Overview

These pages are a compendium of information, thoughts and opinions about sidecars according to Robert Fleischer, aka “Snowbum”.

The good, the bad, AND …??
…an overview of sidecars
…and driving one

Sidecars and trikes have been around for a very long time, actually, since the 1800’s. The photos are of the Dasse water-cooled trikes. Lucie Dasse is driving the 1895 model Dasse. Lucie was the first female driver in Belgium. Lucie was the wife of Gerard Dasse, of Dasse Motors, Verviers, Belgium. They primarily manufactured cars, from 1894 to 1930. An offshoot of the company existed until 1956. Lucie’s brother Armand was well known to the early racing world. To me, looking at these photos; the joints and shaft pillow blocks, and many other items, were commonly available items then. I have been unable to give you information on the engine itself.

Sidecars were widely used in Europe, & still are.  In the USA, sidecars and trikes have always been relatively rare.  The most common many years ago was a Harley Davidson trike with a 45 cubic inch engine, used by “Motor Maids” (who wrote parking citations).  The Harley Davidson with a single seat and a very large covered metal box was particularly popular, with several versions of its “45” engine (often spoken of as a Fourfive) in the Eastern Seaboard areas; but was also used in West major cities for traffic & parking control by the police, and quite often as a delivery vehicle ….or for sales of everything from tamales and hot dogs to ice cream. These are often just called Servicars. Harley Davidson introduced them in 1932, and made them up until 1973.

Today, to those who see them, a sidecar rig (and, to a lesser amount, trikes), often create a response that is a mixture of emotions, …nostalgia, good times, etc.   Most everyone likes a sidecar rig and its pilot, the sidecarist. I have never heard the word trikeist used.

Sidecar rigs carry more than a motorcycle can.  They don’t fall down on slippery roads.  Most sidecar outfits do fine on slippery and even snowy roads. Some do pretty well in wet clay/dirt and deep snow.   Sidecars do not carry the stigma that motorcycling in general carries with the public.  The public LIKES sidecars, often WANTS to stop and chat, and may even want to have you take them for a ride.  MOST sidecars have unmodified, therefore QUIET exhausts, and the public LIKES that, as well as that Sidecarists tend to be extra courteous and friendly.

Sidecar rigs are used all over the world for commercial purposes, for basic transportation, and for just plain fun.  In a number of countries, sidecar type bicycle rigs are in wide use for a wide variety of purposes. Some sidecar rigs in some countries use a very low horsepower engine, and pull along a lot of folks and farm goods, albeit at slow speeds.
Sidecar rigs in Asia, India, and China are considerably different than in the United States.  Typically they have a small low displacement engine motorcycle with a platform sidecar, and are built to haul the entire family and a lot of goods, all at the same time, as cheaply as possible.

Spouses may prefer a sidecar to the rear pillion of a motorcycle.

It is quite possible that your riding season will be extended to year-round, if previously restricted due to weather conditions.

An image some folks in the USA have, because nearly everyone has at least one car or truck, is that motorcycles in general are typically not workhorses, but toys of some sort. Another image, even amongst motorcycle riders, is that a sidecar rig is a substitute for a motorcycle…. for old or handicapped folks not capable of handling two-wheeled motorcycles. There can well be some truth in those ideas …but it is hardly the full story.

There is a quite modest percentage of motorcyclists in the USA who commute on their bikes, some year-round, and some don’t own cars or other 4 wheel vehicles.  A much larger percentage use motorcycles for short term fun, short rides, & some fair numbers use them for much longer tours. Sidecars can and do carry much more than two-wheelers, and besides cargo this can include the spouse, children, and/or family dog(s).   While many motorcyclists put their motorcycles into storage in the Winter, many sidecarists enjoy driving them in Winter …after all, sidecars don’t ‘fall down’ when in snowy, icy, muddy conditions.   In the USA in particular, sidecaring is JUST PLAIN FUN, especially for those who have driven them enough to have a solid opinion, rather than, perhaps, some very short term ride, perhaps on a poorly set up rig.

