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The Texas Sidecar Co.

(833) 897-4332

4.  Matching the sidecar to the bike. One question we are asked frequently concerns installing a lightweight sidecar on a heavy bike.  Specifically, we are asked “Can I put a Velorex on my big Harley” often but occasionally someone will find an old Spirit Eagle and want to mount it on a large bike.  I do not recommend combinations like this nor will we mount them in our shop.  I believe that too much stress can be put on the lightweight axles, frames and mounting parts – arms and clamps – and this could cause them to fail.  While I personally do not know of anyone having an axle snap or a mount break, I have seen some parts stretched to the point of near-failure.

5.  Are sidecars easy to install? The answer to this question depends on your abilities more than the bike and sidecar you have chosen.  Connecting the sidecar to the mounting brackets on the motorcycle is pretty much the same for all sidecars.  Installing the mounting brackets on the motorcycle is different for each make and model bike and scooter.

Installing the mounts on the Kawasaki Vulcan series is relatively easy.  At the upper front and lower rear right-side frame joints, a mounting bracket is bolted on.  A standard strap clamp goes on the lower front frame rail and a rod eye is bolted on near the upper shock mount in the rear.  The most time-consuming part of the operation is removing and reinstalling the exhaust on some models where it covers the mounting holes.  Still, all this usually takes only a couple of hours if everything goes right.  Connecting the sidecar takes another couple of hours and you are on the road.

The new Honda Silver Wing super-scooter is an entirely different matter.  There are a number of body panels that must be removed for the installation of the lower front and upper front strap clamps.  The center stand is replaced by the lower rear sidecar mount and part of the exhaust system and muffler mounts must removed and reinstalled for this.  In this case, installing the mounting hardware on the motorcycle easily takes a day by itself.  Connecting the sidecar takes a couple of hours the next day and then you are on the road.

If there is a subframe available for your bike, this can make the installation go very smoothly as much of the engineering work has been done.  Smoothly and quickly, however, are not the same.  Both the Harley Sportster and the Gold Wing 1500 use a subframe.  The HD subframe takes about a half-day to install and the GW 1500 subframe can easily take a day by itself.  Following here is a chart with some of the many specific installation kits available for Texas Sidecars:

The following bike-side mounts are available at an additional charge.

Universal
Mounting
Kit

Two clamps with rod eyes and two clamps with clevises.

Kits listed here include installation instructions specific to your bike.

BMW

/5. /6, /7
R80, R100
K75, K100

Guzzi

Ambo, Eldo
Cal II, Cal III
Bassa, Jackal

If your bike is not listed here, please contact us. New mounts are being added frequently.

Honda

CX 500/650
CB500, 750,900, 1000
Magna
Pacific Coast
Shadow  750, 1000
Helix
Silver Wing
GL 1000, 1100, 1200, 1500, 1800
Valkyrie
VTX 1300 & 1800

Harley

Sportster
FLH
Softail

Kawasaki

Vulcan 750, 800, 1500, 1600

Suzuki

Bandit
Burgman 650
GS750, 8500
Intruder 700, 800, 1400
Intruder 1500

Yamaha

Majesty
V-Star 650, 1100
Midnight Star

Triumph

New Bonneville
New Thunderbird

If you choose to, or have to, use a “universal” mounting kit, the entire installation process may be more difficult, may take more time, and may incur added expenses.

As I stated initially, the bike and sidecar are part of the answer. Your mechanical ability is the other part of the equation. Recently, we sold Ranger sidecars and mounting kits to two different customers with exactly the same model bikes. One customer took four and a half hours to install his sidecar. The other customer worked on the installation for days and days and finally went to an experienced sidecar installer to have the mounting done. Both customers claimed to have average mechanical skills.

To help give you an idea of what it takes to mount one of our sidecars, we have included a sample Installation Guide. Click here to review the Guide.

In summary, the difficulty of installation differs by make and model bike, make and model sidecar, your skills and the tools and equipment at your disposal. In general, I believe most people, if they have some basic mechanical skills, can install their own sidecars. Probably 75% of our customers do it themselves. Do some investigation here first. Move slowly and do it right. Remember, you will only have to do it once!

6. Are they easy to take on and off? Usually, they are. Most sidecars have four mounting points with bolts in them and a wiring plug. Some have a brake to disconnect, and if it is hydraulic and tied into your bike’s braking system, that’s a little trickier. There’s a few things to consider about taking the sidecar on and off — if you have the sidecar on the bike very long, your tires are going to wear just a little flat mostly in the middle. If you have not put special sidecar tires on your bike, then it will handle poorly with the touring tires worn flat. If you have put sidecar tires on your bike, then it will handle even more strangely (possibly dangerously) as a two-wheeler with square-shouldered tires. If you only have the sidecar on when the grandkids are over for a long weekend now and then — you will probably not have a problem. Remounting is not hard, once the sidecar is setup. We use $20 furniture dollies for moving sidecars around here. They are good investments.