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Description of Proposed Modifications
Attach a Wheelchair Accessible Side Car to a Yamaha FJ1200 Motorcycle
Definition of Terms:
Solo Rider: Riding a motorcycle without a sidecar attached.
Counter Steering: The method of leaning the motorcycle that a solo rider uses to steer
the motorcycle into corners and bends.
Outfit: A sidecar.
Rig: A motorcycle.
Hack: An Outfit rigidly connected to a Rig.
Leaner: An Outfit connected to a Rig which allows the rider to counter steer (lean) while
Tow In Adjustment: Adjusting the Outfit wheel to angle slightly toward the front of the Rig.
Necessary on both a Hack and a Leaner combination.
Lean Adjustment: Adjusting the Outfit to lean out vertically away from the Rig, enabling it
to straighten when the weight of a passenger is added. Necessary only on a Hack
Flying the Chair: Riding a Hack Combination with the Outfit lifted off the ground.
Leading Link: Motorcycle front forks were designed to help the motorcycle lean into and
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out of corners and to self-centre. When a sidecar is fitted as a Hack Combination, the bike
is steered instead of leaned. This requires much more effort from the rider. Leading Link is
an alternative to telescopic forks that reduces the trail which then reduces the effort
required to steer the Hack. Leading Link is necessary only on a Hack Combination.
Steering Damper: Fitted to the motorcycle between the frame and the forks, the Steering
Damper is usually a standard Volkswagen shimmy damper. They are readily available,
have a long enough stroke and are made in a couple of different mounting designs.
The most ideal method to fit a Steering Damper is to anchor the base end on the bike
frame and the rod end on the lower triple tree (Fig. A below). If the
Steering Damper is mounted anywhere on the fork
leg, it MUST be able to move freely up and down and
allow the motorcycle to turn full lock side to side. A
Steering Damper is necessary only on a Hack
Combination and is used to reduce oscillation from
side to side (steering wobble).
As shown above, in the Definition of Terms, two methods may be used to attach a
wheelchair accessible sidecar to a motorcycle (as a Leaner or as a Hack Combination).
As a motorcycle instructor, I teach the benefits of counter steering and safe cornering.
I have also driven a wheelchair accessible sidecar rigidly connected to a motorcycle as a
Driving the Hack handled well and did not present any problems. However, after
researching the options, in my opinion, the preferred and safest method of attaching a
sidecar to a motorcycle is to create a Leaner Combination.
I will now list some of the advantages and disadvantages of a Leaner Combination.
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Advantage 1. Cannot "Fly the Chair"
Unlike a Hack, a Leaner allows the rider of the motorcycle to counter steer, by leaning into
the corners and bends. The sidecar passenger remains vertically upright and therefore is
not required to lean while cornering. This provides safer handling and there is not the
potential of Flying the Chair. Flying the chair is not dangerous. When the sidecar is lifted
off the ground, it is manouvered by simply counter steering. But unlike other sidecar
combinations, we have the added weight of a wheelchair, in our case 110 kilograms.
Therefore with a leaner combination, a sharp turn to the left will not fly the chair, which in
my opinion is the safer option.
Advantage 2. No Fork Modification
Another advantage of the Leaner, is that the motorcycle front forks would not need be
converted to Leading Link. I feel the less modification of the motorcycle, from the
manufacturers design, the better. The motorcycle's telescopic forks were designed to lean
into corners. Also a Steering Damper will not be necessary as the sidecar will not create
wobbling on the motorcycle steering.
Disadvantage 1. Fewer Attachment Points
The first disadvantage is that with most leaners, there are usually only two attachment
points. With the extra weight of the wheelchair, this is worth considering.
A possible solution would be to add dampers (shock absorbers), which would provide the
added strength of three or four attachment points, while continuing to allow the motorcycle
to lean. See examples below.
4 Attachment Points
3 Attachment Points
In this project, I plan to have fabricated a shadow frame to support/strengthen the existing
motorcycle frame and provide a sturdy foundation for attachment.
Typical Shadow Frame
With the sidecar attached in this manner, I believe the leaner combination could be as
strong as a hack, and this disadvantage would become void.
It is important to mention also, that when a Hack is flying the chair, or even slightly lifting
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the sidecar wheel as occurs often on a journey while turning left, the weight of the sidecar
and occupant will be adding stress to the attachment fittings.
Disadvantage 2. Overall Width
The second disadvantage when comparing a Leaner Sidecar Combination with and Hack
Combination, is the overall width.
According to the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification:
Section LL - Motor Cycles & Three Wheeled Vehicles, 2.1.5 Sidecars, the maximum width
of the combination, including any load and equipment, must not exceed 1.85m.
According to the Department of Transport publication - Vehicles for People with
Disabilities: Special Needs Vehicles.
The following exceptions may allow it:
While it is generally essential that the vehicle continues to meet the requirements of the
Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Regulations 2002, Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards)
Rules 2002 and the Australian Design Rules applicable to the date of manufacture and
category of the vehicle in question, some discretion is allowed in the Regulations for
vehicles for the disabled.
The Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Regulations can allow a vehicle or trailer to be
specially constructed, equipped, or adapted in a manner so that it may not comply with
these regulations when the person who will use the vehicle has a physical disability.
State law covers modifications to already registered vehicles. Modifications performed for
the disabled are treated differently from others. The National Code Of Practice For Light
Vehicle Modifications does not cover them.
Because this wheelchair accessible sidecar will be used for a disabled person, and is
required to be wider than a standard sidecar in order to accommodate a wheelchair, and
because a Leaner combination requires more width than a Hack; I request an exemption
to the width restrictions stated in the National Code of Practice, provided the combination
width proves to be safe for the rider, passenger and other road users.
In this application I am requesting permission to attach a wheelchair accessible sidecar to
a motorcycle to create a Leaner Combination greater than 1.85 metres as the preferred
option. I also wish to make it known that if after an engineers report has been submitted, if
an Approval in Principle is not granted for a Leaner Combination, I request permission to
attach the sidecar rigidly as a Hack Combination.
After having weighed the advantages and disadvantages of a Leaner Combination in
preference to a Hack Combination, I believe the Leaner Combination to be the safest
method to attach the sidecar.
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Wheelchair Accessible Sidecar to be used in this project
1990 Yamaha FJ1200 to be modified for this project
Dreamfit Sidecar/1976 Yamaha XS 750 Hack Combination beside sidecar of this project
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Steel Chassis/Frame/Ramp, Fibreglass Boat, Wooden
Seat belt manufacture APV Safety Products
ID 3098, Certified to AS/NZS2596, Date 12/12/12
4 Point QStraint Q86209 Retractable Wheelchair Tie
Slide 'N Click, L-Track & A-Track floor anchorages, or
may be directly mounted to vehicle floors, seat legs or
Will suit scooters, small or large manual chairs and
Crash tested to 30mph, 20 g’s
Meets or exceeds the following standards & regulations
SAE ISO 10542 FMVSS 209,
302, 210, 222
Maximum Length Ramp Folded
Maximum Height Ramp Folded
Maximum Height Ramp Unfolded
Maximum Ground Clearance (Unladen)
* Minimum Ground Clearance (Laden, 160 kg)
Maximum Length Ramp Extended
AS 2596 ADA
Orange Left Indicator/Red Tail & Brake/Orange
Single Disc Brake
Kumho Tubeless Radial
Maximum Load 482 kg
Size P 165/75 R13 81S
DOT H2AW YPM1
Delta Australia Spoked Alloy Mag Wheel
13” x 5.5”
* As our sidecar has not yet been attached to a motorcycle, the Dreamfit Sidecar,
registration number 1AZ013, was used to calculate the reduction in ground clearance.
Unladen 300 mm. 110kg wheelchair + 50kg occupant added.
30 mm reduction in ground clearance resulting in 270 mm ground clearance.
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1990 Yamaha FJ1200A Motorcycle Specifications
Displacement: 1188 cm3 (72.49 cubic inches)
Engine Type: Air Cooled, 4 Cylinder, In-line, 4 Stroke, 4 Valves per Cylinder, DOHC
Engine Model: 3BC3, Power: 130.00 HP (94.9 KW) @ 9000 RPM
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.37 HP/kg (2.73 kg/HP), Compression: 9.7:1
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 63.8 mm (3.03 x 2.51 inches), Engine Mounting: Transverse
Spark Plug: NGK, DP8EA-9 or NIPPON DENSO X24EP-U9
Gap: 0.8-0.9mm(0.031-0.035 in), Ignition Type: TCI (Transistor Controlled Ignition)
Fuel System: Carburetor BS36/MIKUNI, Capacity: 22 Litre, Premium Unleaded
Lubrication System: Wet Sump, Motor Oil: 20W/40 Type SE, Qty: 4.2 Litre
Electrical: Electric Starter TCI Digital, AC Generator, Battery: YB-14L/12V 14AH
Gear Box: Constant Mesh, 5-Speed, Clutch: Wet, Multiple Discs, Cable Operated
Transmission Type (Final Drive): Chain
Length: 2,205mm, Width: 775mm, Height: 1,245mm, Seat Height: 780mm,
Wheel Base: 1,490mm, Minimum Ground Clearance: 140mm
Wet (Kerb) Weight: 261 kg (576 pounds)
Frame type: Steel, Twin Spar (Perimeter), Double Cradle
Front Suspension: Telescopic Fork, Front Brake: Twin Disk, Ø282 mm
Front Tyre: 120/70 V17-V250, Front Tyre Pressure: 32 psi, (35 psi with pilion)
Front Shock Absorber: Coil Spring, Oil Damper
Rear Suspension: Mono Shock, Swingarm, Rear Brake: Single Disk, Ø282 mm
Rear Tyre: 150/80 V16-V250, Rear Tyre Pressure: 35 psi, (42 psi with pilion)
Rear Shock Absorber: Gas, Coil Spring, Oil Damper
Minimum Turning Radius: 3,000mm (118 in)
Registration: 1EF329 Engine No: 3BC003264 Vin/Chassis No: JYA3BCT05LA003264
Floor to Seat Height:
Front and Rear Wheels:
Maximum User Weight:
Atigra Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
Solid Casters 15x5 cm
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Draft Engineering Drawings
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Attaching the sidecar to the motorcycle as a Leaner Combination, the modifications to the
motorcycle would include:
Attach a Pivit Mounting Bracket (shadow frame) to the motorcycle frame
Connect the sidecar wiring into the motorcycle wiring harness
Connect a proportioning valve to the rear brake system
Remove the left indicator from the motorcycle to prevent confusing other road users
Replace motorcycle stand with a modified stand if necessary
If, however, permission is not granted to connect as a Leaner Combination, I propose to
attach the sidecar to the motorcycle via the second option, as a Hack Combination (rigid).