In the last several decades, trike conversions have become popular, with conversions using a Harley Davidson or Honda motorcycle being particularly valued, but BMW and other bike conversions are seen.  Trikes have very few advantages over sidecar rigs.  They are, more or less, balanced in operations to the left, to the right, …and straight-forward (as in braking). Many do not accommodate passengers, or do so poorly. They can be wide, but usually not as wide as a sidecar rig (especially a 2 person type).  Trikes are easier to learn to operate, as they don’t have “strange” handling differences between turning left and turning right. They also don’t tend to turn when you use the bike brake (many sidecar rigs do have sidecar brakes though) nor try to turn when using the throttle on…or off.   Today, there are new vehicles being manufactured that have two forward widely separated wheels, and one or two in the rear, closer together.   The “Can-Am Spyder” is popular. See:
https://can-am.brp.com

Sidecar rigs have some pronounced advantages.  One is the passenger and cargo area capabilities, and there are numerous others. I won’t get much deeper into these ideas and variations, motorcycles to trike or sidecar, trike to sidecar, sidecar to trike, and the Spyder configuration, etc. Try them all, if you can, you’ll likely like all of them, but you probably will prefer a real sidecar rig.

There have always been sidecar groups in the U.S.   Since the late 1980’s, sidecars have become more popular again, & this trend is likely to continue.  More sidecar outfits are on the road today than just a few decades ago.   Complete sidecar rigs are manufactured by only a few world-wide companies today.   Such complete sidecar outfits, from the motorcycle itself, right to the finished drivable product, are produced in China, Russia, and by Harley Davidson in the USA (prior to ~2009, HD only supplied the sidecar and the bikes, the HD dealerships mated them).  HD is also again producing trikes (but modernized).   My suspicion is that more trikes are produced than sidecar rigs, but I have no specific facts to back that up. In contrast to all the mentioned complete rig makers, there are a number of companies that mate commercially available sidecars to commercially available motorcycles. There are also specialty companies that make sidecars from metal tubing, aluminum and steel items, perhaps fiberglass or aluminum hacks. These companies make the frame(s), mounts, and convert commercially available motorcycles, just like the ones anyone can purchase from a motorcycle dealership. Some of these conversions are very well done by well-established companies with very talented personnel. Sidecar rigs need to be well-designed, well-made, and “hell for stout”.

A motorcycle with a sidecar attached has numerous names. Sidecar folks use terms like the following to describe either the sidecar, or the entire rig, or the tug, etc. Rig(s); Hacks(s); Sidecar(s); Sidecar Rig; Chair(s); Outfit(s); Combination(s); Motorcycle; Tug.  Gespanne is also used, although it literally means ‘harnessed’ in German. Every one of these terms has been used to describe the sidecar or the entire sidecar rig. The motorcycle is usually either just called ‘motorcycle’, or, in the sidecar world, it is called the tug.

Sidecar rigs have been designed & built from simple and conventional to complex or even outrageous, and ridden (actually we sidecarists usually say they are DRIVEN) in almost every sort of imaginable way.  Some rigs have the motorcycle still capable of leaning, so the handling is more conventional ‘motorcycle-like’. See: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/flexit.htm
Some have this done so well that the rig handling really is nearly like a 2 wheel motorcycle.

Sidecar rigs have been made in a very wide range of versions/styles. There are sidecar rigs that are specifically designed for the handicapped; even for those with only one …or NO …legs. Quite a few sidecar rigs have been made with a platform instead of a passenger compartment. In some of these a handicapped rider will have a wheelchair. In some the rig will be set up for the driver to drive the rig from the wheelchair located on the chair area platform…or, from the motorcycle. Some designs are exceptionally clever.

