's as much a warning as a welcome. The center of gravity of a rig is well to the left, making turns at speed, even slow speeds, a challenge.

We have done a lot of sidecars on the Bonneville and can send you out a sidecar with the mounts to do the work your self. The least expensive is the Russian Sputnik sidecars we offer $2995, the most popular is our M72B, $3995, our M72D, Classic and several other of our sidecars would also work well. Most important the mounts are designed for the Bonneville not a bunch of "universal" type frame clamps that we have you figure out how to use. I have attached the mounting instructions so you can see if this is some thing you would want to do on your own or have done.
In our photo gallery section there are many photo's of Bonneville's
Jay G
DMC sidecars

Attached files

Bonneville T100 Mounts.docx (2 MB)  BASIC SIDECAR INSTRUCTIONS.doc (388.5 KB) 

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

Dan, I recently came across a facebook page called WildSidecar. I have spent MANY hours browsing all the pics they post and I am amazed at the variety and ingenuity of all the custom builders out there. Most (60%) seem to be in Europe, but a lot are right here in the U.S. I think you might enjoy browsing a lot of the pics as they show a lot of hacks designed from the 50's-60's. Yes, lots of Tr's on there, too!
Also, I would like to say that Jay is right. They do make excellent mounts for almost any car to almost any bike, not using universal mounts.

We've been hack riders for just over 5 years now - bought a gently used Ural Tourist back in 2011 - it was a 2006 mode lwith only 4210 km on the clock! Drove it until last week - we wanted something with more power so we started looking for used rigs - ended jup finding a 1994 Honda GL1500SE with a California Sidecar attached, with 65K miles on the clock - for $8K! Drove from our home in San Jose, Ca to Cottage Grove, Or to look at it, bought it, and rode it home - nothing like a road trip on a new-to-you bike! There are deals out there if you look for them - this one was on craigslist, but we also looked on ebay, and on the USCA website.

We put our Ural on craigslist and it sold within a week...

What are the things you guys had wished you knew before getting your first sidecar rig?

IamDan - 6/25/2016 7:01 AM

What are the things you guys had wished you knew before getting your first sidecar rig?

Jaydmc, with all of his experience, knowledge and talent!
Seriously, to me, the overal quality and strength of a car, plus the rigidity of the mounts, was an unknown to me, and my first rig actually bowed the mounting tubes, made by a very reputable maker. My bike was exceptionally heavy, though. I learned that the stronger the better. Same for the sidecar! Above all, don't let price influence you. Cheap usually means poor quality!