Prefered bike for a sidecar?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Worroll, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Worroll

    Worroll Been here awhile

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    So I notice most sidecars are fitted to 'standard' bikes or dual sports. I'm kicking around the idea of a sidecar build, and currently have a 1986 honda shadow 1100 that would be up for building. I'm not attached to the bike, so I am open to trading it for a better side-car suited bike.
    What would be some advantages of a standard bike vs a cruiser, or other types of bikes for a side-car rig? What other things should a bike have to make it good for a sidecar?
    #1
  2. Billtr96sn

    Billtr96sn Flange Furtler

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    Any bike can carry a chair. The better ones have a large displacement (650cc upwards), plenty of torque and a proper twin downtube frame.

    If it is your first time with an outfit then something you dont mind getting it all wrong with.
    #2
  3. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    First and foremost, Start with a bike you like, You are going to spend a fair amount of money doing this and should make sure that you end up with a rig you are going to like.
    I would if money is not limiting your choice go with a bike a bit newer as, as time goes on parts will become harder to come by and people that know how to work on the bike will be fewer and fewer.
    Next, chose a bike that you can buy mounts for, in general "universal" type mounts mean that they fit nothing universaly but are a good starting point. (we have mounts for some of the 1100 shadows but not all as there are at least 14 different frames on the 1100's) Next are steering modfications made for the bike? (again we have triple tree's for some of the 1100 shadows). If you are going to ride a lot of miles, can an automotive tire be fitted to the rear of the bike? If not are wheels made for automotive tires for your bike?
    The less custom one off work you need the further your money will go.
    Figure out what sidecar you are going to want to run, some bikes and sidecar match ups are not a good choice for saftey, You would not want to run a Velorex for instance on a GL1800 Goldwing (although a Velorex dealer in Canada see's no problem with this) or you would not want to put a large heavy sidecar on a smaller bike, We had one in the shop a while back where a dealer had installed a Watsonian Oxford (4 seat sidecar) on a 650cc bike with no brake on the sidecar. In this case the sidecar pushed the bike around rather then the bike pushing the sidecar.
    As far as type of bike, curiser, dual sport or? it goes back to START WITH A BIKE YOU LIKE.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    jay@dmcsidecars.com
    #3
  4. jpalamar

    jpalamar Long timer

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    A bike that I rode for a number of years was the BMW K1200LT. While its styling IMO leaves a bit to be desired it does a few things that many cannot. While riders lamented about only 5 fwd gears, I can't begin to say how nice the REVERSE the LT has would be now and then. But, more importantly it was the most comfortable bike (BakUp Back Rest) I have ever ridden and you can gobble up highway miles if long-distance touring is your cup of tea. 2010 might have been (I'm pretty sure) the last year, and while hydraulic centerstand a moot point on a hack, its comfort, largish tank, very wide bars, and reasonably good torque I think would make an ideal hack. The sidecases on the LT are deceptively small, but that is diminished with a 'car'. And of course it does have BMW flawlessly executed cruise control for gobbling up those miles!

    I'm thinking that there might be some pretty good bargains out there for the discerning and patient buyer as of course it lacks some of the things BMW's latest offerings have such a TPM, ASC, etc. And, now CAN-bus, just simple old mini-fuses etc.

    Just another person's 2 cents. And presume that DMC and Hannigan (for sure) have setups for the LT.
    #4
  5. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Henny Youngman had it right

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    I see you had an XT500 and a KLR so I'll throw out the obvious- a Ural. You can always buy a used one to try. Not too big of an investment and no time buying two halves and putting them together. If you don't like it you can sell it easier than a custom rig.
    #5
  6. Mr.Mellow's WildRide

    Mr.Mellow's WildRide Been here awhile

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    I just put a Velorex 562 on my '94 Shadow in October..........glad I did.

    :1drink

    One advantage is that with my Mustang custom seat, I have a backrest which is hard to come by on some makes..........
    #6
  7. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Worrol - that's an interesting question, and Jay has given you a very good answer. Although I'm fairly open minded when it comes to bikes I like, and would want to own, financial realities limit my choices. I'd love to own exotics, but really, I don't have the deep pockets to be able to support BMW, Ducati or Moto Guzzi brand bikes. Where I'm going with this is that I chose carefully - I have a couple of Goldwings. All machines will break and/or wear out eventually, but I'm a Honda fan (although I'm in the process of buying a KLR650). The GL1500 or GL1800 Goldwings make great tugs, and can easily haul a fair sized sidecar... and they have reverse, a very, very nice thing to have.