Some sidecar rigs have two wheel drive, the rear wheel of the motorcycle (the ‘tug’) and the sidecar wheel are mechanically joined.  The most well-known is the 2WD versions of the URAL, made in Russia, which are also available in conventional single wheel drive and motorcycles without sidecars.

Some rigs are double wide, some ‘chairs’ are hearses, dog or hay or whatever carriers …or other types of cargo carriers, …anything you could dream-up, including detachable boats. I have seen one that carried a collapsible wings airplane. Some are designed & made so quite a few people can be carried, something like a miniature bus.   My website has some really strange sidecar rig photos on it, to give an idea of what has been done.  While some of the photos of sidecar rigs are scattered throughout my website, here is a page that has some ‘interesting’ things: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sidecar-humor.htm

This site has a fabulous collection of hundreds of photos of old 3-wheelers:
http://www.3wheelers.com  Try clicking on things at the top, including the several galleries.

Here are a few more (of many links I have):
http://www.motorcycle-memories.com/.
This is a source for many photos of old time motorcycles and sidecars, etc.

http://www.side-car-club-francais.com/panoramaside/  This is a source for photos, etc., of sidecars listed by manufacturer’s name.  EXCELLENT source!

There is an entire sidecar section of articles on my website, near the very bottom of :
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/technical-articles-list.htm.  All of my sidecar-only articles begin with SC-.

Having a sidecar may require the motorcycle to be serviced somewhat more often.   Properly done sidecar rigs do not have excessive maintenance requirements. The maintenance on the sidecar itself is usually low, mostly just servicing the wheel bearings now and then; or, bleeding brakes.

Sidecar outfits do not handle like cars, do not handle like motorcycles, do not handle like trikes, and can be, like any vehicle,  dangerous for the absolute novice.   Those with no experience with sidecar rigs should not venture out onto busy road traffic.   Novices/Newbies, whether very experienced motorcyclists or not, should take instruction, preferably formal, but a modest regimen of learning and practice will do.   Information on setting up and also on driving sidecars, in depth, will be easily found on the Internet, at the site you are already on: https://sidecar.com. Click on Sidecar Tech and look around at the entire site too.

There is some very good information about sidecar handling, and use of sidecar brakes, here:
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/MisclSidecarTech.htm

In general, countries where driving is on the right, as in the U.S., have sidecars mounted on the right side of the motorcycle.  The reverse is also true, with sidecars mounted on the left in England, etc, where driving is done on the left side of the road.   Having a sidecar mounted on the ‘wrong’ side in a particular country can be dangerous, as your field of view for oncoming cars is poorer the closer you are to a vehicle in front of you and away from the oncoming vehicle lane. An oncoming car might be more inclined to turn in front of you, ‘just past’ the end of that truck, bus, etc., in front of your sidecar rig …because they did not see you easily enough.   If you think about this, no matter if the sidecar is on the right or left, at the least, do not drive too close to the vehicle in front of you.   This is also good advice for a two-wheeler motorcyclist, and for the two-wheeler, in the USA,  it is best to not drive in the right side of your lane, if there is one or more lanes to your left. An experienced sidecarist can fairly easily transition from one country situation to another; and same for 2 to 3 to 2 wheels.   Some motorcyclists with no or little sidecaring experience, especially without training, have said that it is difficult for a motorcyclist to transition to a sidecar rig, and vice-versa.   I BELIEVE THAT IS NOT TRUE (from my experience when instructing and training)!

You will likely find even the initial sidecar experience exhilarating, and while you will need training/practice, you will not likely have problems going back and forth between a motorcycle and a sidecar rig.  If transitioning back to a motorcycle, do remember to put down your left foot at a stop sign!

Sidecar rigs place a lot of forces onto a motorcycle that the motorcycle may well not have been designed for.   These forces must be taken into account during the design of the frame, subframe, attachments, suspension, steering, tires, etc., as pertinent to the particular motorcycle and hack.    Some motorcycles will require many modifications, including a subframe.   Some actually require an entirely new frame; this is particularly so when the motorcycle has no proper frame, but things are ‘hung’ from the engine.  One could write a long article on all the variations.

