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Driving a Rigid Hack Sidecar

The following information on this page refers only to the operation of a Rigid Hack Combination with the sidecar mounted on the left side of the motorcycle.

If you will be riding a Flexible, Leaner or Parallel sidecar (shown below), a combination that is required to lean on corners, you will need to visit this page for advice. Counter Steering

                                                    Sidecar Leaner Sidecar
Flexible Sidecar
Leaner Sidecar
Parallel Sidecar

Safe Operation of a Rigid Hack Sidecar Combination
Rigid Hack

 An empty sidecar will perform entirely different to a sidecar with a passenger in the sidecar. Therefore it is recommended to add weight to the sidecar while practicing, (preferably not a person).

Driving VS Counter Steering (Leaning)
To overcome the centrifugal force of the motorcycle wheel, a solo rider leans
the motorcycle into the corner. At higher speeds, the rider will have to lean the motorcycle further (think of a race track).
A Rigid Hack Sidecar will not lean, therefore the operator will drive the outfit like any two-tracked vehicle. If you are experienced at solo riding, forget all that you have learnt about Counter Steering. The more experience you have gained on two wheels the more training will be required to safely operate three. Click Here for further explantion.

Push Right Handlebar to go Right. Push Left Handlebar to go Left.

Rigid Sidecar
Push Right Handlebar to go Left and Push Left Handlebar to go Right.

Flying the Chair
In Australia, sidecars are to be attached to the left side of a motorcycle. Therefore if you were to turn too sharply to the left, the sidecar wheel would lift off the ground (flying the chair). This is why many people practice flying the chair without a passenger. Then if it were to happen in a real life situation, while carrying a passenger, they would know how to maintain control. Considering the chair will be flying while travelling on a bend, to return the sidecar wheel to the ground would require steering straight; it may create the danger of entering oncoming traffic. Therefore it may be safer to continue "Flying the Chair" around the corner than to try to correct it. While the chair is flying, the motorcycle will perform as a solo bike (counter steering, leaning). To avoid "Flying the Chair" enter the corner and turn at a slower speed.

Flying the Chair

"The faster the speed or the tighter the turn, the higher the sidecar will lift, and it will approach an unsafe condition (you could end up with the sidecar on top of you).

Flying the Rear Wheel
If turning right with excessive speed or turning too tight, there is the danger
of the motorcycle rear wheel lifting, throwing the motorcycle over the outfit. This is extremely dangerous. This can also be caused by approaching a right turn too fast and applying the front brake too hard.

Rear Wheel Lift

Sidecar Width
Remember you are wider with a sidecar, allow for this by not driving your sidecar wheel onto a curb.

Hill Parking
Because most sidecars and motorcycles do not have a park brake, ensure you leave the motorcycle in a low gear when
parking on a hill. If parking on a road with a curb, roll the sidecar backwards on an angle until the sidecar wheel hits the left curb. Most sidecar outfits do not have a reverse gear, do not park facing forward downhill. You will not be able to push the sidecar outfit uphill when leaving the parking. It is better to find another parking bay facing uphill.

Unlike in riding solo motorcycles, there is never any need to place either foot on the ground when in motion.
In fact, to do so, especially with the
foot located between the motorcycle and the sldecar, is to risk severe injury.

A trailer can be towed behind a sidecar combination using two methods.

Inline is the method created by attaching the tow hitch to the rear of the motorcycle. This method increases the overall track width of the vehicles combined.

is the
method created by attaching the tow hitch to the inside chassis of the sidecar. This method maintains the overall width of the vehicle combination with the advantage of allowing the trailer to track evenly behind the sidecar combination.

                                            Trailer Inline
Sidecar Combination with an Inline Tow Hitch
                                            Trailer Offset
Sidecar Combination with and Offset Tow Hitch

Sidecar Maintenance Procedures
(1) Tyres: Check tyres for tread wear. If the wear is uneven, your outfit may not be correctly aligned. A rear tyre can become totally worn-out in less than I500 km if the sidecar is badly misaligned. Also check for cuts or cracks that could result In a blowout. Pressure should be maintained at the manufacturer's recommended upper llmit.

(2) Wheels: Check wheels for missing or loose spokes, and the wheel rim for out-of-roundness and wobble. Check for worn or loose wheel bearings. Front wheel wobble can be caused by the tyre or wheel being out of round or out of balance. Sidecar operation puts considerably more strain on wheels and spokes than does solo operation.

 (3) Steering: Check steering braces and steering damper.

(4) Cables: Check and lubricate all controls, cables, and linkages. All controls should function smoothly. All cables should be free of kinks or broken strands.

(5) Sprokets and Chain: Lubricate the chain and check for correct tension. Adjust if necessary. Be sure rear sprocket is in correct alignment with the front sprocket. Check sprocket for abnormal wear.

(6) Shockies: Check shock absorbers for action. If they bottom out or leak, they should be adjusted, rebuilt, or replaced.

(7) Attachment Fittings: Check all motorcycle and sidecar fasteners and parts for loose or missing nuts, bolts, or pins. Motorcycles are subject to severe vibration which shakes and breaks things off.

(8) Brakes: Check brakes for proper action. Check for
hydraulic fluid level and conditlon, also for leakage of hydraulic lines and their condition. The brakes should be capable of locking, if non ABS, and not scrape. If the wheel cannot be made to lock, or if there is a scraping sound, investigate the cause and correct it.

Conclusion: Practice, Practice, Practice. Turn corners slowly.
Use more pressure on the rear brake than the front brake (opposite to solo riding).
Ensure correct adjustment of Lean Out and Tow In (explanation).

Haul N Ride did not produce the Videos and Manuals and we offer this webpage as a guide only and recommend seeking qualified instruction. Some videos you will notice were made in the USA, such as Jerry Motorman Palladino, the Police Officer. The advice given is relevant in Australia, and can improve your riding skills, providing you remember that we ride on the Left Hand Side of the Road. You will find the above information and further guides and manuals in the links below, however you need to be aware that many manuals are referring to a sidecar attached to the right side of the motorcycle.

Sidecar Attachment Guides
Sidecar Attachment Guide: Click Here
Sidecar Fitting Guide: Click Here
Steering Damper Guide: Click Here
Leading Link Explained: Click Here 
The Warkshop Guide: Click Here

Sidecar Safety Operation Manuals
Sidecar Manuals: Click Here
Driving a Sidecar Outfit - Step by Step Manual: Click Here
Original Sidecar Manuals: Click Here

Sidecar Training
Ural of OZ
Sidecar Training
MotorcycleAussie Flag Map

Add Reverse Gear to Your Sidecar
                                              Caravan Mover
Add Reverse Gear to Your Sidecar

Return to Motorcycle Safety

Disclaimer:  Videos and Manuals on the Haul N Ride website are a guide only and we recommend seeking qualified instruction. Some videos were made in the USA, therefore the advice given is relevant in Australia, and can improve your riding skills, providing you remember that we ride on the Left Hand Side of the Road. Instructions given on this website are given as a guide only. Engineering, safety and legal advice should be sought before modification begins. Images displayed are public domain, royalty free to the best of our knowledge. Images are not used for profit or resale and are used for educational purposes only. If you believe an image belongs to you, please let us know and we will remove it immediately. Thankyou.

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