    With that said, if you're a cruiser guy, and that's what you like, nothing wrong with sticking with that... although a Honda Valkyrie would make a nice tug too!
    #7
  8. kailuasurfer

    kailuasurfer Dreamer

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    Not sure Triumph will agree with this but the Rocket III was MADE to pull a sidecar. Incredible torque and horsepower, with falling resale price, makes it a great candidate. Besides, you can use the same stock rims to mount car tyres (front and back). I have other hacks (including a Ural) but nothing compares to this - http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=746606
    #8
  9. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Keep in mind that this forum is called Adventure Rider. It's not called BigFatCruiser.com or GiantNipponTouringBikes.com. So you're gonna see on this forum anyway more of the utilitarian rigs and fewer of the Goldwing or Rocket rigs. My next-door-neighbor has never surfed on advrider.com, yet he has a perfectly set up and well-farkled Harley outfit that he pilots all over the place with utmost skill.
    #9
  10. NortwestRider

    NortwestRider TRIPOD ADVENTURER !!

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    Also rember that your first hack might just teach you what you really are looking for in a rig..I built my first hack ( Vstrom tug with a home built car ) and it showed me what I was really looking for ( and it wasn't the Vstrom!!.).
    #10
  11. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    PLUS side: Most cruisers feature a stout full-cradle frame, plenty of torque at low revs, a lower sitting position, and handlebars giving good leverage.

    CON side: Steering is likely to be slow with large trail figure, may be low with little ground clearance beneath while fitting a rear tyre of smaller diameter may be easiest way to lower the final drive gearing.

    Correcting the steering heaviness is not a major problem -- this is common for many changes to outfit or trike, being built from a standard motorcycle.
    #11
  12. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    Gas tank size becomes more of an issue with a hack, as gas mileage is way lower. So custom cruisers with small tanks are probably not first choice.
    #12
  13. pops

    pops Long timer

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    :thumb



    Cheers Ian
    #13
  14. Worroll

    Worroll Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the replies. Good feedback from all.
    I'm not really a "cruiser guy" at all, I just happened to pick up a cruiser a few month ago. With my new Sprint coming, and getting my old CB750F back on the road now that my work on that is done, and still having my KLR, I don't see me riding the VT1100 much. If it was a sidecar rig, I could see myself using it more. Certainly I'd love a newer Triumph Scrambler with an offroadish rig, or a newer sport-tourer with a rig, but the budget has to be with an existing bike. So it's either the VT1100 or whatever I can sell/trade it for. In that range, I'd prefer an older CB900/CB1000. I do like the VT1100, plenty of power, and comfort will be great once I rework the seat a bit. Gas tank is 4 gallons, so it's not super small, I'd expect a reasonable range, maybe not adventure touring range, but that's what a gas can on the sidecar is for!
    I don't have a problem with the age of the bike, I can fix anything on it and ebay is full of parts.
    Being my first rig it doesn't need to be top shelf. Sure, car tires, sidecar brake and the fancy front suspension would be great, but they can be worried about later, or on my second different rig, if I get into it.


    I'd be planning on first making the frame myself, and starting off with just a flat deck for utilitarian hauling and such. After that I would start work on making a person carrying sidecar body. Might be a challenge, and a good learning experience to do it all, but it is within my range of abilities.

    I'll plan for doing up the VT1100, but if a trade for something else I'd prefer comes along I'll jump on it. Depending on thing, I may not have any real projects for this summer, so might happen, otherwise it will be next winter's project.
    #14
  15. NortwestRider

    NortwestRider TRIPOD ADVENTURER !!

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    I built my first ( and only so far ) sidecar and it was a GREAT experience,you will love it..
    #15
  16. Worroll

    Worroll Been here awhile

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    I know I already skimmed thru your build-up! :beer
    #16
  17. kailuasurfer

    kailuasurfer Dreamer

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    Hmmm, I thought inmates on this site are "Adventurers" no matter what they ride or where they ride. Many of us own more than one bike for many of our diverse adventures.
    #17
  18. Agent Wayward

    Agent Wayward 2 wheels good, 3 wheels better!

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    Brock has it.

    Any bike you LIKE.

    We've fitted allkinds of bikes, from standard fare like Bandits, through Honda DN01s, a Vincent, sportsbikes etc.

    Have to say the Rocket does make a superb outfit.

    Currently on the list for fitting is an XR650 and an XL250.
    #18
  19. triumphsidehack

    triumphsidehack Been here awhile

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    Thank you Kailuasufer............ Webster's say's
    Adventure 1. to be an exciting or dangerous undertaking
    2. an unusual stirring, often a romantic experience.

    Man these both fit the bill for me. After five different rig's I have a
    ADVENTURE every time I head out.
    #19
  20. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    S.R.K. Engineering . . . . outfit fabricator in Bathurst NSW, has a picture-project on their build of a Honda VT1100-powered outfit:

    [​IMG]

    Honda VT1100 and Dusting

    Just down from the two Goldwing projects.
    #20