One is said to RIDE a motorcycle, and DRIVE a sidecar outfit.    This is not an article on how to drive one; although I have hints later and in my other articles.   GOOD articles on how to drive a rig are available in booklet/book form; as well as free on the Internet from such as the Ural folks, and from the late Hal Kendall, who posted them here on https://sidecar.com. I will have a fair amount more to say later in this article you are presently reading.

Sidecars have been made in all sorts of sizes and designs.  Some very small ones fit something like a Vespa scooter. Some are very large and have been made that are capable of carrying nearly a dozen kids!   As an example, the school-bus types. There are bicycle-based sidecar rigs, and these are quite commonly seen in the Far East.

Things to know & consider:

A sidecar creates a noticeable drag component. This comes from air resistance as well as the sidecar tire friction with the road surface.   While that is true, there are also similar effects on the tug, in the opposite direction, and these forces do tend to cancel each other, more or less, with the bias still being to the sidecar.  That is why rig alignment and setup is critical for a really nice sidecaring experience.  Often, many small adjustments, one at a time, are made until the results are pleasing.

More horsepower is needed when driving a sidecar rig, for the same speeds and conditions as on a 2-wheeler. Fuel mileage will decrease, sometimes considerably, particularly if you regularly travel at higher speeds.    A rigidly-mounted sidecar rig is somewhat more susceptible to moving to one side of the road or the other, due to the crown and slope of the road (and, slope and crown on even flat-appearing freeways can change between your lane and the one next to you). As you gain experience you will gain a better ability to judge the crown and slope of roads. You will likely be more thoughtful in selecting road lanes.   While some sidecar rig designs are adjustable for such effects as lane slope, perhaps electrically via a control on the bars, most are not, and a properly set up rig doesn’t necessarily need the adjustability by the driver.   Still, handling can be more or less constantly changing, depending on the road. Of course, that sort of thing is common to car drivers, etc. …it will just be somewhat different with a sidecar rig.   A properly set-up and aligned conventional sidecar rig will have a minimum of these effects, and is normally set up for your more frequently-traveled-roads.

Going faster means greater drag from the sidecar, which tends to make the rig turn towards the sidecar …which you must, or is, compensated for, by electric lean, or a bit more muscle, or some other method, including a very careful alignment and setup. Most sidecars are aligned and set up so that at the normal speeds and loads used, they track, more or less, straight down the road.  A well-set-up sidecar rig WILL drive nearly the same from slow to high speeds.  Such alignment can take some time to achieve, playing with adjustments one at a time. Initial alignment is best done by very experienced folks, or, with some goodly knowledge.

In a more basic driving description, one steers a sidecar rig just like a car. BUT ….when the sidecar outfit is making a turn towards the sidecar, if the turn is tight enough, and/or fast enough, forces will eventually cause the sidecar wheel to lift off the ground.   In a car, if a sharp turn is made at sufficient speed, the same thing could happen.   A small amount of sidecar wheel lifting is of NO concern, wheel-up some is normal, and there is no change in steering …there is NO steering reversal …NO countersteering is needed. Literature saying otherwise is WRONG!   Lifting the sidecar wheel should be practiced.  It is not dangerous …any danger is likely ONLY IF you go way overboard in your practice depth ….or, you panic.  In actuality, sidecar driving to a modest wheel lifting point is a LOT OF FUN! I suggest practicing turning, braking, figure-eights, lifting the sidecar wheel,….ETC….in a large open area, with no obstacles, and certainly no traffic. If the area is packed and relatively smooth dirt, you may learn things quicker. A large parking lot, open flat field…..etc….may be just what you need.