If this is the case, modification to the motorcycle will include:
Telescopic Forks to be replaced by Leading Link
Steering Damper added between motorcycle frame and lower triple tree
Connect sidecar wiring to motorcycle wiring harness
Attach and adjust sidecar mountings to the motorcycle frame
Remove stand if necessary
Remove the left indicator from the motorcycle to prevent confusing other road users
I will now provide details and illustrations to demonstrate the methods that would be used
to attach, and the adjustments that would be required, for both a Leaner Combination and
for a Hack Combination.
Flexible and Leaning Sidecars have been around since 1903. In the hands of a
professional, they outperformed a Conventional Ridgid Hack.
Pictured above: A Flexible Sidecar.
Images are not used for commercial use (informational use only). Therefore this document does not vialate
copyright as per http://kalich.de/index.html
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Advantages of a Leaner Sidecar:
• No need for Leading Link modifications or Steering Damper
• Safer cornering with counter steering
• Cannot accidentally "Fly the Chair", less stress on attachment fittings
• Experienced solo riders can easily ride a leaner sidecar
Disadvantages of a Leaner Sidecar:
• Sidecar must be mounted further away from motorcycle to allow for lean
• Less attachment points. Solved by adding a shadow frame if necessary and
increasing the strength of the pivot bars between the motorcycle and sidecar. Also if
necessary adding dampers (shock absorbers) to create 3 or 4 attachment points
Pasting the following link into an internet browser will show a video example of a Leaner
Sidecar in operation.
Website examples of Leaner Sidecar Manufacturers:
Armec Sidewinder Sidecars are located in Switzerland. The website is not in English, but
it contains good examples:
Kalich is a manufacturer of Swing - a Leaner Sidecar in Germany. The website is not in
English, but it contains some good examples: http://kalich.de/html/schwenker.html
Trans Moto Sidecars are located in Canada: http://www.trans-moto.com/welcome.html
Sauer Sidecars are located in Germany. The website is not in English, but it contains
some good examples: http://www.sauer-sidecar.de/seitenwagen/schwenker.html
Leaner Sidecar Attachment
The fore and aft Pivit Mounts on the motorcycle are to be placed on its centreline. The
front Pivit Mount is simply placed slightly higher than is that of the rear. This then "steers"
the sidecar wheel slightly as the motorcycle is steered to the left & right.
The front Horizontal Mounting Bar has a slight upward bend near the Pivit Mounting
Point, while the rear one is straight. Compare the slight difference in the height above the
road between the front and rear Pivit Mounting Points on this BMW:
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As the motorcycle leans the front Pivit Mount moves further outboard than does the rear
Pivit Mount. This will steer the sidecar wheel as the motorcycle is leaned over. The higher
front Pivit Mount steers it in the direction of travel. Think of the arc the pivot points are
travelling on as the bike is leaned in and out. The center of this arc is the ground. This
steering of the sidecar makes a Leaner Combination perform safer cornering in
comparison to a Hack Combination.
Pasting the following link into an internet browser will show a video demonstrating the
steering of the sidecar wheel:
Photographic Examples of Sidecar Chassis, Horizontal Mounting Bars, Pivit
Brackets and Pivits
Example 2 Pivit Bracket and Pivits
The pivits need to be inline with the centre line of the bike so the load is directly down.
Otherwise, just like standing on one foot peg, a motorcycle is going to fall over. So to
mount on one side of the motorcycle frame, you would be fighting that effect all the time
while riding. Having the front Pivit Mount higher than the rear Pivit Mount makes the
sidecar turn/steer in the direction of the corner when you lean. As the front Pivit Mount
being higher it has a longer arc radius than the rear Pivit Mount which pushes or pulls the
front of the sidecar across more than the rear Pivit Mount does. Pete-NZ
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Example 3 Pivit Bracket and Pivits
Sidecar Wheel Lead
Sidecar wheel lead is less critical than other alignment adjustments. Once chosen, the
sidecar wheel lead determines where the sidecar and frame will be, relative to the
motorcycle. Other alignment adjustments are fairly easy. The lead, or distance rearward
from the sidecar wheel to the motorcycle rear wheel, varies from zero to 15 inches.
