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Sidecar install 101: Part 1

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Terminology:   potential tug:  any motorcycle used or to be used to haul a sidecar  /   hack:  slang term for a sidecar


If your tug has an aluminum frame, check w/reputable s/c dealer for sub-frame to handle stress of s/c w/o damage to anything.

If you have a light tug, only very light s/c should be attached...if you have heavy tug, don't put very light s/c on it.


If you have a fairly new tug, you should be OK to attach a sidecar, after doing a few important checks to your trusty steed.

Check all brake rotors [ mike them for thickness ]. Check your brand, year, model's maintenance manual on minimum allowed.

Check brake pad wear...if they're worn and rotors look OK, install new pads [ consider aftermarket pads, like EBC, for a heavy rig,

to give much more stopping power in emergencies ].

Check steering head torque to prevent nasty front end shimmy...a common result of loose head bearings on a s/c rig.

Aftermarket front fork springs, fork brace are almost mandatory necessity for safety, especially on heavy rigs. Modified steering

stem to reduce trail may be necessary. If you are or later become diehard sidecar nut, look into Leading Link Front End for your

rig...handling/steering/braking can't be beat with these puppies.

Condition of rear shocks, swingarm and wheel bearings are your call. All older &/or high mileage potential tugs should have these

items addressed [ shocks checked for scored shafts, oil leaks, torn boots, weak springs, worn/damaged shock end bushings.....

bearings squeaky cleaned, inspected, repacked w/good grade bearing grease OR replaced, if worn/damaged ]

Wheel bearings should have NO side play on any wheel! REPLACE all bearings which have ANY side play before hanging a hack!

This INCLUDES wheel bearings on a used sidecar one has purchased!

The older a cycle is/higher mileage a potential tug has, more care should be taken to insure it's safe operation in a sidecar outfit.

Tire condition is CRUCIAL to safe operation! Check them carefully and only run Brand Name Tires, as many off-beat brands DON'T

stand up, even to solo motorcycle use..... Words To The Wise!


.....more later and  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL ..... papasmurf  :)

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Interesting stuff there Tom!!  Always heard the term leading link but didn't have a clue what it was!!


Wish it was summer time up there so you could include some pictures as visual aids. 


But good stuff!!  Appreciate ya!

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Maybe I can include some visuals later, when I learn the tricks to doing so! 


Doctor Hal Kendall, one of the few Sidecar Emeritus Gurus on Planet Earth [ he sadly passed away a few years ago ] wrote

some EXCELLENT BOOKS on just about everything you'd need to know on the subject of sidecars. He had a Masters Degree in

Engineering, which he diligently applied to sidecar rig design, operation and performance. Many diehard sidecar nuts, following his

lead, have built Great HPO [ High Performance Output ] tugs, mated to modified sidecars which had s/c wheel steering, special front/

rear end tug suspension, low, wide wheels/tires, making them scary-fast, maneuverable & Very Cool-Looking on the road! 

Yours truly has seen a few of them and WOW!

At  sidecar.com   Dr. Kendall's [ and many other ] books on sidecars are available at low cost. Check w/SIDECAR MIKE there,

who now handles the site's publications. The Good Lord has called many from their ranks.

.....papasmurf  :)

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