At some point, generally if the driving style is QUITE overly brisk & very aggressive, the sidecar wheel could come VERY steeply off the ground. The motorcycle with the sidecar attached, may want to GO THE OTHER WAY!   This is at and beyond the balance point.  The sidecar wheel will be VERY high off the road.    At this point you can have steering reversion.   Your rig has now decided to be a motorcycle.  You are riding to one side of center of the tug tires …and very seriously leaning …just as in a severe sudden hard turn on a motorcycle.  This IS dangerous for the INexperienced; and even for experienced sidecarists, because this situation is almost never practiced.    Stunt drivers do it, in straight lines or turns.   There is NO GOOD REASON TO DO THIS SORT OF STUNTING or SHOW-OFFING. If you wish to experience the tilt/angle, there is a SAFE way. That is to have a friend very securely hold onto the outside area of the sidecar itself, and slowly lift the sidecar, with you on the drivers seat. I suggest you hold the brakes, as it is best to not move forward or rearward. Your friend can tell when the lifting is so high that the rig wants to pull away from him. You will likely be amazed at how much the sidecar has to be off the ground for this to happen. It is extreme.

Many folks describe any time the sidecar wheel is not in contact with the surface, as “Flying The Chair”, but REAL flying of the chair is to that just-mentioned tip-over or balance point, the center of gravity being, at that point, over the line between front and rear wheels of the tug. You have to be an idiot, or a show-off, to get to that point while driving your rig.   But, Flying is the word altogether too often used, quite often generically, for any time that the chair wheel is off the ground ANY amount.  It is wrong to use it that way, but that is how it is used by many, if not most.   Just the sidecar wheel bobbling on and off the ground an inch or so is NOT AT ALL truly flying the chair.  In fact, it is NORMAL to have this happen, depending on road, speed, sharpness of a turn, wind, etc.  Handling is completely normal. There is in-depth information on my website about this: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sidecarcountersteering.htm

It is UNlikely for the normal, average, even spirited/aggressive sidecarist, to get to an angle as to truly fly the chair at the tip-over balance point…. and thus experience true steering reversion.  Even if you did reach that point, instinct may have you counter-steer out of it!

In normal driving in sharper turns or big sweeping turns (and even sometimes straight ahead in exceptionally strong gusty winds at highway speeds), the sidecar wheel may lift a bit, and backing off on the throttle provides instant re-contact.   AGAIN: There is NO steering reversion, contrary to what some writers would have you believe.  THEY ARE WRONG!   A sidecar rig, with the sidecar wheel off the ground in normal such usage, is ‘steered’ normally.   See later herein, with my disagreement with ONE small section of some published booklets.  The TRUTH of the matter, is that most all sidecarists hardly lift the sidecar wheel much, and ignore it, or don’t even feel it….and many who do feel it, just back off the throttle a bit.

At this point I have overly-covered turning towards the sidecar, now I will get into turns in the other direction.

When you turn away from the sidecar, if the speed and turn is sufficiently aggressiveness or sharp, or some combination, you could cause the sidecar nose to dig into the ground, causing a spectacular flip and serious accident.   If you picture this in your mind you will see that as the sidecar outfit is steered away from the sidecar, the motorcycle rear suspension will EXTEND ….and depending on various factors such as how much the sidecar wheel axle is ahead (‘called lead or leading’) of the motorcycle rear axle (if any, …some Harley and other rigs do not have ‘wheel lead’), the motorcycle suspension could be extending more and more …and the rear wheel will probably lift off the ground before you dig in the hack nose.   Most sidecarists will experience the feeling of the rear suspension rising in a turn away from the sidecar, and will feel the rig possibly bobbling a bit, for lack of a better word, as the rear suspension lifts enough, and the sidecar nose moves slightly towards the ground.   This is a signal to either back off your aggressiveness or to reduce speed.  I avoid getting to a serious point of sidecar nose going down too much.  The reason is that it does not take too much more (depending a LOT on the particular rig and loading) to cause the nose to dig-in.  This can happen VERY SUDDENLY, and you can flip the rig.   As previously, unless you are really being overly aggressive, you just don’t get to this point, because the feeling is very noticeable as you unload the tug rear suspension.

