Where Are All The Sidecars?

A couple days ago, looking at the picture of the new 2009 Trike offered by Harley, it crossed my mind. What’s next for Harley in 2010? A sidecar? Why not? Do you remember last time you saw one on the road? Don’t tell me before the 50’s. And for the beginners a Sidecar is not a Trike because in a Trike both rear wheels are powered and share the same common axle. A sidecar is usually powered by the rear wheel only. I think sidecars look very cool and because of the way they are structured they offer a lot of customizing possibilities. Think about what could be done not only with the motorcycle side, but with the car body, the small trunk behind it, the passenger seat, the optional soft top, etc. I bet that if a dozen of good builders will each decide to hand make one, show all this Custom Sidecars on the show tour, have them featured around the world in magazines, they will attract a lot of interest from buyers and manufacturers. By the way, did you know that Jaguar cars started out as a sidecar manufacturer, the Swallow Sidecar Company. A number of manufacturers worldwide have continued to produce sidecars for many popular motorcycles and scooters. Active sidecar manufacturing companies include: Hongdu and Zhuzhou in China, Watsonian-Squire in England, Cozy in India, IMZ-Ural and VMZ for Izh in Russia, Highway Sidecars (HRD, DJP and Higgins) and Premier in Australia, Louis Christen Racing and GG Duetto in Switzerland.


19 Responses to “Where Are All The Sidecars?”

  1. 1 Sheridan Jul 28th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I believe if you buy a new Royal Enfield the dealership can supply you with a new sidecar to suit it.

  2. 2 Pop Jul 28th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Harley has offered a sidehack right along. It’s about a 6000$ option to the FL series. I can’t spare the room but maybe one day I’ll build a bigger shed. I see them out and about but they are rare.

    If you want big hack fun the Ural has a driven wheel hack and it’s made for rattling your fillings.


    Paste that link in for a vid of it in action.

  3. 3 paul Jul 28th, 2008 at 11:09 am

    the United Side Car Association puts on a great rally.

    Chicago area has quite a few hacks running around, all makes, all models, etc..

    but it is an ‘acquired’ taste. no longer a motorcycle and not quite a car.

    easy to get in over ones head if not careful, and they eat up tires and chains quite quickly.

    but great fun camping and running the back roads.

    my 2 cents.

  4. 4 some guy Jul 28th, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I believe most companies stopped offering sidecars on standard models because they are to dangerous for the average rider, and there just is not allot of demand for them.

  5. 5 Z Eastwood Jul 28th, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Why didn’t you post a picture of Jesse James’ handmade sidecar? That’s a great example of what can be done…

  6. 6 Ashton Jul 28th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    They’ll be at Bob’s BMW Saturday August 16th in Laurel Maryland (between Baltimore and DC off I-95). There will a really rare GG BMW sidecar, many vintage rigs including an ex-German North Africa Corp BMW, several Hannigan sidecars and trikes, an Armec leaner on a BMW R1100GS, a few Velorex’s, Stiebs, you name it. Bobs is a Hannigan dealer. They’ll be delivering a new Hannigan side car on the 154hp BME K1200GT. A good time and lots of cool rigs, new and old, cool people, and some good food. See http://www.bobsbmw.com for details.

  7. 7 rodent Jul 28th, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Years ago I had a BMW R69S w Steib that I drove(you drive a sidehack rig) from New Mexico to Key West Fl To Daytona to Sturgis SD. I’ve ridden Leman/Harleys, I’d rather have a sidehack or a Mini, thank you!

  8. 8 madpuppy Jul 29th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    You`re right Pop. A guy I worked with bought a new H-D with matching sidecar, and he would go down to the embarcadero in San Francisco on the week ends and offer sight seeing tours of the city..

  9. 9 burnout Jul 29th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    sidecars are cool, and very interesting to ride, rattled fillings and all! peace

  10. 10 tattooeddmike Jul 29th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    To Some Guy,
    Dangerous to the average rider? I disagree! If you just take your time and remember that these machines require positive stearing to operate in turns, you’ll do fine. I have never had a problem with mine and it’s an older version…
    I’m running a 71 FL with a 1200 and the sidecar is an aftermarket hack… with handmade ties to the frame of the bike… I got it when my kids were small and they fit side by side in the car..
    We went to Sturgis in 92 and had a blast!… Still have it today and although I don’t take it out much, it is still a cool machine,
    set up with a foot clutch and jockey shift of my design…(a little crude but workable)… with disc brakes on the bike, but no brake on the car. So, keeping in mind that this is a unique machine to opperate compared to a 2 wheeler, you might enjoy the experience. Mike

  11. 11 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian MotorCycles Jul 30th, 2008 at 1:44 am

