How to Add a Sidecar to a Motorcycle?
Motorcycle is quite an old invention. However, with time, we have seen enormous advancement in its structure. Comfort in the journey has always fascinated man. This perusal of comfort in motorcycle traveling led eventually to the invention of sidecar.
In this article, our editors have explained all the necessary steps involved in adding a sidecar to a motorcycle. Also, we have added a list of required tools in this step-by-step guide.
Yes, you can attach a sidecar to a motorcycle by placing U- clamp on top, attach the curved bar with a sidecar, followed by a sliding clamp, connect sidecar frame with motorcycle, adjust the framework and make electrical connections.
With sidecar attached, a motorcyclist feels almost like driving a car. Sidecar provides several benefits. However, at the same time, it is tricky to handle a sidecar.
- 1 How to Add a Sidecar to a Motorcycle?
- 1.1 Step-by-step guide to installation of sidecar to a motorcycle
- 1.1.1 Placing U-clamp on top
- 1.1.2 Attachment of curved bar with sidecar
- 1.1.3 Attachment of sliding clamp to sidecar
- 1.1.4 Insertion of eyebolt
- 1.1.5 Connecting sidecar frame with motorcycle
- 1.1.6 Toe-in adjustments
- 1.1.7 Lean-out adjustments
- 1.1.8 Making electrical connections between a sidecar and motorcycle
- 1.2 Handling a sidecar motorcycle
- 1.1 Step-by-step guide to installation of sidecar to a motorcycle
- 2 Why to add a sidecar to a motorcycle?
- 3 Can I Add a Sidecar to Any Motorcycle?
How to Add a Sidecar to a Motorcycle?
It is always fun to ride a sidecar attached to a motorcycle. You must be in a hurry to knowing the installation process of the sidecar. Well, it is a hectic procedure of about three to four hours. Let us start.
Tools required for adding a sidecar to a motorcycle include a sidecar kit. You will need sidecar frame, nuts, bolts, eye bolts, wrench, screwdriver, lights (headlight, brake light, rear light), blocks, angle bracket, and wooden strips.
Step-by-step guide to installation of sidecar to a motorcycle
Here is the step to step guide to the installation of the sidecar to the motorcycle.
There are some prerequisites for adding a sidecar to a bike. Your sidecar may have some interior windshield being attached to it. It is better to remove that windshield and place it on some safe place before starting the whole procedure.
You should also detach parts of U bolts provided with the kit. Also, remove bolts from eye bolts.
Placing U-clamp on top
First of all, set the U-clamp at the top of the motorcycle. Using bolts lock washers and nuts insert the spacer block in the U-clamp. It is advised to place them as high and as distant as possible on the motorcycle.
Similarly, adjust three more U-clamps in the downtube frame of the motorcycle. The placement of these clamps depends on the shape of the structure of the bike. However, you may place each of them at an equal distance from each other.
Also, make sure that these U-clamps do not interfere with functional units of motorcycle or wires, etc.
Attachment of curved bar with sidecar
It is time to make some adjustments to the sidecar. Firstly, loosen the holding bolts present in the sidecar. They are generally on the front side. Now place the curved bar into the sidecar.
The curved bar will be a curved shaped component, and it will swing in the air so that it can be later connected with U-clamp on the frame of the motorcycle.
Attachment of sliding clamp to sidecar
After the attachment of the curved bar with sidecar attach sliding clamp to it. You may use the available nut, lock washers, and bolts for its attachment to sidecar. Just like the holding bolts of sidecar, do not tighten the sliding clap in sidecar for now. However, it should be tight enough not to fall off from the sidecar.
Insertion of eyebolt
The next step is the insertion of eyebolt in the sliding clamp using the spacer sleeve. Tighten it using nut. Attach strut with it.
Connecting sidecar frame with motorcycle
Now we have made assembly of motorcycle and the sidecar frame. We have U-clamp on motorcycle while struts on the frame of the sidecar.
You have to stand your motorcycle on its wheel. You may put some level bricks to stand it level without using stand. Similarly, stand the sidecar.
Place the sidecar at a distance of nine to ten inches from the motorcycle. Placement should be in a way that the sidecar wheel remains ahead of the rear wheel of the motorcycle. It will facilitate excellent and permanent attachment
Now, connect the bolts of struts and curved bar on the sidecar frame with eyebolts of U-clamp on the motorcycle frame. Do not tighten the bolts before reaching the last step. Also, make sure that struts connected with eye bolts of U clamp must not be parallel to each other. Otherwise, the stability of this vehicle will be compromised to a more considerable extent.
You have successfully attached the frame of motorcycle with that of sidecar. But the story does not end here. We have still a lot of work to do. Now it is time to make toe-in adjustments.
You must be familiar with term toe-in adjustment. It is the adjustment of the angle of the wheels, which they make with the direction of the travel. It is an essential factor that determines the stability of that particular vehicle.
Especially in the case of sidecar motorcycle, we have to consider toe-in adjustment seriously.
We have to measure the toe-in. For this purpose, firstly, remove the supports beneath the motorcycle and the sidecar.
Secondly, take two long and perfectly straight wooden strips. You may use any other material provided that they are perfectly straight, and their structure is not flexible. The length of these strips should be long enough to cover the length of the motorcycle.
Thirdly, place one of the strips on the outer side of the wheels of the motorcycle. It should be placed perfectly straight.
Fourthly, Place the second strip with the outer side of the wheel of the sidecar. They must be perfectly aligned with the sidecar wheel.
Fifthly, measure the distance between the two strips on the front side; similarly, measure the distance between two strips from the backside too. It is advised to take distance at least at a distance of one foot from the wheels.
Now we have measured the toe in the distance. It is time to make some calculations. Whatever the distance is, the distance between two strips at the rear side should be at least 0.5 to 0.75 inch greater than that in the front.
If you find that rear distance is not large, then you have to make adjustments in the top and bottom adjustment bolts on the struts and curved bar of the sidecar. Tightening these bolts in a clockwise direction will increase the toe-in and vice versa.
So we hope that you have adjusted the toe-in adjustment accordingly. Now let us move toward yet another significant adjustment, the lean-out adjustment.
Firstly, using the angle bracket measure the lean-out distance on the front wheel. Place the angle bracket outside with the front wheel of the motorcycle. Now measure the clearance between angle bracket and tire on the ground.
The clearance distance should be about 0.3 cm. If the clearance distance is more or less than it, then you have to tighten or loosen the adjustment bolts on the front and rear of struts. Inward moving of adjustment bolt will decrease the lean-out distance, and outward movement will increase it.
Further, you may test ride your motorcycle with a sidecar attached. After this drive, retake the lean-out and toe-in distance. If you find an abnormality, then adjust these again. It is advised to keep on checking this overtime to ensure the stability and, ultimately, the safety of you and your bike. You must install handlebar grips on your ride.
Making electrical connections between a sidecar and motorcycle
You have successfully made physical connections between sidecar and motorcycle. It is time to make some electrical ones. You will require them to provide power to the lights on the sidecar.
It is necessary because, in most countries, sidecar motorcyclists must have proper brake, indicator, front, and rear lights being installed on their sidecars separately. It is also better for your safety.
So firstly you have to choose the positions of lights on your sidecar. You have selected the place of lights, well, now move towards the second step. The second step is drilling holes in the selected locations. You may use a marker to mark the positions to be drilled. Drill enough to adjust wires and light body in it.
You have to decide the route of the wires then. There should be a proper route for powering them and making adjustments for ground wire. You can have different power sources for various lights.
One good option is to connect the wires of the sidecar light with that of the motorcycle light. It will be more convenient as turning on the motorcycle light will also on the sidecar lights. You can also power the lights directly with the battery.
The main thing here is to arrange a proper ground for the wire. Another important thing is to arrange an appropriate way for wires. Wires will be exposed to wear and tear. You have to stick them correctly to the sidecar. You have to minimize their contact with degrading factors like weather or physical access. You may use the market available wire harness.
Hurrah, you made it. Your motorcycle has now a sidecar attached to a motorcycle.
Handling a sidecar motorcycle
Well, first of all, congratulations on successfully turning your motorcycle into a sidecar motorcycle. But things do not end here. The real test starts after attaching sidecar to the motorcycle, and that test is handling of this sidecar.
Handling can have two main points; firstly, the maintenance of your sidecar and, secondly, the riding handling of the sidecar. Both require a lot of care.
When it comes to maintenance, you must be paying close attention to any of the voices produced from nuts of sidecar. These nuts can loosen with time due to weight and pressure on them. You have to check them to avoid any mishap regularly. You have to also keep a check on the brake system of the sidecar.
Talking about riding handling, it all requires a lot of practice and care. You should try to ride your sidecar in less traffic and comparatively safe places before bringing it to the main roads. You have to learn taking a right and left turns with sidecar attached. You have to practice driving with the third wheel in the air. Take some kind of professional coaching or tips from a friend of yours riding the sidecar already.
It all takes some practice, and then you will surely become a sidecar motorcycle expert, riding the vehicle the way it should be.
Why to add a sidecar to a motorcycle?
Are not you getting questions in your mind? Like, man, your motorcycle is going right, why to add a sidecar to it? Is it worth it adding it to my bike? Let us answer these questions.
We understand that your motorcycle is going good but believe us adding a sidecar to it is worth it. Firstly, adding a sidecar to the bike also adds stability to it. It holds you tight; either you are driving on a normal road with potholes or speed breakers in it or an abnormal slippery surface life icy or muddy surface. When it comes to balancing the motorcycle, three wheels are always better than two.
Secondly, having a sidecar attached guarantee more safety to the rider. Usually, in accidents where a bike collides with the rear of some car, the rear wheel of the bike stands in air. It causes the poor rider to fall in forward direction. However, having additional weight added with the rear wheel of the bike, this situation can be prevented.
Thirdly, you do not need to place your feet on the ground while your motorcycle is standing still.
Fourthly, with more space, come more options. You can carry more passengers with you. Also, you can utilize this extra space for accommodating other stuff of yours.
Can I Add a Sidecar to Any Motorcycle?
You must be thinking that it is ok that having a sidecar attached is a big blessing, but can I connect the sidecar to my motorcycle? Are there any kinds of parameters for adding a sidecar to a bike?
Well, the answer is simple. No, there are no such strict parameters for adding a sidecar to a motorcycle. You can add a sidecar almost with every bike.
However, the bike to which the sidecar is going to attach should have a massive displacement. We mean that it should have enough displacement to carry the load of a third wheel efficiently.
It is also advised that a motorcycle should have a proper and robust twin downtube frame to support an additional structure.
The motorcycle with which you have to attach a sidecar should preferably a new one. If you do not have a new one, even then, you should notice that either proper mounts are available for this model or not? Universal kinds of mounts are not long-lasting and can cause harm to you.
Team – Lastcart.co