Skip to content

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.

weight for empty sidecar

I have a Motorvation Formula II side car on my 2000 Yamaha Ventura. It is a two seater and has a wide stance. I will have to use it without the better half at times so I was wondering what would be a good weight to put in?


Greetingz Labill,

I too have a double-wide. I have a duffle bag with 50 pounds of sand in it. Works well for me. I'm planning to load up an ammo can with recycled lead shot to replace the bag as it's physically smaller. Also, I worry about the duffel breaking open, spilling sand all over the car.

I have a Velorex on my Triumph T100 and carry two 25 lb bags of lead shot. Works fine though I sometimes have to "hang off" on right hand turns to add some of my body weight.

Thanks for the ideas. I like the ammo cans. They are strong and small.

Ride Safe


Best value I have found is ammo cans from Harbor Freight (the metal ones, not the plastic) and bags of ballast "unwashed" shot from I'm thinking 2 cans and 3-25# bags of shot. I can then load one ammo can with 25#, the second with 50# giving me the option to run with 0, 25, 50 or 75 pounds of ballast depending on the day's plan.

Will cost a bit over $100. There are no doubt cheaper options, and I'd love to hear about them, but I'm also wanting flexibility.

I rarely ride either of my rigs without Petey by my side. But a month or so back, a friend requested that I take his adult daughter in my sidecar while they rode his wife's Valkarie trike. She (daughter) was visiting WA for the first time. She lives in AZ. I have many 1 gallon distilled water jugs on hand because we use that in our coffee makers because of our hard water from the well. I used 5 one gallon jugs with water. It worked well. Then a little more than a week ago, I did a shelter benefit run but once more left Petey behind because of the heat. Once more, the water jugs came in handy. Easily disposable too. When I still drove school bus and would leave him home to go in for that, I didn't use any ballast but these two runs were longer and on unfamiliar roads.
I'll do a PS: here to clarify. The reason for ballast when giving Kim a ride is that they were 50 miles north of us. So the ride to their place to start the ride and the ride home at the end of the day was with an empty chair.

I rode a K1100/Formula I for 20+ years and only had the car come up twice while empty and never when my wife was in it. I have to confess that I was being stupid when I flew the car those times. On one other occasion I was required to fly the car for sidecar training and I had to lighten it as much as I could and had to really work at it to get the car to come up. Does that put your mind at ease?

I fill car inner tubes with sand. Cut out the fill valve. Place a hose clamp on one end. Fill with sand and put hose clamp on the other end. You can make weigh what ever you want. Use in the truck for winter driving too. Beside being ballast, you have sand for traction.


Thanks everyone. Gave me some good ideas.


Pick up a bag of sand or 3 @ Home Depot etc. Wrap in a heavy duty yard waste type plastic bag and wrap in duct tape. Repeat. No sand storm turned loose yet.

just my 2 cents, I have the MVII on my Wing, I do have a 6 gal tank behind the seat so I have a little extra weight BUT it handles good without any added ballast. However about 50 more pounds and it rides like it's on rails. anything more and I start adjusting trim for the added weight. if you add weight keep it as close the the back as you can to reduce the nose dipping when braking
I don't run with any added weight But that's just my preference as I find this car very stable and hard to lift as it is. the only real difference I see when weight is added is it makes it ride smoother

Now this does NOT apply if your riding 2 up on the bike, in that case if I can't add weight I lower the car down to counter the bike sag of 2 up and I adjust my riding style

USCA # 8913

I will say Ditto to Ace. As I said in a previous response in this thread - I only ever had the car come up when I dropped the sidecar wheel off the pavement in a turn only to find it found a ramp to lift the car wheel into the air. I quickly reverted to my 2 wheel experience and the car wheel came down and sidecar life went on as it was supposed to. I did something to make it fly.
FYI - it is always a bad plan to have someone on the passenger seat and no one in the sidecar. That is asking for trouble.

jwshort - 8/22/2017 2:13 PM
FYI - it is always a bad plan to have someone on the passenger seat and no one in the sidecar. That is asking for trouble.

I agree 100%, but the wife still likes to ride on the bike, that's why I say I adjust my riding style. I won't do 2 up in any kind of twisting riding
flat ground only and no Big slabs either

USCA # 8913

Formula II on a Valkyrie, formerly on a GL1200.
I carry a group 24 car battery and a 2 gallon receiver tank with air compressor behind the seat for a bigass air horn. Maybe 40 # total.
Works fine solo, solo/pillion, and solo/pillion/canine.
No un-intentional flying the chair.

The weight may also depend upon your track - measured starboard side rear bike tire to starboard side hack tire I am right at 60".

I have a Formula II also.

Thanks for the ideas.


Avanell has 60# of bar bell weights in her little Texas Roadrunner outfit. They are bolted to the floor. Seem to work pretty good.
Tex. Rep.

I have about 30 lbs of weight in the empty sidecar. The sidecar & bike are set up for riding with a passenger, but I find that this weight is just enough to take the bounce out of the sidecar.