USCA Sidecar Forum

For some extra information about navigating the forum you can go to Forum Tips


Please or Register to create posts and topics.

to hook up the S/C brake??? ... or not??

still today lots of guys ride with no front brake on there bike - or never use the brake that is there, that is there business and ok for them. several of my good friends wear out rear brake pads regularly and have factory original front pads many many years in, that is there business and good for them. most of them most of the time do just fine.

keeping a lid on speed, not driving during rush hour, being super careful goes a long long way.

personally i want all the braking effort i can muster, i want all the wheels with the most brake i can afford. the typical moron driver pays zero attention to how far it takes me to stop and my bike has no airbag. in the harley manual it states that the rear brake pedal will make the rig pull to the right and the front brake will make it pull left & that minimum stoping distance is achived by using both at the same time - they are right.

most importantly in this discussion in the world of today - i would NEVER be caught printing in words or recorded voice telling anyone anywhere ever to operate on open roads with any brake on any vehicle disconnected unless i was old enough o be near done and had no dependents. i would also never ever tell anybody that I had a disconnected brake for fear of a insurance company investigator finding our about it. and if i do have a disconnected brake i want it to look like it happened this morning away from home and i was going home to fix it.

sorry for soap boxing and i hope you will all forgive me.


Over the years I've avoided hitting something, (deer, elk, people distracted for one reason or other). Last year Jay sent me the brake and everything to hook it up. On the first trip out a buck deer jumped over the barrier on a down hill grade. It was worth all the trouble right there because it stopped immediately and the buck brushed by the rig without contact. The braking balance is real good. I would recommend this setup to anyone.

Lonnie, No dis on you, Sorry you thought it was. Mainly there were two companies out their until very recently (one closed its doors, the other the owner died) that would tell you not to hook up brakes. One of the companies I even offered to provide them with every thing they needed for brakes on their sidecars. They were not interested.
I do however stand by my comments on the Velorex company. In a time where almost all bikes have disk brakes, why continue to build a drum brake sidecar? Safety must always come first. The only thing we offer for Velorex sidecars are mounts, nothing for the brakes.
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

Hi Stan. I don't begin to speak as an expert on sidecars but I've had a couple of them and one of them had the brakes on it which I quickly removed. I found that with the brake on it the s/c is gonna pull to the side and without it I could really get on the front brake until it squeals if necessary and she goes straight and true. I know a lot of people wont ride without brakes on the s/c but I just don't like them!

Your brake was not properly matched. It more then likely had far to large of a brake rotor.
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

Thanks for all of your replies ..... I feel like I opened a hornets nest here,by asking about the brakes, I assure you that was not my intent. I am simply trying to be certain I understand as much as I can about my rig.

That said, here's what I think I'll do. I think I will use it as is while I try to figure out if it is possible to put disc brakes on the velorex?, and at what cost? After I sort all that out I can make an intelligent choice.

thanks again

You need to ask yourself how will you use your rig. If only you will be riding it will be no need for sidecar brakes (most likely). If you will carry passenger in sidecar (or heavy load) it will be helpful to have sidecar brake. Some do separate brake pedal to the right of bike brake pedal and cable to drum brake.

its not a hornets nest really. its a matter of the fact that the manufacturers of the motorcycles stopped doing the engineering to attach sidecars. many sidecars currently made were actually designed to fit to bikes long ago. so the brakes don't mesh properly. harley stopped making them a few years ago - everybody else a very long time ago. so sidecars are manufactured to fit as wide a variety of bikes possible. if the sidecar brake is too large or too small there are issues. many just toss them out rather than go though the expense of making it right. basically the entirety of the issue is that it can be real money to make it work right. the other problem is that to stop straight the sidecar brake has to be "just a little" over strong so that when both front and rear brakes are applied hard its even. the sidecar brake connected to the bike rear brake *SHOULD* make the bike pull to the right a little bit - not a lot just some so that when both are used its even. as i said the other day - at this point in time everybody can do whatever they want to do. as for me i run a sidecar brake - and ill never ever tell anybody not to run a sidecar brake.

Please excuse me for chuckling a bit, but some questions will evoke 50 different answers from 50 different people!
I like what VLAD had to say about how it all depends on how you will use your sidecar. Unloaded, the braking needs will be much different than when it is heavily loaded, so there's no way to have a well coordinated brake on the sidecar in all situations. I much prefer the separate brake pedal for the sidecar, but then I have a lot of racing experience where we learn to rock our foot on the brake and throttle at the same time.
I'm hearing a lot of bad vibes about drum brakes. I sure won't argue that discs are much better, but drums are a very acceptable brake. If they aren't strong enough, then that only means the leverage ratio is all wrong on the pedal and should be re-worked for higher leverage. As long as the drum brake is well maintained, just as the disc brake needs to be, too, it is a fine brake. A LOT of cars today still use drum brakes on the rear. As far as cable actuation on the drum brake, all it needs is to be kept well maintained to work just fine. The effectiveness of a drum brake is all just a matter of being set up correctly and being well maintained. As Jay says, if a disc brake is too sensitive and overpowering, it means the rotor is too large. That can be changed. But, on a drum brake, the drum size can't be changed, but it's pedal pivot point can be moved to alter how much effort it takes to actuate the brake.
I have a Vetter Terraplane with the Airheart 175 series disc brake. It has a fairly large rotor and was a bit too powerful for average stops, so I replaced the caliper with the smaller 150 series caliper used on go-karts. I also moved the pedal pivot to require more pedal pressure to actuate the brake. My pedal rests right next to my bike's rear brake pedal. There is a gap between them that allows me to use either one separately, or both together, allowing me to rock my foot side-to-side for braking balance. It does take practice to do that though. And, when I have my 260lb nephew in my car, I REALLY appreciate having that brake!
Stan, my best suggestion would be to have the brake available, keep it well maintained so it works reliably and smoothly, and think about having it connected to a separate pedal and learn how to manage that arrangement. A sidecar brake coordinated with the bike's brakes will only be a compromise at best.

I have a BMW R1150RT with a Champion Escort. Not a real large rig but not a small one either. I don't have a brake on the sidecar but would like one. The bike stops fine with out it, both loaded and empty. My main fear is riding on the interstate, 70 or so mph, in the rain and suddenly needing to come to a stopped, like for an accident a couple of cars in front of you. Have not had to do a panic stop in the rain at high speed but just know that I would feel better with the sidecar brake when it does happen. Just my $0.02.