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TLE sidecar on Softail


I've had a friend for a number of years who has built several sidecar rigs. I rode one of his a couple of years ago and decided that eventually I'd build one too. Mostly for when I couldn't hold the bike up as well due to age. Well recently a new grand daughter has arrived and shortly thereafter I came across a complete 1988 TLE sidecar. I have a 1988 Tourglide which the sidecar will fit perfectly on but I also have an 1998 Fatboy and a 1984 Shovelhead FLH. My plan was to put the car on the Fatboy if I could get it to fit.

Front mounts looked like no problem but I was running into some difficulty on engineering the rear mount.

About that time I came across this site with a post by Fuzzybeard which showed his Heritage with a TLE sidecar and his mounts!!! My lucky day!!!

Trying to get in touch with him about some exhaust routing questions.

A Harley factory sidecar on a Softail is pretty rare. I've only seen 2 postings about it being done and it all has to do with the mounts.
Hopefully I can make it work. Later on it will go on the Tourglide and lastly on the Shovelhead when they take my car keys away from me! HA!

This is a great site and I am happy to have found it! I'm 69 y/o and been riding for 40+ years. This is just another way to extend it longer plus to
build some good "Grampa memories" with my Granddaughter.

DMC has mounts for Softail... I used them on my Custom -89 to mount a California Companion which should be about the same, for mounting, as a TLE.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Sidecar Mounting Hardware

Attached files

Very Nice rig you have there! Softails in my mind make a perfect retro style bike for a side car mule.

Your front mount looks very similar to the hook up on the factory set up.

Do you have any views of the rear? I can see 1 mount from the top of the frame under the seat.

Couldn't tell on the other. Any more pictures would be great. I contacted DMC per your advice as well.


We have never developed anything for Harley brand sidecars. If you had a modern sidecar with a 4 point mount and suspension on the sidecar we would be able to help otherwise unless we have the bike and the sidecar in our shop there is not much we can do for you.
Jay G
DMC sidecars

Amazing to me the number of views this post has about mounting a Harley TLE sidecar to a Softail has generated with so few replies!!! It seems obvious to me there is some interest in such a project. I am proceeding with the attempt. I must thank Fuzzybeard for his post that he made some years ago that documented his mounting of the same. ( As I said the front TLE mounts bolt up to the FLST frame fine. I plan on using a mount similar to Fuzzybeards on the rear ( 3/8 thick plate) but plan to bolt on using the Right rear footpeg hole, the Swingarm bolt hole (utilizing a slightly longer bolt to make up for the bracket's thickness of apprx. 3/8 inch) then at the bottom using the 2 or 3 holes in the lower frame tube that the exhaust bracket bolts to. I'll also either have a fabricator make a "U" shaped clevis bracket to weld to the Flat piece for the Heim joint or I may be able to source this from a Hydraulic Cylinder Clevis mount also instead then weld it to the flat plate.
I'll be using a 2 into 1 exhaust instead of my tapered dual mufflers which really opens up the area where the Heim joint bolts to the bracket on the bike.
I'll post Picture when I get the bracket made. It will be a while. In the meantime, below is the Sidecar the day I bought it (not my bike in the background)
and the Fatboy I have been working on slowly for a couple of years.

Attached files

so you have the bike the sidecar was painted to match, but want to instead mount it to a softail

is that correct?

makes mine worth more the more that are hacked up



No, I bought the sidecar by itself. The matching '88 FLHT was not running. The owner had died and it was an Estate sale.

He had multiple non-running bikes.

I have a black '88 FLTC (Tourglide) that it will directly bolt to eventually but right now I'm mounting to the Softail.

I had no need for his FLHT. I'm out of room. I don't buy motorcycles as an "investment" per se. I buy them to ride

and make them to suit me. I understand your point of view on monetary value though.

its not monetary value to me per se.

its a combination of things:
my wife and i have agreed that its my / our last bike.

the more that get hacked up, home painted, mounts lost or mangled the better, my kids will get more than 10 cents on the dollar as more and more are hacked up.

I still see harley sidecars advertised for sale with no mounts, or worse without the tiny bits of the mount kit. the tiny parts, roll over switch, oil pressure elbow, remote brake cylinder reservoir, odd brake pedal etc that get lost when the sidecar and bike get separated that are hard to get, ive seen it already happening where the sidecar is near junk because the parts to mount it are getting near impossible to find. i can't imagine what it will take to get a left threaded heim joint in ten years...

that is what will make mine worth a little money when im gone, there will probably be a truckload of hacked up partial sidecars that folks can buy, but actually using them - thats what will get harder.

the one thing thats getting easier is steering, there are now a number of ways to fix the trail due to all the trikes out there. i personally prefer liberty trees, but to each there own.

lots of bikes getting parted out these days, prices are really down, none of my kids ride. so if its going to not go to the scrapper it has to be complete, working, original.

The TLE on a Fatboy project is moving along. Went with 2 into 1 exhaust which opened up the area where the rear mount

will be placed. 3/8 Steel plate, bolted in 4 places, Rear foot peg hole, Swing arm bolt and the 2 at the bottom where the

exhaust bracket bolts to the lower frame rail. I tried to improve just a little on Fuzzybeard's design. Then, weld the 2 ears

on the plate for the Heim joint to bolt to. The bracket is being made now. Hopefully ready in 7-10 days, the bracket that is.

Using stock Harley TLE brackets on the front frame rails.

I only get to work on the bike a couple of days a week so progress is slow but steady.

Early stage of mock up on a cloudy day attached.

Attached files

Rear bracket fabricated and turned out great! I'll post pictures of it after tomorrow.