    I own 3 of them, a 1944 Military Chief, 1946 police Chief and a 1951 Chief. The 51 gets a lot of miles put on her as she transports a lot of our parts and people around. I put on many thousands of miles a year on a side hack and they are anything but dangerous. I am speaking from and Indian riders point of view so I can’t honestly comment on anything else. I do quite a few stunts riding around on 2 wheels (s/c wheel up in the air) including freway interchanges and most of the time I’m in total control. They are a lot of work to ride however but they are just plain cool.
    Ride em, don’t hide em

  12. 12 CESAR OTERO Jul 30th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I saw in the webpage of HD, that they have the sidecar for the special models (police, firefigther), anyone know if they sell this sidecar for cvo models

  13. 13 Bob Jul 30th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Another very cool sidecar rig that I own that will be on display at my dealerships Sidecar and Trike Day on August 16 that is not out on the road as often as I wish I exercised it is one that I built over a period of several years. It started life as a 1962 BMW parts bike and became what is known as a conversion. All are done differently. In the rolling 1962 chassis mine has a 1976 R90/6 (900cc)engine coupled to a 1972 4 speed gearbox with kick start as a driveline which also takes it into 12 volt electrics as the pre 1970 units were all 6 volt and only kick start. It boasts a 10 gallon custom Heinrich fuel tank made in Germany in the 1960’s and has a solo style seat from a 2000 R1100RS sitting over the front half of the rear fender. The exhaust system was custom fabricated out of Stainless steel by EPCO to mimic the R69S machines but mate the newer engine to the older frame. It has a headlight and speedo/tach from a /5 series machine between 1970 and 1973 plus a set of antique Harley-Davidson driving lamps painted black to look the BMW part and a rear luggage rack from a 2004 R1150R. I installed a set of Europena wide and low sidecar hanadlebars and the controls were built from several years of BMW components to get just the look and fit I was after. They are held in place on a set of 1953 R68 Sport risers to allow cleanace on the large fuel tank. The car sized (maintainence free) battery sits in an aluminum off road style saddlebag mounted on the bike’s right side next to the sidecar and the sidecar is fairly rare and very attention getting. It’s a late 1950’s – early 1960’s Steib LT200 delivery box that sort of looks like a glorified coffin but these were in use (about 100-120 produced and only a handfull of originals still survive) for a wide range of commercial delivery opportunities around the world. This one was purchased new by a newspaper in St. Paul, MN and used to drop newspapers on street corners in the 1960’s and early 1970’s for vendors. It was not attached to a BMW. A long time friend and fellow BMW enthuisiast purchased it from the newspaper when they went to vans and in turn I got it from him in the mid 1980’s. I”ve used it on several other vintage machines before permanently installing it on this rig and it has hauled everything from groceries to t-shirts to sodas and bier and as I see no way to attach an image here I can only suggest that those interested in sidecars and trikes and motorcycles in general stop by and check them all out — it will be a FUN day for sure and we will be offering sidecar and trike rides to a limited number of people for a small donation to one of our favotite causes — the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation whose local event, the Ride for Kids held on September 21st also has a large turnout of sidecars and trikes so we can provide rides for some of the patients and their families. Details are available at http://www.rideforkids.org

  14. 14 Lyle Aug 3rd, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I own a Ural which is a neat rig although not made for high speed interstate cruising. But even in my rinky dink neck of the woods there are a few sidecars running around. Or, maybe that’s why….
    Hacks are perfect for taking the wife and daughter out. We even went to Sturgis last year. I think my next HD is going to be a hack. Once you hack, you never go back!

  15. 15 WooleyB Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Funny thing, I’m getting another Sportster and was just this week looking at side cars on the net. I’ve never seen a Sportster anywhere with a side car and thought it would be a cool addition to my Sporty. I wanted a vintage one but the prices are so steep and they need work that I don’t mind doing but not at the prices people want. I did find an old servi car here in North Carolina for sale minus engine and tranny but all else there.

  16. 16 Michael Aug 13th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    My wife got me a 2006 Russian built Ural Retro for my 60th birthday. She is something special and so is this rig. I have put on 12,000 kilometers and have lived to be 61 so the danger part is dependant on the training and the time one takes in learning to pilot a ‘Hack’. I tell you, of all 14 bikes I have owned over the years the Ural Retro is the most fun I’ve had since my Triumph Bonneville in the late sixties. It looks like the 1930’s and stops folks wherever we go. Sidecars are alive and well . . . .

  17. 17 tim murphy Jan 14th, 2009 at 2:49 am

    where have all the sidecars gone you ask. well check mine out and let me know what you think. cheers TIM.

  18. 18 tim murphy Jan 18th, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Where have all the sidecars gone you ask. Well check mine out and let me know what you think at http://www.tpmsportz.com

    Cheers Tim.

  19. 19 Zed Aug 23rd, 2009 at 12:17 am

    “Cozy” [now of India] make a wide range of hacks. They even have one to go on a Vespa.
    One importer is Sportmax Sidecars.
    On the domestic side there are about half-a-dozen in the U.S. – mostly for the big expensive toys that seldom come out of the garage.

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Cyril Huze