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1ST. I have never had a sidecar before. I have a 03 Vstar 1300cc w/shaft drive and a 03 Roadstar 1600cc w/belt drive. Due to age and leg issues I have decided to look into a sidecar. Any input on witch bike to use. Belt or shaftdrive?? I would also be interested in any ones input on size, make, of a sidecar. Anythings to be aware of in who to buy from. So far I leaning towards a dealer in New Orleans. I am located in the San Diego Ca. area. Thanks "RT"

First and most important, make sure that the sidecar is strong enough for your bike and comes with bike specific NOT universal mounting hardware. We have bike specific mounts for both of your bikes. Light weight entry level sidecars that come with "universal" type mounts would not be a safe combination for either of your bikes. If possible it is nice to have an automotive rear tire on the bike, your V Star takes a 170 70 16 tire and the Road star takes a 150 16. There is not an automotive tire will not fit on the road star, there is an automotive tire that will fit the V star. We have triple tree's to lower the steering effort on both bikes.
If you are going to have a passenger, make sure that the passenger can get in and out of the sidecar, some sidecars are very hard to get in and out of, others are much easier. Some sidecars have a trunk that opens from the out side, others you tip the seat back forward to get into the trunk area. We make sidecars that are hard to get in and out of and sidecars that are easy to get in and out of, we also have trunks that open from the out side and some that do not. It all depend on which of the 12 models of sidecars you order.
As to the question of belt of shaft drive, this is the least of your concerns. Both will serve you well. I prefer a shaft but the belt will work fine for you with a sidecar.
As you have not had a sidecar before if possible take a sidecar class, There are none in California for political reasons, the nearest one I know of is near us in the Seattle area. All classes should be listed at this link If you can not take a class the book by David Hough "Driving a sidecar outfit" is worth the read. We sell it as does White Horse press.
As you asked "any things to be aware of in who to buy from" If you are having a sidecar built as would be the case with any of our sidecars you will be required to make a deposit, we require a 50% deposit. If you are buying an already built sidecar then if the company will not take a charge card, stay away from them, a charge card gives you protections you do not have with other forms of payment. We of course take charge cards. I know of one company that will go unnamed (check with the BBB) who has sent several people sidecars with either no wheel or with a scooter wheel and say that their sidecars will fit any bike. When the sidecar does not fit or when they ask about the missing wheel, they do nothing for them. With a charge card you can do a charge back, chances are however that any company that has a sidecar in stock the sidecar would not be a safe match for your bike due to size, weight and strength as most in stock sidecars are either made in India or the Chez republic and were designed for 350cc bikes and come with "universal" type mounts. In general "universal" means it fits nothing universally. Some companies tell you that you do not need a brake on the sidecar and they may be right, up until the one time that you do need a brake. If a brake keeps you out of the emergency room even once it is worth every penny of the price. Our lower priced smaller sidecars the brakes are an option, the heavier larger sidecars the brake is standard.
With sidecars like pretty much any thing else, you get what you pay for, if the price is really cheap, then usually there is a reason.
Any company you deal with, check with the BBB if you have any doubts.
I would be glad to help 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

Under German law you can build up a rig up to 50 hp without a sidecar brake. Over 50 hp the brake is required. This in my opinion is a good regulation. I know that you US guys justly give a %$§* on German law. But in case of building up vehicles it's a good advice where you are safe and where not. Even on my 650cc Ural rig with about 30 hp I don want to miss my sidecar brake.
Like Jay writes: "Some companies tell you that you do not need a brake on the sidecar and they may be right, up until the one time that you do need a brake. If a brake keeps you out of the emergency room even once it is worth every penny of the price" That's about the most significant statement.
If you spend money to build up a rig anyway, why not spend another $ 500 on a good sidecar brake?

Thanks for the info to Jay and Claus. "RT"

I personally would lean toward the shaft,because of maintenance. Car puts unusual stress on lots of places. am not sure,but there is a possibility the New Orleans guy has cars that are to light for your use. Don't know what he sells. Check it out.
Tex. rep

Thank you "RT" I will take any other advice I can get.

One other thing I have fond out. Ask 50 sidecar experts and expect to get 49 different answers. Really,there is a abundance of good info on these pages. Every one is willing to help. You get the rig set up right and they are a lot of fun. Welcome to the whacky world of off center riding)(driving) (piloting) what ever you choose to call it. Check the forum about the national sidecar rally in Sturgis S.D. June 25-28. od place to look over the different rigs and get the 49 pieces of expert advice. Will and Harold are working hard to make this a outstanding rally.
Tex. rep.

In the SanDiego area you could contact If still in business, the owner is a long time sidecar owner/builder/importer and active in the national association-I'm told. Could be a good close in resource. And, it could be useful to consider dealing with a local supplier, so it's convenient to handle after install problems, adding extras e.g. triple trees, modifying struts, adding electrics, etc. If your supplier is far away, the distance can create service and performance issues. I've had those, even with a close by supplier. Good luck.