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Well after having surgery to remove a large tumor from inside my spinal cord I could no longer ride. So after a year of physical therapy I’m to the point where I can walk with a cane. My left leg is totally numb from the hip down and my legs don’t always go exactly where I tell them to. So I started looking for a sidecar for my Electra glide. Couldn’t find anything in my price range that was suitable for the big pig. So I figured screw it I’ll build my own. So hers my designe using a swingarm off a 08 GSXR 750

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Doesn't look like the surgery affected your welding ability 🙂 pretty slick looking.

The problem with humanity is: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology.

Thank you. I was an industrial millwright for 20years working in powertplants and steel mills. I had a hard time with some of the weld. Workbench too small and had to stand for long periods of time so that’s still hard on my back and legs. But overall I’m pleased with the build. I’m still waiting on a plate for on top of the frame. Then figure what seat to use and build a body. I don’t really care if the seat and body aren’t on for a while. I just want to be able to ride the thing.

a) Nice! Looks way overbuilt, I think you were probably a GOOD millwright. 🙂 You won't have my anemic frame problems, that's for sure.
b) You don't need a plate for the top of the frame. (Unless you just want one.) Most just use a mount similar to an engine mount, and you're done, bolt the tub on.
c) Be careful of the weight without the tub, but it looks pretty beefy, not sure if it will matter much. Harleys IIRC have steel tubs, so the weight is considerable compared to some tiny crappy fiberglass tub (like mine).
d) You can sometimes find used tubs without frames for sale. I actually found 2 or 3 times as many of those as I did cars with frames. No telling what kind or condition though, from how your work looks, it might be best just to build your own anyhow.
e) Jay (DMC) is the man. If anyone can answer a question about your build, consider him the Oracle at Olympus. 🙂

Awesome. Thank you so much for the advice. Just test ride it and the sidecar wheel floats way to easy. So I figured 3/16 plate for 8sqft weighs about 55 pounds so I had a spare wheel and tire for an f150 sitting here that I just strapped to the frame for ballast. So far it’s helped a lot. Now to fine tune toe and lean out.

Since you have such a stout foundation, consider building a flatbed in addition to a tub. That way you can easily reconfigure for times when you want to haul cargo instead of passengers. A roll-on flatbed can even be used to take a wheelchair passenger out for an experience that is otherwise closed off to them.

Played around with toe and lean out today. It’s Getting better but still have some small bugs to work out. Rig does straight down the road at 30mph. Right turns feel good. It’s still requires considerably more force to turn left. So I’m figuring I need a little more lean out with the bike or a little more toe in with the sidecar. Not sure which one to go with. Maybe a little of one and if that’s not better try a little more of the other. Any advice is appreciated.

It seems to me, the leanout is more to counteract the road conditions, and the steering probably should be tow. I'm no expert though, do whatever Jay says if he comments. If it's going straight, though, that might not make sense... I mean, it's straight at pretty much any speed, or did you only do 30? I'm not real sure you should mess too much with it if it's running all right but hard to steer. Your frame is monstrous, it might just be big enough to make it hard to steer. Also- realize you probably will have to go through it all over again. Adding the tub and other mods you plan on might change things enough.

The 'convertible' cargo hack idea is fantastic. I've been thinking about making mine do something like that. In the design stages like you're in, you can actually use QD pins like you find at Tractor Supply. However- again, your weights will be different. Putting a tool box on instead of a passenger tub might not be too different, but whatever you do now, and change when you install the tub, will be pretty much exactly what happens when you go to an 'empty' cargo hauler. Again no expert, not real sure how different. But I've been toying with the idea of making a convertible like that. Even thought of mounting a jet ski there, but that's more of a stupid novelty idea than realistic. The biggest drawback I see is wiring and other connections. Honestly, as an electrician, I could do it. QD wire harnesses, and such. I'd have a lot of stuff in a real decent passenger tub, though. It would have USB ports, maybe a radio or heater, all the options DMC throws in. And if you make it like the frame- it's gonna be damn heavy. I'd be worried about how to lift it, where to put it, and how to not scratch the paint. It might actually be easier to build two frames with QD hardware with different stuff on each frame. Shrug. Love the idea, though, it's just practicality is a bit lacking... Something that of course we all worship as sidecar fanatics, right? LMAO

I think set up is going to be a big compromise for me being here in PA. I ride all sorts of different road conditions all the time. Flat highway, twisty, heavily crowned mountain roads, high speed sweepers. We have it all and ride them all frequently. So setting up for the style of road I ride most, well I don’t have one of those. Right now I’m at 7/8” toe in and 1/8” lean out with me on the bike. Having a slight pull to the right on most roads so I’m going to try a little more lean out and see how that goes.

Finally got the diamond plate in and welded. Pretty much turning out how i has it in my head lol. I’m thinking of having it sprayed in bed liner. Haven’t decided yet. It got a little crusty from the long gravel driveway.