Having an excessive amount of weight at and behind the motorcycle rear axle, such as a passenger on the rear of the motorcycle seat, adds INERTIA when turning, and in this situation one must be EXCEPTIONALLY careful, and it is best to avoid such situations. It is definitely best to put any passengers in the sidecar, where their weight CONSIDERABLY HELPS handling on turns towards the sidecar.  The effects of a passenger on the motorcycle seat is potentially dangerous, and most of us experienced sidecarists avoid ever doing it, except, perhaps, in very slow going, such as in a parade.   Sometimes passengers are safely carried on both the tug seat AND in the sidecar.    Safety always comes first!

Earlier I described sidecar lead briefly. Sidecar wheel lead, often just called Lead, is a measurement of how much the sidecar axle is forward of the motorcycle rear axle (motorcycle rear wheel center). Sidecar wheel leads may commonly be seen to be zero to 12 inches or a bit more.  The more LEAD the sidecar wheel is forward of the tugs rear axle, the more the tire wears, due to scuffing on turns.  It is even possible to have so much lead that the sidecar wheel reverses direction in a turn toward the sidecar! As in NEARLY ALL sidecar things, the lead amount is a compromise.  While the selection of wheel lead when building a rig is a subject unto itself, and some rigs do not have any wheel lead, still, the wheel lead TENDS on most rigs to be set at the tug’s rear wheel measurement from its rim edge to wheel center. No special reason, it is just how things tend to work out. The value is often close to the printed tire size, divided by 2.

Although this article is not about technical specifics on tuning and aligning a sidecar rig, I will explain the effects of the amount of lead, and a few other thing, for most typical sidecar rigs. This is IN BRIEF, as there are many more ‘effects’.
The amount of lead affects how the rig pulls to the right or left, or does not. It affects how much effort is needed to turn right or turn left. It affects tire wear. In general, if wheel lead increases, less toe-in may be used.
The amount of toe-in also affects any pulling to the right or left, and the difficulty. The toe-in, once more than the minimum required amount, will greatly affect the tug’s rear tire wear. Tug lean-out (leaned away from the chair) affects pulling to one side or the other, and the difficulty of turning.
As lean-out is increased, the left turns become easier, but the chair wheel will lift more easily. Excessive toe-in can cause scrubbing of the tires on turns towards the right. Drifting towards the middle of the road may occur too. From these few simple statements, you can see that some adjustments affect handling the same, or similar, to others. Thus, my emphasis has always been in my chatting with folks, …to do ONE THING AT A TIME….and a small amount too. You may luck-out, and get things in proper alignment quickly; or, have to spend a lot of labor making small adjustments. The end goal is to get a very properly handling rig, so it is worth the effort. For the amateur, patience pays off especially well.

Driving a sidecar rig vigorously & aggressively ….and/or just competently ….will require more skill than motorcycling.    Most folks learn to handle a sidecar rig competently and safely enough after just one weekend of instruction & a few more practice sessions.  They won’t be truly competent for aggressive and fast driving or in some serious emergency traffic conditions, but will be having A LOT OF FUN.  The learning comes faster if the new driver already knows how to ride a motorcycle, just one of the reasons is that the new sidecar driver does not have to learn about where and how to use the motorcycle controls.

For the highly experienced and aggressive sidecar driver, lest you might be told or believe otherwise, a competent driver with a very high performance ‘rig’ may well outperform a solo motorcycle, even in the twisties.

Some sidecar outfits require a fair amount of muscle energy to drive, particularly in the mountains or other twisty roads.  Thus, some rigs can be especially tiring on trips, and you may also find that your usual motorcycling road speeds will be reduced, for a variety of reasons.  You may find that if 600 miles is your personal limit any day on a solo bike, that 300 is your new limit on a sidecar.  In general, sidecar rigs with car tires, which are considerably wider than motorcycle tires, take more energy to muscle-around. If the rig is not properly aligned, or has excessive steering dampening, the muscle energy is increased considerably. A sidecar rig with proper alignment and proper front wheel/tire “Trail” measurement, can be a delightful handling rig, and this adds many smiles/miles to your day.

