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Need your advice
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Posted 8/24/2004 1:20 PM (#4547)
Subject: Need your advice

I've wanted a sidecar for ages, and I think I'm ready now. My experience on bikes is 6 years, currently with a new BMW cruiser that I love.

My wish list: I want to get a dedicated rig to carry my kids around town and probably to camping and some rallies. So, a sidecar that can carry at least two kids, and an easy-to-find tug that will pull it at 65 MPH. Oh, and I'm short (5'2"). And I'm in California, so the Ural tug is out (from what I hear) because it doesn't meet exhaust requirements.

1. Does the tug have to be low, or does the rig stabilize it so that I could consider taller bikes? It will have to be a fairly common bike, because I live far from any metropolitan center.

2. I'm an hour from any bike mechanic, and I have little experience at wrenching (cars). Should I just fuggedaboudit, or are there rigs that don't need a lot of expert attention and care? Are there some I could put on myself, with the right tools? I could also fly somewhere, pick one up, and drive it home.

3. Is it easy to install seat belts on your recommended sidecar?

Whew, thanks for reading all this! PS I work as a hack--writer for hire.
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Posted 8/24/2004 2:20 PM (#4548 - in reply to #4547)
Subject: RE: Need your advice

THe BMW you now have would work out fine as a sidecar hauler. We make a mounting kit for it and have several different sidecars in stock both new and used including single and two seat sidecars.
We pick up and drop off bikes for sidecar work 3 or 4 times a year from Califonia but as we just got back from California about 2 weeks ago with a 48 foot trailer full of bikes and sidecars it will be a while until we are down your way again.
We can mount a sidecar to most any bike provided it is going to be a safe match up. As you no longer have to be able to touch the ground it does not matter how tall the seat is. My wife is not much taller then you are and she rides all of our rigs including some big touring bikes.
Seat belts can be installed in most sidecars. I have no idea if the passenger is safer in the sidecar with a seat belt or not however I do know that small children tend to stay seated when they are seat belted in which means you are not likley to look over and find your passenger gone only to find out that the passenger climbed into the nose of the sidecar to take a nap.
Sidecar classes are offered in the Seattle area often customers have us build a rig and then come up, take the class and ride it home.
Of course if you pick a bike that a mounting kit is made for then you should be able to install the sidecar your self.
Let me know if we can be of help.
Jay Giese
Dauntless Motors Corporation
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Posted 8/24/2004 3:31 PM (#4550 - in reply to #4547)
Subject: RE: Need your advice

Thanks, Jay. That helps narrow it down. I'd like to keep my cruiser for solo rides and get a dedicated rig. Tempting as it is to save money, I'm sure the on/off procedure would be a deterrent to just running into town with the sidecar or going on a spur of the moment solo ride. Which sidecars will haul two kids and camping stuff, and how big does the tug need to be for them?
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Posted 8/26/2004 10:23 AM (#4577 - in reply to #4547)
Subject: RE: Need your advice

There are a couple of ways to go for a two seat sidecar. You can either go Tandem or side by side. Side by side are more common. We can order tandem sidecars in from China and England.
Side by side two seat sidecars can also be ordered in from Eroupe however there are several made here in the USA.
We make one where the sidecar wheel steers with the bikes front wheel called the Liberator.
We are dealers for Champion sidecars which has an exelent sidecar called the Daytona. We can also order in Champion product.
California sidecars and Motovation enginering also make two seat sidecars. We do not handle these products new.
If you let me know more about what style you are looking for we can narrow down the choice.
As to a bike with a side by side two seat sidecar you will want a bike with a fair amount of horse power to over come wind drag at speed.
Jay Giese
Dauntless Motors Corporation
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Posted 8/27/2004 4:00 PM (#4587 - in reply to #4547)
Subject: RE: Need your advice

Don't forget: What size are the kids and how many? That's more important than how tall Lani is. If its three strapping teens, Lani will need a larger rig than for twin infants.
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Posted 8/27/2004 4:53 PM (#4590 - in reply to #4547)
Subject: RE: Need your advice


Posts: 4833
Location: Boise, Idaho
If you have a new cruiser that you love to ride as a solo bike, you might be better off with another, less expensive bike to use as the sidehack rig. There are many Japanese cruisers around in the 650cc and above range that are quite affordable, pass CARB and work well as sidecar tugs. If they are conventional double loop frame bikes, most are easily converted to a bolt on sidecar outfit. After the tug, pick a new or used sidecar that suits you and blend the two. Most sidecar vendors (including us) are more than happy to offer technical advice to the installers.
The on again off again sidecar rig sounds easy (15 minutes, etc) but is more practical to use for less expensive service calls at your local dealer (so they won't charge extra for two lifts). Most folks leave the sidecar on, so no more leaning when you are "Canyon carving".
Two of the more compact two seaters are the Motorvation Formula II and Roadster Royale. As is the Texas Twinstar (no longer in production). For smaller children I have seen a few Velorex 700s converted to tandem cars with replacement seats at the Griffith Park Sidecar Rally.
Belts are easily installed, if needed to keep the young'uns in place.

Good luck in your Quest,

Lonnie Cook
Northwest Sidecar
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