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Rigid Hack Sidecars

Here will be discussed attaching the sidecar to the motorcycle as a Rigid Hack.

Wheelchair Accessible Sidecars - Passenger
A Wheelchair Accessible Sidecar may be attached to a motorcycle to accommodate people in wheelchairs or scooters.
The sidecar is entered from the rear via a ramp which retracts to form the rear wall of the sidecar.
The Sidecar can be designed as a platform only, or be enclosed for comfort and protection.

Wheelchair Accessible Sidecars - Sidecar Driven
Most sidecars require a companion to operate the motorcycle, however the sidecar can be adapted to operate the motorcycle by transfering the controls and handlebars to the sidecar, which can be used by the occupant while in his/her wheelchair.

                      Hack Sidecar
Want to see some nice sidecars at a Sidecar Rally? : Watch Video

Guides and Manuals for Hacks

Sidecar Attachment Guides
Sidecar Attachment Guide: Click Here
Sidecar Fitting Guide: Click Here
Sidecar Alignment
Guide: Click Here
Sidecar Alignment from Ural Manual: Click Here
Steering Damper Guide: Click Here
Leading Link Explained: Click Here 
The Warkshop Guide: Click Here

Sidecar Manuals
Sidecar Manual: Click Here
Sidecar Operator's Manual: Click Here
Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar: Click Here
Motorcycles and Sidecars: Click Here
Driving a Sidecar Outfit - Step by Step Manual: Click Here
Original Sidecar Manuals: Click Here

Attachment Points:

Attachment: The measurements indicated are to be used as starting points from which finer adjustments can subsequently be made.

The following information and images from the American method of attachment has been modified to Australian, wherein the sidecar is attached to the left-hand side of the motorcycle.

Sidecar Cartoon

Attachment Points
Attachment points indicated on four basic frames. X markes indicate alternate attachment points.

Toe-in, Wheel Lead Vertical Lean and Steering Damper Explanations


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.


Tow-in and Wheel Lead Diagram

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 Tow-In and Wheel Lead 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.

The sidecar must be aligned in a definite position relative to the motorcycle. The sidecar wheel is angled slightly towards the front of the motorcycle, and the motorcycle itself must be leaned out, away from the sidecar. An incorrectly aligned sidecar will drag the motorcycle to either side, which not only makes the combination difficult to handle, but also causes excessive tire wear. It is very important to check sidecar alignment at scheduled maintenance intervals. If the motorcycle is not stable on the road and is difficult to steer, check alignment as well as steering head bearing adjustment. Alignment is best accomplished on a smooth level floor.

Tow In

Image Source: http://www.sidecar.com/mbbs22/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=9436&posts=20&highlight=wheel%20bearing%20&highlightmode=1

Toe-in is checked by placing a straightedge along the motorcycle wheels and a straight edge along and the sidecar wheel, and measuring the distance between the two straight edges. A solid straight edge helps hold the front wheel in line with the rear wheel, and forms a measurement line parallel to the centerline of the motorcycle. 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 tires.

Recommended toe-in is 3/8 inch / 10 mm. That is, toe-in is correct when spacing between the two straight edges at the front axle is 3/8 inch / 10 mm less than that at the rear axle. Toe-in is adjusted by easing off the fastening bolt holding the lower rear clamping bracket in the sidecar frame, and sliding the clamping bracket in or out of the sidecar frame tube. Adjusting the position of the rear clamping bracket also affects the position of the upper rear strut ("tie-rod"), so the upper strut bolts should be slacked off while making the toe-in adjustment, and lean-out will subsequently require correction.

Extracted from the Year 2000 Ural Repair Manual http://www.sidecarafrica.co.za/Repair%20Manual.pdf

Wheel Lead

Set up the Sidecar Wheel Lead (wheel offset) as discussed in the Leaner Sidecar Section of this document. The amount of wheel offset is another measurement ordinarily specified by individual manufacturers. 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.

(Refer Tow-In and Wheel Lead 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.

Vertical Lean:

In most cases the bike should lean very slightly away from the sidecar when the combination is unladen (see Vertical Lean 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 tyre 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.

Vertical Lean
Vertical Lean Diagram

Recommended lean-out is 1 degree. That is, the motorcycle should lean out (away from the sidecar) approximately 1 degree, with the motorcycle resting on wheels, not the center stand, and the suspension compressed with the approximate weight of the operator (1 degree lean-out is equivalent to approximately 1/2 inch / 12 mm lean-out between handlebar level and floor). If the motorcycle is on a level floor, lean-out can be checked using a level gauge and a protractor, or with a plump bob and a ruler. When installing a new sidecar for the first time, lean-out can be estimated by observing the motorcycle from the rear with an operator sitting on the saddle. The motorcycle should lean perceptibly to the left, not perpendicular to the floor. Adjust leanout by easing off torque on the lower collet bolts, loosening the lock nuts on the upper struts (the two inclined legs), removing the upper strut attachment bolts, and screwing the forked clevises in or out.

NOTE: When making either toe-in or lean-out adjustments, make corrections in small increments, then recheck. Very small adjustments in position of the rear connector will have large results in toe-in.

CAUTION: With both bolts removed from the sidecar struts, the motorcycle can tip away from the sidecar, with subsequent damage to fittings. Manually support the motorcycle when making the leanout adjustment. When leanout is adjusted to the recommended specifications, snug up all connectors, then recheck toe-in. Fine tuning of leanout is accomplished by road testing the motorcycle. Tighten all bolts securely.