Early H-D's with a rigid frame used no lead. Racing hacks used for one way oval tracks
have very large leads. Most modern setups use between 8 to 12 inches (200-300mm) of
lead. Consider a setup with Zero lead, with the sidecar on the left as in Australia. This is
equivalent to a four wheel car with the left front wheel missing, and only the right rear
wheel providing traction. Few scrubbing forces arise when turning left or right. However,
weight distribution is extremely poor, the added weight on the front wheel makes steering
heavy while the rear wheel can leave the ground on a hard turn.
The setup can roll over along a pivot line between the sidecar wheel and the front wheel in
extreme circumstances. The sidecar wheel takes more load as lead increases while weight
on the front wheel reduces.
The sidecar wheel positioned midway between the front and rear wheel gives ideal weight
distribution. This is ideal for straight ahead driving. The more the sidecar wheel moves
forward, the more it creates scrubbing on turns. The sidecar wheel can pivot, or even
rotate rear-ward if located too far forward, or if the front steering lock stops allow very
sharp turns. It is best to locate the sidecar wheel towards the rear for normal driving
Another concern is the type of rear wheel suspension. When only rigid frame machines
existed, the lead was small, normally from zero to 3 inches (0-75mm).
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With the advent of sprung hubs and rear plungers, the lead advanced to 4 to 6 inches
(100-150mm). The development of modern swinging arm suspension resulted in larger
leads of 8 to 12 inches (200-300mm). The farther forward, the better weight distribution.
The farther rearward, the easier the turn and less scrubbing of tires on turns.
Some early experimenters pivoted or castored the sidecar wheel to reduce turning
scrubbing forces. It did not work very well. With the exception of the 3-wheel drive, 2-wheel
steering system of Corda, most modern inventors have not found a good solution either.
The Corda claims to drive as fast to the right as to the left, and at speeds to rival a modern
Extracted from the Sidecar Manual 2003: http://www.cyclesidecar.com/pdfs/Sidecar Manual.pdf
Tow In Adjustment Guide
The sidecar wheel should be angled slightly toward the front of the motorcycle.
An incorrectly aligned sidecar will drag the motorcycle to either side, which will not only
make the combination difficult to handle, but also cause excessive tyre wear. Alignment is
best accomplished on a smooth level floor. Toe-in is checked by placing a straightedge
along the motorcycle wheels and a straight edge along the sidecar wheel. This creates two
parallel lines. The solid straight edges form a measurement line parallel to the centerline of
the motorcycle and a measurement line parallel to the sidecar wheel.
The spacing between the straight edges at front and rear determine the toe-in.
Measurement points are below the front and rear axles of the motorcycle. Take care to
measure along a line perpendicular to the straight edge, and to keep both straight edges in
contact with the tyres.
Recommended toe-in is 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). That is, toe-in is correct when spacing between
the two straight edges at the front axle is 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) less than that at the rear axle.
Again, this is only a starting point but will get you close. After this, it is trial and error to try
and get the Rig (motorcycle) so that it does not pull left or right when braking or
accelerating. The process can be a little frustrating the first time, but some patience will go
a long way. After the first time it will be much easier. Time spent aligning the sidecar is time
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NOTE: When making toe-in adjustments, make corrections in small increments, then
recheck. Very small adjustments in position of the Rear Pivit will have large results in
CAUTION: Tighten all bolts securely.
Unlike a Hack (Rigid Sidecar), a Leaner Sidecar does not need Lean Out adjustment prior
to road testing. The true test of toe-in adjustment is the road test, preferably on a smooth,
straight, level, paved road with typical camber slanting off towards the left. At a steady
speed of 40 mph (65,km/h), the motorcycle should not pull to either side while running at
normal road speed. Extracted from the Year 2000 Ural Repair Manual
These pictures are an example of a replacement motorcycle stand on a Leaner
Leaner Sidecar Project Steps
1. Locate the Lead and Clearance
• To locate the Lead, place the sidecar wheel hub 8-12 inches (200-300mm) forward of the
motorcycle rear wheel hub. The Dreamfit Wheelchair Accessible Sidecar, currently registered in
Western Australia, connected as a Rigid Hack, has a 250mm Wheel Lead.
• To locate mirror and handlebar clearance, place the motorcycle beside the sidecar. Using chain
blocks, lower the bike towards the sidecar to 45 to 50 degree lean.
• Rotate the handlebars to ensure there will be enough clearance. Measure the full width of the
Leaner Sidecar and the Motorcycle combination.
2. Fabricate Pivot Bracket and Pivits
• Use some tie downs to hold the motorcycle straight upright and use other tie downs to
compress the motorcycle shockies to simulate a rider sitting on the motorcycle. This will give the
correct distance between the road and the motorcycle lower frame. I, the usual rider, weigh
85kgs and the distance between the motorcycle frame and the floor is195 unladen and 185
while sitting on it. The exhaust being the lowest point is 110mm unladen and 90mm when I am
sitting on the motorcycle.