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Cool. 🙂 It isn't so much setting it up for different style of riding, as for different physical roads. Different crown, maybe, but camber not so much, because that changes with every curve. I don't really see a lot of problems, but I don't have the extreme differences you're talking about. I wouldn't worry too much, set it decent for where you're at, because you're going to be riding there more than anywhere else, and see how much difference it makes when you take it out. I suspect it will only be a little difference in steering effort, nothing more, but I'm no expert. I think I would lean out a little more, personally, so you're probably on the right page.

I might think about going with a different shock or something, but not real sure on that. I don't particularly understand how the Busa would be different, at least not in the ways to make that decision. It's possible all the super-performance stuff works just fine and is nothing but overkill, as long as it's matched to the weight you need. Something to think on, though, you don't want it bouncing & jouncing all over. Looking good though, don't give Jay too much competition! 🙂

Frame looks awesome. I take it you are not building a car? I am doing an HD vintage car and I have run into a lot of trouble with metal warping and I finally pulled the plug and chopped it up!! Now I need to restart. Good luck with the project.

I think he's planning on some kind of tub, but not a traditional/classic one. I'm waiting to see what he does, it does look pretty awesome. Way overbuilt, but why not? My Velorex axle is for 7500#. 😉

Nice "tank style" sidecar. Sometimes building a frame slightly too big, is way better than stiffening/rigiding it after.

For a better work experience, try to build some "third leg" for yourself:


A bicycle saddle with angle and height precisely set up to support user's hipbone/tailbone in position that normal healthy man uses, but support by your own legs is reduced to keeping equipoise/balance. Sometimes between sitting and staying.

This simple piece of furniture allowed me to "stay" in workshop. I "designed" it when when my hips were in so bad condition than I couldn't go to the toilet without crutches. With this "chair" I could work on lathe, vise or welding table with significantly reduced back and hips pain. But most of that time I was welding on the floor. You may also consider building a short legged welding table, about 8-10" high. I made few works on such table sitting/laying next to it on the floor, also made one sidecar back then.

If I can find a sidecar body cheap enough I may bolt one on. I figured it’s a heavy bike, I’m a big guy. Why build it flimsy?

So I wrote that sometimes heavy is beter than filmsy. My colleague had such heavy sidecar to his Junak bike, we called his rig "The Tank" . It was a bit hard to drive (track wider than wheelbase) but acted as a reliable truck. Simplest cheap passenger tub will be a copy of russian one but without narrow ends, just the same width in every point. Two sheetmetal sidewalls and one simple straight sheetmetal as back-bottom-front. For you, as good welder, it should be easy to connect. Straight sidewalls give better place to mount crutch holders than round tub. Or you may build a cargo version. You have good base. Add a big trunk with modified lid to make it accessible from motorcycle seat or from outside. Maybe some army surplus. Army hardware is durable and well engineered. I had a trailer with such chest.
Other cheap tub will be a plywood one. Wood, glue, few simple sheetmetal elements. Somewhere on this forums a guy posted photos from whole making of. As I can rmember it was two-person side by side version.

I am trying to build a replica HD car and have run into many problems. I cut the two sides out of 18gauge sheet metal and have the top/bottom tapered to fit like a vintage HD car. The shape is bang on with the car being 78" in length and 22" wide. It is 20" tall, 17" to the hatch cut out. Now the main problem is attaching the top to the sides. First attempt was plug welding 1/2" angle around the perimeter and plug welding the top to the angle. No luck as warpage from the welding and grinding the plugs resulted in chopping the whole thing up and depositing it in a metal recycling bin. Attempt number two..... What if I stitch welded the top to the sides? Of course, I would use jigs and braces to hold everything together until it was fully welded. I'm wondering if this is the proper procedure before I load up on more 18 gauge sheet metal!

This is similar to how we do unibody auto framing. Sad thing is, we have dedicated fixtures to hold everything, and tack weld it in strategic areas, then remove the fixtures and go back and do lots of welds. Perhaps you can do the same with clamps and 2x4s? We mock up the entire body at once, and try to evenly do the welding, so any warpage is symmetrical. Wish I could help more, but I'm not really a sheet metal guy, I maintained the robots and clamping fixture. Our framing fixture cost 20x more than my house, but we can go from a bunch of sheet metal to a basic car frame in less than a minute. I think you're on the right track with a piece of angle around the perimeter. At the very least, for temporary support, but permanent sounds right. Making it thicker than the sheet doesn't sound right, though, keep it thin, and maybe in spots you can't see, rivets would work? I don't see why the whole underside can't be riveted.

You can use 1/2'' thin wall angle on sidewalls perimeter. But the corner will not be made from the sheetmetal itself, only from angle with lap-joint welded to the wings of angle. Weld with short tacks and then weld with very short (but not too thin) welds. At the end, round everything up with a flap disc. Technoque used when making containers, looking very nice.

Thanks, I’ll try it again. Lots of metal available!

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