Posted 1/20/2005 12:54 AM (#5950) Subject: sidecar on 1997 Harley sportster 883/1200
Hello all. I'm new to the group, and I need to ask a couple of questions. Recently, I bought a Velorex sidecar, 562 I believe. I intended to use it on my 1997 Harley sportster. The sportster has an 883cc engine converted to 1200cc. It is capable of getting 64hp and 71 pound feet of torque. I also intended on further upgrading the engine in order to get more hp. When I talked to the bike builders and other motorcycle "experts", they all declared that it would not be a good idea to put a sidecar on a sportster. They said a sportster would not be strong enough to pull the extra weight uphill and against the wind, etc., and that it might be too much of a strain on the 1200cc engine. They seem to all think that I should get a larger bike. I want to use the sidecar, with my little wife in it, on the highway for distance traveling. I read a few messages on the USCA forum, that some of you do have sidecars on sportsters. Can anybody give me some information on this subject? Will a sportster handle a sidecar ok? How does a sportster handle a sidecar on the hiway, in the wind, uphill with a passenger? Thanks in advance
Posted 1/20/2005 9:30 AM (#5954 - in reply to #5950) Subject: RE: sidecar on 1997 Harley sportster 883/1200
Hi I don't have a sporster but I do have a Velorex on a 1980 xs400 Yamaha Special and even that little bike will pull the sidecar at about 65-70 on flat roads, 55-60 up hills or with a real bad headwind. I use it every day here in Ny and never had a problem hauling my 240 lb butt and my 2 young kids which together are probably 170 lbs. So I think whoever is telling you the Sportster is too small are the same people that would have told you not to buy a sportster because it is a girls bike. (That's what the local HD dealer told me when I was looking at Sportys so I went out and bought an 1100 Yamaha Vstar instead which I will be putting a 250 lb Motorvation sidecar on.) So don't worry about the Sportster pulling the load if anything the Velorex might be light for the Sporty. Hope this helps. Rich
Posted 1/20/2005 12:43 PM (#5958 - in reply to #5950) Subject: RE: sidecar on 1997 Harley sportster 883/1200
Thanks, that's very interesting. All I wanted to do was to have the heads ported and flowed for a few more hp. Then I got all this talk about sportsters being too small for sidecars, etc. So the cost was from a few hundred bucks for the port/flow to a bigger bike for a few thousand bucks.
Thanks for the info
Posted 1/20/2005 2:14 PM (#5961 - in reply to #5958) Subject: RE: sidecar on 1997 Harley sportster 883/1200
Location: Boise, Idaho
I have mounted many Velorex cars on the Sportys. Good matchup, easy installation. I like to add a partial sub-frame extension bracket at the lower rear mount for a wider stanced (more rigid) mounting.
For a sidecar tug, the 1200cc kit in conjunction with the stock 883 heads with smaller valves and the 883 cam will give you more low end torque and better throttle response than going for all the top end modifications like porting and flowing. Fine if you are going for full throttle top end work, or drag racing, but that isn't what sidecaring is all about. Low end torque and pulling power are much more desireable for a good tractable sidehack rig.
I currently drive a 650 Honda CB 6 speed which pulls a Velorex a lot better than the last 1200 Sporty rig I put together for myself. The high performance Harley motor would lug down terribly on hills and rattle like crazy with the best premium fuel. I had to retard the ignition drastically to keep from detonation and engine meltdown. In doing so all of the benefits of the performance modifications were lost.
Posted 1/20/2005 7:30 PM (#5963 - in reply to #5950) Subject: RE: sidecar on 1997 Harley sportster 883/1200
The Sportster makes a fine sidecar tug and don't let anybody tell you otherwise; there are plenty of them out there proving it every day.
Hack'ns right; a converted 883/1200 using stock cams and heads makes plenty of torque. The lower rear drive ratio from the 883 combined with the extra displacement will give you all of the pulling power you will need. It wouldn't hurt to clean up the ports by knocking down the casting ridges, but I wouldn't change the valve size or increase the port size; you want the stock valve and port size to keep flow velocity high (better mixing = more low end torque).
Also, make sure you have a good subframe; it can make all the difference on how the rig works and how much you enjoy it. There's also an excellent book on improving the Sportster including lots on engine performance. Here's the link: