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Sidecar bike leanout Why?

Hello all I am new to sidecars and am trying to understand them before I get started on this years winter project. Most of what I have read seems to make sense except I don't understand why you lean the bike out a little? Could someone shed a little light on it for me  .  Thanks John

Hi JohnB,

Leaning the sidecar bike slightly away from the sidecar compensates for the wind drag of the sidecar at speed and the crown of the road (slope to right in USA).   Many larger touring type sidecar have an electric lean adjuster to compensate for the greater wind drag from the larger frontal area.   In my experience, there is no "standard measurement" for lean out - it varies from rig to rig.

Lee Summer Grove, LA Ural cT, CJ750, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L, GTV300

When rider is not on the bike the learn out is set. Once ride gets on the bike returns to normal or darn close. With out the lean out the bike would tend to lean in if you did not set a lean out. You see numbers 1 to 3 degrees it depends on many things. I have a light weight rig on a 750 and a heavy rig on a RGU.

Lean out has a lot more effect on the light one. I have a friend that is about 250 pounds his lean out needs a little custom adjustment.

On my RGU rig me on or off the bike has no real effect on it. I am a light weight. On the 750 rig it is set just a shade over 1 degree.

The ECC on the sidecar compensates for the road grade to the right. The car being on the right would tend to pull you to the low side. Adjusting the ECC compensates for that. It is well worth having on larger rigs that are ridden a lot.  Getting it on my twin classic was a very good idea. On the 750 rig not a big deal. When using the ECC it should be return to low setting when ride aggressively , changing lanes at highway speeds and changing lanes where you have a drop off.  Of course this will very depending on the rig.


Lean out should be set with the rig loaded as it will commonly be used.  That means with the driver in place.  Lean out is not just to compensate for spring compression/suspension sag.  It should be adjusted based on the crown of road that you commonly ride.  Adjustable lean lets you compensate on the fly when road crown changes.  There are lots of "rules of thumb" that tell you where to start but at the end of the day, it's a trial and error thing.  Set the lean, go for a ride, check for pull, come back and add adjustment in the opposite direction from the pull.

Good luck, sidecars aren't rules based, they are [personal] experience based.

Reardan Tom has reacted to this post.
Reardan Tom
Al Olme Minneapolis, Minnesota