• Fabricate a Pivit Bracket to connect to the motorcycle frame ensuring that it allows sufficient
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• Attach Pivits to this Pivit Bracket. These Pivits will be located in the centreline of the bike, one to
the rear, underneath the frame and the other slightly higher in front of engine as per the above
examples. These pivots may be made of urethane bushes or another suitable material as
advised by engineer.
• The Pivits are to have a bush at one end to allow free rotation and a threaded rod on the other
end to allow adjustment of Tow In and attachment of the sidecar.
3. Manufacture Leaner Horizontal Mounting Bars
• Extend the sidecar chassis to create Leaner Horizontal Mounting Bars which will be used to
attach to the Motorcycle Pivits. (Ensure the motorcycle stand will still operate and if not design
an alternative stand as mentioned earlier, also check the ability to put your left foot down at stop
signs without the Leaner Horizontal Mounting Bars getting in the way). Relocate or modify the
motorcycle stand if necessary.
• The front Leaner Horizontal Mounting Bar will bend upward to reach the higher front Motorcycle
• The Leaner Horizontal Mounting Bars will have an internal thread on the motorcycle end. This
will allow the Motorcycle Pivit's threaded rod to adjust Tow In.
• Place the rear and front of the motorcycle side of the sidecar on stands to provide support.
• Pump the sidecar tyre to correct pressure.
• Place 150kgs into the sidecar to confirm correct shocky compression.
• After pumping up the shocky, if it is not suitable to support this weight, replace the shocky.
5. Install Brakes
• While riding the Dreamfit Sidecar Rigid Hack Combination, I found while braking, the sidecar
wanted to overtake the motorcycle causing a push toward the oncoming traffic. This is due to
the Dreamfit Sidecar not having a brake. The sidecar to be used in this project does have a disc
brake installed. Therefore if a proportional valve is fitted to the rear brake of the motorcycle, and
then connected to the sidecar disc brake, the side car could be adjusted to brake in a straight
• Plumb a Proportional Valve to the motorcycle rear brake system and connect to the sidecar disc
• Test operation of the brake.
6. Test Ride and Adjust Tow In
• Test ride the Leaner Combination by counter steering the motorcycle.
• Adjust Tow In as required.
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Hacks (rigid sidecars)
Attachment: The measurements indicated are to be used as
starting points from which finer adjustments can
subsequently be made. This data has been altered from the
American method of attachment to Australian, wherein the
sidecar is attached to the left-hand side of the motorcycle.
Attachment points indicated on four basic
frames. X markes indicate alternate
Toe-in refers to the slight inward set of the sidecar wheel in relation to the wheels of the
motorcycle. All sidecars should be rigged with the amount of tow-in prescribed by the
manufacturer. The purpose of toeing the sidecar wheel inward is to offset a slight
"crabbing" tendency of the motorcycle's rear wheel, keeping tire wear to a minimum. In
some cases, improper toe-in (particularly in conjunction with improper lean-out) can
contribute to handling difficulties; noticeably a tendency of
the rig to pull to the right or left. Toe-in angle is approximately
3/8 to 3/4 of an inch (9.5-19mm), measured by a straight
edge laid edge to wheel as per Diagram.
C = Toe-in less than at D by 3/8 to 3/4 inch (9.5-19mm).
Measure to the centerline of the motorcycle wheel rims.
Set up the Sidecar Wheel Lead (wheel offset) as discussed
in Leaner Sidecar Section of this document. For best
performance under most conditions (most motorcycles,
driver weights, passenger weights, road conditions, etc.), the
axle line of the sidecar wheel should be positioned
approximately 8 to 12 inches (200-300mm). forward of the
axle line of the motorcycle's rear wheel (Diagram B). This is
the standard which is followed by the majority of sidecar
builders. There are exceptions, however, such as the
Harley-Davidson rig which is set up with the sidecar wheel
even with the motorcycle's rear wheel.
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In most cases the bike should lean very slightly away
from the sidecar when the combination is unladen (see
diagram E). "Very slightly" is defined as being 1/16 to
1/8 inch (1.5 - 3.2mm) in 24 inches (610mm) as
measured with a 24 inch (610mm) carpenter's square
aligned with the motorcycle's rear tire centerline or
sidewall. With a rider astride the motorcycle and the
rear shocks compressed, 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch
(3.2 - 6.35mm) of the lean-out is a good starting point.
Motorcycles with steering dampers help control the
tendency for a hack to generate steering wobble.
Steering wobble is moving from side to side at slow
speeds. A firm grip on the bars is required to
If your bike is properly maintained, your bike will travel
down the highway straight and true, with your hands
off. Add a sidecar and the bike will change its habbits.
Especially on deceleration at 30-35 mph (50–60 km/hr).
It never shook its head before, why now?
Adding a sidecar is adding a non-powered, off-centered mass of weight.
The weight very simply is trying to pass you on deceleration and drip behind when you
accelerate. With the sidecar mounted on the left as in Australia, these actions also will try
to turn you left (on takeoff) or right (on breaking).
