Thinking About A Sidecar Rig? Read On . . .

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by jpalamar, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    Boredom is truly the devil's workshop, but was always intrigued by the 'looks' of a sidecar rig. Over two years ago I had an '07 R1200GSA Adventure not getting many miles so did minimal research, went with DMC/Jay in WA. No regrets whatsoever. But, I offer some food for thought if you are considering:
    1. It isn't a motorcycle anymore. Perhaps better described as a contrivance, contraption, but get motorcycle out of your head at least from a handling perspective. If you can, drive one and be sure what you get is what you expect.
    2. It's fun, it's handy, and if you are getting tentative with that big HD, LT, GT, or any big bike, it's an alternative way better than a trike or the Can-Am Spyder. Just an opinion tho'.
    3. I only offer my experiences as others will differ. Knowing nothing about hacks other than the way they looked I trusted the vendor, in my case DMC. There are others. I wanted some specifics, that were minimal, and got my way. E.g. I didn't want carpeting but rather a painted Rhino type coating for the interior. Other than that I wanted the rig to match the bike in appearances, color, etc.

    I went with sidecar brakes but they are optional: Glad I did. I went with package that lifted, lowered sidecar for road camber, cross-winds, etc. I don't use it that much, but when I do it makes a big difference. Highly recommended.

    Unless you are saint of a driver, expect a decrease in fuel mileage.

    Most importantly, don't be disappointed when you get it back. It's different, so different you might consider why you did it. Stick with it and I promise much enjoyment and fun.

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    666
    Location:
    an alternate universe, much better than yours
    And don't forget the benefit of vastly improved upper body strength!

    Better than a gym membership and far more fun.:evil
    #2
  3. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    974
    Part of the reason I'm interested in a sidecar rig is that I enjoy riding my Polaris ATV in the winter and wish it was street legal. I kind of view a sidecar bike as a street legal ATV. It would be more stable than a bike when the streets have snow and ice on them. A side benefit is being able to take my wife and son on a ride. Am I correct in comparing driving a hack to riding an ATV on the street?
    #3
  4. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    666
    Location:
    an alternate universe, much better than yours
    A bit but not exactly. I have driven a quad on local roads because they are legal in my township but I would not call it exactly like the hack.

    The 3 wheel configuration of a sidecar is unique and is different (obviously) from a solo bike, but also very different from either kind of trike (standard or inverted ie Sypder).

    In some ways, the sidecar rig is better for passengers and certainly is more road suitable than an ATV.

    As has been posted in dozens of past threads, be prepared for a learning curve. It is neither steep nor difficult, but so unique that you cannot skip over the stages of learning, especially for the sake of your wife and child.
    #4
  5. Bobmws

    Bobmws Curmudgeon At Large

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,435
    Location:
    Same trailer, different park, FL
    There are some free downloads here that will give you some insight on operating a sidecar.
    Steering will be similar to your ATV, think about having a 200# deer strapped to the side of your 4 wheeler.
    #5
  6. jkmolt

    jkmolt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I find that riding my rig is becoming more and more enjoyable, and fun. So much so that I'm considering hacking my 09 T100 Triumph Bonneville. Definitely it's different, but in a fabulous way, and as was stated previously, it keeps an old guys upper body in pretty good shape.:D
    #6
  7. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    ATV's since they are all quads NOW and trikes abandoned, as far as I know, has to have no similarity, as the ATV, especially ones with power steering, are symmetrical with drive for all intents and purposes linearly applied to both wheels. Sidecar rigs, asymmetrical, drive being off to left and this 'thing' hanging on your right that wants to exert a force on the drive vehicle, with a spinning/twisting moment arm. But, that's just my opinion and many I know are startled when they drive one for the first time and/or lament, what the hell did I do to my motorcycle? But that passes quickly and the fun sets in!
    #7
  8. Amigo

    Amigo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Land of Enchantment
    I really like your rig! A couple of years ago I acquired a new Ural T, mostly just to go riding with my dog. We love it. I am seriously considering having Jay set me up with a sidecar on my GSA. Can you offer any other wisdom specific to my desire? I would likely sell my Ural or trade it for another touring bike, so I would still have a "real" motorcycle.
    #8
  9. richardak

    richardak Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    151
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK

    I must admit that being able to ride all through the winter was the initial reason for adding the third wheel. Not to carry passengers or the other benefits. Just wanted to ride on the snow and ice. I had the airhead already and knew all about its mechanicals so just looked for an inexpensive sidecar. I found one locally, it included a DMC subframe and DMC made it so I could mount it safely.

