USCA Sidecar Forum

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Need help choosing a car

I have a 78 GL 1000 I'm in the process of restoring. I want to add a side car, but have no idea where to start as to throw best fit for the bike. My wife will be riding with me most of the time, but when she's not, I'd like to try to keep all three wheels on the ground. Any suggestions on a car or how much a car should weigh?

Welcome to the slightly off-centered world of sidecars, Judo!

Ur Goldwing is about 700-750 pounds. Look for a car in the 150-200 pound range (1/4-1/3 of bike weight). Comfort of your passenger will also be a high need, so be sure to consider how easy the car is to enter/exit, cargo capability, large or small wind screen, roof, vents, power outlets, etc, etc, etc. I assume you will be riding paved roads, maybe even highway miles. A Goldwing is a bit big for off-road. If you plan to do a lot of highway, then aerodynamics may be high on your list.

A car with electric trim (aka electric lean) would be handy as well as a brake on the hack wheel. That kinda kit will also add weight to help reach your 150# weight goal. Goldwings often have a head shake problem, so be sure your head bearings are in good order and properly torqued. Modified trees, specific for sidecars and trikes are also a good solution as well as making the overall steering effort much easier.

As for riding empty, you can compensate for an empty chair by adding ballest. Lead weights, well contained sand, a big tool box or solid concrete blocks make good ballast as does water jugs. Just be sure to NOT refer to the wife as ballast!!

Your mounting hardware will be critical. Look for bike-specific mounts. There are a lot of options out there that call themselves "universal fit" mounts. Take it from personal experience, universal mounts fit nothing in the universe!

Much more advice will be heading your way. There are a LOT of knowlagable vendors and experienced pilots on this site, all more than willing to offer up solid advice.

See you on the road!

When using ballast temporary or permanent, it should be placed as far to the rear and toward the sidecar wheel as possible to have more leverage against flying the chair or dipping the nose in a hard stop. If temporary, it should be soft ballast so it wont damage the sidecar body during a sudden shift in speed or direction.


How much the sidecar should weigh is not really all that important, how strong the sidecar is as with a strong sidecar you can add ballast. Any "rule of thumb" about how much the sidecar should weight is of little use as it does not take into account how heavy the rider is, how wide the sidecar is mounted, where the bike carries its weight and a few other factors.
Now a rule of thumb that does work, If you stand on the left foot peg of the bike grab the handle bars and lean back, you should be able to just get the sidecar wheel hop up a bit, if it fly's up then add ballast.

Other things to keep in mind when choosing a sidecar beyond is it strong enough for a bike as heavy as yours (this leaves out Cozy, Velorex, Inders and many others) does it have a proper mounting system for your bike? By proper I mean mounts designed for your bike not "universal" "trust us it will fit your bike" but mounts made specifically for the GL1000.

Another thing to think about, some sidecars are easy to get in and out of, others not so much. If your wife finds it hard to get in and out of the sidecar then she may not want to ride in the sidecar. A sidecar is also some thing that can be with you many years through many bikes, if you wife can get in and out of the sidecar now with ease, will she be able to in 20 years?

Some sidecars do not offer brakes even as on option or have a drum brake that does not work well on a triple disk brake bike like yours. Many people will say you do not need a brake and they may be right, up until the one time when you do. Many off these people either do not know how to hook up a brake, or do not know how to make a brake work proper with your bike or simply can not afford a brake. I feel that if it keeps you out of the emergency room once, it is worth all of the cost. I ran a GL1100 for about 150K with a California friendship 1 sidecar with out a brake, once in the rain on the freeway and towing a trailer (which you might want to do down the road) and needed to stop quickly I ended up on the left shoulder, had I not been in the left lane at the time this could have been a real problem.

We can help with bike specific mounts and other items, if the budget is tight you might look at the Sputnik's we have $2995 including the mounting hardware. Less then 10 left as the factory is long gone these could be the last 10 we ever see.

I would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.
Jay G
DMC sidecars

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