Both of these actions are directly related to your front wheel and its
TRAIL (see drawing).
Think of trail as a caster or the ability to center the steering when
rolling. The more trail, the more self-centering action. Cruizers
generally have more trail than off road or sport bikes, because they
don't have to be maneuvered quickly between trees or on the race
track. More trail also makes them less sensitive to cross winds and
turbulence from trucks.
If you sit on your bike and turn the bars full lock left to right, you will find that the front rises
and falls very slightly (witness some guy on a long forked chopper sometime) - the highest
when the bars are straight and low on either side.
This action, although very slight, with the mass offset weight of the sidecar, will produce an
oscillation from side to side - the wobble.... (combined with the weight transfer to the front
wheel) on deceleration.
Very few Hacks are without a low speed oscillation and usually can be overridden by a
reasonably tight grip on the bars.
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Add a Steering Damper. A good option is a standard Volkswagen
shimmy damper. They are readily available, they have a long
enough stroke and are made in a couple of different mounting
There are many ways we can mount a Steering Damper. The most
ideal would be to anchor the base end on the bike frame and the
rod end on the lower triple tree (Fig. A).
As you know, in about 99% reality, this cannot happen.
Somewhere down the road we have acquired a frame
mounted fairing crashbars, driving lights, air horns, etc., etc.,
etc., all of which try to occupy the same spot.
If you mount the damper anywhere on the fork leg, it MUST move freely up and down and
let you turn full lock side to side.
Wobble can also be caused by:
• The steering head bearings
• Tyre pressure
• Loose Spokes
• Loose mounts
• Wheel bearings
• Excessive toe-in-toe-out
• Rear suspension bushings
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Attach Your Sidecar
Using a Universal Mount
The Universal Mounting Kit makes it possible to attach the sidecar to virtually any current
motorcycle with round tube frame.
Installation is a 4-5 hour process, involving these simple operations:
1. Attaching the frame of the sidecar to the frame of the motorcycle.
2. Adjusting Wheel Lead, Toe-in and Lean-out of the motorcycle in relation to the
3. Connecting the electrical wires from the sidecar to the electrical circuits of the
These operations are given in easy-to-understand step-by-step procedures, which require
no special tools other than regular shop wrenches, several wooden blocks or bricks for
propping up the sidecar and the motorcycle, two straight strips of wood for toe-in
measurements, and an angle bracket for measuring lean-out.
Working in a clear area, prop up the frame of the sidecar with blocks of wood or bricks to
hold it level. Open the packaging of the Universal Mounting Kit and check all parts against
those shown in Figure 1.
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Before proceeding, layout the Universal Mounting Kit and remove the Nuts, Bolts, and
Lockwashers from the four U-Clamps, then remove the Spacer Block from Inside each
U-Clamp. On the Strut assemblies, remove the Bolts from the Eyebolts. Have two long
straight strips of wood about eight feet long (244 cm), and an angle bracket, at hand for
toe-in and lean-out measurements later.
Attaching Your Sidecar to Your Motorcycle
Figure 2 indicates the four attachment points on
the motorcycle to which the U-Clamps must be
fastened. The four U-Clamps are identical and
consist of the U-Clamp, Spacer Block, Bolts,
Lockwashers, and Nuts. Large and small Shims
are provided for use on frame tubes which are
too thin for the U-Clamps.
To attach the U-Clamps to the motorcycle frame, proceed as follows:
1. Fit the U-Clamp to the top front of the motorcycle frame, insert the Spacer Block,
and fasten in place with the two Bolts, Lockwashers, and Nuts.
2. Thread the Eyebolt through the Spacer Block and tighten it against the frame tube.
If the frame tube is too thin for a firm grip, insert the Large Shim ahead of the
Eyebolt. If the U-Clamp is still too loose, insert the Small Shim at the rear. See
figure 3. Tighten the Eyebolt firmly to hold the U-Clamp in place.
3. Fasten the other three U-Clamps similarly to their attachment points as indicated in
figure 2. It is important to fit the top U-Clamps as high as possible on the motorcycle
frame, and the bottom U-Clamps as low as possible.
4. Note The front bottom U-Clamp may have to be attached to the cross member of
the motorcycle frame in certain cases. See figure 4.
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IMPORTANT: Before attaching any U-Clamp, make sure it is not obstructing any operating
control on the motorcycle, such as levers, rods, switches, and not rubbing against any
The Curved Bar and the Sliding Clamp are attached to the sidecar frame as follows:
5. First loosen the two holding bolts which are fitted to the front end of the sidecar
frame, then insert the Curved Bar into the frame. Do not tighten the two holding
bolts at this time. Note that the Curved Bar can be swung in an arc to simplify later
assembly when connecting the Eyebolt of the U-Clamp to the Clevis Adjusting Bolt
of the Curved Bar. In figure 4 one of the two holding bolts on the sidecar frame is
visible, as well as the two Locknuts on the Clevis Adjusting Bolt.