    I'm having a blast and I sometimes wish for 2WD and reverse when the snow gets deep and maybe one day I'll make the move. But for now, street legal fun in the snow! Studded tires generally keep me pointed in the right direction. Lots of great advice here in these forums.

    And I haven't felt any inclination to remove the sidecar during the Summer.
    #9
  10. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    I'm always amazed by the numbers of hack drivers that got into it because of their dog and the company the dog will provide. Not being a dog owner I can't appreciate the bond between man and dog. With regards to the 'rig', I'm sure DMC can put together something that will meet your needs, along with any of the other vendors.
    #10
  11. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,547
    Location:
    Next to Rio Bravo
    John, how many miles have you clocked on your neat looking DMC ?
    #11
  12. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    Probably <1000 miles but having owned 4 other motorcycles and some personal issues that have curtailed my long-distance touring, it's understandable.

    The hack fills in some very nice gaps for me. Besides being fun to ride, it of course is a mule and does yeoman service for trips to the supermarket etc.
    But, as an amateur photographer it's superb. I can keep my camera and equipment very handy, carry a tripod, but perhaps the best thing is when I choose to take a shot I don't have to worry about balancing a motorcycle, can get up on pegs to get equipment, etc. People with hobbies, e.g. golf, multiple tennis racquets, etc. the hack is a joy.
    #12
  13. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,547
    Location:
    Next to Rio Bravo
    John, there is a DS cross FL mostly back roads & then over night in Ceder Key & ride back a different way or just ride home.
    You interested in joining in ?

    We could have some fun running at our own pace.
    #13
  14. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    PM sent.
    #14
  15. prstone50

    prstone50 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    Laramie, WY
    I just picked up a 2013 Ural gear up and that was the first thing I thought was 'man this is just like an atv!' But way cooler hah! Have to say it is really nice being able go ride in the snow. Greatly increased my riding time...all year.
    #15
  16. Wallrat

    Wallrat Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    837
    Location:
    Orange County, Ca
    This thread needs more pics of your rig! Looks like a blast.
    #16
  17. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,082
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL (Northeast FL, USA)
    Both I and Greg/ClearwaterBMW had our GS Adventures 'hacked' a couple of years ago. His was a brand-new DOHC (2011 I believe) and mine was an '07, plain hexhead. They are virtually identical, other than he had the Clearwater LED lights and since my Adv already had the PIAA's, I stuck with them for aesthetics.
    Jay at DMC did both bikes, we were a couple of firsts with the new, wider sidecar.

    Greg stuck with the AUTO tires/rims, I didn't like the look so the rear put back the rear, original tire on the ADV and also purchased another ADV rear wheel for the side car so that when you look at the rig all tires/wheels the same.

    The downside is the 'rounded' motorcycle wheels will not wear as well as 'auto' tire wheels, but then again, if I ever did a cross-country, long tour I'd just switch back as the change is easy enough.

    I'll see if I can find the threads with pix and add link to this post.

    Here's the link that dealt with the conversion of the wheels: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=742437&highlight=clearwaterbmw Also notice we swapped out the red fuel cells for the more subdued green.
    #17
  18. Trippps

    Trippps Fool

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Alabama Swamps, NY
    You saved me the trouble, you wrote what I was going to. :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Quick word of warning on the wheel on the California sidecar pictured. These were known to fail! I had one on a GL1100 and at a rally once spoke with some one who had the rim brake off of the hub so when I got home I checked my wheel, Half of the spokes were cracked at their bases. The fix was to shorten the swing arm and run a trailer hub, wheel and tire which also required moving the body to center it on the new wheel.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #19
  20. warkshop

    warkshop uncbob

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Marietta, Ohio, USA
    or maybe put on a Beemer wheel?
    #20