USCA Sidecar Forum

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Newbie Needs Advice Please 🙂 Greatly appreciated:-)

Hi Mike, thanks for your advice. I like your idea. Makes me think I should get another bike for the sidecar. I have too much into the Harley to repaint it. An older bike like a Gokdwing might be a good candidate .. buy it at a good price and have it painted to match the chair. It might be really cool if it were the same vintage. .. early 80's ..


I have an '82 Goldwing and can vouch for their strength, reliability and ease of repair. Parts can be an issue, but FeeBay has always come thru for me in a pinch.

Check out to see if there is a riding class anywhere close to you. Most have loner rigs for you to take the class on. Highly recommended. You should have a beautiful rig when finished. My wife and I both ride sidecar outfits. Really enjoy them. National rally is in Corning N.Y. July 27-30. If possible,give it a try.
USCA sec.
Tex. rep

I have been tokd Honda added a gear in '83 .. does yours idle know nda high in 4th with the sidecar? I was thinking it might make no difference given the added weight to pull ..

I don't wish to discount others' observations about how difficult it is to drive a sidecar rig, but I'd like to say my experience has been otherwise. Other than getting used to having the car out to the right and being sure not to run into the curb, and taking it easy when cornering, I have found the rig to be quite intuitive. When first learning to ride (4 years ago) I was impressed with how much the sidecar rig rode like the tractors I drove when I was a kid growing up on the farm - I was riding on top of the bike with it moving around beneath me (as in driving a tractor), rather than becoming one with the bike as on a 2-wheeler. Compensating for the pull to one side or another when accelerating or braking quickly became second nature. I'm still honing my cornering skills, but then I'm also doing that on my 2-wheelers - it is a continuous process.

On the other hand I have been impressed with how much easier (yes, EASIER!) it is to ride a sidecar rig. No worries about losing one's balance and tipping over at stop lights, slow speed turns, or moving the rig around the garage. When underway I no longer worry about losing traction by sliding on loose rocks, oil slicks, or tar snakes. When I stop I don't have to worry about my footing, or if the site is level enough. And perhaps most important, it's just plain easier to ride a sidecar rig. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to keep a 2-wheel rig balanced, and the sidecar frees me from all of that.

If this sounds like an old guy, well, it is! As I age (I'm now 72) I find the considerations mentioned above more and more salient.

So, yes, riding a sidecar brings its own unique challenges and learning requirements, but they can be handled relatively quickly. On the other hand, sidecars also have all of the advantages I've mentioned, plus the capacity to haul tons of stuff.

Wally Gingerich
Shaker Heights, OH
1988 BMW R100RT with Ural sidecar

Often times when we hear negativity about sidecars it is that the people did not learn to ride the sidecar however often it is also that the sidecar is either a miss match for the bike strength and weight wise (this would not be the case with your bike and sidecar) and often it is due to the sidecar being mounting poorly. If the sidecar is not mounted correctly it will never work correctly. "Universal" type mounts seldom work. Home made mounts can work fine or depending on the skill level of the person making them can be down right dangerous. Years ago I saw a BMW that had been mounted using steel from a bed frame! We can provide bike side mounting hardware however the bits and pieces for between the bike and the sidecar are not so easy as Watsonian uses an odd mounting system and odd bolts (when was the last time you saw 3/4 20TPI ?) When we do these in house we start with our bike side mounts, put the sidecar next to the bike and work out what we need to make the connection.
We also offer triple tree's to lower the steering effort with the sidecar.
Let me know if we can be of any help.
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

Blueeyedmichael - 6/3/2017 10:32 PM

I have been tokd Honda added a gear in '83 .. does yours idle know nda high in 4th with the sidecar? I was thinking it might make no difference given the added weight to pull ..

I think the changed the gear ratios in '83, they didn't add a 6th gear. Honestly, I can't tell you if the '82 or '83 ratios are more or less rig-friendly. I can tell you that I don't do many highway miles so rarely make it up to 5th gear anyway. Pulls like a freight train in gears 1-4 and glad to know that 5th is there if I need it.

Good point, Jay. I'm sure the overall design, setup and quality of the rig is a big factor in how easy (and safely) it is to ride, although I have only ever owned one rig. Fortunately for me my rig is a good one -- you built it for the original owner. My rig steers and trails beautifully, and I have experienced none of the problems that can occur with sidecars.

Hey Mike you have absolutely come to the best place in the world to ask questions about sidecars, sidecars aren't for everyone but they are fun to drive if its what you want to do. Most times the people I have found to talk negative about them were the folks who knew everything , done everything and mounted the sidecar themselves with little advice from someone with experience. What happened was they didn't have the setup right and either fought the bike to drive it or almost wrecked because of not understanding how it worked. Not making assumptions but at your age you would seem to be some one to take your time and learn to drive one of these things. I have a small Velorex on my Sportster and have been running it for 6 years now and love it . Last month I bought a California Friendship II for my wifes 1995 Ultra Classic and will be mounting it in the next couple of weeks

Doug "Rain Man" Plotner 2nd Thief M/M chapter coordinator Eastern Panhandle WV USCA #8789 01 883C Sportster /Velorex combo 95 Ultra Classic Electra Glide /California Friendship combo Iron Butt Association member

Doug is right! If there is anything we sidecarists is good at it is free advice. That being said most of these guys have been around for a while and know a lot from experience. I mounted my first sidecar. I struggled with the handling. after 20+ years and 65K+ miles riding rigs set up by pros I can say that it is good to pay someone to do it right or have someone helping you that has done it right.
Hang in there. It is a great adventure and a great bunch of people.