USCA Sidecar Forum

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Two Wheels to Side Car

I just want some input from those of you who were touring a lot of miles on 1000 cc or larger motorcycle (two wheels) then switched to driving a sidecar rig and touring a lot of miles on it. Or the other way around, hack to two wheels.

I am very much aware of how driving a hack is a big difference from riding two wheels.

I'd like to know your personal experiences with the change, either positive or negative. How much do you miss the one you switched from?

Thank you

I do not miss it. I have sidecar rigs and 2 wheeler. Riding single bike today. Put 175 miles on sidecar rig on Sunday.
No need to switch to only one. Have fun ride both.

I too ride both and haven't had an issue switching back and forth between the two. The way I think of it, on two wheels, you become one with the bike. You lean as it leans, you rise and fall over s and dips as one. It's you and your bike against the world. On three wheels, you lean opposite of the bike. Your weight and body position is done in compensation for what the bike is doing or riding over. Put succinctly, it's no longer you and your bike against the world as your bike has switched loyalties.

But its not as bad as it sounds. It's like riding a spirited horse. There is a lot of gratification in taming the beast!

leroys73

I'd like to know your personal experiences with the change, either positive or negative. How much do you miss the one you switched from? Thank you

Rode BMW GS bikes on several Iron Butt rides, up to Alaska twice, etc. In the last five years, have put over 50,000 miles on various sidecar rigs looking for the perfect fit. Though two wheels and sidecars look like they should ride the same, they don't. Sidecars are a completely different animal requiring a different skill set to navigate safely. Not difficult to learn, but are different.

Are sidecars dangerous? NO, actually less dangerous than when you first learned to ride on two wheels. They do require more driver input than two wheels.

Being a long term MC rider, there are habits you will have to unlearn. For me, the hardest was unlearning to dive into corners, i.e. start high, dive low, come out high. Try that on a sidecar and suddenly your third wheel is off the pavement on right handers and your buns have a death grip on the seat. You learn to hug the centerline on ALL curves.

As mentioned above, on two wheels, it's you and the bike against the road. On three wheels, it's the rig and the road against you. You move around a lot but the rig stays planted.

I find I am more relaxed riding sidecars than on two wheels. I no longer worry about road debris, mud or sand washed out on to the road, plus cage drivers see me better. Can admire the scenery more, enjoy the sights and smells and have more opportunities to pull over for a quick photograph than I had on two wheels. Plus I can take the grandkids out for a ride that are too young to ride on a bike.

Attend a regional or national USCA rally, talk with various rig owners about their likes and dislikes with the various rigs.

Try it and see if it is right for you. Don't invest a lot of $$$ in your first rig. Start modest, buy a well sorted first rig then trade up if you like the sport. Some want a more off road oriented rig others want a road runner. You decide , they are all out there.

Good luck, enjoy the search for your perfect rig.

CCjon

I had 60,000 miles on my 2003 GS when I put the sidecar on it and now have another 60,000 with the sidecar on it and it really was not much of an adjustment. I still do road trips on my 1996 R1100 RS solo also so it is really just a matter of what I feel like riding. There are specific sidecar events where I will take a sidecar or the BMW Sport Touring events where I generally take the solo RS but even at those I have been known to show up on the incorrect moto.

As far as adapting I often run errands on one of the sidecars and then grab a solo mid day to run errands and I do not think twice about switching. I find it harder to go from a few days riding the Ural around and then jump on the K100RS/EML rig, that sometimes requires a little bit of conscious reorienting.

Hi:
I am going to give another perspective here. I rode 2 wheels for 3 years. Early in those years I had a bad accident and that affected my enjoyment of riding with 2 wheels. I was always apprehensive. I bought my first rig in the early 1990's and have ridden coast to coast and border to border to attend BMW and Sidecar rallys. We bought a large Yamaha scooter a few years ago and I was never comfortable being back on 2 wheels. We sold it at a loss. I am now on my 4th rig (all with BMW tugs) and wouldn't go back to 2 wheels. Now - that being said - those of you who have a wheeler around and use it regularly - good for you.
I have a friend at church who has several 2 wheeled bike and a Ural. He is having so much fun with the Ural I seldom see him on 2 wheels. In fact I see him all over the Black Hills and if he wasn't wearing a full face helmet I would see a big smile on his face.
Keep us posted on your decision.

Thanks for the input. I hope the information keeps coming.

At present I have a Honda VTX with 125,000 wonder touring miles. I have decided its long distance touring is over. I purchased a NOS Yamaha Royal Star Venture S a year ago which now has 8,000 miles on it. I bought the Yamaha to replace the VTX as my main tourer but I'd keep my VTX for regional riding since it has so many miles on it and not worth much.

I take several long distance trips per year by myself. Also, my special needs daughter rides with me on a few long trips each year and some day rides. For a few years I have been considering a sidecar for the stability when having her ride as a passenger.

I have taken the sidecar riders course so I understand the difference in handling. I have visited two sidecar manufacturers. Also I know once converted to a sidecar rig with "easy steer" installed (I have been told to install it), two wheel riding on that motorcycle is out of the question. My concern is that I will not enjoy a rig on long trips and then regret spending the money to convert to a sidecar rig. This is one of those decisions almost like a marriage for me. Once I spend the money I will be stuck with no easy solution to get out of it since they are slow sellers. Money is not a spare item around our house.

Leroys73,

Have done both, bought well set up rigs and built my own. A well set up rig will almost always cost less in the end than building your own, even when your own labor is free. If you don't take to sidecaring or don't like a particular rig, you can always resell the rig for what you paid for it. Not so easy to do when you build from scratch.

I ride both and switch almost on a weekly basis. In a years time I normally put about 12-14k miles sometimes a little more on the solo and sometimes more on the rig. When my wife and I travel together is now 100% rig. This summer I took an 8 day 3650mi trip on the solo and must admit a couple of times thought about the rig. This may be because of my age and getting lazy about putting my feet down :). Now that I am approaching 100k on rigs I feel that I am more secure on them due being seen easier. I have been fooling around with rigs for about 13-14 years. Now that I am 66 years young I really see that I can extend my years riding with the rig, plus I just really dig them! Never had trouble switching between the two, reminds me of when I played tennis and racquetball at the same time, both use racquets but entirely different motions, somehow my brain just switches over. Amazing since it seems so inadequate at other times :o:-( :o:-( Hope this perspective helps.
Bill D.

I rode 48 years on two wheels and then got a burr up my back side to try three wheels. Took the two class with Vernon Wade and fell in love with three. Bought a rig and before long found myself riding it more than my one remaining two wheeled bike. I was having so much fun with the sidecar rig that when my wife asked what I wanted for my 70th birthday, I said a sidecar for the Triumph T100. Now I have two three wheeled rigs and am having more fun that I've had in the last 50 years of riding.