Extracted from the Year 2000 Ural Repair Manual


Road Testing
The true test of toe-in and lean-out adjustment is a road test, preferably on a smooth, straight, level, paved road with typical camber slanting off towards the right. At a steady speed of 40 mph, the motorcycle should not pull to either side while running at normal road speed. If the outfit pulls to the right, lean out should be increased to 2 or more, as required. If it pulls to the left, decrease the lean-out. The owner can be of best help by observing the handling characteristics, and reporting back at subsequent service opportunities.

NOTE: Weight of the driver and sidecar passenger affects leanout, so lean-out must be adjusted according to the typical load that will be carried on the motorcycle. For example, if a heavy load is usually carried in the sidecar a slightly larger lean out (say 2-3) may be preferable.

Extracted from the Year 2000 Ural Repair Manual



Sidecar Wobble

Steering Wobble Diagram

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 neutralizes this.


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 (5060 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.

Trail Diagram

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.


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 designs.

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 below). 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.

Source: http://sidestrider.com/steering.htm

Steering Damper

Wobble can also be caused by:

  • The steering head bearings
  • Tire pressure
  • Spokes
  • Loose mounts
  • Wheel bearings
  • Excessive toe-in-toe-out
  • Rear suspension bushings

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, but the motorcycle should be powerful enough to accept the weight of the sidecar, passenger, and extra luggage.

IMPORTANT: Deviating from the instructions may create dangerous conditions. It is important to follow the directions carefully, be thorough and use common sense. Each sidecar operator is responsible for his/her own safety and the safety of their passengers. For best results, we recommend soliciting installation service from a qualified dealer in your area.

Installation is a 4-5 hour process, involving these simple operations:

  • Attaching the frame of the sidecar to the frame of the motorcycle.
  • Adjusting Wheel Lead, Toe-in and Lean-out of the motorcycle in relation to the sidecar.
  • Connecting the electrical wires from the sidecar to the electrical circuits of the motorcycle.
These operations are given in easy-to-understand step-by-step procedures, which require no special tools, several car stands and straps for propping up the sidecar and the motorcycle, two long straight edges for toe-in measurements, and an angle bracket for measuring lean-out.

Working in a clear area with a level floor, prop up the frame of the sidecar to hold it level. Open the packaging of the Universal Mounting Kit and check all parts against those shown in Figure 1.

Sidecar Universal Mounting Kit
Figure 1

For safety reasons and for best performance and riding comfort the sidecar should be attached to the motorcycle and all adjustments made in accordance with the instructions given in this guide.
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.

Attachment Points

Figure 2

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.

Figure 3
Figure 3

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.

Figure 4

Figure 4

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 wire.

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.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6

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 right-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 10 inches (200 - 250mm). This wheel offset distance is important (see figure 13).

Figure 7
Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 8

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 motorcycle.

Figure 9
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 10

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 tyres, with the front wheel facing straight ahead. Place the other strip of wood against the outside edges of the sidecar tyre. 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
Figure 11

Lean-out adjustment is as follows:
1. Place an angle bracket against the outside edges of the front wheel tyre, as shown in figure 12. Note the clearance between the tyre and the angle bracket at the ground surface. The correct lean-out distance is 1/8 of an inch (3.2mm).

Figure 12
Figure 12

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 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.

Figure 13

Figure 13

5. Normal riding stresses and vibrations may loosen the bolts and nuts. Check all attachment points periodically to ensure that nothing has loosened!

The sidecar Wheel Offset, Fittings, and Brake must be checked periodically:
1. Refer to Section B for information regarding adjustments. See figures 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
2. If the sidecar wheel must be removed, the fittings come off as shown in figure 14 (Cotter Pin not shown). Replace in same order, and insert Cotter Pin.
3. The hydraulic Shock Absorber and Coil Spring, mounted on the Swingarm, are shown in figure 15.

Figure 14

Figure 14 & 15

Sidecar Alignment

Getting Started
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 begin.
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 1 inch (40mm) of toe in. Of course if it is 3 feet (90cm) in front of the bike it would be about inch (20mm). 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 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:

Leading 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. The telescopic forks need to be replaced by a Leading Link. See Leading Link in the Definition of Terms.

Hack Project Steps
Connect Outfit to Rig as a Hack
1. Inspect Sidecar Welds. If necessary, re-weld any messy welds on the sidecar chassis.

2. Inflation. Place the rear and front of the motorcycle side of the sidecar on stands to ensure the sidecar is sitting level. Pump the sidecar tyre to correct pressure. Place 150kgs into the sidecar to confirm correct shocky compression. If after pumping up the shocky, it is not suitable to support this weight, replace the shocky.

3. 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.

4. Locate Attachment Points

5. Attach Universal Mounting Kit

6. Adjust Toe In and Lean

7. Install Brakes. If necessary, move the sidecar brake lever to a suitable position, beside the gear change lever, to allow easy operation. Install the disc brake, brake line and master cylinder. Test brake operation.

8. Test Ride and Adjust Tow In if necessary. Test ride the Rig (motorcycle) and Outfit (sidecar). Adjust Tow In as required.

Sidecar Attachment Fittings

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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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