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6. Attach the Sliding Clamp to the rear part of the sidecar frame with Bolts,
Lockwashers, and Nuts. Tighten the Bolts only enough to hold the Sliding Clamp in
place at this time.
7. Insert the Eyebolt with the Spacer Sleeve into the Sliding Clamp, and fasten with
Nut, as shown in figure 5. Figure 6 shows the Eyebolt and Strut inverted for cases
when such an assembly is required.
8. First remove the bottom Nuts from the Eyebolts on the two long Struts, then insert
the Eyebolts into the front and rear holes provided on the sidecar frame, as shown
in figure 7. At this time reattach the Nuts to the Eyebolts loosely. Note Do not insert
any Cotter Pins at this time, as the bolts will have to be tightened securely after
toe-in and lean-out adjustments have been completed.
9. Set the motorcycle on level ground on its wheels so it stands upright. This can be
done with wooden blocks or bricks placed under the frame. Position the sidecar at
the left-hand side of the motorcycle so that the distance from the motorcycle frame
edge to the sidecar frame edge does not exceed 1-2 inches (25 - 50mm). Prop up
the sidecar frame to hold it level.
10.IMPORTANT: In final assembly, the short Strut at the bottom rear of the sidecar
frame must be at an exact right angle (90°) to the sidecar and motorcycle frames,
thus placing the sidecar wheel ahead of the rear wheel of the motorcycle by 8 to 12
inches (200 - 300mm). This wheel offset distance is important (see figure 13).
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11.Fit the Clevis Adjusting Bolts of the Struts and of the Curved Bar to the Eyebolts of
each U-Clamp, and insert the Bolts to hold the Struts in place. See figures 8 and 9.
During alignment operations these Bolts must be removed to allow the Clevis
Adjusting Bolt to be turned in or out, as necessary. The Locknuts on all Clevis
Adjusting Bolts are left loose at this time, but will be tightened securely after Toe-in
and lean-out adjustments are completed.
12.IMPORTANT: The long Struts connected to the top U-Clamps on the motorcycle
frame must not be parallel to each other. When viewed from the top, the Struts must
be angled outward from the sidecar frame to the motorcycle frame, as shown in
figure 10. This angling of the Struts provides stability and lessens stress on the
motorcycle and sidecar. From the standpoint of safety, each Clevis Adjusting Bolt
must be threaded into its Strut at least two inches deep.
13.With all Struts connected, remove the supports from under the sidecar and
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Toe-in and Lean-out Adjustments
When riding a motorcycle with a sidecar attached, stability and control depend on proper
Toe-in alignment of the wheels in relation to the line of travel, and the correct amount of
Lean-out of the motorcycle from the exact vertical. Under certain conditions it may be
advisable to have your dealer stiffen the front and rear suspension of your motorcycle by
installing air pressure cups or other devices, and inserting cotter pins into the wheel axles
(or using axle locknuts).
Toe-in adjustment is as follows:
1. Place one of the long straight strips of wood against the outside edges of both
motorcycle tires, with the front wheel facing straight ahead. Place the other strip of
wood against the outside edges of the sidecar tire. See figure 11.
2. Measure the distance between the wood edges at the front and rear. For accuracy
and consistency, take the measurements at one foot ahead of the front wheel, and
one foot behind the rear wheel. Toe-in difference at the front must be between a 1/2
inch to 3/4 of an inch (12 – 20mm) less than at the rear. See figure 11. If the
distance difference at the front is greater, turn the front top and bottom Clevis
Adjusting Bolts clockwise (tightening). Note The top and bottom Clevis Adjusting
Bolts at the rear may have to be loosened (or tightened, as the need may be) in
order to achieve proper toe-in. Counter-clockwise turning of the Clevis Adjusting
Bolts reduces toe-in.
Figure 11. Toe In
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Lean-out adjustment is as follows:
1. Place an angle bracket against the outside edges of the front wheel tire, as shown
in figure 12. Note the clearance between the tire and the angle bracket at the
ground surface. The correct lean-out distance is 1/8 of an inch (3.2mm).
Figure 12. Lean Out
2. If the lean-out is not correct, remove the Nuts and Bolts from the Clevis Adjusting
Bolts at the upper ends of the front and rear Struts, then turn the Clevis Adjusting
Bolts inward to lessen lean-out, and outward to increase lean-out.
3. After making all adjustments, replace the Bolts and Nuts into the Clevis Adjusting
Bolts, tighten securely, and insert all Cotter Pins.
4. Test ride the machine, with a passenger in the sidecar. Note that the weight of a
passenger in the sidecar brings the lean-out adjustment back to zero, which is
correct. For this reason it is suggested that when riding solo an appropriate weight
should be carried in the sidecar for better stability. Ride the machine a short
distance in a straight line and also in circles to both sides. From the standpoint of
safety, bear in mind that when turning to the left, toward the sidecar, centrifugal
force will tend to lift the sidecar wheel off the ground (flying the chair). At fast speed
this is dangerous! After the test ride, check the Toe-in and Lean-out adjustments,
and if necessary make minor changes. Thereafter, check these adjustments after
every 500 miles (800km) of travel. Whenever strong vibrations or shaking are
noticed, it means the Toe-in adjustment is out of line.