Do not enter into the world of sidecars without investigation, pre-planning, reading, and discussions.   Try to get rides in several types of sidecar rigs, and try to have a few people ‘loan’ you their sidecar rig, whilst they sit in the sidecar, and talk you through some mild beginner-type driving in big open areas away from other traffic.

Sidecar rigs vary considerably, even when aligned/setup professionally. Sidecar rigs are more heavy-handling than a two-wheeler. You may or may not like the handling, especially at first. If you are already an experienced motorcyclist, you will find that steering is very different, leaning (if you do it) is different, braking is different, throttle and brakes do things a bit differently, and emergency braking or maneuvering is different. It is more difficult to drive a sidecar rig well and competently, than a two-wheeler. It is worth the effort to learn properly, because the sidecar rig can be exceptionally useful for shopping, touring, sight-seeing, carrying the spouse or dog or kids or combination of those things. Many folks own both a 2-wheeler and a sidecar rig; both for paved roads, or mild hard dirt areas.  I do. In fact, I went a bit overboard (not unusual) and I used to have a dedicated off-road sidecar rig and dedicated 2 wheeler motorcycle for off-road, BESIDES my paved road versions. NOTE that some few folks own sidecar rigs where they remove the sidecar for 2-wheeling. It’s not too common, because of the work involved, which can include changing tires, suspension components, adding a side-stand and/or center-stand, and adjusting or changing the entire front fork….etc. A LOT of ETC is possible.

Here are some resources; you can find some on the site your are reading this at:

1. Driving a Sidecar Outfit, a thickish booklet. 
2. Driving the Ural Sidecar Motorcycle, a thickish booklet, most any Ural Dealer has one.

My disagreement with the “Yellow Book”, as it is called due to the color of the cover(s) (& the URAL book, which is practically the same information, inside) …..is with (at least in early versions of the books)  David Hough’s wording (& again, my total disagreement is JUST with the  descriptions on steering reversion) (&, generally, no disagreement at any other place with these books). I think the way flying the sidecar & reversion is presented is VERY wrong.  Other than that, these are excellent books, and WILL help you quickly learn how to handle a rig.  The area of my disagreement, on steering reversion, may be fixed in later editions …but I presently do not know.   See
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sidecarcountersteering.htm   that is an article on the subject, on my website.

The late Dr. Hal Kendall had a CD available before he died, but he also made the information AVAILABLE FOR FREE on the Internet. Much is available, free, on this sidecar.com site. I HIGHLY SUGGEST you download the material …and print it!  One of those available publications is a translation of a German booklet that is very good, if very technical.  

Join the United Sidecar Association (USCA).  Obtain a copy of “Riding with a Sidecar”.  The USCA has sidecar rallies, scattered across the lower 48 of the USA.  They can be a lot of fun.  In 2009, the USCA National Sidecar Rally was held at Lake Tahoe, California, and my wife and I were the organizers and hosts.  If you are interested in sidecaring, and would like to see a LOT of sidecar rigs at one time at one place, DO go to one of the major sidecar rallies, if you can.   You will find yourself looking, asking, having many conversations, etc.    You may see me there.

Yahoo Groups has a sidecar list you can join.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SCT/info

http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sidecartech.htm for some URL contacts, etc. …for the literature you will likely want.

There are other sidecar groups, some are small and maybe local to you, so do a search.

Here is a link for the training folks at Evergreen: http://www.esc.org/   I have a few disagreements with the Evergreen organization and its policies, but you will be prepared, if you read the free downloaded booklets from http://sidecar.com.


Ver 1.1, January 20, 2019
Author: R. Fleischer, aka Snowbum