5. Normal riding stresses and vibrations may loosen the bolts and nuts. Check all
attachment points periodically to ensure that nothing has loosened!
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The sidecar Wheel Offset, Fittings, and Brake must be checked periodically:
Figure 14 & 15
When the sidecar is assembled and attached you need to align the sidecar. This is not an
exact science but rather involves trial and error. These settings are general places to
It is helpful to have more than one person and perhaps some jack stands and a level and
carpenters square on hand.
The goal is to make the sidecar track straight down the road and not pull in either direction
when accelerating or braking. Before you begin (if they have been tightened in the
preceding steps), loosen all of the attaching points because one interacts with the other
when making adjustments. Some of the adjustment point may be stuck together with paint.
It may be necessary to break the paint loose to facilitate alignment.
Performing the Alignment
The sidecar should be level or as close to level as you can get it both fore and aft and left
to right. Left to right can be measured by using a square with the sidecar wheel.
The motorcycle should have about 2-3 degrees of lean out, away from the sidecar. In no
event should the bike be tilted toward the sidecar.
If you make a line 6 feet (180cm) in front of the bike that is parallel to the motorcycle
wheels on the right and the sidecar wheel on the left (a chalk line tied to jack stands or two
long board along each side of the wheels works well for this measurement) there should
be about 1½ inch (40mm) of toe in. Of course if it is 3 feet (90cm) in front of the bike it
would be about ¾ inch (20mm). Again, this is only a starting point but will get you close.
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After this, it is trial and error to try and get the rig so that it does not pull left or right when
braking or accelerating. The process can be a little frustrating the first time, but some
patience will go a long way. After the first time it will be much easier. Time spent aligning
the car is time well spent.
Hal Kendall Side Car Manual – Download following link:
Because there is such a big difference between riding solo and driving a sidecar, practice
is necessary to develop a good and safe sidecar driver. The word driver is important since
one drives a Hack, while one rides a Solo Motorcycle or Leaner Sidecar. See Leading
Link in the Definition of Terms, page 1.
Hack Project Steps
Attach Outfit to Rig as a Hack Combination.
• Place the rear and front of the motorcycle side of the sidecar on stands to ensure the sidecar is
• Pump the sidecar tyre to correct pressure.
• Place 150kgs into the sidecar to confirm correct shocky compression.
• After pumping up the shocky, if it is not suitable to support this weight, replace the shocky. It
does not have to be a pump up type.
2. Locate the Sidecar Wheel Lead
• To locate the Lead, place the centre of the sidecar wheel hub 8-12 inches (200-300mm)
forward of the motorcycle rear wheel hub.
3. Locate Brake Distance
• Locate the motorcycle at a distance from the sidecar that allows easy operation of the sidecar
foot brake lever or relocate brake lever to suit the best position of the motorcycle.
• Ensure the motorcycle stand does not interfere with the mounting kit attachment points.
5. Attach Motorcycle to Sidecar
• Locate the attachment points in the best location on the frame and attach the motorcycle to the
6. Adjust Toe In and Lean
7. Install Brakes
• While riding the Dreamfit Sidecar Rigid Hack Combination, I found while braking, the sidecar
wanted to overtake the motorcycle causing a push toward the oncoming traffic. This may be due
to the Dreamfit Sidecar not having a brake. However it did pull to the left on deceleration,
indicating it possible needed Tow In and Lean Out adjustment. The sidecar to be used in this
project does have a disc brake installed. Therefore if a proportional valve is fitted to the rear
brake of the motorcycle, and then connected to the sidecar disc brake, the side car could be
adjusted to ensure the combination will brake in a straight line.
• Plumb a Proportional Valve to the motorcycle rear brake system and connect to the sidecar disc
8. Test Ride and Make Adjustments as necessary
• Test ride the combination.
• Perform Adjustments to Tow-In, Lean and Brakes as required.
9. Leading Link and Damper
Replace Telescopic Forks on motorcycle with Leading Link and Install a Steering Damper
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Universal Mounting Kits
Kit 1. Universal Cozy and Inder Sidecar Mount Kit
Kit 2. Custom Sidecar Mounting Starter Kit $399.95
This Custom Mounting Kit makes it possible to attach the sidecar to virtually any current
motorcycle with round tube frame, but the motorcycle should be powerful enough to accept
the weight of the sidecar, passenger, and extra luggage. Some fabrication is necessary!
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Kit 3. Mount Kit Seperate Parts
Full Mount Kit
SM330 Retail $450.00 US
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Kit 4. Premium Sidecar Damper
Universal Mounting Kit $399.95
Kit 5. DMC Motorcycle Sidecar Mounts
Kit 6. Volkswagon Bus Steering Damper 1955 – 1979 (California)
Kit 6. Volkswagon Fox Steering Stabilizer 1987 – 1993 Brazil (USA)
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